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Oscars past might offer hope to host-free awards
Can the 91st Academy Awards be saved? Yes -- at least, grading on the curve that is the Oscar telecast, the mess that the Academy has made of things leading up to this year's show, and the low bar set by the last host-less Academy Awards in 1989.

HBO will air 'Leaving Neverland' despite suit by Jackson estate
HBO is standing by its decision to air a four-hour documentary detailing the stories of two men who accuse Michael Jackson of molestation in the face of a suit filed by Jackson's estate that claims airing the film would be a breach of contract.

Fox says it's 'considering our options' after 'Empire' star's arrest
The studio and network behind Fox's "Empire" say they are considering their options, following the arrest of television actor Jussie Smollett.

Peter Tork, Monkees guitarist, dead at 77
Peter Tork, the bassist for The Monkees and a jokester on the band's popular 1960s television series, has died at age 77.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's unexpected tribute
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have paid tribute to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, by swapping her with one of art history's most recognizable figures -- the Mona Lisa.

'Flack' pops crisis-PR bubble with timely dramedy
Pop TV might not loom large on the average TV viewer's radar, but the cable network has a show that feels very much of the moment in "Flack," a British drama starring Anna Paquin as a take-no-prisoners public-relations pro, charged with extricating celebrity clients from various crises.

'Leaving Neverland' presents chilling parallel accounts of Michael Jackson's alleged abuse
"Leaving Neverland" is about dreams turned to nightmares, featuring twin accounts of Michael Jackson's alleged sexual predation that derive power and credibility from their strikingly similar parallels. It's an unsettling tale of money, fame and seduction, insidiously marshalled not just at young boys but their equally star-struck parents.

Jussie Smollett's supporters were quick to post to social media in the beginning. Now it's his doubters.
When Jussie Smollett said last month that two men using racial and homophobic slurs attacked him in Chicago, supporters of the actor almost immediately expressed their anger.

'How to Train Your Dragon' flies to finish in 'The Hidden World'
Ambitiously crafted as the end to a cinematic trilogy, "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" takes a long time to get to its best bits, meandering at times along the way. At the end it's a satisfying resolution, without reaching the same heights that the original achieved.

Who will win and who should in a wide-open Oscars race
An unprecedented lack of consensus among the guilds representing actors, directors, writers and producers has flummoxed Oscar prognosticators, with more genuine uncertainty surrounding the best picture race than is usually the case this close to Sunday's ceremony.

Jason Reitman attempts to clarify controversial 'Ghostbusters' comments
Jason Reitman is walking back comments he made that seemingly criticized the all-female 2016 "Ghostbusters" remake.

Your complete viewing guide to this year's Oscars
The 91st Academy Awards are just days away.

Regina King aims to give us all the feels
In one way, we all owe thanks to Sally Field for the wonder that is Regina King.

How Felicity Jones stepped into 'notorious' shoes
Felicity Jones is, not unlike real-life notorious figure she played in "On the Basis of Sex," a woman of her convictions.

Ariana Grande ties Beatles and makes chart history
One, two, three -- Ariana Grande is in the best possible place to be.

Gwyneth Paltrow files countersuit in skiing case
Gwyneth Paltrow is fighting back against a man who is accusing her of crashing into him and causing him serious injuries while skiing on a Utah mountain in 2016.

Kate Beckinsale is clapping back over Pete Davidson
Kate Beckinsale hasn't confirmed she's dating Pete Davidson, but you better respect the fact that she might be.

John Krasinski isn't running away from 'Jim'
It took John Krasinski six days into filming "A Quiet Place" to know for certain that he was onto something.

Michael B. Jordan makes us all look lazy
It's late November and Michael B. Jordan is preparing to head overseas. He leaves on Thanksgiving for an international leg of press for his film "Creed II." His travels were going to take him to places like London and Africa. Then his schedule had him diving into award season here in the states. March, he said, would bring a breather.

Spike Lee predicts 'BlacKkKlansman' willl be on the right side of history
Spike Lee's late grandmother, Zimmie Reatha Shelton, was an art teacher for 50 years in the state of Georgia.

Kylie Jenner says family 'cut her off at the age of 15'
Kylie Jenner gets why people don't believe she's self-made, but she insists she is.

'I've Gotta Be Me' explores Sammy Davis Jr. career and contradictions
"Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me" captures an entertainer who was a mass of contradictions, showcasing his prodigious and remarkably varied talent, juxtaposed with his often tone-deaf forays into politics. More than a mere appreciation, this look at Davis' personal journey through a tumultuous period in US history makes this an especially rich "American Masters" documentary.

Where to watch the Oscar-nominated foreign language films
A certain subset of Oscar nominees already have reason to celebrate.

'Lorena' goes beyond tabloid trappings and to the heart of Bobbitt case
The Lorena Bobbitt story launched a thousand jokes, from late-night comedians to Howard Stern. The four-part documentary "Lorena," however, goes beyond the headlines about the woman who cut off her husband's penis, yielding a thoughtful, comprehensive look at domestic abuse and how the media covers high-profile stories.

'The Lego Movie 2' doesn't hold together as well as first part
"The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" does its best to reconstruct the first one's charms, with only fitful success. Far from awesome, it settles for being just OK -- lacking the surprise that elevated the original, while appearing reasonably content to simply follow the instructions.

'What Men Want' is a fun gender-flip comedy
"What Men Want" lustily pursues the comedic aspects of its premise, but actually proves more satisfying in its quiet, bordering on sappy moments. The result is a mildly pleasant but significantly flawed vehicle for Taraji P. Henson, braving the question as to whether that's what movie-goers want.

As questions linger around Jeff Bezos' explosive suggestions, identity of tabloid leaker is confirmed
The brother of the woman with whom Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was in a relationship was the person who tipped off the National Enquirer to their relationship, two people with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CNN on Wednesday.

Why it's difficult for Netflix and 'Friends' to go on a break
"Friends" will be there for you on Netflix through 2019, but the minor internet meltdown over a rumor that the show was leaving goes to the heart of the biggest question about Netflix's short-term future: What happens if and when its competitors pull their most popular content from Netflix to make it exclusive to their own streaming services?

Bob Costas and NBC broke up over concussion remarks
Bob Costas told ESPN in an exclusive interview published on Sunday that the reason he was cut from hosting Super Bowl LII was because of public remarks he made about the detrimental effects of concussions on football players.

Why there might not be another TV blockbuster like 'Game of Thrones'
The final season of "Game of Thrones" isn't airing until 2019, but the race is already underway to find the next king of television.

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Portugal, Ireland woes dominate EU summit
BRUSSELS -- Just on the day EU leaders were hoping to present the final version of their plan to solve the region's debt crisis, their summit in Brussels was overwhelmed Thursday by debate over Portugal's political crisis and Ireland's banking woes.

Moody's downgrades ratings of Spanish banks
MADRID -- Moody's downgraded the debt of 30 Spanish banks Thursday but left untouched the ratings of the country's three largest banks, highlighting the weaknesses in Spain's financial system a day after the government in neighboring Portugal fell.

Markets brush off Portuguese bailout concerns
LONDON -- Markets on Thursday brushed aside mounting speculation that Portugal would soon be tapping a European bailout fund amid hopes that the continent's debt crisis may be about to claim its final scalp - for now.

Japan disaster reminds businesses about insurance
NEW YORK -- It might be inconceivable to small business owners that a disaster hundreds or thousands of miles away could shut them down. But the earthquake and tsunami in Japan have interrupted shipments of parts and finished goods to companies in the U.S., and sent many of them to call their...

Irish economy shrinks for 3rd straight year
DUBLIN -- Ireland's economy shrank in 2010 for the third straight year and the yields on Irish bonds rose to euro-era highs Thursday amid fears that the cost of rescuing the country's failed banks will overwhelm its finances even with the international bailout.

Egypt stock market resumes decline after reopening
CAIRO -- Egypt's benchmark stock index fell for the second consecutive day on Thursday, closing almost 4 percent lower but paring steeper losses earlier in the session as investors looked to unload holdings after the market's nearly two month closure.

Texas businessman guilty in $100M insurance scheme
RICHMOND, Va. -- A Texas businessman faces decades in prison after being convicted in a $100 million life insurance fraud scheme in which his company used investors' money to buy policies at less than face value then collected benefits when the insured people died.

Europe debt market tensions worsen ahead of summit
BRUSSELS -- Europe's debt market jitters flared up again Wednesday as investors worried about the near-term fates of Portugal and Ireland, an ill omen on the eve of a summit where EU leaders plan to complete their crisis-fighting plan.

Stocks edge higher on strong gas demand
NEW YORK -- Stocks edged higher Wednesday after a government report showed stronger demand for gasoline.

Investors flock to Japanese stocks after quake
NEW YORK -- Investors are flocking to Japanese stocks in the wake of the costliest natural disaster in history.

In blow for BofA, Fed rejects its dividend plan
NEW YORK -- It was one more blow for Bank of America: the Federal Reserve didn't allow nation's largest bank to increase its dividends.

Bernanke says bank overhaul will help small banks
WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a group of executives from smaller banks Wednesday that the financial overhaul will level the playing field for them with the industry's giants.

SAfrica's MTN launches mobile insurance program
JOHANNESBURG -- A South African mobile phone giant has joined with an insurance company to launch a program in Ghana that will allow subscribers to pay for life insurance through their mobile phones, a company official said Wednesday.

Egypt exchange plunges on reopening after uprising
CAIRO -- Egypt's stock market plummeted almost 9 percent in its first day of trading Wednesday in nearly two months, with foreign investors leading a sell-off that offered a window into concerns about the country's stability after mass protests toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Leggett, Montgomery County unions spar over pension costs
For years, officials in wealthy, liberal Montgomery County have avoided difficult decisions on scaling back pensions and health-care benefits for retirees. Now, the long-term shortfall is $4.8 billion.

Judge rejects Amish request to deal privately with alleged Ponzi schemer
Citing the separation of church and state, federal bankruptcy judge Russ Kendig said it would be unconstitutional for the court to cede control of the bankruptcy filing of alleged Ponzi schemer Monroe Beachy to the Amish community.

Fed to name banks that took loans
The Federal Reserve will release details of which banks it lent money to during the financial crisis, as it lost a court battle to keep the information private.

Geithner to decide on regulation of foreign-exchange swaps
The Dodd-Frank bill gave Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner broad new power, such as his upcoming decision on regulating foreign-exchange swaps.

Citi resumes dividend, will do reverse stock split
NEW YORK -- Citigroup Inc., one of the worst-hit banks during the financial crisis, is taking more steps to get back in the good graces of shareholders.

Treasury: Will begin selling mortgage securities
WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department announced Monday that it will begin selling its remaining $142 billion in holdings of mortgage-backed securities purchased during the financial crisis.

Lessons learned from 4 years of 401(k) volatility
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Americans who were afraid to open their 401(k) statements during the recession are finding good news inside the envelope now: For the most part, their accounts have come all the way back and then some.

Japan earthquake to exacerbate Asia's slowdown
-- Japan's devastating earthquake will further slow growth in Asia, where rising oil prices and higher interest rates are already cooling an engine of the global economy, economists say.

World Bank: Japan reconstruction may take 5 years
SINGAPORE -- Japan may need five years to rebuild from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that has caused up to $235 billion of damage, the World Bank said Monday.

Citing pension costs, Costa Mesa, Calif., plans to lay off nearly half its employees
In all, about 210 of the city's 472 employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, were given pink slips.

Volatile week underscores bull market's fragility
NEW YORK -- When it comes to the mood of the market, strategist Brian Gendreau called what happened on Wednesday Exhibit A.

Health insurers respond to overhaul law by acquiring less-regulated lines of business
Companies respond to overhaul law by acquiring less-regulated lines of business.

Insurance brokers seek protection as health-care law squeezes payments to them
Brokers, worried their livelihoods are in jeopardy from the health law, are pressing Congress and state legislatures to safeguard agent commissions and guarantee them a role in new online marketplaces where consumers will shop for coverage.

Maryland budget fights will focus on benefits for state workers, tax increases
Maryland's emerging budget plan, with which few say they are pleased, is a case study of conflicting priorities in one of only 10 states that are a fully Democratic laboratory.

Citing pension costs, Costa Mesa, Calif., plans to lay off nearly half its employees
In all, about 210 of the city's 472 employees, many of whom have worked there for decades, were given pink slips.

With planned $1.9 billion Macau resort, family enterprise hopes to extend winning run
Casino billionaire Francis Lui's family-run company holds one of six licenses to operate casinos in the biggest casino market on Earth. Now it's planning its biggest development:a $1.9 billion, 2,200-room Galaxy Macau resort with five gaming areas, three hotels, 50 restaurants and a rooftop beach.

Union-free Virginia not spared state pension woes
Virginia is one of only a handful of states that prohibit collective bargaining for public employees in state and local government.

Fed deems several major banks healthy enough to boost dividends
The nation's large banks have made major progress rebuilding capital levels that had been depleted during the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve said Friday, as it gave many of the firms the green light to pay dividends to their shareholders.

SEC accuses IBM of misconduct in providing gifts to Korean, Chinese officials
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused IBM on Friday of bribing government officials in South Korea with cash payments and free computers.

SEC moves toward charging Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac executives
setting up a clash with the housing regulator that oversees the companies.

Housing paperwork can pile up at tax time - here's what to keep, and for how long
Many taxpayers are preparing for their annual battle with IRS form 1040 by gathering up all their documents, statements, checks and other assorted papers. At the end of this process, taxpayers are often left with piles of neatly sorted, tabulated and cross-indexed piles. From a homeowner's perspe...

With short-sale offer refused, foreclosure may end up the best option
Q. We built a spec house in 2007 as the market declined. We've tried to do everything to get it sold and recently received a short-sale offer on the home.

Cisco announces first dividend
NEW YORK -- Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest maker of computer networking gear, on Friday said its first-ever cash dividend will amount to 6 cents per share and will be paid on April 20.

State attorneys general tackle mortgage servicing
State attorneys general will accept nothing less than wholesale changes to the way the nation's largest mortgage servicers treat troubled homeowners, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who leads the coalition of 50 attorneys general, said in an interview

EU: 2011 bank stress tests to be tougher than 2010
BRUSSELS -- Upcoming stress tests on banks will be harsher than last year's, the European Union's bank regulator said Friday, although important elements of the exercise deemed crucial to the region's crisis strategy remain undecided.

U.S., other industrialized nations join in currency intervention to help yen
Major industrialized nations will combine in a rare coordinated currency intervention to keep the Japanese yen from rising too sharply in value in the wake of the country's recent natural disaster, a sign of the deep global concern about the health of the world's third largest economy.

FDIC sues WaMu execs for $900M in bank collapse
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has filed a $900 million civil suit against three former top executives of Washington Mutual Bank, alleging their negligence and risk-taking caused the bank's 2008 collapse.

FDIC too slow to sue officers and directors at failed banks, critics say
To date, the FDIC has sued officers at only five of the 345 banks that have collapsed since 2008, or about 2 percent of the total.

Unrest hurts trade in 'business friendly' Bahrain
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Bahrain's stock exchange and a few bank branches reopened Thursday, but business remained far from normal a day after soldiers and riot police overran an anti-government protest camp in the Gulf island kingdom.

U.S. advisers didn't report early signs of trouble at Kabul Bank, probe finds
American officials could have mitigated the fallout from fraudulent loans and cronyism.

Average rate on 15-year mortgage dips below 4 pct.
NEW YORK -- Fixed mortgage rates tumbled this week and the 15-year loan dipped below 4 percent for the first time in three months. Rates followed the yield on U.S. Treasury bonds, which fell on worries that the crisis in Japan could slow economic growth.

Elizabeth Warren defends consumer agency's role in mortgage settlement talks
Federal consumer bureau headmakes no apologies for the new agency's involvement in talks with mortgage servicers.

India hikes rates by quarter point on oil fears
MUMBAI, India -- India hiked key interest rates by a quarter point Thursday - its eighth hike in a year - warning that rising oil prices will aggravate already high inflation in Asia's third-largest economy.

Japan sprays more cash over jittery markets
TOKYO -- Japan's central bank sprayed more cash over jittery money markets Thursday as ATMs at a major bank suffered a two and a half hour outage nationwide and the yen shot to a record high.

Oversight board investigates lack of warnings by auditors before financial crisis
Some observers are wondering why audit firms did not prevent or warn investors about problems that had a devastating effect on the economy.

6 banks repay bailouts; program nears break-even
WASHINGTON -- Six more banks repaid their government bailouts, bringing the bank capital program close to 99 percent recovery, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

UN chief says Afghan transition faces obstacles
UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Afghans must overcome "major obstacles" to demonstrate their ability to control the country's future, including a dispute over the status of parliament and an impasse over the embattled Kabul Bank.

Nuclear crisis rocks Japanese, global markets
The worsening nuclear crisis in Japan is triggering a near-collapse in that nation's financial markets and major losses in markets around the globe.

U.S. markets plunge on fears of nuclear catastrophe in Japan
U.S. stocks dropped sharply into the red early Tuesday following a global sell-off on fears that what appeared to be a serious but contained nuclear accident in Japan is turning into a full-blown catastrophe.

Bills would delay swipe fee rules
Lawmakers embarked Tuesday on an uphill battle to delay a controversial law that would reduce the fees banks receive from merchants each time a debit card is swiped.

U.S. stocks fall despite 5.7% jump in Nikkei
U.S. stocks fell in early trading Wednesday despite large gains in Japan's Nikkei stock index overnight.

Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B
Among government workers, one group enjoys lifetime health benefits virtually unmatched in the United States: military retirees.

Congressional pensions fall on high end of scale
Members receive much heftier retirement packages than most private-sector employees and state workers do.

Japan shares surge, central bank adds further $43B
TOKYO -- Japanese stocks rebounded Wednesday, recovering some of the massive losses sustained the last two days following a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Other Asian indexes also bounced back even as the economic toll from the disasters, including an escalating nuclear crisis, remained...

Japan disaster another worry for global economy
-- Japan's earthquake and nuclear crisis have put pressure on the already fragile global economy, squeezed supplies of goods from computer chips to auto parts and raised fears of higher interest rates.

A look at economic developments around the globe
-- A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Tuesday:

Treasuries climb as official says Obama to seek spending freeze
Yields on 10-year notes fell the most in almost three months as the Bank of Japan's efforts to provide liquidity and expand an asset-purchase program failed to stem an equity selloff, which sent the Nikkei 225 Stock Average down as much as 14 percent and sapped U.S. stocks. Two-year note yields...

Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B
Among government workers, one group enjoys lifetime health benefits virtually unmatched in the United States: military retirees.

Nevada's boom ends in record number of empty homes
LAS VEGAS -- The promise of palm tree groves and low-priced real estate lured Alan and Katherine Ackerly across the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Nevada in 2004, where thousands of new houses beckoned brightly as any neon sign.

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Gamers prove their metal as rock stars
Jess Hu is a child care provider from Brooklyn, New York, but for 20 hours a week, she's a rock star. That's how much she estimates she plays the video game "Rock Band."

Comedian is living in an Ikea store
Read full story for latest details.

Texas town hopes to become UFO landing spot

Governor's son sells 'Don't Drop the Soap'
Read full story for latest details.

Cops snag lotto ticket from accused drug dealer
Read full story for latest details.

Politician cuts the fat with photo fakery
Read full story for latest details.

Puppy vs. polar cub for cuteness title