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  • Nicki Minaj Grammys 'Had A Different Reason' To Snub Me

    Despite having a big year in music, Nicki Minaj didn't receive any Grammy nominations. Not a problem, she says.

    "I've gotten tons of awards and I believe when it's my time to get a Grammy, I'll get a Grammy," she said with a laugh.

    The 30-year-old had one of last year's biggest hits with the multiplatinum dance-pop anthem "Starships." Her sophomore album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," has reached gold status and launched other hits on the rap and R&B charts.

    But Minaj, who received three Grammy nominations last year, including best new artist and best rap album for her platinum debut, "Pink Friday," was shut out when this year's nominations were announced.

    "I think that the Grammys had a different reason, that I do not want to discuss ... and that's just between me and them," she said in a recent interview. "But I respect their organization and I'll get a Grammy eventually. I'm not worried about it."

    A representative for The Recording Academy didn't immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment.

    Minaj was featured on Ludacris' "My Chick Bad," which was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award, before she released her first album.

    She was criticized when she released her sophomore album last April for taking on a pop-and-electronic sound that echoed Katy Perry, Rihanna and Ke$ha. "Roman Reloaded" is a mesh of hip-hop, dance, pop, R&B and reggae flavors, and producers included radio hit makers like RedOne and Dr. Luke.

    "I understand that artists and critics make a big deal over the Grammys. But when I go to my shows and I'm selling out arenas in London, and when I'm in Australia and Japan, there aren't any Grammys there," she said. "There are human beings who I've touched. There are human beings who are inspired by me, who I love dearly. And that's what my career is based on."

    Minaj, who is a new judge on "American Idol" alongside Mariah Carey and Keith Urban, said she would probably be upset if she doesn't earn Grammy respect later in her career.

    Rihanna On Chris Brown: 'He Doesn't Have The Luxury Of F*cking Up Again'

    Are they or aren't they? Rihanna and Chris Brown have played coy about their recent reconciliation, posting revealing Instagram photos of each other and releasing curious songs-with-a-message like "Nobodies Business." Now in a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Rihanna continues to neither deny nor confirm a romantic relationship with her ex-boyfriend, but does talk about why she decided to give him a second chance.

    In a preview of the article that hits stands Friday, the 24-year-old "Diamonds" singer says of Brown:

        "I decided it was more important for me to be happy. I wasn't going to let anybody's opinion get in the way of that. Even if it's a mistake, it's my mistake. After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I'd rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it."

    She adds that she feels safe in her relationship with Brown, and how its evolved:

        "But it's different now. We don't have those types of arguments anymore. We talk about shit. We value each other. We know exactly what we have now, and we don't want to lose that... He doesn't have the luxury of fucking up again. That's just not an option. I can't say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I'm pretty solid in knowing that he's disgusting by that. And I wouldn't have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility."

    Of course, Rihanna's words now are in sharp contrast from what she told Diane Sawyer in November 2009, nine months after Brown assaulted Rihanna in a car on the eve of the Grammys. In the emotional interview, Rihanna admitted that she had left Brown partly out of an obligation to set the right example for young women.

    Kourtney Kardashian Bikini New Mom Bares 44-Pound Weight Loss After Baby No. 2

    Second-time mom Kourtney Kardashian is back in a bikini after gaining 45-pounds while pregnant with her daughter, Penelope.

    Kardashian put on a tiny purple bikini, showing off a flat stomach and toned thighs, for an Us Weekly exclusive on her weight loss.

    The new mom, who gave birth to her second baby in July, dropped 44 pounds in just six months and rocked a gold bikini for the cover of Us Weekly.

    "This time, the focus is really on being a mom and being present, knowing my priorities," Kardashian told the magazine.

    She used celebrity fitness guru Tracy Anderson's 90-minute dance-focused exercises and cut her portions to get back down to 105 pounds.

    ”It took me twice as long as last time but I feel healthy and really much better about it,” Kardashian wrote on her Celebuzz blog.

    Kourtney gave her sister, Kim, some of the credit for her getting back in such great shape after the baby.

    "If she wasn't scheduling the workouts, I probably wouldn't have been as motivated," she told E! News of Kim helping her keep to a strict exercise regimen.

    With Kim set to give birth in July, Kourtney will likely be able to teach her a thing or two about motherhood -- something Kim has dissed in the past.

    "Mom life is so torturous," Kim told Kourtney in a recent episode of E!'s "Kourtney and Kim Take Miami." Adding, "I have a whole new perspective on how boring and miserable your lives are." She went on to say that she would "literally die" if she were to have kids right now, but later apologized and blamed the outburst on her own fertility fears.

    At the time, she didn't know she was pregnant with Kanye's baby.

    15-Year-Old Girl Shot And Killed In Kenwood Neighborhood Park

    A teenage girl–an honor student who had just performed at President Obama’s inaugural–was gunned down Tuesday afternoon in the Kenwood neighborhood, just blocks from the high school she attended.

    CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports the victim, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, was taking shelter from the rain with a group of 10 to 12 teenagers under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park on the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue around 2:30 p.m., when someone jumped a fence, ran up to them, and opened fire.

    Just days before, Hadiya performed with her high school band at President Obama’s inauguration.

    The park is near King College Prep High School — where Pendleton was an honor student, volleyball player, and majorette.

    A witness said the teens scattered and ran out of the park in a panic after the shots were fired. Pendleton and a boy who also was shot collapsed about a block away, in front of one of the upscale condo row houses that line Oakenwald.

    Pendleton was struck once in the back, and died at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital less than an hour later.

    The teenage boy who was shot was struck in the leg. He also was being treated at Comer Children’s Hospital.

    Lady Gaga's YouTube Views Stripped Singer Loses 156 Million Views

    Lady Gaga has been stripped of 156 million YouTube views after the site cleared out stats it deemed dummied up by hackers and viewcount generators.

    The development comes one month after the YouTube pages of Sony and Universal lost 2 billion YouTube views, largely because YouTube decided that videos migrated to the company's VEVO pages were "dead videos". While a small portion of the views stripped from Sony and Universal were due to what YouTube calls "de-spamming the data," the vast majority were taken away as a result of Sony, Universal and EMI's decision to bet on VEVO.

    As NME notes, VEVO is owned by Sony and Universal Music Group.

    Other artists affected by YouTube's housekeeping include Beyonce, Michael Jackson and Chris Brown. At the time of the original clean-up, singer Leona Lewis lost 24 million views.

    In July 2011, Lady Gaga's YouTube account was suspended and promptly restored. Though Google (which owns YouTube) declined to comment, a notice on her channel read that it was guilty of "multiple or severe violations of YouTube's copyright policy."

    Boy held hostage in bunker after being snatched from school bus

    A boy was being held hostage in a bunker in Alabama early Wednesday by a man who seized him from a school bus after fatally shooting the driver, witnesses and police said.

    Authorities were negotiating with the man overnight at the scene near Midland City.

    The driver of the bus died from gunshot wounds on Tuesday afternoon and the suspect was not in custody, according to the Dale County Sheriff's Department.

    Witnesses told NBC station WSFA that the suspect boarded the bus and ordered some children off before grabbing a boy aged 5 or 6, shooting the driver and fleeing towards his nearby home.

    Michael Senn, who is minister of a nearby church, told the station that he spoke to several children on the bus, including a girl who said the driver was shot four times. He described one 13-year-old as "really traumatized."

    Mike Creel, who said he was the suspect’s neighbor, told the station the suspect had hidden “in his homemade bomb shelter.” However, officials described it as a storm shelter.

    Creel said the suspect has lived on the property for around two years and that the underground shelter was “one of the first things he started building."

    The station said police believed the child was "OK" and that police were conducting negotiations with the suspect using a plastic pipe.

    Other neighbors identified the suspect to the local newspaper, the Dothan Eagle, as a 67-year-old man. NBC News was unable to confirm this early Wednesday.

    Lisa Harden, of the Dale County School District Office, said the bus was on a route that served all local schools, and had children of all ages on board.

    Dale County and Ozark city schools will be closed Wednesday, officials said.

    "Due to the sensitive nature of the open and ongoing incident, limited details are being released at this time," Dale County Sheriff's Department said in a 10 p.m. local time (11 pm. ET) Tuesday update.

    10 Date Night Ideas For Exhausted Parents

    Need ideas for a romantic evening out without the kids? We've got you covered.

    Did you have an abundance of date night ideas early in your relationship? How about when you were newly married? As parents, what date night ideas do the two of you come up with these days? Do you even have a date night?

    More from YourTango: Family Language [EXPERT]

    When my daughter, now a high school sophomore, was much younger, one of the topics among parents at the playground was date night. There were many couples who paid for sitters and spent their entire romantic evening either talking about what their son or daughter had done that day, or wondering what the child was doing at that moment with the babysitter.

    It's great to catch up on the latest developmental milestone or cute phrase from your daughter or son, but that's something that can be done after you've put the kids to bed. In hopes of stimulating your special time together, I offer the following date night ideas perfect for any parent:

    1. The daytime date "night." Contrary to the name of the article, make it a daytime date. During the day, you may be more awake and alert so you can actually enjoy each other's company. Many parents find that after a workday filled with responsibilities and pressure or a weekend that's packed with activities, they are too exhausted to enjoy each other's company. They sit across the table from each other and struggle to stay awake.

    2. Get nostalgic. Do something together that you enjoyed doing when you first met. It could be bowling, seeing a play or going to hear your favorite group. Doing an activity that's a "blast from the past" can help you reconnect.

    Date night ideas three, four and five are ways to incorporate sex in to your plans. It's much more difficult to have a spontaneous sex life when there are little feet pattering around, so as unromantic as this may sound making plans to end your evening with a little romance makes the date that much more enjoyable.

    3. Role reversal. Instead of going out to dinner and a movie with your spouse, send your child and the sitter out to dinner and a movie. You and your spouse stay home and make full use of three hours of glorious privacy.

    'Side Effects': Berlin Film Festival Will Feature Steven Soderbergh Movie

    New movies from directors Steven Soderbergh and Gus Van Sant and a trio of films starring French divas will be competing this year at the Berlin International Film Festival.

    A diverse selection of 19 movies, including films from Kazakhstan and Iran, will vie for the main Golden Bear prize at Europe's first major film festival of the year. The event runs from Feb. 7-17.

    Van Sant's film about the shale gas industry, "Promised Land," starring Matt Damon, and Soderbergh's thriller "Side Effects," featuring Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones, are the most prominent U.S. offerings.

    There's a strong contingent from eastern Europe, including Oscar-winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic's "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," about a poor Gypsy family; Calin Peter Netzer's "Child's Pose," which highlights corruption in Romania; and Malgoska Szumowska's "In the name of," a film about a gay priest in Poland.

    French actresses Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert all star in separate competition entries this year – Binoche in "Camille Claudel 1915," about the French sculptor's later years; Deneuve in "On My Way;" and Huppert in "The Nun," a movie about a convent.

    From Iran comes "Closed Curtain," directed by dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi and fellow Iranian Kamboziya Partovi. Panahi was sentenced to house arrest in Iran and banned from filmmaking after being convicted in 2011 of "making propaganda" against Iran's ruling system. Festival director Dieter Kosslick said Panahi's no longer confined to his home but still isn't supposed to make films.

    Kosslick said Monday that organizers "tried to bring new people who are making films for the first or second time into the program," continuing a tradition of having less-heralded directors rub shoulders with established names. This year, there's an entry from Kazakhstan – "Harmony Lessons," directed by Emir Baigazin.

    The top prize will be awarded by a seven-member jury under Chinese director Wong Kar-wai, whose members include actor-director Tim Robbins. Wong's new movie about two kung fu masters, "The Grandmaster," is screening out of competition and will open the festival.

    Brazil nightclub fire 'Like a war zone' with bodies piled

    Guitarist Rodrigo Martins was preparing to launch into the sixth song of his band's set when he saw embers fall.

    The acoustic foam insulation on the ceiling of the Kiss nightclub in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria was on fire, and it was beginning to spread.

    The hot ash fell onto the stage and dance floor.

    Comparisons drawn to R.I. nightclub fire

    In front of him, a sea of people who moments earlier were dancing and singing along to the country-pop sounds of his band Gurizada Fandangueira began to realize something was wrong.

    Suddenly, concertgoers were stampeding toward the club's only exit, pushing and shoving each other trying to get out.

    Then, according to investigators and witnesses, somebody fell in the narrow, dark hallway that led to the windowless exit.

    It was the last weekend of Brazil's summer break for many of the students, and the Kiss nightclub was packed early Sunday with young people, many of whom attended one of a number of universities and colleges in Santa Maria.

    At least 231 people died and hundreds more were injured in the fire, which authorities believe began about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when the band's pyrotechnic show ignited insulation material.

    Many apparently died from smoke inhalation. Others were trampled in the rush for the exits.

    Of the dead, 101 were students at the Federal University of Santa Maria.

    Another 120 remained hospitalized Monday morning, 79 in critical condition, authorities said.

    About 2,000 people were inside the club when the fire broke out -- double the maximum capacity of 1,000, said Guido de Melo, a state fire official.

    The roof collapsed in several parts of the building, trapping many inside. Firefighters found piles of bodies in the club's bathroom.

    It looked, said state lawmaker Valderci Oliveira, "like a war zone.

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    Who Looked Best On The SAG Red Carpet?

    The Golden Globes are over and the Oscars are still a few weeks away, which can mean just one thing...

    SAG Awards!

    OK, fine. Maybe the Screen Actors Guild Awards aren't the sexiest, most exciting of the awards shows. But the A-list actors still dutifully don their designer gowns, spikey heels and million-dollar jewels and walk the red carpet, providing us all with a pre-Oscars fashion parade. And for that we are eternally grateful.

    Below, check out our continuously-updated slideshow of all the best red carpet looks from the 2013 SAG Awards! Who had your favorite dress?

    Jennifer Lawrence's Lost MTV Promo

    When "Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence was accepting Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Role at the 2013 SAG Awards on Sunday night, she remembered her first role: a television commercial for "My Super Sweet 16."

    "I want to thank MTV," Lawrence said. "I'll explain that. I earned my SAG card when I was 14. I did an MTV promo for 'My Super Sweet 16.' And I remember getting it in the mail and it being the best day of my entire life, because it officially made me a professional actor, which put me in the category with all of you."

    Lawrence was nominated in the category alongside Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Naomi Watts and Helen Mirren; she's the favorite to win Best Actress at the 85th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

    Watch Lawrence's lost MTV promos above. Check out her full SAG Awards acceptance speech by clicking here.

    For a full SAG Awards report, check out HuffPost Entertainment's SAG coverage.

    Illinois Driver's Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants Bill Signed Into Law Sunday

    Illinois is the fourth state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license with a new law signed by the governor.

    Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation Sunday surrounded by hundreds of supporters who say the measure will make Illinois' roads safer and expand opportunities for undocumented immigrants.

    Quinn says people need a way to get to work, drive to the doctor and drive their children to school. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the new law should serve as a model for the nation.

    New Mexico and Washington both issue licenses to undocumented immigrants, while Utah issues permits.

    Illinois officials say the dissemination of the temporary licenses is expected to begin in October.

    The legislation was billed as a public safety measure and had bipartisan support.

    Venezuela Prison Riot More Than 60 Reportedly Killed

     The death toll has risen to 61 following fierce gunbattles between inmates and National Guard troops at a Venezuelan prison, a hospital director said Saturday. About 120 more people were wounded in one of the deadliest prison riots in the nation's history.

    Penitentiary Service Minister Iris Varela said Saturday that officials had begun evacuating inmates from the Uribana prison in Barquisimeto and transferring them to other facilities, but she did not provide an official death toll.

    However, Dr. Ruy Medina, director of Central Hospital in the city of Barquisimeto, told The Associated Press that the number of dead had risen to 61. He initially told Venezuelan news media after the Friday uprising that about 50 were killed.

    Medina said that nearly all of the injuries were from gunshots and that 45 of the estimated 120 people who were wounded remained hospitalized. Some underwent surgeries for their wounds.

    Relatives wept outside the prison during the violence, and cried at the morgue Saturday as they waited to identify bodies.

    The riot was the latest in a series of deadly clashes in Venezuela's overcrowded and often anarchical prisons, where inmates typically obtain weapons and drugs with the help of corrupt guards. Critics called it proof that the government is failing to get a grip on a worsening national crisis in its penitentiaries.

    The gunbattles seized attention amid uncertainty about President Hugo Chavez's future, while he remained in Cuba recovering and undergoing treatment more than six weeks after his latest cancer surgery.

    Government officials pledged a thorough investigation, while some critics said there should have been ways for the authorities to prevent such bloodshed.

    Nayibe Mendez, the mother of a 22-year-old inmate in the prison, told the AP that she was able to talk by phone with her son and he was uninjured.

    Brazil Nightclub Fire Kills At Least 232 People

    A fast-moving fire roared through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday, within seconds filling the space with flames and a thick, toxic smoke that killed more than 230 panicked partygoers who gasped for breath and fought in a stampede to escape.

    It appeared to be the world's deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.

    Firefighters responding to the blaze at first had trouble getting inside the Kiss nightclub because bodies partially blocked the club's entryway.

    Witnesses said a flare or firework lit by band members started the blaze in Santa Maria, a university city of about 260,000 people. Officials at a news conference said the cause was still under investigation – though police inspector Sandro Meinerz told the Agencia Estado news agency the band was to blame for a pyrotechnics show and that manslaughter charges could be filed.

    Television images showed black smoke billowing out of the Kiss nightclub as shirtless young men who had attended a university party joined firefighters using axes and sledgehammers to pound at windows and hot-pink exterior walls to free those trapped inside.

    Bodies of the dead and injured were strewn in the street and panicked screams filled the air as medics tried to help. There was little to be done; officials said most of those who died were suffocated by smoke within minutes.

    Within hours a community gym was a horror scene, with body after body lined up on the floor, partially covered with black plastic as family members identified kin.

    Outside the gym police held up personal objects – a black purse, a blue high-heeled shoe – as people seeking information on loved ones looked crowded around, hoping not to recognize anything being shown them.

    Guido Pedroso Melo, commander of the city's fire department, told the O Globo newspaper that firefighters had a hard time getting inside the club because "there was a barrier of bodies blocking the entrance."

    Teenagers sprinted from the scene after the fire began, desperately seeking help. Others carried injured and burned friends away in their arms. Many of the victims were under 20 years old, including some minors.

    "There was so much smoke and fire, it was complete panic, and it took a long time for people to get out, there were so many dead," survivor Luana Santos Silva told the Globo TV network.

    The fire spread so fast inside the packed club that firefighters and ambulances could do little to stop it, Silva said.

    Taylor Swift Broke Up With Harry Styles Because of His Foreskin

    Earlier this week, there was a report that Taylor Swift broke up with Harry Styles because he kissed like a snail and no one wants to kiss a snail. Unless the snail is a banana slug which is just a snail without a shell. Anyhoo, the gist of the story was they had a lack of chemistry on account of Styles dragging his tongue across her mouth during every kiss.

    Now the National Enquirer has a new report that says the real reason they broke up was because Taylor wouldn’t stop making fun of Harry’s uncircumcised penis. A source says Harry ended it because he was sick of Taylor “nagging him about clipping his [penis].” Apparently, Taylor didn’t like that Harry wasn’t circumcised so she kept pushing him to get it cut.

    Harry told her it wasn’t ever going to happen. Whenever Taylor brought it up, Harry would roll his eyes and ignore her but eventually he couldn’t take it anymore.

    What I want to know is how Taylor is going to work that into a song. She’ll have to use a euphemism like this dude had a pet aardvark she didn’t like and she asked him to get rid of it but he said no so obviously it was all his fault and now she’s living in a big old city and all he’s ever going to be is foreskinny.

    Dana White Calls Justin Timberlake a Dickhead

    Shots fired! Shots fired! UFC president Dana White has an interview in Sports Illustrated where he talks about the UFC, women in the UFC, gays in the UFC and Justin Timberlake being a dickhead to his kids.

        You told me the story, and I can’t remember the specifics. You met some celebrity or someone and they didn’t give you the time day and it stuck with you. You said, ‘When somebody shouts out to me in a crowd or someone says can I talk to you…

        That story you are talking about was when I was a kid. It was at the library here in Vegas and it was the guy from like the Channel 13 news. I was a little kid and I ran up to him and I was like, ‘Hey, could I get your autograph?’ Could not have been a bigger d—.

        Yeah, I was so blown away by that. That was like the first celebrity I had ever seen. He was such a d—. Yeah, you know, I said I would never treat people like that and never be like that.

        Recently me and my wife were at Nickelodeon Awards and we were backstage with the Black Eyed Peas in their dressing room hanging out.

        First of all, this thing is in L.A., so every guy on the planet wants to get their kids backstage with all the people that are back there. They had Bieber, Selena Gomez, all these people are back there. So my kids are back there and they’re taking pictures with all these people and stuff.

        There [are] no other kids backstage. No other kids. Just my kids, and I think I have Lorenzo’s daughter with me, too. This was a few years ago. You name it, A-list, all the A-listers that the kids would love are backstage.

        The biggest d—head back there was Justin Timberlake.

        Don’t say that.

        Just such a complete jack off, yeah.

        Blew your kids off?

        Just couldn’t have been a bigger d—.

        He’s a big UFC fan, I thought.

        I don’t know if he’s a UFC fan or not, but I’m not a big Timberlake fan. Takes two seconds to say hi to a kid. Takes two seconds. I never run by anybody. If you’re a fan of the UFC and you like it or your kids like it, why would I not want to talk to you? Why would I not?

    White doesn’t go into anymore details other than Timberlake blew him and his kids off. Granted, this could just sound like a fan venting because he was shunned but you have to remember, Dana isn’t the first person to call Justin a dickhead. Tales of his dickheadishness are known far and wide and told across many great lands. You could even say Justin is like a Moby Dickhead.

    How Ted Nugent Reportedly Dodged Vietnam Draft

    Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider wants to remind Republicans that gun-loving Ted Nugent reportedly once dodged the Vietnam draft in quite possibly the grossest way imaginable.

    During an interview with Noisecreep, Snider broached the subject of Nugent's recent comments on President Barack Obama's gun control proposal and Second Amendment rights. Snider, an Obama supporter, wanted to remind Republicans that the Detroit native did not always put his country first. In fact, Snider said, Nugent dodged the Vietnam draft by reportedly vomiting and defecating on himself and failing the physical exam.

    Ted's always been a gun-toting conservative. But what gets me is that he was actually a draft dodger! I mean, to the point where he didn't bathe for a week, and vomited on himself to deliberately avoid the draft. I totally understand why he did that, but all of these Republicans who love Ted don't seem to know or remember that too well. It's crazy that he's become one of the voices of Conservative America even though he was a draft dodger. If you don't believe me, Google it.

    However, Snider's comments about Nugent dodging the draft didn't come out of thin air; Nugent himself reportedly attested to the act during a 1977 interview with High Times.

    RawStory points to an excerpt from the interview on DangerousMinds.net. Snopes.com, a myth-busting site, also highlighted Nugent's quotes in an April 2012 post:

        I got my physical notice 30 days prior to. Well, on that day I ceased cleansing my body. No more brushing my teeth, no more washing my hair, no baths, no soap, no water. Thirty days of debris build. I stopped shavin’ and I was 18, had a little scraggly beard, really looked like a hippie. I had long hair, and it started gettin’ kinky, matted up. Then two weeks before, I stopped eating any food with nutritional value. I just had chips, Pepsi, beer - stuff I never touched - ... little jars of Polish sausages, and I’d drink the syrup, I was this side of death, Then a week before, I stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. poop, piss the whole shot. My pants got crusted up.

    However, during a 2006 interview with the U.K.'s Independent, Nugent denied the whole story, saying, "You've got to realize that these interviewers would arrive with glazed eyes and I would make stories up. I never did crystal meth. And I never pooped my pants."

    Snopes did some digging and discovered that the firearm advocate did have a student deferment, but he was ultimately rejected from military service in 1969 as a result of a physical examination.

    North Korea Threats: Rhetoric Or Reality?

    According to its official statements, North Korea is ready to go to the brink. But how serious are Pyongyang's threats?

    This week, new U.N. sanctions punishing the North's successful December rocket launch have elicited a furious response from Pyongyang: strong hints that a third nuclear test is coming, along with bigger and better long-range missiles; "all-out action" against its "sworn enemy," the United States; and on Friday, a threat of "strong physical countermeasures" against South Korea if Seoul participates in the sanctions.

    "Sanctions mean war," said a statement carried by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.

    In the face of international condemnation, North Korea can usually be counted on for such flights of rhetorical pique. In recent years it threatened to turn South Korea into a "sea of fire," and to wage a "sacred war" against its enemies.

    If the past is any indication, its threats of war are overblown. But the chances it will conduct another nuclear test are high. And it is gaining ground in its missile program, experts say, though still a long way from seriously threatening the U.S. mainland.

    "It's not the first time they've made a similar threat of war," said Ryoo Kihl-jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. "What's more serious than the probability of an attack on South Korea is that of a nuclear test. I see very slim chances of North Korea following through with its threat of war."

    Although North Korea's leadership is undeniably concerned that it might be attacked or bullied by outside powers, the tough talk is mainly an attempt to bolster its bargaining position in diplomatic negotiations.

    The impoverished North is in need of international aid and is eager to sign a treaty bringing a formal end to the Korean War, which ended nearly 60 years ago in a truce. It uses its weapons program as a wedge in the ever-repeating diplomatic dance with the U.S.-led international community, and there is no reason to believe this time is different.

    Apple Stock Suffers Worst Day In More Than Four Years

     The smallest of gains gave the Standard & Poor's 500 its seventh straight winning day on Thursday, but the index failed to hold above the 1,500 line, restrained by Apple's worst day in more than four years.

    Apple Inc slid 12.4 percent to $450.50 a day after it posted revenue that missed Wall Street's forecast as iPhone sales were poorer than expected.

    The sharp drop wiped out nearly $60 billion in Apple's market capitalization to less than $423 billion, leaving the company vulnerable to losing its status as the most valuable U.S. company to second-place ExxonMobil, at $416.5 billion.

    The S&P 500, however, managed to hit its longest winning streak since October 2006.

    "The market has sent the message it is no longer driven by the whims of Apple," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

    The S&P 500 briefly traded above 1,500 for the first time since Dec. 12, 2007, but failed to hold above it, indicating that momentum is waning and a pullback is in the charts.

    "If the market had a little bit more excitement to it, momentum players would have jumped after it broke through 1,500. Investors know the market is a little bit ahead of itself," Polcari said.

    Economic data helped buoy equities as U.S. factory activity grew the most in nearly two years in January and new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a five-year low last week, giving surprisingly strong signals on the economy's pulse.

    At the same time, Chinese manufacturing grew this month at the fastest pace in about two years, while data suggesting German growth picked up boosted hopes for a euro-zone recovery.

    "PMI in Asia, Europe, and obviously, here in the United States, is moving in the right direction, and that's stuff people should be excited about," Polcari said.

    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points or 0.33 percent, to 13,825.33 at the close. The S&P 500 inched up just 0.01 of a point, or 0 percent, to finish at 1,494.82. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.29 points or 0.74 percent, to end at 3,130.38, with most of that loss on Apple's slide.

    The broader Russell 2000 index also hit a milestone as it closed above 900 points for the first time.

    Video streaming service Netflix Inc surprised Wall Street with a quarterly profit after it added nearly 4 million customers in the United States and abroad. Netflix shares surged 42.2 percent to $146.86, its biggest percentage jump ever.

    Earnings have helped drive the stock market's recent rally. Thomson Reuters data through early Thursday showed that of the 133 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 66.9 percent have exceeded expectations - above the 65 percent average over the past four quarters.

    Rihanna's Smoking Photo On Instagram Is More Of The Same

    You guys, it's another scandalous Rihanna pic! Stoking the imaginations of exactly nobody, the 24-year-old pop star posted yet another photograph of herself smoking what appears to be marijuana on the social network.

    Check out more 420-friendly celebrities below, and sound off: should Rihanna quit Instagram for a while, or what?

    'American Idol' Nicki Minaj Storms Off Set After Argument With ... Randy Jackson?

    A few months ago, "American Idol" made national headlines when leaked video footage showed what appeared to be a massive fight between new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Well, that moment arrived during this Wednesday night's Charlotte auditions. And while the specific footage leaked -- which included Nicki cursing out Mariah -- was not seen, much of what must have led up to that moment was.

    It all centered around contestant Summer Robins. While the rest of the judges seemed to be trying to convince her that country music was where she belonged -- she wanted to be a more soulful country vocalist -- Nicki was looking more and more irritated. When she got a chance to chime in, she chastised the other judges for trying to pigeonhole Summer into a specific style of music. Why not let her be what she wants to be?

    When Randy Jackson came back saying that he was just trying to help her out, citing his 30 years of professional experience, Nicki snapped. "Oh, you’re right. I’m sorry. I can’t help her," she fumed. "Maybe I should just get off the f*cking panel!"

    The episode made it look like the tantrum shut down production for the rest of the day. The first contestant of the next day asked the judges to stop fighting, and it looked like they were getting along much better. Either that, or the edit was much more kind.

    The "American Idol" road show heads to Baton Rouge next as the show continues on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.

    SBI PO Recruitment 2013 – Apply Online for 1500 Posts

    SBI Online – 61 Security Officer Posts 2013

    SBI PO Recruitment 2013 – Apply Online for 1500 Posts: State Bank of India – SBI has issued notification for the recruitment of 1500 Posts of Probationary Officers in SBI. Eligible candidates may apply online from 30-01-2013 to 23-02-2013. Other details like age limit, educational qualifications, selection procedure and how to apply are given below…

    SBI Vacancy Details:
    Total no of vacancies: 1500
    Name of the Posts: Probationary Officers (PO)

    Age limit: Candidate’s age should not be below 21 years and not above 30 years as on 01-01-2013. Age relaxation is applicable as per rules.

    Educational Qualification: Candidates must possess Graduation in any discipline from a recognized university.

    Application fee: Candidates need to pay the fee of Rs 200/- for Gen/OBC candidates and Rs 50/- for SC/ST/PWD candidates in the form of cash voucher at any branch of State Bank of India in offline mode. The payment can be made by using debit card/ credit card/ Internet Banking in online mode.

    Selection Process: Candidates will be selected on the basis of written examination, Group Discussion and Interview.

    How to Apply: Candidates can apply through online from www.sbi.co.in website between 30-01-2013 to 23-02-2013. Before filling the online application form candidates should read the guidelines and instructions how to apply.

    Instructions for Online Application:

    1. Candidates can log on to the website www.sbi.co.in.
    2. Before apply online, candidates should download the cash voucher from SBI website and pay the fee in online or in offline mode as mentioned above.
    3. Candidates should first scan their photograph and signature before applying online.
    4. Candidates should have a valid e-mail ID.
    5. Candidates can click on the link ‘Apply Online’.
    6. Fill all the details in the application form and the fee payment details at the appropriate places.
    7. After filling all the details in online application form, click on ‘Submit’ button..
    8. A registration number and password will be generated by the system, please note the registration number and password for future reference and use.
    9. After successfully submission of online application, take a print out of the online application form for further assistance.
    10. The original fee receipt should be submitted along with call letter at the time of written examination.

    Important Dates:
    Opening Date for Online Application: 30-01-2013.
    Closing Date for Online Application: 23-02-2013
    Payment of fee in Online: 30-01-2013 TO 23-02-2013
    Payment of fee in Offline: 01-02-2013 TO 28-02-2013
    Date of written examination: 28-04-2013

    For more details regarding age limit, educational qualification, pay scale, how to apply, application fee, selection process, no. of posts, other details are available at given below link…

    'The Canyons' & SXSW Lindsay Lohan's Movie Was Rejected By South By Southwest

    It seems that Lindsay Lohan can't catch a break. Last week, Lohan's latest movie, "The Canyons," was rejected by the Sundance Film Festival, and now South By Southwest has reportedly followed suit.

    According to THR, a source says that "The Canyons" has been rejected by SXSW, citing "quality issues" as the reason for the snub.

    Also starring porn star James Deen, "The Canyons" has been called "a monstrosity." While director Paul Schrader ("Taxi Driver") defended the film, saying that it "is very good," he also said last week, "in a way it's good we're not at Sundance. We weren't prepared, we weren't organized."

    A recent New York Times feature entitled "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie" did little to help the film. The piece describes the chaos surrounding Lohan, from $46,000 hotel bills to erratic behavior and days-long disappearances.

    Schrader recognized the controversy surrounding Lohan, citing her role as the reason for the movie's delayed release. "The intense reactions to 'Liz and Dick' and the Times Mag article have made us realize that there will be an immediate blowback once 'The Canyons' is publically screened -– for good and ill," he said. "That's the nature of anything involving Lindsay."

    The official plot synopsis for "The Canyons" describes the film as "a contemporary L.A. noir ... about the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people in their 20's and how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia, cruel mind games and ultimately violence."

    Obama Urged to Resign Over Beyoncé Scandal

    A rising chorus of congressional Republicans are calling on President Obama to acknowledge that the pop singer Beyoncé lip-synched during his inaugural festivities on Monday and resign from office, effective immediately.

    “By lip-synching the national anthem, Beyoncé has cast a dark cloud over the President’s second term,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).  “The only way President Obama can remove that cloud is by resigning from office at once.”

    While many in the media have blamed Beyoncé for the lip-synching controversy, Mr. Paul said, “We must remember that this happened on President Obama’s watch.”

    Mr. Paul said that the White House’s refusal to comment on the Beyoncé crisis “only serves the argument that this President has something to hide.”

    “If Beyoncé lip-synched the national anthem, how do we know President Obama didn’t lip-sync his oath of office?” he said. “If that’s the case, he’s not legally President. But just to be on the safe side, he should resign anyway.”

    Mr. Paul also blasted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her testimony on Benghazi before the Senate today: “Her tactic of answering each and every question we asked her didn’t fool anyone.”

    Beyonce's Alleged Lip-Syncing Hits Late Night, Discussed By Jennifer Lopez And LeAnn Rimes

    Tuesday's late night talk shows saw a lot of chatter about Beyonce's alleged lip-syncing of the National Anthem during President Obama's second inauguration. Both Jennifer Lopez and LeAnn Rimes weighed in on the discussion, and both of them sided with Beyonce, citing various reasons why lip-syncing is sometimes the right thing to do.

    "There are times when people will ask you to do it and they will not let you do it unless you do it because they want control of what happens," Rimes said on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

    Lopez cited a different reason pre-recorded audio is sometimes used during her appearance on "The Daily Show." "In certain venues they do pre-record things because you’re gonna have that terrible slapback."

    Both women said that lip-syncing is simply something that all singers have to do at one point or another. But did Beyonce? While the singer has yet to comment on the controversy, she did post a photo to Instagram showing her with the sheet music to "The Star-Spangled Banner" in what looked like a recording studio. Perhaps she's not trying to hide anything about what happened.

    TV Replay scours the vast television landscape to find the most interesting, amusing, and, on a good day, amazing moments, and delivers them right to your browser.

    9 Sentences That Could Ruin Your Career

    More people shoot themselves in the foot, get fired, or destroy promising careers by opening their big fat mouths than any other way. And that goes for communication of any kind: face-to-face, phone, email, text, you name it.

    Executives and business leaders are especially adept at documenting stuff they shouldn't even be thinking, let alone doing. Don't ask me why, but it always seems to turn up in civil depositions, criminal investigations, and congressional hearings.

    Here are recent examples:

    In 2011, HP vice president Scott McClellan reportedly shared previously unreleased details of the company's cloud computing strategy on his public LinkedIn profile, tipping off competitors to confidential information that should have remained under wraps. McClellan, who had spent his entire 25-year career at HP, now works for Red Hat.

    In the largest insider trading scandal in history, former McKinsey managing director Raj Gupta, AMD CEO Hector Ruiz, and IBM senior vice president Bob Moffat revealed confidential insider information to billionaire hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon. It didn't end well for any of them.

    Granted, there's a broad spectrum of things you should never say at work, from pushing the limits of sexual harassment to risking an indictment for securities fraud. And these days, almost anything you say will offend someone by crossing some amorphous boundary of political correctness.

    Nevertheless, if you like what you do for a living and don't want to end up pounding the pavement looking for a new line of work, here are nine things you should never, ever say at work. If you do, you're just asking for trouble.

    "I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but ..." What follows is never good--and almost never legal. If you shouldn't be saying something, then don't.

    "Do you really think we violate their intellectual property?" Unless it's in a documented attorney-client privileged communication, don't even think about saying anything like that.

    Katy Perry Dons Racy Patriotic Ensemble for Kids’ Inaugural Ball

    Katy Perry brought more than just "Fireworks" to inauguration weekend.

    The 28-year-old singer donned a patriotic ensemble as she performed at the Kids' Inauguration Ball on Saturday in Washington, D.C. The racy, curve-hugging one-piece she sported may seem an odd choice for entertaining a few thousand children and their parents, but at least she didn't sport her whipped cream-spewing bra, right?

    Perry appeared alongside Usher and the cast of "Glee" at the fete, which was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's wife Jill in honor of military families.

    The only surprising thing about Perry's appearance at the star-studded weekend in the nation's capital is that she wasn't wearing a more partisan outfit. During the campaign last fall, Perry stumped for the President's re-election wearing Obama-themed looks. She wore a form-fitting white mini dress made to look like a voting ballot checked for the Obama-Biden ticket at a Las Vegas rally, and a rubber frock emblazoned with the campaign slogan "Forward" in Milwaukee.

    Bill Belichick stiffs CBS after the game, Shannon Sharpe rips him for being poor loser

    New England coach Bill Belichick doesn't handle losing all too well, and he blew off CBS' customary postgame interview with the coach of the losing team after the AFC championship game.

    CBS analyst Shannon Sharpe wasn't impressed and called him out for it with some harsh comments.

    "There's something to be said about being gracious in defeat," Sharpe said on CBS' postgame show. "We've seen the New England Patriots five times in the last 12 years be victorious [in the AFC championship game). We've seen the opposing coaches who lost come out and talk to our Steve Tasker. Coach [Bill] Cowher did it when they lost to them, we saw this last week.

    "Bill Belichick makes it real easy for you to root against the Patriots. You can't be a poor sport all the time. You're not going to win all the time, and he does this every time he loses. It's unacceptable."

    Those are strong words from Sharpe, but it's tough to argue. There are certain unpleasant commitments that come with being an NFL head coach, and a certain class that should be displayed in defeat. Granting an interview that coaches are expected to give after big playoff losses, including Super Bowls, to a television partner that pays a big percentage of the NFL's bills is part of that.

    Instead of Belichick, CBS was given Patriots safety Devin McCourty to talk to after the game. While McCourty handled himself like a professional and praised the Ravens, that's far from a fair trade. Belichick could have stood up and answered fair questions about why he decided to punt at the Ravens' 35-yard line and later the Ravens' 34 in two instances of a very conservative approach, and also how the Patriots mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half and missed out on taking a shot at the end zone before kicking a field goal.

    Belichick has a history of acting like this after losses, most notably walking off the field with a second left in Super Bowl XLII against the Giants, a move that made him look like a sore loser. We'll see if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a fine waiting for Belichick after he stiff-armed CBS following this loss.

    Death Toll Rises In Algeria Hostage Standoff Photo

    The death toll from the terrorist siege at a natural gas plant in the Sahara climbed past 80 on Sunday as Algerian forces searching the refinery for explosives found dozens more bodies, many so badly disfigured it was unclear whether they were hostages or militants, a security official said.

    Algerian special forces stormed the plant on Saturday to end the four-day siege, moving in to thwart what government officials said was a plot by the Islamic extremists to blow up the complex and kill all their captives with mines sown throughout the site.

    In a statement, the Masked Brigade, the group that claimed to have masterminded the takeover, warned of more such attacks against any country backing France's military intervention in neighboring Mali, where the French are trying to stop an advance by Islamic extremists.

    "We stress to our Muslim brothers the necessity to stay away from all the Western companies and complexes for their own safety, and especially the French ones," the statement said.

    Algeria said after Saturday's assault by government forces that at least 32 extremists and 23 hostages were killed. On Sunday, Algerian bomb squads sent in to blow up or defuse the explosives found 25 more bodies, said the security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

    "These bodies are difficult to identify. They could be the bodies of foreign hostages or Algerians or terrorists," the official said.

    In addition, a wounded Romanian who had been evacuated died, raising the overall death toll to at least 81.

    "Now, of course, people will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events, but I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched a vicious and cowardly attack," British Prime Minister David Cameron said. Three Britons were killed and another three were feared dead.

    The dead hostages were also known to include at least one American as well as Filipino and French workers. Nearly two dozen foreigners by some estimates were unaccounted for.

    Mark Salling Sexual Battery: 'Glee' Star Sued By Ex-Girlfriend

    Actor Mark Salling has been sued by an ex-girlfriend who claims that the "Glee" star committed sexual battery by forcing her to have sex without a condom.

    In her lawsuit, Roxanne Gorzela claims she began dating the 30-year-old in September 2010, according to TMZ, and in March 2011 she consented to have sex with him, but only with a condom. Salling reportedly ignored her demand and proceeded to "insert his penis into [her] vagina without a condom." Gorzela claims she protested and the actor stopped, but then re-engaged for a second time without a condom.

    Gorzela proceeded to call and text Salling to ask if he had been tested for STDs, according to E! News. He failed to return her messages, so she went to his house to confront him.Actor Mark Salling has been sued by an ex-girlfriend who claims that the "Glee" star committed sexual battery by forcing her to have sex without a condom.

    In her lawsuit, Roxanne Gorzela claims she began dating the 30-year-old in September 2010, according to TMZ, and in March 2011 she consented to have sex with him, but only with a condom. Salling reportedly ignored her demand and proceeded to "insert his penis into [her] vagina without a condom." Gorzela claims she protested and the actor stopped, but then re-engaged for a second time without a condom.

    Gorzela proceeded to call and text Salling to ask if he had been tested for STDs, according to E! News. He failed to return her messages, so she went to his house to confront him. When she demanded he prove he had no STDs, he reportedly grabbed her and pushed her to the ground, causing her to hit her head. She filed a police report on March 25, the day of the alleged attack.

    The young woman filed the sexual battery lawsuit against Salling on Friday afternoon in Los Angeles court, according to E! News. In addition to sexual battery, the "Glee" star is accused of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. The suit calls the actor's behavior "willful, malicious and despicable," adding that it caused Gorzela "severe and substantial mental and emotional distress, humiliation, fear, apprehension, anxiety and anguish."

    The actor's publicist has denied the allegations against her client. "There is no truth to this. It's the textbook case of a disgruntled girl looking to cash in on a TV star's success," she told TMZ in a statement. "We turn the rest over to Mark's attorneys and have no further comment."

    The young woman filed the sexual battery lawsuit against Salling on Friday afternoon in Los Angeles court, according to E! News. In addition to sexual battery, the "Glee" star is accused of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. The suit calls the actor's behavior "willful, malicious and despicable," adding that it caused Gorzela "severe and substantial mental and emotional distress, humiliation, fear, apprehension, anxiety and anguish."

    The actor's publicist has denied the allegations against her client. "There is no truth to this. It's the textbook case of a disgruntled girl looking to cash in on a TV star's success," she told TMZ in a statement. "We turn the rest over to Mark's attorneys and have no further comment."

    Pigeons, rabbits among hundreds of animals seized at Ohio man's house

     Humane society members wearing protective masks removed nearly 300 animals including pigeons, chickens and rabbits from an Ohio man's reeking house this week.

    Most of the animals are expected to survive including some that were sick, Sheila Marquis, an officer with the Humane Society of Dayton, Ohio, told Reuters on Saturday.

    Workers on Thursday took away 60 pigeons, chickens and roosters from the house in Huber Heights, a suburb of Dayton. They returned the following day for 223 animals including 100 pigeons and 30 rabbits.

    The sheer number of pigeons, which can carry airborne diseases, created a health hazard inside the house, Marquis said.

    Authorities were tipped off by complaints about a stench coming from the property.

    The animals' owner, who has not been identified, was very cooperative and knowledgeable about the birds, which included homing pigeons, Marquis said.

    She said she thinks he just got overwhelmed taking care of so many animals.

    "He told us he took some animals from other people and other pigeon organizations. That's how the cycle happens. He kept getting more birds and building more cages," Marquis said.

    The man will be allowed to keep two dogs and some cats living in the house.

    There was no word on whether he will be charged with animal neglect or abuse, a misdemeanor for the first offense in Ohio. Huber Heights has a ban on farm animals but does not limit the number of pets residents can own.

    VAN RAKSHAK (FOREST GUARD ) Rajasthan Forest Dept. January 2013

     Rajasthan Vanrakshak job 2013 Online Application at www.examforest.rajasthan.gov.in
    The Department of Forest, Government of Rajasthan has issued notification for recruitment of Forest Guard (Vanrakshak). The bharti is spread across the districts of Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Bikaner, Sikar, Kota, Pali, Pratapgarh, Jodhpur,Bharatpur, Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Alwar, Dausa, Baran, Jhalawar, Tonk, Karauli, Dholpur, Sawai Madhopur, Sirohi and Rajsamand. More details regarding age, qualifications, online application procedure, fees payable, mode of selection, last date of application etc are as under:

    No. of Vacancies : 852 Vacancies (SC – 142, ST – 165, OBC – 128, SOBC – 6, General – 410, Sahariya – 1)

    Salary : Salary Payable is 5200 – 20200 (PB – 1) plus Grade Pay Rs. 1800/-. Selected candidates will remain on probation for a period of two years on fixed pay of Rs. 5600/- per month.

    Fee Payable : See the original advertisement.

    Educational Qualification : The Applicant should be metric of equivalent from any recognized board.

    How to Apply : Applications are to be made online only at www.examforest.rajasthan.gov.in. Detailed procedure is available on the captioned website.
    Name of Post: Forest Guard/ Van Rakshak

    Total Posts  :- 852

    Qualification :-Secondary/ 10th pass

     How to Apply: :-  Apply  On line through departmental website.

    Last date for on line Application :-10.02.2013
    Date of written Examination :-24.02.2013
    Date for interview :- Will be declared later on.

    For more detail :- www.examforest.rajasthan.gov.in
    www.examforest.rajasthan.gov.in - examforest.rajasthan.gov.in - Rajasthan VAN RAKSHAK (FOREST GUARD ) job 2013, Recruitment for the Posts of VAN RAKSHAK (FOREST GUARD ) Rajasthan Forest Dept. January 2013

    A Pregnant Shakira And Gerard Pique Pose Semi-Nude To Help Raise Money For UNICEF

    Shakira and soccer player Gerard Piqué have shared a new photo, this time posing before the camera semi-nude to show off her pregnancy (and of course, his beefed up chest). The occasion? The celebrity couple invites everyone to participate in a very special baby shower created by UNICEF.

    “The countdown begins! And we'd like to invite you to participate in our world baby shower joining efforts with UNICEF. http://uni.cf/baby,” said Shakira through her social networks.

    The photo, which was taken just days before the highly anticipated birth of Shakira and Piqué’s first child,aims to raise funds for UNICEF, a United Nations program that helps children worldwide and for which the singer has served as an ambassador for many years.

    According to the organization, at the baby shower, gifts are provided as small donations of $5, $10, $37, $50 and $110, to help buying mosquito nets to prevent children from contracting malaria, vaccines to protect kids from polio infections, baby-weighing scale to monitor their growth, oral rehydration salts and therapeutic food.

    For Shakira, children and education have always been a priority. She founded the "Pies Descalzos" organization that has opened hundreds of schools and education centers in her native country, Colombia. The artist has also used her celebrity status in the past to meet with political leaders like President Barack Obama and advocate for Latino children in the United States, especially for those who are part of undocumented families.

    Alain de Botton On 'How To Think More About Sex'

    Alain de Botton's latest book How To Think More About Sex has an eye-catching title, and is an intelligent discussion of society's greatest obsession. "We don’t think too much about sex," he says. "We’re merely thinking about it in the wrong way."

    We interviewed the British writer and public intellectual via email about how none of us are 'normal', why sex will always be difficult, and what the ultimate point of sex is for us all.

    Why did you choose to write about sex?
    I wrote it because it's rare for anyone to get through this life without feeling – generally with a degree of secret agony, perhaps at the end of a relationship, or as we lie in bed frustrated next to our partner, unable to go to sleep – that we are somehow a bit odd about sex.

    It is an area in which most of us have a painful impression, in our heart of hearts, that we are quite unusual. Despite being one of the most private of activities, sex is nonetheless surrounded by ideas about how normal people are meant to feel about and deal with the matter.

    In truth, however, few of us are remotely normal sexually. We are almost all haunted by guilt and neuroses, by phobias and disruptive desires, by indifference and disgust. None of us approaches sex as we are meant to, with the cheerful, sporting, non-obsessive, constant, well-adjusted outlook that we torture ourselves by believing that other people are endowed with. We are universally deviant – but only in relation to some highly distorted ideals of normality. So it's time to accept the strangeness of sex with good humour and courage - and start to talk about it with honesty and compassion.

    This is what my book is about: an invitation to think more about a subject we mistakenly think we know all about already.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages about society's obsession with sex?
    The problem lies in the feeling that we live at a time where we're very advanced about sex. We look back at the 19th century, or pre 1960s and think, 'Now they had a problem. Whereas we...' Well, it's not so simple. Whatever discomfort we do feel around sex is aggravated by the idea that we belong to a liberated age – and ought by now, as a result, to be finding sex a straightforward and untroubling matter.

    Despite our best efforts to clean it of its peculiarities, sex will never be either simple in the ways we might like it to be. It can die out; it refuses to sit neatly on top of love, as it should. Tame it though we may try, sex has a recurring tendency to wreak havoc across our lives. Sex remains in absurd, and perhaps irreconcilable, conflict with some of our highest commitments and values. Perhaps ultimately we should accept that sex is inherently rather weird instead of blaming ourselves for not responding in more normal ways to its confusing impulses.

    This is not to say that we cannot take steps to grow wiser about sex. We should simply realise that we will never entirely surmount the difficulties it throws our way.

    What are the biggest issues we face as a society about sex?
    It is very rare to have a lot of sex. Very few people do. There are good and bad reasons for this. Here are some of the worse one: we may not be having too much sex because our partner is angry with us - or we with them. The common conception of anger posits red faces, raised voices and slammed doors, but only too often, it takes on a different form, for when it doesn’t understand or acknowledge itself, anger just curdles into numbness, into a blank 'I'm not in the mood...'

    There are two reasons we tend to forget we are angry with our partner, and hence become anaesthetized, melancholic and unable to have sex with him.

    Firstly, because the specific incidents that anger us happen so quickly and so invisibly, in such fast-moving and chaotic settings (at breakfast time, before the school run, or during a conversation on mobile phones in a windy plaza at lunchtime) that we can’t recognise the offence well enough to mount any sort of coherent protest against it. The arrow is fired, it wounds us, but we lack the resources or context to see how and where, exactly, it has pierced our armour.

    And second, we frequently don’t articulate our anger even when we do understand it, because the things that offend us can seem so trivial, finicky or odd that they would sound ridiculous if spoken aloud. Even rehearsing them to ourselves can be embarrassing.

    We may, for example, be deeply wounded when our partner fails to notice our new haircut or doesn’t use a breadboard while cutting a bit of baguette, thus scattering crumbs everywhere, or goes straight upstairs to watch television without stopping to ask about our day. These hardly seem matters worth lodging formal complaints over. To announce, ‘I am angry with you because you’re cutting the baguette in the wrong way’, is to risk sounding at once immature and insane. But we may need to spell our complaints in order to get in the vulnerable, trusting honest mood that makes sex possible.

    Girls' Bathroom Stall Note Offers Hope And Comfort To Other Women

    It's not unusual to walk into a bathroom stall and see a mix of short notes, graffiti and stories. But it is unusual for someone to take the time to craft a thoughtful response. That's just what one Reddit user saw when she entered the girls' bathroom at her university.

    "In a girls' bathroom stall at my university, girls have written about some of their most horrifying life experiences," wrote Reddit user chellylauren on January 14th. This week, someone replied."

    She posted a photograph of the bathroom stall note on imgur. Read it and prepare to be inspired. (Scroll down for the full text of the note, formatted.)

    To the girl who was raped: You are so strong. I cannot fathom the pain you must have gone through. The fact that you have the bravery to write it (even on a bathroom wall) gives me hope.
    To the girl with eating disorders: I promise you, although I don't know you, you are beautiful, you deserve your health. You deserve freedom from that hell.

    To the girl with the alcoholic father: I am so sorry for the agony it must cause. again, such courage is remarkable you must be such a strong person to see such pain.

    To the girl whose father died: Missing them never goes away. The ache of their absence never goes away. ut the love they had, the memories you share surely must last. I am sure, out of the bottom of my heart, the people who have left you in this world are exceptionally proud of the person you are.

    Everytime(sic) I see these walls, these confessions, I feel so blessed to know I have the priviledge(sic) of seeing them. Your moments, these secrets, are all precious even though they are sad. To all of you (including those I did not mention, and those who have not yet written)
    -You are worthy.
    -You are strong.
    -You are brave.
    -You are loved.
    -Somebody cares.

    Bra Size Linked To Breast Cancer Risk Might Be Tied To Breast Size, Study Says PHOTO

    The same gene that can determine a woman’s breast size could also be linked to her odds of developing breast cancer, with larger cup-sizes more likely to develop tumors, according to the results of a new study California-based personal genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe.

    The firm reported that they were able to identify “seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with breast size, including three SNPs also correlated with breast cancer,” according to CBS News reports. The study, which has been published in the journal BMC Medical Genetics, marks the first time that a genetic correlation between breast size and the risk of developing breast cancer has been made.

    In the study, the researchers contacted more than 16,000 women of European ancestry. Each study participant identified their bra size on a 10-point scale, ranging from smaller than AAA to larger than DDD, and also answered questions regarding their age, genetic ancestry, pregnancy history, breast surgery history, and breast feeding status, CBS News and Tamara Cohen of the Daily Mail reported.

    The women were then grouped into 10 categories based on their cup sizes, and the researchers identified genome regions associated with differences in breast development, the UK National Health Service (NHS) explained.

    The 23andMe scientists then compared those genome regions with those known to be associated with increased breast cancer risk, before conducting a secondary analysis of 29 DNA variations also linked to breast cancer and finding out whether or not those variations were also associated with breast size among the study group, the NHS added.

    They found that two out of seven unique genome variations “significantly associated” with breast size were also associated with breast cancer, and a third variation, discovered in the secondary analysis, had a “possible association” but one that was not statistically significant.

    “There are surprising connections between some of the genes involved in determining breast size and the genes involved in breast cancer,” lead author Nick Eriksson told The Huffington Post. However, he also emphasized that the link is somewhat “uncertain” and that “based on current knowledge, it’s not a strong risk factor” in terms of breast cancer development.

    “While the precise relationships between breast size, density, obesity and breast cancer remain difficult to untangle, understanding the biology… may aid in the development of novel screening tools,” Eriksson added in a separate interview with the Daily Mail’s Cohen.

    Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

    Constance Jablonski Sued By Former Modeling Agency For $3.3 Million

    The world of modeling has a pretty catty reputation, but do modeling agencies also have the same stigma? If you'd ask Constance Jablonski's opinion, we're guessing she'd say yes -- now that she's being sued by Marilyn Model Management, at least.

    The Victoria's Secret Angel has just been slapped with a $3.3 million lawsuit by Marilyn, her former agency, New York Daily News reports. The company is claiming that Constance, who serves as the face of Calvin Klein and Christian Dior, violated a three-year contract with Marilyn when she left to seek representation with DNA Model Management. (Ms. Jablonski was legally bound to stay with Marilyn until September 2014, according to NYDN.)

    The case asserts that Constance was “a virtually unknown model” before signing with Marilyn in 2008 -- ouch. Two years later, the French stunner was landing major contracts like Estée Lauder and strutting down the catwalk for her first Victoria's Secret show. Marilyn claims that losing out on that annual runway gig and Constance's lucrative beauty contract has hurt the agency.

    "DNA’s wrongful conduct is for the purpose of destablizing Marilyn’s business, and causing irreparable damage to its image [and] reputation,” the model's former agency claims.

    To add more intrigue, Marilyn alleges that the 21-year-old was lured to DNA "under false pretenses." We're not sure what that means, but, lucky for us, Constance addressed the drama via her Twitter account today:

    “With a New Year comes new beginnings. After my bookers, many of those I began with at Marilyn and my dearest Marilyn Gaultier left the agency this past year, I decided to move on to DNA. I’m very excited with the move and I hope you are too!! Wishing all my friends from Marilyn all the best with their new beginnings. Thank you to all of you followers and fans, for always supporting me!!”
    Hm, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. But, from the sounds of it, it seems like this is more of an issue between the two agencies than Marilyn and Constance. Can't everyone just play nice?

    Amanda Palmer, Dresden Dolls Singer: 'No Single Answer' For What Works In Independent Media

    The creators of "South Park," Andrew Sullivan and comedian Louis C.K. defied conventions by going solo with their own media companies. But what does it take to ensure indie media success? Amanda Palmer, singer for The Dresden Dolls, spoke to HuffPost Live host Mike Sacks on Tuesday about going from end to end of the indie spectrum.

    Palmer went from busking on the sidewalk for years, to raising over a million dollars on Kickstarter for her solo album, which became a top ten hit last year. Looking forward, she argues that there's no single answer for what will work for independent artist and journalists.

    "I think there's going to be as many different systems as there are outlets and artists, and I think trying to make a blanket rule about what will work for journalists, or what will work for musicians, or what will work for authors, is kind of the wrong conversation," Palmer told HuffPost Live.

    Instead, Palmer focuses on using technology to present a unique approach to fans, saying "the cool thing about the Internet now is that you can totally personalize and customize your little system."

    "Donnie Darko" producer Hunt Lowry also joined the conversation, saying that "there's always a few lucky breaks" in the world of independent film production, adding that producers need to be on as many platforms as possible, including the Internet, television, cable, and home video.

    "You may be small and independent, but you still want it to be seen by as many people as possible," Lowry said.

    Sundance & Independent Film Festival Sets Focus On Low-Budget Indie Movies

    It's that time of year again when a tiny ski-resort town becomes the place to be for anyone in show business – stars and directors, distribution executives, musicians, unknown filmmakers hoping that people might want to hear the stories they tell.

    Opening Thursday, the Sundance Film Festival takes over Park City for a week and a half every January. Anything resembling a theater is booked with screenings. Directors and their casts trudge snowy streets to introduce films and do interviews. Bars and restaurants are stuffed with people talking deals, or just talking about something crazy or unexpected they just saw on screen.

    "It's almost like Burning Man. Once a year, this tiny little town that then transforms itself into kind of a crazy film city for 10 days out of the year," said writer-director Lynn Shelton, a Sundance regular ("Humpday," "Your Sister's Sister") who returns this year with "Touchy Feely," starring Rosemarie DeWitt as a massage therapist suddenly struck by an aversion to touching others. "It's crammed with people all there for one reason. Whatever relationship they have to the industry, they're all there for the love of films."

    The top U.S. showcase for independent cinema, Sundance has grown along with the do-it-yourself film world and has played a huge role in creating opportunities for low-budget filmmakers to get their work made and seen.

    Robert Redford added the festival in 1985 as an offshoot of his Sundance Institute that offers professional support to indie filmmakers.

    That first year, the festival showed a couple of dozen films. This year, Sundance is playing 119 feature films from 32 countries, culled from about 4,000 that were submitted.

    "It's gotten pretty overwhelming," Redford said. "I never dreamed when we started – we didn't even know that we would last – and then when it lasted and grew, it became huge. I never anticipated that it would get to this size."

    Now the name Sundance is almost a synonym for the possibilities of independent film. The festival helped launch the careers of filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino and has premiered such Academy Award winners and nominees as "Little Miss Sunshine," "Precious," "Winter's Bone" and last year's top Sundance prize winner, "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

    This year's lineup includes Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in director Joshua Michael Stern's film biography "jOBS"; Amanda Seyfried as porn star Linda Lovelace in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's "Lovelace"; Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood in Fredrik Bond's romance "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman"; Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen in Naomi Foner's teen tale "Very Good Girls"; Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas' beat-poet story "Kill Your Darlings"; and Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," a follow-up to "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset."

    There's also a reunion for two "Little Miss Sunshine" stars: Steve Carell and Toni Collette co-star in Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's Sundance premiere "The Way, Way Back."

    Redford has insisted on giving documentaries equal time with dramatic features, and this year's festival has a wild range of nonfiction topics, including Barbara Kopple's "Running from Crazy," a study of Mariel Hemingway and her family's history of mental illness and suicide, including that of grandfather Ernest Hemingway; Alison Ellwood's "History of the Eagles Part 1," a portrait of the pop super-group; Alex Gibney's "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks"; Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl's "Sound City," a look at a venerable recording studio; Freida Mock's "Anita," a portrait of Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment; and R.J. Cutler and Greg Finton's "The World According to Dick Cheney," an examination of the former vice president.

    "The company is such good company. The programmers at Sundance, their taste is impeccable," said Lucy Walker, who premiered her 2010 documentaries "Countdown to Zero" and "Waste Land" and returns this year with "The Crash Reel," chronicling the recovery of snowboarder Kevin Pearce from a traumatic brain injury. "I feel like right now, the documentary field at Sundance, it's just such a remarkable collection of top-quality films."

    Actress and filmmaker Lake Bell, who directed a short film that premiered at Sundance in 2011 and co-starred in last year's festival feature "Black Rock," said coming to Park City in January reminds her of going back to college.

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