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UCLA basketball players arrested in China




Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY

Three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested in China for shoplifting on Tuesday, media said, a day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived on his first official visit.

The players arrested were freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, according to USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and ESPN, all of which cited unnamed sources familiar with the incident. Ball is the younger brother of National Basketball Association rookie Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Reached by telephone at a hotel in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Wednesday, Ball declined to comment. ESPN said the three had been picked up by police at their hotel on Tuesday and released on bail early on Wednesday. They were confined to their hotel pending legal proceedings, it said.

The University of California, Los Angeles, declined to confirm the arrests but said it was “aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China”.

“The university is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time,” UCLA Athletics said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Shana Wilson.

The UCLA team had arrived in China on Sunday with plans to play Georgia Tech in both teams’ regular-season opener on Saturday, according to statements from both teams.

It traveled to Hangzhou, about three hours by bus from Shanghai, to visit the campus of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N>, sponsor of the annual Pac-12 games in China.

The three players were questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where the team is staying, ESPN said. UCLA representatives, including coach Steve Alford, were at the police station while they were there, it said, citing an unidentified source.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement the conference was “disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about.”

“Whether in the United States or abroad, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” he said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday the Chinese government had reported the case to the U.S. side in accordance with consular agreements.

“China is handling this case in accordance with the law and will guarantee the lawful rights in accordance with the law of those involved in this case,” she said.

In a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday by Arash Markazi, a senior writer at ESPN, LaVar Ball said his son, LiAngelo, would be fine.

“He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal,” said Ball, the outspoken CEO of athletic apparel maker Big Baller Brand.

Chinese President Xi Jinping led Trump on a private tour of the Forbidden City to kick off his visit on Wednesday.

White House officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Alibaba declined to comment, as did the Hangzhou police.

A U.S. State Department official said the department was aware of reports of three citizens arrested in China and stood ready to provide assistance but had no further comment due to privacy considerations.

Three players from Georgia Tech were questioned by the authorities in China on Tuesday at their hotel in Hangzhou but were later released by police, Georgia Tech athletics spokesman Mike Flynn said in a statement.

“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated. They have resumed their scheduled activities,” Flynn said.


(Reporting by John Ruwitch in Shanghai and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago,; Editing by Ben Klayman, Matthew Lewis and Nick Macfie)

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‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Reboot Could Happen with a Princess Twist



Now this is a story all about how a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot could get flipped turned upside down. The company that owns the rights to ‘Fresh Prince’ filed a few trademark applications seeking to lock down rights to Fresh Princess for a television program and virtually every other media platform, according to a report by TMZ.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996 and told the story of a street-smart teen from West Philadelphia sent to live with his rich aunt Viv and uncle Phil after getting into a fight on a basketball court. For six seasons, millions watched Will and his cousin Carlton navigate high school and young adulthood from their posh southern California neighborhood. As they were served by Jeffrey, they served up countless laughs for millions of viewers. Famous guest stars such as Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and Donald Trump even made their way into the mix.

Twenty-plus years later, fans want more freshness.

While no official announcement has been made about a reboot, the trademark may be speaking for itself. Personally, I think a ‘Fresh Prince’ reboot should happen with Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith. Hear me out. Imagine a reboot where Jaden Smith plays Will’s rich, entitled millennial son from Bel-Air, who is sent to live in West Philadelphia to attend college to humble him and show him how the rest of the world lives. Now that would fresh AF. No offense to the girl power movement or anything.

For now, that’s all fans of the show can do… imagine!

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Artist unveils Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue





Harvey Weinstein won’t be going to Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, but the film producer’s presence is still being felt in Hollywood.

Los Angeles-based street artist Plastic Jesus on Thursday unveiled a statue called “Casting Couch,” depicting a life-size Weinstein, clothed in a bathrobe, sitting on a golden colored couch and holding an Oscar. It was installed near the Hollywood venue where the Academy Awards ceremony will be held.

More than 70 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

His representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the installation.

Artist Plastic Jesus sits on his statue of Harvey Weinstein on a casting couch on Hollywood Boulevard near the Dolby Theatre during preparations for the Oscars in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The accusations against Weinstein triggered a flood of allegations of sexual impropriety by other celebrities that have rocked Hollywood and dominated this year’s movie awards season.

“Whilst many thought the ‘casting couch’ was a thing of the past it was clearly still a part of the Hollywood culture,” Plastic Jesus said in a statement on his Facebook page.

“Hopefully now in the light of recent allegations against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up it’s (sic) act,” he said.

Weinstein was one of the movie industry’s most influential men, powering independent movies such as “The King’s Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love” to Oscar best picture wins.

A statue of Harvey Weinstein on a casting couch made by artist Plastic Jesus is seen on Hollywood Boulevard near the Dolby Theatre during preparations for the Oscars in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

He was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year and fired from his company, the Weinstein Company. The company said on Sunday it planned to file for bankruptcy.

The ‘Casting Couch’ statue followed the appearance in Los Angeles on Wednesday of billboards designed by street artist Sabo that accused the entertainment industry of staying silent about sexual misconduct.

Plastic Jesus said the Weinstein statue was a collaboration with the artist Joshua “Ginger” Monroe and took two months to produce. It was paid for by donations through their websites.

Plastic Jesus and Ginger were also responsible for producing naked statues of Donald Trump that appeared in various U.S. cities in 2016, before he was elected U.S. president.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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In rich white people news: Barbara Streisand cloned her dog





“If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we, could we?” Barbra Streisand had a hit singing this question in “The Way We Were,” but when it comes to getting a new pet she does not have to wonder.

The “Funny Girl” singer and actress had her beloved 14- year-old Coton de Tulear dog Samantha cloned after her death in 2017, and now has two new pups.

Streisand told Hollywood trade publication Variety in an interview published on Tuesday that cells were taken from the mouth and stomach of Samantha.

“They have different personalities,” Streisand said. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.”

FILE PHOTO – U.S. actress Barbra Streisand (C) plays with her dog Samantha near her son Jason (L) and husband James Brolin as they arrive at the Elysee Palace in Paris June 28, 2007. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Streisand said that when the cloned dogs arrived, she dressed them in red and lavender to tell them apart, which is how they got their names — Miss Scarlett and Miss Violet.

The Oscar and Tony winning actress, 75, said that while waiting for their arrival, she became smitten with another dog who was a distant relation of Samantha.

The Coton de Tulear dog was called Funny Girl, but Streisand adopted her and gave her the name Miss Fanny, which is how Fanny Brice’s dresser refers to Streisand’s character in the 1968 movie musical that launched her career.

Streisand followed up “Funny Girl,” for which she won an Oscar, with “Hello Dolly!” but said she had never much liked the movie.

“I thought I was totally miscast. I tried to get out of it,” she told Variety. “I think it’s so silly. It’s so old-time musical.”

(This story corrects last two paragraphs to reflect Variety correction that Streisand was referring to ‘Hello Dolly!’ not ‘Funny Girl’ as the movie she disliked.)

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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