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28/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Report: Harper Lee Estate Transferred to Trust

The will of “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee is public following a lawsuit by The New York Times, but details on her estate remain a secret.

The Times reports the will unsealed Tuesday shows most of Lee’s assets were transferred into a trust days before her death two years ago in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

 

But the contents of her estate remain private because trust documents are private.

 

A probate court sealed the will of the famously private writer following her death, and the newspaper filed suit in 2016 to have the document made public. The suit argued that Lee’s desire for privacy wasn’t sufficient legal reason to keep her will hidden from public view.

 

Records show the estate recently dropped its opposition to unsealing the will.

28/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Long Kryptonite to Superheroes, the Oscars Begin to Relent

Aside from the posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) and best animated film for The Incredibles, no superhero film has ever penetrated the top categories of the Academy Awards.

Though regular honorees for their bombastic visual effects or thunderous, wall-to-wall sound, comic-book movies have been denied the upper reaches of achievement. Marvel Studios — one of the most dominant pop-culture juggernauts the movies have ever seen — hasn’t won a single Academy Award.

But there are signs that the deep freeze for superheroes is thawing. Logan, James Mangold’s acclaimed final chapter of Wolverine, the long-clawed X-Men character played by Hugh Jackman, is nominated for best adapted screenplay at Sunday’s awards. The nod, which Mangold shares with co-writers Michael Green and Scott Frank, is the first screenplay nomination for a superhero film.

That could be read as a sign that the film academy is finally starting to give in to the era’s most bankable box-office force. Last year, Deadpool seemingly came just shy of scaling the Dolby Theatre walls after a quixotic awards campaign netted the hyper-violent and hyper-verbal R-rated film two Golden Globe nominations. This year, Patty Jenkins’ female empowerment blockbuster Wonder Woman was considered a definite contender but came up short despite a nod from the Producers Guild. 

A tide may be turning just as the sensation and acclaim of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther has positioned the Marvel release to be a potential heavyweight at next year’s Academy Awards. A decade after Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was denied a best picture nomination — an omission that sparked the academy’s expansion of the best picture field from five films to up to 10 — Black Panther is poised to score the first best-picture nod for a superhero film, not to mention potentially a host of other categories including directing, costume design, visual effects, production design, score and, maybe, Michael B. Jordan as supporting actor.

​Expanding the possibilities

Any shift for the academy, though, may be less about changing tastes than the rising ambitions of filmmakers — like Coogler, Jenkins, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Mangold — who are expanding the possibilities of the genre.

“It’s people opening up to consider something that might have been seen wholly as a money-making effort to see that in some cases these films might constitute more ambition than previously imagined,” Mangold said of his nomination in an interview. “It’s a stepping stone and it won’t be the last.”

Mangold is a veteran of star-led but naturalistic character-driven dramas (Walk the Line, Cop Land). In Logan he endeavored to, like a revolution launched from within, invert most of the genre’s conventions. Its title bares no sequel-signifying numbers, just a simple, unadorned name. Logan connects to no future installment but, after a 17-year run for Jackman’s character, has the finality of death. Where other superhero films are all heroism and invincibility, the violent, R-rated Logan — styled after a Western — is filled with pain and vulnerability. It’s a human-sized movie in a supersized genre.

“I wanted to make my own kind of commentary about this kind of film, the comic-book film if you will, where there’s huge amounts of casualties but they are largely unfelt by the audience,” said Mangold. “Cities fall. Planets explode. Extras fall and topple. But the actual ending of lives is not felt. In a quest for scale, lives become cheap.”

Mangold speaks with both optimism for superhero movies that can take the mold of any genre (“There’s infinite possibility”) and derision for the assembly-line product that Hollywood has often favored that give a filmmaker little room for personal expression.

“At the point you’re locked into all the design, casting and story choices that have already been made, you’re hamstrung,” said Mangold. “It’s why films like Guardians or Black Panther or Wonder Woman where they break free of some of the narrative-lock and style-lock that was coming from the previous films that I think you get the biggest sense of freshness.”

Benefits of popularity

Logan grossed $616.8 million, vindicating the risk that Mangold and 20th Century Fox took in deviating from formula. It was relatively cheap by superhero movie standards with a production budget of $97 million. The film opened all the way back on March 3, after premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, with little expectation of being remembered in Oscar season.

Disney’s Black Panther may do even better at next year’s Oscars for many of the same reasons. It largely stands apart from Marvel’s cinematic universe. It eschews many of the typical beats of a superhero film. And it’s identifiably the work of a filmmaker. 

“If it gets in, it has more to do with Ryan Coogler than it does with any of the phenomenon around it,” said Glen Weldon, author of The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. “This film feels like the third film that a guy named Ryan Coogler would make. Though it’s part of this arc, it does feel very personal. It does feel like it’s about something.” 

With Academy Awards ratings falling in recent years, the broadcast could certainly benefit from welcoming the most popular movies on the planet into the show. That would be quite a turnaround for the Oscars, where the closest a superhero film has come to winning best picture was when Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) took the award in 2015. But that movie, starring Michael Keaton as a former superhero star, vilified the genre as a scourge for art.

“When people tell me — and they tell me very often — ‘I hate superhero films and they’re all same,'” said Weldon, “I tell them, ‘Yes, they have been but they don’t have to be.'”

28/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Deluge of Oscars Politics Began With Brando

Should any of this year’s winners at the Oscars use the occasion to promote a political cause, you can thank — or blame — Marlon Brando.

Brando’s role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather remains a signature performance in movie history. But his response to winning an Academy Award was truly groundbreaking.

Upending a decades-long tradition of tears, nervous humor, thank-yous and general goodwill, he sent actress Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to the 1973 ceremony to protest Hollywood’s treatment of American Indians.

In the years since, winners have brought up everything from climate change (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, 2016) to abortion (John Irving, screenplay winner in 2000) to equal pay for women (Patricia Arquette, best supporting actress winner in 2015 for Boyhood).

“Speeches for a long time were relatively quiet in part because of the control of the studio system,” said James Piazza, who with Gail Kinn wrote The Academy Awards: The Complete History of Oscar, published in 2002. “There had been some controversy, like when George C. Scott refused his Oscar for Patton [which came out in 1970]. But Brando’s speech really broke the mold.”

Producers for this year’s Oscars show have said they want to emphasize the movies themselves, but between the #MeToo movement and Hollywood’s general disdain for President Donald Trump, political or social statements appear likely at the March 4 ceremony.

Salutes for speaking out

Winners at January’s Golden Globes citing the treatment of women included Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon, who thanked “everyone who broke their silence this year.” Honorary Globe winner Oprah Winfrey, in a speech that had some encouraging her to run for president, noted that “women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.”

Before Brando, winners avoided making news even if the time was right and the audience never bigger. Gregory Peck, who won for best actor in 1963 as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, said nothing about the film’s racial theme even though he frequently spoke about it in interviews. When Sidney Poitier became the first black to win best actor, for Lilies of the Field in 1964, he spoke of the “long journey” that brought him to the stage, but otherwise made no comment on his milestone.

When Jane Fonda, the most politicized of actresses, won for Klute in 1972, her speech was brief and uneventful. “There’s a great deal to say, but I’m not going to say it tonight,” she stated. “I would just like to thank you very much.”

Political movements from anti-communism to civil rights were mostly ignored in their time. According to the movie academy’s database of Oscar speeches, the term “McCarthyism” was not used until 2014, when Harry Belafonte mentioned it upon receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. “Vietnam” was not spoken until the ceremony held April 8, 1975, just weeks before North Vietnamese troops overran Saigon.

No winner said the words “civil rights” until George Clooney in 2006, as he accepted a supporting actor Oscar for Syriana. Vanessa Redgrave’s fiery 1978 acceptance speech was the first time a winner said “fascism” or “anti-Semitism.”

​Comments linked to movies

Political or social comments were often safely connected to the movie. Celeste Holm, who won best supporting actress in 1948 for Gentleman’s Agreement, referred indirectly to the film’s message of religious tolerance. Rod Steiger won best actor in 1968 for the racial drama In the Heat of the Night and thanked his co-star, Poitier, for giving him the “knowledge and understanding of prejudice.” The ceremony was held just days after the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., whose name was never cited by Oscar winners in his lifetime, and Steiger ended by invoking a civil rights anthem: “And we shall overcome.”

Hollywood is liberal-land, but the academy often squirms at political speeches. Redgrave was greeted with boos when she assailed “Zionist hoodlums” while accepting the Oscar for Julia, a response to criticism from far-right Jews for narrating a documentary about the Palestinians. She was rebutted the same night: Paddy Chayevsky, giving the award for best screenplay, declared that he was “sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own propaganda.”

Producer Bert Schneider and director Peter Davis, collaborators on the 1974 Oscar-winning Vietnam War documentary Hearts and Minds, both condemned the war by name (they were the first winners to do so), welcomed North Vietnam’s impending victory and even read a telegram from the Viet Cong. An enraged Bob Hope, an Oscar presenter and longtime Republican, prepared a statement and gave it to Frank Sinatra, who was to introduce the screenplay award: “The academy is saying, ‘We are not responsible for any political references made on the program, and we are sorry they had to take place this evening.’ ” 

​Moore draws boos

In 2003, Michael Moore received a mixed response after his documentary on guns, Bowling for Columbine, won for best documentary. The filmmaker ascended the stage to a standing ovation, but the mood soon shifted as he attacked George W. Bush as a “fictitious president” and charged him with sending soldiers to Iraq for “fictitious reasons.” The boos were loud enough for host Steve Martin to joke that “right now, the teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo.”

Sometimes, the academy tries to head off any statements before they’re made. Whoopi Goldberg, host of the 1994 show, hurried out a list of causes during her opening monologue.

“Save the whales. Save the spotted owl. Gay rights. Men’s rights. Women’s rights. Human rights. Feed the homeless. More gun control. Free the Chinese dissidents. Peace in Bosnia. Health care reform. Choose choice. ACT UP. More AIDS research,” she said, before throwing in jokes about Sinatra, Lorena Bobbitt and earthquakes.

The audience laughed and cheered.

27/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Cuban Artist Switches Havana’s Neon Lights Back On

After dusk in Havana, an ice-blue neon sign illuminates the faded facade of the Cine El Megano, one of many abandoned movie houses in the Cuban capital, lighting up a once vibrant corner at the heart of the Caribbean city that had gone pitch black in recent decades.

The glowing neon italic letters fill the building’s colonial facade with an art deco accent between the doors below and the wraparound balcony above. It is the work of Cuban artist Kadir Lopez Nieves, who is restoring the vintage signs of the cinemas, hotels and cabarets that lit up Havana’s nightlife in its 1950s heyday.

His project, dubbed “Habana Light Neon + Signs,” has so far restored around 50 signs, reflecting a broader revival in Havana. The city, one of the architectural jewels of Latin America, has been enjoying a tourism boom.

“They called it the Broadway or Paris of the Caribbean because it had so much light and brilliance,” said Lopez Nieves, during an interview in his workshop and gallery. “But when I started out the project … Havana was switched off in terms of light.”

After Fidel Castro’s 1959 leftist revolution, many of Havana’s ritzy entertainment venues, often run by American mobsters and frequented by the rich and famous, were shuttered or slowly became run-down.

Effects of weather

Over the decades, tropical weather wrought havoc on their neon signs. The communist-run island, laboring under a U.S. embargo, often lacked the funds and know-how to fix them.

As elsewhere, other forms of lighting, such as LEDs, proved cheaper and the ornate neon signs were abandoned. 

Lopez Nieves set about restoring the neon lights of a dozen cinemas as a project for the Havana Biennial arts festival in 2015. His work delighted locals.

“It’s lending more life to the city at night,” said Alberto Echavarria, 68, guarding a parking area down the road from the Cine Megano. He said the sign recalled the once “fabulous” ambiance of the neighborhood, which lies close to Havana’s neo-classical Capitol Building.

Shining incandescent from afar, the sign also helped to make the run-down area more salubrious by chasing away shady characters, he said.

“Obscure zones would go from being marginal to being photographed,” said Lopez Nieves, who then started restoring other neon signs, using historic documents such as old photographs for guidance. “A personal project turned into a social project.”

The initiative has become self-financing, thanks to the ale of new commercial signs to Cuba’s fledgling private sector, costing between $200 and $3,000.

Close to Havana’s seafront, the Bar Cabana sign flashes red, while around the corner the La Farmacia restaurant sign burns white.

​Tropicana lights

Lopez Nieves says he has a large contract to restore the lights at Havana’s famed Tropicana nightclub, which in its prime boasted famous patrons such as Hollywood stars Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.

Amid a global neon revival, the initiative started attracting enthusiasts from all over the world, who offered their expertise, he said.

“I love [neon] because it’s an organic light that lives and breathes. And then to discover an entire city — it’s almost like finding a treasure box,” Jeff Friedman, who runs a New York neon sign manufacturing company, said during a trip to Havana.

Foreign expertise has come in handy, Lopez Nieves said. There are only a few craftsmen left in Cuba who know how to bend the neon tubes into letters and fill them with gas to create different colors.

Lopez Nieves hopes to safeguard that knowledge with his next project: the creation of a neon center in the abandoned art deco cinema Cine Rex. It would host a museum and workshops, as well as a store for new and classic designs. He plans to open it in December.

“Neon is having an important revival,” he said, “and I’m glad we’re part of that.”

27/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Dubai Closes Case on Indian Actress, Calls Death an Accident

Dubai investigators closed the case on Tuesday into the death last weekend of Indian movie icon Sridevi, calling it an accidental drowning. Her family has been given permission to take her body back to India, officials said.

 

The 54-year-old Sridevi, who was known by only one name, drowned in a hotel bathtub after losing consciousness, officials say. Police officials in Dubai have said the autopsy also revealed alcohol in her system.

 

“The case has now been closed,” the state-run Dubai Media office tweeted.

 

Her death has been front-page news in India, where Bollywood stars command an almost-mythical status. Fans have been gathering in front of the Mumbai home of her brother-in-law, the prominent actor Anil Kapoor.

 

The coverage has been both lurid and restrained, with one TV station showing a reporter talking about her death from inside a bathtub, and many newspapers not even mentioning the alcohol reports.

 

Indian media reported that Anil Ambani, a wealthy Mumbai-based industrialist, dispatched a private plane to Dubai to carry Sridevi’s body back home. It was not immediately clear when that would happen.

Sridevi was the most famous Bollywood actress of the 1980s and `90s, and the first woman to get top billing in an industry then completely dominated by men. Starting out as a child star in south Indian regional movies, she became known as an adult for her impeccable comic timing as well as her dancing skills — a serious asset in a country where song-and-dance melodramas are a movie staple.

 

27/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Comcast Makes $31 Billion Offer to Buy Sky

Comcast Corp, the biggest cable operator in the United States, offered on Tuesday to pay $31 billion to buy Sky, challenging Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Bob Iger’s Walt Disney for the European pay-TV jewel.

Comcast, a $184 billion media giant which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was offering 12.50 pounds per share, significantly higher than the 10.75 pounds per share agreed by Fox. Shares in Sky soared 18 percent.

Present in 23 million homes across Europe and known for its technological innovation, Britain’s Sky has already agreed to be sold to Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox but the takeover has been delayed by concerns over the media tycoon’s influence in Britain.

That has complicated a separate $52 billion deal by Disney to buy Fox assets including Sky.

“Sky and Comcast are a perfect fit: we are both leaders in creating and distributing content,” Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian L. Roberts, 58, said. “We think Sky is an outstanding company.”

The latest round of major deals indicates the pressures being felt by traditional cable television networks which have been losing customers to streaming services like Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc..

Media rivalries

Shares in Sky rose to 13.08 pounds as investors hoped the ensuing bid battle would push both sides to offer a higher price.

“The initial share price reaction suggests that this story has further to run, with Sky’s price leaping above the level of the already increased Comcast offer,” said Richard Hunter, Head of Markets at Interactive Investor.

The proposed offer pits Comcast’s Roberts against Murdoch, the 86-year-old tycoon who helped to launch Sky in Britain, and who has been edging towards finally getting his hands on Sky after he first bid for the company eight years ago.

It also pits Roberts against Disney’s Iger, a longtime rival after Comcast tried to buy Disney for $54 billion in 2004.

Comcast said it had not yet engaged with Sky over the proposal and nearly 90 minutes after the statement came out, Sky was yet to respond.

“We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50 percent of the Sky shares,” Comcast CEO Roberts said.

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do: by combining the two companies we create significant opportunities for growth,” he said.

All eyes on Sky

Sky’s chairman is Murdoch’s son James, who is the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, so Comcast will have to gain the support of the independent shareholders for its better offer if it does not make a hostile bid.

Fox agreed to buy the 61 percent of Sky it did not already own in December 2016 but the takeover has been repeatedly held up by regulatory concerns that Murdoch controls too much media in Britain.

Some Sky shareholders have also started to complain that the offer was too low. In December, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey argued that Sky was being sold too cheaply.

Britain’s competition regulator said in January that Murdoch’s planned takeover should be blocked unless a way was found to prevent him from influencing the network’s news operation, Sky News.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the deal would give Murdoch too much influence and so would not be in the public interest.

Murdoch’s news outlets are watched, read or heard by nearly a third of Britons and have a combined share of public news consumption that is significantly greater than all other news providers, except the BBC and commercial TV news provider ITN.

Last week, Fox made further concessions, with a promise to maintain and fund a fully independent Sky-branded news service for 10 years.

Comcast said it had only a minimal presence in the British media market and did not see any plurality concerns over its proposal.

Comcast said it recognized that Sky News was an “invaluable part of the UK news landscape” and it intended to maintain Sky News’ existing brand and culture, as well as its strong track record for high-quality impartial news and adherence to broadcasting standards.

“Our strong market positions are complementary with Sky’s leadership in Europe enhancing our preeminent position in the U.S.,” Comcast’s Roberts said.

27/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Bill Cosby’s Daughter Ensa Dies at 44

Ensa Cosby, the daughter of comedian Bill Cosby, has died from renal disease. She was 44.

“Please keep the Cosby family in your prayers and give them peace at this time,” Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, said Monday. He did not reveal any other details of Ensa Cosby’s death Friday in Massachusetts.

Ensa Cosby was a fierce supporter of her father when he was accused of sexual assault in 2014.

“I believe that racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal,” she wrote in a statement released along with her sister Erinn.

“How my father is being punished by a society that still believes black men rape white women but passes off ‘boys will be boys’ when white men are accused, and how the politics of our country prove my disgust. My father has been publicly lynched in the media,” she said.

Bill Cosby has denied all sexual assault allegations against him. 

Ensa Cosby largely stayed out of the public spotlight during her life, though she did appear in 1989 in a single episode of her father’s popular sitcom, The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984-1992.

She is the second of Bill and Camille Cosby’s five children to die. Their son, Ennis, was murdered at the age of 27 in 1997 during a failed robbery attempt.

26/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Football’s Most Coveted Trophy Visits Nairobi

The FIFA World Cup trophy has arrived in Kenya. A tour that began last September will see the famed trophy make stops in more than 50 countries across six continents ahead of its ultimate destination – Russia, the host of this year’s World Cup tournament.

There was excitement as the most coveted trophy in football, the FIFA World Cup trophy, landed in Kenya’s capital for a 26-hour visit on Monday.

Kenya is one of 10 African countries where FIFA, soccer’s top organizing body, is bringing the trophy on its 51-country global tour.

The trophy and its handlers were met in Nairobi by government officials, FIFA country officials, and the country manager for Coca Cola, which is sponsoring the tour.

FIFA marketing manager Lucas Raschow is part of the team taking the trophy to various African countries.

“As you know there has been a lot of African teams participating at the FIFA World Cup and for us it is a great pleasure to be in Africa…. We know there area lot of passionate football fans here and for us it is about inspiring the youth and football players of the country of maybe dreaming of one day winning the FIFA world cup,” said Raschow.

The trophy also visited Kenya before World Cup tournaments in 2010 and 2014.

Football fans in the Kenya will have a chance to view and take photos of the trophy on Tuesday at the Kenyatta International Conventions Centre in Nairobi.

The trophy stands only 36 centimeters tall and weighs just six kilograms.But it is extremely valuable, partly because it is made out of 18-carat gold, partly because it represents the pinnacle of soccer achievement around the world.

The trophy can only be touched and held by a very select group of people that includes former World Cup winners and heads of state. President Uhuru Kenyatta held the trophy at State House a couple of hours after its arrival.

Kenya will not make it to the tournament in Russia, as it lost to Cape Verde at the pre-qualifiers stage in 2015.

African countries that qualified for the tournament and a chance to win the trophy are Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia.

On Tuesday, the trophy and its handlers take off again, heading to Maputo, Mozambique.

26/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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State of the Art: Museum Takes Hi-Tech Look at Vermeer

Researchers at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague are using the latest technology to take a long, hard look at one of their most prized paintings, Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and they are inviting the public in to watch.

For two weeks starting Monday, experts are pointing a battery of high-tech machines at the 17th century masterpiece of a young woman whose enigmatic gaze has earned her the nickname of the Dutch Mona Lisa.

Mauritshuis Director Emilie Gordenker says the iconic painting was last studied in 1994 during a conservation project.

 

Since then, technology has made such advances that the museum says scanners and X-ray machines can provide new insights into how Vermeer painted the girl and the materials he used.

26/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Dubai Police: Famous Bollywood Actress Sridevi Died from Drowning

Dubai police said Monday that drowning was the cause of death for famed Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor, correcting earlier reports that she had died of a heart attack.

“Following the completion of post-mortem analysis, #DubaiPolice today stated that the death of Indian actress #Sridevi occurred due to drowning in her hotel apartment’s bathtub following loss of consciousness,” Dubai police tweeted.

The case of her death has now been transferred to public prosecutors, Dubai police added.

Sridevi, 54, died Saturday night in Dubai while attending her nephew’s wedding. Best known for her roles in Indian Hindi romantic drama films, including Chandni, Lamhe, Mr. India, and Nagina, Sridevi began her acting career at a young age and starred in over 300 films.

Her body was flown back to Mumbai Monday, where hundreds of fans had gathered around her home.

Others in the Bollywood film industry expressed their shock and sadness following the news of her death.

“I have no words. Condolences to everyone who loved #Sridevi . A dark day . RIP,” actress Priyanka Chopra wrote on Twitter.

“Ma’am, we will always remember you with love and respect,” actor Aamir Khan tweeted.

 

25/02/2018
by MediaExpert
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Michelle Obama to Release Memoir in November

Michelle Obama’s memoir, one of the most highly anticipated books in recent years, is coming out Nov. 13.

The former first lady tweeted Sunday that the book, to come out a week after the 2018 midterm elections, is called “Becoming.”

“Writing ‘Becoming’ has been a deeply personal experience,” she said in a statement. “It has allowed me, for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life. In this book, I talk about my roots and how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago found her voice and developed the strength to use it to empower others. I hope my journey inspires readers to find the courage to become whoever they aspire to be. I can’t wait to share my story.”

She and her husband, former President Barack Obama, last year reached a joint agreement with Penguin Random House for their respective books. The deal is believed to be well in excess of $30 million. “Becoming” will be released in the U.S. through the Crown Publishing Group, a Penguin Random House division that has published works by both Obamas.

Memoirs by former first ladies usually sell well, with notable works including Laura Bush’s “Spoken from the Heart” and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Living History.” Michelle Obama’s memoir is expected to be a major commercial and cultural event. She is admired around the world and has never told her story at length. Her only previous book was a 2012 work on gardening, “American Grown.”

The book will be published simultaneously in 24 languages, from Swedish to Arabic, and Michelle Obama expects to promote “Becoming” in the U.S. and overseas. She will also narrate the audio version. According to Crown, Obama is working with a team of assistants, but that every word in the finished text will be hers.

“As first lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world,” Crown said in a statement.

“In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her-from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.”

Barack Obama, who has written the million-sellers “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope,” has not yet scheduled his memoir. He is expected to focus on his eight years in the White House.