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Showing posts from June 25, 2013

Andrew W.K. sets drumming record at MTV O Music Awards

Musician Andrew W.K., the self-described "party king," set a new world record after playing drums nonstop for 24 hours during MTV's O Music Awards this week. _0"> The O Music Awards, which give out accolades in a variety of fan-voted categories to musicians who make a significant impact online through social media, was streamed solely online as a 24-hour virtual concert. The 34-year-old American, who was born Andrew Fetterly Wilkes-Krier, drummed for 24 hours from Wednesday to Thursday, earning the world record for Longest Drum Session in a Retail Store, MTV said in a statement. A message left seeking confirmation from Guinness World Records, which verifies official records, was not immediately returned. Artists such as the Jonas Brothers, Hanson, Atlas Genius and Kate Nash performed from the MTV studios in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville during the 24-hour live music festival that MTV billed as the largest online-only event of its kind. The network sai

Billboard chart won't count Jay Z sales from Samsung album deal

Billboard's weekly music chart will not include the 1 million copies of rapper Jay Z's upcoming album that were sold to electronics maker Samsung as part of a promotion, the U.S. trade magazine said on Friday. _0"> Jay Z, 43, announced last weekend that his album "Magna Carta Holy Grail" could be downloaded for free on July 4 - three days before its public release - to the first 1 million users of Samsung smartphones who had downloaded a special app.   Bulk album sales that are give away for free are not counted in total sales and not eligible to be included on the music charts even if an artist and a record label are paid for them, according to Billboard's rules. The magazine's editorial director, Bill Werde, said Billboard rejected Jay Z's request that the Samsung promotional sales be counted toward the Billboard 200 chart because "in the context of this promotion, nothing is actually for sale." "The ever-visionary Jay Z pull

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West name baby daughter North West

Reality television star Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West have named their baby daughter North West, according to a copy of the birth certificate released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday. _0"> Kardashian, the 32-year-old star of the TV show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," gave birth in Los Angeles on Saturday morning, weeks before her expected due date in July. West was with her for the delivery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. People magazine said the couple had been considering directional names. Representatives for Kardashian and West could not immediately be reached for comment. Kardashian, who also has a clothing line and endorsement deals, started dating the Grammy-winning rap star in April 2012. She married her second husband, NBA basketball player Kris Humphries of the Brooklyn Nets, in an elaborate ceremony filmed for the reality TV show in August 2011. But the union lasted only 72 days.   (Reporting by Eric Kelsey

Food Network to drop Paula Deen amid racial slur controversy

The Food Network said on Friday it would drop celebrity chef Paula Deen after the Southern food doyenne was sued for racial discrimination and admitted in a legal deposition to using a racial slur in the past. The impending loss of Deen's broadcast deal represents a potentially huge setback for a television personality who has built an empire on high calorie food, with cookbooks and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> restaurants in her native Georgia and other states.   The Food Network said in a statement it "will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month." A spokeswoman declined further comment but the network, which is owned by Scripps Network Interactive Inc, said on Thursday it "does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion." The network's decision to drop Deen was announced hours after she failed to make a scheduled appearance on the NBC television mornin

Palestinian 'Arab Idol' victory unleashes rare outburst of joy

Palestinian cities erupted in joy after Gazan singer Mohammed Assaf won the "Arab Idol" song contest final held in Beirut on Saturday night, providing a welcome break from the grinding conflict with Israel. _0"> The fresh-faced 22-year-old from humble roots in a refugee camp endeared millions of voting television viewers with his Palestinian patriotic anthems and folk songs.   After watching Assaf's victory from giant screens in the Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied West Bank, tens of thousands of Palestinians set off fireworks, danced in the streets and blasted his music from cars idling in frantic traffic jams. "This shows that Palestinians don't just fight and struggle, but we rejoice and make great art," beamed Awad Najib, a government employee, after a mass viewing outside the Ramallah presidential palace in the West Bank. Some Muslim clerics in Friday sermons had dismissed the pageant, saying its title encouraged idolatry and that people

'Monsters University' scares zombies to lead box office

"Monsters University," the prequel to Pixar's 2001 animated blockbuster "Monsters, Inc.," scared up $82 million in weekend ticket sales to easily outdistance the week's other new movie, the big-budget apocalyptic thriller "World War Z," which came in with an impressive haul of $66 million. "World War Z,", the story of a zombie pandemic starring Brad Pitt, was Pitt's biggest opening weekend ever, easily outpacing the $50.3 million for "Mr. And Mrs. Smith."   Last week's top movie, the Superman reboot "Man of Steel", was third with ticket sales of $41.2 million. "Monsters University," featuring the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman as monsters who flunk out of the college's scare program, continued the tradition of hugely successful films produced by Pixar, a unit of the Walt Disney Co. It was Pixar's 14th consecutive film to head the box office for the weekend it premiered in theat

Legendary blues singer Bobby Bland dies at 83: media reports

Bobby "Blue" Bland, a pioneer of the modern soul-blues sound, died on Sunday, according to Memphis media reports. He was 83. _0"> Local television stations cited the Memphis Music Foundation, which could not be reached for comment.   Bland was a member of the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His hits included "Turn on Your Love Light," "Further on Up the Road" and "I Pity the Fool." Bland, known as "The Lion of The Blues," was born in 1930 in Rosemark, Tennessee. He moved to Memphis in 1947 where he began mixing sounds from gospel, blues and R&B music, joining the Beale Streeters, a group that included Johnny Ace, B.B. King and Junior Parker, according to Bland's biography on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website. "His hallmark was his supple, confidential soul-blues delivery," the website said. Bland received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. (Reportin

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - June 24

The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. _0"> * A global cat-and-mouse game involving the admitted leaker of National Security Agency secrets exploded into a diplomatic scramble, as U.S. authorities sought to catch Edward Snowden before he reached what supporters say is his next goal: political asylum in Ecuador. () * Federal officials are cracking down on fraud in student-aid programs, responding to evidence that a growing number of recipients are pocketing federal loans and grants without any intent of going to school. ()   * Banks have floated to federal regulators a proposal on how to pay for a restructuring of the nation's largest financial institutions in the event of a future crisis. () * Chinese companies are under growing financial pressure as the country's economic growth slows. So industries ranging from airlines to steel to consumer appliances increas

REFILE-Geeks oust miners among Australia's new rich as boom fades

In a country synonymous with larger-than-life mining tycoons and Outback heroes, the geeks are quietly inheriting the earth. As coal magnate Nathan Tinkler, the poster boy for Australia's fading 10-year minerals boom, publicly battles against bankruptcy, software entrepreneurs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are riding high. The former college buddies behind fast-growing software firm Atlassian unceremoniously bumped Tinkler off the top of Australia's "young rich list", leading a charge in the country's blooming technology industries.   The tech start-up and biotech sectors are at the forefront of a push to transform Australia from an exporter of iron ore to an exporter of ideas. "It's a pretty primitive economy," said internet entrepreneur Matt Barrie. "We basically dig stuff up out of the ground, put it on a boat and ship it." As part of ambitious plans to change that, the government has announced millions of dollars in new

UK Stocks-Factors to watch on June 24

Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening flat to 4 points higher, or up 0.07 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on _0"> * The UK blue chip index fell 43.34 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,116.17 points on Friday, the lowest seen since January. The index recorded a fifth straight weekly loss, hit by the prospect of a curbing of U.S. monetary stimulus.   * ENRC - The billionaire founders of ENRC are close to finalising a buyout bid for the London-listed Kazakh miner, valuing the troubled group at just over 3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion), below the value of a tentative proposal made in May. * Trading in shares of Kazakhmys was suspended on Monday afternoon pending a statement on inside information, according to a filing on the Hong Kong exchange. The company is also listed in London. * Rio Tinto Ltd has scrapped the proposed sale of its $1.3 billion diamonds business, a setback for its

European stock index futures signal lower open

European stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Monday, adding to last week's sharp losses, as investors fretted about the prospect of reduced U.S. monetary stimulus and worries over China's banking sector. _0"> At 0602 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.2-0.9 percent.

Freeport Indonesia ramping up output at world's No.2 copper mine

Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc was ramping up production at its Indonesian unit on Monday, a company spokeswoman said, six weeks after a deadly tunnel collapse at the world's No.2 copper mine halted operations.   Trade union workers at the Grasberg mine in remote West Papua were also returning to production work, while postponed pay talks with the Arizona-based firm have been resumed, a union official added. Freeport Indonesia employs about 24,000 workers, of which three-quarters belong to the union. Freeport stopped production at Grasberg on May 15, a day after a training area in a tunnel caved in, killing 28 people. Planned pay talks were also put on hold last month. On Saturday, the company said it had slowly resumed open-pit mining after receiving approval from the Indonesian government, although underground production remained closed. "We herewith confirm that we have started to ramp up production since Saturday," Freeport Indonesia spokeswoman Daisy Prim

Novartis tests copy of Amgen's Enbrel in late-stage trial

Sandoz, the generics unit of Novartis, has launched a late-stage trial with its biosimilar version of Amgen's Enbrel, consolidating its leading position in developing cheaper copies of complex biotech drugs. _0"> With the start of the major study of its version of Enbrel, or etanercept, Sandoz now has seven Phase III clinical trials across five biosimilar molecules - more than any other company in the industry.   Sandoz said on Monday the new trial aimed to confirm the biosimilarity of its product versus Enbrel in patients with moderate to severe chronic plaque-type psoriasis. Results will be used to support U.S. and European regulatory filings. Unlike traditional chemical drugs, biotech medicines consist of proteins derived from living organisms that cannot be replicated exactly. Generic copies, therefore, are more difficult to develop and market. IMS Health, a provider of data for the healthcare industry, expects global spending on biosimilars to increase to between

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares slide on China worries, Fed outlook; dollar firms

Chinese shares dragged Asian bourses to a fresh 9-1/2-month low on Monday as investors worried about Beijing's economic and financial stability and markets scrambled to price in the Federal Reserve's plan to slow its stimulus drive later in 2013. European stocks were seen consolidating after last week's losses, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX would open little changed. But a 0.6 percent drop in U.S. stock futures pointed to a weak Wall Street open. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.8 percent to its lowest since early September, after posting its worst week since May 2012 with a drop of 4.5 percent last week. Most of the region's stock indexes are now well into oversold territory. China bank shares led the downward spiral after official news reports at the weekend suggested Beijing would continue to address the risks of shadow banking, which was behind t