Gonzaga And North Carolina To Face Off In NCAA Basketball Final

April 1 (Reuters) – Top-seeded teams Gonzaga and North Carolina prevailed in a pair of thrilling finishes on Saturday to advance to the final of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

Gonzaga squandered a 14-point, second-half lead before holding on to edge South Carolina 77-73, while North Carolina grabbed an offensive rebound after missing two free throws in the final seconds to beat Oregon 77-76.

Gonzaga advanced to their first NCAA tournament final, which will be held on Monday, while North Carolina are trying to make amends for losing last year?s championship on a buzz-beater by Villanova.

?It?s a dream to get (to the championship),? North Carolina coach Roy Williams told reporters.

?Now we?ve got to play better but (Gonzaga) has been fantastic all year long. They only lost one game. It?s hard to imagine.?

North Carolina senior Kennedy Meeks delivered 25 points and 14 rebounds, including the final one that preserved their lead, as the Tar Heels held off an Oregon fightback from seven points down with just over three minutes remaining.

?Oregon did a great job of fighting back, Meeks said. ?It?s a great opportunity (to get back to the final). As long as we stick together I think we?ll be fine.?

In the earlier game, Gonzaga was led by point guard Nigel Williams-Goss who finished with 23 points, five rebounds and six assists. South Carolina had a chance to tie the game while trailling 75-72 and taking possession with 12.7 seconds left but they did not get a shot away and following Gonzaga coach Mark Few?s instructions, guard Josh Perkins committed a foul with 3.5 seconds remaining, sending Sindarius Thornwell to the line.

Thornwell made one to bring the score to 75-73 before Gonzaga?s Killian Tillie grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled. Tillie made two free throws with two seconds remaining to ensure victory.

?Man, just an awesome, awesome basketball game, with just how hard both teams competed,? Gonzaga?s Few said.

?I mean, that run South Carolina made on us, that just shows the heart of a lion that they have. It took everything we had to hold them off and come back.? (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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April 23, 2017

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Fox News’ Growing Challenge: High Ratings Vie With Troubling Disclosures

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – These should be halcyon days for Fox News Channel: Its outsize ratings have been growing even more in the wake of the public?s fascination with the all-encompassing news cycle revolving around President Donald Trump. A primetime transition from the popular Megyn Kelly to the stalwart Tucker Carlson has taken place without a hitch or hiccup. Indeed, the network?s viewership among the audience advertisers want mos, people between 25 and 54, soared in the first quarter – rising 30% over the year-earlier period.

And yet, the network – the financial engine of its parent, 21st Century Fox – continues to find itself enmeshed in troubling disclosures of behind-the-scenes behavior that could have larger ramifications.

The latest revelation: On Saturday, The New York Times reported that five women have received payments coming to about $13 million in exchange for agreeing not to pursue litigation or speak about accusations related to sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior by Bill O?Reilly, the veteran Fox News broadcaster who is also the linchpin of the network?s primetime lineup.

Saturday?s report comes as Fox News Channel continues to grapple with legal matters related to last year?s departure of Roger Ailes, the unit?s former chairman and chief executive. He was ousted in 2016 in the wake of an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations levied at him by Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor. The probe by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, turned up other accusations. Ailes has denied all charges, but a number of settlements 21st Century Fox and Fox News have made in connection with that matter and other instances of inappropriate behavior at the unit have surfaced intermittently for weeks. In July, Ailes will have been gone from his Fox News offices for about a year, but there are some indications that the company at that time could still be dealing with some resulting fallout of his alleged actions.

In February, 21st Century Fox acknowledged in a statement that it had ?been in communication with the U.S. attorney?s office for months,? a veiled reference to the fact that U.S. government attorneys are looking into payments by the network and its parent to women who claimed to be harassed by Ailes. 21st Century Fox also said at the time that it ?will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.?

Since Ailes? departure, a number of settlements with former Fox News employees have been disclosed. Carlson agreed to a settlement last year believed to total as much as $20 million. Laurie Luhn, a former booker and event planner at Fox, is believed to have received a settlement coming to as much as $3 million after alleging a long pattern of harassment by Ailes, which he denied.

Other matters have also surfaced: A settlement between Fox News and former contributor Tamara Holder was revealed earlier this month. Holder had levied sexual-harassment allegations against Francisco Cortes, a vice president of Fox News Latino, in October. Earlier this week, two African-American employees of the network alleged in a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx that they had been subject to racial discrimination by Judith Slater, a comptroller at Fox News, who the network has said was fired.

The O?Reilly matters are separate, to be sure, but pose similar challenges to the operation. It is hard to envision a Fox News without?The O?Reilly Factor.? Once known as ?The O?Reilly Report,? his program attracted an average of more than 3.9 million viewers in the first quarter of 2017, making his program the most-watched cable-news program of the period. And even though O?Reilly has been walking viewers through his ?Talking Points Memo? since 1996, his audience is growing. Consider the fact that the ?Factor? won an average of 3.3 million viewers for all of 2016. A boost from O?Reilly has built the careers of other Fox News notables, including Megyn Kelly, who once contributed to his hour and benefited from his audience lead in when she anchored Fox News? 9 p.m. slot, or Jesse Watters, a ?Factor? regular who was recently given his own weekend program on the network?s schedule.

In a statement, 21st Century Fox said it had investigated allegations related to O?Reilly, who denied ?the merits of these claims? and ?resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.?

?Just like other prominent and controversial people, I?m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline,? O?Reilly said in a statement posted Saturday on his web site. ?But most importantly, I?m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children. The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.?

The Times report, citing more than five dozen interviews with current and former employees of Fox News Channel and its parent companies, alleged five different women received payouts after alleging inappropriate behavior by the host, two as recently as 2016. One of the, settled in 2002, was not related to sexual harassment.

O?Reilly is in the last year of his current contract with Fox News Channel, and the deal is believed to expire at the end of 2017. Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and 21st Century Fox, told The Wall Street Journal he?d like the anchor to remain with the network. In February, O?Reilly told Variety he was still considering the matter. ?What I have to deal with is an enormous audience. The audience for the ?Factor? is in the stratosphere, and we believe it?s because in a polarizing time, we are not doing the polarizing game,? he said, noting that he feels his show tells viewers what happened and how he feels about it. ?I haven?t made any decision about anything.?

Meanwhile, Fox News has had other bursts of controversy in recent weeks. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge and longtime legal analyst and anchor for the network, was benched in March for a few days after alleging without evidence that President Barack Obama used British intelligence to surveil Donald Trump before he was elected President of the United States. The President repeated the allegations and sparked an international incident One Fox News anchor, Shepard Smith, told viewers subsequently that the network?s news staff could not confirm the information. Napolitano was back on air this week at Fox News Channel, saying he still believed in what he had alleged. Sean Hannity, its popular 10 p.m. anchor, recently expressed frustration with an interview he did with Ted Koppel for ?CBS Sunday Morning? in which Koppel told Hannity he was worried about what opinion programs like his did to the national conversation.

The question is not whether any of these allegations or incidents are distasteful, troubling or disturbing. Many of them are. But none of them to date has caused a decline in viewership at the network. The Fox News Channel unit generates approximately 20% of the operating profit of 21st Century Fox, and any reversal of viewership trends would directly affect the company?s bottom line.

If any of this sounds like it would make for a great movie, hold on. Documentarian Alex Gibney is said to be working on a project related to the Ailes controversy. Gabriel Sherman, the New York writer who has written an unauthorized biography of Ailes and who won plaudits for his coverage of last year?s allegations, last year teamed with Blumhouse Television to create a proposed scripted mini-series about Ailes? life and controversies. One would think that the most recent spate of episodes at Fox News could serve as grist for either project.

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April 22, 2017

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Pop Art Pioneer James Rosenquist Dead At 83

Artist James Rosenquist, a leading figure of the 1960s pop art movement known for his room-sized works, has died at the age of 83, his studio said.

Rosenquist helped define the genre of color-bursting displays of common objects that was also championed by the likes Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

He died on Friday, the studio said, without providing further details.

Rosenquist had early experience as a billboard painter, which became a springboard for presentations of images that he culled from sources including print advertisements and magazines, it said.

He had shows in some of the world?s most celebrated museums, including New York?s Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, it said.

?Painting is probably much more exciting than advertising,? Rosenquist was quoted as saying by the Museum of Modern Art.

?So why shouldn?t it be done with that power and gusto, with that impact.?

One of his more celebrated works is ?F-111,? which is billboard in size and made in 1964 and 1965, during the U.S. war in Vietnam. It combines images including a U.S. military warplane, a bombing and scenes of American prosperity, including a smiling blonde girl sitting under a hair dryer reminiscent of a missile, the museum said.

His celebrated 1962 painting of Marilyn Monroe was created shortly after her death and shows fragmented images of the global star that includes a segment of the Coca-Cola brand name, it said.

Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota where he had a nomadic life that took him and his parents to about a half dozen places including in Minnesota and Ohio. He studied at the University of Minnesota and moved to New York in his twenties.

?Painting has everything to do with memory. Images of the unexpected, the surreal, well up unbidden in your mind – as do things you haven?t resolved,? he said in his autobiography written with David Dalton titled ?Painting Below Zero.? 

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April 22, 2017

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Jane Krakowski Supports ‘Boating Lights’ At ACLU Event

Jenna Maroney ? uh, we mean Jane Krakowski ? came out to talk about ?boating lights? during ?Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU? Friday night.

?It?s a matter of safety!? Krakowski exclaimed. She implores viewers boating in the dark to ?just use a light.?

?Boats just speeding around in the dark, not a care. I mean, you could end up driving your boat right into the mouth of a whale! And don?t believe the propaganda. I looked it up and I couldn?t find one confirmed instance of boater fraud. Remember: Boat at night, use a light.?

Very cheeky, Jane. 

Ready to give? Text POWER to 20222 to donate $10 to the ACLU. The ACLU will call to explain other actions you can take to help. (Terms here.) You can also support ?Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU? by heading to the ACLU website

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April 9, 2017

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Ashley Graham’s Boyfriends Broke Up With Her For The Stupidest Reason

Even supermodels have to deal with jerks. 

In a new interview with People magazine, Ashley Graham ? arguably the most well-known plus-size supermodel in the world ? said she relates to stories of body shaming from her younger fans because she?s experienced it herself with former boyfriends.

?Nothing?s actually surprised me. I?ve lived exactly what they?re living. I?ve lived the torment of the names. I?ve lived the torment of boyfriends breaking up with me because they were afraid I was going to be too fat later in life,? the 29-year-old model said at the Urban Arts Partnership 25th anniversary benefit.

?It?s the same cycle, it doesn?t matter what generation we are in,? she continued. ?Every kid is going to go through the same thing.?

Though Graham said she still has her days of self-doubt (?I wake up sometimes and I think ?I?m the fattest woman alive,?? she admitted), a simple, totally steal-worthy morning affirmation helps her get past it.

?It?s really about how you handle it when you wake up,? she told People. ?I look in the mirror and I have my affirmations. And mine are simple. [I say] ?You are bold. You are brilliant and you are beautiful.? And then if my lower pooch is really puffing out that day, I say ?Lower pooch you are cute?. And we have a moment. And if the hips are really popping I say ?I love you too hips.?? 

That kind of self-love makes a huge difference ? but it doesn?t hurt to have a partner who totally adores you, too. For Graham, that?s her husband Justin Ervin, who was her friend before they started dating. The Vogue covergirl has been open about the couple?s decision to wait until marriage to have sex.

?There was already this sexual tension, this roaringness,? she told Entertainment Tonight last year. ?We had already established such a friendship that we had the two combine. Which, in my mind, just made magic, because now not only am I sleeping with someone that I trust and I love, but I know that he wants me. He affirms me all the time and lets me know how sexy and beautiful I am.?

Husband & Wife

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on

D?aww. 

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April 1, 2017

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