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Showing posts from August, 2011

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Spencer Neville as featured on Marked Sky.

Porn filmmaking shut down after performer tests HIV positive

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An adult film performer has tested HIV positive, prompting a temporary shutdown of adult film productions across Los Angeles this week until further testing can confirm the results, an industry trade group said.

“Until we know for sure, we’ve asked the industry to have a moratorium on production,” said Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based porn industry trade group.

Duke’s group became aware of the possible HIV case Saturday, according to a statement released to porn industry media. Duke would not say how her group learned about the possible HIV case.

She said she notified adult film production companies across the San Fernando Valley on Monday morning that a performer had tested positive and urged them to temporarily halt productions until further tests were completed.

Duke said company officials she spoke with -- including those at well-known studios, such as Hustler and Evil Angel -- agreed to the temporary shutdown.

Duke said she could no…

U.S. moves to block AT&T merger with T-Mobile

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Reuters reports: The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit to prevent AT&T from acquiring one of the nation's other major mobile service providers, T-Mobile.

AT&T and T-Mobile are two of the four providers -- Sprint and Verizon being the others -- that control more than 90% of the market. The DOJ statement says that the acquisition would "substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless telecommunications services across the United States, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for the millions of American consumers who rely on mobile wireless services in their everyday lives." [Ed. note: here! here!]

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Washington D.C.

AT&T announced in March that it planned to purchase T-Mobile from Deustche Telekom for $39 billion in cash and stocks, a deal that would give it 130 million subscribers and push it past Verizon as the nation's to…

The Funnies

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Syrian forces beat up political cartoonist Ali Ferzat

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Syrian forces beat up a prominent Syrian political cartoonist and left him bleeding on the side of a road, in the latest episode of a campaign to quash dissent against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Ali Ferzat, 60, is one of the Arab world's most famous cultural figures, and his drawings have pushed at the boundaries of freedom of expression in Syria.

The attack on Ferzat came as the Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called for a dialogue between Assad and the opposition to bring a peaceful end to the protests.

Working from a gallery in central Damascus, Ferzat has long criticised the bureaucracy and corruption of the Syrian and other Arab regimes – earning him a death threat from former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Since March he has turned to depicting the uprising.

Last week, in the early hours of Thursday morning, masked men seized Ferzat from the street and forced him in to a van. A relative has said that Ferzat's attackers targeted his hands, breaking the…

Taylor Lautner for VMan

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Photographed by Steven Klein and styled by Nicola Formichetti for the new issue of VMan.

In an interview with Elliott David, Lautner weighs the gravity of an adolescence spent filming and promoting the blockbuster vampire franchise. “I go to a beautiful city, spend the whole time in a hotel room, then I’m back on a plane to the next place,” he says.

Malaysia's first openly gay pastor to marry

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Malaysia's first openly gay pastor has chosen today to get married to his American partner in New York, barely a month after same-sex marriage became legalized there. Today also marks Malaysia's Independence Day.

"It means a lot to be married [today], to honor my country and people in Malaysia," said Rev. Boon Lin Ngeo (right), who also goes by his pen name O.Young or Ouyang Wen Feng, in a telephone call from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia's Sabah state, during a visit there last week.

He said the date was chosen to remind others that "we need to keep fighting for our rights and be independent from all kinds of oppression."

The two plan to make it legal at New York's City Hall at noon with the actual wedding ceremony on another date. A Chinese-Malaysian, Ngeo also plans a Chinese wedding banquet in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur next year for family and friends.

In Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation, sodomy and "carnal inter…

Dan Choi testifies on White House DADT protest

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Dan Choi, who was arrested outside the White House for protesting the government's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, testified at his trial yesterday that he was proud and willing to go to jail.

Choi is accused in federal court of ignoring police orders to vacate an area in front of the White House after he handcuffed himself to the fence outside the landmark building during a protest last November. He told the court he believed in his cause and drew inspiration from the civil rights movement decades ago.

"The right to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves is more than a privilege," said Choi, his voice rising with emotion during a cross-examination that turned confrontational at times. "It's a moral responsibility and I take that seriously."

Choi said he could not recall details of his arrest, but likened the scene to a "combat zone" and recalled being struck by what he considered to be a…

Daryl Hannah arrested at protest

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CNN reports: Actress Daryl Hannah was arrested yesterday during a sit-in in front of the White House protesting a pipeline expansion project that would significantly increase the amount of oil the United States imports from Canada's controversial Alberta oil sands.

The "Splash" actress was among more than 100 people arrested at the demonstration, according to the group that organized the protest.

"We stand here today to just say no to slavery, to just say no to tar, sands, oil, and no to the Keystone pipeline," Hannah said before her arrest.

The State Department is set to issue what could be a final ruling to allow a massive new pipeline expansion from central Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. A decision is expected by the end of the year, State Department spokeswoman Heide Fulton said at a briefing last month.

Known as Keystone, the project is an expansion of an existing pipeline that now terminates in Oklahoma. Stretching over 1,600 miles -- twice the length of …

Janet Jackson says no to Michael tribute

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Janet Jackson joined brothers Jermaine and Randy yesterday in opposing the October tribute concert for Michael Jackson because it takes place during the trial of the doctor charged in their brother's death.

While Janet Jackson stopped short of criticizing the promoters or other members of her family who support the tribute, she did put to rest any rumors that she would perform in it.

"Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me," she said in a statement sent to CNN by her representative.

Promoters had held out hope that Janet Jackson, who currently has the most vibrant career of the musical family, would attend Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert, set for a 75,000-seat arena in Cardiff, Wales, on October 8th.

The biggest name on the concert bill is Beyonce, although she will not perform live. Instead, the audience will watch a video of Beyonce singing a Michael Jackson song.

Ne-Yo, Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Smokey…

Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel

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A couple of more shots can be seen at Towleroad.

The Earth and the Moon from 6 million miles away

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Yesterday, NASA posted the first photograph taken by the Juno spacecraft, on August 26.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory writes:
"This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special perspective of our role and place in the universe. We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves."

The image was taken by the spacecraft's camera, JunoCam, on Aug. 26 when the spacecraft was about 6 million miles (9.66 million kilometers) away. The image was taken as part of the mission team's checkout of the Juno spacecraft. The team is conducting its initial.

Smithsonian plans exhibition on Jefferson and slavery

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ArtsBeat reports: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture won’t open until 2015, but it is already mounting exhibitions. Yesterday, the museum announced an exhibition on Thomas Jefferson and slavery, organized with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello.

The exhibition, which will examine the lives of six slave families at Monticello, will open Jan. 27, 2012, in a gallery at the National Museum of American History. It will include artifacts in the Smithsonian’s collection, including a lapdesk that Jefferson used to write the Declaration of Independence, as well as objects that have been discovered through excavations at Monticello like marbles, tools, a brass shoe buckle and a bone toothbrush.

The exhibition will also discuss evidence suggesting that Jefferson fathered children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.

Jefferson’s world view was shaped by owning slaves, said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director, who noted that in an early dr…

The month that changed tech forever

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CNN Money reports: While an earthquake and a hurricane slammed the East Coast in August, the West Coast endured a different kind of turmoil.

Within a 10-day span this past month, Google reinvented itself as a hardware company, Hewlett-Packard moved to ditch PCs and become a software company, and Apple lost its iconic CEO.

The three Silicon Valley Goliaths now face transitions that will reshape the technology landscape.

First came Google, announcing on Aug. 15 that it would be acquiring Motorola Mobility. The company has long touted the benefits of open-source software, yet here it was threatening its smartphone partners by buying a handset manufacturer. Pending regulatory approval, Google will begin making its own devices, just like Apple and Research In Motion do -- the companies Google eclipsed with its Android operating system.

HP is the nation's biggest technology company and the world's largest personal computer maker, but it announced Aug. 18 that it is seeking to spin o…

News roundup

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--> Environmental news: As many people in the path of Tropical Storm Irene struggled to recover, floodwaters continued to rise on Tuesday in New Jersey and Connecticut, forcing thousands of evacuations, even two days after the storm swept through the region.

Flooding from rivers and inland streams swallowed up homes and turned neighborhoods into swamps, and widespread power failures were expected to last through the weekend, if not longer. Clean running water was unavailable in some parts of New Jersey.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey visited his state’s northern suburbs, where the swollen Passaic River had caused extensive flooding and damage. The river crested on Tuesday at 14.2 feet, its second-highest level on record. More at the NYT.

--> In related weather news: Tropical Storm Katia is gaining strength as it moved quickly across the Atlantic today and could become a hurricane later in the day.

At 5:00 a.m. ET, Katia was located about 985 miles west of the southern Cape Ve…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Ryan Terry as featured on Red Meat.

Gay college students using ‘Sugar Daddies' to pay off loan debt

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The Huffington Post reports on the chillingly stark reality many kids my age are facing. And on a day where I myself had to shell out some well-earned doh, I sympathize:

Three years ago, Kirk began turning tricks in order to pay for school.

“Once and for all, I just wanted her to understand what the expense of NYU was really costing some of us,” says Kirk, now 23, who graduated a little more than a year ago with a degree in theater and film. “I felt like telling her: You really have no idea what some of us do in order to stay here."

And the escort work didn’t end when Kirk left NYU. He has continued selling his wares on what he describes as “virtual street corners" -- websites where young gay men seek out the companionship of wealthy older suitors.

Kirk is hardly alone in his decision to sell sex in order to pay for school. Late last month, The Huffington Post chronicled the uptick of debt-strapped young women similarly searching online for suitors or wealthy benefactors who…

Batwoman: The allure of the lesbian caped crusader

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Originally introduced in 1956 as a love interest for Batman (whose questionable relationship with Robin had come under heavy fire), Batwoman was a camp character who accompanied the Dark Knight on many adventures before fading into comic book obscurity. When DC Comics dusted off the character in 2006, it reintroduced her as a kick-ass lesbian named Kate Kane, a former member of the U.S military who was romantically linked to Gotham City police detective Rene Montoya. Unfortunately, the comics company received a fair amount of backlash for introducing a high-profile LGBT character and plans for a Batwoman solo series were placed on hold.

Since then Batwoman has grown in popularity among both gay and straight fans alike, with the character making a number of appearances in other titles. She was even the star of a 12-issue run in Detective Comics last year, the same title where Batman made his historic first appearance in 1939.

September 14 will mark another historic achievement for DC w…

Old gay campaign resurrected in Virginia

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A new, yet not so new billboard campaign sponsored by the Gay Community Center of Richmond has gone up. It's a recreation of a 1987 campaign, down to the Cooper Black-style font.

Gay Richmond writes: "Each day tens of thousands of travelers traveling south on Interstate 95 and east on Interstate 64 will see this message of inclusion as they pass the Gay Community Center of Richmond. Perhaps some will learn. Perhaps some will come out. Just as in 1987, Richmond will be reminded that LGBT people are woven into the fabric of the city."

Lawrence King murder discussed as jury continues deliberations in trial of his killer

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Attorney Lisa Bloom, Advocate editor Neal Broverman, and Judy Shepard joined Chris Jacobs to talk about the "gay panic" defense, the atmosphere in the courtroom, and anti-LGBT hate crimes.

(Via Towleroad)

Habanastation to premiere in Miami

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Translated from El Nuevo Herald: Ian Padrón, the director of the Cuban-produced film Habanastation has announced that it will be screened in Miami tonight.

Since it's premiere in Cuba earlier this month, the film has become a national sensation with over 310,000 viewers so far this summer. Stateside, Habanastation won in the Best Fiction Film category at the Traverse City festival in Michigan. The festival is organized by famed documentarian Michael Moore.

em>Habanastation tells the story of 2 boys who attend the same school but come from different families and socio-economic environments. It's title combines the capitol city of Cuba with the latter part of the Play Station game counsel.The film stars Andy Fornaris and Ernesto Escalona as the boys, along with Blanca Rosa Blanco, Luis Alberto García, Miriam Socarrás and y Raúl Pomares.

Padrón said at a press conference that the success of the film stems from the "Cuban people's need to discuss their reality." H…

Classic stars in Venice, Italy

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Dreamy Paul Newman, seen here riding a water taxi in Venice in 1963 with St. Mark's Square in the background, appeared in three films that year, including Hud, A New Kind of Love and The Prize.

More pictures of actors in Venice can be seen here.

Hurricane fallout puts damper on Broadway box office

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As expected, Broadway musicals and plays grossed only $11.6 million last week, a sharp drop from overall tickets sales of $20.1 million during the previous week. This being the result of New York City’s shutdown over Hurricane Irene, which led to the cancellation of typically profitable performances on Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 131,000 people saw Broadway shows before theaters went dark for the storm, compared to about 218,000 the week before.

The box office data, released yesterday afternoon by theater owners and producers through their trade association, the Broadway League, were the best measures of the economic consequences of Irene on the nation’s unofficial theater capital.

All 23 musicals and plays on Broadway were closed after New York officials announced that the city subway and other mass transit would stop running on Saturday. The storm, while severe in swaths of the suburbs and some sections of the city, ended up packing a weaker wallop in the theater district, where ski…

New cast of Dancing With the Stars announced

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The cast of the next season of Dancing with the Stars is quite a menagerie. The 12 celebrities for the 13th season of the hit ABC show include:

The perpetually angry HLN anchor Nancy Grace; resident crazy David Arquette; Ricki Lake; Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy-fame; Some dude from All My Children named J.R. Martinez; the token basketball player: Ron Artest; Rob Kardashian-- a sibling; my girl Chynna Phillips; George Clooney's ex Elisabetta Canalis; U.S. women’s World Cup soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo; Kristin Cavallari of The Hills-fame; and my main man ChazBono.

The new season premieres September 19th.

News roundup

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--> World news: Sixty-six U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan so far this month, making August the deadliest month for American forces in the nearly decade-long war.

Nearly half of the troops killed died on Aug. 6 when the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter in eastern Afghanistan. That was the single deadliest event of the war and sent the monthly total soaring. Most of the 30 American service members were from the same elite Navy SEALs unit that killed Osama bin Laden.

Aside from the 30 killed in the crash in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, 23 died this month in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in southern Afghanistan, the main focus of Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces. The remaining 13 were killed in eastern Afghanistan. (Via CBS News)

--> World news: The wife of fugitive Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, three of his children and some of his grandchildren arrived in Algeria yesterday morning, Algerian diplomats said.

Mourad Benmehidi, the Algerian ambassador to the …

Former flames reunite backstage at the VMAS

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Caption this, and try not to use the word "uncomfortable".

The Funnies

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Pick Me Up of the Day

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Sami Alliot as featured on Homotography.

Cold Star appeals for acceptance of your own & sexual identity of others

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A mesmerizing short about bullying, tolerance and sexuality by German director Kai Stänicke.

(Via One Angry Queer)

A sign of the times

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From HappyPlace.com comes a wonderful collection of funny and effective protest signs supportings gay marriage.

Joe Solmonese leaving as head of HRC

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Towleroad reports: The Human Rights Campaign confirmed rumors on Saturday that Joe Solmonese will leave as head of the organization. Contrary to reports that said he'd be leaving in December, Solmonese will be staying on until his contract expires in March 2012. The press release highlights the accomplishments over his 6-year tenure.

A good many gay intellectuals [Ed. note: myself included] regard the HRC as the Halliburton of gay rights - a cog in the "non-profit industrial complex," monopolizing gay politics by dint of its fabulous piles of money and establishment connections.

Calling for Solmonese's resignation has been a common refrain. In late 2009, he was attacked for urging the LGBT community to be patient with President Obama - to give him the benefit of the doubt until his last day in 2017. Solmonese's resignation was demanded because of this alleged pandering to the political class and his slowness in getting the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't As…

Puerto Rican Republican and Grindr aficionado resigns

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Photo caption: Roberto Arango with former U.S. President Bill Clinton after the unveiling ceremony of a statue of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Capitol building in San Juan, on April 7, 2008.

The AP reports: A Puerto Rico lawmaker has resigned following reports that explicit photos of him surfaced on an iPhone application (Grindr) for gays and bisexuals, the head of the U.S. territory's Senate announced Sunday.

Sen. Roberto Arango, a Republican who represents the capital of San Juan, presented his letter of resignation after a weekend meeting, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said.

Schatz did not release the lawmaker's letter, but said the circumstances that led to the resignation "are very lamentable."

Local news media published photos from the application showing a man's nude upper body with a cellphone obscuring his face (see right). Another photo showed a rear view of a nude man on all fours. Another showed a fuzzy image of a face that se…

Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays say It Gets Better

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The Phillies' video features Roy Halladay, John Mayberry Jr., Chase Utley, Hunter Pence and Mike Stutes.



The Rays' video features Johnny Damon, BJ Upton, Sam Fuld, Joe Maddon, and Sean Rodriguez

(Via Towleroad)

Jon Stewart hosting Nirvana anniversary interview

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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermind,” Jon Stewart will host a Q&A session on Sirius radio with the surviving members of Nirvana.

The two-hour event will take place on September 24, reports the AP.

Nirvana members Dave Grohl (now of the Foo Fighters) and Krist Novoselic, as well as Nevermind producer Butch Vig, will be on-hand to take questions from fans.

Lead singer Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994.

Nevermind sold 10 million units in the U.S. alone, and featured the band’s biggest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

And bust out your ripped flannels, Nirvana fans, because you can enjoy all-Nirvana all the time (well, from September 23 until September 28), on SiriusXM’s channel Nevermind Radio.

New Absolutely Fabulous episodes are coming

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As reported earlier: Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, the foul-mouthed, fashionably wasted ladies portrayed by Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in the comedy series Absolutely Fabulous, will return to television in a series of anniversary specials, the BBC said today.

Created by Ms. Saunders, the original Absolutely FabulousAbfab to its friends – chronicled a public-relations executive (Edina) and a magazine editor (Patsy) whose efforts to remain hip and find sex in the city would leave Carrie Bradshaw utterly appalled. Over five seasons and various specials that were shown in Britain between 1992 and 2004 (and on American television on Comedy Central and Logo), the ladies drank and drugged their way through London and experienced the occasional adverse reaction to eating solid food.

Ms. Saunders told the BBC that production had begun on three new specials that would reunite the Patsy and Edina characters with Edina’s daughter, Saffy (played by Julia Sawalha) and her assistant, Bu…

Happy birthday Lea Michele!

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Miss Lea is 25 today.

Selena Gomez & Taylor Lautner presenting at the VMAs

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[Editor's note] Are these two not the most perfect-looking human beings on the planet? Yes, yes I believe they are.

Regarding the Video Music Awards last night

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Photo caption: Lady Gaga's alter-ego, Jo Calderone.

[Editor's note] I missed most of last night's MTV Video Music Awards's because I was too busy hyperventilating over True Blood. Evidence of this can be read on my Twitter feed. So much happened and so much was set up to happen that I could hardly keep it together during the previews for next week. All I can really say about this is: Pam, with a bazooka, on the next episode!

TB geekdom aside, I managed to see a few choice performances of the VMAs worth discussing. Firstly, Lady Gaga's Jo Calderone's performance of "Yoü and I" was-- to put it in an alliteration-- a monumental musical moment. Everything from the self-deprecating opening monologue, to the enthralling piano playing, to Brian May's cameo, to the dance sequence that topped it all off; this was a career-defining triumph for Lady Gaga. Although I have not been a big fan of the Born This Way album, I have to admit that she's making the…

News roundup

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--> Environmental news: Hurricane Irene leaves its mark on Eastern Seaboard:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
--> In related news: Irene storm damage likely to cost $7 to $13 billion.

--> World news: Rebel fighters gave loyalists in Moammar Gadhafi's hometown until Monday to disarm or face "liberation," an opposition spokesman said. Thousands of rebels gathered Sunday on the outskirts of the fallen dictator's birthplace of Sirte, even as one of Gadhafi's sons offered to negotiate an end to the months-long war.

Gadhafi's forces have been ordered to disarm and allow rebel fighters to enter the city, said Ahmed Bani, a National Transitional Council military spokesman.

The ultimatum follows days of fighting and reports of negotiations between rebels and loyalists to surrender the city, east of Tripoli.

But as rebel fighters moved to quash the last pockets of resistance, evidence emerged Sunday of atrocities alleged…

Dan Aykroyd: Ghostbusters 3 is officially a go

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The Marquee Blog reports: Dan Aykroyd says the hotly-anticipated Ghostbusters 3 will finally start filming this spring. With or without Bill Murray.

“Yes, we will be doing the movie and hopefully with Mr. Murray," Aykroyd told Dennis Miller on his radio show. "That is our hope. We have an excellent script.” But while he admits, “Billy was absolutely the lead and contributed to it in a massive way,” Aykroyd points out, “The concept is much larger than any individual role.”

In the next movie, Aykroyd says, “We get to hand the equipment and the franchise down to new blood."

And speaking of new blood, Ashton Kutcher’s name has been thrown around in relation to a younger squad. <-- Say it isn't so!