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Eat Mediterranean diet for a healthier and younger brain, studies say

(CNN)As we age, our brains naturally shrink and our risk of having a stroke, dementia or Alzheimer's rise, and almost everyone experiences some kind of memory loss.

Scientists know that people who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and keep mentally stimulated generally have healthier brains than people who aren't as careful about diet and exercise.
 
Now, a new study seems to confirm that eating an easy-to-follow Mediterranean diet can have lasting benefits for brain health. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.
For the study, researchers analyzed the diets of about 400 adults, 73 to 76 years old, in Scotland over a three-year period. During this same time, the researchers took MRI scans of the participants to analyze their overall brain volume and thickness of the brain's cortex.
The researchers found that those who closely followed a Mediterranean-like diet were less likely to lose brain volume as they aged, compared with those who didn't follow such a diet.
However, more research is needed to determine an association between a Mediterranean diet and a specific effect on risk for degenerative brain diseases, such as dementia.
A 2015 study from the journal Neurology also suggests that a Mediterranean diet (which includes wine!) may help make your brain about five years younger.
Researchers figured this out by looking at the brains of 674 people with an average age of 80. They asked these elderly people to fill out food surveys about what they ate in the past year, and researchers scanned their brains. The group that ate a Mediterranean diet had heavier brains with more gray and white matter.
"The previous study only measured brain volume at a single time point, whereas we had longitudinal measurements: two measurements three years apart," said Michelle Luciano, a lecturer of psychology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and lead author of the latest study.
"The previous study was therefore not looking at brain volume change over time but differences in brain volumes at a single time point," she said. "We also looked at two components of the diet, meat consumption and fish consumption, and neither of these had an individual effect on brain volume loss. It might be that the diet as a whole is beneficial, and it is the combination of the foods and nutrients that protects against, for example, vascular disease and inflammation, which can cause brain atrophy," or volume loss.
The Mediterranean diet is relatively simple to follow. It involves eating meals made up mostly of plants: vegetables, fruit, beans and cereals. You can eat fish and poultry at least twice a week. You don't have to keep away from carbs; in fact, you should have three servings of those a day, particularly of the whole grain variety.
A glass of wine a day is perfectly fine, too. What you do typically have to limit is the amount of meat, dairy and saturated fat you eat. Cook more with olive oil, as opposed to butter.
In the 2015 study, a higher consumption of fish was associated with keeping your brain young. But if you don't really like fish, scientists at Harvard and Rush University in Chicago created the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets that may be a little bit easier to follow, as it requires you to eat less fish and fruit.
People who ate a diet close to the MIND diet saw a 53% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. Even people who ate the MIND diet "most" (as opposed to "all") of the time saw a 35% reduced chance of developing the disease. This is considered a significant result.
This latest Mediterranean diet research builds on other evidence that the diet is likely the way to go. It has also been shown as a key to helping you live longer. It helps you manage your weight better and can lower your risk for cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Bottom line: you'll likely be physically and mentally healthier long into old age if you stick with this diet.
Source:CNN.com
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07/Jan/2017

Jogging the Brain

The holiday season is a good time for a reminder that alcohol can do bad things to the brain. Studies on animals suggest that it reduces the number of neurons in the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, and weakens mitochondria there. Because mitochondria help produce energy within cells, their impairment can damage or kill brain cells. But two new animal studies offer some succor: Aerobic exercise, it turns out, may meliorate some of the impacts of heavy drinking on the brain.

Both studies were presented earlier this month at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. The first, conducted by physiologists at the University of Louisville, involved adult male mice. Every day for 12 weeks — the equivalent of several human years — groups of mice received either injections of alcohol or salt water. Half the animals in each group were then put through daily treadmill workouts. These exercise sessions were short but intense: roughly two-tenths of a mile run at a strenuous pace.

The second study focused on binge drinking. Researchers from the University of Houston inserted tubes into the stomachs of female rats to provide consistent doses of either alcohol or nonalcoholic liquid every Monday night for 11 weeks. Half the rats in each of these two groups were then kept idle in their cages for the rest of the week, while the other half ran on wheels for up to two hours, three days a week.

In each study, the brains of the rodents that exercised after receiving alcohol were substantially different from those of their sedentary counterparts. The inactive mice had weakened mitochondria in many neurons; the runners had hardy mitochondria. The sedentary rats given alcohol had almost 20 percent fewer neurons in their hippocampi than the control animals. The rats who were made to work out, though, had as many neurons as the controls, even if they were given alcohol.

“It’s well known that running increases neurogenesis” — that is, the creation of new brain cells — according to J.L. Leasure, the associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston who oversaw the rat study. So it seems likely that running stabilized the total number of brain cells in the bingeing rats, she says, even if some neurons died as a side effect of alcohol consumption. Exercise is also known to improve mitochondrial health in the brain.

This does not mean working out is a license to be a lush, Leasure says, adding that alcohol probably has other undesirable effects within the brain that are not countered by exercise. Nor has research shown how much or what types of exercise provide the best protection — or even whether animal studies like these translate to people. There is also your liver to consider, along with other bodily consequences. Still, if you overdo it this holiday season, Leasure says, going for a run is “probably wise.”

Source:NY Times

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26/Nov/2016

Latest News

Eat Mediterranean diet for a healthier and younger brain, studies say

(CNN)As we age, our brains naturally shrink and our risk of having a stroke, dementia or Alzheimer's rise, and almost everyone experiences some kind of memory loss.

Scientists know that people who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and keep mentally stimulated generally have healthier brains than people who aren't as careful about diet and exercise.
 
Now, a new study seems to confirm that eating an easy-to-follow Mediterranean diet can have lasting benefits for brain health. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.
For the study, researchers analyzed the diets of about 400 adults, 73 to 76 years old, in Scotland over a three-year period. During this same time, the researchers took MRI scans of the participants to analyze their overall brain volume and thickness of the brain's cortex.
The researchers found that those who closely followed a Mediterranean-like diet were less likely to lose brain volume as they aged, compared with those who didn't follow such a diet.
However, more research is needed to determine an association between a Mediterranean diet and a specific effect on risk for degenerative brain diseases, such as dementia.
A 2015 study from the journal Neurology also suggests that a Mediterranean diet (which includes wine!) may help make your brain about five years younger.
Researchers figured this out by looking at the brains of 674 people with an average age of 80. They asked these elderly people to fill out food surveys about what they ate in the past year, and researchers scanned their brains. The group that ate a Mediterranean diet had heavier brains with more gray and white matter.
"The previous study only measured brain volume at a single time point, whereas we had longitudinal measurements: two measurements three years apart," said Michelle Luciano, a lecturer of psychology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and lead author of the latest study.
"The previous study was therefore not looking at brain volume change over time but differences in brain volumes at a single time point," she said. "We also looked at two components of the diet, meat consumption and fish consumption, and neither of these had an individual effect on brain volume loss. It might be that the diet as a whole is beneficial, and it is the combination of the foods and nutrients that protects against, for example, vascular disease and inflammation, which can cause brain atrophy," or volume loss.
The Mediterranean diet is relatively simple to follow. It involves eating meals made up mostly of plants: vegetables, fruit, beans and cereals. You can eat fish and poultry at least twice a week. You don't have to keep away from carbs; in fact, you should have three servings of those a day, particularly of the whole grain variety.
A glass of wine a day is perfectly fine, too. What you do typically have to limit is the amount of meat, dairy and saturated fat you eat. Cook more with olive oil, as opposed to butter.
In the 2015 study, a higher consumption of fish was associated with keeping your brain young. But if you don't really like fish, scientists at Harvard and Rush University in Chicago created the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets that may be a little bit easier to follow, as it requires you to eat less fish and fruit.
People who ate a diet close to the MIND diet saw a 53% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. Even people who ate the MIND diet "most" (as opposed to "all") of the time saw a 35% reduced chance of developing the disease. This is considered a significant result.
This latest Mediterranean diet research builds on other evidence that the diet is likely the way to go. It has also been shown as a key to helping you live longer. It helps you manage your weight better and can lower your risk for cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Bottom line: you'll likely be physically and mentally healthier long into old age if you stick with this diet.
Source:CNN.com
Read more
07/Jan/2017

Iceberg the size of Delaware to break off from Antarctica

(CNN)A large sheet of ice is set to break away from Antarctica and scientists say it will be one of the largest breaks of its kind recorded.

Larsen C -- a sprawling sheet of ice in western Antarctica -- is currently attached to its parent shelf by 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of ice, according to UK-based research team Project MIDAS.
Once it splits, the crack will produce an iceberg around 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square miles) -- approximately the size of the state of Delaware.
In August, researchers at MIDAS reported that a crack in Larsen C grew 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) in six months' time. In December the rift accelerated -- clocking an additional 18 kilometers (11 miles) of further movement through colder glacial ice within a month.
Although this isn't the first time the Antarctic has seen icebergs produced in this way, Larsen C's split will significantly change the landscape of the continent.
"When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula," lead researcher Professor Adrian Luckman said in a statement posted to the MIDAS website.
Martin O'Leary, a researcher at MIDAS, told CNN the huge iceberg could render the remaining sheet of ice unstable -- causing sea levels to rise and to overall changes to the Antarctic's landscape.
"I think in terms of the impact that the iceberg has on the ocean, it's a very spectacular event but its not going to be a huge thing in itself -- the iceberg is big but the oceans are a lot bigger," O'Leary added.
In 2002, Larsen C's neighboring ice shelf, Larsen B, violently broke off from its parent, shattering into millions of pieces -- accelerating a mass of broken ice into the Antarctic current.
Before Larsen B collapsed, it demonstrated a pattern similar to Larsen C. In 1995, another ice shelf, Larsen A, also broke off from the same ice mass.
Since then, researchers at MIDAS have been tracking Larsen C with a close eye.
O'Leary said that Larsen A and B's breaks were "unequivocally climate change-related," but so far researchers aren't linking global warming to Larsen C's split.
The team says the break in Larsen C has likely been caused by natural geographic patterns marked in their research for decades.
"We don't think there is a strong link to change climate change in terms of the provocation of the crack in question ... but we couldn't work that out," O'Leary said.
Source:CNN.com
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07/Jan/2017

Keurig and AB InBev team up on in-home booze maker

Keurig and Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) are teaming up to build an in-home booze brewer.

The companies said Friday that they're launching a joint venture. The plan is to create an appliance that can churn out "beer, spirits, cocktails and mixers" at home, according to a press release.

 

The companies are still researching the product, so there isn't even a prototype yet, much less any other details. But an Anheuser-Busch partnership may mean that it can create home-brewed versions of beers such as Budweiser and Corona.

Keurig is best known for its single-cup coffee maker. But the new appliance will use the technology from its now-defunct cold beverage maker, the Keurig Kold, which was supposed to compete with SodaStream (SODA).

Keurig desperately needs a hit product. It was acquired in 2015 for $13.9 billion by JAB Holding, which is privately held, after the company's stock price slid 70% in one year thanks to a massive sales slump.

The Kold, Keurig's latest product launch, was a major flop. The company stopped making them in June last year after just 10 months of production, and even doled out refunds to customers who purchased the product, which retailed for a whopping $370.

SodaStream also beat Keurig to the punch with making in-home beer brewers. The company began selling the SodaStream Beer Bar in a couple of European markets last May, and it's introducing the product to more countries throughout 2017.

Source:CNN.com

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07/Jan/2017

$150 homes revive ancient techniques to fight climate crisis

(CNN)Millions of households in the Sahel region of West Africa live under a growing threat.

Deforestation and climate change have decimated the available supply of wood that is used for traditional roof construction, forcing many to use imported sheet metal.
This is both prohibitively expensive and unsuited to the climate, entrenching poverty and making homes that boil in summer and freeze in winter.
One creative enterprise is reaching back over 3,000 years for a solution, borrowing an architectural technique from the ancient Nubian civilization of latter-day Sudan to offer superior homes at minimal cost.
The NGO La Voute Nubienne (Nubian Vault) is training an army of masons to build homes from the earth, and the ancient innovation is having a profound impact.

For all seasons

The Nubian technique uses bricks and mortar produced from local earth, laid over a foundation of rocks. A home can be produced in 15 days, and the method is versatile enough to produce a range of buildings from mosques to farmhouses.
La Voute Nubienne is working in five West African countries; Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin and Ghana, where around 20,000 people now live in the Nubian homes.
"We have proved our concept is viable and works for the population," says Thomas Granier, a French builder who co-founded the NGO with Burkinabe partner Séri Youlou. "There are half a billion Africans living under corrugated iron roofing and our target is to provide a strong alternative."
The earth homes offer more than expediency, as they are well adapted to the local climate.
"Nubian Vault buildings provide excellent thermal insulation, making the buildings cool during the day and warm during the night," says Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A roof, a skill, a market

La Voute Nubienne believe that long term success depends on building a sustainable market, as expressed in their motto: "A roof, a skill, a market."
The NGO has trained over 500 masons, according to Granier. This new workforce can respond to increasing demand, as well as training a new generation to sustain the practice.
One-third of the new construction market is now fully autonomous, and the proportion is rising.
"When we have deployed enough capacity this won't belong to us, it will belong to the community," says Granier. "The target is push this alternative until we don't have to and it pushes itself."
The market model does not make the homes unaffordable. Granier estimates the cost of a basic building at $150, although in many cases the owner will supply some of their own labor, or barter goods for part of the mason's fee.
But despite the informal nature of the industry it is making significant contributions to the local economies, valued at over $2 million by the NGO, and this figure is set to rise.
The Nubian vault program aims to stimulate the local economy. It has trained over 500 masons and generated over $2 million.
 

Macro impact

La Voute Nubienne is now aiming to build the workforce and dramatically scale up construction.
The fledgling industry currently enjoys growth of around 30% each year, says Grenier, and he wants to reach 50%.
"With 20 points more we could house one million people by 2030," he says. "If we do that we can have a real macro impact on local economies and habitation standards."
The NGO is intensively lobbying potential government and development partners to drive the business forward and reach new markets -- and new countries. With steady growth the industry could generate over $70 million by 2030, the group projects.
Such growth could also have significant benefits for the climate, potentially slowing the deterioration that has threatened so many homes.
"Nubian Vault uses only locally available materials with a very low carbon footprint," says Nuttall of the UNFCCC. "As no wood or straw is required in this building technique, the project helps reduce deforestation. None of the buildings need to be manufactured or transported long distance, which means it also saves a lot of CO2."
With low costs, economic boosts and climate gains, the ancient Nubian technique appears built to last.
Source:CNN.com
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07/Jan/2017

Croton nuts: Africa's new biofuel that literally grows on trees

(CNN)The history of biofuel production in Africa is marked with expensive and damaging failures.

The much-hyped jatropha crop saw millions of dollars and vast tracts of land squandered, while the production of palm oil has been widely criticized for association with environmental damage and human rights abuses.
But there is a new hope for the field. The Croton megalocarpus tree is common throughout much of East and Central Africa, and until now it has been used for little more than firewood.
The nuts of the tree have been shown to contain high concentrations of oil and protein, and they are now being used to produce a fuel that could serve as a clean alternative to diesel.
With an abundant supply of croton nuts available at minimal cost, a new industry is emerging with sky-high ambitions.
The Croton megalocarpus tree is common throughout much of East and Central Africa
 

Low-hanging fruit

In 2012, serial entrepreneur Alan Paul established Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK) to explore the potential of croton, following early research that suggested promise. His company is now the driving the movement to bring croton biofuel to the mainstream.
The business took a low-key approach at first, in contrast to high-budget flops such as jatropha.
"(Paul) said we can grow organically by sourcing what is already there from one of the most common trees," says EFK Managing Director Myles Katz. "We can buy nuts from farmers so they get an income and we have a business model that does not require $10 million of funding and a big plantation to get off the ground."
EFK put out radio ads to attract local entrepreneurs into partnerships, who assembled teams of smallholders to supply the nuts. When suppliers realized their previously useless trees had become an easy and reliable source of income, the network rapidly expanded.
This has enabled EFK to double production each year, says Katz, up to 1,000 tons of nuts this year from 500 tons in 2015. The company is now in a position to scale up the operation, without having planted a single tree.
Filtering croton oil
 

New products

Producing croton nut oil is a low-tech, low-energy process compared with traditional fuel manufacturing.
"It is comparable to any other nut or oil pressing facility," says Katz. "We modify the equipment to work on croton nuts but essentially we are buying machines used with walnuts or macadamia nuts."
Much of the fuel is sold to local businesses that run generators, such as tourist camps.
The company has also branched into selling by-products of the nuts, including seedcake from the pressed nut as poultry feed, and organic fertilizer from the shells. This offers insurance at a time investors remain wary of biofuels, says Katz.
"The 'unknown' (element) is hard for investors," he says. "We are not an oil-only business, and we can stand on different parts of the business at different times."
Producing fertilizer in EFK's factory in Nanyuki, Central Kenya.
 

Grand plans, local roots

Having local networks of suppliers and agents is key to the EFK business model, and a critical challenge for the company is to maintain these networks while expanding across the country and beyond.
"We have a completely local approach," says Katz. "Everything we source, process and sell should be within 100 kilometers of the factory."
The company plans to maintain this approach while creating up to five new factories in Kenya and several more in neighboring countries such as Tanzania in the coming years.
EFK is also planning a first foray into an "orchard model" of planting its own trees on a 500-acre plot in 2017, that will allow the company to test and push the limits of croton capacity.
"There is an interesting topic of crop efficiency," says Katz. "An indigenous tree with access to normal rainfall might produce 100 kilograms of nuts a year. But the optimum trees will produce over 300 kilograms...The 'orchard model' can change outcomes dramatically."
Croton trees on village road in rural Kenya. Few farmers are aware the crop has value.
 

Ripe for success

Croton can succeed where other biofuels have failed, according to Dr. Gerald Kafuku, principal research officer of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, who has published several papers on the properties of croton oil.
"I can say that croton is one of the most promising sources of biofuel," he says. "It can give advantages in the form of biodiesel or straight oil, and as a 'carbon sink' for afforestation."
Kafuku believes that only a lack of funding for research and development is holding croton back from the mainstream. He adds that the region urgently needs such solutions.
"East Africa is among the areas where there is significant environmental degradation," he says. "New biofuels such as croton can add to the alternative sources of renewable energy as well as providing for more planting of trees."
Croton can also avoid the ethical pitfalls of other biofuels by benefiting local communities, according to Rodrigo Ciannella, head of the biofuels program at the World Agroforestry Centre.
"(Croton) is providing value from a natural resource that is already abundant in the country and is largely wasted," he says. "Farmers are already benefiting from receiving additional income...and they could get even more by having access to other components of the value chain such as fertilizer."
With global demand for biofuels set to increase steadily, Katz believes it is a matter of time before oil giants enter the croton market and the nut becomes a major industry that can rival fossil fuels.
"I like to tell people that croton will be a coffee or tea type of value chain," he says. "There will be lots of competitors and regional processing all over East Africa."
Source:CNN.com
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07/Jan/2017

Penn State abuse scandal costs approach a quarter-billion

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Penn State's costs related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal are approaching a quarter-billion dollars and growing, five years after the former assistant football coach's arrest on child molestation charges.

The scandal's overall cost to the school has reached at least $237 million, including a recent $12 million verdict in the whistleblower and defamation case brought by former assistant coach Mike McQueary, whose testimony helped convict Sandusky in 2012.

The university has settled with 33 people over allegations they were sexually abused by Sandusky, and has made total payments to them of $93 million.

The total also covers the $48 million "fine" levied by the NCAA that is funding anti-child-abuse efforts in Pennsylvania, $27 million in lawyer fees to defend lawsuits, nearly $14 million that includes the legal defense of three former administrators facing criminal charges for their handling of Sandusky complaints and $5.3 million for crisis communications and other consultants.

The school's latest financial statement said insurers have covered $30 million in costs, while other insurance claims remain pending.

The school also was hit in November with a $2.4 million fine from a federal investigation, started immediately after Sandusky was arrested, that concluded the university repeatedly violated campus crime reporting requirements.

A look at where some of the other pending Sandusky-related matters stand:

ADMINISTRATORS' CRIMINAL CASE

A senior judge sitting in Harrisburg is considering a request by three former high-ranking Penn State administrators to throw out their criminal charges, following an oral argument that was held in Harrisburg in October.

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz are accused of not responding properly to McQueary's 2001 complaint that Sandusky was sexually abusing a boy in a team shower. They are also accused of putting children in danger.

The attorney general's office wants to add a new count, of conspiracy to commit endangering the welfare of children, against all three defendants. Judge John Boccabella has not indicated when he might rule.

The three men have consistently maintained their innocence.

SANDUSKY'S APPEAL

Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in Greene State Prison on a 45-count conviction for sexual abuse of 10 boys, and he is currently pursuing an appeal in county court near State College.

In November, the judge handling that appeal — Judge John Cleland, who was also the trial judge — took himself off the case after Sandusky's lawyers raised objections to Cleland's role in a December 2011 meeting in a hotel the night before Sandusky waived a preliminary hearing.

Cleland's sternly worded order included a footnote saying his review of the 34 issues raised by Sandusky found none of them had merit.

The state court system is working on appointing a new judge, but that decision has not been made.

SPANIER V. PENN STATE

Penn State countersued Spanier last month, saying he violated his employment agreement by not disclosing what he knew about Sandusky before Sandusky's 2011 arrest. The school is seeking repayment of millions of dollars it has paid him over the past five years.

Spanier's lawsuit claims the school violated an agreement made when he was pushed out of the top job — days after Sandusky was charged — by making public comments that were critical of him and not living up to promises regarding office space, teaching opportunities and payment of legal costs.

SPANIER V. FREEH

A judge has scheduled a hearing later this month in a lawsuit by Spanier against former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his law firm, who were paid by Penn State to produce a 2012 report into how Spanier and other top administrators handled the Sandusky matter.

Judge Robert Eby will hear oral argument in Freeh's preliminary objections to the lawsuit. Spanier is seeking damages for the reputational and economic harm he alleges resulted from the report.

PATERNO V. NCAA

The family of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is suing the NCAA, saying it damaged the Paterno estate's commercial interests by relying on conclusions about Paterno in the Freeh report. Two former Paterno assistants, son Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney, are also suing, saying they have not been able to find comparable work because of the Freeh report. The most recent action in that case involved a dispute over subpoenas. Paterno died in 2012.

Source: USA Today.com

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07/Jan/2017

Entertainment

07/Jan/2017

Janet Jackson welcomes a son

Janet Jackson has given birth to a baby boy, according to a representative for the pop superstar.

Jackson, 50, and her husband, Wissam Al Mana, welcomed their first child, named Eissa, on Tuesday.
"Janet had a stress-free healthy delivery and is resting comfortably," said the rep for the singer.
In April, Jackson announced that she was postponing her tour amid speculation that she was pregnant.
"I thought it was important that you be the first to know," she said in a video circulated to fans via social media. "My husband and I are planning our family, so I'm going to have to delay the tour."
Jackson then went under the radar, though she was spotted shopping in September and appeared to be pregnant in photos published by "Entertainment Tonight."
The singer publicly confirmed the she was expecting in an interview with People in October.
"We thank God for our blessing," she told the publication.
Jackson married Qatari businessman Al Mana in 2012.
Source:CNN.com

26/Nov/2016

Prayers for Kanye West

(CNN)News that Kanye West has been hospitalized resulted in an outpouring of well wishes for the rapper.

West entered UCLA Medical Center Monday after abruptly canceling the remaining dates for his Saint Pablo concert tour.
A source close to West's family told CNN that the rapper is being treated for "exhaustion."
His admittance came after several days of making headlines for his behavior including rants and refunds to concertgoers after he ended a show early.
Fans and fellow celebrities expressed concern for West and his mental state on social media.
"He's not just an artist but he's a father, a son a husband and above human," actor Marlon Wayans tweeted after soliciting prayers for West. "Get well soon."
The outspoken artist has had plenty to say lately, including his thoughts on politics, which he had taken to sharing with his concert attendees.
West recently sat down with design magazine Surface and talked about everything from education to why he refuses to ever compromise and his view of Utopia.
"I don't think people are going to talk in the future," he said. "They're going to communicate through eye contact, body language, emojis, signs. Imagine that. If everyone was forced to learn sign language."
He also said he believes in "empowering people."
"I don't want to give you anything as definitive as 'always do this,'" West said. "It's about finding a balance between being the person who knows the most and the person who's the most naïve."
Source:Cnn.com

26/Nov/2016

FBI closes Brad Pitt child abuse investigation

(CNN)The FBI has closed an investigation into child abuse allegations against Brad Pitt involving one of his children, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Pitt has six children with actress Angelina Jolie, who filed for divorce in September.
The accusation stemmed from an incident on a private plane, giving the FBI jurisdiction. The incident occurred one day before Jolie filed for divorce.
A source familiar with the situation told CNN in early November that the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services cleared Pitt of wrongdoing after allegations surfaced involving one of his children.
The FBI's Los Angeles bureau confirmed on Tuesday that the investigation had been closed.
"In response to allegations made following a flight within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States which landed in Los Angeles carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI has conducted a review of the circumstances and will not pursue further investigation. No charges have been filed in this matter," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement.
A representative for Pitt had no comment.
Jolie is seeking sole physical custody of the couple's children. Pitt has requested joint custody.

For the time being, the children are staying in their mother's custody and have "therapeutic visits" with their father, Jolie's representatives said previously.

Source:CNN.com

26/Nov/2016

Florence Henderson was 'America's mom'

(CNN)Despite having a career which spanned more than half a century, Florence Henderson was most known for her role as Carol Brady.

And the prodigious actress was more than okay with that.
"For me 'The Brady Bunch' is just a part of the fabric of my career, but for a lot of people, that's it," Henderson said in a 2011 interview. "I kept performing through 'The Brady Bunch' and still do. It doesn't bother me. If I hadn't been allowed to do that it may have."
That blurred line between Florence Henderson and Carol Brady is the reason there has been an outpouring of grief over Henderson's death on Thursday from heart failure.
One person tweeted "Florence Henderson? Great, now 2016 killed our mom. :("
Henderson was so good at portraying the sunny, loving Mrs. Brady that it was easy to forget her role on the show was a character -- and one which broke ground.
The "Brady Bunch" offered America -- and pop culture -- its first blended TV family. It was a story about widow and widower with three children each, who create a new family together. Carol and Mike Brady were also the first TV couple shown in bed together.
It was a role Henderson was almost too busy to take.
She was on the road when she got the call to audition for Paramount for the series. And shooting "Song of Norway" when the pilot was sold.
Henderson told the Television Academy in 2014 that it helped she was also the mother of four young children at the time. She also said the show was hard work and the cast embraced it.
"We believed every word we said," Henderson recalled. "I don't think you can parody something unless it has been done incredibly truthfully."
Viewers believed it too, which is why she became so beloved.
It's also why fans were stunned when Henderson revealed personal info, including the fact that as an octogenarian, she had a "friend with benefits."
Carol Brady, having sex? Shocking!
While appearing on "Today" last year, Henderson said she didn't "get the memo" that she was supposed to be slowing down with age. She continued to work out with a trainer and enjoy the company of a male friend.
Source:CNN.com