News Worthy Tidbits

Angelina Jolie receives humanitarian award from Academy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Hollywood film industry recognized Angelina Jolie on Saturday with a humanitarian award for her work with refugees and advocating for human rights through her film career. Actors Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin and costume designer Piero Tosi also received what are called “honorary Oscars” for their contributions to film at the annual Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing dies aged 94

LONDON (Reuters) – The novelist Doris Lessing, who tackled race, ideology, gender politics and the workings of the psyche in a prolific and often iconoclastic career, died in London on Sunday at the age of 94, her publisher HarperCollins said. The British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie hailed the “warmth, sharp mind and ferocity” of a writer who continually reinvented herself to challenge conventions, but defied the feminists and leftists who would have claimed her for their cause.

French president Hollande’s popularity at new low in Ifop poll

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande’s approval rating fell to a new low of 20 percent, the worst for a French president since the poll started in 1958, but the conservative or far-right opposition would do no better if they were in charge, two Ifop polls said. One Ifop poll, published by Le Journal du Dimanche, showed a fall of three points from October when Hollande was shown as the most unpopular French president on record in a BVA poll, with a rating of 26 percent.

Toronto may further limit embattled mayor’s powers

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Toronto city council may further curb the powers of embattled Mayor Rob Ford on Monday, slashing his office budget and offering his staff a chance to transfer to new jobs. Ford, who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine, buying illegal drugs and driving after consuming alcohol, has issued a string of emotional apologies but has refused to resign.

Actor Alec Baldwin apologizes for slur, talk show suspended

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actor Alec Baldwin said his late night talk show on cable news network MSNBC will be taken off the air on Friday and next week and apologized for comments that a gay rights group called homophobic epithets. Baldwin, 55, announced the decision in a statement, saying that his comments were “offensive and unacceptable.” His talk show “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” began last month.

Fans pay tribute to rocker Lou Reed at N.Y. memorial

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hundreds of fans gathered at a public memorial in New York on Thursday for rocker Lou Reed, the frontman of the 1960s band The Velvet Underground who died last month of liver disease at the age of 71. As music blared from speakers at the outdoor memorial on the terrace at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, fans danced, sat and listened to Reed’s music and strolled through the crowd while his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, greeted friends and well-wishers.

Yoko Ono debuts peace exhibition in Sydney

SYDNEY (Reuters) – In Yoko Ono’s new exhibition “War is Over (if you want it)” in Australia, the writer, artist and peace activist hopes to unite people to dream and work towards a better future through art. “It’s what we can do to change society,” Ono, the widow of Beatles frontman John Lennon, told a news conference at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney, where the show opens on Friday and runs until late February.

Evangelist Billy Graham feted by hundreds at 95th birthday party

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (Reuters) – U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, who helped transform Christianity in America during seven decades in the pulpit, marked his 95th birthday on Thursday with a rare public appearance among close to 900 people who gathered to celebrate his life. Graham, who is frail but mentally alert, received a standing ovation as he was wheeled into a huge ballroom at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, a mountain town near the home of the minister.

‘Magnificent Delusions’ of U.S.-Pakistan relations

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Even as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani was one of the most eloquent critics of Pakistan’s military, the nuclear-armed country’s most powerful institution. Haqqani, once derided at home as Washington’s ambassador to Pakistan for his pro-Western views, has taken a step further, accusing the government of directly supporting militant groups in his latest book “Magnificent Delusions”.

Coffee drinkers treated to more arabica as prices sink

LONDON (Reuters) – Coffee drinkers in Brazil, America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East are expected to down more arabica beans in their brew in the coming year as cheap prices attract additional demand for the higher spec product. A surplus from top grower Brazil after two successive bumper crops helped drag arabica prices to a four-and-a-half-year low this week, which is likely to prompt roasters to increase the use of the bean in their blends.

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