Hugh Jackman's actress wife Deborra-Lee Furness' campaign to overhaul adoption laws in her native Australia will expose some children to a greater risk of abuse and trafficking, according to experts. The Jindabyne star has been a vocal supporter of the Adopt Change organisation, and this week (beg25Aug14) she praised the country's Prime Minister Tony Abbott for holding talks with campaign staff.
However, a group of child protection experts has now warned politicians that a change in the adoption laws could leave the door wide open to abusers.
The panel told an Australian parliamentary committee the proposals will make the adoption process "vulnerable to reduced standards for the protection of children, and greater risks of malpractice".
Authorities in China have shut down the 2104 Beijing Independent Film Festival. Officials blocked the entrance to the festival in Songzhuang on Sunday (24Aug14) just as the event was getting underway, and refused to let film fans and those involved enter the Li Xianting Film Fund centre setting for the 11th annual event.
A notice, which read "Announcement. The festival is hereby called off" and signed by the Xiaopu Village Committee, was attached to the door of the premises.
A series of films and promotional sessions scheduled for the day were cancelled.
It is still not clear why the festival was axed.
Veteran actress/director Penny Marshall is publicly appealing to the president of a Detroit, Michigan school to halt cruel heart experiments on dogs after learning a pooch named in honour of her character on TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley was subjected to the traumatic treatment. The A League of Their Own moviemaker has written an open letter to Dr. Roy Wilson, President of Wayne State University, to express her horror after learning the school's animal experimentation allegedly includes cutting the chests of dogs open and forcing them to run on treadmills as part of scientists' heart disease research.
In the note, Marshall recalls filming an episode of the hit 1970s show, in which the title characters handcuffed themselves to a furry friend in an effort to save it from being euthanised at a dog pound. The pet's life was spared.
She continues, "Tragically, a dog given my character's name - as well as many others like her - met the opposite fate in horrific heart failure experiments at Wayne State University. I am writing to urge you to immediately end these cruel, unnecessary experiments and instead focus on human-relevant research. Two decades of these experiments - which have not translated into benefits for Americans suffering from heart disease - is quite enough...
"Before they were killed at Wayne State, dogs named Laverne, Shirley and Squiggy (show neighbour) endured invasive surgeries and suffered a great deal of trauma and pain. Please see that Wayne State no longer subjects dogs like them to such cruel experiments and instead focuses on improving human health."
The letter, circulated by officials at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine non-profit organisation, is due to be mailed to Dr. Wilson on Wednesday (27Aug14), the same day many kids in the U.S. return to school after summer.
Celebrities including Morgan Freeman, Robert Pattinson and Channing Tatum honoured late Hollywood stars Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall at an exclusive charity dinner on Thursday (14Aug14).
The actors attended the Grants Banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California for the handing out of donations to more than 40 non-profit entertainment industry-related organisations and scholarship programs. The grants, which totalled $1.9 million (£1.1 million), are funded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the committee behind the Golden Globe Awards.
At the gala, celebrities took a moment to remember Williams and Bacall, who both passed away this week (beg11Aug14), with a round of applause.
Actress Kristen Bell, who was among the guests at the event, writes in a post on Twitter.com, "Kudos to #HFPA #hfpaGrantBanquet this eve for honouring Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall w/a (with a) moment of not silence but applause."
During the gala, Bell also performed the song Do You Want To Build A Snowman? from hit Disney movie Frozen. Kerry Washington, Chris Evans, Jason Segel, Eddie Redmayne, James Marsden and Sofia Vergara also attended the event.
Williams died of an apparent suicide on Monday (11Aug14) and Bacall passed away following a stroke on Tuesday (12Aug14).
Singer Janelle Monae performed for U.S. President Barack Obama at a star-studded political fundraiser in Los Angeles on Wednesday (23Jul14). The event took place at the home of Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes, and was co-hosted by the show's star Kerry Washington.
As well as Obama, attendees included Scandal actors Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley, and veteran music mogul Berry Gordy.
Obama addressed the crowd, and singled out Monae for particular praise, saying of the Tightrope hitmaker, "She's played so often at the White House, there should be a room named for her."
According to reports, the politician revealed Monae is in possession of a video showing him dancing with pop star Usher, adding, "She can blackmail me at any time. I did not drop and split, but I did bust a move."
Proceeds from the gathering will go to the Democratic National Committee.
Authors Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler have made literary history by becoming two of the first four American writers ever to make it onto the Booker Prize list. The 2014 'longlist' was announced on Wednesday (23Jul14) - the first time Americans have been eligible for the coveted best fiction award in the 46-year-old history of the prize.
The literary honour has previously only been handed to citizens of Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.
In announcing this year's list, members of the prize committee revealed 154 books had been entered for the 2014 Booker Prize.
The list, which includes fellow Americans Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers, now stands at 13 and a shortlist of six books will be announced on 9 September (14). The winner will be named in mid-October (14).
The books on the long list are:
Joshua Ferris' To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson's J
Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake
David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee's The Lives of Others
David Nicholls' Us
Joseph O'Neill's The Dog
Richard Powers' Orfeo
Ali Smith's How to be Both
Niall Williams' History of the Rain.
Demi Lovato had to give up her raw food, gluten-free diet at a recent house party because she did not want to offend host Robert Rodriguez or special guest President Barack Obama.
The singer is obsessed with healthy eating after learning she has allergies to gluten and dairy, but she had to dine and dare at moviemaker Rodriguez's home in Austin, Texas last month (Jun14), when she realised he was making pizza for everyone.
She tells Extra, "I try to eat raw food whenever possible. I don’t eat it all the time just because I’m the type of person that if I do something, if I go all one way, I get burnt out... I’m gluten-free and dairy-free because I’m allergic to them. I just eat vegan and raw as much as possible and it's really changed my body and made me feel better. "But you kind of can’t turn down pizza that Robert Rodriguez handmade - and that you are also eating with the President."
Rodriguez's star-studded house party served as a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson were also among the guests.
Director Robert Rodriguez hosted a star-studded fundraising party for U.S. President Barack Obama at his home in Austin, Texas on Wednesday night (09Jul14). The Sin City filmmaker was joined by the stars of his upcoming sequel A Dame To Kill For, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson, plus his frequent collaborator Danny Trejo and pop singer Demi Lovato.
The guests paid $32,000 (£18,823) for a ticket to the event, with proceeds going to Obama's political party, the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Obama gave a speech while the guests dined in a poolside marquee.
Lovato showed her excitement on Twitter.com, writing, "Dinner w/ (with) @BarackObama tonight at @Rodriguez's castle (sic) tonight... No big deal..."
The creator of political TV drama Scandal, Shonda Rimes, and the show's star Kerry Washington will host a similar event for Obama in Los Angeles on 23 July (14).
Actress Cynthia Nixon is expanding her working relationship with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio by joining an advisory board. The Sex and the City star, who was an early supporter of the politician, has signed up for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, a non-profit organisation which raises money from private investors for public programs.
Nixon was previously appointed to De Blasio's transition committee to help the Democrat fill key positions in his administration and advise him on policy ideas at the start of his tenure in January (14).
Her wife, Christine Marinoni, is also working with the Mayor, serves as a special adviser for community partnerships in the Department of Education.
Singer Rosanne Cash is set to testify before the U.S. Congress about music licensing and illegal downloading. Johnny Cash's daughter is heading to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (25Jun14) to speak in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
She says, "I am honoured to have been asked by the Americana Music Association to represent musicians, songwriters and recording artists in these hearings.
"As a singer-songwriter who has been in the music business for 35 years, I look forward to sharing with Washington leaders some of the deep concerns all musicians share in the new digital economy. Creative people deserve fair compensation when their work is used by others."