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Queen Bey is closer to sitting on her Grammys throne: The singer won her 26th Grammy on Sunday, almost matching, and on track to surpass, Alison Krauss’ record of 27 wins.
Beyoncé, this year’s leading contender with nine nominations, won two honors during the pre-ceremony including best rap performance for “Savage” with Megan Thee Stallion and best music video for “Brown Skin Girl.” She shares the latter with daughter Blue Ivy Carter, who is also having a historic night: At 9 years old, she’s the second youngest to win a Grammy.
Beyoncé’s other nominations, including song and record of the year, best R&B performance and best rap song, will broadcast during the live show, which kicked off with host Trevor Noah telling jokes about the coronavirus pandemic and the year that was 2020.
He was live from downtown Los Angeles, with attendees wearing masks and sitting, socially distanced, at small round tables.
That was followed by performances from Harry Styles, who is competing for his first Grammys this year, and Billie Eilish, who won five Grammys last year and picked up her sixth honor during the preshow.
Other performances, taped days before the big show, will air throughout the night, including Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Cardi B, BTS, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, Chris Martin, Lil Baby, John Mayer, Maren Morris and Doja Cat.
During the preshow, Fiona Apple and Kaytranda were also double winners Sunday. John Prine and Chick Corea both earned two wins posthumously. Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Dan + Shay, James Taylor, H.E.R., Beck, Brandi Carlile, Burna Boy, Tiffany Haddish and Rachel Maddow also won Grammys.
While Beyoncé is set to have a historic night, history could repeat itself and she could be shut out of winning a top award — a common occurrence for R&B and rap artists throughout Grammy history. Of her 26 wins, only one has been for one of the big four Grammys, song of the year. She has lost album of the year three times and record of the year five times.
Jay-Z has never won a top award, and he and his wife join a list of mostly Black performers who have only won in the rap and R&B categories, including Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Drake, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and more.
This year The Weeknd was the one who was snubbed. Despite having the biggest hit of 2020 with “Blinding Lights” and a top-selling, multihit album, he didn’t earn any nominations.
Still, Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” could become the second hip-hop song to win record of the year.
Taylor Swift could make history, too, and become the first woman to win the show’s top prize, album of the year, three times. Her first surprise album of 2020, “Folklore,” is competing for the top honor, an award she first won in 2010 for “Fearless,” and again in 2016 for “1989.”
Artists competing with Swift for album of the year include Coldplay, Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Jhené Aiko, HAIM, Black Pumas and Jacob Collier, who picked up a win during the pre-ceremony.
The Grammys were originally scheduled for Jan. 31 but were pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Voice of America – English
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
AstraZeneca said Sunday a review of its data found no evidence that its vaccine against the coronavirus causes blood clots, the same day that Ireland and the Netherlands joined a growing list of countries that are suspending use of the shot.
“A careful review of all available safety data … has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” the company said.
The review, which covered more than 17 million people who had received the vaccine in Britain and the European Union, was conducted as Ireland and the Netherlands joined Denmark, Norway, and Iceland in suspending the use of the vaccine because of clotting issues. Austria stopped using a batch of the shot last week while investigating a death from coagulation disorders.
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer, said Sunday that though there was no conclusive link between the vaccine and incidents of blood clots, he would recommend suspending use of the shot as a precaution.
His recommendation followed Norway reporting four cases of blood clots in adults inoculated with the AstraZeneca shot.
In addition to the company itself, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have said there is no indication the clotting events were caused by the vaccine.
Meanwhile in Brazil, many have noted the absence of Zé Gotinha (roughly translated as Joe Droplet), a mascot invented in the 1980s to promote the polio vaccine and put children at ease.
Since the 1980s, the mascot has become a symbol for many vaccination campaigns, but he’s been notably absent since December when Brazil’s vaccine campaign was launched.
“Where is our beloved Zé Gotinha?” former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in a speech criticizing the current president’s handling of the pandemic. But some have speculated that since adults, not children, are receiving the vaccine, Gotinha’s presence may be less needed.
Also in South America, Chile said it has reached one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world, having vaccinated roughly a quarter of its population as of Sunday.
While Chile struggled in the first months of the pandemic to contain the virus and stop its spread, health officials say they began early negotiations to buy vaccines, enabling them to launch a robust vaccination campaign this month.
The U.S. appears to be on a path to have enough vaccine doses for almost double the country’s population, after President Joe Biden directed his administration to order 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
The U.S. has committed funding to several vaccine initiatives, including $2 billion to COVAX, the international program designed to provide coronavirus vaccines globally.
The U.S., Australia, India and Japan also agreed last week to a partnership to make one billion vaccines available across Asia by the end of 2022, India’s foreign secretary said at a news conference in New Dehli after a virtual meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of the other countries.
The initiative is designed to attack the global vaccine shortage and counter China’s growing diplomatic campaign to distribute vaccines in Southeast Asia and globally.
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts on Saturday, Yo-Yo Ma, the internationally acclaimed cellist, celebrated receiving his second vaccine doing what he does best.
While he waited seated with others for the 15 minutes of observation post vaccination, Ma, 65 and wearing a mask, started playing his cello.
His impromptu performance included Ave Maria and Bach’s Prelude in G Major.
As Ma got up to leave, he was applauded by others seated and socially distant waiting for their observation to end.
Voice of America – English