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Michelle Obama got quite the reality check from her mother, who appeared unimpressed by her daughter’s stage appearance at the Grammys.

After speaking at the awards alongside the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys, Mrs Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, texted her to ask if she had “met any real stars”.

In the funny exchange, Mrs Obama defended her own status, telling her mother “I am a real star, by the way”.

Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez
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The former first lady received a standing ovation when she opened the awards show

But her mother had the last word with a simple, and cutting “yeah”.

Mrs Obama took a screenshot of the conversation and shared it on Instagram, where it has been liked by nearly two million people.

She said: “When your mom doesn’t think you’re a ‘real’ celebrity…Tonight in Phoenix, I shared this text thread from my mom from #Grammys night, and I just had to share it with all of you.”

The former first lady received a standing ovation when she opened the awards show with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Keys and Lopez.

Her mother’s first text read: “I guess you were a hit at the Grammys.”

Mrs Obama replied: “Did you watch it?!”

Mrs Robinson said: “I saw it because Gracie called me. Did you meet any of the real stars or did you run right after you were done”

Michelle and Barack Obama with their daughters Malia and Sasha and Mrs Obama's mother Marian Robinson in 2015
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Marian Robinson (centre) asked her daughter if she had met any ‘real stars’

In an exchange many mothers and daughters may recognise, the pair then argue over whether or not Mrs Obama told her mother she was going to be on stage.

Earlier in the week, Mrs Obama had credited her Grammys appearance to her friend, singer Keys, and said she took part to be there for her.

She said: “She [Keys] is one of the most genuine, caring, and thoughtful people I know – there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!”

Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez appeared on stage together
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Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez appeared on stage together

In her Grammys speech, she said: “Music has always helped me tell my story and I know that’s true for everyone here.

“Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to let each other in.”

Mrs Obama’s appearance drew the largest cheers from the crowd, and has reignited the debate about whether she should run for president herself.

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Former IS bride urges UK to show Shamima Begum mercy | World News

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A former British IS bride has urged the public to show Shamima Begum “mercy” – but says the teenager is immature and should be asking for forgiveness.

Tania Joya was married to an American Muslim convert who became one of Islamic State’s leading militants before she became disillusioned with the group and escaped Syria six years ago, pregnant and with three children.

The 35-year-old, who now lives in Texas with her second husband, grew up in Harrow, northwest London, where she was brought up as a Muslim and says she was not taught any other values or beliefs.

She said her situation was very similar to 19-year-old Shamima Begum’s, who wants to return to the UK four years after fleeing to Syria where she married a Dutch IS fighter and recently gave birth to her third child, now her only surviving child.



Shamima Begum talking to Sky News







‘No evidence I did anything dangerous’

Ms Joya, who has renounced Islam and now helps other ex-IS wives and jihadists, told Sky News: “I feel that I probably would have made the same mistake as she did if I was 15 years old and in her situation.

“Most conservative Muslim homes do not teach humanism and secular values, we’re usually taught to fear God and God’s law overrides any other law, the rule of law in the country.

“I feel like she doesn’t understand there are other ways of thinking and a form of justice – she’s so young that she hasn’t done the research, the psychology of human beings and why people do the things they do.

“Right now, she’s thinking very binary and everything has to be life or death.

“With people like Shamima, and the situation I was in when I was younger, we were deceived to believe that this life isn’t real, the life after we die is the real existence – it’s all a lie.”

Shamima Begum
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Shamima Begum fled the UK to join IS in Syria in 2015

Ms Joya married Texas-based former Greek Orthodox Christian John Georgelas – known as Yahya al Bahrumi – after meeting him on a Muslim marriage website in 2003.

She says he was clever, inspiring and made her believe in IS. From the US, they went to Egypt where he became a more prominent figure in IS circles and he then forced her to go to Syria for a week – then made her stay.

Unlike Ms Joya, Shamima Begum voluntarily joined IS in Syria, but the reformed Islamist said she can understand how the former Bethnal Green schoolgirl got to that point.

“I believe Shamima was in a situation very similar to my own where we weren’t allowed to have that freedom to think for ourselves, we weren’t allowed to be independent-minded women,” she added.

“I think I just needed an answer, at 19 years old – from 17-19 that’s when I became radical. I wasn’t hearing a good argument, nobody could understand what was going through my mind.

“They didn’t understand I turned to religion to cope with my depression.

“I really would have liked to have heard a voice of reason and also good role models in my life, that was something that wasn’t present in my life when I was growing up.

“I think Shamima was in a similar situation, maybe she felt like an outcast, being Bengali, being from an immigrant family, being not well off in the UK.

“Maybe she and her friends felt like they didn’t have the same opportunities. I can only speak for myself but I know that’s how I felt.”

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A Sky Data poll on 14 Feb 2019 found the majority of Britons think Shamima Begum should not be allowed to return to the UK

Ms Joya said Shamima Begum’s apparent lack of empathy and apology for joining IS is “despicable”, but she said she is immature and has had “no chance to think otherwise”.

She said: “I can only hope that we can rehabilitate her and teach her about secular humanism and Western principles, because I don’t believe she was taught that to begin with.

“She should be asking for mercy, for forgiveness. Because, she’s asking for forgiveness from people she was at war with.

“She needs counselling and psychiatric help, anti-depressants.

“She’s very young, she doesn’t understand. She needs exposure.”

Ms Joya said she believes Shamima Begum can be taught, especially as she was doing well at school before she left – and she needs to be helped “for the sake of her child”.

“Because if we help her, we can help her child, for the good of society,” she said.

“I hope the British public can have mercy on her.

“She’s still only 19 and she’s been for four years around a group of very draconian-like, brutal people who really are not in tune with the 21st Century.

“I believe through education we can enlighten her.

Kadiza Sultana (L), Shamima Begum (C) and Amira Abase going through Gatwick security before catching a flight to Turkey
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Kadiza Sultana (L), Shamima Begum (C) and Amira Abase going through Gatwick security before catching a flight to Turkey

“Right now, as extremist Muslims they don’t believe in freedom of thought because they’ve been indoctrinated and been taught not to question their Islamic beliefs, not to question Sharia or God.

“But we live in a free society where we can question everything and that’s the only way we can get to the truth.

“I want to explain to her a secular, humanist perspective and there are ways of getting involved with the political process without violence.”

Ms Joya said she hopes Shamima Begum, and others returning from IS, get in contact with her so she can explain how they can change.

“There’s so many things I want to say to her and others. It took me a long time to learn but it was liberating and enlightening and I want her to learn that for her and her child,” she added.

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‘Honeypot of juicy political gossip hoovered up’ in Australia cyber attack | World News

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A “sophisticated state actor” has carried out a cyber attack on the Australian parliament’s computing network – just a month before an election.

The country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, described the attack as a “malicious intrusion” which also affected the network used by major political parties.

Although there is no evidence that data was accessed as a result of the breach, politicians were being urged to change their passwords.

Mr Morrison said the cyber attack was probably carried out by a foreign government, but he stopped short of naming any suspects.

Alastair MacGibbon, the head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, told reporters: “Our political institutions represent high-value targets.

“We will continue to work with our friends and colleagues, both here and overseas, to work out who is behind it and hopefully their intent.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the attack did not compromise any data
Image:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the attack did not compromise any data

Analysts have said China, Russia and Iran were the most likely culprits.

Fergus Hanson, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank, said: “When you consider motivation, you would have to say that China is the leading suspect, while you wouldn’t rule out Russia either.

“It is the honeypot of juicy political gossip that has been hoovered up. Emails showing everything from the dirty laundry of internal fights through to who supported a policy could be on display.”

Ties with China have deteriorated since 2017 after Canberra accused Beijing of meddling in its affairs – and in 2011, China was reportedly suspected of accessing the email system used by MPs and parliamentary staff in Australia.

Election interference has been high on the international agenda since the 2016 presidential election in the US.

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