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Showing posts from June 16, 2013

Bollywood actor held in custody over girlfriend's suicide

Bollywood actor Suraj Pancholi who was arrested after the suicide of his actress girlfriend Jiah Khan will spend at least another week in jail after a Mumbai court on Friday adjourned his bail hearing until June 21. Pancholi, 22, the son of Bollywood acting couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, was arrested on June 10 and is being questioned by police over any possible role in Khan's suicide. His arrest came after Khan's mother, the 1980s actress Rabia Khan, went public with a six-page letter apparently written by the 25-year-old actress before she hanged herself on June 3. Her last phone call was to Pancholi. In the letter widely published in the Indian media, the 25-year-old actress speaks of being physically and emotionally abused and of having an abortion against her will although she did not mention any names. Pancholi's lawyer Zamir Khan told Reuters by telephone that the actor's bail hearing had been adjourned to June 21 and until that time Pancholi woul

Ethan Hawke to take on Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' on Broadway

Actor Ethan Hawke is returning to Broadway in a production of 'Macbeth', with performances set to begin in October at Lincoln Center, the performing arts center said. _0"> 'Macbeth' will be directed by Jack O'Brien, who helmed the acclaimed 2006-2007 production of Tom Stopper's 'The Coast of Utopia' trilogy winning a Tony award, and for which Hawke received a best actor nomination.   Opening night is set for November 21 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The bloody Shakespeare play, among his best-known and most-performed works, was one of four productions the non-profit theater announced on Thursday for the upcoming season. Hawke, 42, is currently starring in the horror film 'The Purge', as well as the acclaimed third part of the 'Midnight' series of films, 'Before Midnight' opposite Julie Delpy. The actor rose to fame as a movie star more than two decades ago starting with such films as 'Dead Poets Society' an

'Man of Steel' producer shops for new Legendary studio partner

No one has more riding on the outcome of the summer movie season than Thomas Tull, the former investment banker-turned-head of Legendary Pictures and a producer of this weekend's heavily hyped "Man of Steel." Tull, the financier with a penchant for comic books who raised $500 million in 2004 to start Legendary Pictures, is in the midst of Hollywood's equivalent of a roadshow, visiting studios to pitch his outfit and seal what may become one of the industry's richest distribution deals, according to people with knowledge of the situation.   Legendary is one of Hollywood's most prolific producers of big-budget films, among them director Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and his two "Dark Knight" installments that have generated combined worldwide ticket sales of more than $2.4 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. Now, as its distribution and financing deal with Warner Bros. approaches a December 31 expiration, Tull is intent on s

Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, wife to divorce after 19 years

The wife of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus has filed for divorce in Los Angeles after 19 years of marriage, the couple said in a statement. _0"> Tish Finley Cyrus, the mother of 20-year-old pop star and actress Miley Cyrus, married the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer in December 1993, and the couple have three children together.   "This is a personal matter and we are doing what is in the best interest of our family," the couple said in a statement late on Thursday. "We ask that you respect our privacy at this time." Billy Ray Cyrus, 51, filed for divorce in 2010 but the couple later reconciled. They have one minor child, 13-year-old actress and singer Noah Cyrus. Tish Cyrus has two other children from a previous marriage and Billy Ray Cyrus one child from an earlier relationship. Billy Ray Cyrus, who was married once before, shot to fame in 1992 with the release of "Achy Breaky Heart," which crossed over from the country charts to main

Risk-taker Vidya Balan boosts Bollywood's girl power

It's a good time to be Vidya Balan. Indian cinema turned 100 this year and the versatile actress has emerged as the face of Bollywood, earning a spot in an elite nine-member Cannes festival jury headed by filmmaker Steven Spielberg. The 35-year-old actress has picked her way through a minefield of movie roles in recent years, zooming in on strong and diverse female leads that have straddled box-office success and critical acclaim.   Balan, who made her Bollywood debut in 2005, took unusual risks in a male-dominated industry to play an ambitious soft porn actress in "The Dirty Picture" (2011) and a pregnant woman searching for her missing husband in "Kahaani" (Story) last year. Her next screen bet is "Ghanchakkar" (Crazy), a suspense comedy that opens in Indian cinemas on June 28. Balan stars as the loud-mouthed wife of a bank robber who loses his memory after a heist. Balan spoke to Reuters about her new film, breaking stereotypes and playing wom

Backup singers take center stage in new documentary film

Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger appear in the new film "Twenty Feet from Stardom," but only to shine the spotlight on the unsung backup singers who make them sound even better. Opening in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and expanding across the United States in coming weeks, the music documentary features the lives and careers of singers who have harmonized with the likes of Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and many more.   The film features singers who sang on hit tracks beginning in the 1960s, like Merry Clayton and Darlene Love, right up to today, such as Judith Hill, a recent contestant on television singing show "The Voice." Springsteen, Jagger and others talk about their work with the backup singers as their tracks play in the background, but the film focuses on the backup singers. The film shows them singing in a studio, whether harmonizing or taking the lead, and talking about their experiences. American director Morgan Neville said he

Bassist Kim Deal leaves alt-rock band the Pixies

Kim Deal, the bass player behind some of the Pixies' biggest hits, has left the 1980s alternative rock band, its remaining members said on Friday. _0"> Deal's pulsing bass and understated singing punctuated the influential group's early songs, which won critical acclaim for their quick bursts of sound and wild guitars. "We are sad to say that Kim Deal has decided to leave the Pixies," the band's singer-guitarist Black Francis, drummer David Lovering and guitarist Joey Santiago said in a statement posted on their Facebook page. The Boston band rose to prominence following their 1988 debut album, "Surfer Rosa," which eventually sold more than a half-million copies.   "Surfer Rosa" and its follow-up, 1989's "Doolittle," are often credited as a major influence for the emergence of grunge rock bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam that achieved wide mainstream success in the early 1990s. The Pixies disbanded in 1993 be

Adele honored in Queen Elizabeth's birthday list

Grammy Award-winning singer Adele and Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson were among more than 1,000 people recognized by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in her Birthday Honors List on Friday. Marking the monarch's official 87th birthday, the honors went to 1,180 recipients from all walks of life, from a beekeeper and a whisky maker to diplomats, artists and business leaders. London-born Adele, 25, was awarded an MBE - member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - for services to music. One of Britain's best-selling artists, Adele has won a string of international awards for songs such as "Rolling in the Deep", "Someone Like You" and "Skyfall", a James Bond theme. Comedian Atkinson, known to millions of fans around the world for his bungling creation Mr Bean, was given a CBE, Commander of the Order of the British Empire.   A knighthood went to actor Tony Robinson, who played Atkinson's long-suffering servant Baldrick in "Blackad

Bob Dylan to play 33 European tour dates

Singer Bob Dylan will embark on a 33-date tour of Europe starting in Oslo on October 10 and ending at London's Royal Albert Hall on November 28, a statement on his website said on Friday. The "Blowin in the Wind" singer - who is scheduled to finish his "AmericanaramA" tour in Mountain View, California on August 4 - said tickets for "Bob Dylan in Europe" would go on sale on Friday.   "Bob Dylan and his band will tour Europe this fall," the statement on his website said of the 10-country tour. The announcement follows the September release of Dylan's latest studio album, "The Tempest", described by Rolling Stone magazine as "one of his weirdest albums ever". Dylan was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May this year and awarded the top U.S. civilian honour last year, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Earlier this month, the grand chancellor of the French council which clears no

Rupert Murdoch's aim: A divorce with little fodder for tabloids

Rupert Murdoch appears to be seeking a quiet divorce, based on the lawyer he has chosen and the absence of incendiary allegations, people with knowledge of the case and experience of high-profile New York divorces said. Divorce papers filed by the media mogul on Thursday comprised a short document saying the marriage is irretrievably broken, according to a person with knowledge of the filing.   The document, which formally starts a divorce action under New York's no-fault law, contains no details of wrongdoing, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. That, his choice of lawyer and a series of pre- and post-nuptial agreements all favor a strategy for ending his 14-year marriage to Wendi Deng Murdoch as quickly and quietly as possible, the experts said. "While she might try to get more money somehow, and he might be willing to give it to her because he's got so much money, it seems to me she's bound by all those agreements," said John Vassallo, w

Fans rally for Bolshoi dancer fired in acid attack aftermath

More than a hundred Russian ballet fans rallied in Moscow on Saturday in support of a top dancer who says he is being chased out of the Bolshoi Theatre due to disputes in the wake of an acid attack on its artistic director earlier this year. The attack on Sergei Filin in January stunned Russians and exposed the bitter rivalries and behind-the-scenes power struggles at the theatre, a symbol of Russian culture since the 18th century. Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has confessed to plotting the attack on Filin, which left him with severe burns to his eyes and face, but both Filin and Bolshoi director Anatoly Iksanov have said they think others were involved.   Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who has been told to leave at the end of June, had clashed with Iksanov even before the attack, but their relationship soured sharply after Iksanov said the 39-year-old dancer might have acted as an instigator. This month Tsiskaridze said he was being "hounded" out of the theatre. "There

Kim Kardashian gives birth to baby girl: reports

Reality television star Kim Kardashian gave birth to a girl fathered by rapper Kanye West, celebrity magazines People and Us Weekly reported Saturday. _0"> Each magazine posted a story on its website citing an unnamed source in confirming the birth of the daughter to the celebrity couple.   Representatives for Kardashian and West could not immediately be reached for comment. People magazine said Kardashian, 32, gave birth on Saturday ahead of schedule, with the baby reportedly due in early July. Kardashian stars with her sisters in the reality show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." She has a clothing line and several product endorsements and was the most-searched person on the Yahoo! in 2012. Grammy-winning rap star Kanye West and Kardashian began dating in April 2012. Two months ago Kardashian and her second husband, Kris Humphries of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, announced they had reached a divorce settlement. They had split 72 days after their August 2011

Black Sabbath top British album chart again: after 43 years

The British rock band Black Sabbath's album "13!" has given them a first British Number One album in nearly 43 years, a record interval between chart-toppers, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday. Black Sabbath were last at the top of the UK chart with their second album, "Paranoid".   "I'm in shock!" Black Sabbath front man Ozzy Osbourne told the Official Charts Company. "The success of this album has blown me off my feet. We've never had a record climb the charts so fast." The band saw off competition from Liam Gallagher's band Beady Eye, in second place with "BE". In the singles chart, American R&B singer Robin Thicke made it three weeks on top with "Blurred Lines". The song, featuring rapper TI and Pharrell Williams, has sold over 580,000 copies, making it the fifth-best selling single of 2013. "La La La" by the British rapper Naughty Boy, featuring singer Sam Smith, remained in

Election system needs an overhaul, but it's not that easy

Voters in Florida were still waiting to cast their ballots more than six hours after polls closed on Election Day, registered voters in Ohio were told they were not on voter rolls and new voter ID laws in Pennsylvania led to confusion at voting places. Election Day problems have become commonplace in the United States in recent general elections. But a comment by President Barack Obama offered a glimmer of hope that problems that have dogged voting for years might finally be addressed.   In his election victory speech, made while some people still waited in line to cast ballots in Florida six hours after polls closed, Obama took a moment to point out that he was aware of problems with the electoral system. "I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time, or waited in line for a very long time," Obama said in Chicago. "By the way, we have to fix that." That heartened supporters of election reform, who

UPDATE 2-Power outages hit Mexico City after quake in country's centre

Power outages hit the Mexican capital of Mexico City on Sunday after an earthquake struck the centre of the country, and officials said there was no other damage reported. Some restaurants and residential buildings in the capital were evacuated as a precautionary measure, they said. Buildings shuddered in the city, a Reuters witness said. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) downgraded its initial measurement of the quake to magnitude 5.8 from 6.0. No one at state oil company Pemex was immediately available to comment but the group has no major installations near the epicentre of the quake, 14 miles (22 km) west of Jolalpan in southwest Mexico, 76 miles (122 km) south of Mexico City.  

Pratt & Whitney says engine orders to rise 'substantially'

Pratt & Whitney President David Hess said on Sunday he expects its order book for commercial aircraft engines to rise "substantially" during the Paris air show, which begins Monday. _0"> "Our backlog is going to go up at this show substantially," Hess said in an interview with Reuters. The order book stands at 3,500 engines currently, with about 2,500 firm orders. The bulk of the orders are for the Airbus A320neo family aircraft, where Pratt competes with CFM International's LEAP engine, which is standard on the Boeing 737MAX.   The orders also include Bombardier's CSeries jet, due to make its first flight during the final week of June, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, Russia's Irkut MC-21 narrowbody jet and Embraer jets.

FEATURE-From the ashes of Webvan, Amazon builds a grocery business

The online grocery start-up Webvan may have been the single most expensive flame-out of the dot-com era, blowing through more than $800 million in venture capital and IPO proceeds in just over three years before shutting its doors in 2001. Twelve years later, though, Webvan is rising from the dead - in the form of an online grocery business called AmazonFresh.   Four key Inc executives - Doug Herrington, Peter Ham, Mick Mountz and Mark Mastandrea - are former Webvan officials who have spent years analyzing and fixing the problems that led to the start-up's demise. Kiva Systems, the robotics company that Amazon bought last year for $775 million in one of its largest-ever acquisitions, was built on ideas and technologies originally developed at Webvan and is a key part of the AmazonFresh strategy. Even Webvan's old Web address,, is now part of the Amazon empire. "We had a lot of Webvan DNA in the room and we drew on that experience a lot," s

Boeing's Conner says 787 battery fix did not slow other programs

Boeing's extraordinary effort to solve battery problems that hit the high-tech 787 Dreamliner early this year did not disrupt progress on other aircraft programs, which remain on schedule. _0"> "It didn't slow down development," despite doing three years of work in three months to fix the problem of overheating batteries on the 787, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner, speaking at a news briefing ahead of the start of the Paris air show which opens on Monday.  

Rockwood agrees to sell CeramTec to Cinven for 1.49 bln eur

Rockwood Holdings said on Sunday it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell CeramTec, its Germany -based advanced ceramics business, to private equity firm Cinven for 1.49 billion euros. _0"> A statement issued in Frankfurt said Cinven had obtained fully committed financing for the transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year following regulatory approvals.

AIRSHOW-BA set to order 10 Boeing 787-10s -newspaper

British Airways is set to confirm an order for about 10 of the "stretched" version of Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner planes in a deal worth about $2.5 billion at this week's Paris Air Show, The Sunday Times newspaper reported without citing sources. _0"> BA's parent company, International Airlines Group, said in April that it planned to convert 18 existing Boeing 787 options into firm orders for British Airways to replace some Boeing 747-400 aircraft between 2017 and 2021.   Boeing is set to launch the larger version of its 787 Dreamliner family of planes at the air show aimed at meeting demand for long-haul travel within Asia and other long-haul routes, sources told Reuters on Thursday. British Airways declined to comment on the report.

UPDATE 1-Rockwood agrees 1.49 bln euro CeramTec sale to Cinven

Cinven Ltd has agreed to buy CeramTec for 1.49 billion euros ($1.99 billion), beating rival private equity firm BC Partners Ltd in bidding for the Germany -based industrial ceramics unit of U.S. chemicals maker Rockwood Holdings. A statement issued on Sunday by Rockwood said Cinven had obtained fully committed financing for the deal, which was expected to close in the third quarter of this year once it obtained regulatory approvals.   Reuters reported on June 14 that Cinven was in exclusive talks to buy CeramTec for close to 1.5 billion euros, outbidding BC Partners' bid of just over 1.4 billion. CeramTec is a leading manufacturer of high performance ceramics for applications in the medical, automotive, industrial and electronic markets. Its proprietary product portfolio includes hip joint prostheses components, high-speed cutting tools and ballistic ceramics for armour. "We are keen to support (CeramTec's) growth outside its core European markets, specifically in No

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait up but court ruling spells uncertainty; other mkts fall

Kuwait's bourse rose on Sunday on what traders said was buying by government-linked funds ahead of a politically sensitive court ruling. After the close, the court dissolved parliament and called for new elections, bringing fresh uncertainty to the Gulf state. Most other regional markets fell in heavy selling, dragged down by escalating geopolitical tensions surrounding Syria and the shaky global environment for emerging markets.   Kuwait's measure climbed 0.3 percent, halting a two-session losing streak. The market is still up 34.1 percent year-to-date, in a rally driven mainly by retail investors, who have been encouraged by a government push on economic development and expected improvement in corporate earnings . The Constitutional Court threw out opposition challenges to changes to the electoral system which had been decreed by the emir. It is not yet clear whether this will prompt a stronger campaign of opposition street protests, or whether the next parliament will b

RPT-Wall St Week Ahead: Investors will look to Fed to ease volatility

Stock investors eager to hear from the Federal Reserve about its plans for continuing economic stimulus may get some soothing words from the U.S. central bank this week. The Fed is unlikely to tip its hand about when it might begin to scale back its bond-buying program, but policymakers still may be inclined to try to tamp down recent volatility in financial markets with some mention of the issue. The rally in stocks stumbled and Treasury bond yields rose to 14-month highs following Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments that the Fed may decide to begin scaling back its quantitative easing in the next few policy meetings if the economy improves.   As part of its quantitative easing policy, adopted more than four years ago, the Fed has been buying Treasury and other bonds each month to keep interest rates low and promote growth. Interpreting Bernanke's words and recent signs about the economy has roiled markets since then. The Dow industrials climbed 200 points in eight of the 1

AIRSHOW-Boeing to launch 787-10 with up to 100 orders -sources

U.S. planemaker Boeing will launch a new and larger version of its lightweight 787 Dreamliner at this week's Paris Airshow with up to 100 orders worth just under $30 billion, industry sources said on Sunday. _0"> The latest addition to Boeing's fleet, the 323-seat 787-10, is designed partly for fast-growing routes within Asia and will intensify a contest with Europe's Airbus for sales of the latest generation of efficient, carbon-composite jetliner.   Boeing declined comment.

Saudi Aramco-Dow JV raises funding for $19 bln project -sources

Sadara Chemical Co, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical , has signed a fundraising package for the $19.3 billion petrochemical complex it is building in the east of the kingdom, three banking sources said on Sunday. The financing package totals around $12.5 billion and consists of loans from banks, export credit agencies and the state-owned Public Investment Fund, as well as proceeds from an Islamic bond issue. The remaining cost will be met by the two partners. The facility, located at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, will be the world's largest chemical complex ever built in a single phase. It will produce more than 3 million tonnes of petrochemicals each year when completed in 2016.   Sadara was not immediately available for comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public. The split between the different portions of the facility were changed from an original outline released in May

AIRSHOW-GenCorp's Aerojet: Rocketdyne deal to save U.S. $1 bln

Aerojet Rocketdyne, the new company formed after GenCorp Inc's acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, on Sunday said it has promised the U.S. government $1 billion in savings over the next decade as a result of the deal, with an additional $2 billion in savings possible in later phases of the merger. _0"> Aerojet Rocketdyne President Warren Boley told Reuters in an interview that the new company, a wholly owned unit of GenCorp, expected to double its revenues over the next five years from a current combined estimate of $1.7 billion. He said the company was also looking at other business opportunities, and would soon sign a memorandum of understanding on a "significant strategic relationship" with Israel Military Industries that could evolve into a joint venture in the future.  

AIRSHOW-Jet engine makers CFM, Pratt battle over performance

Engine makers for next-generation Airbus and Boeing narrow-body jets stepped up their war of words on Sunday, claiming their new power plants will burn less fuel, last longer without maintenance and create less noise than the rival. CFM International, the engine maker for about three-quarters of the orders for next-generation Airbus and Boeing narrow-body jets, said its LEAP engine will deliver 15 percent lower fuel burn and 2-3 percent lower operating costs compared with the rival geared turbofan engine by Pratt & Whitney.   Pratt & Whitney hit back saying its engine has undergone testing on aircraft, giving its claims of 15 percent lower fuel burn much more credibility. CFM has tested parts but not a full engine. "We are within 10ths of a percent of that figure," Robert Saia, vice president of the next-generation product family at Pratt & Whitney, said in an interview with Reuters. Pratt also noted that it has won more than half of the orders for new engin

REFILE-Faster than speeding bullet, "Man of Steel" wins box office race

"Man of Steel," the big-budget reboot of the Superman franchise, leaped over the apocalyptic buddy comedy "This is the End," collecting a muscular $113.1 million to lead the domestic box office with the year's second-largest opening weekend and the biggest June opening ever. "This is the End," written by star Seth Rogen and his childhood friend Evan Goldberg, collected $20.5 million at theaters in the domestic market comprised of the United States and Canada, according to studio estimates collected by Reuters. The apocalyptic comedy depicting the end of the world stars more than a dozen well-known Hollywood actors including James Franco, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Emma Watson.   In third place, the comedy heist caper "Now You See Me" continued its stronger-than-expected showing with ticket sales of $10.3 million, bringing its three-week total to $80 million. "The Purge," made for $3 million by the producer of the low-budget &

The top films at the North American box office

Following are the top 10 movies at North American box offices for the three-day weekend starting June 14, led by "Man of Steel," according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. 1 (*) Man of Steel.......................... $113.1 million 2 (*) This is the End........................$ 20.5 million 3 (3) Now You See Me.........................$ 10.3 million 4 (2) Fast and Furious 6.....................$ 9.4 million 5 (1) The Purge .............................$ 8.2 million 6 (4) The Internship.........................$ 7.0 million 7 (5) Epic...................................$ 6.0 million 8 (6) Star Trek Into Darkness................$ 5.7 million 9 (7) After Earth............................$ 3.6 million 10 (9) Iron Man 3.............................$ 2.9 million _0">   (*) = new release CUMULATIVE TOTALS: Iron Man 3.................................$ 399.6 million Fast & Furious 6...........................$ 219.6 million Star Trek

AIRSHOW-UPDATE 1-Boeing to launch 787-10 with $30 bln order haul

U.S. planemaker Boeing will launch a larger version of its lightweight 787 Dreamliner this week with up to 100 orders worth just under $30 billion, industry sources said on Sunday.   The latest addition to Boeing's fleet, the 323-seat 787-10, is partly designed to serve fast-growing routes within Asia and sharpens a fight with Europe's Airbus for sales of the latest generation of efficient, carbon-composite jets. The decision to go ahead and build a new version, backed by up to 100 orders spread between five or six launch customers, is expected to be announced on Tuesday at the Paris Airshow. Some orders may be converted from existing demand for smaller jets. Boeing declined comment. "We have no comment but we are having discussions with our customers about the potential for the 787-10X," a Boeing spokesman said, referring to the working name given to the project while Boeing targeted potential customers. The 787-10 Dreamliner -- a "stretched" version