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Michelle Obama says one of her main aims throughout her years as first lady was to not fall over and become a meme.

In an honest, funny account of her life and her time in the White House, Mrs Obama spoke frankly about the challenges she faced as the first black first lady – and that even one of the most famous women in the world still worries about falling over and looking stupid.

But she was far from making herself look anything but brilliant if the cheers and standing ovations at London’s Royal Festival Hall were anything to go by.

The former first lady was interviewed by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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The former first lady was interviewed by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Speaking to author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the event, Mrs Obama recounted events that led to her publishing her first book, Becoming – from growing up in Chicago’s South Side, to marrying the man she mentored at a law firm after getting her law degree.

That man, named Barack, was late on his first day.

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama share their first dance after his inauguration in 2009
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The Obamas share their first dance after Barack’s inauguration in 2009

On growing up in a working class family with not a lot of money, Mrs Obama said one of the most valuable things she was taught as a child was that her feelings were important.

“My mother said I’m raising adults, I’m not raising babies,” she recalled.

“It was never ‘speak when spoken to’, she encouraged us to let our voices be heard.

“My parents believed my voice was relevant and my opinions were meaningful and my anger and frustration was real.

“That was the gift they gave me. They kept my flame lit – even though some people put that flame out or douse it because were scared they may not be ladylike.”

Barack and Michelle Obama with the Queen during his state visit to the UK
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The Obamas with the Queen during a state visit to the UK

And of course, she told of the moment that she breached protocol and touched Her Majesty.

She said: “I touched her! After all those protocol lessons, I was human.”

But in all the trials and tribulations that come with being first lady, Mrs Obama said “if you wanted to know what I thought about” – it was falling over.

“One or my primary goals for the eight years was to never become a meme,” she admitted.

She also spoke of her marriage and how the former president treats her with love and respect, and had a few tips for the men who came to see her.

“He doesn’t play games fellas, that’s a very attractive quality,” she said.



Former US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at an event at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School








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Michelle Obama ‘moved by London schoolgirls’

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is much more than a former first lady, and that is the message she wanted to hammer home.

Although she was thrust into the spotlight as the president’s wife, she wants to tell all women and young people that it’s not about where they started, and they can build their own dreams like she did – even as the wife of one of the world’s most powerful men.

“I didn’t want to become an appendage to his dreams,” she said.

“I didn’t want to follow his jet stream. I wanted my own identity so I wouldn’t get lost in his journey.”

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Chernobyl beats Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad to top IMDB TV chart | Ents & Arts News

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New TV series Chernobyl has quickly become the top-rated show on entertainment website IMDB, jumping ahead of long-running fan favourites shows such as Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad and The Wire.

The five-part Sky Original series is a chilling dramatisation of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine and its aftermath, following the stories of those affected by the explosion as well as those in charge of the operation.

Starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, Emily Watson and Jessie Buckley, the show has received widespread critical acclaim and a host of five-star reviews since its debut on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 7 May.

Almost two million people tuned in to watch the first episode.



Meet the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster. Premiers 7 May.







Watch the trailer for Chernobyl

And in less than three weeks, Chernobyl has jumped to the top of the charts on film and TV internet database IMDB, peaking with a score of 9.7 out of 10.

Currently, it is scoring 9.5 – placing it joint top alongside the 2016 David Attenborough series Planet Earth II – from almost 40,000 ratings.



jared harris







Jared Harris: Chernobyl is still relevant today

Game Of Thrones, which has more than 1.5 million ratings, Breaking Bad (1.2 million), Band Of Brothers (316,000) and the first Planet Earth series (147,000) all score 9.4, while The Wire and Our Planet score 9.3.

Speaking about Chernobyl’s success, Sky’s director of programmes Zai Bennett said: “This jaw-dropping Sky Original is gripping viewers across the UK and beyond for good reason – the writing and production are second to none, and the story is both fascinating and utterly tragic.

“This is must-watch TV, and we’re delighted that audiences are enjoying it as much as we are.”

:: Chernobyl airs on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on Tuesdays, with the fourth episode coming up on 28 May

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One Irishman killed on Everest and another missing | World News

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An Irish man is among eight people who have been killed scaling Mount Everest in the last week, while another Irish climber is missing

Kevin Hynes, 56, died in his tent in the early hours of Friday at a height of 7,000m, after deciding to turn back before reaching the summit.

The father-of-two had texted friends the day before to say the expedition was “proving the most fun he had had”.

His death comes a week after fellow Irishman Seamus Lawless, from Bray, Co Wicklow, fell as he was descending from the peak, having achieved his “lifelong dream” to scale the mountain.

A search operation was launched to find Mr Lawless, but his family said in a statement on Friday the mission had been called off due to adverse weather.

The statement read: “While the experienced search team has made every effort to locate Shay, the extremes of operating at high altitude and the sheer range of the search area ultimately proved too difficult and based on expert advice we have decided to call off the search rather than risk endangering anyone’s life in the treacherous conditions.”

The family said donations made to a GoFundMe page which had been set up to assist the search would be refunded.

Project Possible Credit: @nimsdai/Project Possible
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Queues of people wait to get to the summit of Everest Pic: @nimsdai/Project Possible

Eight people have died climbing Everest in the last week, amid fears that a traffic jam of mountaineers is making the journey more treacherous.

Kevin Hynes was described by his UK-based climbing company 360 Expeditions as “one of the strongest and most experienced climbers” on their team.

He was travelling with a group from 360 Expeditions as they attempted to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, but had turned back on Thursday accompanied by experienced Sherpa Dawa Sangee.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of reports of the death of an Irish citizen on Mount Everest and was “ready to provide consular assistance”.

Mr Hynes leaves behind his wife Bernadette and two children, Erin and James.

Others who have died in the last week include two Indian climbers, Kalpana Das, 52, and Nihal Bagwan, 27, who died on Thursday while descending the peak.

A 65-year-old Australian died on the same day on the northern Tibet side of the mountain.

Tour organiser Keshav Patel said: “He (Bagwan) was stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted.

Sherpas currently have to haul recovered rubbish through the dangerous Khumbu icefall
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Eight people have died while climbing Everest in the last week

“Sherpa guides carried him down to Camp 4 but he breathed his last there.”

Among the other fatalities were American Donald Cash, 55, who collapsed at the summit as he was taking photographs, and Anjali Kulkarni, 55, who died on her way down.

Ms Kulkarni’s expedition organiser, Arun Treks, said heavy traffic at the summit had delayed her descent and caused the tragedy.

“She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend,” said Thupden Sherpa.

“She couldn’t move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down.”

An Indian and an American lost their lives on the mountain on Wednesday.

Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing $11,000 (£8,600) each for the current spring climbing season.

It comes as record-breaking climber Nirmal Purja posted an image from his latest expedition showing “traffic” on the world’s highest peak.

He is attempting to climb the 14 mountains higher than 8,000 metres in just seven months.

Project Possible will see him smash the current world record for one individual which stands at seven years, 11 months and 14 days.

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Everest ‘traffic’ blamed for deaths of climbers on overcrowded mountain | World News

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Eight people have died climbing Everest in the last week amid fears that a traffic jam of mountaineers is making the journey more treacherous.

Two Indian climbers, Kalpana Das, 52, and Nihal Bagwan, 27, died on Thursday while descending the peak.

A 65-year-old Australian died on the same day on the northern Tibet side of the mountain.

Tour organiser Keshav Patel said: “He (Bagwan) was stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted.

“Sherpa guides carried him down to Camp 4 but he breathed his last there.”

Sherpas currently have to haul recovered rubbish through the dangerous Khumbu icefall
Image:
Eight people have died while climbing Everest in the last week

Among the other fatalities were American Donald Cash, 55, who collapsed at the summit as he was taking photographs, and Anjali Kulkarni, 55, who died on his way down.

Ms Kulkarni’s expedition organiser, Arun Treks, said heavy traffic at the summit had delayed her descent and caused the tragedy.

“She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend,” said Thupden Sherpa.

“She couldn’t move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down.”

An Indian and an American lost their lives on the mountain on Wednesday, while an Irish professor, Séamus Lawless, is presumed dead after falling last week.

Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing $11,000 (£8,600) each for the current spring climbing season.

It comes as record-breaking climber Nirmal Purja posted an image from his latest expedition showing “traffic” on the world’s highest peak.

He is attempting to climb the 14 mountains higher than 8,000 metres in just seven months.

Project Possible will see him smash the current world record for one individual which stands at seven years, 11 months and 14 days.

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