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  • Modi blames Cong for lack of development in Jharkhand, addresses rally amid watertight security

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday blamed the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for lack of development in mineral-rich Jharkhand.
    BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is garlanded along with party president Rajnath Singh at the Vijay Sankalp rally in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)

    Addressing a rally in state capital Ranchi, the Gujarat chief minister highlighted Jharkhand’s unemployment problem and said the central government had done nothing to bring about change.

    “Chhattisgarh has developed a lot. Chief minister Raman Singh has scored a hat-trick (of assembly poll wins). Why are Jharkhand and Uttarakhand lagging behind?” Modi said at the rally, which saw a huge gathering.

    The three states were created in 2000, when the BJP-led NDA government was in power at the Centre. While Chhattisgarh has been ruled by the BJP for the past 10 years, the other two have undergone regime changes. Maoist-hit Jharkhand has seen nine governments and three spells of President’s rule.

    Modi, who has recently got a clean chit from an Ahmedabad court in a Gujarat riots case, also attacked the Centre over price rise.

    A supporter of BJP at party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's Vijay Sankalp rally at Dhurwa in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)

    The BJP’s PM nominee stressed the Congress had lost contact with the people of the country.

    “Jharkhand’s people were heard only when (veteran BJP leader) Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power... a separate state was created,” he said.

    Heavy security arrangements were in place for the rally in the Jharkhand capital, which had grabbed the headlines two months ago for links with the October Patna blasts accused.

    More than 2,500 security personnel were deployed at the venue. As many as 40 CCTVs kept an eye on the proceedings.

    The Jharkhand Police were on toes to avoid a Patna-like incident. In the last week of October, serial blasts had rocked the Bihar capital ahead of a rally addressed by Modi, killing five people and leaving more than 90 injured. Probe led the investigators to Ranchi, the native place of the accused.

    Earlier in the day, Modi reached the venue in a chopper after landing at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport. Senior BJP leaders such as former chief minister Arjun Munda, Yashwant Sinha and Ravindra Rai, welcomed Modi amid a gathering of around 2 lakh people from across Jharkhand. The saffron party booked five trains and 2,000 buses to ferry the supporters from different districts.

    The stage was a replica of Parliament building. A message ‘Mission-2014: 272 +’ was displayed at the top.

    “It’s a Modi wave and the benefit of the wave will be seen in the 2014 elections in Jharkhand,” said former chief minister Munda.

    The state BJP is on the back foot, with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) withdrew its support to the Munda government in January. The JMM has now formed a government in the state with the Congress' help.  Source

    Kallis goes past Dravid, becomes third highest Test run-scorer

    South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis on Sunday surpassed Rahul Dravid as the third highest run-getter in Test cricket after a 115-run knock against India in his farewell match in Durban.

    Kallis, who would be retiring from Tests at the end of the match, now has 13,289 runs in the longest format.

    That tally is one run more than Dravid, who retired last year after playing 164 Tests. Kallis, who is playing in his 166th Test, is now third behind Sachin Tendulkar (15,921) and Ricky Ponting (13,378) in the all-time list.

    The South African, considered the best all-rounder in modern cricket, struck a fluent 115-run knock, which came off 316 balls and included nine fours, in his final Test.

    Kallis goes past Dravid
    “Hail King Kallis!Even his worst critic wudn’t begrudge JK farewell ton—truly fantastic feat V normally relate 2 dreams!!” tweeted former Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi, paying tribute to the 38-year old.

    “Handsome is that handsome does!Is thr any1 more handsome than Kallis in his final test?No 1 took so much workload as JK in last 3/4 decades!” he added.

    Besides the mountain of runs he sits on, Kallis also has 292 wickets in Tests at an impressive average of 32.53, besides having 200 catches to his credit.

    “100 for #Kallis in his last test. One of the greats,” wrote New Zealand captain Ross Taylor.

    Composer Khayyam recounts his association with Farooq Sheikh

    I have had the good fortune of being in several projects in which Farooq Sheikh was involved, so in the early hours when I heard of his passing away my first reaction was of disbelief. How can a man so full of life be snatched away like this from amongst our midst?

    Steeped in Hindustani tehzeeb, an adaab and a smile from him was all it took to bewitch people. Everything about him suggested gentlemanliness and great upbringing. He came from a family of well-to-do zamindars of Amroli, but never once did one find him even raising his voice. You should see how much izzat and affection he would put into speaking either on the sets or at home. That for me is the real indication of how great a human being he was.
     Farooq Sheikh
    When he was cast in the lead as Yusuf Fakir Mohammed, for the low-budget Yashraj film Noorie in 1979, he’d already made a mark for himself with roles like Sikandar Mirza in Garm Hawa, Aquil in Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Ghulam Hussain in Gaman. Both Poonam (Dhillon) and he were new and hardly known but the film became a hit with record-breaking collections. My compositions for the film were such a hit that they could be heard no matter where one went in the country.

    Even in the 1981 Umrao Jaan, where the Rekha-Asha Bhosale combination walked away with all the acclaim, the song by Talat Aziz filmed on him — zindagi jab bhi tere bazm mein laati hai hamey — stood out. He would praise the silken soft feel of the song, which he really made his own in the film with his regal splendour.

    Though I wasn’t associated with either Saath Saath or Chashme Buddoor, which came in quick succession after this, they will remain the films that come to mind immediately when one thinks of him. We were to again work together in Sagar Sarhadi’s Bazaar in 1982. This time, his Sarju came from a really poor background and the pain Farooq saab depicted with his eyes was amazing. Again, the number I composed drew a lot on his refined gentle persona. Even today, ‘Phir chhidi raat baat phoolon ki’ never fails to enthuse listeners and I will always give credit to Farooq and Supriya, who brought the sentiment of the song alive.

    Let all 14 seats come to BJP in 2014 polls, says Narendra Modi in Ranchi


    2:50 pm Modi concludes his rally by ensuring that the BJP will usher in a better and brighter future for Jharkhand. And the people (Congress) who just believe in doing 'Aakashwani', will be of no use.

    2:50 pm This is a historic rally. When I was watching it from the chopper, I could see a sea of humanity queued up for this rally.

    2:48 pm The country need development, and not division. People need employment and not political chaos. The elders need support and not struggle.

    2:47 pm The Congress is cut off from the people. Their leaders can't hear the public's voice.

    2:45 pm Jharkhand's electorate must support the BJP and we ensure it a bright future. Otherwise, its young can never be 'Bharat ke Bhagya Vidhata'.

    2:40 pm People ask me what's your vision? Jharkhand has coal but no electricity stations. Where is the vision? If there were power stations here, then Jharkhand could create so much electricty as to illuminate the entire nation. But the Centre doesn't care.

    2:32pm: Delhi government has been paralysed. The Centre has done nothing for Jharkhand since Independence.

    2:30pm: In 2014, we have Lok Sabha Elections. Let all 14 Lok Sabha seats come to the BJP.

    2:21pm: Jharkhand people would have not been poor if there was a BJP government in the state. People ar epoor here despite abundant resources.

     Narendra Modi in Ranchi
    2:14 pm: Three states were formed at the same time - Jharkhand,Chhattisgarh & Uttarakhand. Why is it that Ch'garh is on a development trajectory but other two are lagging way behind?

    2:10 pm: It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji who had a vision for Jharkhand, that vision needs to be realised.

    2:05 pm: Modi starts addressing the rally

    1:30 pm: Modi reaches the venue

    Narendra Modi landed near the venue in a chopper from Birsa Munda airport.

    11:00 am: Crowd starts to gather at the venue

    The people of Jharkhand began assembling for the Narendra Modi's speech. Modi will make the speech from the stage which is shaped like a Parliament House.

    The Dhurva Ground in Jharkhand's Ranchi is all set to be graced by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modion who will address the crowd in his 'Vijay Sankalp' rally today.

    The remarkable point about this rally is that Modi will address the crowd from the stage with a model of the Parliament in the background.

    The back side of the stage from where Modi will address the crowd, has been made in the form of a Parliament house to give an impression of the Parliament. Read More

    BJP slams Arvind Kejriwal for taking Congress' support to form govt

    BJP on Sunday criticised newly-appointed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for forming a government with the support of the "corrupt" Congress party, claiming that the latter would abandon it sooner or later.

     Arvind Kejriwal
    "It is really strange that Kejriwal has taken the support of the same Congress which he has been always been describing as a corrupt political party," BJP national vice president Prabhat Jha told PTI.

    Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal was yesterday sworn-in as as the seventh Chief Minster of Delhi.

    ar term, Jha said, and claimed that "Congress would withdraw its support from the Kejriwal government sooner or later."

    Kejriwal has been making tall claims about removing corruption, but it has no meaning if his government has the backing of a corrupt political party, he said.

    "I feel that a time will come when Kejriwal will be exposed," Jha said.

    Asked if the BJP would support Kejriwal in case Congress withdraws support from his government, he refused any such move saying, "There can be no question of it."

    As Hollywood Filming Spreads Out Globally, California Loses

    In the old days, filmmakers flocked to Hollywood for its abundant sunshine, beautiful people and sandy beaches. But today a new filmmaking diaspora is spreading across the globe to places like Vancouver, London and Wellington, New Zealand.

    Fueled by politicians doling out generous tax breaks, filmmaking talent is migrating to where the money is. The result is an incentives arms race that pits California against governments around the world and allows powerful studios —with hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal— to cherry-pick the best deals.

    The most recent iteration of the phenomenon came earlier this month when James Cameron announced plans to shoot and produce the next three "Avatar" sequels largely in New Zealand. What Cameron gets out of the deal is a 25 percent rebate on production costs, as long as his company spends at least $413 million on the three films.

    "There's no place in the world that we could make these sequels more cost effectively," says producer Jon Landau. It is neither the archipelago's volcanoes nor its glaciers that are attractive, because the "Avatar" movies will be shot indoors. Sure, Peter Jackson's award-winning special effects infrastructure is there, but the deciding factor was the money. "We looked at other places," says Landau. But in the end, "it was this rebate."

    In exchange, the local economy will benefit hugely, Landau says, comparing the ripple effect to the boost that comes from new home construction. "We're doing lumber, we're catering for hundreds of people a day. We're housing people in hotels. We're going to a stationery store and tripling their business in a year."

    The deal was "the best Christmas present we could have possibly hoped for," says Alex Lee, an Auckland, New Zealand-based entertainment lawyer. The news is especially welcome because the local screen industry is facing a potential drought: The Starz pay TV series "Spartacus" finished this year and Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy is set to wrap next year. Thanks to the "Avatar" sequels, the 1,100 workers at Weta Digital Ltd., the ground-breaking digital effects house Jackson co-founded in 1993, can keep plugging away through 2018.

    "It would have been a real shame if we had lost any of that talent and they had to move to follow the films," says Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

    Renee Zellweger Goes Incognito In Santa Monica Photo

    Renee Zellweger, that you, girl? The 44-year-old actress went super casual while dining with her parents Emil and Kjellfrid Zellweger in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday (Dec. 26). (The half-up, half-down hairdo is an apparent fave, judging from the same hairstyle Zellweger wore back in November).

    Zellweger has remained relatively out of the spotlight since starring in 2010's "My Own Love Song," though fans of the actress have been putting up her name for bid ever since Helen Fielding released a third Bridget Jones book, "Mad About A Boy," in October.

    Meanwhile, Zellweger has been spotted hitting town with her new beau, guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, whom she has been dating since at least last December.

    Why Julia Roberts Is Picky With Her Movie Roles

    The 46-year-old actress sat down with Amy Kaufman from the Los Angeles Times to talk about her transition into motherhood and how it reflects on her career. "I think people like to say that I'm super picky because of how much I l-oo-ve my kids. But as an actor, I sort of pride myself on the fact that I've always been picky," Roberts explained to the paper.

    Roberts has been married to cinematographer Daniel Moder for 11 years, and the couple have three children together. At this point in her life, those kids have become her top priority. "We try to protect our kids. We just want to have our family life and not have that intruded upon," Roberts told USA Today in a separate interview.

    Speaking to the Times, Roberts also explained how age plays a part in her decision making. "For one, I'm 46 years old, so falling out of chairs isn't as funny. I could break a hip," Roberts said. "Certain scenarios that worked 10 years ago aren't as appealing, as applicable, as believable, as original -- all those things." These factors have directed Roberts away from many of the big romantic comedies she became famous for, and have allowed her to focus on the roles that inspire her most, like "August: Osage County." The new film finds Roberts in unfamiliar territory, playing a depressed mother on the cusp of a divorce.

    "Julia, when we first started talking about it, that was our question," director John Wells told HuffPost Entertainment when asked about the decision to cast Roberts in such an against-type role. "This is an embittered, angry woman in her mid-40s, and it's going to be a lot of time spent not being a very nice person. Julia has a screen persona that she has not exclusively done, but done often, where people sort of expect her to be a certain way. None of that was going to be what we're doing. She said, 'Yeah, that's exactly why I want to do it.'"

    The actress credits her career's development and success to finding fame in a time when she was allowed to be herself. "Nobody expected me to be anybody but myself, really," she recalled.

    Everything That Needs To Be Retired From Pop Culture In 2014

    Enough is enough. The new year is fast approaching and we'd like to look at it as an opportunity for a fresh start. A clean slate. A chance to start anew without many of the repetitive, lazy, worn out tropes and trends that pop culture wielded at us in 2013. From twerking to tired storylines -- we're just over it.

    What hath "Marvel's The Avengers" wrought? Just a bunch of expensive and loud movies with shared universes that will keep multiplexes filled from now until forever. This past year saw Warner Bros. reboot Superman with a good standalone film ("Man of Steel"), and then immediately explode plans for its sequel by turing the continuation into the kitchen sink. (Why just have Superman when you can have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and maybe even Joaquin Phoenix?) It's even worse for Spider-Man fans, as Sony announced in December that Peter Parker's friendly neighborhood opponents will get movies too. (Hope everyone loves the Sinister Six! Because that's a movie people will pay money to see somewhere around 2017.) It's all so exhausting; the tyranny of synergy writ large in an industry increasingly devoid of ideas. Lo for the simple days of part two. - Christopher Rosen

    Jennifer Aniston is definitely not pregnant, guys. As much as we try to wish and pray and hope for a baby to start growing in her belly, it is not going to happen, because that is not science. I know, I know. We all just want Jen to be happy, but the incessant rumors are just making her run out of fun talk show anecdotes. Besides, now she has Justin Theroux, a $21 million mansion and chickens! Shouldn't that be enough? - Lauren Duca

    Aamir Khan's Dhoom: 3 earns Rs 69.58 crore in two days

    Aamir Khan-starrer big-budget action thriller Dhoom: 3 has collected Rs 69.58 crore -- which includes earnings from Tamil and Telugu versions -- in two days of its release, an official statement said.

    Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the third instalment of Yash Raj Films' popular Dhoom franchise came out on Friday (December 20, 2013) and opened to mixed reviews. But it seems the box office collection is satisfactory.

    On Friday, the well-packaged enrapturing drama clinched a total of Rs 36.22 crore at the box office, while on Saturday the earnings were recorded to be Rs 33.36 crore.

    Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra, who have been constant in the cast since Dhoom, reprised their roles of cop and sidekick, respectively. Katrina Kaif added glamour to the film and the actress was seen in beautifully designed sequences.

    Delhi govt formation: AAP political affairs committee meeting underway

    A crucial meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) began on Monday to discuss the results of the public referendum on whether or not to take Congress support in forming government in Delhi.

    According to reports, meeting is being attended by all top AAP leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Dr Kumar Viswas and all newly-elected MLA of the party.

    After the meeting, the AAP chief is likely to hold a press conference to announce his party's decision on the issue of government formation in Delhi.

    Kejriwal is also due to meet Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung in the afternoon to apprise him about his party's stand on ending the political stalemate in Delhi.

    Kejriwal's meeting with the Lt Governor comes amid clear signs that his party is preparing to take power in Delhi with Congress support.

    After five days of a virtual referendum on whether or not AAP should form a minority government, there were enough indications - but no announcement - that the one-year-old AAP was ready for the plunge.

    Officially, senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia, who could become a minister if Kejriwal forms a government, told that the final decision would be taken only Monday morning.

    “I can't say now if we will indeed form a government,” he said late Sunday. “We still need to hold a few meetings. The final decision will be taken only on Monday.”

    Kejriwal said earlier Sunday that “a major announcement” would be made Monday. The party said the activist-turned-politician would meet the media Monday before meeting Jung.

    As the party's campaign to elicit a 'yes' or 'no' from people in the capital on government formation entered its final phase, the AAP said that most voters favoured an AAP government.

    “Majority of the feedback we have received is 'yes',” spokesperson Ashwathi Muralidharan told reporters.

    The party has got responses from over 6.5 lakh people through SMS, interactive voice response (IVR), Facebook and the AAP web site, she said.

    Separately, AAP held public meetings in some 270 municipal wards across Delhi where too most people rooted for an AAP government by raising their hands, party leaders said.

    A former Indian Revenue Service officer whose social activism won him the Ramon Magsaysay award, Kejriwal indicated that his party was readying to take power with Congress backing.

    He denied that the promises made by his party – providing 700 litres of water daily to homes and sharply cutting power tariff among others – were utopian in nature.

    “We will deliver whatever assurances we made in our manifesto. It (manifesto) was prepared after wide consultations, and a lot of thought went into it,” he told the media.

    “Moreover, the people of Delhi are expecting much more from us, and we will perform.”

    Later in the evening, Kejriwal told a public meeting in Sarojini Nagar in south Delhi that his party will keep “returning to the people” on major issues – even after forming a government.

    “This is democracy, this is real democracy,” he said, denying criticism that the AAP decision to seek a referendum on whether or not to take power was “nautanki” (drama).

    But AAP leaders made it clear that there would be no alliance with the Congress, which has only eight seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly but which, after being ousted from power, agreed to prop up a government of AAP (28 seats) in order to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) away.

    The BJP, which finished as the largest group with 31 seats, decided not to form a government after falling short of the half-way mark by five.

    The BJP's 'no' led the Lt. Governor to invite the AAP to try form a government. Kejriwal then said he was in a moral dilemma on whether or not to take power with Congress help.

    So he decided to seek the views of the people in the capital, a move which again Sunday came under criticism from the BJP.

    BJP leader Arun Jaitley said on Facebook: “The AAP had categorically stated that it represents alternative politics. It is guided by idealism. It will neither support nor accept support from either the Congress or BJP.

    “Obviously, if the AAP stands by its publicly stated commitment, the Delhi assembly becomes a deadlocked assembly wherein after a reasonable time a fresh poll has to be ordered.

    Pregnant Ballerina, Mary Helen Bowers, Encourages All Moms To 'Embrace And Celebrate' Their Bodies

    Ballerina Mary Helen Bowers is about to give birth to her first child, and has been dancing through pregnancy with unbelievable agility and breathtaking grace.

    Bowers, the woman behind the Ballet Beautiful fitness company and the trainer who helps get Victoria's Secret models into runway form, has been documenting the stages of her pregnancy in a series of stunning photographs. She has been sharing these steps of her journey to motherhood on her Instagram account.

    "I've found the entire process of being pregnant to be such a miraculous, beautiful time," she told The Huffington Post in an email Friday. "As a first-time mom I am so excited! My instinct has been not only to capture this special time, but [also] to share it with others, too. Pregnancy is magical, I've never felt more connected to my body. Looking back I'm so happy that I've taken so many photos and really documented the different stages."

    The 33-year-old, who is most famous for working with Natalie Portman for her "Black Swan" role, is due to give birth next week, according to TODAYMoms. She has been dancing through the entirety of her pregnancy, with her doctor's approval.

    "The changes that your body goes through during pregnancy are so radical, I've really tried to embrace and celebrate my new body and hopefully I can encourage other women to do the same," she told HuffPost. "I've also spent a lot of time over the last nine months developing a new prenatal series for Ballet Beautiful to help other moms-to-be stay healthy and active during pregnancy."

    She previously told ELLE.com that ballet has helped her avoid back pain and swelling through her trimesters.

    Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Found At Fracking Sites Linked To Cancer, Infertility: Study

    Hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and a slew of other health problems have been found in water samples collected at and near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites in Colorado, according to a new study published in the journal Endocrinology this week.

    Researchers say they found elevated levels of these chemicals -- known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) -- in surface water and groundwater samples collected in the state's Garfield County, a fracking hotspot with more than 10,000 natural gas wells.

    Water samples taken from the Colorado River, a drainage basin for the region, were also found to have significantly higher-than-normal levels of EDCs, the researchers said.

    EDCs, which have the ability to interfere with normal hormone action, have been linked to a number of health issues. Last year, the World Health Organization issued a report highlighting the health risks associated with the chemicals, including cancer, infertility and impaired neural and immune function. Previous studies have also suggested that EDCs may have adverse effects on the reproductive system in both women and men.

    "With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure," Susan Nagel, a veteran endocrinologist at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, told the Los Angeles Times. Nagel was the lead author of the recent study on fracking and EDCs.

    In 2010 and again in 2012, Nagel and a team of researchers collected several water samples at five natural gas sites in Garfield County, where fracking wastewater spills are known to have occurred in the last few years. The researchers then tested the samples for four different classes of EDCs. "Of the 39 unique water samples, 89 percent, 41 percent, 12 percent, and 46 percent exhibited estrogenic, anti-estrogenic, androgenic, and anti-androgenic activities, respectively," the report says. The team also gathered water samples from the Colorado river, as well as from areas in Garfield County that are located a significant distance away from natural gas wells. Other samples came from an area in Missouri where there is no fracking.

    The researchers said water samples collected from the spill sites and the Colorado river had significantly higher levels of EDCs than those gathered from the control sites in Garden County and Missouri.

    Water can contain small amounts of estrogenic substances naturally. However, "Nagel said that although estrogenic substances can be found naturally occurring in water, she did not know of similar sources of anti-estrogenic or anti-androgenic chemicals," the Times reports.

    'The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug' Box Office Dominates With $73.7 Million

     Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.

    Per studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros. "Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million, besting last weekend's No. 1 film, Disney's animated fable "Frozen."

    Melting down to the No. 2 position, "Frozen" earned $22.2 in its third weekend, bringing its impressive overall domestic ticket total to nearly $164.4 million.

    Despite its first place position, "Hobbit" fell short of topping its prequel's debut. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which opened this same weekend last year, gained $84.6 million.

    "'Hobbit' rules this date and Warner Bros. has linked this brand to this time of year very effectively," said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak.

    "We had an excellent weekend," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. "Of course, it could have been a little better, but the weather back East was really tough last night and probably took a couple million dollars out of my pocket. But our box office will survive. We are right on target to do very similar numbers to the last 'Hobbit,' which grossed a $1 billion worldwide (overall)."

    Lionsgate's holiday-themed "Tyler Perry's a Madea Christmas" came in third place with $16.2 million.

    "All of the Tyler Perry movies have done in that $20 million plus range, but the weather was a factor in some of the performances of these films," said Dergarabedian.

    Another Lionsgate film, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," earned $13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date "Catching Fire" has grossed $739.9 million, surpassing the worldwide box office total for "The Hunger Games," which brought in $691 million.

    Celebrities React To Beyonce's Surprise Album With Expected Delight

    If you felt like Beyoncé's surprise album release was Christmas coming early, you're not alone. Celebrities have been expressing their excitement on Twitter and spreading the word about Queen Bey's latest triumph.

    As the West Coast was tucking into bed Thursday night, the singer rolled out one of the best-kept secrets in recent music history: The album she had spent the last year teasing was now available for purchase on iTunes.

    The self-titled set comes as a “visual album” featuring 14 new tracks and 17 music videos.

    currently available as an iTunes exclusive. Manufacturing of physical albums begins Thursday and a double disc CD/DVD will be available before the holidays, according to her label.

    Working with Jay Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Drake, the Dream, Sia, Ryan Tedder, Miguel, Frank Ocean and Hit Boy, the singer churned out her most ambitious project to date, without ever actually saying she was putting out an album any time soon.

    "I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak..


    Seemandhra, Telangana employees nearly come to blows

    Tension prevailed at Andhra Pradesh state secretariat Friday as the employees of Seemandhra and Telangana nearly came to blows over the bill sent by the centre for formation of separate Telangana state.

    Employees of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) took out a rally when officials were transporting the bill to the state assembly amid tight security. After the convoy of vehicles left for the assembly, Seemandhra employees intensified their protest.

    Raising slogans in support of the united state, the employees marched in the high security zone and even set afire an effigy of Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh to protest his visit to Hyderabad.

    Employees from Telangana began a counter protest. The secretariat was rocked by the slogans from both the sides. The two groups even tried to push each other.

    Police had a tough time in controlling the two groups, who almost clashed in front of 'C' block which houses the office of the chief minister.

    Both sides blamed each other for the situation. Leaders of Seemandhra employees said they had been peacefully protesting against the centre's decision for bifurcation of the state. They alleged that the rival group created the trouble.

    Telangana Employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) leader V. Srinivas Goud said they would not tolerate Seemandhra employees creating hurdles in formation of Telangana state. He said as a large number of people from Seemandhra are living in Hyderabad, the Seemandhra employees should not do anything which vitiate the peaceful atmosphere.

    Srinivas Goud also asked police to be impartial while handling the situation. He wondered how Seemandhra employees were allowed to use loudspeaker, take out rally and burn effigy in a restricted area.

    Delhi deadlock AAP says it won't form Government

    The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday announced it will not form a government in Delhi and will reject the Lieutenant Governor's offer when party leaders meet him on Saturday.

    AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Yogendra Yadav made the announcement after a party meeting. "We don't have majority (support) nor have we finished first," said Yadav. He said AAP founder leader Arvind Kejriwal would meet Jung Saturday in response to a formal invitation from the Lt. Governor regarding government formation in Delhi.

     The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which got 32 seats as part of an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, has already told Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung that it cannot form a government in Delhi as it lacked majority support in the 70-seat assembly.

    AAP took the second spot with 28 seats in a dream electoral debut.

    The Congress, which ruled Delhi for 15 years, was crushed and ended up with only eight seats. With the two leading parties refusing to form a government, Delhi stares at re-elecions.

    Petit Q Underwear Releases What May Be World's Smallest Underwear

    If you've ever said to yourself, My underwear is just covering TOO MUCH of my junk -- well, you're in luck.

    Petit Q, a French brand, has released a line of underwear that is, honestly, barely there when it comes to covering your nether-regions. A line that seeks to "create a really sexy and edgy brand but still in a playful way," Petit Q is certainly playing up their appeal to the gay male consumer.

    Check out the sexy video of the above to check out all of the different styles -- would you wear these skimpy undies?

    And if you're looking for some other underwear this season specifically marketed for gay men? Check out these "Identity Briefs," which let your sexual partner know your preferred sexual position before you're even completely naked!

    Kate Winslet Gives Birth To Baby Boy, Her First Child With Husband Ned Rocknroll

    'Kate had ‘Baby Boy Winslet’ on Saturday at an NHS Hospital,' the spokeswoman said.

    A source close to Kate added the couple are 'thrilled to bits.'

    The newborn is a third child for Kate, but a first for her husband. The baby joins Mia, 13, and Joe, nine, from Kate's first two marriages.

    Winslet met Rocknroll while holidaying at his uncle Richard Branson's privately owned Necker Island, where they wed in secret last December after a whirlwind romance.

    The 35-year-old works on the space-travel branch of the Virgin empire.

    Rocknroll was born Ned Abel Smith, but changed his name to his unusual monkier by deed poll.

    Winslet kept her last name on her marriage, telling Usmagazine: 'I was never going to change my name to Rocknroll. I've never changed my name to anything so I didn’t see a reason to start now.'

    It is not known which surname the proud parents will give their newborn son, although by referring to 'Baby Boy Winslet' her spokeswoman implied it would be his mother's.

    Speaking recently about her pregnancy, Kate told People magazine: 'I feel completely great. Being a parent turns you inside out.

    A spokeswoman confirmed the news, saying: “Kate had ‘Baby Boy Winslet’ on Saturday in Sussex. Mother and baby are doing great.”

    Kate already has two children - 13-year-old daughter, Mia, with first husband Jim Threapleton and nine-year-old son, Joe, with 'Bond' director, Sam Mendes.

    'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug': Remember When These Movies Were Events?

    “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is quite possibly the least talked about sure-to-be-blockbuster movie of all time.

    I do wonder what life would be like in a world where director Peter Jackson had stuck to the original plan and only released two "Hobbit" movies instead of three. Would the reaction to the first movie, “An Unexpected Journey,” have been better? Would we all be more excited for “The Desolation of Smaug”? Would I have heard at least one person say the words, “I cannot wait to see ‘The Desolation of Smaug’” by now?

    It’s remarkable that a series that started out as popular as “The Lord of the Rings” has become something of an afterthought. (An afterthought that still makes a lot of money, I will add.) But I feel that “The Hobbit” is basically the “How I Met Your Mother” of movies right now; we all continue to watch because we’ve invested too many hours to give up now, even though we’d probably rather be doing something else. Actually, the difference between “The Desolation of Smaug” and this final season of “How I Met Your Mother” is that “The Desolation of Smaug” is serviceable entertainment.

    It’s certainly an upgrade from last year’s “An Unexpected Journey,” in that there are no seemingly endless musical montages. So, yes, the journey of a group of dwarves to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) continues. But the dwarves really are the biggest problem with the “Hobbit” movies compared to the “Lord of the Rings” movies. There are just so many of them that we don’t really know much about them as individuals, save for Thorin (Richard Armitage). I suspect this is why Jackson decided to bring back Legolas (Orlando Bloom) from “Lord of the Rings” and just completely make up a new character, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), to add at least the semblance of variety.

    And it seems that the only thing the dwarves are good at doing is getting captured, then waiting around for Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to save them. This happens in the first movie, and the dwarves manage to get themselves captured an astounding three times during “The Desolation of Smaug.” (A case can be made that they actually get themselves captured four times.) Watching people go from place to place, getting captured each time along the way, doesn’t make for the most interesting of heroes.

    But think if “The Hobbit” had been made into just two movies instead of three. Most of the bloat of the first movie would have had to be cut, giving the first movie a much more urgent pace. We’d be talking about the grand conclusion to a remarkable five-part movie series. All of this makes me a little sad because when “The Lord of the Rings” movies were released, each one was an event. “The Hobbit” movies feel more like a commitment we wish we hadn’t made, but it would be rude at this point not to show up.

    'Britney Jean' nets Britney Spears her worst opening week ever; Garth Brooks and Duck Dynasty carry on

    When her Las Vegas residency begins at the end of the month, Britney Spears should probably stay away from the roulette wheel, because numbers are not her friend at the moment.

    Spears’ new album Britney Jean arrived this week, moving only 107,000 copies for a fourth-place finish on the Billboard 200. It’s the weakest opening week in Spears’ career, both by hard sales numbers and chart position (previously, her slowest sales week was the opening frame of her debut …Baby One More Time, which tallied 121,000 copies).

    The numbers for Britney Jean are also a giant drop-off from the opening week of her previous album, 2011′s Femme Fatale, which sold 276,000 copies in its first week. It’ll be interesting to track Britney Jean moving into 2014, as she may get a bump from the just-released video for the single “Perfume” and another once her Vegas show gets rolling.

    Britney had to dive out of the way of Garth Brooks, whose Blame It On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences took the number one spot on the chart this week. In its second full week of release, the WalMart-exclusive box set (containing six CDs, two DVDs, and retailing for around 25 bucks) sold 146,000 copies. Brooks is now tied for fourth place all-time for number one albums with nine (same as Barbra Streisand and the Rolling Stones). He trails the Beatles (19), Jay Z (13), Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley (both with 10). Expect Blame It On My Roots to stay strong during the holiday season.

    Speaking of the holiday season, Christmas releases continue to rack up big numbers. Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red had another big week, coming in at number three on the chart with 112,000 copies sold. It’s looking more and more like Clarkson’s album may end up being a perennial champ, like Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas (which still does big numbers every December). Clarkson is joined by four other holiday-related releases in the top 10: Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas (number five, 105,000 sold), Pentatonix’s PTXmas (number seven, 60,000), Michael BublĂ©’s Christmas (number eight, 57,000; another perennial juggernaut), and Mary J. Blige’s A Mary Christmas (number 10, 51,000).

    Artists Drapes Nearly-Naked White Women Over His Shoulders As 'Trophy Scarves'

    It's that time of year when the weather gets a bit cooler and you've got to pull out your winter gear--big coat, gloves, hat and scarf--there's nothing out of the ordinary about that. But one artist is raising eyebrows with his choice of 'scarves' that aren't wool or even silk, they're white women.

    Nate Hill, a New York-based performance artist, is grabbing a lot of attention with his latest work entitled "Trophy Scarves" in which the 36-year-old travels to the homes of different white women and drapes them over his shoulders. Some women are scantily clad and others completely naked.

    According to the official website, Hill describes the project in one succinct sentence:

    "I wear white women for status and power."

    Take a quick glance at the "Trophy Scarves" Instagram page and you'll see Hill dressed in a tuxedo with various women, wearing barely anything, over his shoulders.

    During an interview with Vice, Hill said the project is commenting on people's ideas of race and status.

    "Well, there are people who see certain races as status symbols, and someone had to comment on that," he said. "I wanted to find another way to come at that. I guess it’s the same kind of satirical, tongue-in-cheek approach that I like to take with things. I like to talk about something serious but do it in a lighter, kind of a goofy way. "

    Hill has a history of grabbing attention with his comments on race. In November 2011, he caused a stir on the Harlem streets when he donned whiteface and posed as "The White Ambassador."

    Rashida Jones Calls Out Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj for "Pornification of Pop"



    Following her "stop acting like wh*res" Twitter rant, the Parks & Recreation star has penned an essay for Glamour detailing her frustrations with the "pornification of pop" these days, singling out the likes of Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj for saturating mainstream music with graphic sexual imagery.

    "This fall I was hanging out with my sisters, catching up on pop-culture stuff. We watched some music videos, looked at a few Instagram accounts, and checked out blogs. And amid the usual duck-lipped selfies and staged paparazzi photos, a theme emerged: Stripper poles, G-strings, boobs, and a lot of tongue action were all now normal accessories for mainstream pop stars," she writes. "That was at the end of October, a month that had already brought us the Miley Cyrus cross-continental twerk-a-thon and Nicki Minaj's Halloween pasties."

    "With the addition of Rihanna writhing on a pole in her 'Pour It Up' video, and Lady Gaga's butt-crack cover art for the song that goes 'Do what you want with my body,' I was just done. I'd had enough."
    Adding that she's "not a prude" and "grew up on a healthy balance of sexuality in pop stars," Jones explains that sexy doesn't mean "having to take an ultrasound tour of some pop star's privates."

    "Yes, we had Madonna testing the boundaries of appropriateness, but then we also had Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Cyndi Lauper, women who played with sexuality but didn't make it their calling card," she continues. "Twenty years later, all the images seem homogenous. Every star interprets "sexy" the same way: lots of skin, lots of licking of teeth, lots of bending over. I find this oddly...boring."

    The actress also explains her use of the word "wh*re" in her previous rant, writing, "The fact that I was accused of 'slut-shaming,' being anti-woman, and judging women's sex lives crushed me. I consider myself a feminist. I would never point a finger at a woman for her actual sexual behavior, and I think all women have the right to express their desires. But I will look at women with influence—millionaire women who use their 'sexiness' to make money—and ask some questions. There is a difference, a key one, between 'shaming' and 'holding someone accountable.'"

    Jen Arnold, TLC's 'Little Couple' Star, Reveals She Is Battling Cancer

    Jen Arnold, the star of TLC's "The Little Couple," has revealed she is battling a rare form of cancer.

    "I have recently been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer and am currently undergoing treatment, including surgery and chemotherapy," Arnold, 39, said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. "I am very fortunate as the prognosis is good. While there is never a good time to get news like this, getting it just as we are building our new family is tough in many ways. ... But being surrounded by the love of my husband and our two beautiful children is actually in many ways giving me the strength to fight it even stronger."

    The neonatologist and her husband, Bill Klein, have had their lives documented on TLC since the show premiered in 2009. The series has followed them living with skeletal dysplasia, settling down in Texas and trying to have a child. They now have two adopted children: Will, 3, and Zoey, 2.

    TLC cameras will also capture Arnold's fight against cancer, according to People.

    In October, Klein and Arnold told Glamour they would drop the series if it ever got "too cumbersome," but so far they have been able to manage their schedules. They've also gotten great joys out of doing the show, particularly when they've been able to share personal struggles with viewers.

    "The biggest joy from the show is those moments where somebody sends a message or tells us that the show has helped them in some personal way, whether it’s going through the physical challenges or the medical challenges of being little people or the fertility changes and adoption challenges of starting a family," she said. "They share their own personal challenges and the fact that watching the show helps them keep moving forward, honestly that’s what makes the show worthwhile. It’s a really cool thing and makes me feel happy and proud when that happens."

    Carrie Underwood to Her 'Sound of Music Live!' Haters: "Mean People Need Jesus"



    In fact, she’s sending out positive thoughts to those who’ve openly criticized her Sound of Music Live! performance.

    “Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus,” she wrote on Twitter. “They will be in my prayers tonight…”

    She even cited a Bible verse for the naysayers to study -- Peter 2:1-25, to be exact, which reads: “So rid yourselves of all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.”

    Underwood very well may be directing those prayers to 55-year-old actress Kym Karath, who played Gretl von Trapp in the much-beloved 1965 movie musical, who wasn’t quite taken with the country pop star in the lead role of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s three-hour live performance Dec. 5.

    And she didn’t hold back her disappointment.

    “Mystified & disappointed so far by SOM special. So far only happy with Stephen Moyer,” tweeted Karath, who watched the special alongside her former on-screen siblings Charmian Carr (Liesl von Trapp) and Angela Cartwright (Brigitta von Trapp.)

    (Karath with Chariman Carr. Photo: Twitter)

    “Love Carrie Underwood but this role is just not right for her,” she said, adding that some scenes were “painful to watch.” “She is lovely her voice is beautiful but acting is wrong.”

    But she tried to soften the blow: “To be clear I love Carrie Underwood. Just not as Maria,” Karath continued. “She was brave to take it on. And this doesn't lessen my respect for her talent.”

    Even the TV critics’ reviews weren’t as scathing, most praising her unbelievable vocal talents, yet pointing out her acting chops just weren’t quite there.

    But like a true performer, the only review that mattered to the 30-year-old superstar was her own:

    Miley Cyrus' Jingle Ball Performance Of '#Getitright' Features Santa Twerking And Plenty Of Glitter

    Miley Cyrus decked the halls in a scanty red Santa outfit at Friday's Jingle Ball concert in L.A., where she took the stage to perform a glittery rendition of "#Getitright." The 21-year-old singer couldn't make it through the performance without twerking all up on Santa and, of course, rubbing a dwarf's cone bra. She flounced through the number with a fluffy Chanel bag hanging from her shoulder and a microphone shaped like a candy cane. Watch the performance above, or just soak it in with these highlights.

    Stunning Nude Photo Series Challenges What It Means To Be 'Attractive'

    What is "attractiveness"? Artist Gracie Hagen devised one way of addressing the question. In an effort to explore distance between media-propagated imagery -- the ones that star photoshopped men and women with impossibly pristine bodies -- and the genuine reality of our own flesh, she embarked on a project titled "Illusions of the Body."

    Recruiting mostly women and a few men of various sizes and shapes, Hagen photographed her models in two separate poses. In the first frame, her subjects stand in conventionally sexy positions, usually accentuating the curves they themselves deem acceptable while covering up the "unattractive" sections they wish to hide. In the second frame, the same models were asked to strike an unflattering pose; to let their bodies fall into postures we don't usually see in the glossy pages of magazines, regardless of how unsexy it might seem.

    "'Illusions of the Body' was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like," Hagen pointed out in an email exchange with The Huffington Post. "Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering."

    The result of Hagen's experiment is a striking collection of visual contradictions. The male and female bodies on display go from one extreme to another, showing just how malleable our forms can be, while challenging the rigid beauty ideals we've constructed at the same time.

    "The media shows us the most attractive photos of people," Hagen explained. "Don't compare yourselves to those images. They aren't realistic. Everyone is a different shape and size. There is no 'normal.' Celebrate your shapes, sizes and the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird and beautiful thing."

    Beyonce Posts Bikini Photos From Her Recent Jamaican Holiday

    Beyonce posted a series of bikini shots from her recent holiday in Jamaica and brought some heat to this chilly December.

    The superstar songstress recently went away with her family for some R&R on the Caribbean island. She posted snapshots of the picturesque scenery, the local cuisine and their paddle-boarding adventures. She also posted photos of herself in some bikinis.
    In the photos, Beyonce can be seen wearing a purple printed bikini with high-waisted bottoms while lounging on the beach. In others, she rocks a metallic one-shouldered two-piece while she climbs a tree.

    The 32-year-old stayed at the Trident Port Antonio Hotel, a luxury property featuring oceanfront villas, according to the Jamaica Observer. She was also spotted checking out the recording studios in Geejam.

    It was just announced that she and husband Jay Z will be going vegan for 22 days. The rapper explained it's a spiritual and physical challenge.

    Global Leaders Promise Mandela's Legacy Lives On

    He was remembered as a freedom fighter, a political prisoner, a moral icon impervious to hate, and a reconciler of seemingly irreconcilable camps. He was recalled as the crucial figure in the struggle that ended apartheid in South Africa, and as the president who then put aside retribution in favor of building a lasting democracy.

    But as the world mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, who died at his home in Johannesburg on Thursday night, words of loss resonated less as historical underscoring than as a collective yearning for a future in which his signature virtues would persevere: Through a human life as complex and vulnerable to contradiction as any other, Mandela consistently evinced an unwavering commitment to improving his nation and the state of human society.

    In Britain, David Cameron praised Mandela as "a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero," adding that "a great light has gone out in the world." Former prime minister Tony Blair celebrated Mandela as a transformational figure whose impacts on the events of his era went beyond his own nation.

    "He came to represent something that was much more than just about the resolution of the issues of apartheid and of South Africa," Blair said. "He came to represent something quite inspirational for the future of the world and for peace and reconciliation in the 21st century."

    In Washington, President Barack Obama called Mandela "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with," adding: "He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages."

    Obama spoke about Mandela's importance in strikingly personal terms, a recognition of the historical distinction they share as the first black men elected to their nation's highest offices.

    "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," Obama said. "I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela."

    Those words effectively closed the book on previous American conceptions of Mandela who, until 2008, remained on the nation's terrorist watch list given his support for armed resistance.

    In a sign that this sort of sentiment has yet to be dispatched to history, Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakastani activist who has earned global acclaim for championing the cause of girls' education, issued a statement in which she called Mandela "my leader."

    "He belongs to the whole world because he is an icon of equality, freedom and love, the values we need all the time everywhere," Malala said. "His long, long struggle is a great demonstration of humanity."

    In Italy, Minister of Integration Cecile Kyenge -- the first black woman to serve at that level of Italian government -- also described Mandela as a historical current whose force lives on even after his death.

    "He leaves the whole world a message of civil society that has accompanied us throughout the twentieth century and that will accompany future generations for centuries to come," Kyenge said. "The man himself has passed away but he left his light on, a flame that we will continue to feed in conveying his being, his teachings."

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Mandela "a giant of history," whose focus on peaceful change over historical revenge made him a "statesman with a message that is valid in every country and at every time."

    In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed sorrow for the loss of "a beacon of hope for the future," while emphasizing how Mandela had focused on bridging the racial chasm dividing his country in the years after apartheid.

    "Not only was former President Mandela a tireless fighter, he was also a promoter of reconciliation," Abe said. "Indeed, after bringing about the abolition of apartheid at the end of long years of suffering, he devoted himself to the pursuit of national unity rather than seeking vengeance."

    Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino expressed admiration for Mandela's willingness to acknowledge the role of F.W. de Klerk, the last South African president under apartheid, in working to eradicate the racist system. "It was not an easy thing to say, and to say it in those years to his people," Bonino said. "Yet Mandela had the intellectual honesty to proclaim it and to start his policy of reconciliation."

    Jessica Hart Almost Fired From Victoria`s Secret Because of Taylor Swift

    After the Victoria’s Secret show last month, Jessica Hart was asked whether Taylor Swift had what it takes to be a VS model. The answer was an emphatic “no” in which she explained.

    “I think, you know what, god bless her heart. I think she’s great,” she said. “But, I don’t know, to me, she didn’t fit. I don’t know if I should say that. I think what you find is that for a lot of us, we’ve been working for 14, 15 years; what it takes to make it here comes from experience and confidence and knowing how to be confident with yourself. I think it comes with age. It’s definitely the benchmark of all jobs.”

    Today, rumors started floating around that Victoria’s Secret ripped off Hart’s wings over the comment and cast her out of Victoria’s Secret heaven.

    Turns out this simply wasn’t true. VS president of marketing Ed Razek tells Confidenti@l that her wings are safe from being clipped.

        “There is no truth to the rumors that Jessica Hart has been fired or that she will no longer work with the brand,” said Ed Razek, President and Chief Marketing Officer of VS. “As you will see, she was a great part of our show and we look forward to continuing to work with her. As previously reported, we at Victoria’s Secret and all those involved, including Jessica Hart, were thrilled to have Taylor be a part of the show. We look forward to sharing her performances next week during the television special.”

    Of course Hart won’t be fired. You can’t argue with the truth. What you can do is write a whiny single about a girl telling you you can never be a model and have it hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

    Biden calls for trust with China amid airspace dispute

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, visiting China as a dispute over a new Chinese air defence zone rattles nerves around the region, said on Wednesday that relations between Washington and Beijing had to be based on trust.

    Beijing’s decision to declare an air defence identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands has triggered protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea and dominated Biden’s talks in Tokyo on Tuesday.


    The United States has made clear it will stand by treaty obligations that require it to defend the Japanese-controlled islands, but it is also reluctant to get dragged into any military clash between rivals Japan and China.

    Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping he believed Xi was a candid and constructive person.

    “In developing this new relationship, both qualities are sorely needed,” Biden said during a meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

    “Candor generates trust. Trust is the basis on which real change, constructive change, is made.”

    Xi said the international situation and regional landscape were “undergoing profound and complex changes”.

    “Regional issues keep cropping up and there are more pronounced global challenges such as climate change and energy security. The world is not tranquil,” he added.

    Neither made any mention of the air defence zone in remarks before reporters. Biden flies to Seoul on Thursday.

    As Biden arrived, the official English-language China Daily said in a strongly worded editorial that he “should not expect any substantial headway if he comes simply to repeat his government’s previous erroneous and one-sided remarks”.

    “If the U.S. is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo’s dangerous brinkmanship. It must stop emboldening belligerent Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to constantly push the envelope of Japan’s encroachments and provocations.”

    Under the zone’s rules, all aircraft have to report flight plans to Chinese authorities, maintain radio contact and reply promptly to identification inquiries.

    U.S., Japanese and South Korean military aircraft have breached the zone without informing Beijing since it was announced on Nov. 23.

    India Series will be a tough Assignment South African coach Russell Domingo

    Up against the number one side in ODIs, South African coach Russell Domingo today said that facing India in the three-match one-day series starting here tomorrow will be a "tough assignment" for the Proteas.

    "It's a big gauge for us. Look, we've won five of our last eight one-dayers, so we're heading in right direction, there is no doubt about it. But we know that India are going to be a tough assignment for us," Domingo said.

    "They are coming off outstanding performances, albeit in India and under Indian conditions, but we are really looking forward to it. We need to see where we are going," the coach was quoted as saying in the South African media.

    India are on a high having beaten Australia and the West Indies in their last two ODI series.

    "India are a quality side and a big attraction, and we would have liked to test ourselves against them, but that's the way it is and there's nothing we can do about it," he said.

    The South Africans' weakness against spin was exposed by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in their last ODI series against Pakistan but Domingo thought otherwise.

    "I don't think it's spin bowlers, I think it's one or two spin bowlers. Saeed Ajmal is the number-one ranked (ODI) bowler right now. He's a world-class spinner, he has been for a period of time, and particularly when you play him under conditions like we had in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth as well. He's always going to be tough.

    "A lot of batters have struggled against him and a lot will still struggle against him. I don't think we've got a weakness against spin bowling, just that Saeed Ajmal is a world-class bowler and I'm glad he's back in Pakistan.

    Indian rupee gains 31 paise to one-month high of 62.05 against US dollar

    The Indian rupee recovered from early losses and gained 31 paise to close at a one-month high of 62.05 against the US dollar today on fresh selling by exporters and banks, amid foreign capital inflows into local stocks.

    The Indian rupee opened lower at 62.40 per Us dollar against the previous close of 62.36 at the interbank foreign exchange market and dropped further to 62.55 on US dollar demand from banks and importers.

    It recovered to 62.04 per dollar before ending at 62.05, a gain of 31 paise or 0.50 per cent. The Indian rupee is at the highest level since it ended at 61.62 on November 5.

    The Indian rupee traded strong against the US dollar due to inflows from foreign banks, which may be partially tied to Power Grid share sale inflows, said Pramit Brahmbhatt, CEO of Alpari Financial Services (India).

    The follow-on-public offer of Power Grid Corporation was fully subscribed on the second day today. The issue is open till tomorrow for institutional buyers and it will close a day later for retail investors.

    The Indian rupee gained even as the US dollar rose against major currencies today on expectations that key economic data from the US this week could increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to taper its bond-buying programme.

    The November labour report from the US, due on Friday, is a key indicator to gauge the recovery in the US economy. A stronger economy may lead to the Federal Reserve tapering its USD 85 billion a month economic stimulus.

    The benchmark 30-share Sensex tumbled 146.21 points or 0.7 per cent to 20,708.71. Overseas investors bought a net Rs 516.59 crore of shares yesterday, according to provisional figures from the stock exchanges.

    Forward dollar premiums recovered on fresh payments from banks and corporates.

    The benchmark six-month forward dollar premium payable in May edged up to 246-1/2 to 248-1/2 paise from 246 to 248 paise previously and far-forward contracts maturing in November moved up to 480-1/2 to 482-1/2 paise from 478-1/2 to 480-1/2 paise.

    Aamir Khan: Feel guilty for not spending enough time with family

    Being Bollywood's 'Mr Perfectionist' comes with its own problems, as superstar Aamir Khan feels guilty for not being able to spend enough time with his family.

    The meticulous star, who prepares extensively before taking up any project and thus ends up doing only one film a year, says he found it difficult to juggle shooting for Dhoom 3, Peekay, and doing research for his TV show Satyamev Jayate 2.

    Aamir's son, Azad, turned a year-old recently. The actor said he would take his son along for shootings so that he could spend more time with him.

    "I have always felt that I am not spending enough time with my children and family. I spent 25 years with this guilt.

    The problem is that I get so lost in my work that I don't realise it. I feel guilty that I am so self-centred. But, I think I am a good father and a good husband," Aamir said.

    The father-of-three said his youngest, Azad, born through surrogacy, has started going to play school now.

    "We feel blessed to have Azad in our lives. His face lights up our life. Now he has started going to play school but earlier he would not let me leave for work and I would end up taking him on my shoots," he added.

    Aamir, who is now gearing up for the release of Dhoom 3, said producer Aditya Chopra had to delay the film for a year as he wanted to prepare extensively.

    "The physical training was really difficult. I had to have a lean but flexible body for my character of gymnast. I had only nine per cent of body fat while doing the film but got relaxed after I finished shooting.

    Gujarat Police get one-day remand of Narayan Sai

     A Delhi court Wednesday granted Gujarat Police a one-day transit remand of spiritual guru Asaram Bapu's son Narayan Sai, accused in a rape case in Surat.

    Metropolitan Magistrate Dheeraj Mor granted the transit remand for Narayan Sai and two other accused, Kaushal Thakur alias Hanuman and driver Ramesh Malhotra.

    Gujarat Police sought the transit remand, saying that Narayan Sai was required to be presented before a local court, which has issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

    Narayan Sai was on run after a complaint was filed by a 30-year-old woman that he raped her between 2001 and 2005. He was arrested along with four accomplices from Pipli village near Kurukshetra in Haryana Tuesday night.

    Gujarat Police told the court that Sai was trying to escape from the law.

    "There is a specific allegation against Sai in the case. A warrant has been issued against him by a Surat court," a police officer said.

    Police said Sai and Hanuman were already mentioned in the complaint while during investigation it was revealed that Malhotra was sending girls to Sai.

    Police alleged that the three were equal participants in the criminal misconduct.

    Sai's counsel Pradeep Rana told the court that Sai was going to surrender before a court in Gujarat but police arrested him on a tip-off.

    He opposed the police's plea and said Sai will cooperate in the investigation.

    Rana said Sai was innocent in the case.

    On being asked by the court as to why Sai was not responding to the court's summons, counsel said Sai was apprehensive that the court will not grant him bail or any relief due to hype created by the media in the case.

    He said Sai and Asaram have both been accused in rape cases.

    Another defence counsel, A.P. Singh said the case was politically motivated and was registered in a bid to malign the image of Hindu seers.

    J.J. Abrams Admits 'Star Trek' Khan Secret Was Mistake

    One of the worst kept secrets in recent Hollywood memory was that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as Khan in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek Into Darkness." Not only was Cumberbatch listed as Khan on the film's IMDb page before "Star Trek Into Darkness" was even released, but the notion that Khan was the "Star Trek" villain pre-dated the actor's involvement: Both Vulture and Latino Review reported that the famed "Star Trek" baddie was the sequel's antagonist back in December of 2011, a full 17 months before "Star Trek Into Darkness" opened in theaters.

    Despite all of that existing information, Abrams and Paramount, the studio behind the film's release, hid Cumberbatch's identity. Speaking to MTV's Josh Horowitz in a recent interview, Abrams admitted that may have been an error.

    "The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront 'This is who it is.' It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that’s what the thing was," Abrams said. "The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you’ve really got to know what ‘Star Trek’ is about to see this movie. That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it."

    Abrams admission contradicts at least one report about the "Star Trek Into Darkness" marketing campaign. Back in May, before the "Into Darkness" release, Badass Digest's Devin Faraci wrote that "there was a move to reveal [Khan] during March Madness, but that never happened." How close that was to being a reality, however, is unclear: Faraci made no mention of the scrapped Khan campaign in writing about Abrams' recent comments to MTV.

    Mary J. Blige's 'My Favorite Things' Video Is Like Whiskers On Kittens

    Combining two of the Internet's favorite things -- NBC's upcoming live remake of "The Sound of Music" and the holiday season -- Mary J. Blige released her own version of "My Favorite Things," the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic about silver white winters that melt into spring. The track comes from Blige's newest holiday album, "A Mary Christmas" (yes), which also features holiday staples such as "Little Drummer Boy" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Catch Blige's "Favorite Things" below and pick up her "Mary Christmas" in stores now.

    Congress MP Nitesh Rane arrested for smashing Goa toll booth

     Congress MP Nitesh Rane has been arrested for smashing a Goa transport department-operated border toll booth near here, police said on Tuesday.

    An official said that Rane, Lok Sabha member from Maharashtra's Sindhudurg constituency which borders the state, was on his way to Goa when his entourage was stopped at a toll booth in Dhargal, 30 km from here, for payment as a part of a new entry system put in place by the state for vehicles registered outside Goa.

    The enraged Rane along with his supporters tried to assault the occupants of the booth and smash the boom barrier and the toll operator cabin as well.

    He was later picked up by police from a hotel in Calangute which is operated by a company owned by the Rane family.

    A senior police official confirmed Rane's arrest.

    "A first information report has been registered at the Pernem police station," the official said.

    Girl Talk: How Do You Know, Really Know, You Want To Have Children?

    I have a couple of girl friends whom I really envy. They know exactly what they want — or rather, what they don’t want.  They don’t want to have children.  Two of my girl friends are childless by choice, which means that while they enjoy being involved in the lives other people’s children, they have no interest at all in becoming parents of their own. There isn’t a doubt in either of their minds that kids are not a possibility.

    My own feelings on the subject are much more hazy.

    In childhood, I assumed I would have lots of children when I grew up, probably because that would have been a continuation of what I already knew. I’m the youngest of five kids and the chaos and coziness seemed like the definition of “family” to me. I also played with baby dolls and was probably socialized, on some level, into believing it was a foregone conclusion that I’d have children.

    I felt serious about becoming a mother all the way up and through my first serious adult relationship. I could envision our lives together and fantasized about what our children would look like (cute); we had serious conversations about the sort of career and finance-related decisions we needed to make in order to become parents.

    When that relationship ended, the attendant fantasies died with it. At this point something must have switched. Maybe it was that I worried my certitude about having children someday partially scared him away. Maybe it was that I simply recalibrated my own “must have” list for future happiness. But the next serious relationship that I entered was with a man who didn’t want children. He envisioned a life for himself that involved traveling and going out to dinner whenever he wanted and having no responsibility to others, save the ones he already had with his family. He made that lifestyle look really, really appealing (although he, ultimately, was not such an appealing person). For the first time in my life, I seriously considered that I might be happy without children if I had the right partner to spend it with. The next serious relationship — with a divorced guy who had two children from his previous marriage and didn’t want any more kids — only solidified that decision. I could very happily be a stepmom, too.

    Now I can see lots of options about parenthood that might appeal to me. Without any sense of certainty anymore about such a big decision, I feel rudderless at age 29. That feels like a perilous age to be adrift on these big subjects like whether I really want to procreate or whether I’ll regret not doing so. My husband seems to feel similarly ambivalent — or perhaps characteristically happy-go-lucky is a better way to put it. When we talk about it, he says “not now but maybe someday” a lot; that’s about the same way I feel, although I’m the one with the ticking biological clock who knows “someday” is realistically some point within the next decade. For now, both of us like being an aunt and uncle to my siblings’ kids and waving hi to cute babies on the street. But we recognize there’s a lot more than that to becoming a parent. Becoming a parent completely changes your life.

    'Radioactive,' 'Thrift Shop' Named Spotify's Most Frequently Streamed Songs Of 2013

    It's been a busy year for music, as evidenced by the eclectic tracks that have proven most popular on Spotify. While 2013 saw Miley Cyrus dominate the news cycle and Kanye West stir up more controversy than his soon-to-be wife could even begin to calculate, the 10 most frequently streamed tracks on the online music service include neither artist.

    That doesn't mean the Top 10, however, is too obscure. Two of this year's songs of the summer -- Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" -- are slotted among the tracks, right above 17-year-old phenom Lorde's "Royals." Taking the top spots are Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop."

    These are the most commonly streamed songs on Spotify in the U.S. The global version features most of the same hits.

    Among the most-streamed albums of the year:
    1. "Night Visions" – Imagine Dragons
    2. "The Heist" – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
    3. "The Lumineers" – The Lumineers
    4. "Unorthodox Jukebox" – Bruno Mars
    5. "Magna Carta…Holy Grail" – Jay Z
    6. "Nothing Was The Same" – Drake
    7. "Born To Die – The Paradise Edition" – Lana Del Rey
    8. "18 Months" – Calvin Harris
    9. "Good kid, m.A.A.d city" – Kendrick Lamar
    10. "Random Access Memories" – Daft Punk

    Buxom blonde Helen Flanagan returns to the I'm A Celebrity jungle one year on... as she flaunts her body in a bikini

    Former Coronation Street babe Helen Flanagan has returned to the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! jungle one year after she was a contestant.

    The buxom blonde went on the ITV2 spin-off show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Now! and was seen stroking a crocodile that lay on Roving Reporter Joe Swash’s chest.

    The actress rose to a new level of fame after her stint in the Australian jungle last year, but seemed keen to get back to under the canopy this series to support the current contestants.

    With her hair in angelic pigtails, the busty actress showed off her cleavage in a pink and black bikini.

    Her red lipstick accentuated her plump lips, but, as ever, the star’s fake tan let down her look.

    Although she had streaky hands, the actress did look like she’d picked up a golden glow during her time in Australia.

    Standing to one side, waiting for her cue, Helen was spotted filing her nails. 

    The actress allegedly said that she would not be interested in dating Joey Essex as he is too 'thick' to be her boyfriend. Although charming Joey has proved to be popular with the ladies, the ex-Coronation Street actress, who is famous for her ditzy remarks, has reportedly said she was prefer a 'smarter man'. According to The Sun, the 23-year-old said the TOWIE star was 'too thick' to be her boyfriend and added: 'Opposites attract so I wouldn't go for Joey.' Helen, who came seventh in the last series and faced a torrent of public abuse after being mocked as the ultimate airhead, has stuck up for beauty queen Amy Willerton after contestants have been critical of her.

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