News In Focus:
A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories

Pop Culture: Cynthia Powell, once Mrs. Cynthia Lennon, died of cancer on 1 April at her home in Mallorca, Spain, at the age of 75.

Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, on 10 September 1939, Cynthia studied at the Liverpool College of Art in the late 1950s, where she began a courtship with the pop music icon, John Lennon.

She became pregnant with John Lennon’s child, Julian, and the couple were married in August 1962, at the time when the still fledgling band, The Beatles, was rising in fame.

Cynthia and Julian were willfully hidden from the public scene as Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, tried not to spoil the fantasy for John Lennon’s vast legion of women fans.

Cynthia’s relationship with John Lennon proved short-lived.  The couple divorced in 1968 after Cynthia found John sitting cross-legged with the Japanese artist Yoko Ono, both naked except for a robe, in their Weybridge home.

According to the Telegraph, Cynthia, after her divorce, had run her own bistro, worked as a television interviewer, and designed bed linen and paper products.  She published two volumes of memoirs, A Twist of Lennon and a biography titled John.

Cynthia remarried three times and became widowed in 2013 after the passing of her last husband, Noel Charles, a nightclub owner.

Paul McCartney praises Cynthia as “a lovely lady” and “a good mother to Julian.”  The Beatles’ biographer, Hunter Davies, described her as “quiet and reserved and calm.”

In her biography of John Lennon, Cynthia told her side of her story about her relationship with John Lennon.

“I was at John’s side throughout the most exciting, extraordinary and eventful ten years of his life.  It was a time when he was at his creative best… A time before drugs and fame led him towards the destruction of so much that he had valued,” she wrote.

A Cynthia Lennon remembrance:

A 60 Minutes interview with Yoko Ono:

An extraordinary 1971 Rolling Stone conversation with John Lennon:


Kenya: Somali-based Islamic extremists al-Shabaab gunmen attacked Garissa University College in Eastern Kenya on 2 April, leaving 148 dead.

The carnage happened last Thursday when gunmen stormed into the university at around 5 a.m. and took several hostages.  Then the Islamist extremist group began to massacre students whom they identified as Christians.

Kenyan security forces moved in after sunset and exchanging fire with the al-Shabaab gunmen.  Kenyan authorities said that all the four suspected gunmen were killed, but the death toll also included six members of the security forces.

Kenyan authorities believe that Mohamed Mohamud, a former teacher from Garissa, masterminded the attack, and are offering award for his capture.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan air force exacted revenge by destroying two al-Shabaab camps in southern Somalia on Monday.

For more on Al-Shabaab, we give you the following TestTube report:


Syria: Fighters for the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s official Syria wing, seized control of a Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk, just a few miles from the Syrian capital of Damascus, on Friday night.

ISIS hopes to gain control of the Syrian capital by advancing into south Damascus, but an Islamist Palestinian group, which controls most of Yarmouk, is fighting back.

Nevertheless, 18,000 refugees are trapped in the crossfire.

There are reports that ISIS snipers were shooting refugees as they tried to leave the camp. And New York Times’ coverage suggests that “killings and even beheadings were beginning to circulate on Saturday,”  and many of the inmates are now starving.

Human rights groups have warned of the plights that Yarmouk residents are facing and are calling for international efforts to deliver them from the “humanitarian nightmare.”

A report by AJ+:


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“Narrow Streets” art courtesy of Anthony Krikorian /