Shakira accuses Spanish tax authorities of smear campaign in $14M tax fraud case , plus more news

Shakira slams Spanish Treasury officials in tax fraud response

Shakira hit back at the Spanish Treasury on Friday (Nov. 25), filing a response to the government’s claims she owes more than $14 million in taxes for the years 2012 through 2014. The singer maintains she was not a resident of Spain during those years, nor did she spend enough time in the country during that period to warrant paying Spanish income taxes, the Daily Mail reported Friday. Spanish law requires anyone who spends 183 days or more in the country in a single year to pay income taxes there and the treasury claims Shakira was in Spain for 242 days in 2012, 212 days in 2013 and 243 days in 2014. In her response to the six tax fraud charges she now faces, Shakira’s attorneys also accused the Spanish Treasury of using “unacceptable methods to damage her reputation and force her to come to a settlement agreement,” including an alleged breach of confidentiality on the part of treasury reps that allowed a “contrived story” about her presence in Spain to be created. Shakira also notes in the documents that she paid $10,141,075 in taxes to the U.S. government from 2012 through 2014, as she was working as a coach on “The Voice.” She also maintains she’s forked over more than $90 million in taxes to Spain already through the years. If convicted, she could face eight years behind bars and a $24 million fine, according to the Daily Mail. Shakira formally declared herself a tax resident of Spain in 2015.

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Al Roker misses first Thanksgiving Day Parade in 27 years

For the first time in nearly three decades, Al Roker was unable to appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday (Nov. 24). The “Today” weather anchor, who was recently hospitalized with blood clots in his leg and lungs, did make it home in time to enjoy the holiday meal with his family, though. “All right, this is my version of a Thanksgiving Day parade — getting to leave the hospital,” Al, 68, joked in a video of himself leaving the hospital on Instagram on Thursday. “Time to blow this taco stand. Woo-hoo!” In the caption, he said he had “so much to be #thankful for” this year and that he was heading “home for #thanksgivingdinner.” Despite Al’s absence from the parade, his “Today” co-stars made it clear he was there with them in spirit during NBC’s broadcast. “For the past 27 parades, at this moment, Savannah, we would turn to Al Roker, who is our ‘Today’ show colleague and our best pal. But as a lot of you have heard, Al’s recovering — he’s recovering very well from a recent medical issue. ” Hoda Kotb told Savannah Guthrie at one point while covering the parade, according to People. “And we just want to say, we love you Al. Wondering if you’re watching, but we wish you a full recovery.”

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Jennifer Lopez announces new album inspired by ‘true love never dying’

Two decades after she dedicated her album “This Is Me… Then,” to her then-boyfriend, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez announced the release of “This Is Me… Now,” on Friday (Nov. 25), the singer’s first studio album since 2014. As was the case back in 2002, J.Lo credits Ben — now her husband — with helping to inspire the music. In addition to the title track, the new release features two songs about Jennifer’s rekindled romance with the actor, “Dear Ben pt. II” and “Midnight Trip to Vegas,” a reference to the couple’s July wedding. “This Is Me… Now” “chronicles the emotional, spiritual and psychological journey that she has taken over the past two decades,” according to a press release (via People). Fans had predicted big news was ahead for the star earlier this week after she wiped her social media channels of all posts. Jen returned to social media early Friday morning with an abs-baring clip that showed her transforming from the 2002 album cover image into what appears to be the new album art. Overall, Jen says the new release is “about hope, faith and true love never dying.”

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Ben Platt and Noah Galvin are engaged

Congrats are in order for former “Dear Evan Hansen” stars Ben Platt and Noah Galvin! The couple announced their engagement on Friday (Nov. 25), sharing a slew of cute photos from the date-night Ben staged for Noah in Brooklyn this week. “He agreed to hang out forever 💕,” Ben, 29, captioned photos from his proposal to Noah, 28. “I said yeehaw and then cried for like 7 hours,” Noah joked on Instagram, showing off pics of flowers and candles from their romantic shared moment. He also shared a photo of what Page Six described as an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. Noah and Ben both played the lead in the long-running Broadway show and became close friends after Noah took over following Ben’s exit. The friendship reportedly turned romantic in 2020, not long before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Emma Corrin pushes for gender-free awards categories ahead of 2023 Oscars, Emmys

“The Crown” star Emma Corrin is advocating for a gender-free awards system when it comes to categorizing nominees and winners at the industry’s major awards events. “I hope for a future in which that happens,” Emma, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, recently told the BBC. “I don’t think the categories are inclusive enough at the moment. … It’s about everyone being able to feel acknowledged and represented,” they explained. “It’s difficult for me at the moment trying to justify in my head being non-binary and being nominated in female categories,” said Emma, who was nominated for an Emmy Award and won a Golden Globe for their turn as Princess Diana on Season 4 of “The Crown.” “You can discuss awards and the representation there, but really the conversation needs to be about having more representation in the material itself, in the content that we are seeing for non-binary people, for queer people, for trans people, because then I think that will change a lot,” they continued. “When those parts come up, meaning more people and more actors are playing those roles, then I think there will be more of an urgency with which these questions will be addressed.” According to the BBC, the organizations that manage the Oscars and the Bafta Awards are both “conducting research and holding discussions” about the possibility of going gender-free, as the Grammy Awards did back in 2012.

Elon Musk announces ‘amnesty’ program for suspended Twitter accounts after reinstating Kanye West, Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Kanye West aren’t the only controversial figures whose Twitter accounts are being reinstated under new owner Elon Musk’s watch. On Thursday (Nov. 24), the billionaire Tesla exec announced a “general amnesty” for suspended Twitter accounts whose owners “have not broken the law” or posted “egregious spam,” according to Axios. The news comes amid reports of a rise in racist rhetoric, antisemitic tweets and hate speech on the platform since Elon took it over. Kanye recently returned to Twitter after his account was restricted over antisemitic comments and threats he posted on the service. Although Donald Trump has indicated he’ll stick with his Truth Social platform, Elon also dropped the ban on the former president’s account that was installed after the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. On Friday, Elon announced Twitter will also start “tentatively” launching a new checkmark verification service on Dec. 2, with a “gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not).”

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