Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marisa Miller

NFL Comes To London - Photocall - October 28, 2010

France Box Office March 23–27, 2011

2.The Adjustment Bureau-------------$2,216,779
3.Ma part du gâteau-----------------$1,705,704---------$6,459,466
5.Les femmes du 6ème étage----------$1,002,760---------$17,053,935
6.Just Go With It-------------------$938,221
7.The King's Speech----------------$872,043-----------$24,613,600
9.Les yeux de sa mère--------------$840,593
12.Black Swan----------------------$555,697----------$22,743,642

USA Weekend Box-Office

1.Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules ------$23.8M
2.Sucker Punch (2011) ----------------------$19.1M
3.Limitless (2011) -------------------------$15.1M ---------$41.1M
8.Red Riding Hood (2011) -------------------$4.31M----------$32.4M
9.The Adjustment Bureau (2011)------------ $4.29M---------$54.9M


By Jeff Cox, Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNBC) -- The turmoil in Peru may not exactly match up to what's happening in Libya, Japan or some of the other world's hotspots, but traders are carefully watching political upheaval in the metal-producing South American nation.
Peruvian stocks got hammered Monday on news that leftist political candidate Ollanta Humala had taken the lead in the latest polling. The Peru Lima General Index fell about 4 percent as investors worried that voter mood was turning toward a nationalization of the economy that would restrict economic growth.
While the situation will take a back seat to the more severe military conflict in Libya, Peru's place in the global economic recovery story is significant.
The nation is the second-leading copper producer, the largest silver producer and the fifth-largest gold producer. Copper, though, would be the biggest concern as the metal is seen as a key barometer of economic activity.
Humala, who once palled around with Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, has campaigned on a platform of renegotiating trade agreements and taxing windfall profits from miners. The metals trade accounts for the bulk of Peru's exports.
Though Peru stocks were in a mild relief Tuesday and the iShares MSCI All Peru Cap Index ETF(EPU_) was fairly flat, concerns over the country's direction likely will persist. EPU has seen $75 million in outflows since March 11, according to Dave Lutz, managing director of trading at Stifel Nicolaus.
Closer to home, companies on the U.S. exchanges could feel pressure from the country's political vagaries.
Southern Copper(SCCO_) owns two mines in Peru and fell 2.3 percent Monday along with the Peruvian stocks. Freeport McMoRan(FCX_) has one mine there and slipped 1.6 percent Monday. Both stocks were around flat in Tuesday morning trade.
"The polls will drive the market over the next three weeks," Lutz says. "If Humala is up, it will be down."

Dafne Fernández

Bettina Zimmermann

Angus Young, Mr. Herb Alpert, Mélanie Coste, Mr. Donald Elson and Carol-Ann Merrill

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Sylvester Groth, Mr. Ted Post, Anne Marie Howard, Vivian Schmitt, Isabella Ferrari and Dafne Fernández

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Ryan Bingham, Vanessa del Rio, William McNamara and Gabe Kaplan

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Samantha Brown, Angela Marie Dotchin, Mr. Volker Schlöndorff, Bettina Zimmermann and Mr. Al Gore

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Alejandro Amenábar, Melissa Ordway, Marc McClure and Christina Calph

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Mr. Richard Chamberlain, Rhea Perlman, Ms. Shirley Jones and Mr. William Daniels

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Ewan McGregor, Christopher Walken, Deborah Kara Unger and Jessica Szohr

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi has taken aim at Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, accusing him of "killing" the music industry with iTunes.

The rocker is saddened that children no longer enjoy the "magical" experience of buying records in a store because of the ease of downloading individual tracks onto an iPod.

And he lays the blame for the generational shift in music-buying at the feet of technology mogul Jobs.

Bon Jovi tells The Sunday Times Magazine, "Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it.

"God, it was a magical, magical time. I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: 'What happened?' Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business."

The Beatles by Anthony McCartney Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.—A website that sold Beatles songs online for 25 cents apiece before they became legally available has agreed to pay record companies nearly $1 million to settle a federal lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton Tucker signed off on the settlement between and music companies EMI Group PLC, Capitol Records and Virgin Records America on Friday.

The judge ruled in December that the site violated the music labels’ copyrights and presented unfair competition.

A trial to determine how much BlueBeat owed the companies was scheduled to begin Tuesday in Santa Ana, Calif.

BlueBeat streamed and sold music by the Fab Four and other top-name acts, including Coldplay and Lily Allen, for several days before music companies sued to shut it down in November 2009.

By then, the site had already distributed more than 67,000 songs by The Beatles.

The posting of Beatles songs came shortly after the release of the group’s remastered albums and a pricey box set. A year later, Apple Inc. announced with great fanfare that it was selling Beatles music on its popular music service iTunes.

Within the first week, more than 2 million Beatles songs were purchased online for $1.29 apiece and 450,000 albums were sold.

BlueBeat had denied wrongdoing, claiming owner Hank Risan had pioneered a method called “psychoacoustic simulation” that resulted in unique versions of copyrighted music.

The judge rejected his arguments and explanations of his technique in her December ruling, noting that Risan’s recordings were based on copies of CDs that he had purchased.

Risan said the settlement amount was a fraction of what the companies sought. He said the site, which is still active but doesn’t have any Beatles music available, is still working to register copyrights for 800,000 recordings.

“So long as we pay royalties, we can stream their stuff all day and all night without a problem,” said BlueBeat’s attorney Archie Robinson.

“We basically settled the case for their attorney fees,” Robinson said. “I felt that was sort of an acknowledgement on their part that they don’t have the damages they claimed.”

Russell Frackman, an attorney who represented the recording companies, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Shania Twain

Shania Twain


Shania Twain

Shania Twain

The Juno Awards 2011 by Ben Rayner

The Juno Awards did a fine job of covering the bases this year in all respects but one: they neglected to give their host, homecoming Toronto hip-hop hero Drake, a single trophy of his own.

Instead, the job of "owning it" at the 40th-anniversary Juno ceremony broadcast live on CTV from the Air Canada Centre last Sunday(Mar 27, 2011) night fell to Montreal indie-rock ensemble the Arcade Fire, who wound up with four trophies in their possession as Juno Week festivities in Toronto drew to a close.

The band, fresh off an upset Album of the Year win at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last month, collected an Album of the Year Juno, too, for last year's much-celebrated international hit The Suburbs. Bragging rights for Artist of the Year and Group of the Year were also the Arcade Fire's, while three tunes from The Suburbs – "Ready To Start," "We Used to Wait" and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" – were enough to secure the group Songwriter of the Year honours, as well. Not a bad haul on the night, considering The Suburbs had already taken Alternative Album of the Year at the pre-broadcast Juno gala dinner at the Allstream Centre on Saturday night. Oh, and they delivered a walloping performance of "Rococo" on the broadcast to top it all off.

Drake, on the other hand, didn't wind up with anything to show for his six nominations. His Thank Me Later even lost to Shad's TSOL in the Rap Album of the Year category on Saturday night, surprising many.

He did a decent job of hosting the show, though, and showed a reasonably deft hand at comedy during pretaped interludes that variously had him plotting a Call of Duty videogame night with CTV anchor Lloyd Robertson and rollin' with his "Old Money" posse of blinged-out and possibly armed senior citizens.

The other multiple winners as the weekend wound down were polar opposites, generationally speaking, but – taken in tandem with the Arcade Fire's successes – definitely indicative of the more inclusive nature of the present-day Juno Awards.

Can-rock icon Neil Young, on hand at Sunday's ceremony to accept the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, added an Artist of the Year title to the Adult Alternative Album of the Year he scooped up for Le Noise on Saturday evening.

His heartfelt acceptance speech – "Just look inside yourself and look inside the eyes of your friends and you'll find the secret of being a humanitarian" – for the Allan Waters award was utterly, wonderfully Neil-like and one of the night's highlights. He also ensured his place in Juno video reels for an eternity to come by hoisting his Artist of the Year trophy and offering the doting crowd an "Oh, Canada" later in the night.

It was a lot of Neil Young all at once, considering the Winnipeg-raised, Toronto-born legend isn't typically that generous with his public appearances. For a notoriously shy guy, though, he was remarkably funny and chatty backstage.

"It's very unusual for me to be this exposed," he conceded to the press room. "Maybe if I'd been this exposed a long time ago people would know what I'm like. I'm just trying to be myself and avoid the teleprompter as much as possible."

Stratford-raised teen-pop sensation Justin Bieber, meanwhile, scooped up a pair of statuettes of his own during the Juno broadcast. His My World 2.0 was named Pop Album of the Year, while he rather predictably overtook Drake, Hedley, Michael Buble and Sarah McLachlan in the race for the viewer-voted Juno Fan Choice Award.

Bieber was in Europe for the affair, albeit present via videotape Skyping with his friend Drake in an oddly homoerotic opening sequence and saying his pre-recorded "thank yous" from afar at the appropriate moments. The young pop-culture phenomenon's absence didn't seriously diminish the Juno show's superstar wattage, however, with the likes of Drake, Young, the Arcade Fire, McLachlan and Bryan Adams – in town to induct another pop titan, Shania Twain, into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame – in the building. In terms of "star power," it might as well have been the Grammys, a fine testament to how much the Canadian music industry has matured since the Junos began in Toronto as the Gold Leaf Awards 40 years ago.

Timmins-born Twain, reappearing after a long media silence, was particularly effusive in her praise for her home nation, joking onstage that "I feel like I should be wearing the Canadian flag."

She was similarly gracious backstage. "There's no day like today," she said, keeping humble in the face of her Hall of Fame honours and brushing off. "Honestly, what can I say? This is a really big moment and it feels very genuine in every way …

"I don't feel iconic. I don't feel that way at all. I feel like a small-town girl from Timmins. That's never going to change. I'm 45 years old … That's who I am."

David and Victoria

Pregnant Victoria Beckham and her husband David were shocked to discover they're set to welcome a baby girl - because after three sons, they expected another boy.

The singer-turned-fashion designer is due to give birth in the summer and recently learned she's carrying a much-longed for daughter.

The soccer ace has now spoken out about their impending arrival, insisting the famous family is delighted to be welcoming a little girl at last.

Speaking at Los Angeles Galaxy's annual fan luncheon, David says, "Obviously, we're very lucky to be expecting again, and this is the first time I'm going to say it: It's a little girl.

"We're still in shock. Obviously, having three boys, you kind of expect another one, so finding out a little girl is in there is surprising, but, obviously, we are over the moon. Our three boys are happy and excited, and Victoria is doing well."

The couple is already parents to Brooklyn, 11, Romeo, eight and Cruz, five.

Annie Lennox, Elton John and Simon Cowell

Singer Annie Lennox is fuming with Simon Cowell for criticizing Elton John over the high costs of his private performances, insisting the fees are justified because the Rocket Man does so much for charity.

Elton sparked a war of words with the music mogul last year when he branded Cowell's reality TV competitions "boring" and "brain-crippling," claiming he treats contestants on his shows like "products."

Cowell fired back and took aim at Elton for charging huge sums of money for concerts, claiming the rocker should be using his cash to invest in budding talent.

He said, "This is somebody who charges what, a million dollars a private gig? Two million dollars, you know? I don't know whether he's concerned about himself - maybe he is.

"But they always bleat on that we're not giving other people a chance. And I always want to say to them, 'I tell you what, you just made a million dollars off your last private gig. Go and give it to a bunch of young musicians you care about, put them in the studio. Go and nurture them. Go and spend some time looking after them. Then I'll buy your argument.'"

But Cowell's rant has infuriated Lennox, because her close pal Elton dedicates so much of his time to raising funds for his AIDS awareness charity.

She tells Britain's Sunday Mirror newspaper, "Elton John's foundation is the third top HIV/Aids organization in the world. It's ridiculous what was said. He (Cowell) obviously has no idea what Elton really does - none."

10 Things Your Grandparents Know About Money (That You Don't)

**An old article. Posted 05/08/08

By Jeffrey Strain

The U.S. may not technically be in a recession. After all, the U.S. Commerce Department says the economy grew at a 0.6% pace in the first quarter of 2008.
But most people look at things more like legendary investor Warren Buffett, who defined a recession as when "people are doing less well than they were three months, six months or eight months earlier."
For most economists it is no longer whether there is going to be a recession, but what type of recession it is going to be: short recessions like the one from 1990 to 1991 and the one from March to November 2001, or something like the Great Depression.
No matter which it ends up being, one of the best places to look for sound advice is from those people who have survived the worst of economic times - namely your grandparents.
Here are 10 ideas you may want to take from them:
10. Frugality Is Not a Bad Word
There was a time when a person who was frugal was looked upon with esteem rather than someone without the means to buy more. Many people seem to equate frugality with "cheapness," but that couldn't be further from the truth. Being frugal is simply getting the most out of what you have and purchase, and not purchasing things that you really don't need.
While your grandparents learned frugality during the hard times, many of them continued to practice it even when times got better, which helped them build wealth. Learning to be frugal could help a lot of people who haven't learned to live within their means.
9. Use What You Have
In a consumer society, whatever problem you may have can always be solved by buying something else. If something breaks, go out and buy a new one. If something isn't exactly right, go buy something that is. In your grandparents' time, when something broke, they first took a look to see if it could be fixed.
If it couldn't be fixed, before it ended up in the trash can, they would consider whether it could still be useful for something else. There is no reason to go out and spend money on something new if you can get the same thing accomplished with the things that you already have.
8. Doing It Yourself Is the Way to Go
When it comes to fixing things, the first people that your grandparents looked at were themselves. Instead of calling someone to fix something that broke, they fixed it on their own most of the time.
In a society where we now hire people to do most basic repair and maintenance, it's important to remember that most repairs aren't nearly as difficult as they may appear and that you can do much of it on your own with a how-to book and patience.
7. Things Have More Than One Use
People tend to buy stuff with a specific purpose in mind and use it exclusively for that intended purpose. What your grandparents knew is that most things can have multiple uses throughout their useful life. That T-shirt can become a night shirt when the collar gets worn and can't be worn outside, and then a painting shirt when it starts to get holes and eventually rags when the holes get too big.
6. Debt Is to Be Avoided
In the age of credit cards, where spending what you don't have now is encouraged left and right, it's hard to believe there was a time when people actually believed that debt was to be avoided, but those are the words that your grandparents lived by. If they didn't have the money, then they would simply need to figure out a different plan on how to get what they needed. It might be borrowing it from a friend, saving up money or finding something that could be used instead. Going into debt to get it accomplished was not an option.
5. Save for Rainy Days
As many people are finding out, rainy days eventually come. Your grandparents were well aware of this and specifically put aside money for these rainy days. It's now what is commonly referred to as an emergency fund and something that comes in quite handy when your financial plans don't go exactly as you imagined they would.
4. Used Can Be Just as Good as New
This concept isn't completely foreign even to today's generation. The notion that buying a quality two- to three-year-old car has become basic mainstream financial advice when it comes to car ownership. Your grandparents knew that just because something happened to be pre-owned doesn't make it something to be dismissed as unworthy. They also know that this concept doesn't stop with cars and can be expanded to almost any other area where a second-hand market is available.
3. Functional Trumps Fashion:
When it comes to making purchases, your grandparents knew that it wasn't what the device looked like, but what it could do that mattered. It was much more important to buy something that did what needed to be done regardless of what it actually looked like. That Rolex may look great, but it doesn't tell time any better than a standard watch bought at the local discount store. Learning to buy for function rather than looks is a great way to save money.
2. Bargains Are to Be Sought-After
When it was time to purchase something, your grandparents didn't just go out an get it that day. They took the time to look for a bargain. That meant doing research and waiting until the price was right rather than pulling out a credit card and buying it even when they didn't have the money. Bargains take planning and time to find, but when they are found, you know you have gotten a great deal.
1. Homemade Cookies Are Delicious
In a society where everything is pre-made and sold for convenience, it may be hard to remember the last time you had a meal made from scratch. What your grandparents knew was that not only is it less expensive to cook this way, the resulting meal is also a lot more delicious. Think of it this way; would you ever consider trading in a plate of your grandmother's homemade cookies for any store bought brand?
While the way that your grandparents handled money may seem unsophisticated with all the financial tools that are available today, the basics of living below their means, saving for a rainy day, getting an education and investing in their future are values that a lot of people could financially benefit from today.

How many miles can a green turtle swim in one month?

The green sea turtle can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. If you're wondering what a green sea turtle looks like, in the 2003 Pixar animated film Finding Nemo, the character called Crush is a green turtle.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Katie Couric and Daniel Radcliffe

Backstage at the Broadway musical production of 'How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying' at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre New York City, USA ....

Katie Couric

Katie Couric has been offered the chance to become a regular correspondent on '60 Minutes'. Katie Couric, the American news anchor who is stepping down from her evening job on Cbs, has been offered to chance to join '60 Minutes' as a regular correspondent, reports the New York Post. A regular spot on the Sunday night show is reportedly part of the package being offered to Couric if she'll agree to stay and front a daytime talk show for Cbs. Her current deal with the network expires in June 2011. Couric began producing interviews and behind-the-scenes stories for '60 Minutes' when the program attempted to branch out from its 22-minute evening newscast and now the show's bosses are keen to offer the 54-year-old something permanent. A spokesman for Couric last night declined to comment on the specifics of the offer from '60 Minutes', but did say, "Katie's on vacation this week. Hopefully, the speculation about Katie can take a week off, too".

Meanwhile, rumours concerning Katie Couric's 'Evening News' successor have begun to circulate, with '60 Minutes' own Scott Pelley emerging as the possible frontrunner.

John Lennon's Peace Tower

John Lennon's Imagine Peace Tower is lighting up the skies over Iceland again - to celebrate the former Beatles star's marriage to Yoko Ono.

The beam-of-light art installation on Vioey Island in Reykjavik was launched by Ono last year (10) to mark Lennon's birth and the anniversary of his death.

It was shut off in December (10), but the beam lit up the sky once again to commemorate what would have been Lennon and Ono's 42nd wedding anniversary on Sunday (20Mar11).

In a post on her page, Ono writes, "Imagine Peace Tower is lit to celebrate Spring and our wedding anniversary! Send yr wishes at"

The tribute tower can be viewed by fans as part of a live feed on the official Imagine Peace Tower website.

Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono played a special charity gig in New York lsat Sunday (27th March 2011) to raise money for the Japanese disaster relief fund. Yoko Ono, the Japanese-born artist and singer, headlined a disaster relief benefit show at the Miller Theatre in New York yesterday, reports Rolling Stone. The concert was the first of five organised and curated by the composer and saxophonist John Zorn and the event raised over $33,000 from ticket sales. Sonic Youth played a four-song set which included 'Shaking Hell' from their 1983 album 'Confusion Is Sex', to the delight of the sold-out crowd. Yoko Ono headlined the event, playing with the latest version of her Plastic Ono Band. The group's set included performances from the guitarist Marc Ribot, ex-Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton as well as the pianist Uri Cane. There was also an appearance from Zorn's Aleph Trio and a reunion of the Japanese art-pop duo Cibo Matto. Ono started the set with 'It Happened', during which her son Sean Lennon played guitar and later played 'Why' from the 1970 record 'Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band'.

Yoko Ono has also been campaigning on behalf of the 'Dovedale Infact School' in Liverpool, which is reportedly on the verge of closure. Her late husband John Lennon attended the school as a child and Ono has been a long-time supporter of the education centre.

Shania Twain

The 2011 JUNO Awards - Press Room Toronto, Canada

Shania Twain

Shania Twain's stalker was arrested at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto last Sunday (27th March 2011), just moments before the singer was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Shania Twain's stalker is due in court today after he was arrested at the Canadian Music Hall of Fame yesterday, where he claimed he "wanted to meet" the 45-year-old country star, reports the Toronto Sun. The 50-year-old Ottawa doctor, who had stalking charges against him withdrawn earlier this month, was arrested on breaches of court orders. Dr Giovanni Palumbo was taken into custody after being apprehended just minutes before Twain took to the stage in Toronto. Detective Michael Jander said one of the singer's "people" had spotted the man and police watched him for a while before making an arrest. Palumbo argued that he "just wanted to meet" the singer. The court had strictly stated that he is not allowed within 500 metres of the songstress and is now likely to face a heavy penalty. Previously, the court had heard how Palumbo had sent letters and floral arrangements to Twain and is alleged to have shown up at her Muskoka cottage. On a previous arrest, the doctor was allegedly wearing a Shania Twain t-shirt and carrying the singer's autobiography.

Shania Twain, best known for her smash hit songs 'That Don't Impress Me Much' and 'Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under', received her 'Canadian Hall of Fame' achievement trophy from BRYAN ADAMS.

*Shania--Congrats!!! God bless.

Kurt Thomas, Lara Logan, Caitlin Wehrle, Krista Sutton and Katarina Radivojevic

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Mr. Terence Hill, Eric Idle, Jill Goodacre, Aneliese Rutger and Natalia Avelon

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Elle MacPherson & Linda Evangelista

Elle Macpherson


ELLE MACPHERSON posted last 2/24/11

Supermodel ELLE MACPHERSON broke down in tears during a fashion show in Australia last 23, Feb 2011, as she opened up about her dad's illness.

The beauty travelled to her native country from her adopted Britain to take to the catwalk in Sydney, launching airline Virgin Blue's new pilots' uniform.

But she was so overcome being back Down Under near her family, she welled up as she talked about father Peter Gow, who had surgery two weeks ago to treat prostate cancer.

She told the crowd as her voice broke, "It's wonderful to be home. I miss my family... I'm going to get a bit emotional... particularly (for) my dad, who is a bit unwell."

Gow was given the all-clear following the operation, and he has put MACpherson's emotions down to jet lag.

He tells the Sydney Daily Telegraph, "I have been a bit unwell. I'm sorry Elle was upset. She is probably a bit tired after travelling a long way. We love each other very much and I draw incredible strength from my children. She is probably a bit tired after travelling a long way. I'm on the way back. They are confident they got it all. It has been a bit of a shock actually."

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson

Happy Birthday. God bless.

Amy Sedaris, Hayley McFarland and Annabella Sciorra

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Lucy Lawless, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Lambert, Marina Sirtis and Jessica Chastain

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.


By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press

BIN JAWWAD, Libya – Libyan government tanks and rockets blunted a rebel assault on Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte on Tuesday and drove back the ragtag army of irregulars, even as world leaders prepared to debate the country future in London.

Rockets and tank fire sent Libya's rebel volunteers in a panicked scramble away from the front lines, suggesting that the opposition is still no match for the superior firepower and organization of Gadhafi's forces, despite an international campaign of deadly airstrikes.

A U.N.-mandated no-fly zone and campaign of strikes by the U.S. and its allies helped rebel forces regain territory lost of the past week, when they were on the brink of defeat by government forces.

Tuesday's shelling and the undisciplined volunteers' disorganized flight in their pickup trucks, however, showed that the rebels' fundamental inability to counter Gadhafi's heavy weapons without extensive outside help.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Arab League, the African Union and around 40 foreign ministers were scheduled to join talks in London, seeking to ratchet up pressure on Gadhafi.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said several nations planned to put forward a deal which would propose a cease-fire, exile for Gadhafi and a framework for talks, between Libya's tribal leaders and opposition figures, on the country's future.

In a sign of emerging ties between the opposition and the international community, a senior U.S. administration official said it would soon send an envoy to Libya to meet with leaders of the rebels.

The official said American diplomat Chris Stevens will travel to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the coming days to establish better ties with groups seeking to oust the longtime Libyan leader. The move doesn't constitute formal recognition of the opposition.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing to meet Libyan opposition envoy Mahmoud Jibril in London.

In an open letter to the international community, meanwhile, Gadhafi called for a halt to the "monstrous assault" on Libya and maintained that that the rebels were supported by the al-Qaida terrorist network.

"What is happening now is providing a cover for al-Qaida through airstrikes and missiles to enable al-Qaida to control North Africa and turn it into a new Afghanistan," he said, accusing the international community of carrying out genocide against the Libyans.

The rebels remain woefully outgunned by Gadhafi's forces and it is unclear how they can take the stronghold of Sirte without further aggressive international air support.

NATO has insisted that it was seeking only to protect civilians and not to give air cover to an opposition march. But that line looked set to become even more blurred. The airstrikes are clearly the only way the rebels bent on overthrowing Gadhafi are going to continue their push to the capital.

There was growing criticism from Russia and other countries that the international air campaign is overstepping the bounds of the U.N. resolution that authorized it. The complaints came at a critical transition in the campaign from a U.S. to a NATO command. That threatens to hamper the operation, as some of the 28 NATO member nations plan to limit their participation to air patrols, rather than attacks on ground targets.

Rebels made it to Nawfaliyah some 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Sirte on Monday, but judging by the location of Tuesday's bombardment, they have been driven back to the hamlet of Bin Jawwad, a few dozen miles (kilometers) to the east.

"Gadhafi's forces are firing from Wadi al-Ahmar, including grad rockets, artillery and mortars," said rebel fighter Adel Sirhani, referring to a strategic valley outside Sirte. "It's very intense."

In a scene reminiscent of the rebels' retreat last week, panicked volunteers jumped into their pickup trucks and attempted to speed away from the bombardment kicking up dust clouds and choking the narrow coastal highway in a mad scramble of vehicles.

Sirte is dominated by members of the Libyan leader's Gadhadhfa tribe. But many in another large tribe — the Firjan — are believed to resent his rule, and rebels are hoping to encourage them and other tribes there to help them.

"This is their last defensive line they will do everything to protect it," explained rebel fighter Twate Monsuri, 26. "It's not Gadhafi attacking us, he's just defending himself now."

Fighting in such a densely populated area is likely to complicate the rebels' advance and add to the ambiguity of the NATO-led campaign, authorized by a Security Council resolution to take all necessary measures to protect civilians.

Gadhafi is not on the defensive everywhere. His forces continued to besiege Misrata, the main rebel holdout in the west and Libya's third-largest city. Residents reported shelling by government tanks of residential areas, with three people killed.

Libyan officials took foreign journalists on a tour of the city's outskirts but not into the center, indicating government control did not extend far. Explosions and gunfire echoed through empty streets lined with burned out tanks and bullet-scarred buildings.

The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, reported that two of its aircraft and a guided missile destroyer attacked a number of Libyan vessels "firing indiscriminately" at merchant ships in the port of Misrata, rendering them inoperable.

One of Libya's top officials, meanwhile, abruptly made a "private visit" to Tunisia late Monday, according to the official news agency there.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim in Tripoli insisted on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa's visit was not a defection. Press writers David Stringer and Bradley Klapper in London, Maggie Michael in Cairo and Hadeel al-Shalchi in Tripoli contributed to this report.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kristen Aldridge and Caitlin Upton

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Caroline Winberg

Caroline Winberg

Caroline Winberg

Caroline Winberg

Nicolas Duvauchelle, Natalia Sánchez, Mickey Hardt and Caroline Winberg

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Michael York, Mariah Carey, Talisa Soto, Sandra Hess and Mr. Austin Pendleton

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Quentin Tarantino, Pauley Perrette, Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Mitchell and Kevin Corrigan

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Ms. Geraldine Ferraro We Salute You

By BETH FOUHY and JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press

BOSTON – Geraldine Ferraro's selection as Walter Mondale's Democratic running mate in the 1984 presidential election made her a winner as far as history was concerned, despite an unsuccessful campaign that proved to be a tough political slog against a popular incumbent.

Her vice presidential bid, the first for a woman on a major party ticket, emboldened women across the country to seek public office and helped lay the groundwork for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential candidacy in 2008 and John McCain's choice of his running mate, Sarah Palin, that year.

"By choosing a woman to run . you send a powerful signal to all Americans: There are no doors we cannot unlock," Ferraro said in her acceptance speech at the 1984 Democratic convention. "We will place no limits on achievement. If we can do this, we can do anything."

Ferraro died Saturday in Boston, where the 75-year-old was being treated for complications of blood cancer. She died just before 10 a.m., said Amanda Fuchs Miller, a family friend who worked for Ferraro in her 1998 Senate bid and was acting as a spokeswoman for the family.

Mondale's campaign had struggled to gain traction and his selection of Ferraro, at least momentarily, revived his momentum and energized millions of women who were thrilled to see one of their own on a national ticket. She was a relatively obscure congresswoman from the New York City borough of Queens at the time.

The blunt, feisty Ferraro charmed audiences initially, and for a time polls showed the Democratic ticket gaining ground on President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush. But her candidacy ultimately proved rocky as she fought ethics charges and traded barbs with Bush over accusations of sexism and class warfare.

Ferraro later told an interviewer, "I don't think I'd run again for vice president," then added, "Next time I'd run for president."

Reagan won 49 of 50 states in 1984, the largest landslide since Franklin D. Roosevelt's first re-election over Alf Landon in 1936. But Ferraro had forever sealed her place as trailblazer for women in politics.

"At the time it happened it was such a phenomenal breakthrough," said Ruth Mandel of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. "She stepped on the path to higher office before anyone else, and her footprint is still on that path."

Palin, who was Alaska's governor when she ran for vice president, often spoke of Ferraro on the campaign trail.

"She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more," Palin wrote on her Facebook page Saturday. "May her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women."

For his part, Mondale remembered his former running mate as "a remarkable woman and a dear human being."

"She was a pioneer in our country for justice for women and a more open society. She broke a lot of molds and it's a better country for what she did," Mondale told The Associated Press.

Ferraro died at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she had gone Monday for a procedure to relieve back pain caused by a fracture. Such fractures are common in people with her type of blood cancer, multiple myeloma, because of the thinning of their bones, said Dr. Noopur Raje, the Mass General doctor who treated her.

Ferraro, however, developed pneumonia, which made it impossible to perform the procedure, and it soon became clear she didn't have long to live, Raje said. Since she was too ill to return to New York, her family went to Boston.

Raje said it seemed Ferraro held out until her husband and three children arrived. They were all at her bedside when she passed, she said.

"Gerry actually waited for all of them to come, which I think was incredible," said Raje, director of the myeloma program at the hospital's cancer center. "They were all able to say their goodbyes to Mom."

Ferraro stepped into the national spotlight at the Democratic convention in 1984, giving the world its first look at a co-ed presidential ticket. It seemed, at times, an awkward arrangement — she and Mondale stood together and waved at the crowd but did not hug and barely touched.

Her vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech launched eight minutes of cheers, foot-stamping and tears.

Ferraro, a mother of three who campaigned wearing pastel-hued dresses and pumps, sometimes overshadowed Mondale on the campaign trail, often drawing larger crowds and more media attention than the presidential candidate.

But controversy accompanied her acclaim.

A Roman Catholic, she encountered frequent, vociferous protests of her favorable view of abortion rights.

She famously tangled with Bush, her vice presidential rival who struggled at times over how aggressively to attack Ferraro.

In their only nationally televised debate, in October 1984, Bush raised eyebrows when he said, "Let me help you with the difference, Ms. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon." Ferraro shot back, saying she resented Bush's "patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy."

Ferraro would later suggest on the campaign trail that Bush and his family were wealthy and therefore didn't understand the problems faced by ordinary voters. That comment irked Bush's wife, Barbara, who said Ferraro had more money than the Bush family. "I can't say it, but it rhymes with rich," Barbara Bush told reporters when asked to describe Ferraro. She later apologized.

In a statement, Bush praised Ferraro for "the dignified and principled manner she blazed new trails for women in politics." He said that after the 1984 race, "Gerry and I became friends in time — a friendship marked by respect and affection."

Ferraro's run also was beset by ethical questions, first about her campaign finances and tax returns, then about the business dealings of her husband, real estate developer John Zaccaro. Ferraro attributed much of the controversy to bias against Italian-Americans.

Zaccaro pleaded guilty in 1985 to a misdemeanor charge of scheming to defraud in connection with obtaining financing for the purchase of five apartment buildings. Two years later, he was acquitted of trying to extort a bribe from a cable television company.

Ferraro's son, John Zaccaro Jr., was convicted in 1988 of selling cocaine to an undercover Vermont state trooper and served three months under house arrest.

Some observers said the legal troubles were a drag on Ferraro's later political ambitions, which included her unsuccessful bids for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in New York in 1992 and 1998.

Ferraro, a supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, was back in the news in March 2008 when she stirred up a controversy by appearing to suggest that Sen. Barack Obama achieved his status in the presidential race only because he is black.

She later stepped down from an honorary post in the Clinton campaign, but insisted she meant no slight against Obama.

In a statement, Obama praised Ferraro as a trailblazer who had made the world better for his daughters.

"Sasha and Malia will grow up in a more equal America because of the life Geraldine Ferraro chose to live," Obama said.

Ferraro received a law degree from Fordham University in 1960, the same year she married and became a full-time homemaker and mother. She said she kept her maiden name to honor her mother, a widow who had worked long hours as a seamstress.

After years in a private law practice, she took a job as an assistant Queens district attorney in 1974. She headed the office's special victims' bureau, which prosecuted sex crimes and the abuse of children and the elderly. In 1978, she won the first of three terms in Congress representing a blue-collar district of Queens.

After losing in 1984, she became a fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University until an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate nomination in 1992.

She returned to the law after her 1992 Senate run, acting as an advocate for women raped during ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

Her advocacy work and support of President Bill Clinton won her the position of ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, where she served in 1994 and 1995.

She co-hosted CNN's "Crossfire," in 1996 and 1997 but left to take on Chuck Schumer, then a little-known Brooklyn congressman, in the 1998 Democratic Senate primary. She placed a distant second, declaring her political career finished after she took 26 percent of the vote to Schumer's 51 percent.

In June 1999, she announced that she was joining a Washington, D.C., area public relations firm to head a group advising clients on women's issues.

Ferraro revealed two years later that she had been diagnosed with blood cancer.

She once discussed blood cancer research before a Senate panel and said she hoped to live long enough "to attend the inauguration of the first woman president of the United States."

RIP reported from New York/Associated Press writers Jim Fitzgerald and Frank Eltman in New York contributed to this report.

Italian Bread Wedges

3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 dash Dash pepper
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt, remaining water and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough flat. Let rest for 5 minutes. Press into a greased 14-in. pizza pan. Spread with salad dressing. Combine the garlic powder, oregano, thyme and pepper; sprinkle over dough. Top with cheeses. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Shrimp and Crabmeat Seafood Pizza Rustica(Italian recipe)

1 1/2 cups - peeled shrimp, diced bitesize
1 cup - crabmeat, diced bitesize
1 1/2 cups - shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs - slightly beaten
3/4 cups - shredded, extra sharp cheddar cheese
5 oz - chopped spinach, drained
1/2 cup - ricotta cheese
1/4 cup - grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 tbsp - minced garlic
1/2 cup - diced mushrooms
1/2 cup - diced onion
1 tsp - lemon juice
1 tsp - minced parsley
1/4 tsp - ground nutmeg
salt & pepper

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl, (except for reserving a 1/4 cup each of the mozzarella, shrimp (whole) and crab pieces for garnish).

Form a pizza dough shell in a rustica pizza pan or 10" to 12" pie pan. Try our classic pizza dough recipe for this Shrimp and Crabmeat Seafood Pizza Rustica.

Spread the casserole-like mixture evenly into the dough shell.

Garnish top with the reserved mozzarella, shrimp and crabmeat pieces and color the top with a little more nutmeg or paprika. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 325°F for about 55 minutes, (mid-oven), until the mixture has melted and the dough crust has browned.

When done, remove from the pizza oven and let it set to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully slip the pizza onto a cutting board to slice or serve whole.

Nice Pasta with Roasted Vegetables(Italian recipe)

8 oz. Rigatoni, Mostaccioli, or other medium pasta shape, uncooked
1 pound fresh mixed vegetables, such as:
green beans
red onions
snow peas
red or green bell peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 500-o F. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, slice or cut vegetables and place in a shallow baking pan, arranged in a single layer. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, and brush lightly with oil. Roast in a 500-o F oven for about 10 minutes or until vegetables caramelize and brown, leaving any juice in the baking sheet. Drain and set juices aside. Chop vegetables into 1-inch pieces.

When pasta is done, drain well. Toss cooked pasta with vegetable juice, vegetables, vinegar, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Roger Federer by Matthew Cronin

Roger Federer responds to Martina Navratilova’s contention he’ll never regain the No. 1 ranking. "Maybe she missed the London World Tour Finals," said No. 3 Federer, who won that tournament but has lost to No. 2 Novak Djokovic three times this year. "Maybe she was somewhere else climbing Kilimanjaro. I love her. Look, I think she's been an inspiration to my wife [mirka] and I always love seeing her, but if you had the microphone in front of you and you get a negative question, you get dragged into it. And she's in front of the microphone a lot of times like other experts and eventually you can't just say only good things. You have to also say more negative things."

Federer also said that he feels better physically today than he did at 22 and is more aware of how far he can push his body. Andy Roddick defended the 16-time Grand Slam champion’s recent play. "It's ridiculous," Roddick said. "Whoever wants to criticize Roger for the way he’s playing tennis right now better be very, very good at their job."

Clare Bowditch

Clare Bowditch is an Australian musician from Melbourne, Victoria. She released her fourth album, Modern Day Addiction via Island Records last 13 August 2010.

source:Marcel Hartman/

Diane Kruger: I act to excise the pain

By Ed Cumming posted last 04 Mar 2011

Ex-model and 'Troy' star Diane Kruger tells Ed Cumming about early setbacks and why her hero is Romy Schneider

It doesn’t take long to suspect that there is more to Diane Kruger than meets the eye. A blink, to be precise, or the half-second needed to process the fact that, when I arrive for our encounter in a London hotel, the German-born movie star, muse to Karl Lagerfeld and face of Calvin Klein, is not only leafing through The Daily Telegraph, but is also tucking into a huge breakfast of Eggs Benedict and a pot of sauté potatoes. “Hi,” she says, extending a thin wrist. It is slightly unnerving.

There is plenty for the eye, too, of course. In person, even in a slouchy top and jeans, the 34-year-old Kruger has the quality of a new gold coin: fresh, expensive somehow. Her beauty is quite relaxing to be near. She is in London in the wake of a new thriller, Unknown, in which she stars as an illegal-immigrant Bosnian taxi driver opposite Liam Neeson, who plays a scientist who loses his memory. The film follows the formula that was so successful in 2009’s Wanted: stick Neeson in front of a lot of bad guys and watch him go. “He’s so big,” Kruger says, the emphasis on “big”. “He’s got such a strong presence. He came to this leading man thing late, he’s really a character actor.”

If Neeson has enjoyed a change of tack of late, then so too has Kruger. To many in Britain she is still best known for her eye-catching turn as Helen in Troy, Wolfgang Petersen’s big-budget take on Homer’s epic, released in 2004. The film received mediocre reviews, but remains an impressive spectacle, with Kruger gemlike at its centre. However, alongside her modelling career, the part led many to assume that Kruger would forever be the quiet beauty. Unchallenging roles in films such as family action series National Treasure didn’t help, either.

“Helen was an almost impossible part to play,” says Kruger. “I knew that beforehand, I went into it with my eyes open. But I mean, what are you gonna do? Someone was going to play that part, it might as well have been me.”

She says she has learnt an awful lot in the years since. “Troy was only my second or third movie. I was terrified,” she says. “I’m lucky, a part like that could have killed my career.”

But it didn’t. In Britain and the US this was largely thanks to Quentin Tarantino who cast her in Inglourious Basterds, his Oscar-nominated parallel-universe Second World War thriller, as a German actress-turned-saboteur. Kruger’s performance won her a Golden Globe nomination and showed the world that she was much more than a pretty face.

For her own part, she doesn’t seem to have had too many doubts about her abilities. “You always know in yourself what you want to do, what you can do,” she says. “I wanted to get into cinema because of Romy Schneider. I loved the way she was a European actress,” she says. “She was German but even though she had an accent the French loved her.”

The comparison is interesting: Schneider was an Austrian-born German who between the Fifties and Seventies became one of French cinema’s most beloved stars, while also making selective forays into Hollywood. As well as training at the Cours Florent school in Paris (she still keeps a flat in the city), Kruger has maintained a parallel career in French film. One can’t help but wonder if the idiosyncrasies that endeared Schneider to her audience haven’t been ironed out of the safe, PR-groomed Kruger.

Growing up in Algermissen, a small town in Germany, she dreamt of becoming a ballet dancer. She had won a place at London’s Royal Ballet School, before a leg injury led her to change tack and model. After five years that bored her and she moved into acting. Her parents divorced when she was 13 and she has not spoken to her alcoholic father for 17 years.

Acting, she says, offers an emotional outlet similar to that provided by ballet. “When you’re a kid you don’t really know what’s going on,” she says, “but I think it’s a way of excising pain. Those two, three hours a day get it out of you. I think that when I modelled that’s what was missing. Being German, I think we don’t really express a lot of things.”

It is tempting to place Kruger alongside Penélope Cruz and Marion Cotillard, European actresses who have found Hollywood success in the past decade, but she is quick to point out that she has had to approach it from a different angle. “Penelope has been very lucky to have Pedro Almodóvar,” she says, referring to the writer-director who made Cruz a star. “She made a career out of Spanish language films and then made the shift into playing a Spanish or Mexican person in American movies. When I started producers would say 'we like her, but lose the accent’. I don’t think anyone thinks the German accent is as nice as the French or Spanish one.”

She can appreciate the irony that, having perfected a glossy mid-Atlantic drawl for many movies, in Inglourious Basterds and Unknown she has been required to put on European accents again. It doesn’t seem to worry her. Indeed, one gets the impression of a confident and driven woman just starting to relax. “I don’t have to work just to work anymore,” she says. “More interesting parts come my way, so I can afford to say 'I don’t want to make that’.” Her dream director is Frenchman Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, The Beat that My Heart Skipped), but of those working in the US she is most excited by Black Swan’s Darren Aronofsky. “He makes my kind of movies,” she says.

She can also acknowledge the cost of starting her career in a frenzy of publicity. “Everything happened really fast,” she says. “I was away for two and a half years, I missed friends, some of my relationships suffered. I thought it was amazing but I also felt a little bit like I’d lost myself. I didn’t know where home was, I didn’t know what I was doing.”

The topic is off-limits, but one suspects this is a reference to her brief marriage and divorce from French director Guillaume Canet (now married to Cotillard). For the past five years, Kruger has been in a relationship with Canadian Joshua Jackson (best known as Pacey from Dawson’s Creek). “Definitely kids one day,” she says. “But no more marriage.”

In May, she begins shooting Farewell, My Queen, about the last days of Louis XVI’s court at Versailles. She plays Marie Antoinette, and laughs at the fact she’s portraying another of history’s famous women. “Everybody has feelings about these big, iconic women. Everyone has ideas of what they should be like or look like. You’re always setting yourself up.”


12th April - 7th May 2011
Starting time: 8.00pm

Lakeboat - It is ship worker Dale’s first day on board the Lakeboat. The tall tale of his predecessor’s disappearance whips through the crew, as Dale discovers their mundane lives and fantastic dreams.

Prairie du Chien – In a claustrophobic railroad car rolling through the night, violent tales of obsession, jealousy and death unfold as passengers while away their long journey across Prairie du Chien.

An intriguing double-bill of rarely performed plays from acclaimed American writer David Mamet, winner of a Pulitzer price and Tony Award nomination for Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, and Academy Award nominations for The Verdict and Wag the Dog.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Virginie Ledoyen

Anna Kournikova

Anna Kournikova

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Anna Kournikova


Kate Beckinsale

Sofia Vergara and her son, Manolo

Jennifer Lamiraqui, Mary O'Rourke and Yasmin Kerr

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Gaspard Manesse, Alina Andrei, Mr. Lawrence Gordon and Ms. Anita Bryant

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

James McDaniel, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Elton John, Paul Michael Glaser and Katharine McPhee

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Danica Patrick, Ms. Gloria Steinem, Tatjana Patitz, Peter O'Brien and Aretha Franklin

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Marcia Cross, Bonnie Bedelia, Richard O'Brien, John Stockwell and Kari Matchett

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.


By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

DARAA, Syria – Protesters shouting for freedom gathered in the capital and other areas around the country Friday as security forces ordered journalists to leave a southern city where a brutal weeklong siege on demonstrations killed dozens of people.

Daraa, the main city of southern Syria's drought-parched agricultural heartland, has become a flashpoint for protests in a country whose leadership stands unafraid of using extreme violence to quash internal unrest. The coming days will be a crucial test of the surge of popular discontent that has unseated autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt and threatens to push several others from power.

Sheltering in Daraa's Roman-era old city, the protesters have persisted through seven days of increasing violence by security forces, but have not inspired significant unrest in other parts of the country.

On Friday, demonstrations were planned in Daraa and throughout the country in what organizers called a "Day of Dignity."

After the Friday prayers in the village of Dael, near Daraa, men on motorcycles and cars honked their horns while a few hundred men marched, some of them carrying Syrian flags and chanting: "Dael and Daraa will not be humilitated!" Plainclothes security agents watched without interfering.

A human rights activists, quoting witnesses, said thousands of people were gathering in the town of Douma outside the capital, pledging support for the people of Daraa. The activists asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

In the capital, outside Damascus' famous Ummayad Mosque, scores of people were gathering.

Security forces appeared to be trying to reduce tension in Daraa by dismantling checkpoints and ensuring there was no visible army presence on the streets for the first time since last Friday, when the protests began. But journalists who tried to enter the Daraa's Old City — where most of the violence took place — were escorted out of town by two security vehicles.

"As you can see, everything is back to normal and it is over," an army major, standing in front of the ruling Baath party head office in Daraa, told journalists before they were escorted out of the city.

Rattled by the unrest, the Syrian government Thursday pledged to consider lifting some of the Mideast's most repressive laws in an attempt to stop the weeklong uprising from spreading and threatening its nearly 50-year rule.

But the promises were immediately rejected by many activists who called for demonstrations around the country on Friday in response to a crackdown that protesters say killed dozens of anti-government marchers in Daraa.

"We will not forget the martyrs of Daraa," a resident told The Associated Press by telephone. "If they think this will silence us they are wrong."

President Bashar Assad, a close ally of Iran and its regional proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, has promised increased freedoms for discontented citizens and increased pay and benefits for state workers — a familiar package of incentives offered by other nervous Arab regimes in recent weeks.

Presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban also said the Baath party would study ending a state of emergency that it put in place after taking power in 1963.

The emergency laws, which have been a feature of many Arab countries, allow people to be arrested without warrants and imprisoned without trial. Human rights groups say violations of other basic liberties are rife in Syria, with torture and abuse common in police stations, detention centers and prisons, and dissenters regularly imprisoned for years without due process.

The death toll from the weeklong crackdown was unclear and could not be independently confirmed. Shaaban says 34 people had been killed in the conflict.

Mr. Leeland Davidson

By Liz Goodwin

Ninety-five-year-old Leeland Davidson discovered recently that he's not considered a U.S. citizen, despite living nearly 100 years in the country and serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII.

Davidson, from Centralia, Washington, told KOMO News that he discovered he wasn't a U.S. citizen when he was turned down for an enhanced driver's license he needed for a trip to Canada to visit relatives.

"We always figured because he was born to U.S. parents he's automatically a U.S. citizen," said Davidson's daughter, Rose Schoolcraft.

Davidson was born in British Columbia in 1916, but his parents didn't register the birth with the U.S. government to ensure they knew he was a citizen. He checked up on his citizenship before joining the Navy and was told by an inspector at the U.S. Department of Labor Immigration and Naturalization Service he had nothing to worry about. Now he worries that he won't be able to prove his citizenship, because his parents were born in Iowa before local governments started keeping records of birth certificates in 1880. "I want it squared away before I pass away," he says.

Schoolcraft says they tried to dissuade him from pursuing the matter. Employees at the local passport office scared them, telling her father "If he pursued it, (he could) possibly be deported or [be] at risk of losing Social Security."

"We keep telling him, leave it alone, leave it alone, and he won't, like a dog with a bone," Schoolcraft told the Centralia Chronicle. But Davidson says: "I want to get it done before I die." He also still wants to visit his friends and family in Canada. Sen Patty Murray's office is helping him with his application.

Elizabeth Taylor Arrives to Her Funeral Fashionably Late by Stephanie Tardugno

The service started 15 minutes behind schedule.

Elizabeth Taylor had one final request fulfilled on Thursday. She was late to her own funeral.

The legendary actress was buried fifteen minutes later than scheduled on Thursday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., in a small, private funeral held for her friends and family.

However, delaying the funeral wasn’t an accident, it was because of instructions she had left.

"She even wanted to be late for her own funeral," a family rep said in a statement, reports People.

Taylor was laid to rest in the same cemetery as her friend and pop star, Michael Jackson, according to the NY Daily News.

"She left a legacy with her beauty, her acting and her caring for others,” said fan Olivia Morrissette, 50, a legal secretary from Glendale. “This is a special place now, with Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.”

The actress had a closed casket draped with gardenias, violets, and lily of the valley.

Taylor passed away Wednesday of congestive heart failure at the age of 79. She is survived by four children and 10 grandchildren.

A public service in her honor is supposed to be held sometime in the future.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor We Salute You

By Tim Lesnik

Screen legend and tireless Aids charity campaigner Dame Elizabeth Taylor has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79.

A two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, Dame Elizabeth stood out as a star even in Hollywood's Golden Age.

Remembered for her beauty, acting talent and wit, Dame Elizabeth's romances will also live long in the memory, not least her relationship with fellow actor and repeated co-star Richard Burton.

'Liz and Dick' met on the set of Cleopatra, in which she starred as the Egyptian queen and he as Mark Antony.

They married, divorced, married and divorced again in a tempestuous love affair played out in full view of the public.

London-born Dame Elizabeth, a dual citizen of the UK and US, married a total of eight times before divorcing for the final time in 1996.

According to her son Michael Wilding, she "lived life to the fullest".

"We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it," he said.

"Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us and her love will live forever in our hearts."

For much of her life Dame Elizabeth was beset by health problems and she eventually succumbed, surrounded by her family, to symptoms of congestive heart failure.


Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Fernanda Castillo and Nena

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Anxiety in Japan

By SHINO YUASA and TOMOKO A. HOSAKA, Associated Press

TOKYO – Shops across Tokyo began rationing goods — milk, toilet paper, rice and water — as a run on bottled water coupled with delivery disruptions left shelves bare Thursday nearly two weeks after a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The unusual sights of scarcity in one of the world's richest, most modern capitals came a day after city officials reported that radioactive iodine in the Tokyo's tap water measured more than twice the level considered safe for babies.

Radiation has been leaking from a nuclear plant 140 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo since it was slammed by the March 11 quake and engulfed by the ensuing tsunami. Feverish efforts to get the plant's crucial cooling system back in operation have been beset by explosions, fires and radiation scares.

On Thursday, two workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant were being treated at a hospital after stepping into contaminated water while laying electrical cables in one unit, nuclear and government officials said.

The two workers likely suffered "beta ray burns," said officials at plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co, citing doctors. They tested at radiation levels between 170 to 180 millisieverts, well below the maximum 250 millisieverts allowed for workers, said Fumio Matsuda, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industry Safety.

More than two dozen people have been injured trying to bring the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control.

The developments highlighted the challenges Japan faces after a magnitude-9 quake off Sendai triggered a massive tsunami. An estimated 18,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless as officials scramble to avert a major nuclear crisis.

Radiation has seeped into raw milk, seawater and 11 kinds of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower and turnips, grown in areas around the plant.

The U.S. and Australia were halting imports of Japanese dairy and produce from the region, Hong Kong said it would require that Japan perform safety checks on meat, eggs and seafood, and Canada said it would upgrade controls on imports of Japanese food products.

Concerns also spread to Europe. In Iceland, officials said they measured trace amounts of radioactive iodine in the air but assured residents it was "less than a millionth" of levels found in European countries in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Radioactive iodine is short-lived, with a half-life of eight days — the length of time it takes for half of it to break down harmlessly. However, experts say infants are particularly vulnerable to radioactive iodine, which can cause thyroid cancer.

In Tokyo, government spokesman Yukio Edano pleaded for calm. Officials urged residents to avoid panicked stockpiling, sending workers to distribute 240,000 bottles — enough for three small bottles of water for each of the 80,000 babies under age 1 registered with the city.

That didn't stop Reiko Matsumoto, mother of 5-year-old Reina, from rushing to a nearby store to stock up.

"The first thought was that I need to buy bottles of water," the Tokyo real estate agent said. "I also don't know whether I can let her take a bath."

New readings showed Tokyo tap water was back to safe levels Thursday but the relief was tempered by elevated levels of the cancer-linked isotope in two neighboring prefectures: Chiba and Saitama. A city in a third prefecture, just south of the nuclear plant, also showed high levels of radioactive iodine in tap water, officials said.

Tap water in Kawaguchi City in Saitama north of Tokyo contained 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine — well above the 100 becquerels considered safe for babies but below the 300-becquerel level for adults, Health Ministry official Shogo Misawa said.

In Chiba prefecture, the water tested high for radiation in two separate areas, said water safety official Kyoji Narita. The government there warned families in 11 cities in Chiba not to feed infants tap water.

"The high level of iodine was due to the nuclear disaster," Narita said. "There is no question about it."

Radiation levels also tested dangerously high in Hitachi in Ibaraki prefecture, about 70 miles (120 kilometers) south of the Fukushima plant, city water official Toshifumi Suzuki said. Officials were distributing bottled water, he said.

The limits refer to sustained consumption rates, and officials said parents should stop using tap water for baby formula but that it was no problem for infants to consume small amounts.

Still, shelves were bare in many stores across Tokyo.

Maruetsu supermarket in central Tokyo sought to impose buying limits on specific items to prevent hoarding: only one carton of milk per family, one 5-kilogram bag of rice, one package of toilet paper, one pack of diapers, signs said. Similar notices at some drugs stores told women they could only purchase two feminine hygiene items at a time.

Maruetsu spokeswoman Kayoko Kano acknowledged that the earthquake and tsunami resulted in delays of some products.

A spokesman for Procter & Gamble Japan said its plant was fully operational but that rolling blackouts in Tokyo may be affecting distribution. "Consumers are nervous, and they may be buying up supplies," Noriyuki Endo added.

Hardship continued in the frigid, tsunami-struck northeast. Some 660,000 households still do not have water, the government said. Electricity has not been restored to some 209,000 homes, Tohoku Electric Power Co. said. Damage is estimated at $309 billion, making it the most costly natural disaster on record.

In Fukushima, farmer Sumiko Matsuno went out to her fields and dug up all the vegetables she could Thursday — not to sell but to eat.

"If it's in the ground, it's still safe," she said. "The leafy ones are no good anymore. We are digging up all our carrots and onions as fast as we can."

Matsuno, 65, said she was worried about the future.

"If this goes on, it is going to really hurt us." Press writers Eric Talmadge in Fukushima, and Mari Yamaguchi, Elaine Kurtenbach, Yuri Kageyama, Kaori Hitomi, Jean H. Lee and Ian Mader in Tokyo, contributed to this report.

Frédérique Bel

Bridget Flanery, Frédérique Bel, Tommy Hilfiger and Sharon Corr

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Donna Pescow, Michelle Harrison, Curtis Hanson, Star Jones and Kim Johnston Ulrich

Happy Birthday guys. God bless.

Eva Green

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