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Pitbull to speak at United Nations about global water crisis

Grammy Award-winning rapper Pitbull is heading to the United Nations to discuss the global water crisis on World Water Day.

The organization Clean Water Here announced on Monday that the international pop star will be named Clean Water Here Ambassador on March 22, when he visits the U.N. in New York City.

Pitbull also will receive the 2018 World Water Champion Award for his global humanitarian efforts. He is leading the celebrity-driven social media campaign dubbed "Clean Water Here Cause Flash," in hopes of raising awareness of the water crisis. Other participants include Bruno Mars, Pink, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, Monica and Juanes.

On March 22, U.N. General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak will launch a 10-year plan focused on sustainable development of water resources.

Dior men's designer Kris Van Assche departs after 11 years

Christian Dior announced Monday that long-time menswear designer Kris Van Assche would leave the Parisian fashion house and be succeeded by former Louis Vuitton designer Kim Jones.

Van Assche, a 41-year-old Belgian, whose minimalist, urban aesthetic has garnered praise during his 11-year tenure at Dior, is one of Paris fashion's most recognizable faces. Van Assche said he was leaving with his "mind and heart filled with experiences" to "pursue new challenges."

After he shuttered his smaller eponymous label in 2015 amid challenging market conditions, Dior was his main occupation.

Dior parent company LVMH Group said that Van Assche would remain in the group and his future role would be announced later.

In a separate statement, Dior announced that Jones, a British designer, will replace him in the high-profile role that's one of the fashion industry's most coveted.

Jones, 44, was formerly menswear designer at Louis Vuitton, also of LVMH, and held his celebrity-filled swan song in January alongside models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

Jim Carrey criticized for portrait believed to be Sanders

Jim Carrey is being criticized on social media for a portrait he painted that is believed to be White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The actor and comedian on Saturday tweeted the painting with the caption: "This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked. Monstrous!"

Some Twitter users accused Carrey of shaming because of the unflattering portrait. Others were critical of his use of Christian.

A spokeswoman for Carrey confirms it is his painting. But she would not confirm it is Sanders.

The White House has not returned a message seeking comment.

Blue Ivy Carter, Tyler Perry get into $20K bidding war over painting at art auction

Blue Ivy Carter may only be 6 years old, but she's already an art connoisseur.

According to USA Today, the daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z got into a high-priced bidding war with media mogul Tyler Perry on Saturday at the Wearable Art Gala in Los Angeles. 

>> Read more trending news 

Blue Ivy reportedly bid $17,000 on a piece, described by E! as "an acrylic painting of a young Sidney Poitier," before Perry fired back with an $18,000 offer. Not one to be outdone, Blue Ivy bid $19,000 "as Jay-Z jokingly tried to take her arm down," according to USA Today. Perry ended up paying $20,000 for the painting.

>> Click here to watch

Beyoncé's mother, Tina Knowles, and her husband, Richard Lawson, organized the gala.

Read more here or here.

After 2017 election, US poised to fight fake news - in Kenya

Just ahead of Kenya's disputed 2017 election, video clips started spreading on social media of a slick-looking CNN broadcast asserting that President Uhuru Kenyatta had pulled far ahead in the polls. But the CNN broadcast was fake, splicing together real coverage from CNN Philippines with other footage with the network's iconic red logo superimposed in the corner.

It happened with a BBC video, too, and with a photo purportedly of Kenyan security forces killing protesters that was actually from Tanzania, and with thousands of spurious blog posts and other false reports that flooded the popular messaging app WhatsApp, fueling further divisions and turmoil in an election that morphed into a major political crisis.

So the U.S. government is gearing up to fight fake news — not at home, where it's the subject of heated debate following the 2016 presidential campaign, but in Kenya, where America has sought to nurture a vibrant but volatile African democracy.

"Information is, of course, power, and frankly, fake news is a real danger," U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said in an interview, adding that it had eroded confidence in Kenya's real news media. "It's being weaponized. It's undermining democracy in Kenya."

Godec kicked off the awareness campaign this past week with an email to the 47,000 members of the State Department's Young African Leaders Initiative asking them to pledge to prevent the spread of fake media by pausing to verify the source and validity before passing information along to others through social media. For a while this week, the hashtag #StopReflectVerify was the No. 2 trending hashtag on Twitter in Kenya, where the U.S. Embassy pushed it to its 256,000 followers.

In addition to offering resources for discriminating between fact and fake, the campaign involves three-day training sessions for public affairs officials in Kenya's counties, encouraging local governments to be more responsive and forthcoming so that journalists on deadline can fact-check information they hear. Though it's starting in Kenya, the program is expected to expand, with an Africa-wide international fact-checking day and a global, virtual event on World Press Freedom Day in May anchored out of Nairobi.

The focus on fighting fake news in Kenya stands in contrast to what's happening in the United States, where President Donald Trump uses the term to denigrate credible news outlets that publish critical coverage about him or his Republican administration. Trump has also continually downplayed the role that false information from illegitimate sources may have played in affecting the outcome of the election. Last month, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians accused of using a network of fake social media accounts and targeted political messages to stir up turmoil in the 2016 race.

The campaign also comes as the U.S. has been warning Kenya's government about worrisome restrictions on the legitimate news media. The group Human Rights Watch has said Kenyan officials try to stop critical coverage by threatening, intimidating and harassing journalists. The United States was particularly concerned in February when Kenya shut down major broadcasters after opposition leader Raila Odinga held a mock inauguration on television.

In Kenya, the fake news problem has also raised fears about violence being stoked by false facts that often mushroom on social media before they can be stopped.

At election time, a fake but realistic-looking U.S. diplomatic cable circulated that appeared to show embassy officials predicting instability, celebratory violence, "severe unrest and a massive breakdown of law and order" if Odinga were to defeat Kenyatta in the election. The U.S. embassy quickly tweeted its own version of the cable with the word "FAKE" slapped across it in bold red font.

Yet there are risks for the U.S. in appearing to tell people what to believe, say or not say in Kenya, a former British colony. So the embassy is taking pains to show it is a locally driven operation, partnering with groups like AfricaCheck, a fact-checking website similar to the U.S. site

"We're not asking them to believe any particular thing," Godec said. "We're just saying, don't take everything you see on your phone via WhatsApp as the truth because it may not be."


Reach Josh Lederman at http:/

Boston Marathon giving runners access to elite racers' music

The Boston Marathon is giving runners who use music as motivation free access to elite competitors' playlists and tips.

John Hancock, which sponsors the marathon, says it's teamed up with Spotify to let participants in next month's race listen to champion runners' favorite music.

Elite athletes contributing tracks to the project include four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, who holds the American women's record on the Boston course; 2014 winner Meb Keflezighi; and Tatyana McFadden, a Paralympics gold medalist and four-time Boston Marathon champion.

Along with the music, athletes have recorded advice designed to help runners make it to the finish line.

Runners can compile a custom playlist of music that most closely matches their pace and running style.

The 122nd Boston Marathon is April 16.


This story has been corrected to show the spelling is Meb Keflezighi, not Keflizighi.

After broken hand, Flight of the Conchords tour postponed

The music comedy group Flight of the Conchords has postponed a series of tour dates after Bret McKenzie injured his hand in what he called a "very rock 'n' roll injury — falling down some stairs."

In a statement posted on the band's website on Sunday, McKenzie said the upcoming United Kingdom tour of the Flight of the Conchords would be rescheduled after he broke two bones in his hand. McKenzie says he will be prevented from performing for several weeks.

The group's 13 U.K. performances were to begin on Sunday in London.

McKenzie and Jemaine Clement recently reunited for a series of North American shows. Their HBO series ran from 2007 to 2009.

Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall during Tampa show

A Cirque du Soleil acrobat who fell during a Saturday performance in Tampa, Florida, died from his injuries, a hospital spokeswoman told WTSP on Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

According to a video viewed by WTSP and The Tampa Bay Times, the aerial acrobat lost his grip on a ribbon strap during the company’s “Volta” show and fell 10 feet to the stage below.

A spokesman for Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group identified the performer as Yann Arnaud, a longtime aerialist, WFLA reported.

The show was stopped, and Arnaud was taken to Tampa General Hospital. He died from his injuries, spokeswoman Ellen Fiss told WTSP. 

The two performances scheduled for Sunday were canceled, the company in charge of publicizing the show said in a statement.

"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him," company CEO Daniel Lamarre said. "Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on supporting Yann’s family and our employees, especially the ‘Volta’ team, as we go through these difficult times together."

Arnuad’s death is the second performer fatality in Cirque du Soleil's history, WTSP reported. According to the BBC, Sarah Guillot-Guyard, 31, died during a 2013 show in Las Vegas when she fell 94 feet to the floor when a safety wire detached.

Olivier Rochette, a 43-year-old technician, died in 2016 while setting up for a performance.

'Black Panther' tops box office for 5th straight weekend

Not since "Avatar" has a box-office hit had the kind of staying power of "Black Panther." Ryan Coogler's comic-book sensation on Sunday became the first film since James Cameron's 2009 smash to top the weekend box office five straight weekends.

The Disney release grossed $27 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates, pushing its domestic haul to $605.4 million. Worldwide, "Black Panther" has grossed more than $1.1 billion.

Though "Black Panther" has had little competition to contend with throughout February and March, such consistency is especially rare in today's movie-going world. Before "Avatar," the last film to do it was 1999's "The Sixth Sense."

That left second place to the MGM-Warner Bros.' rebooted "Tomb Raider," starring Alicia Vikander as the archaeologist adventurer Lara Croft. The $90 million film opened with $23.5 million, largely failing to stir much excitement among moviegoers. Critics gave it mediocre reviews (49 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and ticket-buyers responded with a "meh," giving it a B CinemaScore.

With Vikander stepping in for Angelina Jolie, Roar Uthaug's "Tomb Raider" is an attempt to rekindle a video game-adapted franchise that faded quickly the first time around. The 2001 original opened $47.7 million and grossed $274.7 million worldwide, but the big-budget 2003 sequel flopped, opening with $21.8 million domestically and grossing $156.5 million worldwide.

Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros., said "Tomb Raider" came close to studio expectations in North America but that international ticket sales were a primary focus. "Tomb Raider" was no. 1 overseas, grossing $84.5 million, including a $41.1 million in China.

"International was always a key part of the strategy," Goldstein said.

Of course, the continuing success of "Black Panther" also didn't help "Tomb Raider." When release dates were being set a year ago, few could have foreseen "Black Panther" no. 1 five weeks in. "How could you?" Goldstein said.

"Black Panther" has shown considerably fewer legs in China, however. Though it has grossed $96 million in two weeks of release in China, "Black Panther" slid steeply in its second weekend.

Yet last week, "Black Panther" even bested Disney's own "A Wrinkle in Time," Ava DuVernay's adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel of the same name. In its second week, "A Wrinkle in Time" dropped 50 percent with $16.6 million in ticket sales.

The surprise of the weekend was the Lionsgate-Roadside Attractions Christian drama "I Can Only Imagine," which grossed $17.1 million on 1,629 screens — less than half the number that "Black Panther," ''Tomb Raider" and "A Winkle in Time" played on. The film, which co-stars Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman, cost only $7 million to make. It stars J. Michael Finley as the singer behind one of the most popular Christian songs, by the band MercyMe.

"I Can Only Imagine" doubled expectations by sticking to the typical tactic of "faith-based" releases with a grassroots marketing effort that focused on Southern, Southwestern and suburban moviegoers. Eighty percent of the audience was over 35.

It's the biggest opening weekend ever for Roadside Attractions, the 15-year-old indie distributor whose previous titles include "Mud" and "Manchester by the Sea."

"We did really work the film. Starting with the beginning of October, we were screening the film for faith-based influencers," said Roadside co-founder Howard Cohen. "So it had a really classic playbook for these type of movies. But a lot of movies do it and it doesn't work as well."

Playing to a virtually opposite audience was 20th Century Fox's "Love, Simon," the first film from a major Hollywood studio featuring a gay teen protagonist. Whereas "I Can Only Imagine" catered to the suburbs, "Love, Simon" thrived mainly in urban areas.

Greg Berlanti's film, adapted from the best-selling young-adult novel "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda," stars Nick Robinson as a gay 17-year-old who has yet to come out when another closeted boy from his high school begins an anonymous e-mail romance. The film garnered strong reviews (91 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences agreed, giving it an A-plus CinemaScore.

"I feel good that we released this film. I feel great that we had the kind of exit polls that we did," said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Fox. "I think audiences are going to continue to find this jewel of a film that Greg Berlanti created."

Fox Searchlight's Oscar winner "The Shape of Water" also launched in China this weekend with $10.4 million following its best-picture win. The biggest post-Oscars boost has been overseas, where "The Shape of Water" grossed $17 million over the weekend.

According to comScore, the weekend was down 50 percent from the same weekend in 2017 when Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" opened with a record-breaking $174.8 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final three-day domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Black Panther," $27 million ($30 million international).

2. "Tomb Raider," $23.5 million ($84.5 million international).

3. "I Can Only Imagine," $17.1 million ($195,000 international).

4. "A Wrinkle in Time," $16.6 million ($3.2 million international).

5. "Love, Simon," $11.5 million.

6. "Game Night," $5.6 million ($3.7 million international).

7. "Peter Rabbit," $5.2 million ($14.5 million international).

8. "Strangers: Prey at Night," $4.8 million.

9. "Red Sparrow," $4.5 million ($8.9 million international).

10. "Death Wish," $3.4 million ($1.3 million international).


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Tomb Raider," $84.5 million.

2. "Black Panther," $30 million.

3. "The Shape of Water," $17 million.

4. "Peter Rabbit," $14.5 million.

5. "Operation Red Sea," $11.7 million.

6. "Red Sparrow," $8.9 million.

7. "Coco," $6.5 million.

8. "Amazing China," $6.1 million.

9. "Now I Will Meet You," $5.9 million.

10. "Bajrangi Bhaijaan," $4.8 million.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

Egypt censors play 'Before the Revolution,' director appeals

Egypt's state censors prohibited the performance of a play just hours before its Sunday premiere in Cairo, the latest episode in authorities' unrelenting crackdown on free speech.

Director Ahmed El Attar cancelled the Sunday and Monday showings of Before The Revolution, a two-actor piece that depicts feelings of oppression and stagnation in Egypt before its 2011 popular uprising, saying that to remove five scenes as required by the censors heavily distorted the piece.

The play, which had been set to show in a 100-seat theatre for six nights, is part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, the biggest arts event in Cairo's city center, supported mostly by foreign cultural institutes and embassies as well as UNESCO.

"The director and playwright El Attar saw that removing five scenes has a negative and strong impact on the dramatic construction and the work of art, draining its artistic and literary content," organizers said in a statement.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the 2013 overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president, has waged a massive crackdown on dissent and free speech, and authorities have ratcheted up pressure ahead of an upcoming election he is set to win virtually unchallenged.

After all potentially serious competitors were arrested or intimidated out of the race, on March 26-28 Egyptians will vote either for el-Sissi or a little-known politician who supports him and has not campaigned. Posters of el-Sissi look down over most major thoroughfares across the country.

Meanwhile, authorities have taken a hard line against any critical media, arresting several reporters while the country's chief prosecutor described critical journalists as "forces of evil" who "undermine the security and safety of the nation through the broadcast and publication of lies and false news."

Sunday's censoring would be the second time authorities have cracked down on a play ahead of the election — six people were also arrested this month for their involvement in a piece at a Cairo sports club seen as insulting to security forces because it referenced a controversial police figure who had killed Israeli tourists in 1985.

El Attar, who is also the art festival's general manager and artistic director, has appealed for a second censorship committee to watch the show on March 19th, hopefully allowing it to be shown without the proposed cuts.

The playwright's social satire has been appreciated in Europe, most recently with 2014's The Last Supper, a critique of Egypt's Cairo elite and a class-led patriarchy that was well received at theatre festivals.

In Before The Revolution, El Attar says that while he found it too early to address artistically the events of 2011, he hoped to examine some of the conditions that led to the revolt that overthrew Egypt's long-term autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

"I want to convey the emotions of the period," he told The Associated Press in an interview last week. "I think it was a rough period, it was a time when it was all suppression and defeat, I mean it was hard. So I want (the audience) to feel that."


Follow Brian Rohan on Twitter at :


Associated Press writer Maggie Hyde contributed to this report.

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