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Daily Bite January 2011

This month in the Daily Bite: Elvis storms Parkes and Facebook gets valued at 50 billion!

Daily Bite January 2011

26.01.2011: BEATLE MANIA

A Canadian woman has become the first person in the world to graduate with a Masters degree in Beatles studies.

Former Miss Canada finalist, Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy was one of the first 12 students to sign up for the Liverpool Hope University course on the Fab Four when it began in 2009 and was the first to graduate, the university said on Wednesday.

“I am so proud of my achievement,” Zahalan-Kennedy told Reuters. “The course was challenging, enjoyable and it provided a great insight into the impact the Beatles had and still have to this day across all aspects of life.”

Liverpool Hope University explains the course was designed to examine the significance of The Beatles’ music and how it helped to define identities, culture and society.

25.01.2011: OPRAH!

Oprah Winfrey has revealed she has a half-sister that she only found out about late last year.

Welcoming single mother of two Patricia to an emotional family reunion on her daytime talk show, Winfrey said her mother, Vernita Lee, kept the birth in 1963 a secret and gave the baby up for adoption.

Winfrey, 56, was only nine years old and living with her father when her mother became pregnant.

“Imagine my shock just a few months ago, at the end of October, when I found out I have another sister living just 90 minutes away,” Winfrey said.

24.01.2011: THE OTHER OLSEN

Elizabeth Olsen may still need to be described as “Mary-Kate and Ashley’s younger sister,” but any day now she might shake that epithet. The third Olsen’s movie, Martha Marcy May Marlene, screened at Sundance, and the Hollywood Reporter called it “a star-making turn” for the twenty-one year old.

According to NYmag she’s now been cast in Rodrigo Cortes’ Red Lights, a thriller about paranormal activity, alongside Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy.

Olsen will play a psychology student and Cillian Murphy’s love interest.  You’d think a new face would feel intimidated next to Oscar winner Robert De Niro and three-time Academy Award nominee Sigourney Weaver. But this one’s already spent twenty-one years alongside two petite sisters who had a net worth of US$100 million by the time they were seventeen, so it’s probably no sweat.

21.01.2011: HOLY CATWOMAN

Anne Hathaway has nabbed the coveted female lead opposite Christian Bale in the next installment of the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises.

Tabloids are reporting she’ll play the role of Catwoman, although the official announcement by Warner Brothers didn’t actually name her character as such.

Hathaway was on the list of actresses who tested for the role in recent weeks, along with Jessica Biel and Keira Knightley.

20.01.2011: THE RACHEL CUT

It was the hair cut that launched a million copycats. But now Jennifer Aniston says the layered look she sported as Rachel Green on Friends some 15 years ago was “the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen.”

“Let’s say there have been moments I’d rather not re-live, like that whole Rachel thing. I love (hair stylist) Chris (McMillan), and he’s the bane of my existence at the same time because he started that damn Rachel, which was not my best look,” the actress told Allure magazine in an interview.

“How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let’s just say I’m not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don’t love revisiting that particular era,” she added.

19.01.2011: BRILLIANT OR MEAN-SPIRITED?

British comedian Ricky Gervais, whose weekend stint as host of the
Golden Globes was panned by critics, said on Tuesday he was not
expecting another invitation from the Hollywood  Foreign Press
Association to host the awards show next year.

His Golden Globes performance earned him a dressing down from the show’s
organisers prompting  Gervais to remark, “I’m not going to do it
again.”

Gervais took shots at the televised gala dinner on Sunday at actors
Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey Jr, Scientologists, the Golden
Globe-nominated movie The Tourist and even the Hollywood Foreign Press
Association.

But his caustic brand of humor went too far for many US critics, and
made some members of the star-studded Beverly Hills audience
uncomfortable, including Downey Jr who remarked on stage that the ceremony
was “unusually mean-spirited.”

18.01.2011: MARY J BLIGE JOINS THE FLOOD CAMPAIGN

A series of reggae concerts starring Mary J Blige, Jimmy Cliff and Maxi Priest have been tweaked to raise funds for the Queensland flood victims.

Promoter Andrew McManus has vowed to donate all profits from Brisbane’s Raggamuffin show on January 30 to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

Now known as Reggae For Recovery – Flood Relief Benefit Concert, the charity event has moved to the city’s Riverside Stage following water damage to its original venue Pine Rivers.

A tenth of proceeds from the Raggamuffin shows in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide will also be directed to disaster funds with ticket prices slashed to $99.

Mr McManus says his thoughts and prayers went out to people affected by the floods.

“Let’s hope we can raise a substantial amount of money to ease some of the pain and to aid in the rebuilding of Queensland,” he said.

14.01.2011: BATMAN RETURNS

Who should play Batman’s new girlfriend? It is a serious dilemma.  Let’s recap: Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes have both assumed the honour in the past and that, well, lead to marriage to Tom Cruise. Let’s hope the next leading lady doesn’t suffer a similar fate. 

Christopher Nolan is reportedly auditioning Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, and Keira Knightley for a role in The Dark Knight Rises, possibly that of Talia, Batman’s lover, antagonist, and the daughter of evil Ra’s al Ghul (the villain played by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins).

So who should get the part?

13.01.2011: THE DARK SIDE OF THE FLOOD

ABC is reporting that two boat loads of people have been spotted breaking into homes in the flood ravaged town of Ipswich. “The people who do that in the time of a disaster are despicable – they’re the scum of the Earth,”  Local Councillor Paul Tully said.

To add to Ipswich resident’s woes a bull shark has been spotted cruising the flood waters.

In brighter news, Indonesia has pledged $1 million to the Queensland government relief fund and Queen Elizabeth has made a private donation to help relief efforts for Australia’s flood victims. Buckingham Palace says the funds will go directly to the Premier of Queensland’s flood relief appeal. But the Palace has not confirmed how much money the Queen had donated.

12.01.12: DEATH PENALTY

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he fears the death penalty if he is sent to face charges in the United States.

Mr Assange was in a London court overnight fighting against extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexual assault.

The ABC reports District Judge Nicholas Evans granted permission for the defence to release its legal arguments against extradition.

But his lawyer, Mark Stephens, is concerned that Swedish authorities will hand him over to the United States.

“The greatest fear has to be that they’ll trump some charge up which will put him in the electric chair,” Mr Stephens said.

11.01.11: TRAGEDY NOT TEA PARTY’S FAULT

The ABC reports the conservative Tea Party movement in the United States is rejecting any link to the gunman responsible for the weekend shooting of a Democratic congresswoman.

It has been suggested the intense rhetoric that has characterised political debate in the US could have played a part in inciting the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Some of the fiercest recent comments and metaphors of armed insurrection have been associated with the grassroots Tea Party movement.

But the chief strategist for the Tea Party Express, Sal Russo, says it is an irresponsible insult to suggest there is a link between the Tea Party and an isolated instance of violence by an unhinged individual.

“But what it does show is really how revolting and disgusting the left is for trying to associate the Tea Party with violence like this,” he said.

11.01.10: JESSIE J

Singer-songwriter Jessie J won the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll on Friday, underlining her credentials as one of the ‘next big things’ in British pop.

The 22-year-old from Essex, east England, whose real name is Jessica Cornish, has already been named as the Critics’ Choice at the BRITs, the country’s top pop honours.

Jessie J began her career on stage with a role in a West End production, and after studying musical theatre at the BRIT School secured her first record deal with Gut Records.

If you, like I, are little behind on your pop music homework have a listen to Jessie J’s latest album here.

11.01.07: THE VOICE JUST BECAME SOMETHING …

He’s not quite Susan Boyle.

But one of America’s first viral videos of 2011 has propelled a homeless man, who was filmed begging for money with a baritone-rich radio voice, to national attention and job offers.

Ted Williams, a 53 year-old former radio announcer who became homeless after battling drugs and alcohol, attracted millions of YouTube hits after The Columbus Dispatch newspaper posted a video on Monday of Williams begging on the side of a road in Columbus, Ohio, using his radio emcee imitations.

Watch the video that started it all here.

11.01.06: BABE CREATOR DICK KING-SMITH DIES

Children’s author Dick King-Smith, whose much-loved tale The Sheep-Pig was adapted into the hit film Babe, has died at the age of 88, at home in his sleep.

He wrote more than 100 books during his career, most of which drew on his knowledge of farms and animals because “I like them, I’ve always kept a lot of pets, and because it’s fun putting words in their mouths”. King-Smith called this genre of speaking-animal stories “farmyard fantasy” and often wrote about pigs, his favourite animals.

His 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, about a runty little pig trained as a sheepdog, made King-Smith an international sensation, first winning the UK Guardian children’s fiction prize and then being turned into the 1995 film Babe which achieved both critical acclaim and popular success. It was nominated for a number of Academy awards.

11.01.05: ELVIS!

Aussie Elvis fans are getting dining their rinestone capes and blue suede shoes in a bid to win back the Guinness World Record title for the ‘Largest gathering of Elvis Presley impersonators.’

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend 140 events at Parkes NSW, including the street parade and Elvis gospel service.The Coordinator, Maria Chetcuti, says it will be tough to reclaim the world title.

“We actually held the world record in 2007 with 147 Elvis impersonators,” he said.

“In November in Las Vegas that record was taken away from us with 645 so we need more than that.”Ms Chetcuti says hundreds of fans have already arrived in town and the flooding hasn’t affected numbers so far.

“I’ve already spoken to a few visitors who were already thinking about heading up to Queensland and have already stopped here in Parkes for the festival so we’re getting a few of those but I don’t think it’s going to affect us greatly, I hope not anyway.

“Everything’s certainly fine here and all our roads are open.”

11.01.04: FACEBOOK OVERLOAD

When the news broke last night that Facebook had raised US$450 million from Goldman Sachs, arguably one of the world’s most powerful banks, people were, for good reason, aghast. That investment, along with an additional US$50 million coming from a Russian firm that already had a stake in Facebook, valued the social network at US$50 billion. $50 billion?

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