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Entertainment News

  • In a season of big Indian weddings, the marriage of two business scions on Wednesday is set to be the biggest of them all. Isha Ambani is the Ivy League-educated daughter of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and majority stakeholder in oil and gas giant Reliance Industries, whose net worth Forbes estimates at over $43 billion. Her groom, Anand Piramal, is the son of Indian industrialist Ajay Piramal, whose namesake conglomerate is estimated to be worth over $10 billion. At one of the couple's pre-wedding events on Sunday, Beyonce performed for a star-studded gathering at a 16th-century palace in the Indian city of Udaipur. Guests included Hillary Clinton and a host of Bollywood A-listers. The competitiveness of India's wintertime wedding season is growing more extreme, exacerbating the pressure on regular Indians to go into debt to finance elaborate weddings, according to Archana Dalmia, a social activist in New Delhi. 'A farmer might commit suicide because he can't save enough money to get his daughter married,' she said. The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film. So-called dowry deaths — brides killed when their families fail to meet in-laws' dowry demands — constitute a substantial share of all female homicides in India, a 2018 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report found. While opulence has always been a feature of Indian weddings, families used to hand down bridal saris as heirlooms. No more, Dalmia said. 'This generation is very different. Priyanka Chopra will never be able to wear it again and she won't be able to pass it down,' Dalmia said.
  •   A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has returned an Oscar he received as a gift from a fugitive financier, who is on the run from authorities after allegedly stealing billions of dollars from a Malaysian government investment fund, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  The Oscar, Marlon Brando’s 1954 statue from “On the Waterfront,” was given to DiCaprio, 44, by disgraced businessman Jho Low, who bought it at an auction for $600,000, according to E! Online. DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award for 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” and won for his performance in the 2015 film “The Revenant,” also returned other gifts he received from Low, including a Pablo Picasso painting. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences can buy back any Oscar it has handed out over the years for $1, media outlets reported, and it will most likely buy back Brando’s award once the investigation into Low has ended. >> Trending: 50 Cent’s crew member killed on set of Starz series ‘Power’ The New York Times reported U.S. investigators believe Low is hiding in China.    
  • A judge has ordered adult film star Stormy Daniels to pay $293,000 in legal fees to President Donald Trump after her defamation lawsuit against the president was dismissed in October. >> Read more trending news  Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed suit in April contending Trump defamed her in a social media post last April that made fun of her allegations that a man threatened her in 2011, ordering her to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. Trump posted a photo of the sketch of the purported suspect and a photo of Daniels’ ex-husband, suggesting that the suspect was actually her ex. The court ordered Daniels to pay $293,052.33 in attorney fees, plus $1,000 in sanctions. Trump’s attorneys had requested $340,000 in legal fees. The judge wrote in his decision that the president’s attorney’s spent “excessive” time on the case, The Hill reported. >> Related: Porn star Stormy Daniels sues Trump attorney Michael Cohen for defamation Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder issued a statement after Tuesday’s decision calling the ruling “a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels.” Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti angrily told The Hill that “Harder and Trump deserve each other because both are dishonest.” “They received less than one half of what they asked for because the request was gross and excessive. Stormy will never [have] to pay a dime because they owe her over $1 million in attorney’s fees and costs from the NDA case, especially in light of Cohen’s guilty plea to a felony,” Avenatti said, according to The Hill. >> Related: Stormy Daniels sues Trump for defamation Daniels sued Trump and his former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen in an effort to break a so-called hush agreement she signed before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. She claimed the agreement is non-binding because Trump never signed it. Cohen has since pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, related to the payment made to Daniels, and other financial crimes and is awaiting sentencing this week. Prosecutors have recommended “substantial” prison time for Cohen.  
  • Michelle Obama surprised a group of Detroit college students on Tuesday afternoon, walking into the Motown Museum as the young men of color took part in a roundtable discussion on education. The former first lady was greeted with smiles, looks of astonishment and applause after entering the second floor of the building where Berry Gordy created sonic history more than a half-century ago. She hugged her brother Craig Robinson and Keegan-Michael Key, an actor and native Detroiter who moderated the discussion that was organized by Obama's Reach Higher initiative. 'This was supposed to be for boys only,' Robinson said after they sat down, eliciting laughter from his sister and the more than a dozen students from nearby Wayne State University. 'What's going on,' Obama then asked, echoing the title of Marvin Gaye's classic Motown tune. 'We're just talking about education,' Key answered, before mock-asking if it would be OK with them if Obama sat in on their chat. Obama listened as the students spoke about their experiences in life and school and encouraged them to practice 'discomfort' and not be afraid to try new things. 'Universities are looking for and should be looking for a diverse array of experiences,' she said. 'People who come from different backgrounds, because if everybody looked the same and experienced life the same way what would these conversations be like? Just a bunch of people agreeing with each other.' Obama was in Detroit as part of her book tour, which had a nighttime stop planned at Little Caesars Arena, home to the NBA's Pistons and the NHL's Red Wings. The tour is in support of Obama's best-selling memoir, 'Becoming.' The museum is located where company founder Gordy launched his music empire. The label started in 1959, and scores of stars and hits were created before Motown relocated to California in 1972. The label will mark its 60th anniversary next year.
  • Jake Owen was in Vero Beach, Florida, over the weekend to perform at his annual Jake Owen Foundation Benefit Concert, but his daughter, Olive Pearl Owen, stole the show for some. TCPalm reported that Jenna Cocorullo was at the Saturday show and got video of Pearl strumming what appeared to be a toy guitar offstage while her dad was onstage. >> Read more trending news  The 6-year-old also sang along as Owen performed his 2013 song “Anywhere With You.” “I doubt Jake will see this but I really hope he does,” Cocorullo said in her tweet the next day. “Most adorable video of his daughter playing along and (singing) his song!” Owen saw the post and said, “Wow. This just made my life. Ha. Thanks for this..” Pearl is Owen’s first child from his marriage to Lacey Buchanan. The two divorced in 2015 after three years of marriage. Pearl will soon be a big sister: Owen is expecting his second child with his girlfriend, Erica Hartlein, in 2019. It will be their first child together.

News

  • After DeKalb County School District officials promised efforts to improve their hiring process, the district hired a teacher this summer who had been arrested in 2013 in New York for meth possession. Carl Hudson was arrested in 2013 for possession of methamphetamine, a felony, a few blocks from Flushing High School, where he was principal. According to the New York Daily News, he pleaded to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and received a conditional discharge, meaning the whole incident would get wiped from his record if he did not have any other legal run-ins over the following year. Hudson’s case is like the series of hiring blunders that led DeKalb officials to admit to gaps in the district’s hiring processes while promising to correct those flaws. According to his resume, he moved to Atlanta in 2016 and found employment with Atlanta Public Schools, beginning as a long-term substitute before becoming a permanent hire, until he left the district this summer to teach math at Tucker High School. Atlanta Public schools officials said he worked for the district just over a year, ending in November of 2017. His arrest, though, was easily found through a Google search and according to Georgia teaching standards should have kept him from being employed by either school district. Superintendent Steve Green said Tuesday that being previously charged with a crime would not make someone ineligible for a job. District officials said they were not aware of Hudson’s arrest prior to hiring him. TRENDING STORIES: Police ID woman run over, killed at gas station; search for driver underway Michelle Obama extends national book tour, adds stop in Atlanta Officer shot in bulletproof vest during traffic stop, suspect killed Atlanta Public Schools officials did not say whether they were aware of his 2013 meth arrest, but said late Tuesday that results of standard background checks met their guidelines. According to the Code of Ethics for Educators, from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, unethical conduct includes the commission or conviction of a felony, including a situation where the charge is disposed through diversion or similar programs. On his application, Hudson marked “no” when asked whether he had been convicted of any crimes in the last five years. On his resume, instead of listing the name of the high school where he worked, he wrote “NYC DOE High School,” or New York City Department of Education. Efforts to reach Hudson were not successful. District officials said he “walked off the job” Nov. 26. Bernice Gregory, the district’s human resources chief, said changes to the hiring procedure since she arrived at the district in April include having a second person — either Gregory or the director of employment services — perform a second candidate screening to ensure checks and balances on the district’s hiring checklist have been met. That could include a Google search and verifying a person’s job history for the past 10 years, talking to at least one reference who directly supervised the candidate. “We put another set of eyes on it,” Gregory said about the applications. “Once we put their names in Google, you know everything … is going to come up that’s out there.” The district recently joined the National Association of Teacher Education and Certification, which has a database giving the district access to convictions, arrests and charges against a potential candidate. Her staff is set to begin training this week to use that system. She said they also recently signed up for access to the Child Protective Services Information System, which essentially is a child abuse registry for the state of Georgia and would tell district officials whether someone had had as little as a child abuse complaint against them. A question added to applications will ask applicants if they have been asked to resign from a school district. During peak hiring times, Gregory said someone from her department will ask the question again. The district has gotten into trouble for sloppy hiring in the past, including a teacher hired last summer who had been fired from the Toledo, Ohio, school district on allegations that she assaulted students by putting them in headlocks and pushing them against walls. DeKalb County Schools placed Sandra Meeks-Speller on administrative leave on Oct. 10, 2017 pending an internal investigation, shortly after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution requested her personnel file and told district officials what was uncovered online about her past. Diane Clark was removed twice from the district in 13 months. The first time, in November 2016, she was allowed to retire early after several of her Cross Keys High School students claimed she made threatening comments about getting them deported immediately after President Donald Trump was elected. The second time was December 2017, after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discovered Clark had been brought back to the district as a substitute teacher.  District officials admitted failing to do internet searches was among critical gaps in their background-check process, and promised changes such as verifying the work history candidates provide on their job applications and making direct contact with references.“Our background-check process certainly needs shoring up,” Superintendent Steve Green said last year. “We need to keep up with the times for ways there are to get information. In the old days, if you were cleared to teach in Ohio, you would be cleared to teach here.” District officials said in an email at the time that they would provide training sessions on interview tips, contact state boards where candidates are licensed and provide annual safety awareness training for some human capital management employees.
  • A Kentucky man is facing murder charges after allegedly slashing the throat of his sleeping 3-year-old niece early Saturday morning, news outlets reported. >> Read more trending news  The toddler’s father heard her screams over a baby monitor around 2:45 a.m. and was attacked by Emanuel Fluter, 33, when he tried to save his daughter, The Associated Press reported. Josephine Bulubenchi later died from her injuries at an Albany-area hospital. Fluter, a veteran, who had been living with the family in their rural Clinton County home, had been suffering from mental health issues, the child’s father and Fluter’s brother, Dariu Fluter, told WKYT-TV. “I want people to know that he loved his nieces and loved his nephews,' Dariu Flutur said. 'He loved us. He loved me and his sister.” The family told WKYT they forgive him for the alleged murder. 'He has a mental condition that he suffers with since he was in the army,' Dariu said. 'It's tough for us to understand because of what happened.' >> Trending: Texas firefighters rescue over 100 snakes from burning house, including pythons, boas There were four other children in the room at the time of the attack, but none of them were injured, police said. Fluter is jailed on $1 million bond and is due back in court on Dec. 18.
  • A metro Atlanta woman is accused of stabbing another woman to death at a Rockdale County motel and firing at officers during a chase. It happened at a Motel 6 in Conyers. Right after the murder, a statewide alert helped authorities in another part of the state catch the murder suspect, 42-year-old Joyce Marie Lewis-Pelzer. The alert also sparked new attention being put on the disappearance of another woman seven years ago. Last November, Channel 2 Action News followed up on the disappearance of Shawndell McLeod out of DeKalb County that is being investigated as a homicide. [READ MORE: 6 years later, this missing woman's case is now a murder investigation] While looking into Lewis-Pelzer, Channel 2's Matt Johnson found DeKalb court records that show McLeod took out a protective order against Lewis-Pelzer two months before the disappearance. Lewis-Pelzer is recovering at a south Georgia hospital after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said she led deputies on a high-speed chase that ended in Turner County. TRENDING STORIES: Police ID woman run over, killed at gas station; search for driver underway Michelle Obama extends national book tour, adds stop in Atlanta Officer shot in bulletproof vest during traffic stop, suspect killed 'Probably eight or nine minutes from mile marker 94 to mile marker 84 -- 10-miles stretch and it reached speeds of 110 miles per hour,' Sheriff Billy Hancock said. Deputies in Crisp County returned fire when she shot at them on I-75 Monday night. Authorities said she tried to head to Florida after stabbing her partner. A statewide alert helped a state trooper locate her car and attempt to make a traffic stop before authorities said Lewis-Pelzer kept going. It took two PIT maneuvers to stop her and the GBI said she fired at least one shot from her car toward deputies. As for the McLeod case, a Conyers police spokesperson said they're working with another department to look at the suspect further to determine her connection to an additional murder. The family of the victim at the motel is out of state and have not been notified of her death as of late Monday night. The accused killer has multiple domestic violence arrests in both DeKalb and Fulton counties.
  • Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked a judged to spare him prison time in a memo filed Tuesday. >> Read more trending news  In the filing, Flynn’s lawyers recommended for a sentence 'a term of probation not to exceed one year, with minimal conditions of supervision, along with 200 hours of community service, CNN reported. His attorneys said in the memo that “General Flynn accepted responsibility for his conduct and that his cooperation “was not grudging or delayed.” >> Related: Guilty: Michael Flynn admits in court to lying about Russian communication “Rather, it preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began very shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel's Office.” Flynn is scheduled for sentencing next Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, recommended no jail time for Flynn in a filing last week. Original story: Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn are expected to make a sentencing recommendation Tuesday in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Prosecutors with Mueller’s team said last week in court filings that Flynn has been cooperative since he pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the FBI. In light of his assistance, prosecutors asked that Flynn receive little to no jail time for his crime, an argument Flynn’s attorneys are expected to echo, according to The Associated Press. >> Mueller investigation: Report recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn Flynn resigned from his post in the Trump administration in February 2017 after serving just 24 days in office. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s team.  Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced next week by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, according to court records.
  • A day of shopping at a New Jersey mall took a violent turn for three teenagers, who said they were beaten up by two women over a parking space. >> Read more trending news  The three friends - Taylor McFadden, 18; Tatum Bohanon, 19, and Alexandria 'Allie' DeRusso, 19 – told NJ.com that a car was waiting for their parking spot close to the Deptford Mall entrance, but that they weren’t ready to leave.  The girls think that’s what angered the women, who, at first, walked by their car with two men, and then returned and attacked them, McFadden said. She told NJ.com that one of the women hit Bohannon and the other woman punched DeRusso. “Both of my friends were on the ground at this point, getting punched,” McFadden told NJ.com. “I jumped out of the passenger side and I grabbed my phone so that I could call the police. People started coming over, but I think a lot of people were scared to get involved,” she said. When it was over, all three girls were treated at a local hospital. >> Trending: Father turns in daughter to face charges over starving dogs Authorities are investigating the incident.
  • California state lawmaker Joaquin Arambula was arrested Monday on suspicion of misdemeanor child cruelty, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said. The arrest came after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School discovered an injury on a child who came into an office Monday afternoon, Dyer said. He did not describe the injury or Arambula's relationship to the child. He was cited for willful cruelty to a child, Arambula, a Democratic state assemblyman, is married with three young daughters. 'Joaquin is a committed father who wants what is best for his children,' his spokeswoman Felicia Matlosz said in a Tuesday statement. 'He is fully supportive of the process, which will show he is a loving and nurturing father.' Arambula is a former emergency room physician who won a 2016 special election to represent part of Fresno and the surrounding rural areas. His father Juan Arambula was a state assemblyman in the early 2000s. Officials at the elementary school reported the child's injury to child protective services, which called Fresno police, Dyer said. Officers called Arambula and his wife, Elizabeth, who both arrived at the scene. The child described how the injury occurred and said Arambula inflicted it, Dyer said. The police determined the injury happened Sunday evening. Arambula was cooperative and cordial, but he did not provide a statement to officers based on advice from his attorney, Dyer said. Officers were 'confident that a crime had occurred' and arrested Arambula on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child, Dyer said. He was taken in a patrol car to police headquarter, finger-printed, photographed and then released because his crime is a misdemeanor. The injury did not rise to the level of a felony. All school district employees in California are considered 'mandated reporters' under state law, meaning they are required to report known or suspected child abuse. They are not responsible for determining if an allegation is valid, according to the state Department of Education's website. They are expected to report if abuse or neglect is suspected or a child shares information leading them to believe it took place. They are then required to call law enforcement or child protective services, and law enforcement is required to investigate. A physical injury inflicted on a child by someone else intentionally is considered child abuse or neglect. Officials at the elementary school and Fresno Unified School District did not immediately respond to requests for comment. __ Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper and Don Thompson contributed.