Oprah named most influential celebrity for second year

Oprah Winfrey was crowned America's most influential celebrity for a second straight year on Friday, despite having dropped off daily television in 2011.

Forbes magazine ranked Winfrey, 59, ahead of Hollywood titans Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood and towering over other TV figures such as journalist Barbara Walters and financial guru Suze Orman.

 Forbes said that 48 percent of people surveyed rated Winfrey as influential, down just one point from last year. The list was drawn from polls of Americans conducted by E-Poll Market Research, which ranks more than 7,500 celebrities based on 46 different personality attributes.

Winfrey ended her daily "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May 2011 after 25 years to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which features lifestyle programming aimed at women.

After struggling in the ratings since its launch, OWN has seen audiences rise recently, thanks to Winfrey's January world exclusive with cyclist Lance Armstrong admitting to years of doping, and her wide-ranging interview with R&B singer Beyonce.

Forbes noted that Winfrey's magic had rubbed off as well, with one of her protégées, TV physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, ranking sixth on the list.

 Film directing, however, seems to be the profession most associated with influence, as four directors, including Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese, crowded into the Top 10.

E-Poll Chief Executive Gerry Philpott said that while influence could mean different things to different people, most often it reflects someone's impact on the culture.

Dropping out of the Top 10 entirely was last year's No. 2 finisher, actor Michael J. Fox, who has been out of the public eye of late.

Eastwood, who made headlines by addressing an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention, rounded out the Top 10.

The Top 10 Most Influential Celebrities of 2013, according to Forbes are;

1. Oprah Winfrey, 2. Steven Spielberg, 3. Martin Scorsese, 4. Ron Howard, 5. George Lucas, 6. Dr. Mehmet Oz, 7. Barbara Walters, 8. Frontman Bono, 9. Suze Orman, 10. Clint Eastwood.

Source: Reuters

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Branson’s wedding is trunk'n disorderly

TYCOON Sir Richard Branson had a jumbo headache at his son’s wedding — when an ELEPHANT gate crashed it drunk.

The Virgin billionaire’s heir Sam wed society beauty Isabella Calthorpe at an idyllic South African game reserve.

But the happy couple tied the knot under a sacred marula tree, the fruit of which ferments into alcohol when ripe.

Their uninvited guest had already packed his trunk with the stuff and was tipsy by the time he reeled out of the bush and into the open-air reception.

He immediately began SCOFFING the wedding cake, which was elaborately decorated with strawberries and pieces of exotic fruit.

Then he SMASHED and UPTURNED tables and chairs at the immaculately decorated venue before rangers managed to shoo him away.

An onlooker said: “It was hilarious. He was really enjoying himself.

“He didn’t want to leave and couldn’t get enough of the cake.”

The marriage of Sam, 27, and Isabella, 32, was such a high society affair it had been dubbed “the nearly royal wedding”.

The glamorous guest list was topped by actress Kate Winslet, who is married to Sir Richard’s nephew Ned Rocknroll, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The reception was held on a hill called Nelson’s Koppie at the Inyati Game Reserve.

Most of the guests had just toddled off to bed when the boozy elephant ambled in around 5am — but his antics were the talk of the breakfast tables later.

One guest said: “It was lucky he didn’t arrive any earlier. He would have been quite a handful.”

Source: thesun.co.uk

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Miss Russia 2013 winner chosen

 A student at the Siberian Railway University from Mezhdurechensk,18-year-old Elmira Abdrazakova has won the Miss Russia 2013 beauty competition,according to Voice of Russia.

As the winner she will receive $100,000, a car and the opportunity to represent Russia at the "Miss Universe" and "Miss World" beauty pageants.

The girl confessed that the most difficult part of the competition was walking in heels.

She said she would spend the money to help her hometown.

The finals of "Miss Russia-2013" were held in Moscow on Saturday.

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Whitney Houston: FBI files on alleged threats released

The FBI has released files spanning a decade from 1988 to 1999 detailing three investigations it conducted on behalf of Whitney Houston.

The singer died in a hotel bathroom on 11 February last year.

The records, numbering more than 120 pages, were posted online on Monday, showing letters from obsessed fans and an alleged extortion attempt in 1992.

The Bureau found no crime actually occurred and there was no evidence of criminal threats in the fan mail.

Following Houston's marriage to New Edition singer Bobby Brown in 1992, the files show someone considered to be a close friend and "privy to much personal information" had allegedly attempted to blackmail her to the tune of $250,000 (£166,250), threatening to put private information into the public arena unless she paid out.

Houston was interviewed by the FBI at the New Jersey offices of her management company about the extortion investigation, but the records are heavily redacted.

A fan in Vermont, New England proclaimed his love through more than 70 letters in a 17-month period, sent to Houston at the height of her fame.

One letter read: "I tried to ignore what I felt towards her. After five months I had to do something so I started writing letters."

Later in the same letter, he referred to a plan to make his love for her public through the press, though he was afraid would hurt the singer's reputation.

He wrote: "It scares me that I might come up with some crazy or stupid or really dumb idea that might be as bad as that or even worse than that. I might hurt someone with some crazy idea and not realise how stupid an idea is until I have done it."

The FBI decided no law was broken as he had not made any physical threats towards Houston.

The files were released through a Freedom of Information Act request, but contained no new personal details about the star's life.

In 1999, the star received letters and recorded cassette tapes from the Netherlands, which she considered threatening.

Houston's death at the age of 48, the night before the Grammy Awards 2012, was as a result of accidental drowning due to cocaine use and heart disease, authorities said.

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Homeless man returns huge engagement sparkler, earns $100,000

A homeless US man will soon have well over $100,000 after returning an engagement ring to a woman who accidentally dropped it in his cup.

Sarah Darling’s fiancé set up a website seeking donations for Billy Ray Harris, who frequently begs on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. By yesterday, more than 6,000 people had donated more than $145,000 to the fund.

“I think in our world we often jump to like the worst conclusion, and it just makes you realise that there are good people out there,” Miss Darling said.

Mr Harris discovered the ring about an hour after Miss Darling dumped spare change from her coin purse into his cup. She had taken off her ring earlier that day and put it with the coins.

“The ring was so big that I knew if it was real, it was expensive,” Mr Harris told KCTV.

Miss Darling was horror struck when she realised the next day what she had done. She went back to Mr Harris, squatted beside him and told him that she might have given him something valuable.

“’Was it a ring?”’ he recalled asking her. “And she says, ’Yeah.’ And I said ’Well, I have it.’”

Miss Darling gave Mr Harris all the cash she had in her wallet at the time.

“It seemed like a miracle,” Miss Darling said. “I thought for sure there was no way I would get it back.”

In explaining why he didn’t keep the ring, Mr Harris said he had a religious upbringing.

“My grandfather was a reverend,” Mr Harris said. “He raised me from the time I was six months old and thank the good Lord, it’s a blessing, but I do still have some character.

Source: breakingnews

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