Baku

The 2016 season saw Azerbaijan become the latest addition to the Formula One calendar, with capital city Baku playing host to the fastest street circuit in Formula One racing, on a layout designed by renowned F1 track architect Hermann Tilke.

“Our brief to Tilke Engineering was simple – create a circuit that is unique, one that will help the Grand Prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting, thrilling venues on the F1 calendar, and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about,” said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport.

“Most importantly, we wanted a track that would showcase the best of Baku, our capital city, and I am delighted that the circuit has achieved exactly that aim.”

Tilke’s design married technical sectors with extreme straights to create a stunning circuit that also thrives on Baku’s very attractive urban atmosphere and its great combination of history and 21st century style. The historic city centre, the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for the spectacular track.

“Obviously street circuits present a number of challenges, in terms of circuit design, but we have been able to incorporate some unique features that will provide the teams and fans with fascinating racing,” he comments.

“For example, the extremely narrow uphill section at the old town wall rewards pinpoint accuracy and courage, while the 2.2 kilometres along the promenade sees the cars running flat out at very high top speeds – an incredible spectacle for the race fans on track and the viewers at home.”

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Spain’s eviction violated family’s human rights, say UN experts

5 July 2017 – By evicting a family with young children from a rented room – without providing alternative housing – Spain violated the right to housing, according to a group of United Nations human rights experts.

“This is not a unique case. Families in developed and developing countries are faced with similar situations,” said Rodrigo Uprimny, a member of the Geneva-based Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Committee issued their findings after considering a complaint by a couple, who were evicted from their Madrid home in 2013 with their children, aged one and three.

“Through our decision we reaffirm that all people, including those who live in rented accommodation, have the right to housing. States have a duty to ensure that their evictions do not render them homeless,” he added.

In 2012, the couple stopped receiving unemployment benefits and were unable to continue paying the rent. In its findings, the Committee noted that although the eviction by court order was legal, the authorities had not taken all the necessary steps to provide the family with alternative housing.

“States have an obligation, to the maximum of their available resources, to provide alternative housing to those evicted who are in need. It is for the State concerned to show that it took all the necessary steps but was unable to grant the evicted people with alternative housing,” Mr. Uprimny underscored.

Virginia Bras Gomes, Chair of the Committee, noted that this case revealed the extent to which institutional failures, such as the high rate of unemployment, lack of adequate social policies and poor coordination between agencies, were at the root of alarming human rights violations.

“States must respect their international obligations and urgently tackle these causes to create adequate conditions for the people in need,” she stressed.

The Committee urged Spain, a State party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to take all necessary measures to help the family obtain adequate housing and pay them compensation.

Spain was also asked to put into operation a comprehensive plan to guarantee the right to adequate housing for people with low incomes.

The Committee considered the case under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which gives it the authority to examine individual complaints.

Billie Eilish: Is she pop’s best new hope?

Billie EilishImage copyright
Hannah Sider

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Billie Eilish: “Lyrics are so important. I don’t think people realise how important they are”.

Billie Eilish may only be 15 years old, but she’s already a formidable talent (and a real-life pirate, but more on that later).

A member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, she wrote her first song – about falling into a black hole – when she was four.

But it was her dance instructor who unlocked her talent for smart, dark pop songs when he asked her to submit a song for class.

Along with her older brother Finneas, Billie came up with Ocean Eyes – an astonishingly assured ballad which compared falling in love to falling off a cliff under “napalm skies”.

She posted it on Soundcloud so her teacher could hear it, went to bed, and woke up to a flurry of emails about her burgeoning music career.

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Jack McCain

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Ocean Eyes has racked up nine million plays since Eilish uploaded it to Soundcould last summer

Since then, she’s been on a steep upswing, signed by Interscope Records and releasing one head-turning track after another. The highlight (so far) is Bellyache, in which she sings from the point of view of a conflicted psychopath.

“Where’s my mind?”she trills as an acoustic guitar trades blows with a gut-punch drum loop. “Maybe it’s in the gutter, where I left my lover.

It’s the pop equivalent of a Tarantino movie – finding comic absurdity in the midst of eye-popping gore. The lyrics might keep it off the radio, but Billie isn’t too worried.

“I don’t need many people to care,” says the singer. “Even if other people don’t like it, I like it.”

As she gears up to release her first EP, Eilish sat down for a frank chat with the BBC about her lyrical fantasies, getting to grips with the music industry and her very unusual middle name.

Hello Billie Eilish… Have I pronounced that right?

Yes! It’s eye-lish, like eyelash with a lish.

Your family name is O’Connell, though, so is that a stage name?

It is my middle name. So I’m Bille Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell.

Pirate! That’s an amazing name.

Pretty weird, right? Pirate was going to be my middle name but then my uncle had a problem with it because pirates are bad. Then Baird is my mother’s name.

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Billie Eilish / Instagram

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The singer co-writes most of her material with her brother, Finneas, who you may recognise as Alistair from the TV show Glee

It’s been a year since Ocean Eyes went onto Soundcloud. It was written for a dance class, right?

Oh yeah! My dance teacher knew that I sing, so he asked us to make a song and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

My brother had written Ocean Eyes and we recorded it, basing all of the production around contemporary and lyrical dance. I think of most songs that way – if you can’t dance to a song, it’s not a song.

Anyway, we put it on Soundcloud, literally to send the link to my teacher and then it just grew from there.

It’s been played more than nine million times now. When did you notice it was taking off?

It was really confusing. I didn’t understand what was going on. I literally thought it was like my popular friend had reposted it. ‘Wow, it’s getting so many listens!’

What happened next?

A lot of meetings!

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Getty Images

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“I don’t like it when people know my age,” says the singer.

What are those meetings like? Do you go in super-confident, like, “I’ve got the goods, what are you going to offer me?” or is it totally nerve-wracking?

I was 13 when this started, so I didn’t know anything about anything. I’d go into meetings and they’d say, “So Billie, what do you think?” and I’d just be like, “Am I supposed to know? Because I don’t,”.

But eventually I got the hang of it. And now the meetings I have are a bit more like, “OK, Billie, what exactly do you want?’ and then I explain every single detail of every single thing that I’m thinking; and people do it!

It’s insane. You have stuff floating around in your mind and you tell somebody and they go, “Oh yeah, we can make that happen”. It’s like, “What? WHY?”.

So it’s like Spider-Man. With great power comes great responsibility.

I am exactly like Spider-Man. I promise.

I get the impression from your lyrics, especially, that you have a very clear idea of the things you want to talk about. How do you approach writing?

Lyrics are so important but they’re really underrated. So many lyrics right now are just the same thing – “Oh, I love you but I’m sad because you don’t love me and… blah“. You can say that in a more interesting way.

Me and my brother write a lot of fiction. Like in Bellyache, obviously. I don’t kill people.

That’s a relief.

Right? But you can put yourself in a character or a situation you would not normally be in. You don’t have to be in love to write a love song. You don’t have to kill somebody to write a song about killing somebody. It’s like jumping into another world.

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Billie Eilish / Instagram

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The singer says she’s been approached to write songs for other people after her own music got noticed

So do you consider it like acting? Or do you really want to murder someone, but haven’t got round to it yet?

Yikes! Maybe…

But both of my parents are actors, and I was in plays when I was younger. Then I went to an audition and I came back going, “I hate this. I’m not doing this ever again.”

What happened at that audition?

Some lame stuff, dude.

But it’s just fun to get to tell a story [in a song]. If you just write about things you’ve been through, you might get to a point where you go, “I don’t feel like this any more, so it’s not worth pursuing”.

No. No. It’s especially worth it.

What’s the lyric you’re proudest of?

Well, I wrote Bellyache with my brother, and he wrote Ocean Eyes, and we have a ton of other songs on the EP that I’m really excited about.

Do you find you write better with him than anyone else?

We’ve had sessions with artists and writers and producers and not that those sessions were bad, but when we write, just us together, it’s so much more raw, I guess. And straight from the heart.

Tell me how Bellyache came to be…

I wasn’t like, “Let’s write a song about killing someone!”. We were sitting in my garage rehearsing for a show with my brother’s friends. Finneas started riffing on the guitar, and one of them started playing on the piano, and I sang the first line – “Sitting all alone, with a mouthful of gum in the driveway”.

Then my brother sang, “My friends aren’t far, in the back of the car” and I was like “Lay their bodies,” like I had killed them. And he just said, “Woah, that’s so cool!”.

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Interscope Records

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The video for Bellyache sees Billie on the run after her crime spree, pulling a trolley full of cash

It just grew from there. He came into my room a couple of days later and he was like, ‘dude, I wrote the chorus for this’. And he sang it all, and the last line was, “And now I got a bellyache” and I was like, “That is genius”.

It’s such a childish line. No grown up says, “I have a bellyache, I gotta go”. But it’s kind of part of the song, because it’s about someone whose really young and knows they’re a psychopath. They’re like, “Maybe I shouldn’t steal this money and kill these people… but I’m going to anyway”.

It’s a very cinematic lyric. You can see the film opening on you in the car, then the camera cuts to the bodies in the boot.

Some people don’t really realise what I’m saying until they’ve listened to it a couple of times. My friends would be like, “Dude I was listening to Bellyache the other day, actually listening to it, and what the hell were you writing about?”.

And then you say, “I’m glad you’ve heard it. Now never cross me again”.

Exactly. Don’t wrong me.

Your new song is calledCopycat. What’s that about?

You’ll understand when you hear it, but it’s about people who feel justified in copying everything you do. It’s not about someone particular, I just wrote it.

I had two sisters growing up – and that sort of thing seemed to happen quite frequently in their peer groups. Is it a girl thing?

It probably is, and it’s tortuous. Especially if it’s somebody close to you. It’s like, “Be your own self – don’t try to be me!”.

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Jaesung Lee

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The singer, who turned 15 in December, is accompanied on the road by her mother

You’ve just played your first headline show in the UK. Do you get nervous?

Not really. I don’t get nerves, I just get excited.

Does your dance training help with confidence and stage presence?

Yeah. I mean, I was really a dancer. Then I got injured, so I haven’t really danced since Ocean Eyes came out.

Oh no, what happened?

I strained my growth plate. My bone separated from my muscle in my hip. It was really bad.

It’s so weird, because it can’t happen to you if you’re over 16 – but I was in a class with a bunch of seniors, because I was at that level. We were doing hip-hop and it just popped. So I haven’t really danced since then, which was like a year-and-a-half ago, which has been horrible.

There is a dance video for Ocean Eyes, though, so are you on the mend?

I was injured for the dance video, actually. I had sprained my ankle in December,and I had also strained my groin and I have shoulder problems.

That’s a sign to concentrate on the music.

I guess it is, but I’m trying to get back into dance slowly.

I love movement. I love moshing. I always heads right for the front and dig in there and mosh really hard with all the guys. None of the girls want to mosh, so I’m like the only girl getting punched in the face.

Billie Eilish releases her new song, Copycat, today. Her previous singles, Ocean Eyes, Bored, Bellyache and Watch are all available now.

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13 Things to Know About the Charts This Week: Kendrick Lamar & Ed Sheeran Top Nielsen Music’s Mid-Year Charts

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee‘s “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, scores a ninth week atop the Billboard Hot 100 (dated July 22), while DJ Khaled notches a second straight week at No. 1 on the Billboard200 with Grateful. 

Plus, Bruno Mars earns another week at No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100, while Calvin Harris zooms back to the chart’s top 10 at a new peak as his new album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, enters the Billboard 200 at No. 2.

Here are 13 other things you should know about Billboard‘s charts this week:

1. Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. and EdSheeran‘s “Shape of You” lead the way on Nielsen Music’s overall mid-year 2017 charts. Click here to read the full mid-year report.

2. Digging deeper by genre, on Nielsen Music’s mid-year country charts, Sam Hunt‘s “Body Like a Back Road” and Chris Stapleton‘s From A Room: Volume 1 are the top song and album, respectively. Click here to read the full mid-year report for country.

3. On Nielsen Music’s mid-year rock charts, MetallicaTwenty One Pilots and Imagine Dragons dominated the first half of 2017. Click here to read the full mid-year recap of rock.

4. For RB/hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar crowns Nielsen Music’s song and album charts at the midway point. Click here to read the full mid-year report for RB/hip-hop.

5. The top Latin song on Nielsen Music’s mid-year chart is (what else?) “Despacito,” while Shakira‘s El Dorado rules the album recap. Click here to read the full mid-year rundown for Latin.

6. And, for dance/electronic, The Chainsmokers lead Nielsen Music’s mid-year charts, with their album Memories…Do Not Open and singles “Closer,” featuring Halsey, and “Something Just Like This,” with ColdplayClick here to read the full mid-year report for dance/electronic.

7. Looking ahead to next week’s Billboard 200, JAY-Z is slated to earn his 14th No. 1 (the second-most all time, after The Beatles), as his new album 4:44 is expected to arrive at the summit. Click here to read the forecast.

8. On the latest Chart Beat Podcast, Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson count down the Hot 100’s biggest hits from this week in 2007, from No. 40 to No. 1 and chat with RCA Records’ Joe Riccitelli about how P!nk’s “U + Ur Hand” became a hit, after facing resistance from radio. Joe also previews new music from P!nk, as well as Kesha, Miley Cyrus, Zayn and more. Click here to listen to the full podcast.

9. Over on the Pop Shop Podcast, Keith Caulfield and Katie Atkinson mark Billboard‘s Girl Group Week with trivia about Spice Girls, TLC and more. Celebrate girl power and click here to listen.

10. Also in honor of Girl Group Week, we’ve ranked the top 10 girl groups of all time using Billboard chart metrics. Click here to see who made the list and who’s No. 1.

11. Beyond “Despacito” on this week’s Hot 100, Shawn Mendes‘ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” climbs to No. 14, while Charlie Puth earns his fourth top 15 hit with “Attention,” as both songs surge in sales. Click here to read this week’s Hot 100 Chart Moves.

12. On the Billboard 200, Chris Stapleton’s Traveller marks a milestone, passing 2 million in U.S. sales. Plus, the Baby Driver soundtrack debuts in the top 40. Click here to read this week’s Billboard 200 Chart Moves.

13. Ariana Grande‘s “One Love Manchester” clip leads Billboard‘s Top Facebook Live Videos chart. Click here to read the full post.