Pope Francis has been named “Man of the Year” by the latest Italian edition of Vanity Fair.
The Argentinean pontiff, elected in March 2013, had earned the accolade for his words and deeds during his first 100 days in office.
The front cover of Vanity Fair magazine shows Pope Francis, 76, wearing plain white robes and a white skull cap, waving at a crowd.
“His first one hundred days have already placed him in the category of world leaders who make history,” the magazine said.
“But the revolution continues.”
Pope Francis has been named “Man of the Year” by the latest Italian edition of Vanity Fair
Five celebrities, including Sir Elton John and the Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, were quoted by the magazine in praise of Francis, the first Jesuit Pope.
“Francis is a miracle of humility in an era of vanity,” Elton John told the magazine.
Elton John said he hoped that Pope Francis’s message would reach marginalized groups in society which “have a desperate need of his love”, including homosexuals.
“The Pope seems to want to take the Church back to the old values of Christ and, at the same time, bring it into the 21st century,” he said.
Elton John, who has been in a civil partnership since 2005, said he hoped Pope Francis could “reach out to children, women, men who live with HIV and AIDS – often alone, and hidden away in silence”. His praise for the Pope is perhaps surprising given the Vatican’s uncompromising stance on issues such as gay marriage, women priests and married male clergy.
While Pope Francis has adopted a much more relaxed, informal style than Pope Benedict XVI, he is regarded as being as much of a doctrinal conservative as his predecessor.
The Rolling Stones returned to the London stage on Sunday night in the first of five concerts to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were joined by their original bass player Bill Wyman at the 02 Arena.
Music critics hailed the rockers’ return a success.
Reviews of the gig described the band as “still leading the pack” and “at the cutting edge of pop”.
“They have a combined age of 273, but the four Stones remain an extraordinary live proposition,” John Aizlewood wrote in the Evening Standard.
“Jagger, camp and louche, was a preening but energetic peacock; Richards was as cool as a man sporting a red hairband and turquoise jacket could possibly be; Ronnie Wood was a chirpy mascot and that ocean of serenity Charlie Watts showed the tiniest of drumkits can make the biggest noise,” he said.
Guest stars included Mick Taylor – was originally in the Stones from 1969 to 1974 – who played lead guitar on Midnight Rambler.
Mary J. Blige also duetted with Sir Mick Jagger on Give Me Shelter.
“It’s amazing that we’re still doing this, and it’s amazing that you’re still buying our records and coming to our shows,” the frontman said.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Mick Jagger also joked about the controversial price of the concert’s tickets.
“How are you doing up in the cheap seats?” he asked fans in the upper rows.
“Except they’re not cheap seats, that’s the problem.”
The Rolling Stones returned to the London stage on Sunday night in the first of five concerts to celebrate their 50th anniversary
The show began with a brief video tribute from stars including Sir Elton John, Iggy Pop and Johnny Depp.
The band played 23 songs including some of their rarely-played early numbers such as It’s All Over Now and their cover version of the Beatles’ I Wanna Be Your Man.
They also showed a video montage of their big influences such as Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.
The Independent described Sir Mick Jagger as being “in good voice” and “impressively strident” in the opening song.
Reviewer Andy Gill was also positive about the guest appearances of Wyman, who he described as “stolid as ever” on It’s Only Rock’n’Roll and Honky Tonk Women, and Mick Taylor, whose “stinging lead lines” on Midnight Rambler combined well with the rest of the band.
“For seven minutes or so, the years fall away and it seems as if the group were still at the cutting edge of pop – something their two new numbers, sadly, never quite manage,” he said.
Writing in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis said the show was “liberally flecked with moments” which were “about more than mere nostalgia, where the band seems to suddenly hit its stride, when well-worn material comes alive”.
“Keith Richards’ Before They Make Me Run arrives with its screw-you swagger intact,” he added.
The band also played classics such as Paint It Black and Jumping Jack Flash, but they didn’t get to perform Satisfaction as they ran out of time.
Still, fans were happy with the performance.
“It was pretty special. It’s not very often you get to see something like that. It was incredible,” said one.
Another man who travelled from Australia for the concert said it was “amazing”.
“Mick Taylor… What a genius,” he added.
Music critic Neil McCormick said the music sounded as good as it did when he first started going to gigs in the early 1980s.
“They really did seem happy to be there,” he said.
“There were many moments when they went completely mad.”
The series of gigs marks 50 years since the band first appeared in a small London club determined to pay homage to the masters of American blues.
There will be one more concert in London on Thursday, followed by one in Brooklyn, New York, and two in Newark, New Jersey.
The A-list concert for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is taking place outside Buckingham Palace.
The event kicked off with the Massed Bands of the Household Division playing for the 12,000 ticket holders and the thousands more on The Mall in London.
Pop star Robbie Williams then took to the specially-constructed stage around the Queen Victoria Memorial.
Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney are among the stars who have yet to perform before the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
The Queen was not present for the first 90 minutes of the concert, taking her seat in the Royal Box at 21:00 BST.
The evening will end with the Queen lighting one of 4,500 beacons across the world marking her 60-year reign.
The concert is being broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2 in the UK and to millions around the world.
It is a joint venture between the BBC and Gary Barlow, who co-wrote Sing, the official song for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney are among the stars who have yet to perform before the Queen and other members of the Royal Family
Robbie Williams was followed on stage by Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am, his fellow Voice judge Jessie J and boy band JLS.
Gary Barlow then took to the stage himself to perform a surprise duet with Cheryl Cole.
Next on the bill was Sir Cliff Richard, who performed a decade-straddling medley of hits and his 1968 Eurovision track Congratulations.
Singer Grace Jones surely deserved some herself for performing Slave to the Rhythm while spinning a hula hoop around her midriff.
The world of classical music has been represented by Chinese pianist Lang Lang, US soprano Renee Fleming and English tenor Alfie Boe.
Other artists who have performed include Annie Lennox, Ed Sheeran and Sir Tom Jones.
Dame Shirley Bassey performed Diamonds are Forever, while Kylie Minogue – dressed as a pearly queen – was joined by street dance crew Flawless.
She was followed by Sir Elton John, who sang such tracks as Crocodile Rock and Our Song in a sparkly pink jacket.
Later pop veterans Madness will perform Our House from the roof of Buckingham Palace – the same place that Queen guitarist Brian May played the National Anthem during the Golden Jubilee concert in 2002.
Between the music acts, hosting duties are being handled by Rob Brydon, Miranda Hart, Lenny Henry and Lee Mack.
The Duke of Edinburgh is not attending the event after being taken to hospital with a bladder infection.
“We all wish him the best for a speedy recovery,” said Sir Paul McCartney.
“I hear it’s not too bad.”
Speaking backstage, Sir Cliff Richard said he had enjoyed a “fantastic” view while performing on the £200,000 ($320,000) stage, designed by world-renowned architect Mark Fisher.
“When I looked down The Mall, the crowd seemed to go all the way up to the Admiralty Arch,” he said.
Musician and presenter Jools Holland was similarly enthused following his appearance.
“The memory I’ll have was the feeling of love off all the people,” he said.
“It’s a great unifier for everybody all over the island.”
An A-list concert, which will be held in front of Buckingham Palace later today, will mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Sir Elton John are among the artists, and Madness will perform on the roof.
The audience will comprise of people who got tickets in a public ballot and those from charities with royal links.
At the end of the show, Queen Elizabeth II will light one of the last of around 4,500 beacons across the globe – in celebration of her 60-year reign.
In the afternoon, prior to the Jubilee concert, 10,000 ballot winners and VIPs will have a picnic in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
The concert follows Sunday’s spectacular River Thames pageant which attracted hundreds of thousands of rain-soaked people to watch the flotilla of 1,000 vessels.
Queen Elizabeth II travelled in a barge alongside senior members of the Royal Family as street parties were held around the country.
Buckingham Palace said the Royal Family were “touched” at the turnout, despite the weather.
The A-list concert, which starts at 19:30 BST (18:30 GMT) and will be broadcast by the BBC, also includes Robbie Williams, Ed Sheeran, JLS, Kylie Minogue, Sir Tom Jones, Jessie J, Dame Shirley Bassey and Annie Lennox.
And it will feature a special song – sung by 200 people from around the Commonwealth – co-written for the occasion by Gary Barlow and Lord Lloyd Webber.
An A-list concert, which will be held in front of Buckingham Palace later today, will mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Motown legend Stevie Wonder has said: “It’s an honour to celebrate The Queen. It’s an honour to celebrate Great Britain. The time is overdue that I meet Her Majesty.”
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will join the Queen at the concert.
Pop veterans Madness will play their hit Our House on the roof of Buckingham Palace – echoing Queen guitarist Brian May’s performance of the National Anthem in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee.
After the musical tribute, the Queen will greet the crowds and set the national beacon ablaze.
At 22:30 BST (21:30 GMT), Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to place a crystal glass diamond into a special pod, triggering the lighting of the last beacon in The Mall.
Beacons will be lit throughout the evening in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, the Commonwealth and other overseas territories.
Bruno Peek, pageantmaster of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee beacons, said: “We set out to have 2,012 beacons, which would have been the most ever for this type of occasion.
“To have reached double that figure reflects the national and worldwide respect and affection for the Queen and the desire to celebrate her 60-year reign.”
The network of beacons across the UK will be placed on historic landmarks, hill-top vantage points and famous mountains.
Beacons will also be placed on the battlements of the Tower of London, and at St James’s Palace, Lambeth Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham, Balmoral and Holyroodhouse.
Sixty will be lit in sequence on Hadrian’s Wall – one for each year of the Monarch’s reign.
And the highest peaks of the UK’s four nations will be lit up by teams from four charities.
Help for Heroes will conquer Ben Nevis in Scotland, Walking With The Wounded will climb Snowdon in Wales, Cancer Research UK will scale England’s Scafell Pike and in Northern Ireland, Field of Life will go up Slieve Donard in County Down.
The hotel in Kenya where the Queen was told in 1952 of her father George VI’s death – which meant she would become the monarch – will also light a beacon.
The first of the beacons will be lit on the south Pacific island of Tonga, while Tristan da Cunha, a British territory in the South Atlantic, is the location for the most remote lighting.
Like the conclusion of the Thames pageant, the evening will end with a firework display.
Diamond Jubilee beacons:
• About 4,500 beacons will be lit in the UK, Commonwealth and overseas territories
• Beacons in the UK and British dependencies will be lit in stages between 22:00 and 22:30 BST
• The Queen will light the National Beacon near Buckingham Palace at 22:30 BST
• Overseas beacons will be lit at 22:00 local time in countries including Canada, Australia and Kenya
• Two types of Beacons are used: Bonfires and the church tower beacon fuelled by bottled gas
• Beacons were lit on Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and for 1977’s Silver Jubilee
Sir Elton John has revealed he took so much cocaine that is a “miracle” he didn’t end up dying an addict, like Whitney Houston.
As Elton John, 65, confessed if he hadn’t kicked his drug habit in 1990 he would be dead, rumors began circulating that the singer and husband David Furnish could be having another child.
“I’d probably be dead,” Elton John declared.
“I didn’t want to end up like Whitney Houston and I could so easily have ended up like her.”
“It’s a miracle I didn’t because I’m sure I did as much cocaine as she ever did.”
Elton John’s revelations come just six weeks after Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathroom of her Beverly Hills hotel room aged just 48.
Last week, a newly released toxicology report showed Whitney Houston had cocaine in her system when she died.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said the tests revealed Whitney Houston had been a “chronic user”.
Elton John has revealed he took so much cocaine that is a “miracle” he didn't end up dying an addict, like Whitney Houston
Elton John, who married partner David Furnish in 2005, has always been open about his battle with drugs and alcohol.
Rumors began circulating online that the pair is having a second child, they already have one-year-old Zachary, but these are currently unconfirmed.
A source told the Daily Mirror: “The wheels are in motion. David and Elton have never hidden their desire to extend their family, and believe the time is right for another child.
“By the end of this year, or the beginning of next year, there will be a fourth member of the John-Furnish clan.”
Elton John has previously described his old self as a “real mess” and said getting sober and clean in 1990 was his “greatest achievement in life”.
Yesterday during a US television interview, Elton John said his life could have taken a different turn if he hadn’t overcome his addictions.
“I would not be the person I am today. I wouldn’t have Zachary, I wouldn’t have David, I wouldn’t have anything,” said the musician.
Elton John also opened up about how he suffered at the hands of bullies as an adult, and revealed he was the target of physical and mental abuse.
“It was about control and their being able to keep me under their thumb,” Elton John said.
“I was a perfect candidate for it. Even though I was famous and a big deal, it doesn’t matter – it’s who you are underneath that. I was always kind of shy and intimidated.
“One was violent and the other two were mentally violent. They were very important people in my life. They were important in my career and in my personal life.”
Elton John said he felt “scared” by the abuse and was “hit by people, physically”.
The singer did not reveal the identities of his attackers but said the bullying had taken place “in certain relationships that I’ve had”.
“Someone that was close to me and involved with my career,” he added.
Elton John said he was worried that his son Zachary would also become the target of bullies because he does not have a typical family situation.
“I know, by being two same sex parents, that when my boy goes to school he’s probably going to have some people saying <<Er you don’t have a mummy>>,” he said.
Asked how he planned to deal with the situation, Elton John said: “We’ll sit down with him before he goes and say <<listen, if anyone says something mean to you come and tell us and we’ll try and help. Stand up for yourself>>.”
Gushing about the one-year-old, who was born to a surrogate mother on Christmas Day in 2010, Elton John said: “He’s been the greatest joy that I could ever imagine.
“If I’m blue, if I’m down, I just get my iPad out and look at photographs of him and a smile comes across my face. If I’m not with him I cuddle my pillow and pretend it’s him.
“I thought I experienced love when I’d been with David for 18 years, and that’s incredible love, but David will say the same thing – there’s no love until you have a child.”
Elton John said he had been working with Zachary’s godmother, Lady Gaga, on an anti-bullying campaign and was desperate to “nip this in the bud”.
“Too many people have died. Too many young people have committed suicide because they’ve been, you know, frightened of 15 or 16-year-olds,” Elton John said.
“It’s got to be stopped and it can be stopped. But we can only stop it by making people realize the consequences of their actions and punishing them.”
Earlier reports claimed that Elton John was to attend his friend Whitney Houston’s funeral and, when he cancelled his Friday and Saturday concerts at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, many fans thought that’s where he was.
But Sir Elton John has responded to the reports, saying the shows were cut because he was sick with food poisoning, not because he was bidding farewell to the troubled star.
A statement on Elton John’s official website said: “Elton’s management would like to apologize to all the ticket buyers who were disappointed over this unavoidable cancellation.
“Also, they would like to respond to various online rumors that Elton attended the funeral of Whitney Houston on Saturday.
“This is completely untrue. The only reason Elton did not play his concerts over the weekend is because he was too ill.”
Elton John said his shows in Las Vegas were cut because he was sick with food poisoning, not because he was attending Whitney Houston’s funeral
Elton John had been due to perform as part of his residency at the Caesar’s Palace.
The statement also promised full refunds to fans.
A spokesperson for Elton John told website TMZ he is feeling “much better now” and will be ready for his next concert later this week, in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Elton John was performing in Las Vegas on the previous Saturday when he heard about Whitney Houston’s death.
The singer dedicated his track Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me to Whitney Houston.
Addressing the crowd that night Elton John said: “This is a sad day today, most of you must know by now the news of Whitney Houston passing away.
“About six years ago I was here in Vegas with some friends and we spent the whole afternoon on YouTube looking at Whitney’s work from a long time ago, and you forget – with all the troubles she went through – how brilliant, she was.
“So, my dearest, gorgeous, lovely angel, we want to do this song for you. Thank you for giving us your talent and one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard in my life.”