Aretha Franklin is seriously ill, according to a person close to the singer. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday that Franklin is seriously ill. No more details were provided. The Queen of Soul canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. Last year, the 76-year-old icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things."

Rosie O'Donnell and cast members from some of Broadway's biggest musicals have led a sing-along protest against President Donald Trump outside the White House. O'Donnell spoke to protesters, some clutching signs with the word "Treason" spelled out, before the group broke into a rendition of "America the Beautiful" on Monday night. The actress told the crowd it was important to make sure their voices were heard so that Trump would know that they were not going away. The group also sang a rousing version of "A Brand New Day" from "The Wiz." The trip was organized by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, the host and producer of Sirius XM's "On Broadway." The performers included current and former Broadway cast members from "Wicked," ''Hamilton," ''Phantom of the Opera" and other shows. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:

The microwave ate my homework? Reusable notebooks where writing disappears with heat are among the basic school supplies raising their game against gadgets like iPads. Also hot in the paper aisle this year: Decorative tape, creative journals and scented pencils in smells like bacon and pickle. "There's an explosion of innovation and fun" in school supplies, said Scott Bayles, vice president of stationery at Walmart. He noted that people are looking for ways to relieve stress through creative expression, and that's trickling down to kids. Companies that make school supplies have figured out how to get parents to spend more by offering innovations on the basics, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser at The NPD Group. At Staples, for example, a pack of 72 basic No. 2 pencils costs about $15.49, or 21 cents each, while a pack of five scented pencils runs $7.99, or $1.60 each. Overall, stores expect a healthy back-to-school shopping season, fueled by a strong economy and high consumer confidence. Deloitte forecasts that back-to-school spending will increase 2.2 percent to $27.6 billion this year, with the average spending per household rising slightly to $510 from $501 last year. That includes $112 on school supplies, up from $104. Here are four trends: — NEW KINDS OF NOTEBOOKS AND PENS: The Rocketbook Wave notebook that runs about $25 works like a traditional pen and paper version. But when pages are full, you can scan them with the app and send the contents to the cloud. If you used the Pilot FriXion pen, you can erase the notes by heating it in the microwave, and then reuse it. Using only the Pilot FriXion pen works in a similar way. You can make corrections on a page by heating the ink in the microwave or by rubbing the eraser tip to cause friction. Put it in the freezer and the ink will reappear. Bullet journals that adults have adopted over the past few years are making their way to the back-to-school aisles. The notebooks become a mix between a diary, a wish list and a to-do list, and can help keep track of homework, school projects and school events. Events can be marked by an "O'' bullet, while tasks can be a dot. — DECORATIVE TAPE: Adhesive tape including Japanese paper called washi has been growing in popularity, and the trend has moved into school supplies. Kids are using the tape to decorate their notebooks, pens and pencils and other items, says Kaleigh Sands, a Staples spokeswoman. "It's customisable," Sands said, noting that kids want to personalize their own items. — SCENTS AND COLORS: Elmer's has been expanding beyond its famous white school glue to purple, pink and blue glitter glue and even a slime starter kit. Retailers are also widening their arrays of scented pencils. Walmart has added such smells as bacon, grass, onion, mud, and pickle. Target's scented pencils feature such smells as cola and jelly doughnut. — LLAMAS VS. UNICORNS: Rainbow unicorns are seeing a bit of competition. Llamas are in demand for decoration on backpacks and other school supplies. Dayna Isom Johnson, a trend expert at Etsy, said the search results for unicorns have more than doubled in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year. They're still way ahead, but the interest is llamas is growing — search results for them more than tripled in that same time frame. "It might be time for something new to come along," Johnson added.

Barbados Communiy College Exhibition winner Naresa Mcrwray-Williams being congratulated by Minister Santia Bradshaw.

Santia Bradshaw wants Barbadian students leaving the island to pursue their studies and other endeavours, to never forget their culture. The new Minister of Educationhas been there, done that, in terms of studying abroad and as she wished this years 55 Barbados scholarship and exhibition winners well, she gave them a few tips as well. With one of the 55 Scholarship and Exhibition winners set to start her studies at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, Bradshaw told her, that they now have something in common, as that is the university she too attended. Speaking to Loop News after the announcement ceremony held on Friday, in the Auditorium of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, she advised students studying overseas to: 1. “Try not to lose your identity. Remember who you are, where you come from.” 2. Be an ambassador for Barbados. “Always try to let the rest of the world know about Barbados.” 3. “Try to look up to some of the people from Barbados who have done well; see them as role models.” 4. “Work hard and make Barbados proud.” 5. “Be mindful, you’re in different environment, in a lot of cases you don’t have your parents there to support you; integrate yourself into the community of students who almost become a kind of extended family. Embrace other cultures and share yours as well.” 6. "Give back!" Bradshaw told this year’s Scholarship and Exhibition winners, and all graduates embarking on university study now: “The journey now begins because this is a new chapter.” And she urged, “It is you who will have the opportunity to write the future chapters on the pages of history of this island.” Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:

Erup advertised costume on the left; costume received by a customer on the right.

Complaints lodged against ERUP with the management team are being dealt with in the order in which they were received. This assurance has been given by ERUP the Band's General Manager, Brian Layne. Responding to an email from Loop News, ERUPThe Band Inc. said that they wish "to express sincere apologies to those masqueraders who would have suffered any form of inconvenience for Grand Kadooment 2018. "The Directors, Management Team and Associates are working assiduously to bring resolution to every complaint and/or query, which was formally lodged with us." And Layne went further as to state, "You [disappointed customers] are assured, your correspondences are being handled with priority in the order from which they were received; the process is not as quick as one would appreciate, since each case is being resolved individually. We truly appreciate your patience on this premise." [related node_id='abd2dc77-605c-4928-b814-e531567cd7b2'] Noting that this is not the first time that ERUPhas had to deal with a slew of complaints and irate customers following a Grand Kadooment, as it most recently happened two years ago and since they stressed that they would focus on the customer first and foremost. Now, with many relaying horror stories and complaints to Loop,Layne went on to explain, "Looking back on the band’s annual journey, which began with an exciting launch of five sections – the band pressed ahead with its plans to climax with a memorable experience on the road. "The band, has faced its share of challenges over the years, but has continued to strive to ensure ALL our customers enjoy the climax of the Crop Over Season in Barbados. On this note, we acknowledge the distress caused during our costume delivery segment and are saddened that some of our masqueraders had such displeasing experiences. "ERUP never intends to provide sub-par products or services to its members and stands by its principles of excellence to ensure all members affected receive a satisfactory resolution." Asked what procedure persons interested in being reimbursed,refunded or who wish to file a complaint must follow, Layne reiterated, "in order to service your request efficiently, please direct ALL correspondence to so a member of our team can attend to it in the most efficient manner." And he added, "ERUP remains committed to its clientele and look forward to working past this upset to serve you better." Prior to this correspondence, ERUP also apologised via their Instagram page the day after Grand Kadooment, Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:

Former US President Bill Clinton via Associated Press.

Bill Clinton is a now a million-selling novelist. "The President is Missing," a thriller co-written with James Patterson, has more than 1 million combined hardcover, e-book and audio sales in North America alone since coming out June 4. The book is Clinton's first of work of fiction, but in Patterson he had one of the world's most prolific and successful novelists for a collaborator. Reviews were mixed, but Barnes & Noble fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley said in a statement released Wednesday by co-publishers Alfred A. Knopf and Little Brown and Co. that "The President is Missing" had benefited from "very strong" word of mouth. "In a summer marked by nonfiction successes, this novel has proven to have remarkable legs," Hensley said. The book's subject has also proved timely: a potentially devastating cyberattack, which intelligence experts have called a leading concern. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in mid-July that "the warning lights are blinking red" about a possible attack and called Russia the "most aggressive foreign actor, no question." The Clinton-Patterson novel has dominated fiction charts. According to NPD BookScan, which tracks around 85 percent of the hardcover and paperback market, "The President is Missing" is by far the year's biggest fiction seller and the only fiction work to crack the top 10 of the best-sellers overall for 2018. Nonfiction releases such as Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" and James Comey's "A Higher Loyalty" have been attracting the most sales. Clinton, whose previous books include the memoir "My Life," is now the rare author to have million sellers in fiction and nonfiction. For the latestnews, download our app at Android; and at IoS.