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‘Ride Along’ No. 1 for third week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With Super Bowl XLVII weekend in full swing, Ride Along remained strong, steering Universal Pictures into the No. 1 slot in a surprising three-week takeover at the box office. Topping multiplex sales since setting a January debut record when opening over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with $48.6 million, the buddy cop comedy, starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, made $12.3 million, as it nears a $100 million domestic total, according to studio estimates Sunday. In the world of animation, Disney s Frozen, now the fourth highest-grossing domestic animated release ever, is in second place with $9.3 million. The studio rereleased a singalong version of the film, as the movie s soundtrack remains No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The film s signature track Let It Go, sung by Idina Menzel, sits on the Billboard Hot 100 among the top 30. Frozen singalong shows, featured in 2,057 theaters out of 2,754, added $2.2 million, as the film crossed the $360 million mark do
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Mitch Landrieu wins second term as New Orleans mayor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Boosted by a drop in the city s murder rate and an endorsement from President Barack Obama, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu won a landslide victory Saturday in his bid for a second term. The results tonight confirm what we hoped was true four years ago: that the people of this great city are ready to move forward, Landrieu told is supporters in a victory speech. Landrieu had 64 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting in Saturday s election. The city s beleaguered sheriff, Marlin Gusman, led three opponents in his race, despite having come under fire last year for problems at the city s notoriously violent jail. An inmate-made video that surfaced showed drug use, drinking and an inmate brandishing a loaded gun inside the jail. Gusman won 49 percent of the vote and will face a March 15 runoff against former Sheriff Charles Foti (FOH -tee), who got 29 percent. All of the candidates in both races were Democrats. Landrieu came close to matching his impressive
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Obama presidential library site search begins

WASHINGTON (AP) — The search for a home for President Barack Obama s presidential library is officially underway. With Obama s blessing, top supporters are launching a foundation that will develop and build the library, which will both house his presidential records and serve as a monument to his legacy. The nonprofit Barack H. Obama Foundation will be led by Marty Nesbitt, a close Obama friend from Chicago, and Julianna Smoot, a former White House social secretary and top official in Obama s re-election campaign. A vigorous competition to host the library has already ramped up. Hawaii, where Obama was born, and Illinois, his longtime home, have been lobbying the Obamas both publicly and privately. New York, where Obama went to college, also has expressed interest. With so many of Obama s aides and supporters calling Chicago home, the focus has increasingly turned to the Windy City, where Obama was first elected and came into his own as a national political figure. The inv
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Michelle Obama reveals she is a ‘Scandal’ fan, shares her Valentine’s Day Plans

E! Online - It seems that Michelle Obama is always on the move. And we re not just talking about the first lady s Let s Move campaign, her initiative to help fight child obesity, but we re also referring to her busy lifestyle which is always jam-packed thanks to having two kids, working to make a difference in the world and being married to President Barack Obama. Looking stunning in a black-and-white Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, the 50-year-old FLOTUS stopped by On Air With Ryan Seacrest on Thursday, Jan. 30, in honor of the four-year anniversary of her Let s Move campaign, where she also shared secrets about her personal life, including her own exercise regime (how does she get those enviable biceps?!), her Valentine s Day plans with her hubby of 21 years and how she and Barack are approaching the subject of daughter s Sasha and Malia s dating life. First up, Mrs. Obama isn t just the face behind her Let s Move campaign, she also practices what she preaches and e
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Malik Yoba: Actor and activist talks new play and pledge to help ‘empower young people’

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Gabby Douglas: ‘Beyoncé inspired me to not quit gymnastics’

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After snow, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia gov play blame game

When the snow started falling Tuesday and cars lined up on the highways, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed were at an awards luncheon, smiling and back-slapping each other as the Republican governor introduced the Democratic mayor, who was named a local magazine s Georgian of the Year. Just 40 minutes earlier, the mayor declared via Twitter: Atlanta, we are ready for the snow. Within hours, the metropolitan area was in gridlock with tens of thousands of people, including some children on school buses, stranded on icy, wreck-strewn roads. Two days later, the ice was thawing, the children were home and abandoned vehicles were being reclaimed, yet Deal and Reed have scrambled to explain how it all happened after the National Weather Service — despite the governor s claims to the contrary — clearly warned of a dangerous scenario. Both men have played the blame game delicately, perhaps knowing political futures are sometimes made or squashed by storm preparations an
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NYC Food Bank president calls new farm bill ‘terrible’

The five-year farm bill recently passed by the Republican-led House makes some severe cuts to the SNAP a.k.a. food stamp program. The controversial legislation is expected to be signed by President Obama if it makes it through the Senate. Margarette Purvis, CEO and president of the Food Bank for New York City, appeared on MSNBC yesterday and called the bipartisan compromise a terrible deal. We are congratulating our leaders for making a decision and we re not judging them on whether or not it is a good decision, said Purvis who rejects the notion that the widely publicized cuts only amount to 1 percent of the food stamps budget. These families who will be affected will lose half of their monthly allotment for food, she added. So 1 percent is a bit of spin. Watch the video above to learn the rest of Purvis perspective on the farm bill.
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Janet Hubert: ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reunion should happen in honor of James Avery

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Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ 10 years later: ‘Nipplegate’ incident seems silly now

It’s been 10 years since Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl during a halftime performance with Justin Timberlake and as much as things have changed, many things have stayed the same. Before getting to that, let’s recap what happened. The famed singer and actress from the legendary Jackson clan was on stage performing an upbeat track called “Rock Your Body” from Timberlake’s debut solo album. Timberlake sang the final line of the song, “Better have you naked by the end of this song” and ripped off the right side of Jackson’s bustier. But instead of revealing a sexy bra underneath, America got a glimpse of Jackson’s bare breast, adorned only with a nipple ring. Jackson quickly covered her breast and the lights went out to mark the end of the performance, so Janet Jackson’s chest was only on the screen for less than a second, but that was enough to cause a major media firestorm. Michael Powell, son of former Secretary of State Coli
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Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed risks permanent damage to reputation with snowstorm handling

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed hasn’t had a good week. The 44-year-old has been battling criticism over the city’s response to a storm that dropped just inches of snow on Tuesday. Within hours of the winter storm, motorists (not just in Atlanta but also across Georgia) endured epic traffic jams, long commutes on ice-covered roads and for thousands no way of getting home. The paralyzing traffic was exacerbated by the closure of businesses, government offices and the early release of public schools, with parents hitting the roads all at the same time to collect children. For many the question is how Atlanta, a major business hub with world’s busiest airport, could be so unprepared despite assurances that officials had learned lessons from a 2011 ice storm that brought the city to a standstill. “I think it is incredulous that state and local leaders would say that the weather was unexpected,” says Sidmel Estes, a veteran journalist and adjunct professor at Clark Atlanta University.
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Rutgers University offers course studying Beyoncé

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Beyoncé is one of the world s most scrutinized pop stars, and now that study is moving to academia. The Department of Women s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University is offering a course called Politicizing Beyoncé. Kevin Allred, a doctoral student who is teaching the class, tells the university s online news site that he is using Beyoncé s career as a way to explore American race, gender and sexual politics. The class supplements an analysis of Beyoncé s videos and lyrics with readings from Black feminists. Allred says he s seeking to help students think more critically about media consumption. Rutgers also has a class examining the theology of Bruce Springsteen s lyrics. Georgetown University has a class called The Sociology of Hip-Hop: The Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z, focusing on Beyoncé s rapper husband. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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NYC mayor Bill de Blasio delivers on campaign promise, drops stop-and-frisk appeal

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City s new mayor on Thursday delivered on his promise to reform stop-and-frisk police tactics, requesting to drop an appeal of a federal judge s order requiring reforms and reaching a deal that was praised by those who sued the city over discrimination claims. Lawyers for Mayor Bill de Blasio asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court to send an appeal to the lower court for the purpose of exploring a full resolution. The City of New York will officially drop its reform in this case, de Blasio said. This will be one city where everyone rises together, where everyone s rights are protected. Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented plaintiffs in the court actions, said the deal calls for a monitor to oversee reforms for three years. The monitor will oversee a process in which those communities most affected by the stop-and-frisk tactics will provide input into reforms. Today is the beginning of a long-overdue process: the reform of the NYP
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Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead with syringe in his arm

NEW YORK (AP) — Law enforcement officials say Philip Seymour Hoffman was found with a syringe in his arm and a drug overdose is suspected as his cause of death. The two officials spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about evidence found at the scene. The officials say glassine envelopes they suspect contained heroin were also found in Hoffman s New York City apartment. Those items are being tested. They say Hoffman s body was discovered by two people: a friend who called police and his assistant. He won an Academy Award for best actor in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in Capote. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Misty Copeland, Plaxico Burress and other stars flock to pre-Super Bowl events

New York doesn’t have a team in the Super Bowl this year and the game itself is being played in New Jersey, but the big game has made a huge impact on the social scene of the city that never sleeps. Any given night on the days leading up to the Super Bowl are filled with multiple event and party options, some featuring today’s top athletes. Under Armour, an athletic apparel manufacturer, kicked off its four-day take over of Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall with a special presentation by the company’s CEO Kevin Plank and appearances by brand ambassadors American Ballet Theatre ballerina Misty Copeland, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and MMA fighter Georges St. Pierre. “I never thought I’d be saying this, but it’s my pleasure to introduce Under Armour’s first ballerina, Misty Copeland,” said Plank as he introduced Copeland and gave her a hug. Not to be left out, Newton quickly got in on the hugging action too. “I want a hug!” he exclaimed as he pla
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President Obama: Michelle ‘still thinks I’m pretty cute’ with gray hair

TODAY The first lady loves her silver fox. In a Google Hangout on Friday dubbed A Virtual Road Trip with President Obama, the president took a question about how presidents age more rapidly than the average population, and acknowledged that even though he is sporting more salt than pepper in his hair these days, his wife Michelle is a fan. When it was his turn to talk to the president, Rob Page from Portland, Maine brought up an article he d read about how presidents age extremely — a lot faster than any person in the world ages, earning a laugh from Obama. And you, my friend, are looking particularly distinguished. I mean that in the nicest way possible, Page continued. How are you? How is life treating you? Are you happy? Is everything good with you? You know, I am pretty happy, Obama replied with a smile. The main reason is because I ve got this amazing wife and two unbelievably terrific daughters who are growing up a little fast and I don t see them as much as I d like because
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Anna Gordy Gaye, Marvin Gaye’s ex-wife, dies at 92

DETROIT (AP) — Anna Gordy Gaye, who was married to musical great Marvin Gaye and whose brother founded Motown Records, has died, her family said. She was 92. A statement released by the family said Gordy Gaye died early Friday morning at her Los Angeles home while surrounded by family, including her son, Marvin Gaye III. Her brother, Berry Gordy, founded Motown Records in Detroit with a family loan in 1959. He named one label subsidiary after his sister — and it was on that subsidiary, named Anna, that Marvin Gaye recorded his early work. He and Gordy Gaye were married about a decade and co-wrote some songs together before they divorced in 1976. She received $600,000 in royalties from him, while Marvin Gaye used it as inspiration for Here My Dear, a 71-minute musical recount of the breakup. He and his second wife married in 1977 but divorced four years later. He died in 1984, during a violent argument with his father. Gordy Gaye s sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, proceeded her in dea
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Lawyer: Evidence contradicts Chris Christie on ‘Bridge-gate’

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A former loyalist of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who oversaw lane closings near the George Washington Bridge says there is evidence that contradicts what Christie said about the shutdown during a two-hour news conference three weeks ago. In a letter Friday, David Wildstein s lawyer says his client contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some. Attorney Alan Zegas also says evidence exists that suggests the governor knew about the closures as they happened in September. Christie has given a series of statements about when he learned of the lane closures but has denied knowing of any political motive until early January. Wildstein was Christie s No. 2 man at the agency that runs the bridge. He has since resigned. Zegas and Christie s office did not immediately return messages. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten o
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Is Vin Diesel’s Beyoncé tribute a ‘guy code’ violation?

Vin Diesel is more than an action star. A recent video suggests he might also be a KatyCat and member of the Beyhive. But will a little pop karaoke and choreography hurt the actor’s tough guy image? Diesel has an active social media life. The actor often updates his fans via Facebook, which he has dubbed his VinBook, and Twitter. But no update caused as much of a stir as a seven-minute video he posted Tuesday. It starts slow. Diesel is standing in a room, seemingly recording from a webcam and singing along and dancing to Katy Perry s Dark Horse. Then he makes an announcement to his fans. Guys, I m just, I m excited, I m happy and calling you guys or shouting out to you guys to say thank you, Diesel says. Universal just called me and told me that Riddick is number one on the DVD charts. There s no way in the world Riddick would have been made without you guys and it s a win for all of us, and really, really, really, thank you so much. Yeah, I m excited. And, of course, Universal is a
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New Orleans mayor’s race: Murder down, woes remain

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Gunfire one Mardi Gras weekend on boozy Bourbon Street, a mass shooting at a neighborhood jazz parade that wounded 19 and the gunshot deaths of three children in 2013 nearly overshadowed a promising statistic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu touts as he seeks re-election Saturday: the city s murder rate dropped last year. And it s down nearly 20 percent. The 155 homicides notched in 2013 are down from 193 the prior year and the lowest since 152 in 1985, a span in which the murder toll sometimes exceeded 400 killings a year, a lingering blot on the image of this tourism-dependent city on the Mississippi River. Still, the violence stubbornly continues — there were at least seven killings in January — and Landrieu is left trying to strike a balance in public statements between lauding the progress of his four years in office while acknowledging many in this Southern city still don t feel safe. Crime aside, experts say he s the heavy favorite Saturday against two
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Prince’s ‘New Girl’ performance leaves creator teary eyed

After everyone on New Girl calmed down from the news of Prince — yes, The Purple One — guest starring on the Fox comedy s post Super Bowl episode, it turns out there was still more freaking to be done. In addition to his special appearance on the show he loves, he collaborated on the script, gave feedback on jokes and knew exactly where he d fit in. Prince plays himself in the episode (which means he plays pingpong and kills it) and transforms Jess (Zooey Deschanel) in a way she will never forgot. But first, back to the freaking out: Creator and executive producer Liz Meriwether said she couldn t handle it when he performed a new song during the episode. When the take was over, he was like, Is that OK? and it was so embarrassing. I was kind of crying, Meriwether told TODAY. I was trying to play it off: Yeah, I think that s going to work, but I was totally tearing up. Working with him was truly the most amazing thing that s ever happened to me. I am a big fan of his. Click here to
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Now that de Blasio has kept his promise, what’s next for NYC stop-and-frisk?

When Bill de Blasio tapped William Bratton to be his police commissioner the progressive coalition that vaulted him to the mayor’s office let out a collective sigh. Would Mayor de Blasio’s promise of reforming the unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policies come to fruition once he was in office?  A long time stop and frisk supporter, Bill Bratton’s selection was a sign that maybe the promise to reform stop-and-frisk would be broken. Now Bratton is singing a different tune regarding the policy saying Thursday, “We will not break the law to enforce the law.” These latest signs from the newly inaugurated de Blasio administration are promising. Last November Mayor de Blasio said of stop-and-frisk, “Public safety is a prerequisite for the thriving neighborhoods that create opportunity in this city. So is respect for civil liberties. The two are not mutually exclusive; in fact we must have both.  We must work to promote a real partnership between the best police force in the wor
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Schoolboy Q channels Snoop’s ‘Doggystyle’ on debut

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NY Post columnist blasts Jay Z as ‘poor excuse for a husband’

Jay Z and Beyoncé s latest duet, Drunk in Love , is storming up the pop charts and their performance of the song at this year s Grammy Awards was generally well-received. But it also has had its fair share of haters. Chief among them may be New York Post columnist Naomi Schaefer Riley who has called Jay Z a poor excuse for a husband for blurring the line between what goes on in their bedroom and what happens on national TV. Riley interviewed Charlotte Hays, author of When Did White Trash Become the New Normal?, for her column and the writer also eviscerates the celebrity couple for calling attention to their foreplay. “It wasn’t surprising to see Jay Z, looking pleased at his wife’s hyper-sexualized exhibition on stage.” said Hays, who points out that the Empire State of Mind rapper has made a living singing lyrics that call women ‘bitches’ and ‘hos,’ so we shouldn’t be surprised that he objectified his own wife on stage.” For her part, Riley mocks the recent fem
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US economy grew at 3.2 percent rate in Q4

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014. The fourth-quarter increase followed a 4.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter, when the economy benefited from a buildup in business stockpiles. For 2013 as a whole, the economy grew a tepid 1.9 percent, weaker than the 2.8 percent increase in 2012, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Growth was held back last year by higher taxes and federal spending cuts. With that drag diminished, many economists think growth could top 3 percent in 2014. That would be the best performance since the recession ended in mid-2009. The expansion in the final three months of 2013 was fueled by a 3.3 percent growth rate in consumer spending, a significant acceleration from 2 percent spending growth in the third quarter. It was the best spending pace since the fourth quarter of 2010. Consumer
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