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Showing posts from May 26, 2014

U.S. may adjust 2014 corn ethanol target after outcry: sources

The Obama administration is likely to partly backtrack on proposed steep cuts to renewable fuel targets for 2014 when it finalizes a rule due out in June, industry sources said. Biofuel groups expect the Environmental Protection Agency to send the final proposed targets to the White House as soon as Friday. The EPA shocked biofuel supporters in November with a draft rule that slashed federal requirements for biofuel use in gasoline and diesel. The agency argued that U.S. energy class="mandelbrot_refrag"> markets could not absorb the levels of class="mandelbrot_refrag"> renewable fuels that would be required by a 2007 law.   true       Since then, though, rising projections for gasoline consumption give the agency leeway to raise its corn ethanol target from November's proposal of about 13 billion gallons to about 13.6 billion, a biofuel industry source said. The more gasoline consumed, the more ethanol that can be absorbed before hitting the &quo

India hits U.S., China with solar imports anti-dumping duties

class="mandelbrot_refrag"> India will impose anti-dumping duties on solar panels imported from the United States, class="mandelbrot_refrag"> China , Taiwan and Malaysia to protect domestic solar manufacturers, according to a government statement seen by Reuters on Friday. The order, almost certain to anger India's trading partners, sets duties of between 11 and 81 U.S. cents per watt and comes after a investigation which started in 2011. The ruling by a quasi-judicial body has to be published by the class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Finance Ministry before it takes effect. The decision adds to India's growing trade disputes just before Narendra Modi takes office as prime minister on Monday.   true       "Imposition of anti-dumping measures would remove the unfair advantages gained by dumping practices," said India's Anti-Dumping Authority in its order released on Thursday. Local manufacturers have long complained that U.

Chinese woman first to climb Everest after deadly Nepal avalanche

A Chinese woman climbed Mount Everest on Friday, a government official said, the first person to go up from the Nepali side since an April avalanche killed 16 guides and forced hundreds of foreigners to abandon attempts on the world’s highest mountain. The deadliest accident in the history of Mount Everest triggered a dispute between Sherpa guides who wanted a climbing ban in honor of their colleagues for this season ending this month and the government that refused to close the mountain. Tourism Ministry official Dipendra Poudel said 40-year-old Wang Jing reached the 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) summit on Friday afternoon in good weather. She climbed with five Sherpa guides along the Southeast Ridge route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.   true       Tourism including mountain climbing contributes four percent to Nepal’s GDP. More than 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest since it was first scaled in 1953 while more than 250 have died on the sl

Crews optimistic about weather in fighting Arizona wildfire

Crews fighting a major wind-swept wildfire that has threatened hundreds of Arizona homes in a scenic area could look to the skies with optimism on Friday, buoyed by forecasts of improved weather conditions, a top fire official said.     About 900 firefighters took to the fire lines amid higher moisture and favorable winds as they continued efforts to hold off a 7,500-acre blaze that threatens 300 homes and businesses in Oak Creek Canyon, a popular class="mandelbrot_refrag"> recreation spot about 120 miles (190 km) north of Phoenix. The so-called Slide Fire, which has not destroyed any homes or caused any major injuries, remained at 5 percent containment on Friday, officials said.   true       "It looks like the weather is going to cooperate for the next couple of days," Incident Commander Tony Sciacca told a news conference. "One of the promising things ... is that our relative humidity is on the rise and will continue to be.” But he also cautioned t

Magnitude 6.4 quake strikes off coast of Greece - USGS

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck off the coast of northern class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Greece on Saturday, some 77 km (48 miles) south-southwest of Alexandroupolis, the U.S. Geological Survey said. _0"> The USGS said the quake's depth was 10 km (six miles). There were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage. Residents in Istanbul in neighboring class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Turkey felt a small tremor that lasted around 10 seconds. No further details were immediately available.   true       (Reporting by Karolina Tagaris, Editing by Alison Williams/Mark Heinrich)

Hurricane Amanda forms far off Mexican Pacific coast

Hurricane Amanda, the first named big storm of the Pacific hurricane season, formed off the west coast of Mexico on Saturday morning and churned north, where it was projected to gain strength but stay far out at sea. _0"> Amanda was located 645 miles (1,035 km) southwest of the Mexican port of Manzanillo with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) and the storm was moving west-northwest at 5 miles per hour (7 km/h), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The Miami-based center said the storm could become a major hurricane by Sunday, but that there were no coastal watches in effect. class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Mexico has no significant oil installations on its Pacific coast.   true       (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; editing by Gunna Dickson)

Hurricane Amanda strengthens quickly, wheels far off Mexico

Hurricane Amanda rapidly gained strength far off the west coast of Mexico on Saturday evening and churned farther out to sea. _0"> Amanda reached category 3 strength after becoming the first named hurricane of the Pacific season earlier on Saturday. It was located 665 miles (1,075 km) southwest of the Mexican port of Manzanillo, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The Miami-based center said the storm could still gain more power as it turns to the north-northwest on Sunday and then begins to weaken Monday. There were no coastal watches in effect and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Mexico has no significant oil installations on its Pacific coast.   true       (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Gunna Dickson & Kim Coghill)

Black Keys score Billboard No. 1, hold off Jackson and Parton

Grammy-winning rockers the Black Keys debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 weekly album chart on Wednesday, coming in ahead of an album of original songs from late singer Michael Jackson and country music star Dolly Parton's latest album. _0"> "Turn Blue," the eighth studio album from the Ohio duo, sold 164,000 copies in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan. "Xscape," a posthumous collection of eight unreleased tracks from Jackson, sold 157,000 copies, boosted by a high-profile performance featuring a singing and dancing Jackson as a hologram at Sunday's televised Billboard Awards.   true       Other new debuts in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 include country music group Rascal Flatts at No. 5 with "Rewind," Dolly Parton's "Blue Smoke" at No. 6 and singer-songwriter Tori Amos at No. 7 with "Unrepentant Geraldines." Christian music singer Michael W. Smith rounded out the top 10 with &q

Cannes autograph-hunters brave sun, rain, long hours for 'dream'

Packed behind security barriers, scorched by the sun and pelted by rain, they are the real stars of the Cannes film festival - the intrepid autograph hunters. The fans on the front line of the world's largest cinema showcase, perched on stepladders across from the famous red carpet steps, are ecstatic about all the celebrities and the glamour. "I'm living my dream ... There's no one happier than I am. It's been building up since when I was six or seven," said Martine Santoro, 61, who watched the images from Cannes when she was a child in Paris and vowed to get there one day in person.   true       A toy piano rigged up on the front of Santoro's stepladder is her homage to this year's festival jury president, "The Piano" director Jane Campion. The instrument caught Campion's eye on opening night and she came over to sign an autograph, as did Nicole Kidman, there to promote her starring role in "Grace of Monaco". As the mov

In break from Bollywood, India's Cannes contender tackles Delhi's darker side

A film that breaks with Bollywood and delivers an atypical dose of social realism that left its leading actor feeling depressed during shooting is India's only contender at this season's Cannes festival. "Titli", by Kanu Behl, which tackles the family violence and poor treatment of women that blight Indian society, is one of 19 films competing in the 'Un Certain Regard' category for emerging directors, with prizes to be handed out on Friday. Behl's first feature as director follows the quiet and withdrawn Titli - 'butterfly' in Hindi - who is desperate to break from his all-male family of car-jackers living in a suburban slum but finds every exit blocked and every dream destroyed.   true           "It is for me a film that takes on the Holy Grail of Indian cinema, which is the family, and says 'Hey look! There's all this happening and why aren't we talking about it?'" Behl, who had previously worked on documentaries,

Dolan's troubled teen wows at Cannes, Loach film disappoints

Whizz-kid Canadian director Xavier Dolan screened a tour-de-force black comedy at Cannes about a disturbed teenager's relationship with his mother, while Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall," shown on Thursday, described a communist leader from Ireland's past. The film by Dolan, 25, won raves from critics after its press screening on Wednesday night. British director Loach's latest, on the other hand, was described by one reviewer as "inert". Only three days are left until the main prizes are awarded on Saturday. "Mommy" is one of three Canadian films competing for the Palme d'Or, alongside David Cronenberg's critique of Hollywood, "Maps to the Stars", and "The Captive" from Atom Egoyan.   true       It is the fifth film by Dolan, who took Cannes by storm in 2009 with three awards for his debut, "I Killed My Mother." As its title suggests, he is sometimes described as being engaged in "therapy throu

Ukraine protest film in Cannes has "cast of thousands"

Seeing people shot down as the insurrection in Kiev's Maidan square built to a climax might not be everyone's idea of a movie night out, but watching it filmed on the epic scale of Russian director Sergei Eisenstein's films is breathtaking. That is exactly what the Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa had in mind for his documentary film "Maidan", screened this week at the Cannes International Film Festival. His film is a fly-on-the-wall view of the Maidan uprising, which started last year and led to President Viktor Yanukovich fleeing the country in February. It has a cast of thousands - the very people who protested in the square day after day, week after week, to oust the Russian-backed Yanukovich.   true       Loznitsa, whose previous feature films have dealt with fictionalized but gritty topics such as a man during World War Two being accused of collaborating with the Germans, said his inspiration for "Maidan" came from "Strike" by Eise

'The Normal Heart' brings early days of AIDS to U.S. living rooms

Mark Ruffalo was puzzled when he was recruited to play Ned Weeks, a thinly fictionalized character based on AIDS activist Larry Kramer in the HBO film adaptation of Kramer's Tony award-winning play "The Normal Heart." "I was like: 'Me?' " said Ruffalo. The actor, who often plays sensitive roles in films such as "The Kids Are All Right," asked director Ryan Murphy, "Shouldn't a gay person be playing Ned Weeks at this point in time? Aren't we there yet?"   true       Murphy told him he was "missing the point," that "the whole meaning of this movie" was that it did not matter whether a gay actor plays Kramer. "He was much more evolved on that than I was," Ruffalo said. "The Normal Heart," which debuts on HBO on Sunday, also features Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory," Oscar-winner Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovic,") and Matt Bomer of TV's "White Collar

Paul McCartney expected to make full recovery from illness

Former Beatle Paul McCartney, who canceled a series of concerts in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> South Korea , is expected to make a full recovery after being treated in a Tokyo hospital for a viral infection, a spokeswoman for the British musician said on Thursday. _0"> McCartney, 71, postponed two shows in Tokyo earlier this week due to illness, and on Thursday canceled more concerts due to take place in class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan this week and class="mandelbrot_refrag"> South Korea next week. "Since contracting a virus last week that led to the postponement of tour dates, Paul received successful medical treatment at a hospital in Tokyo," according to a statement issued by his spokeswoman Perri Cohen.   true       "He will make a complete recovery and has been ordered to take a few days rest. Paul has been extremely moved by all the messages and well wishes

Judge reinstates 'To Kill a Mockingbird' author's lawsuit against museum

A federal judge on Thursday reinstated a lawsuit by "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee against an Alabama museum she accuses of illegally profiting from her Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Attorneys for Lee and the Monroe County Heritage Museum announced in February that the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement. But the agreement has fallen through, according to legal filings from Lee's attorneys. An Alabama judge on Thursday reset a trial date for November 2014.   true       Norman Stockman, an attorney for Lee, said in the filing that the museum has not complied with the terms and is attempting to add new requests. The museum's lawyer, Sam David Knight, declined to comment. Details of the agreement have not been made public. The reclusive author sued the museum in October, saying it never paid her a licensing fee for using the novel's title and a mockingbird image on merchandise it sold in its gift shop. Lee's suit contended the museum ear

'Star Wars' spin-off to be directed by 'Godzilla' filmmaker

With J.J. Abrams kicking off the first of three new "Star Wars" films, Disney announced on Thursday that "Godzilla" filmmaker Gareth Edwards will direct a separate spin-off installment of the franchise, scheduled for December 2016. _0"> The yet-to-be-titled "Star Wars" film, which is being written by "The Book of Eli" screenwriter Gary Whitta, is being described as a stand-alone movie in addition to the next three installments beginning with Abrams's "Star Wars: Episode VII," to be released in December 2015. British director Edwards made his feature film debut with his re-imagining of "Godzilla," which stormed the North American box office with $93.2 million in sales over the past weekend.   true       class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Walt Disney Co purchased "Star Wars" creator George Lucas's production company LucasFilm for $4.05 billion in 2012 and announced it would release spin-off

'American Idol' finale audience hits new low of 10.6 million

The finale of Fox's singing competition show "American Idol" drew the lowest viewership in its 13-year history, with 10.6 million viewers, 25 percent below last year's audience, according to ratings figures compiled by Nielsen on Thursday. _0"> "Idol," which crowned North Carolina singer Caleb Johnson the winner in a two-hour finale on Wednesday night, was once an industry powerhouse for Fox, watched by more than 30 million viewers at its peak. But it has steadily declined in ratings in recent years, averaging around 8 million viewers per episode over the latest season, despite featuring celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.   true       The 18-49 demographic that advertisers covet accounted for 3.4 million of the viewers for this year's finale, down from last year's 6 million. Early Nielsen ratings data on Thursday from Fox said total viewership for the "Idol" finale was 10.1 million, with 3.3 mil

Cannes glitterati step up for AIDS charity gala

Sharon Stone showed up in a daring dress, John Travolta flew in on his plane, and even Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst made an appearance to support the Cannes film festival's largest charity ball to raise money for AIDS research. At the 21st annual event organized by amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, the film world's glitterati assembled on Thursday night to raise $38 million for charity, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein announced. The amfAR gala, held at the luxurious five-star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, perched over the blue water of the French Riviera not far from Cannes, is the biggest fundraising event at the world's largest and most prestigious film festival. The benefit was first hosted by Elizabeth Taylor.   true       With celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Kylie Minogue, Dita Von Teese, Adrien Brody, Paris Hilton and even Catherine Deneuve in attendance, the event was the place to be as the prestigious film festival began to wind down, with top prizes t

Japanese fans welcome news of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney's recovery

Japanese fans on Friday welcomed news that former Beatle Paul McCartney is expected to make a full recovery from the viral infection that landed him in a Tokyo hospital for treatment. _0"> McCartney, 71, called off his sold-out class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan tour this week after postponing several concerts, much to the disappointment of fans - some of whom had paid 100,000 yen ($980) to see him. He later canceled a concert set for class="mandelbrot_refrag"> South Korea next week. "The shock was huge when I heard the two concerts which I had bought tickets for were both canceled," said Shinichi Noguchi, 40, who had come to the Tokyo hotel where McCartney was believed to be staying.   true       "It's good to hear he's recovering and I'll be happy if he can come to class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Japan again in the near future." McCartney spokeswoman Perri Cohen said in a statement on Thursday that M

'Gang Related' explores Los Angeles' darker side

Los Angeles' gangs and police clash in gritty new Fox drama series "Gang Related", an exploration of the city's darker side with a hero that isn't quite what he seems as he treads the line between family and the law. "Gang Related," premiering on Thursday, centers on Detective Ryan Lopez, played by Ramon Rodriguez, a gang member who is part of the Los Angeles Police Department's gang task force, and forced to hide his ties to the gang family he was brought up in. The Fox class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Broadcasting series is created by Chris Morgan, the writer of the last five "Fast & Furious" car-racing films, who said he wanted to explore the origins of gang culture in Los Angeles, a theme that he believes has larger resonance.   true       "If you look at the history of our country, we actually are founded on gangs," Morgan told Reuters. "People have come to America searching for the American dream, and

Director Boorman's 'Queen and Country' at Cannes could be his last

John Boorman had always intended to make a sequel to Oscar-nominated "Hope and Glory", his 1987 semi-autobiography set in suburban London during World War Two, and it could very well be the 81-year-old director's last film, he said. "Queen and Country", which premiered in the Director's Fortnight category at the Cannes film festival this week, fast-forwards the action of "Hope and Glory" to 1952, following the now 18-year-old protagonist Billy Rohan as he is conscripted to fight in the Korean War. "I'm not sure I'll do any more," Boorman, who walks with a cane, told Reuters TV.   true       "Old age is a series of retreats. Many of the things, the pleasures of my life have been withdrawn. I played tennis all my life which I can't do anymore. You know, film-making is one of the few things I'm able to do, I'm still able to do." But old age does have its advantages, said the director of "Deliveranc

Movie star dog has its day at Cannes

A gentle Labrador mix named Body won the "Palm Dog" award on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, a pat on the head from canine-lovers and film critics for the outstanding movie performance by a pooch. Body starred in "Feher Isten" (White God) by Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo, which features more than 250 dogs. The lead character is "Hagen" - a role shared by Body and a second hound named Luc - who is abandoned by his family and picked up by a man who trains him to be fighting dog.   true       At the film's festival premiere earlier in the festival, Body attended a photocall, walked the red carpet and was invited onstage - wearing a bowtie. The Palm Dog award is a play on the Palme d'Or, the Cannes festival's top prize. "What an honor, what a historical hound!" said Palm Dog organizer Toby Rose, who called the film a cross between "Inglorious Barksterds" and "Ben Fur." It had been a

Binoche at Cannes confronts questions of the aging actress

Juliette Binoche confronts an issue every actress eventually faces in Olivier Assayas's "Clouds of Sils Maria" - what happens when the casting call you get is for the older woman and no longer the starlet? Men, as Harrison class="mandelbrot_refrag"> Ford , Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sylvester Stallone proved by bringing the roadshow to promote their "The Expendables 3" over-the-hill mercenaries franchise to Cannes last weekend, can continue to play the same action heroes into their 60s or even 70s. But a woman can't play a starlet after a certain age, nor should she want to, Binoche, who reached global stardom in such films as "The English Patient" and "Chocolat" said at a post-screening news conference.   true       The film was the last of the 18 in competition for the top Palme d'Or prize to be screened before the main awards are announced on Saturday. "Imagine if for 40 years you played the part of 20-year-

Hungarian dog film takes prize for innovative film at Cannes

The Hungarian film "Feher Isten" (White God), starring a pack of stray dogs that terrorizes the capital Budapest and directed by Kornel Mundruczo, won the top prize in the "Un Certain Regard" forum of the Cannes International Film Festival on Friday. _0"> The runner-up, winning the jury prize, was "Turist" by Swedish director Ruben Ostlund. It is about the disintegration of a marriage after a husband abandons his wife and children on a terrace and flees when he falsely believes they are all about to be killed by an avalanche. Jury President for the "Un Certain Regard" festival was Argentine director Pablo Trapero.   true       The forum, "A Particular Outlook" in English, is for young, innovative filmmakers or directors that runs alongside the main Cannes competition, whose winners will be announced on Saturday. Other films competing for the prize were the directorial debut of Hollywood A-list actor Ryan Gosling, "Los