Venezuelan orphan crowned Miss World 2011

Venezuelan orphan crowned Miss World 2011


Miss Venezuela, Ivian Sarcos, has been crowned the 2011 winner of the Miss World beauty pageant at a glittering ceremony in London.

Wearing a pink dress with diamante studs that had a giant cascade of frills slashed below the waist, the 22-year-old gasped and threw her hands to her face as she was declared the winner.

"I felt the most gorgeous woman in the world. I was so happy and I wanted to shout, to cry, to stand still and to smile. So many emotions," she said.

"I'm incredibly happy for this moment, for this opportunity and for winning, and I'm grateful with my life."

Sarcos, who was brought up in a nunnery after being orphaned aged eight, has a human resources degree and works for a broadcasting company.

Last year's Miss World, Alexandria Mills of the United States, took off her sparkling crown and placed it on her successor's head as Sarcos sat in a shimmering silver throne.

Miss Philippines, Gwendoline Ruais, was named runner-up, while Miss Puerto Rico, Amanda Perez, came third in the contest, which was back in its home city to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Some 113 beauty queens from Albania to Zimbabwe took their place on the stage at the Earls Court auditorium in west London, with the show being broadcast live to an estimated audience of more than 1 billion viewers in 150 countries.

Around 50 feminists rallied outside, waving placards reading "Objectification won't achieve world peace", "Being a woman is not a competition" and "Sexism is pretty ugly".

Their message was lost on the thousands of fans inside - many dressed to the nines - who cheered, waved flags and shouted for their favourites.

While beauty remains central to the event, brains, skills and good causes also play a major role.

The majority of this year's finalists have degree-level education and can speak at least three languages.

Miss Venezuela topped the interview round; Miss Dominican Republic, Marianly Tejada Burgos, was named the sports champion; home favourite Miss England, Alize Lily Mounter, won beach beauty - the classic swimwear contest; and Miss Kazakhstan, Zhanna Zhumaliyeva, was named top model.

The crowd were played clips from the talent round - where performers sang, danced and gave piano recitals - won by Miss Chile, Gabriela Pulgar Luco.

Miss Ghana, Stephanie Karikari, and Miss Indonesia, Astrid Yunadi, were the joint winners of the beauty with a purpose category, where contestants can highlight a charity project.

Just before the overall winner was announced, a message of support from former South African president Nelson Mandela was read out on stage by one of his grandsons, backing the girls' work "empowering young people to be of service to their communities."

Sarcos's victory means that Venezuela now tops the all-time leaderboard with six titles, pulling clear of India and the United Kingdom.

"Winning means everything to me and I hope to take advantage of being a winner in a productive manner," the 61st Miss World said.

"I first and foremost want to help people in need.

"I would like to help people like me. I am an orphan. I would also like to help the elderly and troubled teenagers. As many people as I can."

The pageant was first held for the 1951 Festival of Britain and was staged in London until 1989.

Next year's Miss World will be held in China's Inner Mongolia.

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

'Columbo' actor Peter Falk dies at 83

'Columbo' actor Peter Falk dies at 83

Peter Falk'
Peter Falk's best-known role may have been as the TV detective Lt. Columbo, but he also starred in movies and plays.

(CNN) -- Actor Peter Falk, who rose to fame on a shambling manner and a rumpled raincoat as the TV detective Lt. Columbo, has died. He was 83.

Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home Thursday evening, according to a statement released by his friend, attorney Larry Larson. The cause of death was not released.

Though he was a renowned movie and stage actor -- he earned two Oscar nominations in the early '60s and won an Obie (an off-Broadway honor) for his performance in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" -- he is best remembered for the polite, raincoat-wearing, Peugeot-driving Los Angeles police detective who always wanted to know "just one more thing."

That line -- which usually meant that the seemingly absent-minded detective was about to outwit his perfect-crime-committing suspects -- became so popular that Falk used it as the title of his memoir.

The character, which originated with "Columbo" writers and producers William Link and Richard Levinson, was given a unique spin by the actor.

"Before we ever had a script or anything, I was attracted to the idea of playing a character that housed within himself two opposing traits," Falk told CNN's Larry King in 2005. "On the one hand (he was) a regular Joe, Joe Six-Pack, the neighbor like everybody else. But, at the same time, the greatest homicide detective in the world. Now that's a great combination, and you can do a lot with that combination."

Falk first played Columbo in a 1968 TV movie "Prescription: Murder" and revived it three years later when the character became a regular part of the "NBC Mystery Movie," a series that also included Dennis Weaver's "McCloud" and "McMillan & Wife" with Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James. "Columbo" was the most popular of the "Mystery Movie" offerings, so much so that Falk was rumored to earn more than $250,000 an episode in the late '70s.

But Falk, who also starred in the films "The In-Laws" (1979), "Wings of Desire" (1987), "The Princess Bride" (1987) and several by his friend John Cassevetes, generally remained unimpressed with himself.

"I just keep working," he said. "I've never worried about the grand concepts. My philosophy is that I just try to get through the day," he told The New York Times in a 1990 interview.

Peter Michael Falk was born in New York City on September 16, 1927, and raised in Ossining, New York. After military service, he earned a master's in public administration and went to work for the Connecticut State Budget Bureau in Hartford as an efficiency expert.

"I was doing exactly what I was born not to do," he wrote in his memoir.

However, Hartford had a small theater troupe, and Falk immediately joined, which led to participation in other companies. Within a couple years -- while still working as a civil servant -- he was set to play Richard III at a summer workshop in Westport when, he says, a statement from acting teacher Eva Le Gallienne changed his life.

As Le Gallienne upbraided him for his chronic lateness -- he had to drive 45 minutes from Hartford every week -- Falk confessed that he wasn't really an actor. "Well, you should be," Le Gallienne replied, and that was enough for Falk to quit his job.

Soon he was a regular presence on the New York stage, earning raves for his performance as the bartender in "The Iceman Cometh." (One of his jobs, he recalled, was keeping the other actors awake during the 4 ½-hour play.) His work there and on TV led to an interview with Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn. Cohn was concerned about Falk's glass eye, the result of an operation Falk had had as a child, and wanted the actor to take a screen test. Falk said there was nothing to talk about and refused.

"Young man, for the same price I'll get an actor with two eyes," Cohn retorted, according to Falk's memoir.

Falk's film breakthrough came in 1960's "Murder, Inc." in which he played gangster Abe Reles. The performance earned him a best supporting actor Oscar nomination. He earned another Oscar nomination for his performance in the next year's "Pocketful of Miracles," director Frank Capra's last film.

Falk went back and forth between film, TV and the stage in the '60s. He had the lead in the short-lived TV series "The Trials of O'Brien," cast as a lawyer, and played Joseph Stalin in the even more short-lived "The Passion of Josef D.," a Paddy Chayefsky play, on Broadway. He also appeared in the films "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963), "The Great Race" (1965) and "Luv" (1967).

But it was "Columbo" that made Falk's name. The TV movie character, which succeeded a play and TV episode that included him, was originally offered to Bing Crosby, of all people. But "Der Bingle" turned it down allegedly because it would get in the way of his golf game, according to Tim Brooks' and Earle Marsh's Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable Shows.

The series turned the standard mystery structure inside out. Instead of being revealed at the end, the criminal and the crime were shown in great detail in the show's opening scenes. It was then up to Columbo to stumble onto the scene and figure out whodunit -- something the audience already knew.

The series had a storied run, winning seven Emmys -- including four for Falk. Steven Spielberg, then unknown, directed the first episode, and stars included Robert Culp, Ray Milland, Robert Vaughn and Cassavetes.

On the big screen, Falk's roles included parts in Cassavetes' gritty, verite films, such as "A Woman Under the Influence" (1974), as well as broad comedies, most notably "The In-Laws" (1979). In the latter, he played a CIA agent who drags a new friend, a dentist played by Alan Arkin, into a plot that involves currency printing plates and a coup in an unnamed Latin American country.

Falk's choice of roles was often quirky and unusual. After the initial run of "Columbo" ended, he starred in "... All the Marbles" (1981) as the manager of female wrestlers; German director Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire" as an existentially blocked version of himself; and "The Princess Bride" as a storytelling grandfather.

"Columbo" returned for a series of movies in 1989 and ran, sporadically, until 2003.

In recent years, Falk had periods of furious activity -- he had three credits in 1995 and four in 2000, according to the Internet Movie Database -- and relaxed almost-retirement. In 2008, his daughter said he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease in a filing for conservatorship. Early that year, Falk had been found disoriented on a Beverly Hills street, and that summer he suffered a head injury in an auto accident.

The conservatorship was granted to his wife, Shera, in June 2009. A doctor who evaluated Falk testified that the condition had worsened since a series of dental operations in 2007 and a hip procedure in 2008, and that the actor couldn't remember "Columbo."

But Falk always wanted to move on to the next thing, anyway. Taking a tip from his friend Cassavetes, he refused to repeat himself -- one reason his characters, even the ones he played more than once, always seemed so fresh.

"If your mind is at work, we're in danger of reproducing another cliché," he once said. "If we can keep our minds out of it and our thoughts out of it, maybe we'll come up with something original."

Falk is survived by his wife of 34 years, Shera; and two daughters, Catherine and Jackie, whom he adopted during his first marriage, to Alyce Mayo.

Through a spokesman, Falk's daughters said: "His daughters will always remember him for his wisdom and humor, time shared on vacations and hockey games, and for wild rides through the streets of Los Angeles with a one-eyed driver."

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

Chased by boos, Amy Winehouse cancels 2 tour dates

Chased by boos, Amy Winehouse cancels 2 tour dates

Amy Winehouse

(CNN) -- Amy Winehouse's attempt at a European concert tour ended in Belgrade, Serbia, with a train wreck of a performance Saturday night in which she staggered around the stage and stumbled through several songs.

The audience eventually chased Winehouse off the stage with loud boos several numbers into what was supposed to be the opening show in a 12-date tour.

A representative for Winehouse said her next two concert dates have been canceled.

Winehouse representative Tracey Miller did not directly confirm that the "Rehab" singer, who has a history of battling drugs and alcohol, had fallen off the wagon. Winehouse only recently left a British rehab program that a representative said was intended to prepare her for the European concerts.

"Yes, Amy has cancelled appearances in Istanbul and Athens for the coming week," Miller told CNN Sunday. "Despite feeling sure that she wanted to fulfill these commitments, she has agreed with management that she cannot perform to the best of her ability and will return home."

Video clips of the musical disaster, recorded by concert-goers' cell phone cameras, were quickly posted on YouTube. They showed Winehouse failing in every attempt to sing more than a few slurred lines of her songs. Audience members could be heard filling in the gaps, along with her back-up singers.

"She would like to apologize to fans expecting to see her at the shows but feels that this is the right thing to do," Miller said.

When Winehouse entered a rehab program at London's Priory Clinic last month, a representative told CNN that "she wants to be ready for performances in Europe this summer and decided to seek an assessment."

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

Lady Gaga's album has steep drop in sales

Lady Gaga's album has steep drop in sales

Lady Gaga

After last week's strong sales debut, Lady Gaga's album "Born This Way" has seen a sharp decrease in sales.

The superstar's record sold more than a million copies in its first week, but for week two only 174,000 were sold, according to Billboard.

Of course, Lady Gaga's album was on sale for just 99 cents not once but twice after its May 23 release thanks to Amazon, which was offering "Born This Way" at the deep discount along with storage space for the Amazon cloud player service.

Billboard notes that because the promotion likely tacked on hundreds of thousands of units to Gaga's first week sales, the second week's drop-off seems to be at an even steeper decline than is normally expected.

At this rate, Billboard says, Adele - who has been suffering from laryngitis and had to cancel the remainder of her North American tour - could soon reclaim No. 1. The Brit singer's "21" is currently at the No. 2 spot, with 121,000 units sold.

テーマ : Music Recommendations
ジャンル : 音楽

Couric signs off CBS News

Couric signs off CBS News

CBS news anchor Katie Couric has said she'd like to have more room to showcase her personality in her next job.

Katie Couric has signed off as CBS Evening News anchor for the last time thanking viewers for "coming along with me on this incredible journey."

The first woman chosen to solely anchor a network evening newscast left on a high note Thursday night, interviewing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and leading the broadcast with an exclusive 60 Minutes investigation on new doping accusations against cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Her next destination is likely to be ABC, where she has talked with executives about doing a daytime talk show and some work at the news division. But she has made no announcement about her future plans.

After several years at No. 3 in the evening ratings behind NBC and ABC, the Tiffany network had high hopes in 2006 when it convinced Couric to leave NBC's Today show and take over the anchor role.

There was an initial burst of interest, but viewers rejected efforts at changing a news format that has lasted decades, and the broadcast slid back to third.

Couric's newscast won awards, and she drew attention with newsmaker interviews like a 2008 conversation with Sarah Palin, but it could never escape the cellar. The format also proved restrictive to Couric, who told former Today colleague Matt Lauer in an interview last month that "it might be nice to have a little more wiggle room for me to show a little more personality."
'Extraordinary privilege'

For her final newscast, she presented "five years in five minutes," with images flashing by of major stories she had covered and people she had interviewed — Presidents Bush and Obama, hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger, actor Clint Eastwood and baseball steroids user Alex Rodriguez and Palin.

"It's been an extraordinary privilege to sit in this chair and a real honour to work with so many talented people at CBS News," Couric said. Scott Pelley will replace her as the regular anchor, starting June 6.

While the broadcast offered a look back at Couric's tenure, it also gave a look ahead to some changes CBS News management has been seeking.

New CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes, has talked about better showcasing the news division's work, and Couric's last newscast led by previewing a report on Armstrong that Pelley will air on Sunday.

テーマ : Global Information
ジャンル : ニュース

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