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Leonardo DiCaprio promises to take ‘long, long break’ from films

“Django Unchained” and “Titanic” star Leonardo DiCaprio said on Friday he was planning to take a significant break from filming and concentrate on his environmental campaigning. In an interview with Germany’s mass circulation daily Bild, the 38-year-old American actor said: “I am a bit drained. I’m now going to take…

Spotify boosts sales for Swedish music industry

Music sales in Sweden rose last year thanks to the growing popularity of music streaming service Spotify, the country’s music industry body said, offering hope to a sector battered by file-sharing. Last year was the best year for music sales in Sweden since 2005, according to data from the Swedish…

Accused gang rape attackers go to fast-track court in India

Trial of five men accused of Delhi bus attack to open on Monday The trial of the five men accused of the gang-rape and murder of a young woman will open on Monday in a special fast-track court in Delhi, an Indian magistrate has ordered. The brutal attack on the…

Temperature hits all-time record in Sydney

Temperatures in Sydney hit their highest level on record on Friday, with the mercury in Australia’s biggest city reaching 45.8 degrees Celsius (114.4 Fahrenheit) in the mid-afternoon. Sydney’s previous hottest recorded temperature was 45.3 degrees set in 1939. “It’s a historic day for Sydney today,” Weather Channel meteorologist Dick Whitaker…

Kim Dotcom poised for return with Megaupload successor

Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom will launch a new file-sharing site at his Auckland mansion on Sunday, exactly a year after armed police arrested him at the same venue in the world’s largest online piracy case. Dotcom’s new venture, mega.co.nz, aims to recreate the success of his Megaupload empire, which boasted…

African diva aims for ‘Marilyn moment’ at Obama inauguration

South Africa’s Lira will be one among many performers at Barack Obama’s inaugural celebrations Monday, but she is determined to be remembered for a performance to rival Marilyn Monroe’s wooing of John F. Kennedy. The multi-platinum artist hopes to give Obama and other guests at the Ambassadors’ Inaugural Ball in…

Anti-doping chief slams Armstrong ‘PR stunt’

World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey on Friday branded Lance Armstrong’s doping confession a “controlled public relations” stunt that revealed nothing new. As influential South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon threatened legal action to force the state government to reveal how much it paid Armstrong to ride in the Tour Down…

Bolshoi ballet chief hit by acid attack

The head of Russia’s Bolshoi ballet Sergei Filin was Friday hospitalised with severe burns after a masked assailant threw acid on his face, in an attack the theatre linked to internal conflicts. Filin, a former acclaimed dancer who was appointed to his post in 2011, suffered injuries to the face,…

Anxiety mounts over deadly hostage raid in Algeria

Western governments voiced alarm over the fate of dozens of foreigners seized by Islamists at a gas plant in the Algerian desert after several hostages were killed in a dramatic rescue operation. The Algerian military assault left “several people” killed or wounded but freed a “large number” of hostages, according…

Factory smoke clouds China pollution pledges

Clouds of smoke billow from the chimneys at a Chinese chemical plant rumbling with activity, more than a year after authorities closed it following protests by thousands of people. The factory in Dalian was ordered to halt work and relocate 17 months ago after local residents took to the streets,…

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