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NEW YORK — ABC's newest "Bachelorette," Desiree Hartsock, says it's not hard to keep the details of her experience on the show a secret from her friends.
"Ironically, I'm kind of a private person anyway, so my friends know not to ask," she said in a recent interview.
Hartsock has some experience with the matter, although her last reality TV romance ended in heartbreak.
The 27-year-old competed for the affection of Sean Lowe on the last season of "The Bachelor." She was sent home after a disastrous date where he met her family.
"I think after all the questions they asked last season, they got an idea that I can't talk about it and it's best that they don't ask. They just let me be and I'm excited to talk about it once it's all over," she said of the new season.
Whether the bridal designer is excited to share some good news, Hartsock is also keeping that close to the vest.
"I can't give away if I'm happy or anything but this season I think is a little different because there are a lot of twists and turns. Everybody's gonna have to wait and see what happens," she said.
Hartsock marvels at how her life has changed in a short amount of time.
"It just blows my mind, to be honest," she laughed. "I wasn't even expecting to be on `The Bachelor.' It was more of a `hey, if this works out, it works out.'"
It didn't work out with Lowe, who's engaged to Catherine Giudici, his final pick on "The Bachelor." But Hartsock won over viewers with her girl-next-door looks, attitude and raw vulnerability when Lowe sent her home after meeting her family.
Although it seemed at first that her older brother was onboard with the relationship, he told Lowe in a one-on-one chat that he didn't think he was right for his sister.
Hartsock says there are no hard feelings over her brother's skepticism and stresses it was "very Sean specific."
"He's my brother! He trusts me and he supports me," she said.
The drama this time comes from 25 male contestants. Hartsock says they have "a lot of strong personalities" and she's looking forward to seeing what led up to their conflicts when she wasn't around.
"The Bachelorette," hosted by Chris Harrison, premieres Monday on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT.
Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar
WASHINGTON -- Failure is OK, but continuing to work hard is more important, Michelle Obama said Friday.
That was the message the first lady delivered to students at an elementary school where the arts are being used to help boost student performance. The school is located in Anacostia, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
Mrs. Obama said failure was not an impediment for her and shouldn't be for them.
She also encouraged the students to "try new things and not be afraid to fail, because we have all failed."
"You're looking at the first ... I have failed at things. Things have been really hard for me at times," Mrs. Obama said at Savoy Elementary School. "But all I had to do was keep going and keep working hard."
To further illustrate her point, she pointed to Kerry Washington, star of ABC's "Scandal," as another example.
Mrs. Obama said the actress, who was sitting in the audience for the visit, is a big star these days because she chose to keep perfecting her craft instead of becoming discouraged by rejection during her career.
"She spent a lot of time practicing and working and trying out for things and having people tell her `no,' `no, thank you,' `you're not good enough, you're not pretty enough,'" the first lady said. "Could you imagine somebody telling Kerry that she wasn't pretty enough, she wasn't tall enough, she was too short? That's all performing is, is rejection."
Washington, who is the school's arts ambassador, later said she wasn't sure how that came to be.
"It might have something to do with playing Olivia Pope and having a principal Pope," she joked. Olivia Pope is her character on "Scandal" and Patrick Pope is the school's principal.
Turnaround Arts: http://turnaroundarts.pcah.gov
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is hoping this weekend's release of the resurrected TV series "Arrested Development" will draw more subscribers to its Internet video service.
The award-winning show about the dysfunctional Bluth family returns Sunday, seven years after Fox cancelled the series. The revival coincides with Netflix's own resounding comeback from a customer backlash over price increases and shareholders' worries about rising expenses. The adversity had raised doubts about the company's management and future.
Now, Netflix is winning back subscribers and investors with a bold attempt to establish its $8-per-month service as a home entertainment powerhouse that rivals the broadcast television networks and premium cable channels such as HBO.
"Arrested Development," a comedy that won six Emmy awards during a critically acclaimed three-year run, is the third exclusive series from Netflix Inc. this year. It's part of Netflix's effort to add more original programming to a selection that consists primarily of old TV series and movies.
With 29.2 million U.S. subscribers — far more than the 21.9 million TV subscribers that leading cable provider Comcast Corp. has — Netflix has already reshaped home entertainment.
The service is encouraging more people to forego cable and satellite TV service and rely on Netflix to watch popular TV series a year or more after they originally were shown. Netflix also is empowering viewers to watch an entire season of a TV series in a matter of days instead of months.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings isn't done disrupting things yet. He is spending more than $2 billion annually, including about $200 million to finance original programming that can be watched on traditional computers, smartphones, tablets, video game consoles and Internet-connected TVs.
By expanding its library of content, Netflix is hoping people will decide to spend their idle time on its Internet video service rather than play video games, fraternize on Facebook, surf cable or satellite TV or watch a DVD. (Netflix started out as a DVD-by-mail rental service, but it is phasing that out in favor of Internet streaming.)
"We want our members to choose Netflix in these moments of truth," Hastings wrote in a recent essay outlining Netflix's philosophy.
By bringing back "Arrested Development" this weekend, Netflix is also trying to prove that people still want to see quality entertainment even when the weather is getting nicer and the days are growing longer. That runs counter to the philosophy of broadcast TV networks, which for decades have typically started the new seasons of their top TV series in September and stopped showing new episodes just before Memorial Day weekend.
BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield believes the scarcity of compelling choices on broadcast TV at this time of year is bound to help Netflix draw more viewers to "Arrested Development." In a recent analysis posted on BTIG's blog, Greenfield predicted that the total number of hours watched on Netflix in June might even surpass the Fox broadcast network for the first time.
If that were to happen, it would be an ironic twist, given that Fox canceled "Arrested Development" in 2006 over the protest of the series' fervent fans. "Arrested Development" had low ratings during its run, but the viewers who did watch loved it. Others discovered the show later on DVD or Internet streaming — both of which have been available through Netflix.
The first three seasons of "Arrested Development" were being watched by so many subscribers that Netflix knew another season would be well-received by its existing audience and would likely lure new subscribers, too.
Like Netflix's previous series, all 15 new episodes of "Arrested Development" will be released simultaneously to allow viewers to watch the show as if they were perusing a book and deciding how many chapters to pore through in a single sitting. "Arrested Development" is scheduled to be available at 12:01 a.m. PDT Sunday (3:01 a.m. EDT), meaning Netflix subscribers could conceivably devour the entire season before grilling on Memorial Day afternoon.
Netflix's departure from TV's traditional one-episode-per-week strategy has been well received by subscribers who have watched the service's previous forays into original programming.
February's release of "House of Cards," a political drama that stars Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, helped Netflix add 2 million more U.S. subscribers during the first three months of the year, more than analysts anticipated. "Hemlock Grove," a quirky horror series, attracted additional viewers during the first weekend after its mid-April release, according to Netflix, although the company hasn't provided specific numbers.
It's difficult to quantify how many subscribers joined Netflix to watch "House of Cards" and then decided to stick with the service after seeing all the other material available. That's because "House of Cards" debuted during a winter period that is traditionally one of the service's prime times. For instance, Netflix added 1.74 million subscribers in the first three months of 2012. The difference between the two years could be an indication that "House of Cards" generated an additional 250,000 subscribers, although there is no way of knowing for sure.
In any case, "Arrested Development" is expected to attract even more new subscribers than "House of Cards" because of its built-in fan base and the success that several of its cast members have enjoyed since the show's cancellation. The original cast, including Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Will Arnett, is returning to the zany series revolving around a family whose opulent lifestyle was torn apart by the arrest of a corrupt patriarch played by Jeffrey Tambor.
If "Arrested Development" does as well as Hastings hopes, it will mark another triumph for a company that had fallen out of favor with subscribers and investors less than two years ago. Netflix infuriated customers in July 2011 when it announced price increases of as much as 60 percent for people who wanted to rent DVDs by mail and stream Internet video. Then, Hastings unleashed even more outrage by outlining plans to spin off the DVD-by-mail option into a separate service called Qwikster — an idea that seemed so absurd that it was mocked on "Saturday Night Live."
Netflix didn't waver on its new pricing system, even though it resulted in the loss of 800,000 customers at the time. But Hastings scrapped the Qwikster concept amid the backlash. The DVD-by-mail service, which has lost 6 million customers in the past 18 months and now has 8 million, is being allowed to slowly fade away.
While Netflix subscribers were howling, shareholders were dumping their stock. Investors feared the company wouldn't be able to attract enough subscribers to cover the steadily rising fees for licensing video rights.
Those worries have dissipated now that Netflix is growing rapidly again, something that Hastings had promised would eventually happen after apologizing for the Qwikster mistake and the way he handled the price increase.
After hitting a high of nearly $305 in July 2011 and then falling to below $53 last August, Netflix's stock is trading at nearly $230.
TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied Friday that he smokes crack cocaine and said he is not an addict after a video purported to show him using the drug. The mayor of Canada's largest city did not say whether he has ever used crack.
Ford did not take questions from reporters at a news conference at City Hall held after a week of silence and after close allies released a letter urging him to address the video. The video apparently shows Ford smoking crack.
"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," Ford said. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist."
Ford had been ducking the media and his only comments before Friday on the scandal came a week ago, a day after the story broke, when he called the crack smoking allegations "ridiculous" and said the Toronto Star newspaper was out to get him.
Ford said he had kept quiet because his lawyer advised him "not to say a word."
The video has not been released publicly and its authenticity has not been verified. Reports on gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who said they had sold the drug to Ford. The Associated Press hasn't seen the video.
The Star reported that two journalists had watched a video that appears to show Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it. Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.
The Star also reported that Ford allegedly made a racist remark about the high school football students he coached.
Ford criticized the media for judging him.
"It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I've been judged by the media without any evidence," Ford said.
City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he was profoundly disappointed in the mayor's statement and called on Ford to resign. De Baeremaeker said he believes the reports about Ford's alleged drug use and believes Ford's tenure is over.
"I don't believe the mayor," he said. "He should resign and then go seek help."
De Baeremaeker said he's observed erratic behavior from the mayor.
"The mayor is just imploding," he said. "The mayor had an opportunity to acknowledge that perhaps he does have a problem, and to take a leave of absence, perhaps to take care of himself and his family, instead he went on the attack."
Other councilors said the mayor wasn't comprehensive enough and said the distraction is not over. Councilor John Parker called the statement too little too late.
"I'm not sure we've heard the whole truth," Parker said. "Questions continue to swirl around him."
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, a close ally of Ford who was standing near Ford during the news conference, acknowledged it's not over.
"He would have been a lot better off had he made this statement earlier in the week but for whatever reason he did not," Holyday said.
The allegations have caused an uproar in Canada and have become the fodder for late night TV in the U.S.
The mayor's statement came at the end of a dramatic week. Ford fired his chief of staff on Thursday, but gave no reason for Mark Towhey's dismissal.
Towhey, who was escorted from City Hall by security, would only say that he did not resign. Reports from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the Toronto Sun and others cited sources as saying Ford fired him after he urged the mayor to get help. Towhey declined to comment on Friday when reached by The Associated Press.
Ford was fired from his job as football coach at a Catholic high school on Wednesday for reasons unrelated to the scandal over the alleged crack video. Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesman John Yan said the decision to remove Ford as the head of the Don Bosco Eagles Football program had to do with the comments the mayor made to the Sun TV Network in March that parents found offensive. Yan said Ford characterized the parent community as not caring about their kids, that the students were involved in gangs and guns and that if it weren't for him they would be in jail.
Ford has been embroiled in almost weekly controversies about his behavior since being elected in 2010, but these are the most serious allegations he's faced yet. The Toronto Star reported earlier this year that he was asked to leave a gala fundraiser for wounded Canadian soldiers because he appeared intoxicated.
During his campaign for mayor, Ford vehemently denied a 1999 arrest for marijuana possession in Florida, but later acknowledged it was true after he was presented with evidence. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failing to give a breath sample to police.
While in office, he has been accused of flouting conflict of interest rules and making obscene gestures at residents from his car.
The controversy has drawn comparisons to the 1990 arrest of then-Washington Mayor Marion Barry, who was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during an FBI sting operation. Barry served six months in federal prison on a misdemeanor drug possession conviction and later won a fourth term as mayor in 1994.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Canadian man is facing charges that he stalked the brother of Jennifer Lawrence after authorities say he repeatedly insisted that the man put him in touch with the Oscar-winning actress so he could protect her, according to court documents.
Zhao Han Cong, 23, of Vancouver, British Columbia, was ordered Friday to remain held until he could undergo a psychiatric examination to determine if the case against him can proceed.
FBI agents in Louisville charged Cong on Monday with interstate stalking and repeated harassing phone communications. Lawrence is a native of Louisville.
Cong's attorney, public defender Donald J. Meier, requested the psychiatric exam. Meier didn't cite any specific behavior in making the request, though prosecutors did not object. Cong has not yet entered a plea.
FBI Special Agent Richard Boswell III wrote in an affidavit that Cong started contacting "B.L.," who is identified in a related state court record as the actress' brother Blaine Lawrence, on April 4. Lawrence received numerous phone calls and text messages from "Ted" on his work cell phone at 2 a.m., Boswell wrote. Boswell said "Ted" was later identified as Cong.
The phone calls and text messages came from numbers with area codes in California and Colorado but were later traced to Cong.
Cong initially asked Lawrence to put him in contact with the actress so he could "protect" her and made references to the Boston Marathon bombings, Boswell said. Cong then blamed Blaine Lawrence for putting his sister in danger because she was in Boston before the attack, Boswell said.
Cong made comments about "bad things" happening to Lawrence and his family and eventually gave up his real name and phone number in Canada, Boswell wrote.
Two weeks later, Cong sent three email messages to Blaine Lawrence, making references to the Bible and their relation to Jennifer Lawrence. Cong told his life story and said he was Jennifer Lawrence's "husband for life," Boswell wrote.
Cong told Blaine Lawrence he "wouldn't kill anyone for sure," but would scare people with real things happening in their lives and would get angry "and all hell's going to break loose," Boswell wrote.
Cong flew from Vancouver to Louisville on April 18 and kept contacting Blaine Lawrence, Boswell wrote.
"Either I find out, or you come and see me, okay?" Boswell quoted Cong as saying. "You got me really upset. When I'm, when I'm upset, let's see what happens, alright?"
Cong took a cab to the Indian Hills Police Department in suburban Louisville on April 19 and asked about the home address of Lawrence's mother. Police interviewed Cong for three hours. During the interview, Cong described himself as the second coming of Jesus and said Lawrence's mother had what he needed to complete his journey, Boswell wrote.
Officers took Cong into custody and involuntarily hospitalized him for a psychiatric evaluation. He was taken to Central State Hospital, where he called Blaine Lawrence, Boswell wrote.
Upon his release, police arrested Cong. Federal authorities took custody of Cong on May 7 and filed a criminal complaint against him Monday.
Follow Associated Press reporter Brett Barrouquere on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBarrouquereAP
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was never a fan of MTV's "Jersey Shore," saying it unfairly cast the state in a negative light.
So when Nicole Polizzi, otherwise known as Snooki, got to meet the governor Friday and shake his hand, their exchange was a bit awkward.
Christie and "Jersey Shore" cast members appeared separately on NBC's "Today" show during filming in Seaside Heights, N.J., to talk about the state's recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Seaside is where "Jersey Shore" was filmed.
In a later exchange captured on video by the Asbury Park Press ( ), an unsmiling Snooki told Christie that she hoped he would "start to like us." http://on.app.com/ZiTFCx
Christie responded, "Well, we'll do our best."
After they parted ways, Snooki looked at the camera and said, "He just doesn't like us."
CANNES, France — Academy award-winner Marion Cotillard gave her all and even learned another language to play a Polish woman struggling with the realities of 1920s New York in James Gray's terse offering, "The Immigrant."
The gritty drama, which premieres Friday at the Cannes Film Festival and is competing for the Palme d'Or, was filmed in part on the almost mythical Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants stepped off the boat to America in search of a better life, captured with stark beauty by cinematographer Darius Khondji.
The initial American dream of Cotillard's character, Ewa, to rejoin her uncle and aunt and start a family with a "good man" is quickly dashed. Her sister winds up quarantined in an immigrant hospital and she herself is taken under the wing of Bruno, a louche cabaret manager who's prone to violent outbursts.
Bruno, played by Joaquin Phoenix in a melodramatic performance that has divided critics, is attracted by Ewa's beauty and forces her into his cabaret outfit, which also serves as a brothel. She becomes the most prized of his "doves," the sickening name he gives to his dancing girls.
But what might have been a predicable pimp-prostitute tale is given a twist by the human complexity of Gray's characters: neither fully good nor fully bad.
Cotillard's performance has already garnered attention from critics for the intensity of her performance and for learning Polish for the role – some 20 pages of the film script were in that language, she noted. The French actress admitted that while speaking a foreign language was tough, it ultimately spurred her on artistically.
"The language creates everything. I like to create characters that have their own approach, their own physical language, their own voice. When you have a different language to learn, it somehow helps to create that," she said.
She called speaking Polish her "biggest challenge," as even when she was happy with a scene, "I had no way of knowing if it was perfect. It was very unsettling."
Cotillard is becoming something of a polyglot having also acted in English, French and Italian in this year's "Blood Ties."
"The Immigrant'"s third key character could be said to be Ellis Island itself, the former immigrant gateway in Upper New York Bay.
Khondji, who worked on last year's Palme d'Or winner "Amour," defined the film with his breathtaking evocations of Ellis Island and a grimy New York, with references that harked to "The Godfather: Part II."
"There have been so few films actually shot in Ellis Island ... this kind of mythical, immigration station where the entire world came to the United States," said Gray, who added that 40 percent of Americans have an ancestor who passed through the island at the beginning of the 20th century.
But the covetable location presented its fair share of obstacles, as the director conceded after the screening.
"One of the things that you forget is that ... it's a museum. It's open virtually 365 days a year, and it will not close down for you, so all that stuff ... was shot at night actually with huge cranes holding these big 10,000-watt lights, blasting light through the window. If I knew what it would take I'm not sure I would have done it again."
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP
ROANOKE, Va. -- A Virginia landmark and tourism attraction once owned by Thomas Jefferson is up for sale.
The privately owned Natural Bridge, north of Roanoke, is being put on the market, along with Natural Bridge Caverns and a 150-room hotel.
Roanoke-based Woltz & Associates is marketing the tourist attraction.
Woltz & Associates owner and president Jim Woltz tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/Z2ioIT) the 1,600-acre property will be divided and listed by tracts. Potential buyers could purchase only the 215-foot-high limestone arch, or every tract.
The property's primary owner is Washington, D.C., businessman Angelo Puglisi. Woltz says Puglisi wants the bridge to remain open to the public.
Woltz would like to see the bridge become a national or state park. He plans to contact federal and state officials about purchasing it.
Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com
TUNIS, Tunisia — Amina Tyler, the 19-year-old Tunisian woman who scandalized many in the country by posting topless photos of herself online as a protest, could face six months in prison for her latest arrest, her lawyer said Friday.
Tyler, who had to go into hiding after receiving death threats from conservative preachers for posting the photos, tried to stage a new protest at the religious center of Kairouan, where ultraconservative Muslims had planned to hold their annual conference.
Witnesses said she scrawled the name of FEMEN, the Ukrainian feminist group known for its use of nudity in protests, on the wall of a cemetery near the main mosque, and police alleged she sought to remove her clothes. An angry crowd gathered and she was hustled away by police.
Her lawyer, Mokhtar Jannene, said Tyler was charged only with carrying a dangerous object, which turned out to be a pen-sized personal protection device that shot some kind of debilitating spray.
"It's a case of judicial acrobatics," scoffed her lawyer, who said the charge was based on a law dating from 1894 and should not have been used in this case.
Tyler received the device from a foreign journalist who had interviewed her earlier and left it for her as protection, said the lawyer, adding that police found it in her bag after searching her. Tyler is in good spirits and will face a judge on Thursday, said Jannene, who visited her in the Kairouan prison.
The young woman's mother appeared on Tunisian television and said her daughter never tried to remove her clothing and insisted she suffered mental problems.
Tyler has become a focal point in the battle over the country's identity after the overthrow of a suffocating dictatorship in January 2011 opened the way for competing religious and secular groups. She said in April that she was leaving for France to study journalism but planned to do one last dramatic protest before she left.
By choosing to protest in Kairouan, Tunisia's main religious site, Tyler stepped into an extremely sensitive situation just as the government has taken steps to confront the rising power of ultraconservative Muslims.
Ansar al-Shariah, a group whose members have been implicated in violent attacks on art galleries and cinemas, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, had announced it would hold its annual conference in Kairouan but refused to apply for official permission for the gathering.
The government, which is run by moderate Islamists and has been long accused by the opposition of coddling extremists, announced that the conference was banned and backed up its decision with 11,000 police and soldiers to stop the conservatives, known as Salafis, from gathering in the city.
LOS ANGELES -- A man wanted for 13 years on attempted murder charges in Los Angeles was captured in Colorado after someone called police to report he was urinating on a wall outside a KFC restaurant.
Miguel Sanchez, 59, initially gave officers a false name when he was arrested Wednesday, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department. After he was fingerprinted, police discovered his identity and that he had a $2 million warrant in California.
"Kentucky Fried Chicken called and said he was peeing on the wall," said Colorado Springs police Lt. Dan Lofgren. "On the run for 13 years, and then they get caught for being stupid."
Sanchez is accused of stabbing someone multiple times after an argument in 2000, then stabbing a second person before running away.
Los Angeles police Sgt. Albert Gonzalez said the crime was classified as domestic violence, and that one victim was male and the other female. He declined to provide more details.
Prosecutors filed four felony charges against Sanchez in 2000: two counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated mayhem and one count of assault with a deadly weapon, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
Gonzalez said LAPD officers were working on extraditing Sanchez from Colorado.
Tami Abdollah can be reached at . http://www.twitter.com/latams
GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The 20-year-old son of a former aide to President George W. Bush was charged in a Washington, D.C., suburb on Friday, accused by police of killing a man with a hatchet.
Claude Alexander Allen III, of Gaithersburg, was arrested by Montgomery County police and online court records show he's been charged with first-degree murder.
A phone message left at the Allen household wasn't returned. A lawyer who has represented the younger Allen in a prior marijuana possession case declined to comment Friday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a new lawyer.
The killing occurred at the Gaithersburg home that property records show is owned by Allen's mother and father, Claude A. Allen.
Police say they were called to the home around midnight by a man who said he had killed someone who had tried to break into his home. Officers who arrived determined that there had not been a break-in, and police say the younger Allen, and the victim, 25-year-old Michael Phillip Harvey, knew each other. Harvey's body was found in woods outside the home.
Police didn't immediately reveal a motive or say how the body ended up in the woods.
The elder Allen was a domestic policy adviser in the Bush White House, but his political career effectively ended when he was arrested in 2006 for leaving a Gaithersburg Target store with merchandise that authorities said he didn't pay for. He pleaded guilty to theft that same year, admitting that he made phony returns to discount department stores, and was fined and placed on probation.
He told the judge at his sentencing hearing that he had lost perspective while working long hours and getting little sleep in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
He's been a member at Covenant Life Church, an evangelical church in Gaithersburg.
"The very sad story being reported in the news today is the only information we have at this time. We are grieving and praying for the family of the victim, the Allen family and all involved," church spokesman Don Nalle said in a statement.
The younger Allen was not scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
MADRID -- The Catholic archdiocese in Madrid says it needs more exorcists to help some of its faithful cope with the devil.
An archdiocese spokeswoman said Friday that Madrid only has one exorcist priest and that it is considering a plan to train more. She spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with archdiocese policy.
"The devil exists. That's a fact," she told The Associated Press.
Only a priest authorized by a bishop can perform an exorcism and the brief rite involves blessings with holy water, prayers and an interrogation of the devil by the exorcist during which the demon is asked to leave the victim.
ReligionenLibertad, a Catholic website, blames the growing secularization of Spanish society for what it calls an increase in people asking for help with their demons.
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — An 11-year study of the incidence of brain cancer at jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in the state ended Thursday with university researchers saying they found no statistically significant elevations in the rate of cancer among workers.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Chicago said they identified 723 workers diagnosed with tumors between 1976 and 2004 at the United Technologies Corp. subsidiary. The tumors were malignant, benign or unspecified and included 277 cases of brain cancer.
Researchers examined records such as work documents and cancer registries of 222,123 men and women who worked in one or more of eight Connecticut Pratt & Whitney plants between 1952 and 2001. They also reviewed 11 chemical or physical agents on the basis of known or suspected carcinogenic potential that could affect the central nervous system or other organs.
The $12 million study, commissioned by Pratt & Whitney, was overseen by the state Department of Public Health. William Gerrish, a spokesman for the state agency, called it a "comprehensive study that has met its goals," and the project's principal researcher said the results were positive.
"The news is good," said Gary Marsh, the University of Pittsburgh researcher who led the study.
Employees can be reassured that working at Pratt & Whitney before 2002, the start of the study period, "does not increase your risk of developing brain cancer and does not increase your risk of dying," Marsh said.
The son of a Pratt & Whitney worker who died at age 46 was not so certain, though.
"It leaves a lot of questions unanswered," said Todd Atcherson, whose father, Charles Atcherson, died in 1998 after working at Pratt & Whitney for about 25 years.
Workers and the union expressed concerns about several workers who died of brain cancer within a few years of each other and the study became too large, "losing sight" of individuals, he said.
Paul Dickes, chief health and safety representative at the Machinists union, which represents Pratt & Whitney workers, said he's reassured that the study determined it's safe to work at the two remaining Connecticut plants.
"It doesn't bring closure to people who had illnesses," he said. "I'm disappointed it doesn't resolve those issues."
Pratt & Whitney spokesman Ray Hernandez said: "We are pleased that employees have answers to their questions and there is no correlation between cancer and the workplace."
Comparisons among Pratt & Whitney plants showed a slightly higher incidence of tumors and cancer among workers at the North Haven plant, the researchers said. But further evaluation found no association with estimated workplace exposures.
The slightly elevated cancer rates at the North Haven plant may reflect external occupational factors that researchers did not measure such as other companies where employees worked or factors unique to North Haven, Marsh said.
The study is one of the largest and most comprehensive in an occupational setting, he said. It also is the first large-scale study of workers in the jet engine manufacturing industry.
The results echo what was released in the first stage of the three-stage study in 2008. The researchers said then they did not find statistically significant excesses in deaths from malignant brain tumors among North Haven workers.
Workers and their families, joined by the Machinists union, pushed for the study after widows and union officials said they were concerned with what appeared to be numerous and similar deaths at Pratt & Whitney plants.
OSAKA, Japan -- Two Korean former sex slaves demanded the resignation of an outspoken Japanese mayor and canceled a meeting with him Friday for justifying Japan's wartime practice of forcing tens of thousands of Asian women into prostitution for its military.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, also co-leader of a nationalist party, enraged Japanese neighbors last week by saying the use of so-called comfort women, mainly from South Korea, China and the Philippines, in frontline brothels before and during World War II was considered necessary then to maintain military discipline and give soldiers relief.
Hashimoto told reporters later Friday that the cancellation was "very unfortunate" but that he respects their feelings. He said he had hoped to show his sympathy over their wartime sufferings as sex slaves, and would have apologized for hurting their feelings because of his remarks that he said were misrepresented by the media.
Supporters of the two women in their 80s, Kim Bok-dong and Kil Won-ok, said there would be nothing to talk about because Hashimoto has showed no remorse over his remarks. They suspected he may have wanted to use the meeting – to be broadcast live on TV – to appear friendly with them and calm public criticism, the supporters told journalists.
The women, who did not appear in public, said in a statement they were heartbroken by Hashimoto's "outrageous comments" and didn't want to be seen contributing to a less-than-sincere apology.
Instead, they demanded that Hashimoto, 43, apologize and resign as mayor of Japan's second-biggest city.
"We cannot compromise our painful past as victims and the reality that we still live today for Mayor Hashimoto's apology performance," the women said in a statement. "We don't need to be trampled on again."
Hashimoto also angered the U.S. by suggesting American troops based in southern Japan should patronize legal adult entertainment establishments as a way to reduce sex crimes there. He said he planned to apologize to the U.S. military and Americans for "making them feel uncomfortable because of my inappropriate remarks," but denied any prejudice against women.
The women, regulars at a weekly protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, and their supporters originally requested a meeting with Hashimoto last year, which was rejected. Hashimoto suddenly told them they could meet with him the day he made the inflammatory comments on May 13, Japanese supporters said. They said the timing seemed odd, and were skeptical about his motive.
Both women have said in past accounts of their ordeals that they were deceived into becoming sex slaves to Japanese soldiers.
Kim was recruited to work at a military uniform factory when she was 15, but ended up at a military-run brothel in Guangdong in southern China. She was dragged across Asia, from Hong Kong to Singapore and Indonesia until the end of war. She had to take an average of 15 soldiers per day during the week, and dozens over the weekend. She and other girls were closely watched by guards and could not escape.
Hoping to help her poor family, Kil took a factory job in 1940 when she was only 13. But she was sent to China, where she was repeatedly raped until the war's end in 1945.
Historians say up to 200,000 women from across Asia were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers. While some other World War II armies had military brothels, Japan is the only country accused of such widespread, organized sexual slavery.
Hashimoto has largely shared Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's view that there is no official record to prove those women were forced into sex slavery because of a Japanese state order.
Hashimoto on Friday blamed the murkiness of Japan's past apology and historical facts for having kept the issue unresolved for so long, hurting Japan's relations with its neighbors.
His comments come amid concerns in China and South Korean over a series of nationalistic events and remarks coming from Abe's government, which took power after winning elections in December. In April, several Japanese government ministers and nearly 170 lawmakers visited Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, which memorializes 2.3 million war dead, including 14 wartime leaders convicted of war crimes.
Before taking office, Abe advocated revising a 1993 statement by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono expressing remorse for the suffering caused to sexual slaves of Japanese troops. But on Friday, the Abe administration formally adopted a Cabinet decision to "inherit" the apology in that statement, responding to a question submitted by opposition lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto.
Abe, however, has suggested his Cabinet does not necessarily support all of a 1995 apology by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, which is seen as Japan's main expression of remorse for its wartime and colonial past.
Tokyo in 1995 initiated a fund of private donations as a way for Japan to pay former sex slaves without providing official compensation. Many South Korean comfort women have rejected the fund, demanding a government apology approved by parliament, along with government.
Hashimoto attributed the backlash against his comments to a lack of sensitivity on his part. The U.S. State Department called his remarks "outrageous and offensive."
Hashimoto has lashed back at his critics through Twitter, insisting that organized sex services were needed to prevent sex crimes by American troops during the 1945-1952 U.S. occupation following Japan's defeat in World War II.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- Police at the University of Rhode Island could soon be carrying firearms following a vote Thursday by state education officials to end Rhode Island's distinction as the only state to prohibit police on public campuses from carrying guns.
The Rhode Island Board of Education voted 8-1 to allow leaders at the state's three institutions of higher education to decide for themselves whether to arm campus police.
URI President David Dooley favors the idea. The Community College of Rhode Island does not plan to arm its police. Rhode Island College officials are studying the idea and have not decided either way.
Calls to arm campus police got a boost after reports of a gunman in a URI building last month. No gun or shooter was found, but supporters of arming campus police say the incident highlighted security weaknesses.
While the first campus police arrived within about a minute, officers could not enter the building because they weren't armed. It took South Kingstown police about six minutes to arrive and go inside. State police arrived within about a half-hour.
Before being armed, campus police would receive the same level of training given to other officers.
"I feel quite comfortable that the people we are looking to arm – if that decision is made – are duly trained and certified and all the things we expect from police officers," said Board of Education member Colleen Callahan.
Several URI faculty spoke out against the proposal at Thursday's board meeting. Physics Prof. Peter Nightingale said supporters of arming the campus police are reacting out of fear. He said studies show that guns don't reduce crime.
"The experiment is over and the results are in," he said. "More guns spell more violence, more victims, more fatalities."
Dooley said he wants to get input from faculty and students before making a final decision. The university must present a report on its deliberations before any of its officers may be armed.
"There's a strong divide of opinion on campus," said Dooley. "We'll consider all the information. We will think very carefully about the consequences of that decision."
The state's General Assembly had been considering legislation that would allow URI or the other two institutions to arm their police forces. Those bills are now moot.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, supports the board's decision to allow each institution to set its own policy, according to spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger.
Only one board member voted against the measure. William Maaia said he has philosophical objections to arming campus police. He also said he thinks that the policy should be consistent across the state's three public institutions of higher education.
CANNES, France — The annual Cannes festival on the French Riviera is the grandest platform in the world for the highest ambitions of film, a place where the art form is worshipped with wild passion and adoring reverence. Movies are projected pristinely in regal theaters, where they're greeted by the world's cinephiles with feverish excitement.
But even at this bastion of the big screen, director after director has come through preaching the opportunities of the small screen. Up and down the Croisette, talk of TV's ascendance is rampant.
"The way that things are moving because of the financing of films, television has almost become where a lot of people seek creativity," said Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, who premiered at the festival his Bangkok noir "Only God Forgives," starring Ryan Gosling. "It's opened up a whole new arena."
Danish TV's current quality has spread internationally (including "The Killing," which was remade in America). Refn, the director of "Drive," is working on his television debut, a version of the 1969 French science fiction film "Barbarella" for France's Canal Plus.
Refn said that in the past 10 years, TV has leveled the field, creatively, and is now "sometimes much more satisfying than anything around."
"I love television," he said. "I love the size of it. I love to touch them. I like to watch them. I love the remote control. I love the power of the remote control. I love everything about the television."
One of this year's most notable films in competition won't even be released theatrically in the U.S.: Steven Soderbergh's Liberace melodrama "Behind the Candelabra." Hollywood studios passed on the film, which stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, suggesting that it was too gay to play at the box office. HBO picked up the $23 million film and will air it Sunday.
Soderbergh, long considered one of America's finest filmmaking talents, is stepping away from moviemaking, but is enthusiastically moving into television. He'll reportedly make a 10-episode series about a turn-of-the-century New York hospital, starring Clive Owen. (Soderbergh also produced the 2003 Washington, D.C., drama "K Street.")
"There's a lot of great stuff being made," said Soderbergh. "You can go narrow and deep, and I like that. And this is all ("Sopranos" creator) David Chase. He single-handedly rebuilt the landscape. Anything that's on now that's any good is standing on his shoulders."
"I don't hear anybody talking about movies the way they talk about TV right now," said Soderbergh.
But Cannes remains one of the great arguments for the vibrancy of movies. Year after year, it gathers together many of the world's best films, and this year's festival, the 66th, has been no different in that respect.
Audiences have been wowed by the Coen brothers' wry melancholy ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), the classical skillfulness of James Gray ("The Immigrant"), the shambling grandeur of Paolo Sorrentino ("The Great Beauty") and many other sensory feasts. At Cannes, cinema is utterly alive.
But there are economic forces at work that have contributed to the shift. As audiences have becoming increasingly fractured, studios have concentrated more on enormous blockbusters. While advances in film equipment have made making a movie easier, getting it seen has become harder.
Director James Toback premiered at Cannes his "Seduced and Abandoned," a documentary he made with Alec Baldwin. The two filmed their sometimes humiliating efforts to find financing – and the necessary marketing budget – for an adult drama. With appearances from Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski, the movie often feels like a funeral for the days of popular, dangerous movies.
"The movie business is tough, and it's tougher now than ever," said Baldwin, who largely stepped out of film to star in Tina Fey's acclaimed sitcom "30 Rock." "Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever make another movie again."
"Seduced and Abandoned," fittingly, was picked up not for theatrical release, but by HBO. (The network will also broadcast another film at Cannes playing out of competition, Stephen Frears' documentary "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight.")
David Fincher's entry to television with the political thriller "House of Cards" for Netflix sent reverberations through the business, partly because Fincher is such a widely respected filmmaker.
But talent is increasingly flocking to TV because of acclaimed shows like "Mad Men," "Downton Abbey," "Girls," "Breaking Bad" and many others. The medium allows for more novelistic storytelling and, often, greater exposure.
"It's nice for actors because more people see it," said Kristin Scott Thomas, who stars in "Only God Forgives." "You can spend weeks and weeks and weeks making a film that very few people will see, and that's sort of dispiriting."
"It's very satisfying when millions see something," she added. "It's as simple as that."
Not everyone, though, endorsed TV at Cannes. The 87-year-old Jerry Lewis barked: "Never watch television, if you can help it." Henri Behar, the moderator of Lewis' press conference, noted that that was an appropriate sentiment at a film festival.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
LOS ANGELES -- WikiLeaks characterizes the new documentary, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," as biased and accuses its director, Alex Gibney of "errors and sleight of hand."
The publishing site released a statement Thursday announcing it had posted an annotated transcript of the film ahead of its Friday release.
No author is cited for the statement that accuses the film of inaccurately portraying the relationship between WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who provided hundreds of thousands of classified American documents to the site. The statement asserts that no one recently associated with WikiLeaks participated in the documentary.
Gibney was not immediately available for comment.
TRENTON, N.J. -- At one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water – and apparently not even clean water at that.
State officials provided those new details Thursday on raids they conducted a day earlier as part of a yearlong investigation dubbed Operation Swill.
Twenty-nine New Jersey bars and restaurants, including 13 TGI Fridays, were accused of substituting cheap booze – or worse – for the good stuff while charging premium prices.
As part of Operation Swill, investigators collected 1,000 open bottles of vodka, gin, rum, scotch, whiskey and tequila from the wells of the bars, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.
"This alleged scheme is a dishonest ruse to increase profits and is a slap in the face of the consumer," Chiesa said.
Within seven days, the establishments must turn over records to help state authorities determine how many patrons were overcharged and by how much. They also will have to inform the state which employees were at work the days samples were covertly taken earlier this year.
State officials would not say what establishment used the rubbing alcohol or which one used dirty water, or water not from a tap. They said no health issues were reported.
TGI Fridays Inc. said it was conducting its own investigation, working with the franchisee that owns the 13 restaurants cited, The Briad Group.
Briad, based in Livingston, said it "takes great pride in the quality of food and drink" served at its TGI Fridays franchises and was troubled and surprised by the allegations. It said in an emailed statement it would take immediate steps to correct any problems it identified.
"We want every assurance possible that our guests can continue to feel confident in the great food and drink they order at our T.G.I. Friday's restaurants," said Rick Barbrick, president of The Briad Restaurant Group.
Operation Swill started after the state began receiving more complaints than usual about possibly mislabeled drinks, said the director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Michael Halfacre. An informant with knowledge of the industry contacted the agency in the fall to help in the investigation, he said.
In January and February, investigators went to 63 establishments they suspected were scamming liquor customers. They ordered drinks neat – that is, without ice or mixers – and then covertly took samples for testing.
Of 150 samples collected, 30 were not the brand as which they were being sold.
The establishments face suspensions of their liquor licenses and possible revocations if there are enough violations.
NEW YORK — The world premiere of Ethan Coen's first full-length stage play, a revival of "The Threepenny Opera" and a new play by Stephen Adly Guirgis will highlight the Atlantic Theater Company's upcoming season.
The company unveiled its slate of 2013-14 offerings Thursday, which also includes a stage adaptation of Alan Sillitoe's beloved short story "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" adapted by British playwright Roy Williams.
Coen, half of the prolific filmmaking Coen brothers, offers his "Women or Nothing," about two women desperate to have a child. It will be directed by David Cromer and begin performances Aug. 28.
The Atlantic also produced Coen's "Happy Hour," a collection of three short dark comedies. He also wrote one-third of "Relatively Speaking," three one-acts on Broadway in 2011 that also included works by Woody Allen and Elaine May.
The revival of the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill masterpiece "The Threepenny Opera" will be directed by Martha Clarke, an innovative choreographer and director whose best-known original work is "The Garden of Earthly Delights." It will be produced next spring.
The Atlantic's season will close next June with the world premiere of Guirgis' "Between Riverside and Crazy...," the story of a family's struggle to hold onto a rent stabilized apartment. The playwright rocketed to fame with the Tony-nominated "The Motherf----- With the Hat" starring Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale.
Two final productions and casting for all the shows will be announced shortly.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco State University professor considering a run for Oakland mayor is drawing scrutiny for a class assignment that asked students to create a political campaign ad and gave them the option of developing it for him.
Joe Tuman said he would use the ad if it were good, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Thursday (http://bit.ly/14CHwr5). But ethics experts said any such use of the students' work could run afoul of the law.
"It looks like it's coercion to help him design a campaign strategy, to help him develop ideas," said Bob Stern, co-author of the California Political Reform Act of 1974.
Providing services to a candidate is considered a political donation under the state's political contribution laws, the Chronicle reported.
Hypothetically, a state university professor thinking about a run for mayor and who asks his students to create a campaign ad for his benefit "would be in some ways forcing a contribution to himself," said Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.
The agency plans to review the matter to see whether an investigation is warranted, according to Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for the commission.
Tuman told the Chronicle he was being sarcastic when he said he might use the students' ads and has no intention of doing so. He has not yet decided whether he will run for mayor next year. Tuman finished in fourth place in the 2010 Oakland mayoral race.
"I said it with a smile," he said. "Why would I use their product to run a campaign, really? If you're going to run a campaign, you're going to ask professionals."
School officials said the assignment does not appear to violate their policies. It was due on Thursday.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An 84-year-old Albuquerque woman who uses an oxygen tank has been indicted for drug trafficking.
KRQE-TV reports ( ) that Lillie Smith was recently indicted by a Bernalillo County grand jury for trafficking, conspiracy to commit trafficking, tampering with evidence and possession. http://bit.ly/10pHzTh
Court documents show the charges stem from a warrant served at her apartment in 2011.
Deputies suspected that the woman's son, Nathan Jones, was running a small drug operation out of her home. But the sheriff's office said deputies found cocaine and marijuana on Smith, and she tried to stash the drugs during the investigation.
"It's definitely not something you see every day," said Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Aaron Williamson. "When detectives were on scene she did try to take the narcotics that were on her person out and stash them."
During the search, investigators found scales, money, narcotics and other items believed to be connected to trafficking, Williamson said.
Jones was arrested in 2011 but Smith was not because of a medical condition.
The district attorney's office later filed charges and a grand jury returned the indictment earlier this year. She was arrested in April but bonded out of jail. It was not clear if Smith or Jones has a lawyer.
According to online court records, Smith pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in the 1990s. Her next court appearance is scheduled in July.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Few have explored the remote volcanic islands of the Galapagos archipelago, an otherworldly landscape inhabited by the world's largest tortoises and other fantastical creatures that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Soon it will take only the click of a mouse or finger swipe on a tablet to explore some of the Galapagos Islands' most remote areas, surrounding waters and unique creatures.
Mountain View, Calif.,-based Google sent hikers to the Galapagos with Street View gear called "trekkers," 42-pound computer backpacks with large, soccer ball-like cameras mounted on a tower.
Each orb has 15 cameras inside it that have captured panoramic views of some of the most inaccessible places on the Galapagos. Crews from The Catlin Seaview Survey worked with Google to capture 360-degree views of selected underwater areas too.
"We spent 10 days there hiking over trails ... and even down the crater of an active volcano," Raleigh Seamster, the project's leader for Google Maps said. "And these are islands, so half of the life there is under the water surface. So (we brought) Street View underwater to swim with sea lions, sharks and other marine animals."
Google is processing the footage and is trying to stitch it together. It hopes to post it to Street View later this year.
The cameras captured the nesting sites of blue-footed boobies, the red-throated "magnificent frigatebirds," swimming hammerhead sharks and, of course, the island's giant tortoises.
Scientists working with Google are exploring the footage for other species and hope to update the pictures regularly throughout the years as they study the effects of invasive species, tourism and climate change on the island's ecosystems.
"We hope that children in classrooms around the world will be trying to discover what they can see in the images, even tiny creatures like insects," said Daniel Orellana, a scientist with the Charles Darwin Foundation.
"We can use this as an education experience for children, and there is a huge opportunity for rare discoveries."
Orellana and others supervised the Google trekkers and helped guide them to remote areas either off-limits to tourists or rarely visited because they are hard to reach.
They also captured images of the areas frequented by tourists so they can keep track of how this access is affecting the environment.
Since launching Street View in 2007, Google has expanded from urban neighborhoods accessed easily by its mapping cars to more hard-to-access sites like the ocean floor, the Amazon rain forest and the Arctic.
"This whole project was part of Google's ongoing effort to build the most comprehensive and accurate map of the world," Seamster said.
Follow Jason Dearen on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen .
NEW YORK — You may not recognize Robert Taylor as anyone other than the title character he plays on the crime drama "Longmire." But he's no newcomer.
"I've been working pretty solidly for a long time," says Taylor, with a wry throwaway: "Not that anyone would notice, you know what I mean?"
But not that he appears to be complaining.
"It's been my goal to work as much as possible, and be as unknown as possible," he insists.
Unknown-ness for the 50-year-old actor may be threatened as "Longmire" begins its second season Monday at 10 p.m. EDT on A&E, where he stars alongside Katee Sackhoff ("Battlestar Galactica") and Lou Diamond Phillips.
Taylor impressed viewers last summer as Sheriff Walt Longmire, who polices the Big Sky sprawl of Absaroka County, Wyo., with a devotion that's steadfast, laconic and sadder-but-wiser (he mourns the recent death of his wife). He is rangy and grizzled at an age where he can still whip most opponents in a fight, but knows to spare himself that kind of strain whenever he can.
"With young people, it's how brassy and flashy can you be," says Taylor, explaining his portrayal. "But you get a bit older, it's about how restrained can you be. You have to feel it all, think it all, but you don't have to play it – it's just gotta be there, and if the story's good and the script's good, people will see it."
They'll see it on "Longmire." Then again, they may not know it's acting. The portrayal of Sheriff Longmire yields an enormously appealing and relatable character, while Taylor disappears into the role.
It's a role he clearly identifies with. He arrives for an interview at a fussy Manhattan restaurant clad in a denim shirt, jeans and boots. Very Longmire. And while his broad shoulders don't bear the weight of Longmire's world, his voice isn't noticeably different, issuing from somewhere deep as it gathers a rich nasal timbre and a Western twang – which is surprising, since Taylor is Australian. (Where's his Aussie accent? "It comes and goes, mate," he replies, for a moment channeling Crocodile Dundee.)
"I've always loved the (American) West," he goes on. "I grew up in wide-open spaces, but they didn't have the romantic history of the West. It was more just misery."
He was born in Melbourne, but when his parents split up, he went to live with his aunt and uncle in a Western Australian mining town.
As a teen he worked in the mines. Then he took off, with the idea of somehow mirroring the artists and adventurers from his mother's Bohemian side of the family, most of whom he only knew from mesmerizing tales.
"The desire was there, eating away, to do something different," he recalls. "But I had no clue how."
Among his many odd jobs as he sought an answer was working on an oil rig, where he took a fall.
"I just busted a bunch of bones," he says with a laugh. "It's all right. I was young."
But by then he was ready for something with a future.
He got wind of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, which now counts among its alumni Frances O'Connor and Hugh Jackman. With no idea how, he prepared two auditions and got in.
He was transformed by this exotic, artistic culture.
"It was so foreign to me, so unusual and strange to be talking about things that I had never spoken about to anybody," he marvels. "I just soaked it up."
When he graduated, he scuffed out a living in Sydney, then Melbourne, as an actor, resolving not to rely on any backup job.
"I decided I'm gonna make my living from this, or I'm not doing it," he says. "The last time I had a job that wasn't an acting job was `88, and I'm quite proud of that."
Among his credits: He was Agent Jones in "The Matrix" and appeared in the 2000 thriller "Vertical Limit," as well as NBC's 2005 "Hercules" film and the BBC series "Ballykissangel." He has done lots of Australian television and films.
Typically, he was surprised when he landed the "Longmire" job. He first auditioned by sending a tape to Los Angeles from Melbourne – and figured the role would go to a better-known contender.
Filming resumed for this season in March in Santa Fe, N.M., which, with surrounding territory, substitutes for Wyoming.
"That's another reason I wanted the job," says Taylor. "I'd been to New Mexico three or four times before, and loved it."
On one of those visits he bought a silver belt buckle with a Hopi Indian design of a bear claw.
"I've worn it pretty much every day of my life since then," he says, and does this day. So does Walt Longmire on every episode.
And they have yet more in common. Echoing Longmire's resistance to modern gadgets and fads, Taylor, after silencing his cellphone upon his arrival, proudly pointed out its ancient, clamshell vintage.
"People say, `You got that (crappy) old phone!' But I GOT a phone! That's SOMEthing, right?"
Facebook is another modern thing that leaves him cold. Someone else maintains his "Longmire" Facebook page.
"Not for me," declares Taylor. "But I was never comfortable doing all that self-promoting. I'm just happy to be working. I'm in a great show and I like the people I'm working with and I can pay my bills. I'm lucky."
But with a little more self-promotion, a bit higher profile, wouldn't Taylor maybe gain the clout to win even bigger future roles?
"That would be interesting," he says, humoring his questioner. "But I kind of like not being that guy."
EDITOR'S NOTE – Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier
CANNES, France — Ladies? Don't make him laugh.
Asked who his favorite female comics were Thursday at a Cannes Film Festival press conference, Jerry Lewis listed Cary Grant and Burt Reynolds. He then added: "I don't have any."
In 1998, Lewis famously said that watching women do comedy "sets me back a bit" and that he has trouble with the notion of would-be mothers as comedians.
Asked Thursday if he had changed his mind at all because of performers like Melissa McCarthy and Sarah Silverman, the 87-year-old Lewis said of women performing broad comedy: "I can't see women doing that. It bothers me."
"I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator," he said. "I just can't do that."
Lewis was in Cannes for the premiere of "Max Rose," a drama directed by Daniel Noah in which Lewis stars as an aging jazz musician.
In her 2011 memoir, "Bossypants," Tina Fey alluded to Lewis' attitudes about female comedians: "Whenever someone says to me, `Jerry Lewis says women aren't funny,' or `Christopher Hitchens says women aren't funny,' ... Do you have anything to say to that?'
"Yes," writes Fey. "We don't f------ care if you like it."
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
CANNES, France — Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, whose movies are banned in his country and who has been sentenced to jail by the Islamic regime there, is coming to Cannes for a screening of his latest film, publicists for the movie said Thursday.
"Manuscripts Don't Burn" tells the story of an Iranian author secretly writing his memoirs – and authorities' attempts to destroy the manuscript.
Publicists for the movie said Rasoulof would attend Friday's official screening. The film is competing in Cannes' sidebar competition, Un Certain Regard.
In 2010, Rasoulof and fellow director Jafar Panahi were arrested in Iran for filming without a permit, sentenced to six years prison and banned from filmmaking for 20 years on charges that included "making propaganda" against the ruling system.
Rasoulof's sentence was later reduced to a year on appeal, and he is currently on bail.
His film "Goodbye" won a prize at Cannes in 2011, but the director wasn't allowed to travel to France to accept it.
"Manuscripts Don't Burn" was made clandestinely in Iran, and the names of its cast and crew do not appear on the credits.
There was much speculation about the film in the run-up to the Cannes festival, which ends Sunday. When the Cannes lineup was announced last month, Rasoulof's entry was listed simply as "Anonymous."
MRAMOR, Kosovo (AP) — Two brown bears have been released into a special sanctuary after being held in a 20-square-meter cage almost their entire lives to amuse visitors at a Kosovo restaurant.
Ari and Arina, both 10 years old, were taken to their new, much larger home, by the international animal charity group Four Paws, which helped sedate and transport them.
Kosovo does not allow private ownership of wild animals, a measure it hasn't always enforced. Police on Wednesday held back the restaurant's angry owners as the bears were taken away.
An Environment Ministry statement said the bears were happy with their new home, which lies outside the capital, Pristina.
It says authorities expect to rescue another 15 bears in illegal captivity — at restaurants, private zoos and other places — by year's end.
NEW YORK -- The nation's record-low teen birth rate stems from robust declines in nearly every state, but most dramatically in several Mountain States and among Hispanics, according to a new government report.
All states but West Virginia and North Dakota showed significant drops over five years. But the Mountain States of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah saw rates fall by 30 percent or more.
In 22 states, teen Hispanic birth rates plunged at least 40 percent, which was described as "just amazing," by the report's lead author, Brady Hamilton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What's driving the declines? No one can say for sure. Experts believe the explanation is complicated and probably varies a bit from state to state. The national figure has been falling since 1991, aside from a brief interruption in 2006 and 2007.
The CDC report released Thursday is based on birth certificates for 2007 through 2011. Last year, the CDC announced the overall improvement in teen births: a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. That compares to 42 births per 1,000 five years earlier.
The new report focuses on state figures in 2011:
_ Lowest rates are in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, each with rates under 17 per 1,000.
_ Highest rates overall continue to be in the South, led by Arkansas and Mississippi, each with rates of about 50 per 1,000. In Arkansas, the majority of teen births are to white moms. In Mississippi, the majority are black.
_ White teens continue to have the lowest birth rate nationally – about 22 births per 1,000. Black teens saw a larger improvement, but their rate was still more than twice the white rate, at 47 per 1,000.
_ Overall, the Hispanic rate plummeted from 75 to 49 per 1,000, now virtually a tie with the black rate.
The teen drop in the last five years coincided with an overall decline in births, which experts attribute to a weak economy that dampened enthusiasm for having children.
Hispanic women have been part of that trend, possibly due to the economy and to illegal immigration crackdowns in some states that reduce the number of young Hispanic females entering the country from Mexico and other nations, said John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health.
That means new immigrants are having less impact on birth statistics, and second- and third-generation families are having more influence.
As time goes on, Hispanics – like other immigrant groups before them – tend to adopt American customs and practices.
"There is more attention on education, career, and the future," said Dr. Janet Realini, head of Healthy Futures of Texas, a San Antonio-based organization focused on preventing teen and unplanned pregnancies.
Hispanic rates, though, continue to be much higher than those for blacks and whites in most of the states with the largest Hispanic populations, including California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Georgia.
Texas has the highest number of teen births in the nation, with nearly 43,000 in 2011. Nearly two-thirds were to Hispanic moms.
The overall improvement, though, is something to celebrate, said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
"Geography, politics, or policy alone simply cannot explain the widespread declines," Albert said in an email. "Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception, and their future."
CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Hungarian police say they are investigating an incident in which an elderly man may have been mauled to death by two donkeys.
It happened May 13 in the western Hungarian town of Magyarszecsod, when Sandor Horvath, a 65-year-old retired firefighter, was apparently pulled off his motorcycle by the donkeys kept on a lot neighboring his small farm. The animals likely dragged him some 50 meters (55 yards), biting and trampling him.
Vas County Police said Tuesday they are still working on the case but had no new developments to report.
The results of an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death have not been released.
The donkeys are being kept under observation for another week before their fate is decided.
WASHINGTON -- A senator says repeated sexual assaults in the military allow a culture to continue.
Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand (KEHR'-sten JIHL'-uh-brand) of New York addressed the latest case at West Point. An Army sergeant is charged with secretly taking pictures and video of at least a dozen women at West Point.
Gillibrand tells NBC "Today" that when sexual assault happens repeatedly, with no accountability, quote, "it allows the culture to continue."
Gillibrand is on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She says sexual assault should be reported outside the chain of command, directly to a military prosecutor, and victims need to know justice is possible.
The West Point case is just the latest in a series. A Pentagon report says as many as 26,000 service members may have been sexually assaulted last year.
PARIS -- Georges Moustaki, an Egyptian-born composer, singer and poet who wrote songs for Edith Piaf and other French stars, has died at age 79.
Marie-Ange Mirande of Moustaki's Paris-based production house said Thursday he died at his home in Nice overnight after a long illness. A memorial ceremony is planned Monday at the famed Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
Tributes poured in from France's political and cultural leaders for Moustaki. Among songs he wrote for Piaf was "Milord."
Moustaki told French radio RTL in December that he wanted to be buried in Alexandria, Egypt, where he was born in 1934, and where "there is a cemetery that is the cemetery of free thinkers, and it is there that I want to rest for eternity."
MOSCOW — A Russian court has denied parole to a member of the Pussy Riot punk group.
In its ruling Thursday, the court accepted a claim by prosecutors that Maria Alekhina had systematically disobeyed prison authorities and failed to repent for her crime, Russian media reported.
Alekhina went on a hunger strike Wednesday after being barred from the court hearing in Perm province, and she ordered her defense not to participate.
Band members Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich gained worldwide notoriety last year when a Moscow court jailed them for two years for conducting a punk protest in Moscow's main cathedral.
Samtusevich was later released on appeal.
Alekina's lawyer said she would appeal Thursday's court's decision.
A court in the province of Mordovia denied Tolokonnikova parole last month.
NEWARK, N.J. -- He was a gregarious, spontaneous child, his father said, a handful at times who loved music and playing the guitar.
As an adult he became famous as Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker, his celebrity taking a turn toward notoriety when he was arrested in Philadelphia last week and charged with killing a New Jersey lawyer.
Caleb McGillivary, his real name, claimed that he was "home free" rather than homeless, a traveler by choice with roots in Sophia, W.Va.
"I don't have any family," he had said in the television interview in February that gave him to a measure of fame after he intervened in an attack on a utility worker in Fresno, Calif. "As far as anybody I grew up with is concerned, I'm already dead."
But according to McGillivary's father, Gil, he does have a family that is concerned about his well-being.
Caleb McGillivary was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Gil McGillivary said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. And while the father and son only had sporadic contact, Gil McGillivary said he very much supports his son.
"Caleb to me is important. I'm not going to abandon him. I'm his father and I want to stick to him," McGillivary said from his home in Hawkesbury, Ontario.
McGillivary said he lost custody of his son shortly after he and Caleb's mother divorced. The boy was 8.
"Caleb, from my understanding, was kind of upset at me for abandoning him," Gil McGillivary said, adding that he couldn't get to a custody hearing because his car broke down.
McGillivary said Caleb was an outgoing child, but could be hard to handle. He said he once made Caleb return toys that he stole from a store. The boy love camping, motorcycles and going to air shows, he said.
McGillivary said Caleb had behavior problems and ADHD that required medication. He said Caleb was placed in the Canadian family services system after his parents' divorce and was mistreated and potentially abused there.
"He's a street kid that was neglected by the Canadian family system," he said. The home where McGillivary said Caleb lived did not answer an inquiry asking for comment.
Caleb's mother, who lives in Alberta, refused to comment.
"I'm not going to talk to you," she said. "I'm not going to discuss this with you."
She told the Newark Star-Ledger that Caleb was a delight as a child, but she hasn't spoken to him since last year. She said the boy had behavior problems but not ADHD.
Gil McGillivary, a 57-year-old aviation maintenance student, last saw his son in December 2010. Caleb came to Ontario to spend Christmas with his three stepsiblings, McGillivary said. Caleb was vague about where he was going. He was driving a bus around Canada and supporting himself by playing musical gigs and busking, but he does not know how Caleb got to the United States.
He emailed Caleb in February after learning his son went by Kai and was all over the Internet. Caleb wrote back and accused Gil McGillivary of getting in touch to try and capitalize on his son's fame.
"He didn't want to communicate because he thought I was trying to get a hold of cash money for his story, but such was not the case," Gil McGillivary said. "I wanted to wish him well."
He heard about the murder accusation in an email from one of Caleb's friends.
"My feet were like jelly," he said. "It was just shocking to me that this was being played out over there and I couldn't do anything."
A former probation officer, McGillivary said he's "not a rich guy" and doesn't have the money to pay for a lawyer. He does want his son to be represented and know what happened.
McGillivary is a suspect in the death of 73-year-old Joseph Galfy Jr., who was found beaten to death in his bedroom last week in his suburban New Jersey home, wearing only his socks and underwear.
"I don't know if he did it in self-defense or the heat of the moment or it was premeditated or I don't know," McGillivary said. "He's innocent until proven guilty."
Follow Katie Zezima at http://twitter.com/katiezez
Ever wonder what it would feel like to suddenly wake up in another universe?
You could find out, perhaps, by joining the next space mission to another galaxy, or, slightly easier, you could go to your local multiplex and watch "Fast & Furious 6" without having seen the first five movies.
Should you decide to undertake this anthropological experiment, you'd immediately discover there are things everyone except you already knows. For example: jokes about baby oil and big foreheads are very funny in this universe. Cars, of course, are the most important thing, and of course there are no speed limits. Weapons come next on the list, and the bigger the better – but in one-on-one physical combat, bald heads are surprisingly effective. Speaking of those fights: They're brutal, yet somehow, no organs get damaged and even bruises are minimal.
And oh yes, bikinis and bottoms are important. Not bikini bottoms – well, those too – but bottoms in bikinis. What this has to do with car racing is not entirely clear.
Most importantly, in this universe, there is no such thing as "less is more." More is always more, and so, "Fast & Furious 6" will delight fans of the franchise, because there is more of everything here. Director Justin Lin gives us not only great cars doing ridiculous things at ridiculous speeds, but also a huge army tank and a great stunt involving a giant cargo plane.
Newcomers will be a little confused as to who everyone is, since there is little explanation at this point, but fans will be glad to know their favorites are back, starting with Vin Diesel's Dom, the hotshot driver with the clean-shaven head (the better to butt other heads with) and a strong sense of family. When we first see him, he's careening down a winding cliff road in the Canary Islands with cohort/former cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker). Turns out they're heading to the hospital, where O'Conner's wife (and Dom's sister), Mia (Jordana Brewster, in a small role this time) is giving birth. A sweet family moment.
Meanwhile, Dom, on the lam from the U.S. and hugely wealthy from his last venture, is shacked up in a sunny love nest with a gorgeous Brazilian cop (Elsa Pataky). Who needs to work? That's what he tells Hobbs, the insanely buff federal agent played by Dwayne Johnson, when he comes calling, a nemesis from the last film who's now promising immunity in exchange for Dom's help. He wants Dom to nab a villain named Shaw (Luke Evans) – he's the snarly guy with the tank and the plane and a huge military arsenal which is one little component short of wreaking total havoc.
A reluctant Dom gets on board when he learns that Letty, his former love (Michelle Rodriguez) is working for Shaw. But wait ... wasn't she dead? Well, actually she's alive, but she has amnesia. Anyway, the game is on.
Happily, amid all the noise, the races – there's a terrific one through the streets of downtown London – the crashes and the outlandish stunts, there is some humor, and it's very welcome. Particularly funny are Tyrese Gibson as Roman and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as Tej, Dom's partners in crime. Also back for more adventures are the attractive duo of Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot); Gina Carano is a newcomer as an agent whose fighting skills give Letty a run for her money.
Not everyone gets out alive. As for the lucrative franchise, though, it's more than alive and kicking, judging from the new film's overseas success. A post-credits sequence teases the upcoming seventh film. In the "Fast & Furious" universe, it's not just international criminals who rake it in.
"Fast & Furious 6," a Universal Studios release, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language. Running time: 130 minutes. Two stars out of four.
Motion Picture Association of America rating definitions:
PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
CANNES, France — To convince Kristin Scott Thomas to play the bloodthirsty matriarch of "Only God Forgives," director Nicolas Winding Refn appealed to Scott Thomas – how else? – with the flattery of his own mother.
"That's how he got me to do the film," Scott Thomas said in a beachside interview Wednesday. "He said, `You're my mother's favorite actress.' So I had to. It was a good trick."
It was an appropriate start for a disturbing portrait of a woman with, to say the least, harsh motherly instincts. In the Bangkok noir, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, Scott Thomas plays a mother demanding her surviving son (Ryan Gosling) avenge the murder of her other, more favored son (Tom Burke).
It's a ferocious, gloriously evil performance as far away from "The English Patient" (and the other elegant British period dramas Scott Thomas is best known for) as cinematically possible. Upon learning her son was punished for killing a teenage prostitute, for example, she retorts: "I'm sure he had his reasons."
"A lot of the stuff that I had to do as Crystal was exciting and frightening at the same time," Scott Thomas said. "It made this whole project one of terror and at the same time totally thrilling."
"Only God Forgives" is Refn's second collaboration in a row with Gosling, following the more pop "Drive." It's a menacing descent into brutal darkness, punctuated by bloody spurts of stylish violence. There's even less dialogue than "Drive" (the script was a sparse 60 pages, Refn says), and the film unfolds as a perverse Greek tragedy transported to Thailand's grim underbelly.
Refn conceived of Scott Thomas' character as a combination of Lady Macbeth and Donatella Versace after the actress sent him photos of her with long blonde extensions.
"I was like, `God, that's so sexy,'" the Danish director said sitting alongside Scott Thomas. "That whole Donatella oddness: frightening but very sexual."
Scott Thomas calls the thick makeup an "ultra-costume."
"It's a sort of armor, that look," she says. "It's very, very, very empowering and at the same time very frightening. It changes the way people look at you completely."
While critics at Cannes had mixed reactions to "Only God Forgives" (it drew boos from some), Scott Thomas' performance was hailed, along with predictions of an Oscar nomination. In a memorable dinner party scene, she cuttingly and vulgarly dresses down Gosling's character. She negatively compares the size of his genitalia with his brother's – an explicitness that not even the Greeks dared.
"They had all these things that were implied," Scott Thomas says. "I said why don't we just say it? Just get it out there, so to speak. Say the words that everyone else is alluding to."
Refn gradually cut the lengthy scene more and more until it was basically a monologue. Gosling also added a suggestion – a slur Crystal lobs at her son's female guest – after Refn asked for one of the most offensive words to call a woman in America.
"I couldn't get it out," Scott Thomas says, laughing. "I couldn't get it right until about 10 takes."
It's the kind of harsh, hilariously cruel dialogue actors dream of. But Scott Thomas says that while it was an interesting acting challenge "to push the dialogue," "it was such a nightmare."
"After a while, once you've been doing this for a long time – weeks and nights – you feel, `Oh, god, I'd love to say something nice,'" says Scott Thomas. "This hatred and anger and destruction is actually quite difficult after a while. It gets to you once the novelty of the transition is over and you're just stuck in that darkness."
Much of the character and her archetypal qualities weren't refined until they were on set shooting. Refn works collaboratively with actors, guided by the boldness of his oft-repeated mantra: "The enemy of creativity is good taste." He was enamored by what "KST," as he calls her, did with the part.
"Most of the time, we'd just sit and stare and go, `Oh my god! What have we unleashed?'" Refn says. "It was what the film needed, the film needed a character like that that would essentially be the antagonist of the protagonist. But she would be so dominating that you could never live up to her, you could never penetrate her."
The experience, while clearly enthralling for Scott Thomas, was also unnerving. As much as audiences at Cannes responded to her performance, she exhales: "I'm going to do a comedy next."
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
KATMANDU, Nepal — An 80-year-old Japanese man who began the year with his fourth heart operation became the oldest conqueror of Mount Everest on Thursday, a feat he called "the world's best feeling" even with an 81-year-old Nepalese climber not far behind him.
Yuichiro Miura, a former extreme skier who also climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak when he was 70 and 75, reached the summit at 9:05 a.m. local time, according to a Nepalese mountaineering official and Miura's Tokyo-based support team.
It was a moment Japanese news agency Kyodo captured on video from 10 kilometers (6 miles) away, using a camera crew at 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) elevation on another mountain.
"We have arrived at the summit," Miura said in a radio transmission to Kyodo from the world's highest point. "80 years and 7 months. ... The world's most incredible mountaineering team had helped me all the way up here."
Miura and his son Gota made a phone call from the summit, prompting his daughter Emili to smile broadly and clap her hands in footage shown by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
"I made it!" Miura said over the phone. "I never imagined I could make it to the top of Mount Everest at age 80. This is the world's best feeling, although I'm totally exhausted. Even at 80, I can still do quite well."
Nepalese mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha, at the Everest base camp, confirmed that Miura had reached the summit and was the oldest person to do so.
The previous oldest was Nepal's Min Bahadur Sherchan, the 81-year-old on Miura's heels.
Sherchan is preparing to scale the peak next week despite digestive problems he suffered several days ago. On Wednesday, Sherchan said by telephone from the base camp that he was in good health and "ready to take up the challenge."
The two elderly mountaineers have crossed paths before.
Miura, who had become the oldest Everest climber with his ascent at age 70, would have reclaimed the title in 2008 as a 75-year-old, but Sherchan, then 76, reached the summit just a day before he did.
Emili Miura said Wednesday that his father he "doesn't really care" about the rivalry. "He's doing it for his own challenge."
Sherchan's team leader, Temba, who uses one name, said Sherchan will congratulate the new record holder when he returns to the base camp, and that he won't turn back until he completes his mission.
Sherchan got good news Thursday when Nepal's government approved financial aid for his climb. The Cabinet approved 1 million rupees ($11,200) for Sherchan's expedition and waived $70,000 in permit fees, said Bimal Gautam, the press adviser to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Miura conquered the mountain despite undergoing heart surgery in January for an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, his fourth heart operation since 2007, according to his daughter. He also broke his pelvis and left thigh bone in a 2009 skiing accident.
On his expedition's website, he explained his attempt to scale Everest at an advanced age: "It is to challenge (my) own ultimate limit. It is to honor the great Mother Nature."
He said a successful climb would raise the bar for what is possible, a point echoed after his success by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
"This will be deeply touching to all the people of Japan. And, especially, in an aging society, it will also give much courage and hope to all elderly people," Suga said at a news conference.
Miura became famous when he was a young man as a daredevil speed skier.
He skied down Everest's South Col in 1970, using a parachute to brake his descent. The feat was captured in the Oscar-winning 1975 documentary, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest." He has also skied down Mount Fuji.
It wasn't until Miura was 70, however, that he first climbed to the top of Everest. When he summited again at 75, he claimed to be the only man to accomplish the feat twice in his 70s. After that, he said he was determined to climb again at age 80.
Associated Press writers Malcolm Foster and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report from Tokyo.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — It's not unusual for a cat to get a hairball, but a 400-pound tiger needed help from veterinary surgeons in Florida when he couldn't hack up a basketball-size hairball by himself.
The 17-year-old tiger named Ty underwent the procedure Wednesday at a veterinary center in the Tampa Bay area community of Clearwater. Doctors said in a statement that they safely removed the 4-pound obstruction from Ty's stomach.
The tiger, which is cared for by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Seminole, was brought to veterinarians after not eating for nearly two weeks. Doctors said they detected the hairball using a scope with a camera.
Vernon Yates, whose nonprofit group regularly assists law enforcement agencies with seized animals, says he's thankful the hairball was removed and Ty is doing fine.
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A high-tech startup is wading into the gun control debate with a wireless controller that would allow gun owners to know when their weapon is being moved – and disable it remotely.
The technology, but not an actual gun, was demonstrated Tuesday at a wireless technology conference in Las Vegas and was shown to The Associated Press in advance. It comes at a time when lawmakers around the U.S. are considering contentious smart gun laws that would require new guns to include high-tech devices that limit who can fire them.
The new Yardarm Technologies LLC system would trigger an alarm on an owner's cellphone if a gun is moved, and the owner could then hit a button to activate the safety and disable the weapon. New guns would come with a microchip on the body and antennas winding around the grip. It would add about $50 to the cost of a gun, and about $12 a year for the service.
"The idea is to connect gun owners more directly with their guns, no matter what the circumstance," said Yardarm CEO Robert Stewart.
The Yardarm system is one of several recently introduced high-tech offerings: the iGun only fires if it recognizes a ring on a finger, the Intelligun uses a fingerprint locking system and TriggerSmart uses radio frequency identification.
The first smart guns were proposed more than 20 years ago, but they failed to take off for several reasons: questionable technology, added costs and concerns from some gun rights about limitations on Second Amendment rights.
Recent high-profile shootings, combined with new technologies, have revived interest. Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit created by Newtown, Conn., community members, is offering venture capital for new gun safety technologies, and President Barack Obama included smart guns as part of his plan to reduce gun violence.
Stewart said his company has addressed privacy concerns about its system, which would not only include live tracking but also a history of where a gun has been. Yardarm has an exclusive telephony network to avoid hackers and spotty wireless systems, and gun owners could "self-destruct" the technology on the guns themselves if they wish, he said.
National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said his organization is concerned about added costs and the reliability of smart guns in general.
"We believe that the technology does not exist today where a so-called smart gun can operate with 100 percent or close to it reliability," he said, "and a firearm that does not function when it is required to is not a smart gun."
The added costs are "a luxury tax on self-defense," Arulanandam said.
At this point, there are no guns that can be wirelessly tracked or disabled, but there are systems that can locate and disable stolen cars. In 2011, one such company, OnStar LLC, came under fire for continuing to track customers' locations even after they discontinued their service. The company reversed the policy after a barrage of privacy complaints.
Last week, lawmakers in California and Massachusetts considered proposals to require gun makers to add high tech safety devices that allow only their owners to fire them. New Jersey has adopted a similar law.
Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the nonprofit Violence Policy Center, said his organization has no position on smart guns. However, he said he does oppose federal tax dollars for their research because they wouldn't impact the 310 million firearms already circulating in the U.S. today.
Donald Sebastian, a senior vice president at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, is developing a smart gun aftermarket conversion that would work on semi-automatic weapons, and he said the public may be ready for widespread adoption of smart guns.
"It's been a long, tough battle to get any acceptance of technologies in weapons, but today there's just more general acceptance of electronics in our lives, more than even five years ago," he said. "Also, frankly, this whole stream of mass killings is really making people recognize the need for something to change."
-- In a medical first, doctors used plastic particles and a 3-D laser printer to create an airway splint to save the life of a baby boy who used to stop breathing nearly every day.
It's the latest advance from the booming field of regenerative medicine, making body parts in the lab.
In the case of Kaiba (KEYE'-buh) Gionfriddo, doctors didn't have a moment to spare. Because of a birth defect, the little Ohio boy's airway kept collapsing, causing his breathing to stop and often his heart, too. Doctors in Michigan had been researching artificial airway splints but had not implanted one in a patient yet.
In a single day, they "printed out" 100 tiny tubes, using computer-guided lasers to stack and fuse thin layers of plastic instead of paper and ink to form various shapes and sizes. The next day, with special permission from the Food and Drug Administration, they implanted one of these tubes in Kaiba, the first time this has been done.
Suddenly, a baby that doctors had said would probably not leave the hospital alive could breathe normally for the first time. He was 3 months old when the operation was done last year and is nearly 19 months old now. He is about to have his tracheotomy tube removed; it was placed when he was a couple months old and needed a breathing machine. And he has not had a single breathing crisis since coming home a year ago.
"He's a pretty healthy kid right now," said Dr. Glenn Green, a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where the operation was done. It's described in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
Independent experts praised the work and the potential for 3-D printing to create more body parts to solve unmet medical needs.
"It's the wave of the future," said Dr. Robert Weatherly, a pediatric specialist at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. "I'm impressed by what they were able to accomplish."
So far, only a few adults have had trachea, or windpipe transplants, usually to replace ones destroyed by cancer. The windpipes came from dead donors or were lab-made, sometimes using stem cells. Last month, a 2-year-old girl born without a windpipe received one grown from her own stem cells onto a plastic scaffold at a hospital in Peoria, Ill.
Kaiba had a different problem – an incompletely formed bronchus, one of the two airways that branch off the windpipe like pant legs to the lungs. About 2,000 babies are born with such defects each year in the United States and most outgrow them by age 2 or 3, as more tissue develops.
In severe cases, parents learn of the defect when the child suddenly stops breathing and dies. That almost happened when Kaiba was 6 weeks old at a restaurant with his parents, April and Bryan Gionfriddo, who live in Youngstown, in northeast Ohio.
"He turned blue and stopped breathing on us," and his father did CPR to revive him, April Gionfriddo said.
More episodes followed, and Kaiba had to go on a breathing machine when he was 2 months old. Doctors told the couple his condition was grave.
"Quite a few of them said he had a good chance of not leaving the hospital alive. It was pretty scary," his mother said. "We pretty much prayed every night, hoping that he would pull through."
Then a doctor at Akron Children's Hospital, Marc Nelson, suggested the experimental work in Michigan. Researchers there were testing airway splints made from biodegradable polyester that is sometimes used to repair bone and cartilage.
Kaiba had the operation on Feb. 9, 2012. The splint was placed around his defective bronchus, which was stitched to the splint to keep it from collapsing. The splint has a slit along its length so it can expand and grow as the child does – something a permanent, artificial implant could not do.
The plastic is designed to degrade and gradually be absorbed by the body over three years, as healthy tissue forms to replace it, said the biomedical engineer who led the work, Scott Hollister.
Green and Scott Hollister have a patent pending on the device and Hollister has a financial interest in a company that makes scaffolds for implants.
Dr. John Bent, a pediatric specialist at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said only time will tell if this proves to be a permanent solution, but he praised the researchers for persevering to develop it.
"I can think of a handful of children I have seen in the last two decades who suffered greatly ... that likely would have benefited from this technology," Bent said.
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP
NEW YORK — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a favorite among liberals for her forceful advocacy for consumers and criticisms of the financial industry, has a book deal.
The Massachusetts Democrat has an agreement with Henry Holt and Company for a book, currently untitled, to be released in spring 2014, the publisher announced Wednesday.
Warren, a first-term senator elected last fall, will write about her childhood and early professional life, but the book will mostly be a "rousing call" for the middle class, according to Holt. She will describe her work on creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and her opposition to powerful interests in Washington and on Wall Street. She will also provide an insider's view of Congress.
"For decades, America's middle class has been chipped at, squeezed, and hammered," Warren, 63, said in a statement issued by Holt. "I am eager to tell the story about my experiences on the frontlines of policymaking and to talk about what has happened to working families in this country and how we work together to rebuild the middle class."
"Elizabeth Warren is a rare person in today's political world: a fiery advocate who believes that David can beat Goliath," said Holt's president and publisher, Stephen Rubin. "Her core belief in the power of everyday citizens, along with her front row seat in Washington and her invaluable experiences as a teacher, lawyer, senator, wife and mother, show a devotion and fearlessness that will come though on every page of an elegant and informative book."
Warren was well represented for her book. Negotiations were handled by Robert Barnett, the Washington attorney whose clients have ranged from President Barack Obama to former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, saluting Carole King's five decades as an award-winning singer-songwriter, said Wednesday that music often is a place where people seek comfort and inspiration during trying times.
Two days after much of Moore, Okla., was flattened by a powerful tornado that killed 24 people, Obama pledged anew that the nation will assist with the town's recovery and rebuilding for as long as it takes.
"Eventually, life will go on and new memories will be made. New laughter will come. New songs will be sung," he said during a tribute concert for King in the East Room of the White House. "And that's often why we turn to music during trying times, for comfort and for inspiration, and sometimes just for a good diversion."
Calling her a "living legend," Obama presented King with this year's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, an award given by the Library of Congress. She is the first woman so honored and joins a list of recipients that includes Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.
"I'm honored to be recognized by the Library of Congress as the fifth recipient and first woman as has been stated," the 71-year-old King said. "I can't say it enough. I am so excited."
She accepted the honor on behalf of the co-writers who worked on some of her songs, a massive portfolio that includes such hits as "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "You've Got a Friend."
Several friends from King's decades in the music business came to the White House to perform in her honor, including Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sande, James Taylor and Trisha Yearwood.
King opened the show on the piano before taking a front-row seat between Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Estefan, Yearwood and Sande followed with King's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," one of her No. 1 hits. She and Taylor put their voices together on "You've Got a Friend" to close the concert.
King also sang "I Believe in Loving You," co-written with Hal David. She told The Associated Press in a recent interview that her plan is to release the song as a single to honor David, a Gershwin Prize recipient who died last year.
"I'm hoping that this will become a song that people will want to play at their weddings," she said. "It's so romantic. Hal is such a great writer, and his words live on forever."
In the interview, King said it was a tremendous honor to be recognized with a place in history she never would have expected, and to have it happen at a venue as historic as the White House.
"It is yet another of the many important messages to young women that women matter, women make a difference," King said. "That popular music is recognized by the Library of Congress as being worthy of a place in history is especially significant to me."
As her memoir, "A Natural Woman," began to sell last year, King hinted that she would like to retire. But she since has gone on tour in Australia and plans to sing at a benefit concert for Boston Marathon bombing victims.
She now says she's too busy to retire.
"I still feel that it would be lovely to retire, but that time is not yet here apparently," King said.
King got her start in music growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and wrote her first No. 1 hit at age 17_ "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for the Shirelles – with then-husband Gerry Goffin.
Her breakout 1971 album "Tapestry" remains one of the best-selling records of all time. It is the first female solo album to reach Diamond status, surpassing 10 million copies sold. The album included No. 1s "It's Too Late" and "I Feel the Earth Move," as well as "You've Got a Friend" recorded by Taylor.
It was the first album by a female artist to win all the top Grammy awards – for record, song and album of the year, along with the Grammy for best pop vocal performance.
"And as one of the best-selling albums of all-time, it cemented Carole's status as one of the most influential singer-songwriters that America has ever seen," Obama said.
More than 1,000 artists have recorded hundreds of King's songs, including The Beatles, Mary J. Blige, Cher, Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand and many others.
In 1990, she and ex-husband Goffin were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Wednesday's tribute is the latest in the "In Performance at the White House" series under Obama. It will televised nationally by PBS stations on May 28.
Associated Press writer Brett Zongker contributed to this report.
Gershwin Prize for Popular Song: http://www.loc.gov/about/awardshonors/gershwin/
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
OMAHA, Neb. — A prominent Nebraska abortion clinic is facing a new legal challenge from state officials who want to revoke the license of the clinic's only nurse because of allegations of questionable care.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said Wednesday that he has filed a petition with regulators to revoke Lindsey Creekmore's license. Creekmore is the only nurse at Dr. LeRoy Carhart's abortion clinic in the Omaha suburbs.
Bruning said Creekmore improperly delegated some patient care to unlicensed staff and failed to accurately follow patient medication orders for sedatives and labor-inducing drugs.
"Clinic records show a significant pattern of substandard care practices that, in any surgical center, would endanger the health and safety of the public," Bruning said.
The petition outlining the case against Creekmore didn't say whether any of the patients were harmed by the doses of medication she administered.
Bruning's spokeswoman Shannon Kingery said prosecutors can't comment on details of the case beyond what's included in the disciplinary petition.
Neither Creekmore nor Carhart was immediately available to comment Wednesday. In the past, Carhart has denied allegations of poor care at his clinic.
If Creekmore lost her license, Carhart would have to hire another nurse to help perform abortions at a clinic that is the subject of frequent protests. The allegations also could fuel another push for regulation of abortion clinics in Nebraska.
Carhart is a high-profile defender of abortion rights and has successfully challenged abortion laws before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also operates an abortion clinic in Germantown, Md., that he opened after Nebraska passed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, said state lawmakers should consider adopting tougher standards for abortion clinics and requiring inspections.
"Because Nebraska's abortion facilities are not subject to regular inspection, this type of activity will continue to fly under the radar, posing risks to womens' health," Schmit-Albin said.
The case against Creekmore is based partly on information from another nurse who used to work at the clinic. That nurse, who stopped working in the clinic in April 2011, was identified only be her initials in the petition.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services investigated the complaint and made a recommendation to Bruning's office. A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 5, and the state's chief medical officer will decide what, if any, disciplinary action to take.
HHS spokeswoman Marla Augustine said the state doesn't regularly review nurses' work, and this case doesn't mean the state is scrutinizing abortion clinics.
"It's a matter of someone making a complaint, and then we investigate," Augustine said. "It's a complaint-driven process."
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says more doctors and hospitals are embracing technology as adoption of computerized medical records reaches a "tipping point" in America.
A report Wednesday from Health and Human Services says more than 50 percent of doctors' offices and 4 in 5 hospitals have transitioned from paper to electronic records, thanks partly to more than $14 billion in government incentive payments.
The hope is that electronic records will make caring for patients safer and less costly, by helping avoid mistakes and cutting down on duplication.
But others say there's still a long way to go. An outside group's report last year found little progress in getting medical computers in different offices to talk to each other. Concerns have also surfaced about patient privacy and vulnerability to fraud.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday threatened to veto legislation by House Republicans that would avert a doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1 but allow them to vary with the markets going forward.
The White House issued the warning a day before the full House was scheduled to vote on the bill. Leaders from both parties expected the legislation to pass the House over the objections by Obama and many fellow Democrats, who argued that the lower rates would give way to higher ones later.
"The bill's changes would impose the largest interest rate increases on low- and middle-income students and families who struggle most to afford a college education," the White House Office of Management and Budget said in a memo announcing the veto threat.
Without congressional action, interest rates on new subsidized Stafford loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. Both parties want to avoid that increase but differ on how to do it.
Democrats sought an extension of the current rates until Congress takes up a higher education bill later. Republicans have rejected that as costly and irresponsible. A two-year extension of the 3.4 percent rate for subsidized Stafford loans would cost taxpayers about $9 billion.
Last week, the GOP-led House Education and the Workforce Committee approved its bill, which would offer some students a better deal at first. Democratic critics at that session warned that graduates would face steadily climbing rates and costs over the long haul if the markets change.
Under the GOP proposal, student loans would be reset every year and based on 10-year Treasury notes, plus an added percentage. For instance, students who receive subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford student loans would pay the Treasury rate, plus 2.5 percentage points.
Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said lawmakers would vote as scheduled Thursday on the bill despite Obama's threatened veto.
"The president would rather pick a partisan fight with Congress instead of work in good faith on a bipartisan solution," the Minnesota Republican said. "The president's unfortunate position does not alter our intent to advance the bill through the legislative process or our resolve to develop a long-term solution that both the House and the president can support."
Kline said his proposal had many parallels to Obama's own effort and was a starting point for negotiations.
Current subsidized Stafford loans are offered at a fixed 3.4 percent rate and unsubsidized Stafford loans are offered at 6.8 percent. The interest rate on loans to parents and graduate students is 7.9 percent.
Using Congressional Budget Office projections, the GOP plan would translate to a 5 percent interest rate on Stafford loans in 2014, but the rate would climb to 7.7 percent for loans in 2023.
Stafford loan rates would be capped at 8.5 percent, while loans for parents and graduate students would have a 10.5 percent ceiling under the GOP proposal.
Democrats object to increasing the rates within a program that generates vast income for the federal government. The Congressional Budget Office last week revised its figures this week, reporting that federal loans will generate almost $51 billion on loans issued this year.
In real dollars, the GOP plan would cost students and families heavily, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The office used the CBO projections for Treasury notes' interest rates each year.
Students who max out their subsidized Stafford loans over four years would pay $8,331 in interest payments under the Republican bill, and $3,450 if rates were kept at 3.4 percent. If rates were allowed to double in July, that amount would be $7,284 over the typical 10-year window to repay the maximum $19,000.
For students who borrow the maximum subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, they would pay $12,374 in interest under the Republican bill. The interest charges would be $10,867 if subsidized loans were allowed to double in July, or $7,033 if rates stay the same. The maximum available in subsidized and unsubsidized amounts is $27,000 for four years of school.
Graduate students and parents, meanwhile, would see interest payments reach $27,680 for four years of college under the GOP plan. If Congress keeps the rates the same, their interest payments would be $21,654 on the original maxed-out $40,000 loan, according to the Congressional Research Service report.
Obama included flexible rate student loan rates pegged to 10-year Treasury bills in his budget proposal. The president did not include limits on interest rates but included a smaller added interest rate. His plan also expanded income-based repayment options and loan forgiveness to students.
Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter: www.twitter.com/philip_elliott
LOS ANGELES — Blake Shelton and NBC are putting together a benefit for Oklahoma tornado victims.
Shelton told reporters about the fundraising effort after Tuesday night's episode of "The Voice." Shelton, an Oklahoma native, paid tribute to the thousands affected by Sunday and Monday's tornadoes by performing an acoustic version of the hit "Over You" with wife Miranda Lambert.
He said the benefit would be held soon in nearby Oklahoma City.
At least 24 people, including nine schoolchildren, were killed Monday afternoon in Moore, Okla., when an F-5 tornado with 200 mph winds touched down for 40 minutes and destroyed entire neighborhoods.
Toby Keith, a native of Moore, also is planning a benefit. His sister's house was hit by the tornado.
More details about both fundraising efforts will be released later.
LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia's culture minister calls it actor-activist Sean Penn's "worst performance" ever. He isn't talking about a movie.
Minister Pablo Groux is slamming Penn's proposal to a U.S. congressional subcommittee Monday that Bolivia be cut out of the Dakar motor sport rally unless it frees a U.S. citizen under house arrest two years after he was jailed without charge in a money-laundering probe.
Penn suggested that unless Jacob Ostreicher is freed, sponsors should drop their backing for the January event – which is to include Bolivia for the first time.
The New York man invested in a rice-growing venture and, once jailed, fell prey to an extortion ring that allegedly included the Interior Ministry's top lawyer.
Penn helped get Ostreicher out of prison. But the case is stalled in court.
WASHINGTON — A U.S. official says the Pentagon has decided to buy a new computerized health records system that will allow the department to better share and merge its data with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to announce the decision Wednesday, amid increasing pressure from Congress to address the frustrating delays and paperwork shuffle as service members move from the military's health care program to the VA system.
The official says a monthlong review Hagel ordered concluded the Pentagon should not simply adopt the VA's current electronic records system because buying a new software program would provide better technology and be more effective into the future.
The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement so requested anonymity.
CHICAGO — An attorney for an 87-year-old grandmother who accuses Donald Trump of cheating her in a condo deal has told jurors the "Apprentice" star lied on the witness stand.
The accusation came as closing arguments began Wednesday in the week-old trial in Chicago.
Plaintiff attorney Shelly Kulwin told jurors Trump stepped on the stand before them "to lie, evade and spout infomercials."
His voice rising, he portrayed the case as a battle between an honest woman and a powerful billionaire. He said only in other countries are the powerful guaranteed to prevail at trial. He boomed, "Not in America!"
Jacqueline Goldberg alleges that Trump cheated her when she bought properties at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump has denied the allegations.
Jurors will withdraw to deliberate later Wednesday.
CANNES, France -- Robert Redford makes actions speak louder than words in shipwreck drama "All Is Lost."
He doesn't have much choice. A man-versus-nature tale about a lone sailor adrift on the Indian Ocean, J.C. Chandor's movie has no dialogue, just a few lines of voiceover at the start and a couple of heartfelt expletives.
Redford said he was excited by "the challenge of being solitary, alone, without having the crutch of words."
The second feature from "Margin Call" director Chandor, "All Is Lost" is screening out of competition at Cannes, where both it and 76-year-old screen icon Redford got a warm reception Wednesday.
The Independent newspaper declared the film "utterly compelling viewing," while Variety called Redford "superb."
"I believe in the value of silence in film," Redford told reporters. "I believe it in life as well, because there's a lot of talk around – maybe too much."
Silence "forces you as an actor to be completely inhabiting your role," he added. "If you're not, it's going to show. And that's an attractive challenge.
"It allows you to be totally free and unaware of everything around you except what you had to be aware of, which is the boat, the sea and the troubles that were coming."
Redford, himself the director of movies including "Quiz Show" and "The Horse Whisperer," also said he "really wanted to have an experience where I could give myself over completely to a director."
Chandor – who premiered "Margin Call" at Redford's Sundance Film Festival in 2011 – said he always had Redford in mind for the role.
Alone on screen for the film's hour and 45 minutes, Redford gives a master class in physical acting. His famous face, as brown and grained as the wood of his yacht, is silently expressive.
Confined to the claustrophobic setting of a damaged and becalmed yacht – and later a tiny life raft – he conveys both the unnamed character's physical struggle with the elements and his deteriorating condition.
While stunt performers were used for some scenes of the movie – filmed in large part on the open sea – Redford took pride in jumping into the physical rough-and-tumble of the film.
"I decided that I wanted to try to do what I could physically myself," Redford said.
"I thought, well, if I could do some of these action things myself, it would be better for (Chandor) – and pretty good for my ego, so why not?"
Chandor, who wrote the script with Redford in mind, said he relished stripping the actor of "his most beautiful tool besides the jawline – his voice."
"His voice is this beautiful thing, and we took that almost away from him."
He also said that silencing an actor with Redford's power as an icon helped give the film a deeper resonance.
"You're taking this person that essentially so many people have a relationship with – their own stories and their own ideas and their own experiences with his films," the director said.
"I felt as a filmmaker I was going to be able to have all that history that you as an audience have with him, but then he as an actor sort of erase it."
Redford said the film could be seen in any number of ways. As a reflection on nature and our destructive relationship to it, perhaps. Or as a contrast to our hyperactive, technology-driven world.
"I've seen the role that technology has played in driving things faster and faster," he said. "There's too many people talking too much of the time.
"This film is about having none of that. ... Maybe this film will be seen in contrast. Because there's nothing but the elements. Nothing but the weather, a man, a boat – that's it. Maybe this could be contrasted with all the noise that's out there that I think confuses people."
Fundamentally, though, he's happy for audiences to form their own interpretation.
"It's kind of existential in a way, because it leaves so much open for the interpretation of the viewer," Redford said.
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
NEW YORK -- The idea of Michael Douglas playing Liberace might seem nearly as outrageous as Liberace himself.
Liberace, forever hailed as "Mr. Showmanship," was the excess-to-the-max pianist-personality whose onstage and offstage extravagance were legendary, and who wowed audiences in Las Vegas and worldwide to become the best-paid entertainer on the planet during his heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s.
He was the forerunner of flashy, gender-bender entertainers like Elton John, David Bowie, Madonna and Lady Gaga even as he kept a tight lid on his gay private life, which he feared could have ended his career had it come out. (His fans never seemed to get wise.)
By contrast, Michael Douglas is a 68-year-old movie star known for he-man performances and morally ambiguous roles. And he was no piano player.
But Douglas now dazzles as Liberace in the new HBO film, "Behind the Candelabra," including lavish musical numbers where he tinkles the ivories and flourishes his jewel-and-ermine finery. The film (executive produced by show-biz veteran Jerry Weintraub, a Liberace friend) premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT.
Douglas' co-star is Matt Damon, who, in a casting choice almost as counterintuitive, plays Scott Thorson, a dreamy, strapping teen who in 1977 met Liberace in his Vegas dressing room and almost instantly became his personal assistant, live-in companion and top-secret lover.
"Candelabra" (whose title cites the trademark prop ornamenting his onstage piano) also features Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula, Paul Reiser, Debbie Reynolds and a hilarious turn by Rob Lowe as Liberace's on-call plastic surgeon.
It was the film's director, Steven Soderbergh, who brought together the two lead actors, helped shape their splendid performances and masterminded this portrait of a loving but bizarre and tempestuous affair.
This show-biz saga may be over-the-top, but there's plenty of depth and it dives deep.
"We played the script and tried not to wink at the audience," said Douglas. "It's a great love story. I watch it and I forget about Matt and myself. Then, pretty soon, I practically forget it's two guys: The conversations and arguments sound like any ol' couple."
Adds Damon in a separate interview: "The question for us was, How do we make this look like a marriage that we recognize? Most of our scenes we could relate to because we're both in long-term marriages. It was a male-female story with two guys."
Well, maybe. But that doesn't override the risk factor for Douglas and Damon as they tackled roles dramatically at odds with their images and past work.
"I looked at Matt and thought, `Man, this guy's brave,'" said Douglas. "It's one thing for me at my age to stretch a little bit and try different characters. But `Bourne'! A man in the prime of his career going this route?! I was in awe of Matt's courage."
"He's being nice," laughed Damon, 42, when told what Douglas had said. "He would've done it in a second! He'd never turn down a great role."
Why did Damon say yes to man-to-man pillow talk and sequined thongs?
"I've never said no to Steven," he replied, noting he had worked with Soderbergh before in "The Informant!" and the "Ocean" trilogy. "It doesn't get any more fun than working with Steven."
Douglas, too, had been in Soderbergh films – including the 2000 thriller "Traffic," during whose production the director first proposed Douglas playing Liberace.
Why did he agree?
"First of all, Lee was a nice guy," Douglas began, calling Liberace by the given name he never used professionally. "He was a lovely, lovely guy. I don't play many nice guys."
Douglas nails Liberace's velvety, nasal voice and almost-ever-present pearly smile.
"One of the things I enjoyed about this part was, I got to smile," he said. "I don't smile a lot in my pictures. I'm always so ... grim."
Still, in "Candelabra," there isn't always lots to smile about.
Thorson, a child of foster care, falls sway to Liberace's charm and support, but it comes with a price. He is subjected to plastic surgery to mold him into a young Liberace (one of the remarkable makeup transformations Damon undergoes). He also becomes hooked on drugs in his mission to stay slim for Liberace, and, after a few years, his addiction and Liberace's philandering bring a cruel end to the relationship, after which Thorson unsuccessfully sues for palimony.
Douglas, too, sports a variety of looks. Liberace is seen before and after his own plastic-surgery refresher, and, in a final scene, gravely sick from an AIDS-related illness from which he died in 1987 at age 67.
This death scene is particularly haunting for anyone who followed Douglas' recent near-death experience. "Candelabra" is his comeback performance after a brutal six-month regimen of radiation and chemotherapy for stage 4 throat cancer in 2010.
When he stepped in front of the cameras after his own brush with mortality, he seems to have embraced Liberace as a positive life force and a fitting way to get back in the game.
"Yeah, I did," he nodded. "I was enraptured by the joy that Lee had. He was a bit of sunshine to me."
But Liberace also had a dark side. This, Douglas also captures despite a refusal to acknowledge it.
"It sort of happened," he said. "It was there in the story."
And while he allowed that "Candelabra" viewers might see Liberace as tormented and self-destructive, among sunnier traits, "I didn't see him that way. I didn't see a dark side to him.
"My career has been more in the gray area, if not the dark area," Douglas went on (needing to point no further than rapacious money man Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film "Wall Street," a character for which he won a best-actor Oscar, then revived it in the 2010 sequel, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps").
Playing Liberace "was so much fun!" he said. "You put on this mask and it allows you to do anything you want. I don't get to do that very often. My movies are usually about stripping off the makeup, getting down to the skeleton."
In "Candelabra," Douglas certainly got to wear a lot of makeup, and subsequent projects should allow him to embody other colorful characters – such as President Ronald Reagan in the film he was about to start, "Reykjavik."
"I've always been somebody who, when I started a picture, never knew what the next picture would be," Douglas said. "But during this two-year-plus hiatus, a bunch of good material came my way."
As he spoke, he had already wrapped a comedy called "Last Vegas." Ahead is a Rob Reiner film with Diane Keaton, and a couple after that.
"I'm at an age where I can try different things, do much different stuff than I thought I could do," he summed up, looking pleased at a career (and himself) unexpectedly reborn. "I'm starting over. What I went through with Liberace has given me the confidence for this."
EDITOR'S NOTE – Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier
NEW YORK — Burt Bacharach knew writing a memoir would be emotional – not because of his never-heard backstage tales or his tumultuous marriages. He knew that being honest would force him to come to terms with the death of his daughter.
"It was very tough because I had to revisit what that period was and go deeper into it," he said of his daughter Nikki's premature birth, years of emotional issues, and eventual suicide at the age of 40.
The 84-year-old award-winning music composer of such classics as "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," the Oscar-winning "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," and The Carpenters' "(They Long to Be) Close to You," understood that baring his deep, dark secrets was essential to his recently released autobiography, "Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music" (Harper).
The idea for a memoir came long before Nikki's death in 2007. Bacharach had Nikki with former wife Angie Dickinson, best known for her role on the seventies drama, "Police Woman."
"(Nikki) was one-pound, 10 ounces at birth, you should know the deck is stacked against you then," Bacharach said.
According to Bacharach, she grew up with emotional issues, which he later found out was an undiagnosed case of Asperger's syndrome (the autism spectrum disorder is a relatively new diagnosis.)
"Nobody said she's got Asperger's or she's got autism. (They said) she's just got behavior things," he said.
But after suffering for so long, he never imagined she would actually kill herself.
"It's like the boy who cried wolf. Somebody who says, `I can't stand it. The helicopters are making too much noise and the gardeners and the blowers are making too much noise and if they don't stop I'm going to kill myself,'" he said, his voice cracking. "And you hear that enough and you know it's never gonna happen and then one day she just goes and kills herself."
She committed suicide in her southern California apartment.
"When she did kill herself she did it alone, Textbook 101. Bag over her head. Alone. Kind of brave I guess for somebody who (was) scared of so many things and (she) left a note to me."
He later realized that the signs were always there, but thought that the strong relationship she had with her mother would prevent it from ever happening.
"They had a very connected, symbiotic relationship," he said, adding, "We all did everything we could. I did what I thought would be the right thing and it wasn't the right thing and I was just trying to get her better."
Bacharach was referring to the painful decision to send her away to a special school. He feels he made the decision because Nikki was not properly diagnosed. Because Nikki spent some time away from her mother, he feels she always held that against him.
"There was always that resentment that I kind of imprisoned her and the last thing in the world you know," he said. "I wish somebody would have just said, you're not going to heal her, let her be."
Asperger's syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. People with Asperger's often have high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lack social skills.
With his family struggles hidden from the world, Bacharach continued to make great music.
"I was always able to alleviate the noise, some of the noise with what was going on with Nikki becoming a Sikh, or whatever, because I would go to my music. ... It was during that time I scored `What's New Pussycat,' I scored the first `Casino Royale.' I would get engrossed in my music because there's no other way for me."
And while he continues to make music (he has an upcoming project for a musical with Elvis Costello), Bacharach is still haunted by her death. When they discovered the body, Nikki had left him a note.
"I know exactly what's in the note. I never read the note. I never will," Bacharach said as his voice cracked. "There is no need to read it. I already know what she said."
Folllow John Carucci on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci
PHOENIX — It was the customer service disaster heard around the Internet.
An Arizona restaurateur, fed up after years of negative online reviews and an embarrassing appearance on a reality television show, posted a social media rant laced with salty language and angry, uppercase letters that quickly went viral last week, to the delight of people who love a good Internet meltdown.
"I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE," read the posting on the Facebook wall of Amy's Baking Co. in suburban Phoenix. "YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD."
It was, to put it kindly, not a best business practice. Add to that an appearance earlier this month on the Fox reality TV show "Kitchen Nightmares" – where celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay gave up on trying to save the restaurant after he was insulted – and you have a recipe for disaster.
"That's probably the worst thing that can happen," said Sujan Patel, founder and CEO of Single Grain, a digital marketing agency in San Francisco.
In the evolving world of online marketing, where the power of word of mouth has been wildly amplified by the whims and first impressions of anonymous reviewers posting on dozens of social media websites, online comments, both good and bad, and the reactions they trigger from managers, can make all the difference between higher revenues and empty storefronts.
Hotels, restaurants and other businesses that depend on good customer service reviews have all grappled in recent years with how to respond to online feedback on sites such as Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook and Instagram, where comments can often be more vitriol than in-person reviews because of the anonymous shield many social media websites provide.
No matter how ugly the reviews get, businesses need to be willing to admit mistakes and offer discounts to lure unhappy customers back, digital marketing experts said.
"In the past, people just sent bad soup back. Well, now they are getting on social media and telling all their friends and friends of friends how bad the soup was and why they should find other places to get soup in the future, so it takes the customer experience to another level," said Tom Garrity of the Garrity Group, a public relations firm in New Mexico.
"The challenge becomes – how do you respond when someone doesn't think your food or product is as great as you think it is?"
In Amy and Samy Bouzaglo's case, the bad reviews were compounded by their horrible reality TV experience. The couple said during a recent episode of "Kitchen Nightmares" that they needed professional guidance after years of battling terrible online reviews. They opened the pizzeria in an upscale Scottsdale neighborhood about six years ago.
"Kitchen Nightmares" follows Ramsay as he helps rebuild struggling restaurants. After one bite, he quickly deemed Amy's Baking Co. a disaster and chided the Bouzaglos for growing increasingly irate over his constructive feedback. Among his many critiques: The store-bought ravioli smelled "weird," a salmon burger was overcooked and a fig pizza was too sweet and arrived on raw dough.
"You need thick skin in this business," Ramsay said before walking out. It was the first time he wasn't able to reform a business, according to the show.
Amy's Baking Co. temporarily closed last week after the episode aired. A Bouzaglo spokesman said the couple wasn't available for an interview Monday. The restaurant's answering machine was full. Emails and Facebook messages were not returned.
A wall post published last week claimed the restaurant's Facebook, Yelp and Twitter accounts had been hacked, but hundreds of commenters expressed doubt. Social media sites show someone posting as a member of the Bouzaglo family had been insulting customers over negative reviews since at least 2010.
The story bounced across the Internet, generating thousands of comments on Facebook, Yelp and Twitter, and prompting nearly 36,000 people to sign a petition on Change.org that asks the Department of Labor to look into the Bouzaglo's practice of pocketing their servers' tips.
While many corporations hire communications experts to respond to every tweet, Facebook message and online review, the wave of digital feedback can be especially challenging for small businesses with small staffs, digital consultants said.
For one thing, there is so much online content to wade through. Roughly 60 percent of all adults get information about local businesses from search engines and entertainment websites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
"Customer service is a spectator sport now," said Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, a social media marketing consultancy in Indiana. "It's not about making that customer happy on Yelp. That's the big misunderstanding of Yelp. It's about the hundreds of thousands of people who are looking on to see how you handle it. It's those ripples that make social media so important."
In their "Kitchen Nightmares" episode, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo are seen yelling and cursing at customers inquiring about undercooked food or long delays. They blame online bullies.
"We stand up to them," Amy Bouzaglo tells the camera at one point. "They come and they try to attack us and say horrible things that are not true."
That's exactly how businesses shouldn't respond, the digital experts said.
"If your policy is to berate the customer online, that doesn't create good public relations," Garrity said.
Baer said he tells clients to create a response matrix representing different potential complaints that staff can refer to whenever bad feedback arises. Creating the comment chart before the bad publicity hits helps ensure businesses aren't responding to angry or disappointed customers with their own anger or disappointment, Baer said.
A 2011 Harvard study found Yelp's 40 million reviews disproportionately affect small businesses. The research found a one-star increase in Yelp's five-star rating system resulted in a revenue jump of up to 9 percent for some restaurants, while chains with sizable advertising budgets were unaffected.
"You have to respond 100 percent of the time, whether you like it or not," Baer said. "Businesses need to assign someone to stay on top of it."
In Arizona, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo had planned a grand reopening ceremony and news conference for Tuesday, but the news conference was canceled late Monday after legal threats from Fox.
Fewer than a dozen people were waiting when the restaurant reopened Tuesday. Four guards blocked the door and turned reporters away. Inside, a smiling Samy Bouzaglo posed for pictures and told customers that the tension captured in the episode was staged. That was a disappointment for some.
"I wanted it to be dramatic and people yelling," said Ricky Potts, a 29-year-old blogger who ate at the restaurant for the first time Tuesday only to declare the food good and the service routine. "Basically, I wanted it to be the circus that the TV episode was."
CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival is missing one of its biggest stars of this year's festival: Ryan Gosling.
The 32-year-old Canadian actor was unable to attend the premiere Wednesday of director Nicolas Winding Refn's film "Only God Forgives." Gosling stars in the Bangkok noir about a boxing club owner pressured by his mother to his avenge his brother's murder.
At a press conference Wednesday, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux read, in French, a letter from Gosling apologizing for his absence. The actor is currently in Detroit shooting his directorial debut, "How to Catch a Monster."
"I can't believe that I'm not in Cannes with you," Gosling wrote. "I was hoping to be coming but I am in the third week of shooting my movie. I miss you all.
"Nicolas, my friend, we really are the same, simply in different worlds and I am sending you good vibrations. I am with you all."
His absence is a blow to the festival, which depends on top stars like Gosling to walk its red carpet and draw the world's media attention to the annual French Riviera extravaganza.
Fremaux said he was sad that Gosling couldn't make it.
"He is not with us physically, but as he stated, his thoughts are with us," said Fremaux.
"Only God Forgives" is Gosling's second collaboration with Refn following 2011's "Drive."
"Only God Forgives" was screened for the media early Wednesday at Cannes, where it drew mixed reviews for its extreme violence and nightmarish treatment of such a Greek tragedy.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
"Daring" isn't a word you would use very much to describe 2011's "The Hangover Part II," the disappointingly lazy, beat-for-beat rehash of the wild and wildly successful original "Hangover" from 2009.
And yet, here we are with "The Hangover Part III," which runs a different sort of risk by going to darker and more dangerous places than its predecessors, both artistically and emotionally. It dares to alienate the very audience that made "The Hangover" the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time because, well, it isn't exactly a comedy.
Sure, there are some outrageous lines and sight gags, mostly courtesy of Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong, who function as central figures this time when, previously, a little bit of them went a long way. (This was also a potentially alienating decision.) But director and co-writer Todd Phillips signals early and often that he's much more interested than ever before in exploring matters of real consequence, rather than simply mining them for brash laughs.
Phillips and co-writer Craig Mazin have placed the unusual challenge on themselves of trying to create something bold and new while simultaneously remaining true to the trilogy and wrapping it all up in a satisfying way. They succeed somewhat; simply trying to be creative marks a huge improvement from part two.
This time, Galifianakis' insufferable, inappropriate man-child Alan has gone off his meds and is out of control. His family and friends – including fellow "Wolfpack" members Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) – stage an intervention and offer to drive him to a treatment center in Arizona. And so the four venture off on yet another journey, once again assuming their familiar roles: arrogant English teacher Phil is the de facto leader, Stu is the cautious and neurotic dentist and Doug is the bland and stable voice of reason.
In theory, this should be a pretty innocuous trek through the desert. But this is a "Hangover" movie. So, naturally, they get run off the road by masked thugs who work for crime boss Marshall (John Goodman, who improves everything merely by showing up). Turns out, some of their actions in Las Vegas four years ago have tied them to the evil, effeminate gangster Leslie Chow (Jeong) and put them in trouble with some powerful, volatile people. (Chow, we see in the prologue, has escaped a Bangkok prison, sparking an epic riot captured in dramatic, visceral detail by Phillips' frequent cinematographer Lawrence Sher.)
Now, they must make things right by finding Chow. And of course, there's a deadline, with Doug serving as collateral. Their assignment takes them to Tijuana and the rolling hills of northern Mexico until, inevitably, they must end up back in Vegas. In keeping with the tone of part three, this depiction of the city isn't sparkly and full of promise, but rather seedy and foreboding.
Las Vegas does, however, serve as the location for some rare moments of heartfelt emotion. One comes courtesy of Melissa McCarthy, in typical scene-stealing fashion, as the pawn-shop clerk who turns out to be Alan's trashy, mulleted soul mate. The guys also revisit Stu's first wife, ex-stripper Jade (Heather Graham), and find that she's living a happy suburban life with her son, who's now 4. The child actor who plays him, Grant Holmquist, was one of several infants used in the original "Hangover" as Baby Carlos and is the one featured prominently in that film's posters. It's a nice touch.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Chow is more than just a silly, bisexual cokehead this time around. He's clearly a sociopath, and the group's association with him is more than just a nuisance. Jeong gets a bit more room to explore the role and finds a bit more shading, but if you hate this character, you might just hate this entire movie, as well.
Similarly, Galifianakis gets way more screen time here; he's essentially the star of "The Hangover Part III," with Cooper and Helms fading into reliable supporting roles. (Bartha once again misses out on the adventures.) The character of Alan is still odd and off-putting, unorthodox and unpredictable. But his loneliness and neediness shine through, which makes one of the more out-there figures in the "Hangover" universe unexpectedly relatable.
Your expectations – and keeping them in check – are a crucial factor here. This isn't a party: This finally, truly is the hangover. And it's also the recovery.
"The Hangover Part III," a Warner Bros. Pictures release, is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity. Running time: 100 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Motion Picture Association of America rating definition for R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
LAS VEGAS -- Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant will be hosted by a Jonas brother and an E! News personality.
Pageant officials announced Tuesday that Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers pop act and Giuliana Rancic, co-anchor of "E! News," will host the June 16 pageant.
The winner of the 62nd annual pageant in Las Vegas goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
Jonas' brother Joe Jonas was among the judges panel last year, and Rancic hosted.
Contestants will be judged in swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories. The show will also feature a performance by the Jonas Brothers.
PRAGUE — A publicist for an upcoming Marilyn Monroe exhibition in Prague says that photographs of the star have been stolen.
Alice Titzova of the PR agency 2media says the photos, stolen late Monday, were to be on display starting May 30 at the Prague Castle.
Titzova says mannequins and display cases which were part of the exhibition also disappeared. There was no word Wednesday whether the exhibition will be delayed or canceled.
The collection of various items including Monroe's dresses, shoes, photographs and diaries was assembled by curators at the Salvatore Ferragamo museum in Florence, Italy last year to mark the 50th anniversary of Monroe's death.
After Prague, the exhibition was to be moved to Tokyo.
NEW YORK — For the past decade, the "American Idol" season finale has been one of television's biggest events of the year. Now it's not even TV's biggest event of the week.
The Nielsen company estimated that 14.3 million people watched Candice Glover's victory over Kree Harrison in last week's final episode of the season. Both the CBS drama "NCIS" and comedy "The Big Bang Theory" had more viewers.
The viewership was a startling half of the 29.3 million people who watched in 2011, and also down from the 21.5 million who watched last year. The judge's feud between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey clearly turned viewers off. Original judge Randy Jackson has already announced he is leaving and more changes are expected soon.
Ten years ago, "American Idol" hit a high-water mark with 38.1 million people watching the show's season finale.
ABC couldn't quite topple CBS last week, but saw some encouraging numbers: The season finale of "Scandal" had the largest audience ever for that show, while the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday had the highest viewership for that show in 10 years, Nielsen said.
In an ominous sign for the summer, Fox's season premiere of "So You Think You Can Dance" reached only 5.1 million viewers last week.
CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 7.9 million viewers. ABC had 7.5 million, and won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic craved by advertisers. Fox had 5.8 million, NBC had 5.5 million, Univision had 3.4 million, Telemundo had 1.6 million, the CW had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.
TNT was the most popular cable network for the week, averaging 3.6 million viewers in prime time. USA had 2.5 million, Fox News Channel had 2.04 million, the Disney Channel had 2.03 million and TBS had 1.6 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.5 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 6.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.8 million viewers.
For the week of May 13-19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 18.79 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.48 million; "American Idol" (Thursday), Fox, 14.31 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 13.52 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 13.33 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 12.11 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 11.87 million; "The Big Bang Theory" (Thursday, 8:30 p.m.), CBS, 11.84 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 11.29 million; "Castle," ABC, 11.16 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is a unit of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.
WASHINGTON -- The federal government has given the job of compiling statistics used by the State Department to analyze trends in global terrorism to an academic group, a move that may complicate accurate unclassified assessments of patterns of terrorist activity for years to come.
As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver a major speech on counterterrorism this week and the State Department readies its annual terrorism report for release at the end of the month, officials said Tuesday that the switch also removes federal accountability for the numbers, something that could make them less reliable in the eyes of some.
News of the change comes as Republican lawmakers are accusing the Obama administration of misleading Congress and the public about the nature of the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, to bolster a presidential reelection campaign that highlighted counterterrorism successes. The administration adamantly denies those allegations.
State Department officials say the outsourcing of the data collection to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, at the University of Maryland in College Park has been in the works for more than a year, and is unrelated to that controversy.
But because of the switch, the statistics are likely to be dramatically different this year compared with previous years. Several officials said that when the next edition of the State Department survey is released, they expect the number of terrorist incidents for 2012, including figures on the number of people kidnapped, wounded or killed by terrorists, to be significantly lower than what was reported in previous years. But that decrease may not reflect an actual downward trend in attacks on the ground.
That's because the new group compiling the statistics relies on different criteria than what has been used by the National Counterterrorism Center, they said. Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly preview the data, called "Country Reports on Terrorism," that is due to be released on May 30.
As an example, the number of terrorist events reported through the NCTC database from 2004-2007 was more than 46,000, while the START consortium's Global Terrorism Database reported about 7,400 terrorism events for that same time period.
Since 2006, the NCTC has compiled the data that is included as a key annex to the State Department's annual report. But last year, the center informed the department that as of April 30, 2012, it was abandoning its "Worldwide Incidents Tracking System" that collected the statistics due to funding issues.
"Given the constrained fiscal environment, NCTC completed an in-depth review of its missions and functions, and concluded that it could no longer afford to sustain" the tracking system, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. He added that the NCTC gave ample notice of the move and helped in outsourcing the job to the consortium.
The NCTC determined that compiling the publicly available data for the State Department was not critical to the center's mission, said an intelligence official, who requested anonymity because of a lack of clearance to speak publicly about the decision. The NCTC's decision to not do the report will not affect terrorism data that is available to U.S. intelligence agencies, the official said.,
But although the START consortium is well-respected, its handling of the statistics means that the U.S. government will no longer vouch for the data, Ventrell said.
And because START uses a different methodology than NCTC to compile the statistics, comparisons between the data for 2012 and previous years will be invalid. Further muddying the situation, START itself changed its methodology from what it had used in previous years, invalidating comparisons between its 2012 numbers and those it had compiled in the past.
That means that until START has at least several years of data compiled with consistent criteria, analyzing terrorism trends based on its findings will be statistically impossible, officials said.
According to a 2010 study by START, the key difference in the statistics between the NCTC and START was that the counterterrorism center had greater resources to collect information about terrorist events from publicly available sources, such as media. Over time, the study suggested, the START database could improve as it expands its coverage of more sources around the world.
There also are some technical differences in how the two groups categorize terrorist incidents, and the criteria used to determine if something is a terror act.
The statistics in the State Department report have sparked controversy before.
In 2004, the Bush administration trumpeted statistics showing a significant reduction in terrorist attacks the previous year as evidence that the global war on terrorism begun after Sept. 11, 2001, was succeeding. But after congressional queries, the State Department was forced to concede major errors in the collection of the data and had to redo the analysis. The revised numbers showed a net increase in attacks between 2002 and 2003.
The report released for 2004, did not contain a statistical analysis of terrorist incidents and the following year the job was given to the National Counter Terrorism Center in part to standardize the process and remove lingering questions about the accuracy of the data.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- A goat believed to have escaped en route to a slaughterhouse snarled the morning commute along one of the busiest roadways in northern New Jersey on Tuesday, leading police on a nearly two-hour chase.
The small, chocolate brown female with curved horns eluded five Jersey City police officers for more than 90 minutes by jumping back and forth over a central divider along the Pulaski Skyway, alternately disrupting traffic along both east and west-bound lanes, according to city spokesman Stan Eason.
Traffic was snarled from 7:10 a.m. until almost 9 a.m. along the elevated roadway, which traverses the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers between Newark and Jersey City and carries thousands of vehicles daily to the Holland Tunnel and into New York.
Four vehicles, whose drivers were attempting to avoid the zigzagging goat, were involved in a minor accident, police said. There were no injuries.
"A call came in: `There was a motor vehicle accident, and there's a goat running around on the skyway," Eason said, adding that Jersey City police were not alarmed. "We had full-sized bucked deer running around in the metropolis downtown of Exchange Place about two years ago, before it jumped in the Hudson River and swam to Governor's Island, so nothing surprises us," he added.
The frisky goat eventually tired, Eason said, and officers were able to form a semi-circle around her and secure her in a noose.
Officials are still trying to determine where the goat came from. One of the goat's ears is tagged with a U.S. Department of Agriculture tag, indicating the animal likely escaped a truck headed to a slaughterhouse, Eason said. If no company claims the animal, it will be moved to a rural animal welfare facility that can accommodate livestock.
"If it can survive running around the Pulaski Skyway for two hours, and then winds up in a slaughterhouse, it's kind of sad," Eason said. "But if someone claims her, she is private property, so there's not much we can do."
-- Willy Moon, "Here's Willy Moon" (Cherry Tree/Island)
Willy Moon will soon be gyrating his way into your music collection. Fact.
His distinct features, tall frame, fancy footwork, dapper suits and infectious 1960s pop grooves make this New Zealander hard to miss. The 23-year-old's self-produced debut album, "Here's Willy Moon," is sharp and slick, much like Moon himself.
His album packs a punch, from his unique tone and string section on "Get Up" to surf guitars on "I Wanna Be Your Man." This is high energy rock `n' roll with a modern twist.
The real star here is the pop friendly "Yeah Yeah," which was used in ads for the iPod last year. If you're still sitting down after hearing this one, you need to see a doctor.
There's also the hip-hop-inspired "She Loves Me," and the David Lynch-esque "Murder Ballad" closes the show. At just under 30 minutes long, you'll want to savor each beat on this energetic debut.
Follow Reetu Rupal on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/R2Today
-- A list of the 10 deadliest tornadoes in the United States since 1900:
_ 695 deaths. March 18, 1925, in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
_ 216 deaths. April 5, 1936, in Tupelo, Miss.
_ 203 deaths. April 6, 1936, in Gainesville, Ga.
_ 181 deaths. April 9, 1947, in Woodward, Okla.
_ 158 deaths. May 22, 2011, in Joplin, Mo.
_ 143 deaths. April 24, 1908, in Amite, La., and Purvis, Miss.
_ 116 deaths. June 8, 1953, in Flint, Mich.
_ 114 deaths. May 11, 1953 in Waco, Texas.
_ 114 deaths. May 18, 1902 in Goliad, Texas.
_ 103 deaths. March 23, 1913, in Omaha, Neb.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
WASHINGTON — Everything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Okla.: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.
On Tuesday, the National Weather Service gave it the top-of-the-scale rating of EF5 for wind speed and breadth, and severity of damage. Wind speeds were estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. The death count is 24 so far, including at least nine children. The United States averages about one EF5 a year, but this was the first in nearly two years.
To get such an uncommon storm to form is "a bit of a Goldilocks problem," said Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor Paul Markowski. "Everything has to be just right."
For example, there must be humidity for a tornado to form, but too much can cut the storm off. The same goes with the cold air in a downdraft: Too much can be a storm-killer.
But when the ideal conditions do occur, watch out. The power of nature beats out anything man can create.
"Everything was ready for explosive development yesterday," said Colorado State University meteorology professor Russ Schumacher, who was in Oklahoma launching airborne devices that measured the energy, moisture and wind speeds on Monday. "It all just unleashed on that one area."
Several meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements, some made by Schumacher, to calculate the energy released during the storm's 40-minute life span. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, with more experts at the high end. Their calculations were based on energy measured in the air and then multiplied over the size and duration of the storm.
An EF5 tornado has the most violent winds on Earth, more powerful than a hurricane. The strongest winds ever measured were the 302 mph reading, measured by radar, during the EF5 tornado that struck Moore on May 3, 1999, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director at the Weather Underground.
Still, when it comes to weather events, scientists usually know more about and can better predict hurricanes, winter storms, heat waves and other big events.
That's because even though a tornado like the one that struck Moore was 1.3 miles wide, with a path of 17 miles long, in meteorological terms it was small, hard to track, rare and even harder to study. So tornadoes are still more of a mystery than their hurricane cousins, even though tropical storms form over ocean areas where no one is, while this tornado formed only miles from the very National Weather Service office that specializes in tornadoes.
"This phenomenon can be so deadly you would think that something that catastrophic, that severe would lend itself to understanding," said Adam Houston, meteorology professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. "But we're fighting the inherent unpredictability of these small-scale phenomena."
Unlike hurricanes, which forecasters can fly through in planes and monitor with buoys and weather stations, usually over a period of days, tornadoes form quickly and normally last only a matter of minutes. While meteorologists and television hosts chase tornadoes and try to get readings, it's not usually enough. This storm lasted 40 minutes – long for a regular tornado but not too unusual for such a violent one, said research meteorologist Harold Brooks at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla.
Still, the conditions needed to form such a violent and devastating tornado were there and forecasters knew it, warning five days in advance that something big could happen, Brooks said.
By Monday morning, forecasters at the National Weather Center, home of the storm lab and storm prediction center, knew "that any storm that formed in that environment had the potential to be a strong to violent tornado," he said.
"This is a pretty classic setup," Brooks said.
Tornadoes have two main ingredients: moist energy in the atmosphere and wind shear. Wind shear is the difference between wind at high altitudes and wind near the surface. The more moist energy and the greater the wind shear, the better the chances for tornadoes.
But just because the conditions are right doesn't mean a violent tornado will form, and scientists still don't know why they occur in certain spots in a storm and not others, and why at certain times and not others.
On Monday, the moist energy came up from the Gulf of Mexico, the wind shear from the jet stream plunging from Canada. "Where they met is where the Moore storm got started," Brooks said.
With the third strong storm hitting Moore in 14 years – and following roughly the same path as an EF5 that killed 40 people in 1999 and an EF4 that injured 45 others in 2003 – some people are wondering why Moore?
It's a combination of geography, meteorology and lots of bad luck, experts said.
If you look at the climate history of tornadoes in May, you will see they cluster in a spot, maybe 100 miles wide, in central Oklahoma, Houston said. That's where the weather conditions of warm, moist air and strong wind shear needed for tornadoes combine, in just the right balance.
"Central Oklahoma is a hot spot and there's a good reason for it," Houston said. "There's this perfect combination where the jet stream is strong, the instability is large and the typical position for this juxtaposition climatologically is central Oklahoma."
And the timing has to be perfect. Earlier in the year, there's not enough warm moist air, but the jet stream is stronger. Later, the jet stream is weaker but the air is moister and warmer.
The hot spot is more than just the city of Moore. Several meteorologists offer the same explanation for why that Oklahoma City suburb seemed to be hit repeatedly by violent tornadoes: Bad luck.
Of the 60 EF5 tornadoes since 1950, Oklahoma and Alabama have been struck the most, seven times each. More than half of these top-of-the-scale twisters are in just five states: Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, and Iowa. Less than 1 percent of all U .S. tornadoes are this violent – only about 10 a year, Brooks said.
The United States' Great Plains is the "best place on Earth" for the formation of violent tornadoes because of geography, Markowski said. You need the low pressure systems coming down off the Rocky Mountains colliding with the warm moist unstable air coming north from the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists know the key ingredients that go into a devastating tornado. But they are struggling to figure out why they develop in some big storms and not others. They also are still trying to determine what effects, if any, global warming has on tornadoes. The jet stream can shift to cause a record number of tornadoes – or an unusually low number of them.
Early research, much of it by Brooks, predicts that as the world warms, the moist energy – or instability – will increase, and the U.S. will have more thunderstorms. But at the same time, the needed wind shear – the difference between wind speed and direction at different altitudes – will likely decrease.
The two factors go in different directions and it's hard to tell which will win out. Brooks and others think that eventually there may be more thunderstorms and fewer days with tornadoes, but more tornadoes on those days when twisters do strike.
"Tornadoes are perhaps the most difficult things to connect to climate change of any extreme," said NASA climate scientist Tony Del Genio. "Because we still don't understand all the factors required to get a tornado."
The National Weather Center; http://www.nwc.ou.edu/
Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The attorney for the last of the suspects charged in the death of a Florida A&M University drum major during a hazing ritual says his client won't have to appear for an arraignment because he already entered a written not guilty plea.
Darryl Cearnel was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in state court in Orlando. But attorney Anthony Britt says the previously entered plea satisfies that process.
Cearnel was charged with manslaughter and felony hazing in March.
Most of the other dozen defendants facing charges in the case were charged last year.
Prosecutors say Robert Champion, who was from Decatur, Ga., collapsed and died after walking down a gantlet of other band members who beat him with fists and instruments on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel in November 2011.
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court Tuesday struck down Arizona's ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy absent a medical emergency.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law violated a woman's constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. "Viability" of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks.
Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier. Several of those bans had previously been placed on hold or struck down by other courts.
Judge Marsha Berzon, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel on the San Francisco-based court, said such bans before viability violate a long string of U.S. Supreme Court rulings starting with the seminal Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
The judge wrote that "a woman has a constitutional right to choose to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus is viable."
Gov. Jan Brewer signed the ban into law in April 2012 after it was approved by the Republican-led Legislature. Supporters said the law was meant to protect the mother's health and prevent fetuses from feeling pain. U.S. District Judge James Teilborg ruled it was constitutional, partly because of those concerns, but the 9th Circuit blocked the ban from going into effect until it ruled.
Lawyers representing Arizona argued that the ban wasn't technically a law but rather a medical regulation because it allowed for doctors to perform abortions in medical emergencies. Berzon rejected that reasoning and deemed the legislation a law banning abortions before a fetus is viable.
"The challenged Arizona statute's medical emergency exception does not transform the law from a prohibition on abortion into a regulation of abortion procedure," Berzon wrote. "Allowing a physician to decide if abortion is medically necessary is not the same as allowing a woman to decide whether to carry her own pregnancy to term."
Berzon was joined by judges Mary Schroeder and Andrew Kleinfeld.
Cathi Herrod, the head of a Christian social conservative group that championed the 2012 legislation, said the ruling overlooks the state's interest in protecting maternal health," but that the outcome wasn't surprising because of the court's reputation as siding with politically liberal causes.
"We look forward to an appeal to the United States Supreme Court," said Herrod, president of the Phoenix-based Center for Arizona Policy. The group filed a legal brief in support of the Arizona law.
The 9th Circuit's ruling is binding only in the nine Western states under the court's jurisdiction, and Idaho is the only other state in the region with a similar ban. A federal judge earlier declared Idaho's ban unconstitutional.
Janet Creppe, a lawyer who argued against the ban in court for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the ruling Tuesday affirmed a woman's right to an abortion before viability.
"These laws are all unconstitutional," she said. "This is not a close legal question at all. These laws are unconstitutional."
AP writer Paul Davenport contributed to this report from Phoenix.
WASHINGTON — Carol Burnett, who became famous for playing a variety of characters in sketch comedy routines on her namesake television show, was named the winner of the nation's top humor prize on Tuesday.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts said Burnett will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 20 in Washington. A gala performance featuring top names in comedy will be taped and broadcast nationally Oct. 30 on PBS.
The 80-year-old Burnett said she can't believe she is receiving the prize from the Kennedy Center.
"It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington," she said in a statement.
Burnett had her breakout on Broadway in "Once Upon a Mattress," performing at night in 1959 while also appearing in the mornings on TV's "The Garry Moore Show." She is best known for her own long-running variety show, "The Carol Burnett Show." It ran from 1967 to 1978, averaging 30 million viewers a week on CBS. Her guest stars included Lucille Ball, Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan and Betty White.
Burnett was born in San Antonio in 1933. She soon moved to Hollywood with her mother and grandmother and was raised in a small studio apartment. She received an anonymous donation to attend college at UCLA, where she studied journalism and took an acting class.
Burnett moved to New York City, where she staged musical revues and performed in nightclubs. She was spotted by talent bookers and soon performed her rendition of "I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles" on television.
Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein called Burnett a "unique and beloved entertainer."
"From her television program and appearances, as well as her performances on Broadway and in film, Carol Burnett has entertained generations of fans with her vibrant wit and hilarious characters," he said in announcing the prize.
The Mark Twain Prize honors people who have an impact on society in the tradition of Samuel Clemens, better known as Twain, as a social commentator and satirist. Previous honorees include Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres, who won last year.
Kennedy Center: http://www.kennedy-center.org
Follow Brett Zongker online at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat
LOS ANGELES — Four finalists are vying for the "Dancing With the Stars" title, and just one point separates the top two contestants.
A new champion will be crowned Tuesday.
Football pro Jacoby Jones, Olympian Alexandra Raisman, singer Kellie Pickler and 16-year-old Disney Channel star Zendaya each did three dances on Monday's episode of the ABC competition.
Zendaya was perfect in the judges' eyes, earning the maximum score for each routine.
"You've only just scratched the surface of your talent," head judge Len Goodman said.
Pickler was a close second, collecting perfect 10s for her quickstep and freestyle dances, but finishing behind Zendaya in the cha-cha relay, which saw all four finalists perform to the same song.
Pickler's freestyle brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.
"You just bared your soul on the dance floor and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen," Inaba said.
Raisman finished third after wowing the judges with a freestyle routine that incorporated gymnastics and stunts on vertical bars. Jones landed in last place, falling short on his action-packed freestyle that Inaba said distracted from his dancing.
Viewers were given until 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday to cast votes on Facebook. The show's hosts, Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet, said ABC's online voting system was down Monday night.
Each contestant will perform one last dance during Tuesday's season finale to add points to their totals. Judges' scores combined with viewer votes will determine the new champion.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: . http://www.twitter.com/APSandy
LOS ANGELES — Four finalists are vying for the "Dancing With the Stars" title, and just one point separates the top two contestants.
A new champion will be crowned Tuesday.
Football pro Jacoby Jones, Olympian Alexandra Raisman, singer Kellie Pickler and 16-year-old Disney Channel star Zendaya each did three dances on Monday's episode of the ABC competition.
Zendaya was perfect in the judges' eyes, earning the maximum score for each routine.
"You've only just scratched the surface of your talent," head judge Len Goodman said.
Pickler was a close second, collecting perfect 10s for her quickstep and freestyle dances, but finishing behind Zendaya in the cha-cha relay, which saw all four finalists perform to the same song.
Pickler's freestyle brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.
"You just bared your soul on the dance floor and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen," Inaba said.
Raisman finished third after wowing the judges with a freestyle routine that incorporated gymnastics and stunts on vertical bars. Jones landed in last place, falling short on his action-packed freestyle that Inaba said distracted from his dancing.
Viewers were given until 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday to cast votes on Facebook. The show's hosts, Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet, said ABC's online voting system was down Monday night.
Each contestant will perform one last dance during Tuesday's season finale to add points to their totals. Judges' scores combined with viewer votes will determine the new champion.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: . http://www.twitter.com/APSandy
NEW YORK — Portia de Rossi only believed it was happening when her agent got the good news from the producers. Michael Cera only believed it was happening when the cameras rolled.
It happened all right. After years of clamoring from fans and rumors firing them up while the cast hung on for a green light, "Arrested Development" has risen from the dead with 15 half-hours premiering en masse on Netflix on Sunday at 3:01 a.m. EDT.
"Arrested Development" is the cock-eyed comedy blessed with a king's ransom of talent and the twisted vision of its mastermind, Matt Hurwitz, that aired on Fox for three seasons as a cult favorite, then was canceled for low ratings – and maybe because it befuddled everyone who wasn't hooked on its lunacy. (Those original three seasons are available for streaming on Netflix, too.)
"I think the show scored some `cool points' for dying before its time," says Cera. "But there are still a lot more places for it to go."
Yes, "Arrested Development" died young with a beautiful, if funny-to-look-at, corpse. But its fans weren't ready to bury it. And said so.
"Clearly a lot of people DIDN'T like the show," Jason Bateman allows, "so I guess all we were hearing from were those who do – and that happens to be a brand of people who are not afraid of speaking their minds."
Now reanimated by public outcry, "Arrested" is going new places.
"Mitch and the cast didn't want to do something not as good as the old series," says Bateman (who plays Michael Bluth, the fractious family's would-be mediating presence). "We didn't want to do something lateral or just a retread."
"I think it's new at every opportunity," says Cera (who plays Michael Bluth's straight-arrow son), "while retaining the show's original heart."
The new Netflix season takes the form of what you might call an anthology as it updates viewers, character by character with each episode, on the Bluth family – that once-wealthy, now-broke and at-each-other's-throats clan squabbling in Newport Beach, Calif.
A wicked homage to the scandals of Enron and Tyco and a loopy foreshadowing of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, "Arrested" premiered in 2003 as a sendup of high-end vanities, greed and corruption as displayed within the Bluth family circle.
Besides de Rossi, Cera and Bateman, the cast of "Arrested" Redux brings back Will Arnett, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter, who reconvened in a strategic yet catch-as-catch-can fashion.
"There was no reality where we could get everybody for a full 7- or 8-month period," explains Hurwitz. "That gave birth to the form we came up with for the new series."
The 15 episodes dwell on individual characters during the six-year span from when the series was canceled in 2006 up through 2012. That structure was supposed to make it simple to book each actor for an isolated shooting schedule.
Then Hurwitz took his creativity another step. Since all the episodes are happening simultaneously, he couldn't resist including crossover appearances from other actors in each episode. He wanted characters and story lines from different episodes to intersect. But his ambition made it all the trickier getting all the actors he needed in place for any given episode.
"In a quarter of the scenes, someone is green-screened in," says Hurwitz, who goes on to concede that what began as a solution to a problem of logistics inspired him to create new problems for himself. For instance: "If two characters are having a conversation in one of those characters' episodes and that character's life changes, then in the other character's episode you show the other side of the conversation and the result of it on THAT character."
The overall effect is a sort of hypertext array for the 15 episodes.
"Matt made it a choose-your-own-adventure season, in that you can watch any episode out of order and it makes sense but, depending on which order you watch them, the series kind of tells a different story," says de Rossi (who plays spoiled materialist sister Lindsay).
Not that "Arrested Development" has ever chosen the simple or obvious path. From the start, it was dense, convoluted and layered, packed with sight gags, self-referential jokes, flashbacks, hand-held cinematography with run-on sequences (promoting improvisation to enhance Hurwitz's scripts) and, of course, its droll, documentarylike narration by Ron Howard, one of the show's executive producers.
On Fox, the show won six Emmys and a Peabody as well as critics' love while always fighting for its life in the ratings. But Hurwitz is philosophical about the obstacles his show has faced. They seem to have given him license to obliterate boundaries that otherwise would have hemmed him in.
"All of the limitations," he says brightly, "are great creative opportunities."
That applied to the new episodes' shooting pace, which Arnett describes as "run-and-gun and crazy."
"But it really worked to our advantage. It was `OK, get over here, here we go,' and we were right back into it," says Arnett (who plays Lindsay's older brother, Gob, a preening, mediocre stage magician). "After working together on the series before, all of us just kind of knew what we're doing. There's an implicit trust there. I know that sounds corny, but it's true."
This is a mutual admiration society: The cast heaps praise on Hurwitz, who volleys it back at his actors. And they all join in celebrating "Arrested" viewers, but for whom the show would be long dead and forgotten.
"There are way, way more fans of `The Big Bang Theory,'" notes David Cross (who plays Tobius Funke, a quack-psychiatrist-turned-actor-wannabe). "But they're not as passionate as `Arrested Development' fans – because there's more to be passionate about."
"In either a conscious or unconscious way, our audience thinks – and rightly so – it's THEIR show," says Jeffrey Tambor (who plays jailbird-patriarch George Bluth Sr.).
"A lot of people have told me over the years that they would build friendships around the show," Ron Howard adds. "They would judge first dates on whether that person likes `Arrested Development' or not. It was a means of evaluation."
Does that mean there might be children walking around today whose parents were united by "Arrested Development"?
"I think that's fair to assume," Howard says with a laugh.
EDITOR'S NOTE – Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at . http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier
REMOND, Washington (AP) — Will Xbox mark the spot once again for Microsoft?
The company is set to reveal the next generation of its Xbox entertainment console during a presentation Tuesday at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
It's been eight years since the launch of the Xbox 360. The original Xbox debuted in 2001, and its high-definition successor premiered in 2005.
For the past two years, Microsoft has led the gaming industry in console sales with the Xbox 360. In April alone, consumers spent $208 million on Xbox hardware, software and accessories, more than rival consoles from Nintendo and Sony, according to market research firm NPD Group.
Nintendo kicked off the next generation of gaming last November with the launch of the Wii U, the successor to the popular Wii system featuring an innovative tablet-like controller yet graphics on par with the Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Yet Nintendo said the console sold just 3.45 million units by the end of March, well below expectations.
Sony was next, teasing plans for its upcoming PlayStation 4 at an event last February in New York. The reaction to that console, which featured richer graphics and more social features, was mixed.
Microsoft hasn't said what games will be on display Tuesday, but Activison-Blizzard Inc. previously announced that "Call of Duty: Ghosts," the next chapter in its popular military shooter franchise, would make an appearance at the event.
Xbox has been the exclusive home to such popular gaming franchises as sci-fi first-person shooter "Halo," racing simulator "Forza" and alien shoot-'em-up "Gears of War." In recent years, Microsoft expanded the scope of the Xbox 360 beyond just games, adding streaming media apps and the family-friendly Kinect system.
"They need to show good games," said Stephen Totilo, editor of gaming site Kotaku.com. "There's been anxiety among Xbox fans that Microsoft has forgotten or doesn't value the core gamer as much. We saw this when Microsoft introduced the Kinect and went after families and kids."
Tuesday's event will give Microsoft the opportunity to address several questions about the rumored hardware, including what it will cost, whether it can play used games or Blu-ray discs and if it will require a constant connection to the Internet.
Microsoft likely won't showcase all aspects of the new Xbox. The company has another presentation scheduled three weeks later during E3, the gaming industry's annual convention in Los Angeles.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.
BRUSSELS — Flying high above Europe's economic crisis, a local lightning-fast pigeon called Bolt became the world's most expensive racing bird when his Belgian breeder sold it for 310,000 euros ($400,000) to a Chinese businessman.
One-year-old Bolt, named after the Jamaican Olympic superstar sprinter Usain Bolt, and with an outstanding pedigree of proven champions to match, was the latest Belgian-bred pigeon to claim record prices. Yet it surprised anyone involved in the sport, auction house Pipa said. The previous record for a sale of a single bird stood at 250,000 euros ($322,000) from January 2012.
`'I was stunned by the prices offered, `' Pipa CEO Nikolaas Gyselbrecht said Tuesday. At a time when a crisis is holding Europe in an ever tighter grip, a feathered handful of prime fowl of some 450 grams (a pound) is reaching unparalleled levels. The full auction of the Leo Heremans coop, 530 birds in all, also yielded a world record of 4.345 million euros ($5.58 million) more than double the previous record from last year.
`'One of the reasons there is no economic impact is that buyers are spread around the globe," Gyselbrecht said. `'Over 20 countries were bidding last weekend. So if there is a crisis in one country, it might be less so in another," leveling out a downturn in Europe.
Nine of the 10 top birds went to China or Taiwan, `'and the crisis is a lot less acute there than out here," Gyselbrecht said.
On top of that, breeder Heremans is known as perhaps the best around. `'It was pretty clear something special would happen," said Gyselbrecht.
It is a combination which is increasingly popular: the breeding acumen of Belgian fanciers and the financial clout of Chinese aficionados.
Two years ago too, a world record was set when Belgium's Blue Prince went to China for 156,000 euros ($200,000). Now, the price of the best bird has doubled.
At the same time Belgium's coop owners are dwindling. Just after World War II, Belgium's pigeon federation had 250,000 members, and the sport was huge. China nowadays has some 300,000 active pigeon fanciers, barely more than Belgium in its heyday.
The difference though is that if Belgium has a population of 10.5 million, China's is the world's most populous with 1.35 billion.
From generation to generation, breeding secrets were handed over within Belgian families while racing didn't get tougher than in Belgium. Bloodlines were essential for performance, and over the weekend, Bolt's parents fetched a combined 184,000 euros ($237,000).
Yet in the 21st century, breeding pigeons is hardly sexy for today's European youngsters and Belgian fanciers have almost fallen ten-fold to some 27,000, said Gyselbrecht.
If quantity dwindles, quality doesn't, he said. `'Those who have continued, have also become much more professional."
And at the other side of the world's interest is booming in the Far East. And part of the attraction is huge prize money involved.
The birds have become so precious though, that Bolt has had his last race already, one year after being picked as Belgium's National Ace speed young birds 2012. Once in China, he'll be used for breeding only and the offspring will be used in the high-priced competitive races.
`'He's had his last competitive flight already," said Gyselbrecht.
DETROIT — Eminem's song publisher is suing Facebook and an ad agency, saying they copied music from one of the rapper's songs.
Eight Mile Style filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit on Monday alleging that a 30-second Facebook ad broadcast online last month copied music from Eminem's 2000 song "Under the Influence."
The Detroit Free Press ( ) reports that the ad was featured in a webcast by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to announce Facebook Home, an interface for Android phones. http://on.freep.com/10LFB2N
The complaint says Portland, Ore., ad agency Wieden+Kennedy copied Eminem's music "in an effort to curry favor" with Facebook by catering to Zuckerberg's personal likes and to "invoke the same irreverent theme" of the song.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes declined comment. A message seeking comment was left Tuesday with the ad agency.
BERLIN — Justin Bieber's pet monkey is no longer his.
The capuchin monkey named Mally was seized by German customs on March 28 when the 19-year-old Canadian pop star failed to produce the required vaccination and import papers after landing in Munich for a European tour.
Authorities issued an order Tuesday transferring ownership of the animal to Germany after Bieber missed a deadline to send the documents, customs spokesman Thomas Meister said.
Bieber has six weeks to contest the decision.
Mally, now 20 weeks old, was being cared for at Munich's animal shelter. He has fared well and gained weight and even got a visit Tuesday from Germany's environment minister.
"We are going to make sure that Mally can grow up appropriately for its species," said minister Peter Altmaier.
The shelter has criticized Bieber for keeping such a young monkey as a pet, saying it shouldn't have been taken away from its mother until it was a year old. Experts say capuchin monkeys also need to be kept in groups, not alone.
"Monkeys are very sociable animals," Altmaier added. "That's why we're going to take Mally to a place where he can live safely and in the company of others."
Germany's Federal Agency for Nature Conservation said the monkey would be sent to a German zoo but officials declined to say exactly where to avoid security problems.
Meister said a bill for Mally's care – which he estimated at several thousand euros (dollars) – would be sent to Bieber.
LOS ANGELES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Los Angeles have made some unusual seizures, including elephant meat, a dead primate and hundreds of handbags made from the skin of snakes, lizards and crocodiles.
The agency says in a press release Monday that the illegal items were seized between May 6 and May 10 at an international mail facility and at Los Angeles International Airport.
The tiny dead macaque primate from Indonesia had been declared as a gift and was addressed to North Port, Fla.
The elephant meat was from a protected species in Thailand and was bound for Fresno, Calif.
The 387 purses were in the baggage of a passenger from Nigeria. They were made from skins of African rock pythons, monitor lizards, dwarf crocodiles, cobras and puff adder snakes.
MONTPELIER, Vt. -- After years of debate, Vermont became the fourth state in the country Monday to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients seeking to end their lives.
Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law at a Statehouse ceremony even as opponents vowed to push for its repeal.
The End of Life Choices law was effective immediately, although it could be weeks before the state Health Department develops regulations in accordance with the new measure.
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen said he expects doctors to write between 10 and 20 lethal prescriptions a year, with a smaller number of patients actually using the drugs.
He based his figures on the experience in Oregon, the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997. Washington state and Montana followed later, with Montana's coming by way of a court order.
"It's used by a very small number, but it brings comfort to a much greater number knowing it's there," Chen said.
During emotionally charged discussion of the bill, proponents said Vermonters of sound mind who are suffering from terminal conditions should be able to choose when to end their lives. But opponents said the law could be abused and vulnerable people, especially the elderly, could be forced to end their lives.
Shumlin offered reassurances before signing the bill.
"This bill does not compel anyone to do anything that they don't choose in sound mind to do," he said. "All it does is give those who are facing terminal illness, are facing excruciating pain, a choice in a very carefully regulated way."
Some critics of the law attended the bill-signing and promised to seek its repeal.
"We need to be more of a caring, compassionate society, not one that says `take a pill, go away,'" said Edward Alonzo of Burlington. "People don't have the best of intentions, always, with their family members," he said.
The Legislature passed the bill last week. A similar measure was defeated in 2007.
"I know from my many years of practice that there are many patients out there that want to have this option available to them, and because it's a new bill I anticipate that a lot of people are going to ask questions about it," said Dr. Diana Barnard, a family practice doctor in Burlington who is certified in hospice care.
"I do know there are providers who will be willing to provide the best possible medicine to their patients regardless of what that means, and that includes all aspects of palliative care," she said.
In its first three years, the Vermont law will resemble the Oregon model, which has built-in safeguards, including requirements that patients state three times – once in writing – that they wish to die. Other safeguards include a concurring opinion from a second doctor that a patient has less than six months to live and a finding that the patient is of sound mind.
In Oregon and Washington, patients who take advantage of the Death with Dignity law use the drug pentobarbital, a barbiturate, that is dissolved in liquid or semi-liquid, said George Eighmey, a board member of the Death with Dignity National Center in Portland, Ore.
The patient doesn't eat for four or five hours before taking an anti-nausea drug and the lethal drug about an hour after that. It takes about five minutes for the patient to fall into a coma. The average length of time until death is about two hours, said Eighmey.
After July 1, 2016, Vermont will move to a model pushed by some senators who complained of too much government intervention. The new model would require less monitoring and reporting by doctors. But many expect lawmakers may push to eliminate those changes and leave the original model in place.
The Health Department will receive reports of how many people were prescribed lethal drugs. Chen said he expects the process will be covered by health insurance.
SANTIAGO, Chile — Antonio Banderas will star in a movie as one of the 33 Chilean miners trapped deep underground for more than two months in 2010, and the charismatic survivor he's playing couldn't be happier.
Mike Medavoy, producer of "The 33," announced on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival that Banderas will play Mario Sepulveda, who known as "Super Mario" became the public face of the miners.
The film will dramatize the cave-in at a mine in Chile's Atacama desert and the globally televised rescue of the miners that mesmerized millions worldwide.
Sepulveda told the Associated Press on Monday that he's thrilled because he's a fan of the Spanish actor and that he hopes the movie will remind people how life is the most valuable gift.
"I'm very excited and full of anxiety. All of my mates are looking forward to this big production," Sepulveda said. "Banderas is very charismatic. I like him a lot and I think this movie is going to make him even more famous than he already is."
Even in their despair, Sepulveda said, "peace, love, solidarity and teamwork" were shared by the miners who survived entrapment longer than anyone else before.
"There are people who don't realize the value of what they have next to them. And after those 69 days we know that there's nothing as important as being alive, being healthy and enjoying the people you love while you're alive," he said.
The miners said it felt like an earthquake when the shaft caved in above them on Aug. 5, 2010, filling the lower corridors of the copper and gold mine with suffocating dust. Hours passed before they could even begin to see a few steps in front of them. Above them tons of rock shifted constantly, threatening to bury them forever.
People on the surface didn't know for more than two weeks that the men had survived the collapse. The 33 men had stretched a meager 48-hour store of emergency food for 17 days, eating tiny capsules of tuna and sips of expired milk while a narrow shaft finally reached their haven and the world learned they were alive.
The small emergency shaft allowed food and water to be lowered to the miners while rescuers drilled a bigger escape hole. Finally, in the early hours of Oct. 13, the miners were hauled up one-by-one in a cage through 2,000 feet of rock.
Back on the surface they were received as heroes. They got paid trips to the Greek Islands, visited the Real Madrid stadium in Spain and paraded at Magic Kingdom in Disney World.
But the fantasy began to crumble on their return home.
Many ran out of money and had to scratch out a living in the dusty working-class neighborhoods and shantytowns of the desert city of Copiapo. Some began suffering from health and psychological problems. Others took to alcohol and drugs. Most are still kept up at night by memories of their ordeal.
"I'm thankful for things in life," said Sepulveda, an electrician who earns a living giving motivational speeches. "Some are good, others bad, but God gave us another chance ... The door that was opened for us is huge."
Variety magazine say production for "The 33" is scheduled to start in the fall in Chile. The film will be directed by Mexican filmmaker Patricia Riggen. Martin Sheen and Rodrigo Santoro are also on the cast.
Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao
BATTLEBORO, N.C. -- A North Carolina woman is charged with trying to poison five family members after one of them refused to share some cheese with her.
A statement from the Nash County Sheriff's Office said 24-year-old Tiara Drake wanted some of a relative's cheese on Friday, but the woman refused to share.
The sheriff's office said Drake awakened before the rest of the family the next morning and used detergent, window cleaner and a household cleanser to poison the cheese. The rest of the family made breakfast with the cheese and began eating it before one of them determined it was tainted.
Drake is charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder and jailed under $50,000 bond. She had a court appearance Monday but didn't have an attorney at the hearing.
NEW YORK -- Derek Hough has made it to the finals of the 16th edition of "Dancing With the Stars," which wraps Tuesday, but he almost didn't return to the ABC show this season.
"I was gonna sit this season out," Hough said in a recent interview. "My mom hurt herself and she was in the hospital (but) I had this overwhelming feeling, `You know what? I feel like this isn't the season I should be taking off. This isn't the one.' Now looking back, I'm really glad I made that decision because it's been one of my favorite seasons as far as creating and working with people."
Besides teaching his celeb partner, country singer Kellie Pickler, how to ballroom dance, he's also performed with a blind dancer and danced in a rotating room.
Hough, 28, pushed for these opportunities to keep challenging himself.
"For me, I like to push myself ... I hate feeling complacent or that I'm not learning," he said.
His sister, Julianne Hough, also a professional dancer, left "Dancing With the Stars" in 2009 to focus on her music and acting career. She said Derek is "the most talented person" she knows.
"He has an insane ability to create. I don't know what special gifts God gave him, but he can pick up any instrument and self-teach himself. He plays guitar, drums, piano," she said.
"He's one of the most amazing photographers I've ever seen. We'll take the same exact picture in the same exact spot and there's something amazing and beautiful about what he's taken. He's got an incredible voice. He is an amazing actor. I think the sky is the limit for my brother."
Hough said he wants to do everything.
"It's such a cliche thing to say," he laughed. "I want to choreograph, I want to direct, I want to act, I want to write music, I want to play music, I want to sing. For me, it's never-ending. I want to do it all, really."
Hough has won the mirror-ball trophy three times since he joined the show in 2007 (he sat out one season), but said he hasn't always been happy with his performances.
"There've been seasons where I've looked back and maybe been proud of one routine the entire season," he said. "That bothered me for a while, so that's why a couple seasons ago I started doing my own thing I suppose. I didn't want restrictions and I didn't want to restrict my ideas and choreography and concepts because I was afraid I was gonna get a seven or an eight or a six" score from the judges.
He decided what mattered most is the dance itself.
"I said, `You know what? Whatever happens, when the show finishes, the season's over, the judges' comments and the scores disappear, all you're left with are the dances.'"
Hough's celeb partners, who have also included Ricki Lake, Nicole Scherzinger, Brooke Burke, Jennifer Grey and Maria Menounos, tend to look back and marvel at what they were able to do.
"When I signed up ... I was praying I would get Derek," said Lake, who danced with Hough in season 13. "I love all of them (the pro dancers) but he's hands-down one of the most talented people I've worked with in my life. I watch the show now and I cannot believe what he's able to do all day, every day. He's a genius."
Hough said he loves being on the show, but he's not sure he'll return next season.
One problem is the time commitment. Hough said dancers don't get a single day off because of rehearsals. "It's been a huge factor in me not being able to do other certain projects."
Another problem: "I've been offered certain roles on certain shows that would've been fantastic but unfortunately they were (on) competing networks. It's been difficult to juggle both things but I feel like it's coming to a point now where there's a lot more support" from ABC.
One project in the works: Derek and Julianne will co-executive produce and choreograph a scripted series for Starz. Julianne describes it as the "Black Swan" side of ballroom dancing.
Hough recalled something his mother told him.
"We were at a gas station getting the oil changed and the guy did a terrible job and (my mom) looked at me and said, `Derek, whatever you become, just be the absolute best at it.' That's kind of stuck with me for all my life. I always want to be the best at what I do. That doesn't mean compared to other people but just in what you do."
The season finale of "Dancing With the Stars" will air at 8 p.m. EDT Monday and 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday on ABC. Other celebs and their partners: Olympic gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas, actress-singer Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovsky, and pro football player Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff.
Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar
NEW YORK — Three New York University researchers from China divulged results from a federally funded study to Chinese competitors in exchange for tuition, rent and other expenses, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Yudong Zhu, a U.S.-educated NYU professor, and Xing Yang, a lab engineer, were released on bail after appearing in federal court in Manhattan to face commercial bribery and other charges. They left court without speaking to reporters.
The third defendant, postdoctoral fellow Ye Li, was at large. Authorities believe he flew to China before charges were brought.
A criminal complaint alleges the three provided nonpublic information about magnetic resonance imaging to a medical company in China, United Imaging Healthcare, and a research institute supported by the Chinese government.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the three men "foxes in the henhouse" who "deceived the university and others about their professional allegiances to competing Chinese interests."
Authorities described the 44-year-old Zhu as "an accomplished researcher and innovator in the field of MRI technology" who was hired as associate professor of radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center in 2008. His attorney told a judge that during his 20 years in the United States, he earned degrees from Vanderbilt and Stanford and had two children.
In 2010, Zhu received a multimillion-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health for his MRI research, and later recruited Yang and Li to work for him. The complaint accuses him of arranging for United Imaging to pay for Yang and Li's expenses, including tuition for Yang and rent for Li, and says all three failed to disclose to NYU that they were still affiliated with both the company and the Shenzen Institute of Advanced Technology.
Earlier this year, NYU launched an internal review that uncovered the conflict of interest, authorities said. Last month, security cameras captured Yang taking photos of equipment in one research area, and emails showed that Zhu and Yang corresponded with United Imaging about "MRI equipment prototypes, experiments and project updates," the complaint said.
When confronted by NYU administrators, Li told them that he was paid thousands of dollars this year by the Chinese institute for work on its MRI project and that Zhu "performs the same work on research for that project as he does for the university," the complaint says.
NYU Langone Medical Center "is deeply disappointed by the news of the alleged conduct by its employees," said its spokesman, Christopher Rucas, adding that the three had been suspended.
The men face up to five years in prison if convicted of the bribery count. Zhu also faces up to 20 years on a separate charge of falsifying records in connection with his federal grant.
The case comes amid growing concerns by U.S. officials that China is stealing trade secrets, mainly through cyberattacks. Chinese officials say the accusations are groundless.
The Shenzen institute is a branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It states its mission as promoting innovation and development through "self-owned intellectual property," U.S. authorities said.
JERUSALEM — A leading Israeli university says it will present singer Barbra Streisand with an honorary Ph.D. when she visits Israel next month.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem said Monday it was granting the singer the degree because of her concern for human rights and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people.
Streisand, 71, is expected to perform at a June conference in honor of the 90th birthday of Israeli President Shimon Peres. She will also appear in two public concerts. It will be the first time the Jewish singer performs in Israel.
The university's school of Jewish studies, established in 1984, is named after Streisand's father, Emanuel. Streisand also holds an honorary doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis University in the U.S.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It was a bigger-than-average tree rescue for firefighters in Colorado Springs.
They had to use a ladder truck to reach a black bear after it fell asleep in a tall pine tree after being tranquilized Sunday.
The bear weighed between 150 and 200 pounds. State wildlife division spokesman Michael Seraphin says a wildlife officer and firefighters put a harness around it. Then they lowered the bear to the ground as it dangled from the ladder.
Tranquilized bears usually fall out of trees and are caught with a tarp or are low enough for wildlife officers to climb up and retrieve them.
This bear was tranquilized twice, but the first dart only made it climb higher. After the second, it fell comfortably asleep in a crook in the tree.
-- It's just a quick kiss, but it's a long step forward for Archie Comics' only openly gay character Kevin Keller.
The Riverdale teen finds his life turned upside down after locking lips with his boyfriend, Devon, in Pop Tate's diner, drawing the ire of at least one disapproving Riverdale mom.
The woman "gets very offended and kind of pitches a bit of a fit," said Dan Parent, who writes and draws the issue, "Kevin Keller" No. 10 that is released Aug. 7.
"Kevin is kind of used to that, but Veronica records the whole thing and of course uploads it to the Riverdale equivalent of YouTube and that starts a bit of a debate," said Parent.
For Archie Comics it's a bit of art imitating life. Parent said he wrote the story after efforts to remove a comic magazine showing Keller getting married drew at complaints. One Million Moms, a project of The American Family Association, asked Toys R Us not to display "Life With Archie" No. 16 near its checkout aisles. Toys R Us did not, and the issue went on to sell out its print run.
Parent called the new story a "playful poke" at the protest.
Keller debuted in "Veronica" No. 202 in September 2010. It resulted in Archie Comics' first-ever second printing. It was quickly followed by a four-issue miniseries and the current monthly title.
Publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater said the fact that any kiss is being shown in the pages of an Archie Comics book is a step in and of itself.
"There aren't that many on-panel kisses in the pages of Archie, but you often see the lipstick on Archie's face afterward," he said.
Goldwater said Keller's character has let the company weave in contemporary issues to its imaginary world.
"We certainly pride ourselves on being contemporary, but that's not the reason why we're showing `The Kiss.' Just like when Kevin first told Jughead he was gay, it was in the natural course of conversation," said Goldwater. "We are creating this in the same way. It's just part of the story."
Follow Matt Moore at . http://www.twitter.com/mattmooreap
ATLANTA -- President Barack Obama, in a soaring commencement address on work, sacrifice and opportunity, on Sunday told graduates of historically black Morehouse College to seize the power of their example as black men graduating from college and use it to improve people's lives.
The president said his success was due to "the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn't have the opportunities that I had – because there but for the grace of God, go I. I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me."
Noting the Atlanta school's mission to cultivate, not just educate, good men, Obama said graduates should not be so eager to join the chase for wealth and material things, but instead should remember where they came from and not "take your degree and get a fancy job and nice house and nice car and never look back."
"So yes, go get that law degree. But if you do, ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich and powerful, or if you can also find time to defend the powerless," Obama said. "Sure, go get your MBA, or start that business, we need black businesses out there. But ask yourself what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work, or transforming a neighborhood."
"The most successful CEOs I know didn't start out intent on making money. Rather, they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed," he said.
For those headed to medical school, Obama said, "Make sure you heal folks in underserved communities who really need it, too."
Before Obama arrived in Atlanta, thunderstorms drenched hundreds of people who gathered on the campus lawn for the outdoor ceremony, forcing many guests to wear clear plastic ponchos over what amounted to their Sunday-best clothes. Rain began falling again, accompanied by more thunder and lightning, minutes after Obama began to speak.
"I also have to say you all are going to get wet," he said. "I would be out there with you if I could. But Secret Service gets nervous, so I'm going to have to stay here, dry. But know that I'm with you in spirit."
Obama urged graduates to "inspire those who look up to you to expect more of themselves."
Obama used the speech to once again share his personal story of growing up without a father, confessing that along the way he made unspecified bad personal choices "like too many men in our community."
"Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down," he said. "I had a tendency to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is, there's no longer any room for excuses."
Speaking in personal terms as he often does when addressing predominantly black audiences, particularly of black males, the nation's first black president also spoke intimately of his desire to be a better father to daughters Malia and Sasha than his absent father was to him, and to be a better husband to his wife, Michelle.
He told the graduates to pay attention to their families, saying success in every other aspect of life means nothing without success at home.
"I was raised by a heroic single mother and wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. And I know there are moms and grandparents here today who did the same thing for all of you," he said. "But I still wish I had a father who was not only present, but involved. And so my whole life, I've tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn't for my mother and me. I've tried to be a better husband, a better father, and a better man.
"It's hard work that demands your constant attention, and frequent sacrifice. And Michelle will be the first to tell you that I'm not perfect," he continued. "Even now, I'm still learning how to be the best husband and father I can be. Because success in everything else is unfulfilling if we fail at family.
"I know that when I'm on my deathbed someday, I won't be thinking about any particular legislation I passed, or policy I promoted. I won't be thinking about the speech I gave, or the Nobel Prize I received," said Obama, 51. "I'll be thinking about a walk I took with my daughters, a lazy afternoon with my wife, whether I did right by all of them."
The speech was Obama's second commencement address of the season, following remarks last Sunday at Ohio State University in Columbus. His third and final graduation address will come Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
About 500 students received undergraduate degrees on Sunday and became "Morehouse Men."
After the speech, Obama joined about 100 people at a fundraiser at the office of the foundation of Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons. It was the first of six money events that officials say he will headline for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is recruiting candidates and strategizing to keep control of the Senate in next year's midterm elections. Democrats will be defending more Senate seats than Republicans, including six held by long-serving Democratic senators who have decided not to seek re-election.
After briefly discussing the economy, early childhood education, energy independence, climate change and infrastructure, Obama said "the good news is we've got good, common-sense solutions that we can implement right now," on those issues. "The bad news is there's a shortage of common sense in Washington."
He told the donors, who paid anywhere from $10,000 per couple to $32,400 per couple to attend the fundraiser, that their support is important because it will help elect more non-ideological senators like Michael Bennet, D-Colo., "who don't come at this thinking there's just one way of doing things." Bennet chairs the campaign arm for Senate Democrats and introduced Obama at the event.
"That kind of approach, if we get a critical mass in the Senate, and we can potentially get a critical mass of folks like that in the House, means that the sky's the limit," Obama said. "Nothing can stop us."
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TUNIS, Tunisia -- An outspoken Tunisian feminist who scandalized the country by posting topless photos of herself online has been arrested and may be charged for conducting "provocative acts" at a religious center where police prevented hardline Islamists from holding their annual conference, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
Amina Tyler, 19, describes herself as a member of the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN, which uses nudity in protests. On Sunday she went to the central Tunisian city of Kairouan, where police prevented the hardline Ansar al-Shariah group from holding a conference after it was deemed a threat to public order.
Tyler allegedly scrawled FEMEN on the wall near the main mosque and may have intended to hang a banner on the building before an angry crowd of locals gathered shouting at her to leave.
Video posted by the Tunisian online Nawaat news site shows Tyler, with dyed blond hair, clutching a banner and being hustled away by police and put into a van as residents chased her.
A local resident shouts at the camera: "She is dishonoring us. We will protect our town, but a dirty girl like her shouldn't come among us."
In March, Tyler posted pictures of her topless body with the phrase "my body is my own" scrawled on it, and she went into hiding after receiving death threats. Her family took her to stay with relatives outside the capital before she escaped and hid with friends.
Last month she said she wanted to do one more dramatic protest before leaving for France to study journalism.
Mohammed Ali Aroui, the spokesman for the Tunisian Interior Ministry, described her acts as provocative and said she is under investigation and may be charged for her behavior on Sunday. He added that he understood the angry reaction of local residents to her appearance.
The ministry had banned Ansar al-Shariah's annual conference, citing it as a "threat to security and public order," and sent 11,000 soldiers and police to prevent hardline Muslims, known as salafis, from entering Kairouan.
There were minor clashes in the central city, but it was a Tunis suburb that saw the most severe violence involving hundreds of protesters, burning tires, rocks and tear gas. The state news agency said one person was killed.
Aroui said Tyler was able to make it into Kairouan through multiple police checkpoints because she had been wearing a veil and they did not recognize her.
Tunisia was ruled with an iron hand for 23 years by dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali until he was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2011 that sparked the Arab Spring across the region. With his fall, Tunisia has witnessed an explosion of new groups and movements from across the political spectrum.
DENVER — Residents angry that police had not warned them about sex assaults of children took matters into their own hands, chasing down a man they thought was the attacker, pelting him with rocks and leaving him with a bloody face in Colorado, authorities said Monday.
Pueblo police later released the man because of lack of evidence, The Pueblo Chieftain () reported. http://tinyurl.com/m3lwyju
Neighborhood residents were looking for a man suspected of two separate sexual acts when they got word that a man matching the description had been spotted, said Alex Pacheco, one of the pursuers.
The group confronted the man and he ran.
Pursuers surrounded him and punched him in the face, police Capt. Tom Rummel said. Arriving officers shoved the man into a police car and whisked him to the station for questioning. He was not seriously injured.
"The primary officer on the scene said get him out of here," Rummel said.
Pacheco told the newspaper that residents were canvassing the area looking for the man who committed the sex crimes during the past few months.
One incident involved the sexual assault of a girl in her home. In the other, authorities said a man with the same description exposed himself to another child.
Police said the mob grew to about a half-dozen people as residents learned of the chase and joined in.
"We went through the right channels in contacting the police but there hasn't been much response," Pacheco said. "We can't wait around any longer without doing something. These are children that this man is after and we can't let any more children get hurt by him."
Rummel said police had notified the media and posted warnings on social media about the attacks, but authorities are not required by law to notify residents because no one had been arrested.
Rummel said police only had a vague description of the suspect because he wore a bandanna over his face.
The 54-year-old man accosted by the mob did not want to file charges against his pursuers, the chief said.
"He said folks were reacting to a bad situation and he told the officer, `I don't want to go that route,'" Rummel said. "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The name of the man was not released because no charges were filed. He agreed to give investigators a DNA sample so he could be ruled out as a suspect.
Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain, http://www.chieftain.com
Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain, http://www.chieftain.com
NEW YORK — Rival online takeout services Seamless North America and GrubHub on Monday announced plans to combine and create a new company covering more than 20,000 restaurants in 500 cities across the U.S.
Financial terms were not disclosed and it's unclear what the combined company will be called. GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney will become CEO, while Seamless CEO Jonathan Zabusky will serve as president, the companies said in a joint statement.
Brian McAndrews, an independent director on the Seamless board, will serve as chairman. Both New York-based Seamless and Chicago-based GrubHub will have significant representation on the new company's board.
The combined company's name and marketing brands will be determined following regulatory approval, the companies said.
Online takeout ordering services work by contracting with restaurants, mostly in large metropolitan areas, to list themselves on the websites. Diners can search the menus, along with reviews posted by diners, to find the food they want and then order and pay online. In addition to websites, both companies offer smartphone and tablet apps geared toward diners on the go.
"We are excited to combine the strengths of these two dynamic organizations in an industry that is rapidly gaining traction," Maloney said in a statement. "We believe the merger will enhance the products we are able to offer both our diners and restaurants."
Maloney, who co-founded GrubHub Inc. in 2004, said that by combining their complementary restaurant and diner networks the new company will be well positioned for continued growth in what's become a huge market.
The services appeal to diners by eliminating the need for a kitchen drawer of takeout menus, while also helping them discover new pickup and delivery options in their neighborhoods. Meanwhile, restaurants can benefit from new business and don't have to deal with as many phone orders, which can be labor intensive and prone to error.
Last year, orders through the two privately held companies totaled about $875 million in gross food sales, resulting in combined revenue of more than $100 million. They also aggressively vied with each other for market share, heavily promoting themselves through social media and email offers and discounts.
Seamless North America LLC was spun off from Aramark Corp. last fall. Before that, Spectrum Equity Investors bought a minority stake in the company for $50 million. Seamless covers about 12,000 restaurants in 40 cities, mostly on the East and West Coasts, along with Houston and Austin, Texas, and overseas in London.
GrubHub's ordering services cover 20,000 restaurants in about 500 cities. Since its inception, the company, which also owns Allmenus.com, has received about $84 million in funding.
In addition to Seamless and GrubHub, other similar services have popped up in recent years. Delivery.com, founded in 2004, lets users order from nearly 10,000 restaurants in 50 cities, while California-based Eat24.com, founded in 2008, covers 20,000 restaurants in 1,000 cities across the country.
Online deals site LivingSocial also launched a similar service late last year.
Two men have been arrested in the killing of a teenage boy over an iPad in Las Vegas, police said Sunday.
Jacob Dismont, 18, and Michael Solid, 21, were booked Saturday into the Clark County jail on charges of open murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
According to investigators, Marcos Arenas, 15, was walking down a street with the iPad on Thursday when a passenger got out of a vehicle and tried to steal the device from him.
Dismont is accused of trying to wrest the tablet away and dragging Arenas toward the SUV when the youth wouldn't let go of the device. After Dismont re-entered the vehicle and Solid sped away, the teen was dragged until he fell. The vehicle ran over Arenas and he died at a hospital.
"I think both the public and police department share the same sentiment that this was a senseless act of violence," police spokesman Bill Cassell told The Associated Press.
The suspects succeeded in making off with the device, officers said, but it was not immediately recovered.
Ivan Arenas said he bought the iPad for his son less than two months ago. The family has never had a lot, the father said, and his son valued everything he had.
"For him to lose his life over an iPad, it's just not fair," Ivan Arenas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Never in my life would I imagine that me buying my kid an iPad for his birthday would end up with him getting run over."
Similar thefts of iPads, IPhones and other Apple devices have become so widespread nationwide that the crime has earned the nickname, "Apple picking," Cassell said.
"This is a nationwide phenomenon where thieves are targeting individuals who are carrying them," he said.
Police urge victims of such crimes to always let go of the devices.
According to investigators, Solid has an arrest record of possession of a stolen vehicle, petty larceny, robbery and assault. Dismont does not have any prior adult arrests.
Arenas family spokeswoman Tabitha Guertler said family members are relieved by the arrests and grateful for the quick response by police and the public.
"We are very, very relieved and grateful that these men have been apprehended and can't hurt anyone else," she said. "We're traumatized. Marcos' loss is something that will be with us forever. He was such an incredible person."
The oldest of 10 children in the family, the teen was a student at Bonanza High School. The attack occurred in the late afternoon about a half-mile from the school.
BOSTON — Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley has skipped Boston College's commencement because of the involvement of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who supports of a bill in his country that would allow abortion.
A few dozen protesters, some playing bagpipes, demonstrated at the college during Monday morning's graduation ceremony. They held signs with messages that included: "Boston College Keep Your Pro Life Values."
Kenny will address undergraduates and accept an honorary degree from the Jesuit-run college.
Kenny says the legislation simply clarifies when a doctor can perform an abortion to save a woman's life.
Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn says the school respects O'Malley and regrets he didn't attend graduation, but that the school's commitment to Catholic values isn't eroding in the least.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
This year's commencement at Boston College looks to be notable for who will be there, as well as who won't.
Two graduate business students who were injured in the Boston Marathon bombings have recovered enough to receive their diplomas in Monday's ceremonies.
Brittany Loring and Liza Cherney are both set to receive degrees from the Carroll School of Management. Loring needed three operations after her left leg was struck by shrapnel from the first of the twin blasts on April 15. Cherney was standing next to her close friend and classmate Loring and was also badly hurt.
Earlier Monday, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will address students receiving undergraduate degrees from the Jesuit-run college. He'll also receive an honorary degree.
Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley won't be there for Kenny's speech because of Kenny's support for legislation in his country that would permit abortion.
The leader of the Boston Archdiocese traditionally gives the benediction at Boston College's graduation, but the U.S. Catholic bishops have urged Catholic institutions not to honor government officials who promote it.
Kenny says the bill simply clarifies when a doctor can perform an abortion to save a woman's life. But Catholic bishops say it would greatly expand abortion, particularly by permitting it in certain cases when a woman threatens suicide.
O'Malley called abortion a "crime against humanity" and said he decided not to attend the ceremony because Boston College didn't withdraw its invitation, and Kenny didn't decline it.
Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said the school respects O'Malley and regrets he won't attend graduation.
"However, we look forward to our commencement and to Prime Minister Kenny's remarks," he said.
WASHINGTON -- More than 85,000 veterans were treated last year for injuries or illness stemming from sexual abuse in the military, and 4,000 sought disability benefits, underscoring the staggering long-term impact of a crisis that has roiled the Pentagon and been condemned by President Barack Obama as ""shameful and disgraceful."
A Department of Veterans Affairs accounting released in response to inquiries from The Associated Press shows a heavy financial and emotional cost involving vets from Iraq, Afghanistan and even back to Vietnam, and lasting long after a victim leaves the service.
Sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment can trigger a variety of health problems, primarily post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. While women are more likely to be victims, men made up nearly 40 percent of the patients the VA treated last year for conditions connected to what it calls "military sexual trauma."
It took years for Ruth Moore of Milbridge, Maine, to begin getting treatment from a VA counseling center in 2003 – 16 years after she was raped twice while she was stationed in Europe with the Navy. She continues to get counseling at least monthly for PTSD linked to the attacks and is also considered fully disabled.
"We can't cure me, but we can work on stability in my life and work on issues as they arrive," Moore said.
VA officials stress that any veteran who claims to have suffered military sexual trauma has access to free health care.
"It really is the case that a veteran can simply walk through the door, say they've had this experience, and we will get them hooked up with care. There's no documentation required. They don't need to have reported it at the time," said Dr. Margret Bell, a member of the VA's military sexual trauma team. "The emphasis is really on helping people get the treatment that they need."
However, the hurdles are steeper for those who seek disability compensation – too steep for some veterans groups and lawmakers who support legislation designed to make it easier for veterans to get a monthly disability payment.
"Right now, the burden of proof is stacked against sexual trauma survivors," said Anu Bhagwati, executive director of the Service Women's Action Network. "Ninety percent of 26,000 cases last year weren't even reported. So where is that evidence supposed to come from?"
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said reducing the incidence of sexual assaults in the military is a top priority. But it's a decades-old problem with no easy fix, as made even more apparent when an Air Force officer who headed a sexual assault prevention office was arrested on sexual battery charges.
"We will not stop until we've seen this scourge, from what is the greatest military in the world, eliminated," Obama said after summoning top Pentagon officials to the White House last week to talk about the problem. "Not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make and has made the military less effective than it can be."
The VA says 1 in 5 women and 1 in 100 men screen positive for military sexual trauma, which the VA defines as "any sexual activity where you are involved against your will." Some report that they were victims of rape, while others say they were groped or subjected to verbal abuse or other forms of sexual harassment.
But not all those veterans seek health care or disability benefits related to the attacks. The 85,000 who sought outpatient care linked to military sexual trauma during the latest fiscal year are among nearly 22 million veterans around the country.
The VA statistics underscore that the problems for victims of sexual abuse do not end when someone leaves the service.
Psychological issues, including PTSD, depression and anxiety, are most common, according to the agency. Victims also can develop substance abuse problems.
Some victims like Moore are so disabled that they are unable to work. Others need ongoing care at VA outpatient clinics and hospitals.
In the final six months of 2011, an average of 248 veterans per month filed for disability benefits related to sexual trauma. That rose by about a third, to 334 veterans per month in 2012, an increase the VA attributed in part to better screening for the ongoing trauma associated with sexual assault. Of those who filed in 2012, about two-thirds were women and nearly a third were men.
"We do a lot more awareness, and as we educate everyone on the potential benefits and that it's OK to come forward, I think you see an increase in reporting," said Edna MacDonald, director of the VA's regional office in Nashville.
To get disability benefits related to sexual trauma, veterans must be diagnosed with a health problem such as PTSD, submit proof that they were assaulted or sexually harassed in a threatening manner and have a VA examiner confirm a link to their health condition.
Many lawmakers and veterans groups support allowing a veteran's statement alone to serve as the proof that an assault or harassment occurred. An examiner would still have to find there's a link to the health condition diagnosed.
The VA's records indicate that veterans seeking compensation related to military sexual trauma had about a 1 in 2 chance of getting their claim approved last year, up from about 34 percent in June 2011.
The VA does not break out the cost of treating and compensating individual veterans for sexual abuse or trauma. A veterans combination of disabilities are unique to each individual, so it's not able to attribute specific spending levels for individual disabilities.
Benefits depend on the severity of the disability. For example, a veteran with a 50 percent rating and no dependents would get $810 a month. A veteran with a 100 percent rating and a spouse and child to support would get nearly $3,088 a month.
Moore estimates the government's cost for her disability benefits and treatment could well exceed $500,000 over the course of her lifetime.
It wasn't until June 2011 that the VA began recording monthly disability claims related specifically to military sexual trauma. Veterans file claims for conditions that are a result of the trauma, not for MST itself, which made it particularly difficult to track. The VA came up with a special process for doing so in 2010.
There's no time limit to filing a claim. "We have veterans who call our help line who have been assaulted way back in time. They're still suffering from the effects of World War II or Vietnam. I wish I were exaggerating," said Bhagwati, whose organization advocates for female veterans.
The VA's undersecretary for benefits, Allison Hickey, a 27-year veteran and former Air Force general, has required all workers handling disability claims to undergo sensitivity training in dealing with military sexual trauma.
Hickey also assembled a task force to review the claims process for veterans claiming sexual assault or harassment while serving in the military. The group looked at 400 claims and determined that nearly a quarter were denied before all the evidence was presented. That led to another training program on the evidence needed or establishing a PTSD claim connected to military sexual trauma. The approval rate is now much closer, though still slightly behind that for other PTSD claims.
Even though the VA's statistics indicate that a greater percentage of military sexual trauma are getting benefits, lawmakers believe more action is required.
"If half of them are being denied their claims, that's still a lot of people, said Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.
Pingree and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., are the lead sponsors of the legislation that would allow the veteran's word to serve as sufficient proof that an assault occurred. The legislation is named after Moore, who spent years fighting for disability benefits.
The VA originally opposed Pingree's bill, saying the legislation didn't allow for the minimal evidence "needed to maintain the integrity of the claims process." But VA spokesman Josh Taylor said Thursday that there's been a change of heart and that the VA no longer opposes the legislation.
"VA supports the goals of the legislation, and will continue to work with Congress on the best approach to accomplish it," Taylor said.
An amended version of Pingree's bill passed the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs two weeks ago and could go to the full House as early as this week. The bill no longer requires the department to alter its regulations for military sexual trauma claims. Instead, the bill says that it's Congress' sense that the VA should update and improve its regulations regarding military sexual trauma. And until it does, it must meet extensive reporting requirements, which include a monthly report to all veterans who have submitted a claim that would, among other things, detail the number of claims relating to MST that were granted or denied, the three most common reasons for a denial and the average time it took to process a claim.
Supporters are hoping that the reporting requirements prove so cumbersome that the VA agrees to ease the evidentiary burden for the veterans.
NEW YORK — The most striking thing about the broadcast TV networks announcing their new fall schedules this past week was how little that actually meant.
Television schedules seem more like sketches these days. Even the networks admit their prime-time plans for September will be different by January, even more so a few months later. That's not even taking into account the inevitable failures among the 56 new series ordered into production by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW.
Broadcasters are more frequently embracing the cable TV idea of limited run series, of taking favorites off the air for a time instead of showing reruns, and of not treating summer as an afterthought.
"We're not constrained by the traditional broadcast schedule anymore," Kevin Reilly, Fox entertainment chairman, proclaimed in a presentation to advertisers.
Television has typically started its new season in late September, a calendar that was set to coincide with the time auto manufacturers rolled out a shiny new line of cars, and wanted something shiny and new on TV to advertise them on. That's the time most new shows appeared, offering a feast for fans and, lately, for digital video recorders.
Not quite half of the new shows – 27 of them – will be on the schedules when a new season starts this September. There are scheduled premiere dates, mostly in mid-winter, for many of the rest. Others have only a vague promise that they will appear, sometime, somewhere. Rebuilding NBC ordered 17 new shows, but only six will be on opening week.
Even established programs are left in limbo. NBC's cult favorite "Community" was renewed, with no hint of when it will be on. Same thing for CBS' comedy "Mike & Molly," even with a 22-episode order. The CW will wrap up its "Nikita" series with six episodes, but no one knows when.
Fox's Reilly unveiled a fall schedule, a late fall schedule and a winter schedule, with chips moving all around. It's about as complicated as a pro football playbook.
Fox has also resurrected the idea of miniseries, which will begin next year with a short-run return of Keifer Sutherland and "24," and continuing with producer M. Night Shyamalan's "Wayward Pines."
The idea is to attract top talent that might not otherwise want to commit to a long season slog. Matt Dillon has already signed on for "Wayward Pines." The approach has worked for cable networks, where "seasons" are generally shorter and creators don't have to worry about their shows being abruptly canceled.
The limited run concept is also increasingly being applied to regular series. Fans are impatient with series that are interrupted by repeats during the season, so executives are looking at ways to run consecutive original episodes, then putting another series in the time slot for a few months when the original show takes a break. ABC programming chief Paul Lee said his network is considering doing that with several shows next season, although it's still not clear which ones.
CBS, the traditionalists' network, said there's a risk to this strategy.
"Most of the nights of the week, people want to see their (favorite) shows, and we're going to give them to them," said Kelly Kahl, CBS chief scheduling executive.
Even CBS has scheduled its new serial mystery "Hostages," to have a season finale in January, to be replaced by a new drama, "Intelligence."
ABC's Lee is a big proponent of debuting series at times other than September so they don't get lost in the crowd (even though the eight series ABC is bringing on this September is more than any network). Viewers expect new series to pop up any time of the year on cable networks, and Reilly said broadcasters should do the same.
"I'd like to strike the word `midseason' from our lexicon, frankly, because it makes it seem like there are only two times of the year when you can launch shows," he said.
The networks have learned, through brutal experience, that viewers punish them for summer schedules clogged with reruns. They've gradually shifted the summer balance to fresh shows – primarily reality – but more scripted shows will be there, too. Fox's "24" starts next May, followed immediately by "Wayward Pines." CBS' high-profile Stephen King series, "Under the Dome," starts June 24.
For all the talk of breaking traditions, of broadcast networks losing relevance in a digital age, the annual week of schedule presentations offered a firm rebuttal. A media sector that is dying doesn't invest in 56 new programs, each with scripts to be written, production budgets to be kept and actors to be hired.
"Broadcast is not an old medium being left behind for new ones," said CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. "Far from it."
That's easy for CBS to say; it is finishing one of the most dominant seasons a broadcasters has had for years in relation to its rivals. The heaviest investments have come from the networks chasing CBS: NBC has ordered 17 new series and ABC is bringing on 14.
Jimmy Kimmel, whose routine at the ABC presentation is always one of the week's highlights, described the process to advertising executives as "throwing a bunch of (stuff) against the wall and seeing what sticks. You guys are the wall."
Some big names are coming to TV, or returning, with Michael J. Fox leading a new NBC comedy and Robin Williams pairing with Sarah Michelle Gellar on a CBS sitcom. Adam Samberg, James Spader and Greg Kinnear will also play new TV characters.
For NBC, the idea of low-rated critical favorites has lost its appeal. Quirk is out. Children play prominent roles in several of its new comedies. In drama, NBC is reaching for brand-name characters like Blackbeard and Dracula, and brand-name creators J.J. Abrams and Dick Wolf.
Fox's dramas are darkly violent, including a gruesome update of the Ichabod Crane tale and an Abrams fantasy about cops being paired with androids. The lawyer played by Kinnear in Rake is about as appealing as Hugh Laurie's House.
ABC's biggest move is on Tuesday, where half of its eight new shows will be found. "Lucky 7" is one of the few new dramas this fall without a fantastical concept; it's about how a lottery win changed the lives of a group of working class friends.
The Robin Williams comedy (he plays an up-to-date "Mad Men" advertising executive) may be CBS' most-anticipated but not best new comedy. The clip reel for Will Arnett's "The Millers" has more laughs.
True to tradition, the actors in the CW's new dramas are pure eye candy; now they have to be vampires, aliens or possess telepathic ability. High concept is practically a requirement at a small network now. "You have to make noise," said Mark Pedowitz, the CW's president. "It's very hard these days to make noise with smaller, softer shows."
Ultimately, it will be up to viewers to decide what new shows will be hits, what will be misses and which is part of Kimmel's tongue-in-cheek test.
"One of the shows you see here was written by a third-grade class," he said. "Your challenge is to figure out which one."
Associated Press Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE – David Bauder can be reached at dbauder(at)ap.org or on Twitter (at)dbauder. His work can be found at http:bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.
NEW YORK — If either her husband or daughter is calling, Audra McDonald knows without looking at her phone.
That's because the five-time Tony Award winner has programed the ring tone for both to be The Carpenters' hit version of "(They Long to Be) Close to You."
"It's cute, right?" the 42-year-old actress-singer asks.
It is indeed.
For more revealing things about McDonald look no further than her new CD and televised concert. Both pull back the curtain on one of the most decorated women on Broadway.
The 12-song disc called "Go Back Home" includes classics like Stephen Sondheim's "The Glamorous Life," Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II's "Edelweiss" and "First You Dream," from the John Kander and Fred Ebb show "Steel Pier."
It also highlights younger composers such as Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler ("Baltimore"), Adam Gwon ("I'll Be Here") and two songs by Michael John LaChiusa ("Virtue" and "Married Love").
The CD's title – taken from the stunning Kander and Ebb song from "The Scottsboro Boys" musical – is a hint that this is McDonald's most personal album to date.
Since her last record – "Build a Bridge" in 2006 – McDonald lost her father in a plane crash, divorced and remarried, spent four seasons on TV's "Private Practice" and won her fifth Tony Award for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess."
All those events have influenced her choice of songs. "If you were to write a musical about my life over the past seven years, this would be the soundtrack," she says.
The song "First You Dream" makes her think of her 12-year-old daughter Zoe, "Edelweiss" of her late father and "Make Someone Happy" of her husband, fellow performer Will Swenson. The CD ends on that optimistic note. "That's what I've come to and where I am now," she says.
McDonald, who is host of "Live From Lincoln Center," has a line of concert dates until Christmas, has shot a pilot for CBS with Hope Davis and Sam Neill, and has three theater projects percolating. On Friday, her "Audra McDonald in Concert: Go Back Home" concert special airs on PBS.
The Associated Press recently sat down with the singer and longtime activist for marriage equality to find out about the new album – out Tuesday – and why she won't be listening to it.
AP: Why so long between albums?
McDonald: Life happened. And I wasn't quite ready to say anything. I was like, `I don't want to force it. I don't want to make an album simply to make an album. I need to have something to say.'
AP: Is there a story behind "Edelweiss"?
McDonald: That's the first song I ever auditioned for anything with. I was 9 years old and my dad played it on the piano for me during my audition. It was for a dinner theater troupe in Fresno, Calif. I got in, and that started me on my theater journey. That song has always had this huge influence.
AP: Has your voice changed in these seven years?
McDonald: I think I understand my voice more than I did seven years ago. I'm much more comfortable with what my voice is than I was seven years ago. I'm not so anxious to sound like someone else. And that's always been a goal of mine: be comfortable with your own voice, your own sound.
AP: You have five Tonys. Do you hope for a sixth?
McDonald: It's still not even fathomable to me that I have one, let alone five. It does not compute. In my life, it really doesn't. Last night, I was walking upstairs after having done three loads of laundry. I came upstairs and turned a corner to another pile of laundry. There's just so much laundry in my life! Someone with five Tonys shouldn't have this much laundry! So it doesn't compute. My life is still my life.
AP: Are you surprised by how fast Americans have come around to embracing the concept of gay marriage?
McDonald: It's like I describe my labor. I was in preterm labor for three months. So when people ask how long I was in labor, I say `Three months and six hours.' It was the world's longest labor, but when I actually went in to deliver, it happened like that. That's what this feels like – it's been this battle that's been going on for a long time. And then, all of a sudden, we're in the last six hours.
AP: Lots of people will hear this, but you won't be one of them, right?
McDonald: I can't. I can give notes during the mixing process and then after that I have to step away. I have people that I trust listen to it but I won't be able to listen to the album for years. I get too close to it. When they sent me the final cut, if I listened to it at that point I would say, `Throw the whole thing into the trash. Let's start over.'
Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Do your kids love chocolate milk? It may have more calories on average than you thought.
Same goes for soda.
Until now, the only way to find out what people in the United States eat and how many calories they consume has been government data, which can lag behind the rapidly expanding and changing food marketplace.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are trying to change that by creating a gargantuan map of what foods Americans are buying and eating.
Part of the uniqueness of the database is its ability to sort one product into what it really is – thousands of brands and variations.
Take the chocolate milk.
The government long has long classified chocolate milk with 2 percent fat as one item. But the UNC researchers, using scanner data from grocery stores and other commercial data, found thousands of different brands and variations of 2 percent chocolate milk and averaged them out. The results show that chocolate milk has about 11 calories per cup more than the government thought.
The researchers led by professor Barry Popkin at the UNC School of Public Health, are figuring out that chocolate milk equation over and over, with every single item in the grocery store. It's a massive project that could be the first evidence of how rapidly the marketplace is changing, and the best data yet on what exact ingredients and nutrients people are consuming.
That kind of information could be used to better target nutritional guidelines, push companies to cut down on certain ingredients and even help with disease research.
Just call it "mapping the food genome."
"The country needs something like this, given all of the questions about our food supply," says Popkin, the head of the UNC Food Research Program. "We're interested in improving the public's health and it really takes this kind of knowledge."
The project first came together in 2010 after a group of 16 major food companies pledged, as part of first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to combat obesity, to reduce the calories they sell to the public by 1.5 trillion. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation agreed to fund a study to hold the companies accountable, eventually turning to UNC with grants totaling $6.7 million.
Aided by supercomputers on campus, Popkin and his team have taken existing commercial databases of food items in stores and people's homes, including the store-based scanner data of 600,000 different foods, and matched that information with the nutrition facts panels on the back of packages and government data on individuals' dietary intake.
The result is an enormous database that has taken almost three years so far to construct and includes more detail than researchers have ever had on grocery store items – their individual nutritional content, who is buying them and their part in consumers' diets.
The study will fill gaps in current data about the choices available to consumers and whether they are healthy, says Susan Krebs-Smith, who researches diet and other risk factors related to cancer at the National Cancer Institute.
Government data, long the only source of information about American eating habits, can have a lag of several years and neglect entire categories of new types of products – Greek yogurt or energy drinks, for example.
With those significant gaps, the government information fails to account for the rapid change now seen in the marketplace. Now more than ever, companies are reformulating products on the fly as they try to make them healthier or better tasting.
While consumers may not notice changes in the ingredient panel on the back of the package, the UNC study will pick up small variations in individual items and also begin to be able to tell how much the marketplace as a whole is evolving.
"When we are done we will probably see 20 percent change in the food supply in a year," Popkin says. "The food supply is changing and no one really knows how."
For example, the researchers have found that there has been an increase in using fruit concentrate as a sweetener in foods and beverages because of a propensity toward natural foods, even though it isn't necessarily healthier than other sugars. While the soda and chocolate milk have more calories on average than the government thought, the federal numbers were more accurate on the calories in milk and cereals.
Popkin and his researchers are hoping their project will only be the beginning of a map that consumers, companies, researchers and even the government can use, breaking the data down to find out who is eating what and where they shop. Is there a racial divide in the brand of potato chips purchased, for example, and what could that mean for health? Does diet depend on where you buy your food – the grocery store or the convenience store? How has the recession affected dietary intake?
"It's only since I've really started digging into this that I have realized how little we know about what we are eating," says Meghan Slining, a UNC nutrition professor and researcher on the project.
Steven Gortmaker, director of the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center, says the data could help researchers figure out how people are eating in certain communities and then how to address problems in those diets that could lead to obesity or disease.
"The more information we have, the more scientists can be brainstorming about what kinds of interventions or policy changes we could engage in," Gortmaker said.
But the information doesn't include restaurant meals and some prepared foods, about one-third of what Americans eat. If the project receives continued funding, those foods eventually could be added to the study, a prospect that would be made easier by pending menu labeling regulations that will force chain restaurants to post calories for every item.
Popkin and his researchers say that packaged foods have long been the hardest to monitor because of the sheer volume and rapid change in the marketplace.
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, an industry group representing the 16 companies that made the pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories, says it will report this summer on how successful they've been, according to Lisa Gable, the group's president. The first results from Popkin's study aren't expected until later this year.
Marion Nestle, a New York University professor of nutrition, food studies and public health, says the data could be useful in pressuring companies to make more changes for the better. Companies often use "the research isn't there" as a defense against making changes recommended by public health groups, she notes, and it can be hard to prove them wrong.
"What people eat is the great mystery of nutrition," Nestle says. "It would be wonderful to have a handle on it."
UNC Food Research Program: http://uncfoodresearchprogram.web.unc.edu
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation: http://www.healthyweightcommit.org
Find Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mcjalonick
CANNES, France — Director Takashi Miike says shooting an action movie in Japan is a lot harder than it looks.
His Cannes Film Festival entry "Shield of Straw" is a robust thriller about a team of police tasked with escorting a child-killer with a billion-yen bounty on his head safely across the country.
"It was extremely difficult to shoot all the scenes in Japan," he told reporters Monday. "It was impossible to close down the highways and get so many police cars on the road" – and Japan's railway operator refused to let the filmmaker shoot on its trains. Fortunately, Taiwan uses Japanese trains on its system, and was happy to oblige.
Although touched with serious themes of loyalty and duty, at heart "Shield of Straw" is an old-fashioned action flick, bursting with car chases, gunfights and explosions to rival anything from Hollywood – including a spectacular highway pileup and minutes of mayhem on a high-speed train.
The director says he felt Japanese cinema had lost the art of making "spectacular scenes – so I gave myself a challenge."
"In Japan we've lost a lot of traditions with action (movies)," he said. "It's not audiences who don't want to see these movies. It's the professionals, the people who make the films.
The prolific 52-year-old director has a long history of shocking cinemagoers with the gory and sometimes cartoonish violence of his films, which range from horror movies to tales of gangsters and samurai.
"Shield of Straw" – starring Nanako Matsushima (best known outside Japan for "Ring") and Takao Osawa – was met with a mix of cheers and boos at its first Cannes press screening. Trade magazine Variety judged that it "feels out of place in Cannes competition, but would be right at home on local megaplex screens."
Miike – who competed at Cannes in 2011 with his 3-D picture "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai" – admitted he was "really astonished" to be selected this time, and Osawa said he was "a little stressed" about how the film would be received at its red-carpet premiere Monday evening.
But festival director Thierry Fremaux has compared "Shield of Straw" – adapted from a novel by manga artist Kazuhiro Kiuchi – to the 1940s and `50s films of Howard Hawks – movies that achieve artistry while sticking to cinematic formula.
"I wanted to make a film in a rather classical way," Miike said.
"I don't really know what I'm heading towards now – perhaps toward a more traditional type of cinema, perhaps the opposite."
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
CAIRO — Seven men purported to be the members of Egypt's security forces kidnapped by suspected militants last week appeared in a video posted online Sunday and urged the government to secure their release by meeting their captors' demands.
The video, posted on YouTube, is the first sign of the six policemen and one border guard since they were abducted by gunmen on the road from the Sinai Peninsula to Cairo on Thursday. Egyptian security officials said they believed the men in the clip were the missing personnel and that authorities were treating the matter seriously. The father of one of the captives identified his son in the video.
The kidnappings have embarrassed President Mohammed Morsi's government, and are seen as a test of his administration's ability to restore security to the volatile peninsula. They also have renewed a national debate on how best to tackle the troubles in northern Sinai, which borders Gaza and Israel. While many called for a swift security response, some argued that such a move would spark a backlash.
Authorities have been in contact with the kidnappers through mediators. The kidnappers have demanded the release of several militants held in Egyptian jails, including some convicted during Mubarak's rule, officials say.
In a statement Sunday, the president said that there is "no room for dialogue with the criminals" responsible for the kidnappings. The statement followed a meeting Morsi held with politicians from largely Islamist groups to brief them on efforts to secure the captives' release.
The president wrote on the social media website Twitter Sunday evening that "all options are on the table" to free the men and that the government will "not succumb to blackmail."
Sinai has been wracked by lawlessness since the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak. Criminal gangs, militants and local tribesmen disgruntled with what they say is state-sponsored discrimination have exploited the security vacuum to smuggle weapons, attack security forces and kidnap tourists to trade for relatives held in Egyptian jails.
In the video released Sunday, the men, blindfolded and holding their hands on their heads, introduce themselves one by one.
One of the men identified himself as Cpl. Ibrahim Sobhi Ibrahim and asked Egypt's leaders to free jailed Sinai militants.
"The demands of the brothers, Mr. President, is the release of political prisoners from Sinai," he says. "Please, Mr. President, release them quickly. We can no longer tolerate torture."
The video closes with the men pleading to the camera: "Rescue us, Mr. President. We can't take it. Rescue us, people." At one point, the tip of a rifle appears over the head of some of the captives, before it is swiftly pulled back off the screen. There were no visible signs of torture on the young men.
It was not immediately clear who posted the video, which was uploaded to a YouTube account created Sunday. Later YouTube took it down, saying it violated its policy on violence.
An Egyptian security official identified the captives in the video as the missing personnel. He said a copy of the video was sent to security agencies, but it was not immediately clear by whom. Another security official in Cairo said families and friends of the captives were called in to identify their relatives.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
The names of five of the missing also correspond with names previously obtained by The Associated Press.
Security officials say they believe the assailants carried out the kidnapping after being angered over reports that a prisoner, Ahmed Abu Sheta, had been tortured while in jail. Abu Shehata was convicted of attacking a police station in 2011 that killed police officers.
After meeting Morsi on Sunday, Younes Makhyoun, a leading member of the ultraconservative Islamist Salafi al-Nour party, said the president is eager to avoid a security response.
"Even though there are voices who are demanding security interference and decisiveness, (Morsi) said he wants to rescue the soldiers peacefully, and is keeping the engagement with local tribesmen," Makhyoun told The Associated Press. "The security solution would be easiest, but he wants to save lives."
Makhyoun said his party is also against a security solution because it would lead to bloodshed and won't resolve the problem – a lingering feeling of injustice by many of those who were convicted and arrested during the Mubarak era. He said the kidnappers' demands include the release of as many as 600 prisoners, some of whom were convicted before 2011. A way out, he said, would be to offer retrials for those convicted in the past or in haste.
Mohammed Abdel-Hamid, the father of one of the policemen, told the private Al-Youm TV station that his son was in the video. He said he would rather see his son dead than have his release negotiated.
Expressing their anger at the recent kidnapping, scores of policemen blocked a commercial border crossing with Israel Sunday to protest the abduction of their colleagues. The policemen closed the main gates of the Awja crossing with chains, leaving around 40 trucks stranded, according to local official Ahmed Osman.
On Friday, policemen blocked a border crossing into Gaza. There was no indication that either Israel or the Palestinians were involved in the kidnapping.
Associated Press writer Ashraf Sweilam contributed to this report from south Sinai.
RICHMOND, Va. — Officials say the leader of the reggae band Toots and the Maytals was injured when a 19-year-old man threw a bottle and hit the singer during a concert in Richmond.
Police said Sunday the man has been charged with aggravated assault. Authorities have not identified him.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that ( ) Frederick "Toots" Hibbert was treated at a hospital for a cut to his head and released. http://bit.ly/17PhlkD
Hibbert was hit by a glass bottle thrown from the crowd Saturday night as the band was performing at the Dominion Riverrock outdoor sports and music festival. The band stopped playing after he was hit.
Festival organizers say Hibbert was in good spirits despite the traumatic event and regretted that the concert had to be stopped early.
Bruno Mars – and his band – kicked off the Billboard Music Awards in silky red suits that matched their silky dance moves, with bright gold disco balls hanging above them.
Mars performed his new single, the upbeat and old-school flavored "Treasure."
Nicki Minaj, who is set to perform with Lil Wayne, won the first award for top rap artist, beating out Drake, Flo Rida, Pitbull and Psy.
"I definitely did not expect this one," she said, wearing a bright red dress.
Today's biggest stars – from Taylor Swift to fun. to Maroon 5 – are the key finalists at Sunday's awards show, airing live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on ABC. Those acts are up for 11 awards each; Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction are up for 10, nine and eight trophies, respectively.
Most of the top stars will also blaze the stage, too, including Swift, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Chris Brown, Selena Gomez and others.
Prince, who will receive the icon award, will also hit the stage, and Madonna, to be named top touring artist, will make an appearance.
Jepsen, whose nine nominations include top Hot 100 song for the ubiquitous "Call Me Maybe," top female artist and top new artist, will also present an award.
"The Billboard Awards is kind of a nostalgic one for me because it was the first awards show I attended outside of Canada," the 27-year-old recalled in an interview. "I had never really done anything quite so big. And to be going back a year later, and to be nominated, and then to also being doing all the fun stuff like pick a dress, and see the party, and watch the show – I feel just lucky to be involved."
Jepsen's mentor, Bieber, is up for the night's biggest award, top artist. Other nominees include Swift, Rihanna, One Direction and Maroon 5. Swift is the only U.S. act nominated for top Billboard 200 album for her multiplatinum "Red," which will compete with One Direction's first and second albums – "Up All Night" and "Take Me Home" – Mumford & Sons' "Babel" and Adele's 10 million-selling "21," which won the award last year.
Bieber, Swift and Mars are also up for the fan-voted milestone award.
Comedian-actor Tracy Morgan the show's host. It's celebrating its third year back on the scene following a five-year break.
Jepsen, whose new single "Tonight I'm Getting Over You" features Minaj, said she's excited to see the rapper perform, but she's also happy to be in her seat and not onstage.
"I can remember being like just a big bundle of nerves last time," she said. "I've had a year of experience under my belt, and I'll probably still be nervous, but I'll be way more excited than anything."
Jennifer Lopez, The Band Perry, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Ed Sheeran, David Guetta and Kacey Musgraves will also perform Sunday night. Presenters include Shania Twain, Psy, Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus and CeeLo Green.
Follow Mesfin Fekadu at http://www.twitter.com/MusicMesfin
CANNES, France — The Coen brothers' resurrection of the pre-Dylan folk scene in Greenwich Village serenaded Cannes with its period music and melancholy tale of a self-destructive, feline-toting musician.
"Inside Llewyn Davis" was met rapturously at the Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered Sunday night. Joel and Ethan Coen said their primary interest was to recreate the atmosphere of the late 1950s, very early `60s folk revival amid the coffee shops of downtown New York.
"The movie doesn't really have a plot," Joel Coen told reporters at the festival. "That actually concerned us at a certain point. It's why we threw the cat in."
The film stars the relatively unknown Oscar Isaac as a talented but adrift singer-songwriter trying to attract attention after the suicide of his singing partner as he bounces from couch to couch. In tow is a cat – a kind of symbol for Llewyn's tenuous decency – that he reluctantly shepherds after it escapes from a friend's apartment.
Isaac's performance as the caustic, frustrated Isaac drew immediate raves at Cannes and predictions of an Oscar nomination. CBS Films will release "Inside Llewyn Davis" this fall in the heart of awards season.
"It's really the music where you see his soul come out," Isaac said.
Isaac and the cast (Carey Mulligan as a furious, expletive-spewing friend; Justin Timberlake as a cheesy pop folkie) performed their songs live with music supervisor T-Bone Burnett, who memorably collaborated with the Coens on the Grammy-winning hit soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Set in 1961 on the cusp of Bob Dylan's arrival ("the elephant in the room," Ethan Coen said), "Inside Llewyn Davis" is loosely based on the unfinished memoir by folk singer Dave Van Ronk, "The Mayor of MacDougal Street." (He released a 1963 album titled "Inside Dave Van Ronk.")
Timberlake's bearded character was based on the Irish folk singer Paul Clayton. In perhaps the film's most remarkable scene, he, along with Isaac and a cowboy hat-wearing Adam Driver (the "Girls" actor), record the absurd, bouncy "Please, Mr. Kennedy." The main line of the chorus is: "Please, Mr. Kennedy, don't shoot me into outer space." The song drew hearty applause at the media screening Saturday evening.
"I enjoy looking ridiculous in everyday life, so that was not hard for me to do in a movie," Timberlake said. He added: "It felt warm and fuzzy to me to be in this movie and singing."
While that performance is an uproarious parody, the songs performed in the film by Llewyn are intimate and powerful. "Inside Llewyn Davis" is ultimately a story of talents who don't get the big break, and the razor thin line separating failure and fame.
"What was interesting to us was the lesser known scene, which was the scene that Dylan came into, as opposed to what Dylan – who is such a transformative character both in terms of music and culture, in general – how he changed that scene," Joel Coen said. "The music is something that we have a genuine and deep fondness and respect for."
He then added: "That's not to say there aren't funny things about folk music. There are plenty of funny things about folk music." (Certainly, Aran sweaters make a cameo.)
The Coens have been frequent visitors to Cannes, where they won the prestigious Palme d'Or in 1991 from a jury presided over by Roman Polanski. They're in the hunt again this year, with Steven Spielberg serving as jury president.
Follow Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
CANNES, France — There's something nasty lurking in the woods – and inside the characters' heads – in darkly comic Cannes Film Festival entry "Borgman."
In Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam's supernaturally-tinged psychological drama, a mysterious interloper emerges from a forest and knocks on the door of a wealthy family's modernist mansion.
Borgman, the titular stranger played by Flemish actor Jan Bijvoet, insinuates himself into the outwardly idyllic life of the clan, which quickly begins to implode.
Van Warmerdam established a distinctive vein of macabre humor in previous films including the fairy tale-inspired "Grimm" and acerbic old-age portrait "The Last Days of Emma Blank." But the mix of deadpan comedy and growing menace in "Borgman" takes it into even darker territory.
"I'm a little disappointed about how nasty this film became," the 60-year-old director told reporters Sunday.
"I think is has something to do with the fact that I'm getting old," he said. "Some people are getting milder when they get older, but I feel I get more and more nasty."
"Borgman," one of 20 films competing for the Palme d'Or, is The Netherlands' first Cannes contender in 38 years, though van Warmerdam's 1998 film "Little Tony" played in the festival's sidebar competition, Un Certain Regard.
The film's first audience greeted it Sunday with applause – the Hollywood Reporter called it "engrossing and original" – but with some puzzlement, too. Is Borgman the devil? Is he a force of nature, wreaking revenge on an affluent, complacent Western society? Or is he the demon that lurks within us all?
"I can't explain," the director, who also wrote the script and appears in the film as one of Borgman's accomplices, said. "I know nothing more than you."
He said the script had its origins in an idea he came across while reading about the Marquis de Sade: "that your mind is much bigger than you think, and that here are a lot of rooms you've never been (in) before where there are awful or creepy or nasty things to find."
"Borgman" combines elements of medieval supernatural stories – one scene has villagers and a priest hunting the evil spirits in a deep, dark forest – with a low-key modern approach. Borgman is an ordinary, modern figure who keeps in touch with his cohorts by mobile phone.
"I like to show what you call the evil – or the bad or whatever you want to call it – as very normal people," van Warmerdam said. "Not creepy people, not weird walking zombies, but just very normal people you can meet at the supermarket around the corner."
And the director said the use of cell phones is a major innovation in his filmmaking.
"I remember in my first movie I had a dogma – no cigarettes, no telephones and no trees.
"I hate acting through the phone," he added. "Now on purpose I give them cellphones. Because I hate them I made myself love them."
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is delivering the commencement address at Morehouse College, the historically black, all-male institution that counts Martin Luther King Jr. among its alumni.
The Atlanta-based private school says about 500 students will receive undergraduate degrees Sunday, becoming what are known as "Morehouse Men."
It is Obama's second graduation speech of the year. Last Sunday, he urged graduates of Ohio State University in Columbus to become vigorous participants in their democracy.
After the speech, Obama is scheduled to attend a Democratic Senate fundraiser in Atlanta.
Obama's third and final commencement address of the season comes Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
EUGENE, Ore. -- An Oregon funeral home in Eugene offers natural burials where the ride to the person's final resting place is on the back of a three-wheeled bicycle.
Sunset Hills Cemetery and Funeral Home director Wade Lind says he got the idea from bikers and designed the pedal-powered hearse himself. It has an electric motor to give him a little help hauling the casket.
KVAL reports (http://bit.ly/10VwlL1) Lind has bicycled five bodies so far and there's a waiting list for the service. The ride and a bamboo casket that looks like a basket costs about $3,500.
Information from: KVAL-TV, http://www.kval.com/
SYDNEY — An Australian politician says he has learned a valuable lesson in social networking after he "liked" a Facebook photo without realizing that it showed a teenage prankster exposing himself.
Western Australia Minister for Education Peter Collier said he clicked the "like" button under what he thought was an innocent photo of the then-16-year-old in late 2011. Collier apologized Thursday and said he had no idea that the teen, who was otherwise fully clothed and posing alongside an older man, was playing a prank commonly known as "sneaky nuts."
"At first glance it appeared to be a harmless picture," Collier said in a statement. "It was a silly mistake on my part. I only became aware of the actual content of the photo when shown by a journalist today. This obviously highlights the pitfalls of social media. I apologize if I caused any offense."
The stunt was popularized by Australian comedian Chris Lilley's TV show "Angry Boys," in which a character revels in ruining group photos by secretly exposing himself. The prank has been a headache for some educators: Last year, administrators at a Catholic school in Canada scrambled to place stickers over a photo printed in all 1,300 class yearbooks of a student subtly exposing his genitals.
The Australia incident did not attract attention until late last month, when the teen bragged on Twitter about fooling Collier, whom he was friends with on Facebook.
LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles sheriff's spokesman says `Terminator 2' star Edward Furlong has been arrested on suspicion of violating a restraining order filed by his ex-girlfriend.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said that deputies responding to the scene Thursday in West Hollywood found Furlong hiding in a nearby property.
Jail records show he was released Saturday just after noon after being held on $100,000 bail.
In March, the 35-year-old actor had been sentenced to six months in jail for violating his probation in a 2010 case for violating a similar restraining order.
He has been the subject of such orders taken out by both his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend.
The actor was also charged in January of battery of an ex-girlfriend.