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Azealia Banks labeled a “disgrace” following Australian tour



R&B artist Azealia Banks in a war of words with Australian tour promotor following tour

Azealia Banks is under fire following a chaotic few weeks down under.

Last-minute show cancellations, shortened set times and even social media posts by the star herself claiming she will never step foot on the nation’s shores again.

Now the promoter behind the tour has come out to defend itself.

The company has slammed the artist as the most “disgraceful” client they’ve ever had to deal with.

Bizzarro was responsible for two shows as part of the outspoken performer’s Australia and New Zealand tour. It follows a deal finalised between the two parties back in May.

Physically and mentally draining

In a scathing statement, the company says the past fortnight has been its most “physically and mentally draining” ever.

Banks is known as a force to be reckoned with. Bizarro admits it thought this reputation was over exaggerated and sensationalised by the media.

“The lack of care she shows to her team, the people she works with and her fans was truly disappointing to see,” it says.

Bizzaro claims Banks failed to arrive at any event in a timely manner. It also alleges the star willingly posted inaccurate and disrespectful content online and had an overall lack of care and appreciation for her fans.

“Throughout this process we weren’t given any help whatsoever from Azealia or her team, being told directly by Azealia that it was our job to convince people she would perform.”

It follows Banks accusing the company of publicly ruin her reputation to get out of paying her.

In a post online, the R&B artist says she flew “all the way across the world [and left] empty handed”.

“In all this attempt to assassinate my character there’s no mention of my mother fucking money, where is the money bitch, where the cash at?” she wrote on Instagram.

Bizarro has labeled these claims as “slanderous” and “entirely false”.

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William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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OpenAI to offer premium ChatGPT service



OpenAI has announced a monthly plan that will give you priority access to the ChatGPT bot

ChatGPT Plus is set to cost $20/month, and allow a user the ability to use the chatbot even during peak times, where free users would have to wait.

The company also says the plan will give you “faster response times” and “priority access to new features and improvements.”

OpenAI will be sending out invitations for the service to people in the U.S. over the next few weeks, before expanding to other regions around the world.

This comes amid the company revealing that a mobile phone version of the chatbot is being developed.

Currently, it is only available as a computer program.

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Meta stocks soar in ‘Year of Efficiency’



Meta Platforms has announced a better-than-expected sales quarter, as well as a USD$40 billion stock buyback.

The parent of Instagram and Facebook cut its cost outlook for 2023 by $5 billion, and projected first-quarter sales that could beat Wall Street estimates.

Meta stock surged nearly 19% in after-hours trade.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg described the focus on efficiency as part of the natural evolution of the company, calling it a “phase change” for an organisation that once lived by the motto “move fast and break things.”

“We just grew so quickly for like the first 18 years,” Zuckerberg said in a conference call. “It’s very hard to really crank on efficiency while you’re growing that quickly. I just think we’re in a different environment now.”

The cost cuts reflect Meta’s updated plans for lower data centre construction expenses this year.

In November, the company cut more than 11,000 jobs in response, a precursor to the tens of thousands of layoffs in the tech industry that followed.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we are focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organisation,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.

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U.S. Fed Reserve hikes interest rates by 25 basis points



The U.S. Federal Reserve has announced its latest interest rate hike

The 25 basis-point increase comes after a half-point hike in December, and a three-quarter-point increase the month before that.

And it came with the forecast that the Fed isn’t finished.

“We will need substantially more evidence to be confident that inflation is on a sustained downward path,” U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conference.

Powell noted positive signs that inflation was beginning to abate.

“We can now say I think for the first time that the disinflationary process has started, and we see it in goods prices, so far…but it is insufficient to signal an end to the rate hikes, though it would be stepping down from last year’s rapid pace of increases.”

Future rate increases would be in quarter-percentage-point increments.

“We will continue to make our decisions meeting by meeting, taking into account the totality of incoming data and their implications for the outlook for economic activity and inflation,” Powell added.

The decision lifted the benchmark overnight interest rate to a range between 4.50% and 4.75% – a move widely anticipated by investors and flagged by U.S. central bankers ahead of this week’s two-day policy session.

Inflation, based on the Fed’s preferred measure, slowed to a 5% annual rate in December.

The Fed hopes it can continue nudging inflation lower to its 2% target without triggering a deep recession or causing a substantial rise in the unemployment rate from the current 3.5%, a level rarely seen in recent decades.

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