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  • Stewart, Sanders Scandal Not A Family Affair

    A U.K. publication claims to have spoken with Liberty Ross' brother about the alleged affair between Rupert Sanders and Kristen Stewart, but sources close to Ross deny that anyone from her family has disclosed any information to the public.

    The People recently published a story saying that Leopold Ross, Liberty's 28-year-old musician brother who is living in Los Angeles, revealed details about Stewart and Sanders' relationship, claiming it lasted "from the last half of filming and all through post-production, clear into last week.”

    The story was in stark contrast to People magazine's original report about the affair, in which sources claimed the "Twilight" actress and the married director only engaged in a "fleeting moment that never should have happened."

    Although The People is standing by its story, a source close to Ross and her family told People magazine that all quotes in the article are false.

    "Contrary to inaccurate reports, neither Liberty Ross nor any member of her family has spoken to the media," the source told People magazine. "Quotes that are being attributed to the Ross family have been completely fabricated."

    People also maintains that the fling between Stewart and Sanders was short-lived and began only recently.

    Us Weekly, the first to break the news about the cheating scandal, published its story last week. The magazine hit newsstands on Friday and the photos of Stewart and Sanders were published online Monday.

    Stewart and Sanders both issued statements apologizing for their indiscretion, but so far, their significant others have remained silent.

    Ross reportedly posted some cryptic messages on her social media networks, including the Marilyn Monroe quote: "Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together" and a photo of a drunken Snow White.

    Robert Pattinson moved out of the Los Angeles home he shared with Stewart. Stewart and Pattinson met while filming the first "Twilight" movie in 2008 and began dating shortly thereafter.

    Although Stewart issued a very publicly apology to him, Pattinson has not yet made a statement, but sources said he is devastated.

    'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Soundtrack: E L James Picks The Perfect Christian Grey & Anastasia Steele Playlist

    Have you ever wondered what music would accompany Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele on their journey toward everlasting love? Or, you know, what they would play in the car during that one particularly naughty scene? Well, now you do.

    Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James has curated her own playlist -- and it pretty much includes every song that you think it should. From Britney Spears' "Toxic" (which James writes would play as Christian and Anastasia "drive to chase the dawn") to Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" (which Anastasia blasts on her drive back to Washington State University) and Kings of Leon's "Sex of Fire" (do we really need to explain this one?) James' soundtrack is every bit as gratifying as Christian Grey himself.

    The Fifty Shades of Grey book trilogy follows Anastasia Steele, a headstrong but innocent recent college graduate, as she navigates an erotic sexual relationship with complicated billionaire businessman Christian Grey. Not only did the series reign over the New York Times best-seller list, but before you could say "safe word," the movie rights were also snatched up by Universal Pictures and Focus Features.

    In more Fifty Shades of Grey news, the casting search for the perfect leading pair to play Christian and Anastasia is still in full-swing. "Harry Potter" actress Emma Watson recently nixed rumors that she would play the WSU college student in the movie adaptation of the best-selling novel. Meanwhile, "Vampire Diaries" star Ian Somerhalder has said he would "absolutely" be up for portraying Christian Grey.

    "It could be very, very amazing. I have the book and I just started reading it," he said in April. "That would be a pretty incredible thing, and hopefully that could pan out," he said. "Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I think that would be a phenomenal opportunity!"

    Emma Watson addresses 'Fifty Shades of Grey' casting rumors

    The Internet got all sorts of excited last week when rumors began to surface that Emma Watson was in talks for the role of Anastasia Steele in the film adaptation of  Fifty Shades of Grey. Not so fast, says Watson. “I haven’t read the book, I haven’t a read a script, nothing,” Watson tells EW. “There are so many movies you become attached to when I’ve literally never even received a phone call. It was the same way with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – I never even saw a script!”

    Watson is plenty busy: she has The Perks of Being a Wallflower in theaters this fall; she recently wrapped Sofia Coppola’s  The Bling Ring and is currently working on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. She adds that even some friends and family asked her about Grey since so many different items linking her to the film have popped up online. “I told them just because there are 60 articles on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s any less true than if there are three or four.”

    And a word to the wise for those who believe everything that they read about the actress: “The thing is I’m not going to go out there every time someone attaches me to a film to say no or release a statement.”

    Mischa Barton's Extreme Paparazzi Story, Photographer Lets Air Out Of Star's Tires

    When a star-in-the-making is finally given their key to the celebrity clubhouse, they turn in their civilian badge along with the privacy privileges that come along with it. But we can all agree that there are situations when hungry celebrity photographers go way to far.

    Mischa Barton took to Twitter to share a story of a paparazzo who went to extreme lengths to get a few photos of the often bullied star.

    "Thanks a lot to the photographer who decided to let the air out [of our] tires and watch us pump them back up," Barton tweeted.

    The former "The O.C." actress went on to tell her Twitter followers that recent paparazzi incidents even brought her to tears, after photographers began hounding the star and her boyfriend while they were swimming at a secluded Formentera beach.

    "Haven't been so upset about paparazzi pictures online in a long time," she continued.

    But Barton isn't the only one to let out her paparazzi-induced frustrations on the social networking site. Miley Cyrus is also a very vocal paparazzi-hater -- and for good reason.

    Peter Jackson Confirms Third 'Hobbit' Film Set For Summer 2014 Release

    Middle-earth fans, you may need to sit down for this one: Peter Jackson has confirmed "The Hobbit" will become a trilogy.

    It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made," Jackson wrote on Facebook. "Recently Fran [Walsh], Philippa [Boyens] and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie -- and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: Do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.'"

    Rumors of a third film emerged at Comic-Con, when Jackson told a HitFix reporter that he was considering splitting the second and final part of "The Hobbit" -- titled "The Hobbit: There And Back Again" -- into two films.

    "We have certainly been talking to the studio about some of the material we can't film, and we've been asking them so we can do a bit more filming next year," Jackson told HitFix at the time. "Which, I don't know what would come of that, whether it'd be extended editions or whatnot. But those discussions are ongoing."

    Currently, the third "Hobbit" film is slated for a summer 2014 release date. Meanwhile, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" arrives on Dec. 14, and "The Hobbit: There And Back Again" is out on Dec. 15, 2013.

    Skeptical fans might be concerned over the third film's plot; after all, some felt that there was lack of material in J.R.R. Tolkien's original book. It is rumored that Jackson will use material from the appendixes Tolkien wrote at the end of "Return of the King," the final chapter in the "Lord of the Rings" series, to close "The Hobbit" trilogy.

    Of course, plot worries might not matter that much in the long run. Jackson's last Tolkien trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings," grossed nearly $2.9 billion worldwide.

    The M1 Abrams: The Army tank that could not be stopped

    The M1 Abrams tank has survived the Cold War, two conflicts in Iraq and a decade of war in Afghanistan. No wonder – it weighs as much as nine elephants and is fitted with a cannon capable of turning a building to rubble from two and a half miles away.

    But now the machine finds itself a target in an unusual battle between the Defense Department and lawmakers who are the beneficiaries of large donations by its manufacturer.

    The Pentagon, facing smaller budgets and looking towards a new global strategy, has decided it wants to save as much as $3 billion by freezing refurbishment of the M1 from 2014 to 2017, so it can redesign the hulking, clanking vehicle from top to bottom.

    Its proposal would idle a large factory in Lima, Ohio, as well as halt work at dozens of subcontractors in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states.

    Opposing the Pentagon’s plans is Abrams manufacturer General Dynamics, a nationwide employer that has pumped millions of dollars into congressional elections over the last decade. The tank’s supporters on Capitol Hill say they are desperate to save jobs in their districts and concerned about undermining America’s military capability.

    So far, the contractor is winning the battle, after a well-organized campaign of lobbying and political donations involving the lawmakers on four key committees that will decide the tanks’ fate, according to an analysis of spending and lobbying records by the Center for Public Integrity.

    Sharp spikes in the company’s donations – including a two-week period in 2011 when its employees and political action committee sent the lawmakers checks for their campaigns totaling nearly $50,000 – roughly coincided with five legislative milestones for the Abrams, including committee hearings and votes and the defense bill’s final passage last year.

    After putting the tank money back in the budget then, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have again authorized it this year — $181 million in the House and $91 million in the Senate. If the company and its supporters prevail, the Army will refurbish what Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno described in a February hearing as “280 tanks that we simply do not need.”

    It already has more than 2,300 M1’s deployed with U.S. forces around the world and roughly 3,000 more sitting idle in long rows outdoors at a remote military base in California’s Sierra mountains.

    The $3 billion at stake in this fight is not a large sum in Pentagon terms – it’s roughly what the building spends every 82 minutes. But the fight over the Abrams’ future, still unfolding, illuminates the major pressures that drive the current defense spending debate.

    These include a Pentagon looking to free itself from legacy projects and modernize some of its combat strategy, a Congress looking to defend pet projects and a well-financed and politically savvy defense industry with deep ties to both, fighting tooth-and-nail to fend off even small reductions in the budget now devoted to the military – a total figure that presently composes about half of all discretionary spending.

    US gymnast Aly Raisman's parents were hilariously nervous during her competition


    US gymnast Aly Raisman's parents were hilariously nervous during her competition
    3 hours ago by SteveDel

    A lot of moms get carried away watching their son or daughter in a youth soccer game for the local recreation league, so we can imagine what watching your child compete in the Olympics must be like. This is no doubt as stressful a time for the parents of athletes in London as it is for the actual competitors. Fortunately for us, some parents handle the stress in hilarious fashion.

    As you can see, US gymnast Aly Raisman’s parents were a bit on edge during her gymnastics routine on Sunday. Her mother Lynn, a former gymnast, seemed to be right there with Aly for every move. Her dad Rick took a while to get going, but the landing brought him out of his seat and inspired a solid fist pump.

    While they look a bit silly and may need to cool off with an ice bath like their daughter did, you can’t knock the Raismans for being nervous and enthusiastic. After all, the Olympics are once every four years.

    7 die in head-on collision on I-10 near Phoenix

    Seven people have died in a crash on Interstate 10 near Phoenix after a semitrailer truck crossed the highway's median and struck a van head on.

    Carrick Cook, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, says the victims were all inside the van when the crash happened Sunday about 60 miles west of Phoenix.

    Cook says the driver of the semitrailer truck and his wife were taken to a hospital.

    Cook says the vehicles caught fire after the force of the crash pushed them into a culvert.

    At least seven people were in the van. The identities and hometowns of those who died in the crash weren't immediately released.

    Cook says the van was registered to someone from western Arizona.

    'Chasing UFOs' Stars Blast Their Own Show

    It's been said there's no such thing as bad publicity, but when the stars of your own show give it a thumbs-down, that might be the exception.

    The National Geographic Channel premiered "Chasing UFOs," an eight-episode reality TV show last month, focusing on a trio of investigators traversing America in search of the truth of unexplained UFO reports, alleged alien abductions and reported military cover-ups.

    On the heels of less-than-positive reviews and viewer comments, two of the show's stars -- James Fox and Ben McGee -- revealed their own dissatisfaction with "Chasing UFOs," complaining that the show had placed more emphasis on entertainment value than a serious look at the UFO subject.

        Fox: "I know how disappointed all of you are. I am too. It's not the show that was sold to both myself and scientist Ben. Two months into it, we were off to a great start; good locations, solid witnesses and some opportunities for Ben to apply his field research as a geologist at some crash sites. Very exciting stuff. Unfortunately, when we actually got out in the field, we began to realize that they were more interested in poking around at night than allocating the time necessary during the day as, apparently (so we were told), Americans love watching others sneak around at night from the comfort of their couches. For the most part, it was gratuitous nighttime baloney. ... I promise I'll either quit or change my position within the show because at least I can make it all make some sense. The show does get a bit better further down the road, but not a lot. ... My credibility and reputation has, deservedly, taken a serious hit."

        McGee: "When we were brought onboard, the project certainly had a much harder inclination than its final realization, and as a career scientist, I was excited that NatGeo was at the helm (unaware of their desire for a major shift in programming flavor). Our intentions were very sincere. ... James and I both had expectations and (for our own reasons) hopes of an ultimately serious product. We both saw the project heading i
    n a different direction as time went on and were powerless to influence it. Injecting science into mainstream media is also problematic, and I am suffering heat in my own circles for the lack thereof on the show."

    Fox and McGee wrote their comments on the Facebook page of New York Times best-selling author Leslie Kean.

    NatGeo put up a brave face and tried to spin the criticism, suggesting what the two stars said could be taken out of context.

    "I think, naturally, they're going to get more comfortable with their roles and they're all figuring out what their roles are in the series and how best to be authentic and represent their point of view in a way that viewers can relate to," said Michael Cascio, NatGeo Channel's executive vice president of programming.

    Missing Arkansas girl found safe; couple she lived with found dead

    A missing 12-year-old girl has been found safe after authorities discovered the bodies of the couple she lived with, Arkansas police said.

    Amber Whitlow was found Saturday night in Memphis, Tennessee, local police said. She was found with her 33-year-old brother, Antonio Whitlow, who is a suspect in her abduction as well as a double homicide, Memphis police spokeswoman Alyssa Moore said.

    Antonio Whitlow is in custody, Moore said. Amber was taken to a children's hospital as a precaution, and the Tennessee and Arkansas departments of child services were notified.

    Earlier Saturday, the man and woman whom Amber lived with were found dead inside a home in Little Rock, Arkansas, police said.

    Authorities received a call from a man who attended the same church as the slain couple and had found the woman just inside the home's doorway, Sgt. Cassandra Davis said.

    Officers investigated and found that woman and the dead man, who was further inside the residence. Both of the deceased were in their 60s, Davis said.

    Authorities have not released the names of the couple, nor have they indicated how they died. But Davis said Amber is either the daughter or granddaughter of the deceased couple.

    Sherlyn Chopra, Bollywood Actress, To Be Playboy's 1st Indian Model

    Sherlyn Chopra, a Bollywood film actor, will become the first woman from India to strip naked in Playboy.

    The 28-year-old knockout wrote to the magazine and suggested the idea herself, the BBC reported. They got back to her within a few days to accept.

    Fans will have to wait till the November issue circulates to get a glimpse of Chopra. A press conference earlier this week heralded the addition of a "Bollywood goddess" to the pantheon of beauties who've appeared on the pages of Hugh Hefner's magazine.

    But her decision to pose caused a controversy in her native India where the granddaddy of all adult magazines is banned. A critic cited by the Daily Mail wrote "one wonders if Sherlyn Chopra’s pictures wound a woman’s integrity."

    Chopra, who has had small roles in a handful of Bollywood flicks, is unfazed by the criticism.

    "I have become the first Indian to pose naked for Playboy," she said to the BBC, "and nobody can take away that achievement from me,"

    She uploaded snapshots from her tour of the famous Playboy mansions in Los Angeles to her Twitter account.

    Invicta FC 2 'McMann vs. Baszler' Results: Reaction for Every Fight

    Invicta FC will hold their second show in the same location as their first, Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.

    The 14-bout card will be streamed live and free on InvictaFC.com at 7 p.m. ET.

    In the main event of the evening top prospect and Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann takes on her toughest foe to date, Shayna Baszler.

    In the co-main, Strikeforce bantamweight Alexis Davis returns to action following her defeat to Sarah Kaufman in March to battle Hitomi Akano.


    Main Card
    Shayna Baszler (133.6) vs. Sara McMann (135.4)
    Hitomi Akano (135.8) vs. Alexis Davis (134)
    Kaitlin Young (135) vs. Liz Carmouche (135)
    Lacey Schuckman (115.4) vs. Ayaka Hamasaki (114.6)
    Raquel Pa'aluhi (134.4) vs. Amanda Nunes (135.4)
    Vanessa Porto (133.6) vs. Sarah D'Alelio (136.2)*
    Bethany Marshall (124) vs. Barb Honchak (124.2)
    Elina Nilsson (144.6) vs. Julia Budd (145.2)

    Preliminary Card
    Carla Esparza (115.2) vs. Sarah Schneider (116)
    Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (105.2) vs. Angelica Chavez (105.4)
    Sarah Moras (134.8) vs. Raquel Pennington (134.4)
    Jessamyn Duke (135) vs. Suzie Montero (136)
    Cheryl Chan (124.2) vs. Jocelyn Lybarger (124.8)
    Jessica Philippus (107.2) vs. Liz McCarthy (104.2)*

    *Sarah D'Alelio was able to weigh-in under 136-pounds on her second weigh-in. Jessica Philippus was unable to cut more weight. The fight will still proceed and she will be penalized 25% of her fight purse.
    source

    Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Will Keep Bikini Look at London Olympics

    Glory be to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings, who will maintain the old school by keeping the bikini look in the London Olympics.

    The New York Post's Marc Berman reports May-Treanor and other USA Olympic Volleyball athletes will still don bikinis despite a London rule that maintains players can now wear shorts and a T-shirt.

    This is hardly a matter of style or sexy undertakings from the part of the athletes. Simply, they wear what is comfortable and what got them to this stage in their respective careers.

    Kerri Walsh Opens Up About Her Athlete Crush

    Jen Kessy was one of the more vocal proponents of the bikini, and had this to say to The New York Post. She even goes so far as to cite the horrendous heat wave in London as one of the benefits.

        "We’re not uncomfortable in our bikinis. Growing up in southern California, that’s what you wear from when you’re a little kid to now in the summertime.

        "This is the most comfortable thing for us to wear...If it is cold, we will put clothes on. But we won’t be playing in shorts. For us, that’s not comfortable. You get sand everywhere in the pockets. But for others, it’s now their choice...If the weather stays like this, we’ll be in our bikinis all night."

    The report states the biggest reason for the change in clothing is for athletes from other countries and various religions who may be precluded from playing because of the dress code.

    Hi-res-91223450_crop_exact Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Even Kessy sounds off on the great benefit of the new rule. The fact is, the US women may be more comfortable with less, but that sentiment hardly extends around the world. She finds any preclusion because of clothes, "not OK."

    This is a win-win across the board.

    Women who would rather play in shorts and shirt are allowed, as they should be from the start. We want the best athletes playing at their most comfortable.

    Uniform codes shouldn't deter anyone, because there is nothing Olympic about that.

    Ryan Lochte wins gold in 400 IM, Michael Phelps fails to medal in first race at London Games

    Michael Phelps’ reign as the world’s most dominant Olympic swimmer took a serious hit in his first race at the London Games.

    Ryan Lochte captured the gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday, while Phelps finished fourth – failing to medal for the first time since the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney when he was just 15 years old. Lochte showed why he has been considered the world’s best swimmer over the last year, holding strong throughout the race before making his move in the backstroke and then steadily pulling away in the breaststroke and freestyle.

    And while Lochte’s performance was brilliant, Phelps' struggle was equally captivating as the race wore on. Phelps has typically been able to make his move in the butterfly leg of the medley and finish strong in the freestyle, but he struggled to make up ground or mount a charge in any of the four legs of the race.

    Japan’s 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino held off Phelps down the race's final 50 meters during the freestyle leg, touching at 4:08.94 and nudging Phelps off the medal stand. Phelps finished at 4:09.28.

    "It was a crappy race," Phelps said. "I felt fine for the first 200 meters and then I just don’t know. They just swam a better race – a smarter race than me. They were more prepared. That’s why they are on the medal stand."


    Phelps moved from third to second position in the second 50 meters of the race, but was never able to mount a serious charge from there. His splits gradually faded as the race went on, and he slipped from second to third during the second half of the backstroke leg. Hagino overtook Phelps in the front end of the freestyle and was never seriously threatened for third place.

    USA's Michael Phelps competes in a heat of the men's 400-meter individual medley at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)Michael Phelps couldn't keep up in the men's 400m IM. (AP)Phelps arrived at his block in typical fashion – goggled up and under a set of headphones. He toweled off his block and shook his arms, loosening up before taking his perch. But his departure was far different than anything we’ve seen in an Olympic games. After touching, he stared at the video board in mixture of disgust, disbelief and anger.

    "The biggest thing is to get past this and move forward," Phelps said. "I have a bunch of other races. Hopefully we can finish a lot better than we started."

    Amy Childs Introduces Her New Boobs To The Sunshine

    When Amy Childs debuted her new boobs in a high-necked top earlier this month, we thought she may have turned over a new leaf.

    But this is AMY CHILDS we are talking about. They were never going to stay under wraps for long.

    And with the temperatures still riding high, there was no better excuse for the former TOWIE star to introduce her new pups to the sunshine.

    As she stepped out with current squeeze David Peters yesterday, Amy showed off her assets in a plunging maxi-dress.

    But Amy wrote in her new! magazine column this week she wasn't sure if David was a fan of the augmentation.

    "He hasn’t said, “Ooh, I like them!” He’s more like, “I want you to be happy and I want you to be comfortable”' she said.

    Well by the looks of this pic, we'd say it's probably safe to say he's a fan.

    London offers Olympics unlike any other

    As the Games of the 30th Olympiad take over this city steeped in so much history, London will be celebrating — while thumbing its nose at tradition.

        World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus practices at a decked out Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Historic Wimbledon will host Olympic tennis.

        By Clive Brunskill, Getty Images

        World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus practices at a decked out Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Historic Wimbledon will host Olympic tennis.

    Enlarge

    By Clive Brunskill, Getty Images

    World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus practices at a decked out Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Historic Wimbledon will host Olympic tennis.

    Beach volleyball and bikinis will appear not far from No. 10 Downing St. Hot pink will crash all-white Wimbledon. Marathoners will huff past Westminster Palace, the Tower Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral. Equestrians will pass time at Greenwich Park on the meridian from which the world's time is set. Rowers will look to make history in the shadow of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

    Thanks to the city's iconic backdrop and a number of Olympic firsts, the London Games are poised to be unlike any other, providing fans across the world with real-time images and memories as indelible as the Games themselves.


    The beach volleyball stadium — situated at the Horse Guards Parade on the prime minister's doorstep in central London — has its own unique soundtrack.

    "We got ding-donged by Big Ben during practice," Czech beach volleyball player Petr Benes said this week. "That was fantastic."

    To celebrate the start of the Games today, Big Ben will chime more than 40 times during a three-minute span. At the same moment, thousands of bells — school bells, church bells, bicycle bells and door bells — will ring across the country as Britons recognize that their grand moment on the world stage has arrived, welcoming athletes and fans from more than 200 countries.

    Queen Elizabeth will ring in these Games at today's opening ceremony, with a royal entourage that will include Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate and Prince Harry. After the sterility of the 2008 Beijing Games, London is looking to achieve a different vibe, kicking off the evening with a three-hour extravaganza featuring Paul McCartney, David Beckham and a pastoral set at Olympic Stadium with scores of farm animals intended to paint for the world a picture of a quaint British countryside.

    Dana Vollmer Sets Olympic Record In 100m Butterfly At London Games

    LONDON, England, July 28. DANA Vollmer decided to kick it up a notch in prelims of the women's 100-meter butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics.

    Vollmer, who already held the American record with a 56.42 from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, a time which also stood as the textile best, put on the afterburners in prelims with a scorching time of 56.25. That swim not only bested her American and textile best time, it also wiped out the Olympic record of 56.61 set by Inge de Bruijn of The Netherlands at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.


    Vollmer's effort is the fourth fastest off all time, with her still standing as the fourth performer behind Sarah Sjostrom (56.06), Liu Zige (56.07) and Jessicah Schipper (56.23). Vollmer is in line to become the first American to win the event since Amy van Dyken claimed the title in 1996 with the closest finals swim in the Olympic event's history. Van Dyken clipped China's Liu Limin, 59.13 to 59.14, at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

    "I felt really good," Vollmer said after her race. "I like to push myself in the prelims and see where I'm going in my body. I did feel like I was kind of pacing myself and building up to get faster. Walking in I just had to remind myself that I love racing and the 100m fly is my favorite event. I feel so much better. I'm a completely different person to what I was four years ago."

    China's Lu Ying raced to second in 57.17 to move to 15th all time in the event's history. She will be attempting to win China's first gold medal in the event since Qian Hong topped the 1992 race with a 58.62.

    "I am doing good as normally in training I swim around 58ish, so this morning's swim (57.17sec) was not at my standard level," Lu said. "I feel good about it."

    Australia's Alicia Coutts (57.36), Sweden's Sjostrom (57.45) and Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen Gray (57.64) qualified third through fifth. Australia is riding a two-Games win streak in the event with Petria Thomas and Libby Trickett claiming the last two gold medals. Sjostrom, meanwhile, did enough to advance, but will be looking to better her world record of 56.06 set during the techsuit era. Denmark has never medaled in this event.

    China's Jiao Liuyang (57.71), USA's Claire Donahue (58.06) and Great Britain's Fran Halsall (58.23) rounded out the top eight.

    Great Britain's Ellen Gandy (58.25), The Netherlands' Inge Dekker (58.30), Singapore's Li Tao (58.34), Italy's Ilaria Bianchi (58.42), Belarus' Aliaksandra Herasimenia (58.50), Sweden's Martina Granstrom (58.70), Japan's Yuka Kato (58.72) and Greece's Kristel Vourna (58.73) also made the semifinal rounds.

    Michael Phelps barely makes 400 IM final vs. Ryan Lochte

    Phelps on Saturday morning qualified for the eighth and final spot in tonight's final of the 400 individual medley. That puts him in an outside lane tonight.

    "A final spot is a final spot," Phelps said. "The only thing that matters is getting a spot in. You can't win a gold medal from the morning."

    No, but you can lose one if you don't qualify, and Phelps very nearly didn't. He won his heat in 4 minutes, 13.33 seconds, barely beating Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, who finished in 4:13.40. Cseh will miss the final after winning silver in 2008 and bronze in 2004.

    Lochte qualified in third place overall.

    "My first race is always the worst one," Lochte said. "I'm glad I got the cobwebs out."

    And what of his rival and village suitemate qualifying last?

    "You can't count him out," Lochte said.

    "Even though he just squeaked in eighth, he's a racer. We're going to do everything we can to go 1-2 tonight."

    Count Japan's Kosuke Hagino in. He finished first overall in 4:10.01, a national record. The hotly anticipated Splash of the Titans between Phelps and Lochte could end up as Hagino's party, which would make him the first Japanese swimmer to win the Olympic 400 IM.

    Lochte (4:12.35) came second in his heat behind South Africa's Chad le Clos, who qualified second in 4:12.24.

    Phelps hopes to be the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three consecutive Olympics. Lochte, who won bronze in the 400 IM in 2008, beat Phelps in the event at the Olympic trials and won the world championship in the medley distance in 2009 and 2011.

    Tonight's other qualifiers are Thiago Pereira of Brazil, Thomas Fraser-Holmes of Australia, Luca Marin of Italy and Yuya Horihata of Japan. None was expected to be ranked above the

    Syria Reporters Struggle To Bear Witness As The Regime Unravels

    When it comes to covering Syria, the fog of war is especially thick.

    For 17 months, President Bashar al-Assad's regime has severely restricted press access in the country as his soldiers first brutally cracked down on peaceful protests and now battle opposition forces in a war that has claimed more than 19,000 lives.

    Western journalists have occasionally snuck into Syria, but on a daily basis primarily rely on information provided by opposition activists, residents, state-controlled media, rebel commanders, social media and anti-regime groups operating outside the country. Meanwhile, each warring side simultaneously fights a public relations war in the media.

    Several Beiruit-based correspondents told The Huffington Post that their outlets have gotten better at vetting information throughout the lengthy conflict and have built a large network of reliable sources in the process. Still, news reports on the latest explosion, firefight or alleged massacre routinely acknowledge that key details cannot be independently verified and correspondents say that this is not the ideal way to cover a war.

    "It's the most frustrating situation I've ever been in and potentially the most challenging," said Arwa Damon, a Beirut-based correspondent for CNN. "Now you're trying to newsgather via remote."

    Damon last reported inside Syria in February, an ordeal chronicled in CNN's documentary "72 Hours Under Fire." After three days, she left the war-ravaged city of Homs, north of Damascus, alongside veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin, who later reversed course and was killed in the city. Colvin is one of 16 journalists killed so far, according to information provided by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    Towie's Maria Fowler Slams Internet Bullies After Muhammad Ali Twitter Gaffe

    The Only Way Is Essex star Maria Fowler is calling for a campaign to stop internet bullies after she was taunted on Twitter for asking why Parkinson's stricken Muhammad Ali needed help walking during the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

    The TOWIE beauty was ridiculed last night by Olympic torchbearer and founder of youth broadcaster SB.TV Jamal Edwards after she posed the Twitter question.

    She wrote: "Ahhh wish I was there so bad. Muhammad Ali. No disrespect though but why can't he stand now?"

    Edwards quickly voiced his disgust on his Twitter page: " You are so DUMB! If I don't know a question I would go on the net first to find out especially what I'm talking about. Not go to Twitter & ask."

    Fowler replied: "I did Google and couldn't know why. Parkinson's is so sad. I lost my granddad to Parkinson's. Ali is a legend."

    She then attempted to taunt Edwards, writing: "Had to google u too but not much came up. Goat"

    Jamal replied again: "I put in work! What do you do? Your (sic) famous for no reason S***!"

    Fowler then wrote: "Hahaha exactly. Sit on my a**e and richer than u probs (sic) Like I said you are a goat internet troll"

    Following the Twitter spat, she is now desperate for cyber bullying to stop.

    Fowler said: "Right I am seriously going to see what can be done about internet bullies. It's pathetic how people can be filled with such hate. Actually sickens me the vile comments that get written on here. I actually would back any campaign to combat this. I am disgusted."

    Lioness Attacks Crocodile To Protect Pride



    In a instant, a tense situation escalated to an attack, and one lucky wildlife photographer managed to catch a violent moment between a lioness and a crocodile.

    "The sequence of six pictures of the real action were taken in one second," photog Pia Dierckx told The Daily Mail.

    Dierickx, 48, was observing the lioness and her pride as they prepared to cross a riverbed in Botswana. When a threatening crocodile appeared, the lioness sprung into action and grabbed the animal by its mouth. The two engaged in a quick but fierce battle, each biting the other, until the lioness ran off relatively unscathed, save for a cut to her lip.

    Dierckx reportedly told BPNS that it happened so quickly, she didn't even notice it.

    "It was only when I downloaded my pictures later that I saw what had happened," said Dierickx.

    This isn't the first time a lioness has been spotted protecting cubs. Last year, a mother lion was photographed rescuing her cub struggling on a slippery slope.

    In another precious moment caught on film this year, a lion trainer visiting four young lions on his last day of work was overwhelmed by their outpouring of love for him.

    Unfortunately, some lions are threatened by indiscriminate killing and habitat loss, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

    Check out the battle between the lioness and crocodile in the photo slideshow below:


    Opening Ceremonies Performances: Dizzee Rascal, Daniel Craig, The Queen Stun In London Olympics' Launch Event

    Friday's Opening Ceremonies mark the official launch of the 2012 London Olympics, and Britain called in a bevy of performances for director Danny Boyle's grand party.

    The festivities started with an illustrious trip through England's early years and the industrial revolution. Kenneth Branagh performed an excerpt from Shakespeare's "The Tempest," which Boyle had said inspired the show.

    Other characters figuring prominently included Daniel Craig's James Bond, who appeared in a pre-recorded skit with the Queen. A stunt version of the pair parachuted into the stadium as the Bond theme played.

    Among the surprises was Mr. Bean himself. Rowan Atkinson appeared among the London Philharmonic, looking annoyed at the dull keyboarding duties he was assigned. He then went joined some athletes for training, though he tired quickly of a beach run and called for a taxi. A cab promptly appeared and took him zooming past the supposed Olympians.

    Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort also appeared during the proceedings, but fear not: He was vanquished by a fleet of Mary Poppinses. The segment included a number of villains from children's books, including Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

    Dizzee Rascal performed during a musical montage, rapping his 2009 hit, "Bonkers." After the athlete march, the Arctic Monkeys took the stage to perform a medley of their song "You Look Good on the Dance Floor" and The Beatles' "Come Together."

    Of course, the biggest music moment of the evening was Paul McCartney's performance. The Beatle sang "Hey Jude," eventually leading a gigantic sing-a-long with the entire crowd in the stadium. It was a special moment, as the beautiful and intricate Olympic torch had just been lit.

    McCartney implored "just the men" and then "just the women, just the girl" to sing the song before bringing the entire crowd in for a cathartic final few verses.

    It's hard to imagine how expectations for Friday's event could have been higher. London's Olympiad follows Bejing's 2008 masterful ceremonies, during which, for example, over 2,000 drummers worked in unison to create a once in a lifetime light show. Boyle and the Olympic committee repeatedly said they were not trying to mimic the scale of 2008's proceedings.

    The renowned "Slumdog Millionaire" filmaker pleaded with those present for dress rehearsals to not tweet or leak details from the show. Though a surprisingly small amount of information has made it out, here's what the Associated Press was able to gather in advance:

        The ceremony will open at 9 p.m. with the sound of a 27-ton bell – the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world – forged at London's 442-year-old Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which made London's Big Ben and Philadelphia's Liberty Bell.

        A pre-recorded segment has been filmed inside Buckingham Palace, reportedly involving Queen Elizabeth II and Daniel Craig as secret agent James Bond. If rumor is to be believed, a stuntman dressed as 007 will parachute into the stadium to start the show.

        The opening sequence will evoke a pastoral idyll, the "green and pleasant land" described in William Blake's poem "Jerusalem," which has been set to music and is regarded as England's unofficial national anthem. There's a meadow, livestock, a farmer plowing his field, a cricket match – and, in a nod to Britain's plethora of rural summer music festivals, a mosh pit.

    'Killer Joe' boasts starry cast, NC-17 rating

    Matthew McConaughey is the latest A-lister to go NC-17. He plays the title role in "Killer Joe," which carries the Motion Picture Association of America's maximum restriction because of "graphic disturbing content."

    Directed by Oscar winner William Friedkin, "Killer Joe" is only the second NC-17 theatrical film to be released in the U.S. this year, because no one under 17 can be admitted no matter who accompanies them and limited audiences mean limited revenues.

    Still, more and more of Hollywood's top talent like McConaughey, Friedkin, and co-stars Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church are embracing edgy projects that require the stiff rating.

    Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche starred in the NC-17-rated French film "Elles," released earlier this year. "X-Men: First Class" and "Inglourious Basterds" star Michael Fassbender won raves for his turn as a sex addict in last year's only theatrically released NC-17-rated film, "Shame."

    "The NC-17 rating is about to go mainstream," said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com. "If Matthew McConaughey and Michael Fassbender are giving their stamp of approval to the creative freedom that NC-17 allows, people might go for it. While it may affect the ability to market a film, it brings a whole new cache of subversive marketing, and mainstream actors who give it legitimacy, credibility and raise it to a whole new level."

    "Let's wear it as a badge and keep it shined!" McConaughey said of the NC-17 rating for "Killer Joe."

    "That's certainly true of "Killer Joe," which opens in New York on Friday and other major cities next week. The MPAA says it contains "graphic disturbing content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality."

    Adapted from the stage by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts, it's a story about a small-time drug dealer (Hirsch) who hires a cop moonlighting as a hit-man (McConaughey) to kill his mother for her life-insurance benefits, and offers his virgin sister as collateral. It's adult material.

    Still, Friedkin was prepared to edit the film to potentially qualify for an R-rating, "but they wanted to go so far" with the cuts.

    "I often say what (the MPAA) wanted to do is what the generals said we had to do in Vietnam, which was destroy the country in order to save it," said the director, who won an Oscar for 1971's "The French Connection" and an Oscar nomination for 1973's "The Exorcist."

    "We're not targeting a teenage audience, so it's the correct rating," Friedkin continued. "But there are other films that I think are far more graphic in every way — language, sex and violence — that are playing with an R, because you won't see an NC-17 — which is an 'X' really — on a major studio film."

    McConaughey, who has been breaking out of his broad rom-com appeal with edgier roles, described "Killer Joe" as "a wild, raunchy, cheerfully amoral piece."

    A Five-Ring Opening Circus, Weirdly and Unabashedly British

    With its hilariously quirky Olympic opening ceremony, a wild jumble of the celebratory and the fanciful; the conventional and the eccentric; and the frankly off-the-wall, Britain presented itself to the world Friday night as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is.

    A maypole, still a staple of May Day celebrations in Britain, was part of the opening ceremony, conceived and directed by the filmmaker Danny Boyle. More Photos »

    The noisy, busy, witty, dizzying production somehow managed to feature a flock of sheep (plus a busy sheepdog), the Sex Pistols, Lord Voldemort, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a suggestion that the Olympic rings were forged by British foundries during the Industrial Revolution, the seminal Partridge Family reference from “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” a group of people dressed like so many members of Sgt. Pepper’s band, some rustic hovels tended by rustic peasants, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and, in a paean to the National Health Service, a zany bunch of dancing nurses and bouncing sick children on huge hospital beds.

    It was neither a nostalgic sweep through the past nor a bold vision of a brave new future. Rather, it was a sometimes slightly insane portrait of a country that has changed almost beyond measure since the last time it hosted the Games, in the grim postwar summer of 1948.

    Britain was so poor then that it housed its athletes in old army barracks, made them bring their own towels and erected no buildings for the Games. The Olympics cost less than £750,000, turned a small profit and made the nation proud that it had managed to rise to the occasion in the face of such adversity.

    There was that same sense of relief intermingled with self-satisfaction this time. But such was the grandeur of 2012, even in these tough economic times, that 80,000 people sat comfortably in a new Olympic Stadium, having traveled by sleek new bullet trains and special V.I.P. road lanes to a new park that has completely transformed once-derelict east London.

    A little rain fell, but it hardly mattered. Queen Elizabeth II was there, after co-starring with a tuxedoed Daniel Craig, also known as James Bond, in a witty video in which she appears to parachute from a helicopter (in fact, she entered the park the usual way). Looking mystified at times — the ceremony was pitched to a generation different from hers — she presided over a bevy of lesser royals and Prime Minister David Cameron.

    The first lady, Michelle Obama, was in the audience to cheer on the United States athletes, who, it must be said, did a lot of cheering for themselves anyway during the athletes’ procession. And Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was there, too, although he was practically Public Enemy No. 1 around here after he appeared to question the British capacity for enthusiasm, something only Britons are allowed to do.

    One of the biggest secrets of the night — who would light the Olympic caldron — was revealed at the end of the 3-hour-45-minute show, when seven teenage athletes took over from the British rower Steve Redgrave, who carried the torch into the stadium.  The ceremony, conceived and directed by the filmmaker Danny Boyle, was two years in the making. As is the case almost every Olympics, much of the speculation around it centered on how Britain could possibly surpass the previous summer host, China. In 2008, Beijing used its awe-inspiring opening extravaganza to proclaim in no uncertain terms that it was here, it was rich, and the world better get used to it.

    But outdoing anyone else, particularly the new superpower China, was not the point for a country that can never hope to re-create the glory days of its empire. Mr. Cameron, the prime minister, said this week that London’s are “not a state-run Games — it is a people-run Games,” and Boris Johnson, the London mayor, noted sharply that Britain was not planning to “spend our defense budget” on “pyrotechnics” but would take pride in being “understated but confident.” 

    Queen Elizabeth was picking her nails when Great Britain marched into Olympic Stadium

    When you've ridden to the Opening Ceremony in a helicopter with James Bond, watching 500 athletes march into a stadium just can't compare.

    Queen Elizabeth, who appeared in an amusing short film with actor Daniel Craig during the kickoff to the London Games, wasn't too impressed with Team Great Britain on Friday night. As 80,000 fans roared at the arrival of the nation's athletes into Olympic Stadium, the Queen was shown on television intently picking her nails, seemingly oblivious to the pandemonium around her.


    Earlier in the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth and James Bond were shown taking a helicopter away from Buckingham Palace. Director Danny Boyle filmed the scene in March. It culminated with a live shot of two stuntpeople dressed as the Queen and Bond parachuting out of the helicopter into Olympic Stadium.

    All that adrenaline must have taken its toll on the 86-year-old monarch. Displaying her usual stoicism, the Queen couldn't have been less interested in the Great Britain delegation marching in last during the parade of nations. The pool television feed cut to her for three seconds as the team walked on.

    The moment created a massive buzz on Twitter after it was broadcast live during the BBC's telecast of the Ceremony. A small sampling of the tweets:

    The Queen not caring about athletes marching? Not surprising. The Queen picking her nails in public? That's the stunner here. That's an action not befitting royalty. It's downright plebeian. What was she doing when the camera wasn't on her: Sipping on a Budweiser and burping? If Kate Middleton picked her nails on camera, she'd get the Anne Boleyn treatment!

    Gun carrying man ends stabbing spree at Salt Lake grocery store

    A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith's store.

    Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith's employee Dorothy Espinoza says, "He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people."

    Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. "There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms."

    Then, before the suspect could find another victim - a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. "A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith's grabbed him."

    By the time officers arrived the suspect had been subdued by employees and shoppers. Police had high praise for gun carrying man who ended the hysteria. Lt. Brian Purvis said, "This was a volatile situation that could have gotten worse. We can only assume from what we saw it could have gotten worse. He was definitely in the right place at the right time."

    Dozens of other shoppers, who too could have become victims, are also thankful for the gun carrying man. And many, like Danylle Julian, are still in shock from the experience. "Scary actually. Really scary. Five minutes before I walk out to my car. It could have been me."

    Police say right now they have no idea what caused the suspect to go on the dangerous rampage. (We will update as soon as we learn new information.)

    London 2012: Experimental 8K Television System Set to Debut

    Japanese public broadcaster NHK is developing a bleeding edge “Super Hi-Vision” 8K television system, which contains a jaw-dropping 16 times more picture information than today’s HDTV and 22.2 channels of surround sound. At the Olympics, NHK is teaming with the BBC and host broadcasting organization Olympic Broadcast Services to test this format—which is so precise that one could view a shot inside the Olympic Stadium that appears to be three dimensional and contains stunning detail.

    VIDEO: Olympic Conversation: THR Talks to 4 Famous Olympians

    “It’s exactly like looking through a glass window,” said Tim Plyming, the project executive for the BBC’s Olympics work in digital, live sites and Super Hi-Vision. “The images seem to go around corners and curves. Most people say it is more 3D than 3D. With 3D you are aware that your brain has to work. Here you just sit in front of the screen and relax.

    “I think when people see it, they will say this is the next really big format,” he added.

    The participants began planning this trial roughly two years ago, and in the coming weeks, they aim to not only dazzle viewers with an early look at Super Hi-Vision, but demonstrate for the first time NHK’s new 8K broadcast camera, as well as the ability to transmit 8K—a staggering amount of picture information—over IP networks.

    The introduction of NHK’s new 8K camera is notable because earlier Super Hi-Vision camera models were very large and cumbersome to move. Plyming said that in contrast, the new cameras offer 8K resolution in a body that is “exactly the same size as our normal broadcast cameras.”


    At the Olympics, the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field, swimming, cycling and basketball will receive some Super Hi-Vision coverage from four venues, including the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Basketball Arena and Velopark. Guests can see these images at public viewing sites in Glasgow, Bradford, and London in the UK; and two sites in Tokyo and one in Fukushima, Japan. The images will be transmitted from the BBC Television Centre in London.
    Following this trial, Super Hi-Vision will still not be ready for primetime. Plyming said it might be as far as "10-20 years away." NHK has reported that it aims to begin experimental Super Hi-Vision broadcasting in Japan during 2020.

    8 Diet and Exercise Mistakes That Age You

    Eating too much sugar certainly isn't wise for your waistline, but did you know that overindulging in dessert can add years to your face? And even if you do strenuous cardio workouts each week, you'll be missing out on potential anti-aging body benefits if your schedule doesn't include yoga, weight training, and rest. "Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of healthy skin," explains Leslie Baumann, MD, a Miami Beach dermatologist. The natural ingredients in whole foods such as romaine lettuce and strawberries help increase cell turnover, and boost production of collagen fibers to help keep skin smooth and firm. Conversely, foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. Even if your diet is wholesome, you could be making exercise mistakes that age you as well. For example, if you only do cardio at the expense of other types of exercise, like yoga and strength-training, you could be missing out on skin-protective benefits. Find out if you're making one of these 8 common aging diet and exercise mistakes, and get smart prevention strategies that can keep you slim and youthful for years to come.
    The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. To prevent this natural process from careening out of control, Naila Malik, MD, a derm in Southlake, TX, sticks to low-glycemic carbs like whole grains; they're naturally low in sugar, and the body processes them slowly to limit the loss of collagen. If you want to sweeten up your tea or oatmeal without making your skin look older, try all-natural stevia. It's an easily digested herbal sweetener that doesn't trigger glycation, according to board-certified dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, an adjunct professor of medicine at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine. Taking your work angst out on the Spinning bike or treadmill might make you feel better for a little while, but incorporating yoga into your fitness routine regularly may help you look younger and prevent breakouts while whittling away stress. Sounds like a winning workout to us! "Yoga moves like Child's Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation--the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow," says Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, DC - area dermatologist. New research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging. If you need another reason to om away your stress: High levels of tension can spike hormone production that leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis. "Controlling stress keeps your skin calm," says Annie Chiu, MD, a derm in LA.

    Romney and First Lady May Cross Paths in London

    With the first presidential debate still a few months away, President Obama won’t have to meet his Republican challenger face-to-face for a while — but his wife may not have to wait.

    Visiting London for the Olympic Games, Michelle Obama and Mitt Romney may cross paths across the pond on Friday, as the two are scheduled to wish Team USA luck and attend the opening ceremony.

    Leading the presidential delegation, Mrs. Obama will start Friday with a breakfast of champions, where she will meet members of the Olympic team. Then she will head to a “Let’s Move!” event with American and British children, including about 1,000 from American military families.

    Later, as part of the first lady’s third trip to England since Mr. Obama took office, she will attend the queen’s reception for heads of state at Buckingham Palace and then the opening ceremony.

    The Romney campaign announced that Mr. Romney would also be meeting with American athletes and attending the opening ceremony as part of the first leg of his trip to England, Israel and Poland.

    Far from being a stranger to the Olympics, Mr. Romney ran the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. But this year, his interest is especially personal: a horse co-owned by Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, will be competing as part of the U.S. Olympic dressage team.

    Once Told He’d Never Walk Again, Irish Gymnast Is Now Olympian

    Before life threw more adversity at him than one person ought to bear, Kieran Behan told his mother that he would be an Olympic gymnast someday.

    He was just a boy, maybe 6 years old, when he fell in love with gymnastics, drawn to the thrill of it while watching the Summer Games, enamored by the possibility that he too could defy gravity and flip through the air as if he could fly.

    But that was before a series of injuries, two so severe that doctors told him he would never walk again: a botched leg operation that caused nerve damage and a brain injury that kept him from doing even the simplest things, like sitting or eating.

    Yet Behan, a 5-foot-4-inch plucky phoenix, pushed on.

    “Doctors told me, stop thinking about your crazy dreams because you’ll never walk again and you must accept that it’s over for you,” Behan said. “But I just kept saying: ‘No, no, no — this is not the rest of my life. This is not how it’s going to play out.’ And look at me now, an Olympian. They said it was impossible, but I did it.”

    Behan, 23, barely clinched an Olympic berth in January, qualifying second to last at the Olympic test event to become the first Irish gymnast to make it to the Games by his own talent, not by wild card. He benefited from a new Olympic rule that limits each team to five gymnasts instead of six, to make more spots available to individuals whose country does not field a full team.

    Many of the powerhouse squads, including the United States’, criticized the rule change, saying it watered down the competition and forced some teams to leave a world-class gymnast at home. But the rule has an upside: it allows athletes like Behan to compete on the sport’s highest stage.

    “Kieran has gone through so much,” his mother, Bernie Behan, said through tears. “He deserves this.”

    Kieran Behan started gymnastics when he was 8, showing a talent for the tumbling. But soon came the first of many obstacles: when he was 10, he found a lump the size of a golf ball on his left leg.

    During surgery to remove what turned out to be a benign tumor, doctors kept a tourniquet on him too tight for too long, causing nerve damage that left Behan with limited feeling in his left foot. It also caused such pain that even a slight brush against his leg would cause him to scream. He could not walk, heading to school at one point to the taunts of other youngsters who already had it out for him.

    “They’d say, ‘Oh, look at the cripple,’ and that was so hard for me because, already, I was doing gymnastics and I was short, and I was doing a girls’ sport,” he said. “So a lot of times, I would sit at the kitchen window and watch all the kids running around the park and playing football, and I’d get pretty emotional. All I wanted to do was be an ordinary kid again.”

    Doctors warned him that the damaged nerves might never regenerate. A psychiatrist told him to prepare him for life in a wheelchair. They were wrong.

    Although it took 15 months, Behan did become an ordinary kid again. And he went back to gymnastics.

    But about eight months after he returned from his leg injury, disaster hit again. In what he calls a freakish accident, he smacked the back of his head on the metal horizontal bar during a routine and tumbled to the ground in a lump.

    Laura Bush: I think George makes an easy target

    Former first lady Laura Bush has spent years in the political spot light, but these days, she is enjoying time out of the glare. In an exclusive interview with ABC News, the former first lady says skipping the Republican National Convention this year is no big deal.

    "We'll be watching from the sidelines," says Bush. Democrats attacking her husband's legacy do not concern them either, she adds.

    "We know that, you know, people like to blame somebody else. That's just a fact of life in politics. You know, I think George makes an easy target," says Bush, laughing.

    A recent target in this election cycle has been Ann Romney. Bush's advice to the presumptive Republican nominee's wife is to enjoy the campaign, and the opportunity to travel around the country and meet people everywhere.

    "I'm sorry the first ladies are being attacked," she says. "I don't think I ever was really, or at least if I was, George didn't ever tell me about it."

    The Bush's may have left politics, but they have not left public life. The couple's ongoing fight against AIDS is a legacy they continue to build upon. Literally.  The couple recently traveled to Africa -- the second trip in about eight months -- to oversee work on a clinic that tests and treats HIV positive women for cervical cancer. On the last trip, they hunkered down with paint rollers and helped refurbish the clinic. One of them, says the former first lady, was more skillful at the job.

    Check out the latest Spinners and Winners to see who was the better painter, and to hear more of Bush's views on politics, and the couple's AIDS work.

    Katie Holmes 'Brilliant' in Divorce Strategy, Say Ex-Scientologists

    No one from either Tom Cruise's team or Katie Holmes' camp was talking on the record Monday after the couple announced they had reached what has to be one of the quickest celebrity divorce negotiations in history.

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    Although it seemed as if Holmes had pulled off what many were predicting last week -- the actress succeeded in strong-arming an organization that has been known in the past for getting its own way against everyone from Nicole Kidman to the IRS -- speculation that the split could force even more revelations about the secretive Church of Scientology to come to light as a result of a lengthy divorce trial have been dashed.

    One burning question remained after Cruise and Holmes said they had come to an agreement about the end of their five-year marriage and custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Suri: Will Holmes, as predicted by formerly top-ranking Scientologists, state that her decision to file for divorce from Cruise had nothing to do with Scientology?

    The answer? It's complicated. People will be watching to see if any statement either side makes beyond their joint and vague statement Monday about "respecting each other's beliefs" addresses Scientology and if anything in the settlement specifically restricts what Holmes can say about the organization.

    Marty Rathbun, a Scientologist for 22 years and considered the second-most powerful figure in the organization until he left in late 2004, told the Village Voice on Sunday that he foresaw a speedy settlement that would secretly give Holmes everything she wanted as long as she stated publicly that Scientology had nothing to do with why she wanted out of the marriage.

    So far, Holmes hasn't commented. And that's been just part of what Mike Rinder -- once the brains behind Scientology's handling of the media until he himself left the group in 2007 -- calls a dazzling strategy.

    "Katie's been brilliant, absolutely brilliant," Rinder told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday after the settlement was announced. "She hasn't made one statement." 

    A source close to Holmes' legal team says the 33-year-old actress is "very relieved" that a settlement has been reached. "Katie is glad that this situation has been resolved so swiftly and amicably."

    Madonna Booed, Called 'Slut' in France, Starts Riots

    French fans took Madonna’s “Express Yourself” lyrics seriously on Thursday night when they booed and expressed anger at the singer for cutting her show at famed Paris concert hall l’Olympia short after around just 45 minutes.

    After Madonna left the stage, fans remained in their seats booing and yelling insults like “salope,” the French word for “slut.”

    Madonna took the stage around 10:15 p.m. and finished around 11 p.m.

    The concert venue was filled mostly with big Madonna fans since the tickets for the show were available only to members of her official fan club before being released for sale to the general public. The concert was broadcast live via YouTube.

    The supplementary concert was added to the singer’s tour just last week and was sold out after just a few hours, with Material Girl devotees paying from 80 to more than 280 euros for the limited seats. Hundreds of fans gathered outside several hours before the show to fill the Olympia’s 2,700 seats and many slept on the streets overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. After the show, many of them gathered in the streets in front of the theater and yelled “remboursez! remboursez!” which means “give us our money back!” in French.

    Several fans expressed their discontentment on Twitter late into the night. One fan wrote in French “280€ for a seat + 10 minutes of a speech + 40 minutes of a show + 2 days of camping in front of the #Olympa = #Madonna #MDNA #Paris #thatsucks” and another wrote also in French “#Madonna 45min/250€ vs @springsteen 3h40/65€ ... what’s the better deal, there’s nothing left to say! #MDNAOlympia.” Another wrote: “How much does it cost to see Madonna at l’Olympia? It’s 6.3 euros per minute!”

    Her loyal fans aren't the only ones angry at the pop star. A July 14 concert at the Stade de France incurred the wrath of French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen, who is pressing charges after Madonna screened a video featuring a photo of Le Pen’s face with a swastika superimposed on it.


    Madonna also took a moment during the show to respond to Le Pen. “I know that I made a certain Marine Le Pen very angry with me. And it’s not my intention to make enemies,” Madonna told the crowd before adding: “It’s my intention to promote tolerance. And when we start saying that we have to get rid of this person or we have to get rid of that person, because then we’ll have a better place, it starts to sound like something else, it starts to sound like something scary. So the next time you want to point the finger at somebody and blame them for a problem in your life, take that finger and point it back at you.”

    Lady Gaga Sued by Bratz Toy Manufacturer

    Lady Gaga, controversial celebrity-type individual and award-winning singer, is always in the spotlight for one thing or another. If the media isn’t foaming at the mouth over her latest meat costume, chances are they’re explaining to the world why countries don’t want her performing music within their borders. Now, it would seem, Gaga is the target of a lawsuit by MGA Entertainment, the company responsible for birthing the Bratz line of dolls.

    According to reports, MGA paid Lady Gaga an advance of $1 million to produce a series of dolls based on her likeness. After the singer pocketed the money and agreed to the conditions, the company set forth to create said merchandise. MGA had originally planned to release the toys this summer in hopes of drumming up some interest before the holiday season rolled in. Unfortunately, Gaga and Universal Music Group had other plans.

    In April, Bravado, the merchandising firm owned by said music mogul, decided they wanted to unleash the toys upon the masses in 2013, around the same time that Lady Gaga’s next album is scheduled to drop. This, of course, did not settle too well with the folks at MGA, who have invested quite a bit of money in the product.
    .

    Carly Rae Jepsen’s Sex Tape is Fake, Nude Photos Could Be Real


    Carly Rae Jepsen is having an exceptionally good year. Her single “Call Me, Maybe” has been covered, parodied, mashed, lampooned, and lip-synced so many times that I honestly can’t say for sure if I’ve actually seen the original video. The song has become a huge summer hit, and it doesn’t look like the ferver surrounding the tune is going to die down anytime soon. Sadly, with sudden fame often comes unexpected turmoil. In Jepsen’s case, it’s the dreaded sex tape.

    A few weeks ago, nude photos began to circulate of Carly Rae Jepsen, snapshots which allegedly featured the singer brandishing her pierced nipples. As it turns out, those photos weren’t real; the images were actually of a 21-year-old Internet model who apparently has no qualms about taking her clothes off in front of the camera on a fairly regular basis. Catastrophe averted, right? Unfortunately, things only got worse from there.

    On July 23rd, an alleged sex tape featuring the “Call Me, Maybe” singer made its way online, prompting the Canadian pop star to address the leak on her Twitter page. “Crazy morning. Discovered that someone put up a sex tape claiming to be me. Ridiculous,” she explained. “Obviously not me.” Obviously.

    Just when the nude photos and sex tape rumors had started to die down, another rears its ugly head. This time, however, the photos could be real. According to TMZ, the singer’s laptop was hacked not too long ago, and several personal images were taken as a result. As per usual, someone is attempting to shop the images to various websites, though no takers have been announced as of this writing. Authorities, meanwhile, are on the case, and if reports are telling the truth, they even have a suspect already in mind.

    Considering the guy who hacked Scarlett Johansson’s phone is facing all sorts of trouble, I’m assuming Carly Rae Jepsen’s electronic intruder will face similar charges for his actions. However, here’s a good rule of thumb to live by: If you don’t want naked photos of yourself leaked onto the Internet, don’t take naked photos of yourself. Easy enough.

    History of Olympics


    According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles (the Roman Hercules), a son of Zeus. Yet the first Olympic Games for which we still have written records were held in 776 BCE (though it is generally believed that the Games had been going on for many years already). At this Olympic Games, a naked runner, Coroebus (a cook from Elis), won the sole event at the Olympics, the stade - a run of approximately 192 meters (210 yards). This made Coroebus the very first Olympic champion in history.

    The ancient Olympic Games grew and continued to be played every four years for nearly 1200 years. In 393 CE, the Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences.

    Approximately 1500 years later, a young Frenchmen named Pierre de Coubertin began their revival. Coubertin is now known as le Rénovateur. Coubertin was a French aristocrat born on January 1, 1863. He was only seven years old when France was overrun by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Some believe that Coubertin attributed the defeat of France not to its military skills but rather to the French soldiers' lack of vigor.* After examining the education of the German, British, and American children, Coubertin decided that it was exercise, more specifically sports, that made a well-rounded and vigorous person.

    Coubertin's attempt to get France interested in sports was not met with enthusiasm. Still, Coubertin persisted. In 1890, he organized and founded a sports organization, Union des Sociétés Francaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA). Two years later, Coubertin first pitched his idea to revive the Olympic Games. At a meeting of the Union des Sports Athlétiques in Paris on November 25, 1892, Coubertin stated,

    Let us export our oarsmen, our runners, our fencers into other lands. That is the true Free Trade of the future; and the day it is introduced into Europe the cause of Peace will have received a new and strong ally. It inspires me to touch upon another step I now propose and in it I shall ask that the help you have given me hitherto you will extend again, so that together we may attempt to realise [sic], upon a basis suitable to the conditions of our modern life, the splendid and beneficent task of reviving the Olympic Games.**
    His speech did not inspire action. Though Coubertin was not the first to propose the revival of the Olympic Games, he was certainly the most well-connected and persistent of those to do so. Two years later, Coubertin organized a meeting with 79 delegates who represented nine countries. He gathered these delegates in an auditorium that was decorated by neoclassical murals and similar additional points of ambiance. At this meeting, Coubertin eloquently spoke of the revival of the Olympic Games. This time, Coubertin aroused interest.

    The delegates at the conference voted unanimously for the Olympic Games. The delegates also decided to have Coubertin construct an international committee to organize the Games. This committee became the International Olympic Committee (IOC; Comité Internationale Olympique) and Demetrious Vikelas from Greece was selected to be its first president. Athens was chosen as the location for the revival of the Olympic Games and the planning was begun.

    * Allen Guttmann, The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992) 8.
    ** Pierre de Coubertin as quoted in "Olympic Games," Britannica.com (Retrieved August 10, 2000 from the World Wide Web. http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/2/0,5716,115022+1+108519,00.html).

    Bibliography

    Durant, John. Highlights of the Olympics: From Ancient Times to the Present. New York: Hastings House Publishers, 1973.

    Guttmann, Allen. The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

    Henry, Bill. An Approved History of the Olympic Games. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1948.

    Messinesi, Xenophon L. A Branch of Wild Olive. New York: Exposition Press, 1973.

    "Olympic Games." Britannica.com. Retrieved August 10, 2000 from the World Wide Web. http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/2/0,5716,115022+1+108519,00.html

    Pitt, Leonard and Dale Pitt. Los Angeles A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the City and Country. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.

    Google Nexus 7 competes with Samsung Galaxy Tab 2


    Google's Nexus 7 is the hottest new tablet around. The tablet has a 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor plus 1GB of RAM. With a quad core processor, the Nexus 7 is now one of the most powerful tablets and it only costs $249 (16GB version).

    View slideshow: Google Nexus 7 tablet
    The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7-inch version) is the same price as the Google Nexus 7's 16GB model. Even though it only has 8GB of internal memory (there are versions with more), it has a microSD slot which makes all the difference; it is easy to add 32GB more storage. Let's take a closer look at both of these tablets.

    Screen

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 features a WSVGA display with a resolution of 1024×600, while the Nexus 7 boasts an IPS display with a resolution of 1280×800. Samsung usually makes the best displays, but dropped the ball with this one. The display on the Nexus 7 is excellent, but lacks the color saturation of other tablets, especially from Samsung. Still, the Nexus 7 gives you a great screen for a low price.


    At first glance, it appears that Samsung might have dropped the ball with this category too since it only has a 1GHZ dual-core processor. Still, everything runs smoothly and Samsung's integration of its own software with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is well done. Even though the Nexus 7 doesn't really feel like it is running on a quad-core processor, it is easily faster than the Galaxy Tab 2.

    The Nexus 7 is the first tablet that comes with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Even though the learning curve is more difficult, Jelly Bean is far more tablet friendly than Ice Cream Sandwich. iPad users might be confused with Jelly Bean at first, but they may even prefer Jelly Bean to Apple's iOS after a few hours since it is far more customizable.

    London Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony


    he Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held at 9 pm BST on 27 July 2012 and will be called "The Isles of Wonder". Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is the artistic director who is co-ordinating and designing the opening ceremony.

    The games will be officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

    London is going to host Olympics Game third time. It has already hosted the Olympic Games two occasions, in 1908 and 1948.

    The Opening Ceremony is a celebration showcasing the best of the Host Nation. It also features a parade of all competing nations and the highly anticipated entrance of the Olympic Flame, which ignites the Cauldron and signals the start of the Games.

    Greece will lead the parade, followed by other competing countries in alphabetical order and finally the host nation Great Britain.

    The Ceremony will kick off with the sound of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe, produced by the Whitechapel Foundry, and the Stadium will be transformed into the British countryside for opening scene ‘Green and Pleasant’, which includes real farmyard animals.

    Danny Boyle, Artistic Director of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, said: ‘Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony that we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people.’


    Once the Games have been declared open, the Olympic Flag is then carried into the Stadium and hoisted into the air as the respective Anthem is played. The Olympic Charter states that each flag must fly for the entire duration of the Games – placed in a prominent position in the main Stadium.

    A total cast of 15,000 will take part in the London 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, which will be watched by an estimated audience of four billion.

    Indian musician A. R. Rahman said that he had composed a Punjabi song for the opening ceremony. It will be a part of a medley which will showcase Indian influence in the UK. Another Indian musician, Ilaiyaraja's song from Tamil-language film Ram Lakshman (1981), has also been chosen as part of the medley.

    Today (July 27, 2012, Friday) Google is showing below Doodle for marking the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

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