September 24, 2009

"This is It" Hits Airways on October 12

Posted: 01:31 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) – A new Michael Jackson single called "This Is It" will hit the airwaves on October 12, two weeks before it is available as part of a two-disc album released by the late pop star's record label. art.jacksontour1

Sony Music's Columbia/Epic Label Group said it would release the "This Is It" album internationally on October 26 and in North America on October 27, to coincide with the simultaneous global release of the Jackson movie of the same name on October 28.

A spokeswoman in London said that contrary to some reports, the posthumous single would not go on sale separately but would be available for radio stations to play from October 12.

"This song only defines, once again, what the world already knows - that Michael is one of God's greatest gifts," said John McClain, co-producer of the album and an executor of Jackson's estate. Jackson died of an overdose of prescription drugs on June 25, at around the time he was rehearsing for a 50-date, sellout series of comeback concerts in London.

The "This Is It" movie, subject of a $60 million deal between Jackson's estate and concert promoter AEG Live and Sony Pictures, is based on footage from the final concert rehearsals.

Sales of Jackson's records spiked after his death, and the release of the movie and album will add to the value of the "Thriller" singer's estate, estimated at around $400 million.

Sony Music said the first disc of the two-disc album will feature some of Jackson's greatest hits plus two versions of the new single "This Is It." The song includes backing vocals by Jackson's brothers.

The second disc will include unreleased versions of some of the singer's classic tracks and a spoken word poem entitled "Planet Earth" performed by Jackson and never heard before.

Sony Pictures and Sony Music are units of Sony Corp.

Filed under: Michael Jackson

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Justin Timberlake to star in Facebook movie

Posted: 12:41 PM ET

By Mark Fleming via Variety

Columbia Pictures and director David Fincher have set its core cast for “The Social Network,” the Aaron Sorkin-scripted drama about the formation of Facebook. art_facebook_cnn

Jesse Eisenberg will play founder Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake will play Sean Parker, the Napster co-founder who became Facebook’s founding president, and Andrew Garfield will play Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who fell out with Zuckerberg as the social network became a financial juggernaut. 

Production will begin next month in Boston and then move to Los Angeles.

Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Cean Chaffin will produce. Kevin Spacey is executive producer.

The pic focuses on the evolution of Facebook, the social network created in 2004 on the Harvard campus. And how overnight success and wealth changes the lives of the classmates who created it. The trio were the subject of internet rumors as Fincher zeroed in on his leads. 


Filed under: Celebrity News

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Jay-Z weighs in on Chris Brown & Rihanna

Posted: 12:37 PM ET

Via ETonline

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z sat down with Oprah Winfrey and disclosed his thoughts about the domestic abuse incident between pop star Rihanna and her former boyfriend Chris Brown.art_jayz_gi

Jay-Z said he had talked to Rihanna, 21, regarding the incident and explained that this was a situation that she could grow from. "There's a contingent of young people who are going through the same situation and no one is their voice," the rapper said while on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that aired on Wednesday.

"She can be their hero or she can choose not to grow from this," Jay-Z continued.

Brown, 20, pleaded guilty to felony assault in June relating to a domestic violence incident involving his then-girlfriend Rihanna, and was officially sentenced in August. The judge sentenced Brown to receive five years of probation, six months of community labor in Virginia (his home state), and ordered him to not contact Rihanna and keep 100 yards away from her - 10 yards if they both attend a music biz event - for the next five years.

Jay-Z discovered Rihanna about five years ago and recently collaborated with her and Kanye West on his new hit single "Run This Town."

Filed under: Chris Brown • Rihanna

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September 23, 2009

Travolta testifies: 'I ran help my son'

Posted: 03:35 PM ET

By Larry Mcshane via New York Daily News

Actor John Travolta, testifying Wednesday against two accused extortionists, publicly confirmed for the first time that his 16-year-old son suffered from autism. travolta-21

The details on Jett Travolta's illness came out as the "Pulp Fiction" star recounted his desperate effort to revive the dying teen at their Bahamas vacation home.

Travolta testified that he performed CPR on 16-year-old Jett in a fruitless effort to save the youth.

Travolta said a caretaker at the home was already working on the unconscious teen when he came to Jett's aid last Jan. 2.

"I ran downstairs with my wife to help my son," said Travolta, whose spouse – actress Kelly Preston – watched his testimony inside the courtroom in the Bahamas.

The 55-year-old Travolta, who has maintained a low profile in the wake of the tragedy, revealed for the first time that his son was autistic and suffered from "a seizure disorder."

The seizures would strike every five to 10 days, Travolta said, and his son would usually sleep for 12 hours after each 60-second attack.

In the past, the Travoltas said only that their son was afflicted by Kawasaki disease, a rare malady that mostly affects young children.

Critics said the Travoltas would not admit their son was autistic because of their belief in Scientology.

Travolta is the star witness in the case against paramedic Tarino Lightbourne and former Bahamas senator Pleasant Bridgewater. The two were charged with trying to shake down Travolta for $25 million. The pair pleaded innocent.

Police said the extortion was tied to a document related to Jett Travolta's treatment.

Travolta testified that he and Preston were sleeping at the family home in the Bahamas when a nanny woke them up with word of the teen's seizure.

After they came downstairs, the star began providing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as an employee continued with chest compressions.

Travolta arrived at the courthouse in an entourage of SUVs before taking the stand. The family was in the Bahamas to celebrate New Year's before the tragedy.

Filed under: Autism • John Travolta

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Gupta: I went to Afghanistan and all I got was this lousy H1N1

Posted: 11:52 AM ET

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

art_sanjay_sickIt started as a cough. It wasn’t the kind of cough where something is temporarily stuck in your throat. It wasn’t the kind of cough where simply clearing your throat would’ve been adequate. This was the kind of cough that hurts when you do it. A stinging pain that makes you wince and guard and hope that you don’t have to cough again any time soon. I thought I might have a fever, but of course, I was in the middle of covering a war in Afghanistan, and the conditions were… well, hot. So, maybe it was that. Problem was, the next day I wasn’t feeling any better – in fact, I was worse. I woke up in my dusty desert tent and tried to step out of my sleeping bag. Two steps later, I almost hit the deck. Incoming. Except this wasn’t due to any sirens going off, this was due to my own body simply being unable to hold myself up. I was lightheaded and freezing cold – even though it was over 100 degrees outside at that early hour of the morning.

I was nauseated and my entire body hurt. I tried to explain away my symptoms with lots of different excuses. You don’t sleep much while covering a war. My bulletproof jacket didn’t fit perfectly and was very heavy. There was a lot of dust and dirt, and maybe I had what the Marines referred to as the Kandahar Krud. It turned out to be none of those things.

I remember looking over at my camera man, Scottie McWhinnie. He looked absolutely awful. He was wearing a scarf on his head, and it was completely drenched in sweat. He was coughing so loudly and frequently that I was really starting to worry about him – and about myself. We each had it, whatever “it” was. I made a command decision. As a physician reporter in a war zone, I was going to get us medical care. That prompted our visit to a battlefield hospital, not as reporters this time, but as patients.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Medical

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Tonight on Larry King Live: Michael Moore!

Posted: 11:46 AM ET

art_michael_moore_lklTune in tonight for a lively conversation with Michael Moore, whose new movie Capitalism: A Love Story is getting lots of buzz. We'll ask Moore about who's to blame for last year's financial collapse and get his take on health care reform, Tea Parties, and whether labels like "socialist" apply to him. You won't want to miss it!

And we want to hear from you:

What do you want Larry to ask Michael Moore tonight?

Filed under: Larry King Live • Michael Moore

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Girlfriend of Jackson's Doc Called To Testify Today

Posted: 11:25 AM ET

By Richard Winton and Harriet Ryan via Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors investigating Michael Jackson's death have called the girlfriend of the singer's personal doctor to testify before a grand jury today, according to the woman's lawyer and sources familiar with the matter. art.conrad.murray.undated

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is asking the grand jury only to take testimony from Nicole Alvarez and that the panel is not being asked "at this time" to determine whether Dr. Conrad Murray should be charged with a crime, the sources said.

Murray has been identified in court papers as the target of a manslaughter probe related to Jackson's death, and the sources told The Times that his girlfriend, a 27-year-old actress, has not been cooperating with detectives.

The prosecutors are using the grand jury's subpoena power to ask Alvarez questions that she declined to answer for police, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation is ongoing.


Filed under: Michael Jackson

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Palin: 'We Got Into This Mess Because of Government'

Posted: 11:16 AM ET

Via Wall Street Journal

palin1HONG KONG - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in what was billed as her first public-speaking engagement outside North America, blamed the world financial crisis on government excesses and called for a new round of deregulation and tax cuts for U.S. businesses.

"We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place," the former Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate said Wednesday at a conference sponsored by investment firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. "We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom," she added.

On the foreign-policy front, she told the room full of bankers and executives of the importance of the global fight against terrorism and of finding ways to engage China as a global power. She said China "rightfully makes a lot of people nervous."

Her speech marks an effort to reach out to an international audience and define her political identity since resigning from office earlier this year. Mrs. Palin is among a handful of high-profile Republicans seeking a path back to power for a party that lost control of both houses of Congress and White House in last year's U.S. elections.

Mrs. Palin's address was officially closed to the media. The Wall Street Journal reviewed a recording of the speech.


Filed under: Politics

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Mackenzie Phillips: I Had Sex With Musician Dad John Phillips

Posted: 11:05 AM ET

art_mackenziephillips_o(CNN) - Actress Mackenzie Phillips reveals she had a long-term incestuous relationship with her famous father, musician John Philips, in a tell-all memoir, according to, which obtained an advance copy of her book.

Phillips, the 49-year-old former child star and daughter of the Mamas and the Papas founder John Phillips, says she had sex with her father the night before she was to marry Jeff Sessler, a member of the Rolling Stones entourage, in 1979, according to

"On the eve of my wedding, my father showed up, determined to stop it," writes Phillips, who was 19 at the time and a heavy drug user, according to "I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad's bed."

Phillips, best known as Julie Cooper on the sitcom "One Day at a Time," says the sexual relationship became consensual as her life began to spiral out of control.

During her time on the hit CBS comedy, which ran from 1975 to 1984, she battled drug addiction and underwent drug rehabilitation. She later was fired from the show in 1980 because of her drug abuse.

Eventually, she and her father went to rehab together and she later toured with him in a band called the New Mamas and the Papas, according to "I was a fragment of a person, and my secret isolated me," she writes, according to

"One night Dad said, 'We could just run away to a country where no one would look down on us. There are countries where this is an accepted practice. Maybe Fiji.' "


Filed under: Celebrity News • Larry King Live

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September 22, 2009

Should sugar-sweetened beverages be taxed?

Posted: 10:31 PM ET

by Sophie Ramsey, patient editor, BMJ Group via Consumer Reports

Not many people want to entertain the thought of new taxes during tough economic times (in truth, many of us don't like the idea in the best of times either). But a group of public health experts make a persuasive case for one in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

They recommend putting a tax on sodas, energy drinks, and other beverages with added sugar (diet drinks would be exempt). They argue that such a tax would help curtail Americans' consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, while raising funds to promote good nutrition, and help cover health costs related to regularly imbibing these beverages.

Americans' demand for sugary drinks has doubled in the last 30 years, and recent studies have linked consumption of these calorie-infused beverages to a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease— conditions that exact a huge toll on individuals, families, and the health care system overall. Medical costs associated with being overweight or obese alone are estimated at $147 billion (9.1 percent of total U.S. health care expenditures), with Medicare and Medicaid picking up half of this tab. These are complex public health issues with many causes and no easy solutions. But might taxing sugary drinks help?

(Read More)

Filed under: Larry King Live

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