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Where does the word ‘blackmail’ come from, anyway?

Etymology notes on a scandal (via The Christian Science Monitor) Inquiring minds want to know, perhaps because they’ve been reading about the Petraeus scandal: What’s the origin of the word “blackmail”? The idea of a public official having to resign because moral missteps may have left him vulnerable to blackmail…

Financial Times Deutschland blacks out cover on last day of publication

Loss-making daily Financial Times Deutschland, launched 12 years ago as the German-language sister of the Financial Times, blacked out its front page Friday to mark its last day of publication. “Black at last,” said the ‘in mourning’-coloured front page in an ironic allusion to the profits the daily — printed…

Washington Post newspaper to erect ‘paywall’: report

The Washington Post, one of the last top US newspapers to offer its content free of charge online, will likely begin collecting fees next year, a report said Thursday. The Post is planning to roll out a “metered paywall,” meaning the subscription cost will kick in after readers access a…

Pop group fun. scoops Grammy nominations

It was all fun. as the New York indie pop band with the oddly spelled name picked up no fewer than six Grammy nominations in their breakout year. During a gala nomination ceremony in country music’s hometown of Nashville, fun. found itself in the running for best album (“Some Nights”)…

Peter Jackson defends stretching ‘The Hobbit’ to three movies

“The Hobbit” may be a shortish book about diminutive heroes, but Peter Jackson on Wednesday said he was right to elongate the children’s story into no less than three epic movies. The New Zealand-born director has come under fire from some quarters for the trilogy, which opens in the US…

BBC commentator Stuart Hall charged with indecently assaulting children

British prosecutors said Wednesday they were bringing charges against veteran BBC commentator Stuart Hall, saying he indecently assaulted children in the 1970s and 1980s. The 82-year-old, a former presenter of game show “It’s a Knockout” known for his eccentric and erudite football match summaries on BBC Radio 5 Live, was…

Don’t worry: Story about North Koreans finding unicorn lair just a mistranslation

Agency said it reconfirmed the lair of one of the unicorns ridden by the ancient King Tongmyong but the story is not true Mystery surrounds what really goes on within the borders of North Korea, from the number of political prisoners held in brutal labour camps, to whether Kim Jong-un has really tied…

Fox News CEO issues orders to keep Rove off the air

Fox News Channel (FNC) is trying to reinvent itself in the wake of the 2012 election, and, according to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, phase one of the network’s makeover plan has already gone into effect. Chief of programming Bill Shine, acting on orders from network head Roger Ailes, has…

NY Post photographer: ‘There was no way’ I could have saved subway victim

The photojournalist who captured a man’s impending death for the New York Post’s Tuesday edition defended his decision on NBC’s Today Show Wednesday, saying he couldn’t have saved the victim, Ki-Suk Han, from being hit and killed by a subway train. “If this thing happened again, with the same circumstances,…

Steve Jobs film starring Ashton Kutcher to debut at Sundance

The first film on the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs since his death, with Ashton Kutcher in the title role, will debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival, organizers said. The film “jOBS” directed by Joshua Michael Stern, known for the 2008 movie “Swing Vote,” chronicles “the defining…

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