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Showing posts from January 29, 2011

Comcast Completes NBC Universal

Comcast Completes NBC Universal - Cable company Comcast and industrial conglomerate General Electric announced Saturday that their deal to merge Comcast's cable networks with GE's NBC Universal entertainment unit was complete.

The new joint venture, dubbed NBCUniversal, LLC, is 51% owned by Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) and 49% owned by GE (GE, Fortune 500). Comcast will manage the company.

The complicated deal, which values NBCUniversal at $30 billion, was first announced in December 2009. Comcast will pay GE $6.5 billion in cash and also contribute some of its programming assets to the joint venture.

The merger combines Comcast's cable networks, such as E!, Versus and the Golf Channel with NBCUniversal's struggling NBC broadcast network, as well as popular cable networks USA, Bravo, MSNBC and The Weather Channel. NBCUniversal also owns the Universal Studios film and theme park businesses.

Comcast Completes NBC Universal

Benjamin Walker Abraham

Benjamin Walker Abraham - One of the most famous figures in American history is to be played by a relative newcomer. Broadway star Benjamin Walker has been handed the title role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the latest in a series of "mash-up" projects that are heading towards cinemas.

The film sees the 16th US president fighting the undead during the Civil War. Based on a novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, it will most likely follow the same author's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on to the big screen. The latter sparked the current mash-up craze by taking Jane Austen's out-of-copyright tale of Regency romance and unleashing an army of the undead to liven up proceedings.

Other similarly pitched movies are on the way. Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens is arguably a loose example of the genre, while the 2010 blacklisted Boy Scouts vs Zombies sounds similarly enticing. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov, a Russian film-maker who s…

Bruno Mars Guilty

Bruno Mars Guilty - The seven-time Grammy nominee will plead guilty to felony cocaine possession in order to avoid jail time, according to E! News.

In September, Mars was busted at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on suspicion of narcotics possession. The "Grenade" singer, born Peter Hernandez, had 2.6 grams of a substance believed to be cocaine.

Next up for Mars is a court appearance on February 4 when he'll enter his guilty plea. He'll be fined $2,000, sentenced to a year of informal probation, 200 hours of community service and drug counseling. After completing the terms, the first-time offender's record will be wiped clean.

Bruno Mars Guilty

Chris Brown Completes Domestic

Chris Brown Completes Domestic - Chris Brown has completed a domestic violence counseling program required as part of the singer's guilty plea to assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna nearly two years ago.

On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg congratulated the 21-year-old R&B performer for finishing the yearlong program.

As a result of completing the required counseling, Brown will no longer have to appear in court every three months for progress report hearings.

Brown is serving five years of probation after pleading guilty last year to assaulting pop star Rihanna in a rented sports car after a pre-Grammy Awards party.

City News Service reports the judge said she would consider lifting the protective order against Brown at a later date. The order requires Brown to stay at least 100 yards away from Rihanna.

Chris Brown Completes Domestic

Egypt Prisoners Escape

Egypt Prisoners Escape - Thousands of prisoners have escaped from prisons across Egypt as rioting spreads following days of violent protests.

Numerous jailbreaks have been registered in Alexandria, Aswan other places. An estimated 5,000 inmates are reported to have broken free in El Fayoum, south of Cairo, killing a senior police officer.

Army units have temporarily blocked traffic along the highway connecting the capital Cairo with the country’s second biggest city of Alexandria.

Egypt Prisoners Escape

Milton Babbitt Dies

Milton Babbitt Dies - Composer Milton Babbitt, who was known for his complex orchestral compositions and credited with developing the first electronic synthesizer in the 1950s, died Saturday. He was 94.

Paul Lansky, a composer and Princeton University colleague who was once a student of Babbitt's, told The Associated Press he died Saturday at a Princeton hospital. Lansky said he did not know the cause of death.

Born in Philadelphia, Babbitt earned degrees from both Princeton and New York University. He joined Princeton's faculty in 1938 and became a professor emeritus of music there in 1984.

In the 1950s, RCA hired Babbitt as a consultant as it was developing the Mark II synthesizer. He became a founder and director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, where the synthesizer was installed.

He blended electronic music with vocal performances in compositions such as "Vision and Prayer" and "Philomel" in the 1960s and "Reflections" in 19…

Monk Smoking Law

Monk Smoking Law - A Buddhist monk could face five years in prison after becoming the first casualty of a stringent anti-smoking law in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which vows to become the first smoke-free nation.

The monk has been charged with consuming and smuggling contraband tobacco under a law that came into force this month, the newspaper Kuensel reported on Friday, having been caught in possession of 72 packets of chewing tobacco.

Monk first to be charged under Bhutan smoking law

Bhutan, where smoking is considered bad for one's karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. But with a thriving smuggling operation from neighbouring India, the ban failed to make much of an impact.

The new law has granted police powers to enter homes, threatening jail for shopkeepers selling tobacco and smokers who fail to provide customs receipts for imported cigarettes.

"He can be charged with smuggling of controlled substances, which is a fourth degree felony," a police off…

Mail Carrier Discount Coupons

Mail Carrier Discount Coupons - A mail carrier on New York's Long Island is accused of pinching thousands of discount coupons intended for residents' mailboxes.

Police say 38-year-old Thomas Tang of Baldwin stole more than 7,000 J.C. Penney Co. discount coupons he was supposed to deliver to the department store's customers. Police say Tang then sold the coupons on eBay.

Tang was charged with grand larceny. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail.

His attorney was not immediately available for comment.

The alleged theft occurred between October 2009 and this January.

Mail Carrier Discount Coupons

Lea Michele Sing Super Bowl

Lea Michele Sing Super Bowl - Not only will Lea Michele be starring in a "Glee" Thriller-themed post-Super Bowl episode, she'll also be singing before the big game.

She has signed on to belt out "America the Beautiful" at the start of the Super Bowl on February 6.

As previously announced, Christina Aguilera will sing the national anthem.

After the Super Bowl game, the cast of "Glee" will perform a mash-up version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as part of special episode of the series. It is said to be the most expensive episode in the 18 month history of "Glee."

The annual Super Bowl is traditionally the most-watched event on U.S. television, drawing more than 100 million viewers.

Lea Michele Sing Super Bowl

Eva Longoria Dating Penelope Cruz Brother

Eva Longoria Dating Penelope Cruz Brother - Two of the world's most stunning women - EVA LONGORIA and PENELOPE CRUZ - could soon be family, if the Desperate Housewives star's new romance works out.

US reports claim Eva, who split from husband TONY PARKER in November, is dating Penny's younger brother, singer EDUARDO CRUZ.

A source told an American magazine: "He's there at least three nights out of every four - he turns up and he leaves the next morning. They are trying desperately to stay beneath the radar."

The pair reportedly met at a party and, on Christmas Eve, the 25-year-old Spaniard was spotted with the 35-year-old actress in the garage of her home.

A rep for Eva stated: "Eva and Eduardo are friends."

Eva Longoria Dating Penelope Cruz Brother

Jeremy Piven Miley Cyrus

Jeremy Piven Miley Cyrus - Entourage star Jeremy Piven, 45, and teen queen Miley Cyrus, 18, apparently have all the makings of a true friendship.

"I think I must be an 18-year-old girl because we got along really well," Piven told E! during the Sundance Film Festival. "It was just so much fun. I had so much fun with her and we had great chemistry. It was really really weird -- we're like polar opposites."

So, where did they meet? That would be on the set of their upcoming movie So Undercover, which has been filming in New Orleans for the past few months. Like a real best friend, Piven defends Cyrus against negative buzz for racy photos and a recent video showing the teen smoking the hallucinogen salvia.

Jeremy Piven Miley Cyrus

First Beatles Degree

First Beatles Degree - A Canadian singer has become the first person in the world to graduate with a Masters degree in The Beatles.

Former Miss Canada finalist Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy was one of the first students to sign up in England for the course on the Fab Four when it launched at Liverpool Hope University in 2009.

Twelve full-time students joined the Master of Arts course in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society that year and 53-year-old Mary-Lu is the first to graduate.

She said: "I am so proud of my achievement. The course was challenging, enjoyable and it provided a great insight into the impact The Beatles had and still have to this day across all aspects of life."

The course looks at the studio sound and composition of The Beatles and how Liverpool helped to shape their music.

The MA also examines the significance of The Beatles' music and how it helped to define identities, culture and society.

Founder and leader of the Beatles MA, Mike Brocken, said: "…