Dame Vivienne Westwood and Bianca Jagger joined campaigners outside Britain's Houses of Parliament on Monday (26Jan15) to protest against a new fracking proposal. Sir Mick Jagger's ex-wife and the fashion designer, both avid environmental campaigners, gathered with demonstrators in London at a rally against the controversial gas extraction method as Members of Parliament (MPs) voted on a fracking bill, which included the possibility of the practice taking place under residential homes.
Bianca Jagger told BBC Radio 5 Live ahead of the protest, "What I hope to achieve, and all the hundreds of people who are here, is to make some sense, or to make MPs who will be voting understand what is at stake here. This is our way of life, our environment, our water sources, the air, and as well, if they go ahead with this bill today, they will be putting at stake our fundamental human right and our democratic process because it will give the fracking industry the right to frack from under our homes without our permission.
"I don't think that's what we expect from our Government to be doing and I hope that many MPs that will be voting will remember that the majority of the people in this country are against fracking and would like them to at least call for a moratorium or a ban on fracking."
Protesters also handed politicians a petition signed by 300,000 campaigners who oppose the project.
In the ballot, politicians voted against a moratorium but agreed on a outright ban on the practice in national parks and sites of special interest.
British stars including singer Sting and actresses Emma Thompson and Michelle Dockery have signed an open letter to the U.K.'s Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to provide a safe haven for the victims of civil war in Syria. The note has been put together by officials at Amnesty International, Oxfam, and the Refugee Council, and it calls on the British leader to amend his pledge to help "several hundred" refugees.
It demands he find space in the U.K. to house "thousands" of displaced families from the war-torn region, and has been signed by stars including Vanessa Redgrave, moviemaker Ken Loach, Monty Python funnyman Michael Palin, and fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.
The letter, addressed directly to the Prime Minister, states, "You promised to resettle some of the most vulnerable people fleeing conflict in the region... Given your promise and the U.K.'s proud tradition of offering protection to those who desperately need it, we couldn't have been more disappointed when we discovered the scale of your ambition for Syria's refugees; to resettle just 'several hundred people' over a three-year period...
"We can do better. We must do better. People's lives depend on it... The U.S. has pledge to offer thousands of places a year over many years. We are ashamed that the U.K. has failed to do likewise."
An estimated four million Syrians have been displaced by the country's civil war, which has raged since the Arab Spring uprising threatened to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.
Superstar Pharrell Williams is getting animated for an upcoming episode of The Simpsons. The Happy hitmaker and the famous Vivienne Westwood hat he wore to the Grammy Awards last year (14) are heading to the fictional town of Springfield for an episode titled Walking Big & Tall.
The plot of the cartoon instalment is based on a true story from the 1980s, about bosses at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin TV station who hired a composer to create a new anthem for the city, only to discover the musician offered up the same song to other city officials.
In The Simpsons story, Lisa Simpson will help to find a solution to the problem by bringing in Pharrell to pen a new track for the town, reports Entertainment Weekly.
The episode will air in the U.S. on 8 February (15).
Pharrell isn't the only special guest to make a cameo in the longrunning cartoon's 26th season - rocker Sammy Hagar and actors Nick Offerman and Sarah Silverman have also booked gigs on The Simpsons.
The designer hat Pharrell Williams wore to the 2014 Grammy Awards is taking centre stage at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles for a special exhibition. The statement headpiece, designed by Vivienne Westwood, went on display on Thursday (15Jan15) to mark National Hat Day across the U.S. as part of the Grammy Effect show, to emphasise the theme of the upcoming 2015 ceremony.
It will remain in the spotlight until mid-March (15).
Bosses at fast food chain Arby's, who purchased the item in March (14) for $44,100 (£27,563), previously loaned out the hat last summer (14) for a temporary exhibition at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum.
Actresses Susan Sarandon and Daryl Hannah have signed a campaign letter warning Brits of the dangers of genetically modified (GM) food imported from the U.S. The open letter, which warns of the damage of non-organic meals, was delivered to British Prime Minister David Cameron's official residence at Downing Street in London on Wednesday (12Nov14) by campaigners including fashion mogul Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Almost 60 million people have signed the missive to counter the pro-GM plan that has been raised by the British Government to open the U.K. up to GM crops and food.
The European Commission and the U.S Government are in talks regarding a free trade agreement which would increase the flow of American GM food into Britain and Europe.
Americans who have signed the letter are hoping to show British people how damaging the produce can be to both their health and the environment.
Sarandon says in a statement, "Instead of bringing certainty and security, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have raised more and more worrying questions about their effectiveness, their necessity, and even their safety. Polls show that the majority of U.S. citizens - and in fact citizens everywhere - either want them labelled or taken out of the food system altogether."
Westwood adds, "GMOs are a democratic issue. They are a massive, unethical experiment in human and environmental health."
The designer previously threatened to derail the anti-GM campaign when she came under fire for suggesting people should eat less if they cannot afford to eat organic food. Westwood later clarified her remarks, explaining, "My comments were related to eating less meat. People are eating far too much factory-farmed meat and junk food which is bad for you and not providing the nutrients you need. You can source good food and organic farmed meat for less."
Susan Sarandon, Pamela Anderson and Russell Brand have added their names to a petition encouraging donations to the Courage Foundation, which raises funds to pay for U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden's legal defence. Snowden has been living in exile ever since he leaked classified intelligence from the National Security Agency (NSA) last year (13), prompting a major outcry about U.S. mass surveillance and government secrecy, and debate concerning the balance between national security and information privacy.
He has been charged with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property, and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Officials at the Courage Foundation are raising funds in an effort to help "patriots" and "heroes" like Snowden afford top legal counsel, and their latest push has been endorsed by more than 50 actors, musicians and intellectuals, who have also offered their support for Snowden.
Their latest initiative coincides with the expanded theatrical release of Laura Poitras' critically-acclaimed documentary CitizenFour, which chronicles Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program.
Actor Viggo Mortensen, who is another celebrity signing up to help Snowden's cause, states, "It is up to all of us as free-thinking citizens to demand truly transparent democracy and high, unbiased moral standards from those who govern us. I hope everyone can chip in to support Snowden and those patriotic whistleblowers that come after him."
A new Courage Foundation statement, which has been signed by Sarandon, Brand, Anderson, Peter Sarsgaard, M.I.A., fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and moviemaker Alfonso Cuaron, among others, reads: "We stand in support of those fearless whistleblowers and publishers who risk their lives and careers to stand up for truth and justice."
Westwood adds, "I didn't ask Edward Snowden to stick his neck out for me. But now that he did I ask myself where would we be without him? The more that the public watches CitizenFour, which documents Edward Snowden's bravery in revealing the NSA's massive web of surveillance of the American people, opposition to the government's assault on civil liberties will grow.
"I hope that audiences will turn their outrage into action and donate to the Courage Foundation's Legal Defense Fund to provide legal representation to Snowden and other whistleblowers to counter the government's unprecedented attack against these brave men and women."
Fashion mogul Dame Vivienne Westwood has been accused of plagiarising parts of her self-titled memoir. A writer alleges large sections of one of his works have been lifted and passed off as Westwood's own in her book, which was co-written with biographer Ian Kelly.
Paul Gorman claims 29 passages from his 2001 book The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion were copied without the proper credit, and he is suing for damages and demanding an apology.
He tells Britain's The Independent newspaper, "I greatly admire Vivienne's achievements but she has been let down badly by her publisher by this sloppy book."
Westwood has also come under fire from Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon over a section in which she claims to have come up with the idea for the band's iconic track Anarchy in the U.K.
He tells the publication, "The silly cow is claiming she had the idea for Anarchy? What a f**king liberty. That's audacity of the highest order. Go back to making frocks."
The book is also believed to be riddled with spelling mistakes and factual errors.
British designer Dame Vivienne Westwood turned her London Fashion Week runway show into a protest for Scottish independence by sticking 'YES' badges on all her models' outfits. The Scots go to the polls this week (beg15Sep14) to decide whether they want to leave the U.K.
Actress Pamela Anderson sought out the advice of controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about the launch of her new charity foundation. The Baywatch star and passionate activist set up the Pamela Anderson Foundation earlier this year (14) to benefit a variety of human, animal and environmental rights causes.
She wanted to discuss her plans for the organisation with Assange, so she paid him a visit in August (14) at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been living for two years after claiming political asylum.
Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood tells Britain's Mail on Sunday, "I was supposed to take Pamela Anderson to see Julian in the embassy but she got the date wrong, so she went on her own the day after me. She told me afterwards that they got on very well. Julian was just brilliant... Pamela's trying to help people with her new trust and he gave her some ideas on how to do that."
His publicist has confirmed the meeting, simply adding, "She asked for his advice."
Assange, who is trying to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape and sexual assault allegations, announced his plans to leave the embassy last month (Aug14).
British celebrities including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Paloma Faith and Duffy have snapped a series of 'selfies' in support of the launch of a new website, which enables members of the public to ask politicians about fracking. The stars have come together for MyFrackingQuestions.org, an online platform which allows U.K. citizens to ask Minister for Energy Matthew Hancock MP about the controversial gas-extraction method.
In the photos, each celebrity holds up their own question about fracking, with singer Faith asking, "How can you be sure that our health will not be put at risk by fracking? I am concerned about the health risks to the population and the long-term repercussions (of fracking)."
Duffy calls on Hancock to attend a Talk Fracking debate to address the public's concerns, and says, "I would like to call for a National Moratorium. A 'stop the clock’. No more intrusive fracking until we, as a country, can assess whether this is the most sustainable, economic and safest source of energy".
Meanwhile, fashion mogul Westwood, who has previously been outspoken about the shale gas drilling projects in the U.K. and led a group of anti-fracking protesters through the streets of central London earlier this year (Mar14), adds her support for the new website.
A statement from her reads: "MyFrackingQuestions.org is asking the key questions that the public has told us they want answered definitively by the current government. We are acting now to empower the next generation, preventing them from having to deal with the potentially devastating effects of fracking should it go ahead in this country.
"This debate belongs to the British people but, without any solid and reliable information, they cannot take part in this most critical of conversations. Until these questions are answered and until there is open public debate, there can be no social license and no democratic mandate."
Also snapping selfies for the website are Westwood's son Joe Corre, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, musician Jools Holland, Olympian Andrew Triggs Hodge, and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
MyFrackingQuestions.org is launched in connection with Talk Fracking, a U.K. initiative spearheaded by Westwood, which raises awareness of fracking and government officials' fast-moving plans to introduce it to the country.
Talk Fracking has already found support from over 150 celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, his daughter Stella, Yoko Ono, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jude Law, Russell Brand, Thom Yorke and Vanessa Redgrave, among others.