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Friday, November 10, 2017 • Safar 21, 1439 A.H. • Page 20
Nancy Ajram teams
up with Powerpuff
Girls to save the world
JEDDAH: Arab pop star
Nancy Ajram has teamed
up with Cartoon Network
for the five-part series
“The Powerpuff Girls:
Power of Four,” becoming
one of the first celebrities
to have voiced a Cartoon
Network character in the
Middle East.
She will voice the fourth
Powerpuff Girl, Bliss, the long-lost
teenaged sister of the other three
Powerpuff Girls, in the regional
version of the popular American
animated TV series.
Ajram said it enabled her “to
re-live some of my happy child-
hood memories in the process. I
felt that I was very much in the
heart of the action, helping the
Powerpuff Girls save the world.”
“It was a great experience for
me to participate in the dubbing of
The Powerpuff Girls, particularly
as it marks the first time that a
celebrity has voiced a Cartoon
Network character in the Middle
East region,” she said.
Ajram completes the line-up of
15 super-powered celebrities across
international markets to lend their
voices to the fourth Powerpuff Girl,
including Britain’s Got Talent
judge Alesha Dixon, who will voice
Bliss for the UK.
“The Powerpuff Girls” has been
one of the most popular programs
on Cartoon Network and has its
own dedicated YouTube channel in
Arabic to cater specifically to its
fans in the region.
The series began airing on
The Lebanese singer, who is one
of the most powerful figures in
Arab pop, will perform at du
Forum on the UAE’s Yas Island on
Dec. 2.
Amal Clooney to
co-chair Met Gala
NEW YORK: It is the most sought
after invitation in the celebrity
universe — and on Wednesday,
Amal Clooney, Rihanna and
Donatella Versace were named co-
chairs of next year’s glittering Met
Gala in New York.
Held every year on the first
Monday in May, the black-tie
extravaganza is the chief source of
income for the Metropolitan
Museum of Art’s Costume Institute,
reportedly raising more than $13
million in 2016.
Tickets are said to cost $30,000
each or $275,000 for a table, rul-
ing out all but the most elite cote-
rie of A-list Hollywood actors, best-
selling music superstars, top mod-
els and fashion designers.
Clooney — the 39-year-old
British-Lebanese wife of Hollywood
heartthrob George and new moth-
er of twins — is feted as much for
her fashion sense as her work as
an international human rights
Rihanna, 29, needs no intro-
duction as one of the biggest pop
stars on the planet, also lauded for
her bold style, and Versace is the
62-year-old legendary Italian
designer and sister of Gianni, who
was murdered in Miami in 1997.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna
Wintour — who has singlehand-
edly transformed the ball into the
hottest ticket in town — is also
co-chair of the event, which will be
held on May 7.
But there is one person defi-
nitely not invited. Wintour told
“Late Late Show” host James
Corden last month that she would
never invite back Donald Trump
— who has attended with wife
Melania in the past, before he was
elected US president.
Wintour was a prominent
Hillary Clinton fundraiser.
Amal Clooney
Aniston makes TV return
with Witherspoon
LOS ANGELES: “Friends” star
Jennifer Aniston is coming back to
television and she is partnering
with Reese Witherspoon.
The Apple streaming service
said Wednesday the actresses will
star in and produce a behind-the-
scenes drama series about a TV
morning show.
Aniston came to fame as Rachel
on the hit NBC comedy “Friends,”
which aired from 1994 to 2004.
She then focused on films, includ-
ing “Office Space,” “Bruce
Almighty” and “Marley & Me.”
The Oscar-winning Witherspoon
(“Walk the Line”) made a TV splash
last season with HBO’s Emmy-
winning series “Big Little Lies,”
which she starred in and produced
with Nicole Kidman. The new series
marks a TV reunion for its stars:
Witherspoon and Aniston played
sisters on an episode of “Friends.”
Landing the buzzed-about proj-
ect represents a coup for Apple,
which said it has ordered two sea-
sons but did not announce the
show’s title, release date or wheth-
er the shows will be distributed on
iTunes or a different platform.
The series was described by Apple
as “an inside look at the lives of the
people who help America wake up
in the morning, exploring the
unique challenges faced by the
women (and men) who carry out
this daily televised ritual.”
It will draw on “Top of the
Morning: Inside the Cutthroat
World of Morning TV” by Brian
Stelter, CNN senior media corre-
spondent. The 2013 book relates the
rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and
ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
ReeseWitherspoon and Jennifer Aniston
Will Smith visits Jordan’s Petra with ‘Aladdin’ crew
JEDDAH: US star Will Smith has thanked the royal family
and people of Jordan for taking “perfect care of us.”
Smith, who arrived this week in Aqaba for shooting
Disney’s “Aladdin” visited Petra with his crew on
“We’re shooting Aladdin in Jordan. Took my crew to
see PETRA! It’s been on my Bucket List for about 20
years. IT’S CRAZY! Special ‘Thank You’ to the Royal
Family & to the people of Jordan. You all took
PERFECT CARE of us. We Shall Return!” the “Men in
Black” star wrote on Facebook, posting a group photo
of the trip.
Earlier, Al-Rai newspaper quoted Commissioner of
Tourism and Commerce at the Aqaba authority’s special
economy unit, Sharhabil Madi as saying that Smith’s visit
was related to the filming of “Aladdin,” in which the latter
plays the role of the Genie.
Madi added that attracting famous international figures
to Aqaba comes within the framework of the authority’s
plan to promote the region as a safe tourist and economic
“The authority has to take advantage of the presence of
such artistic figures who are filming global films watched
by hundreds of millions around the world and bearing the
name of the place where these films are produced. Aqaba
today gained international fame due to these works of art,”
he said.
He added: “There will be dozens of artists and inter-
national foreign and Arab stars participating in the
production of Aladdin, which is being filmed in the
‘Valley of the Moon Wadi Rum’ for a period of up to
two months.”
Smith was also photographed having dinner at a restau-
rant in Aqaba.
Many Jordanians on social media welcomed the actor
and his crew to their country.
Hisham Ayyash wrote: “Jordan and Jordanians love you
and we were honored to have you in Jordan. We will be
waiting for your next trip to us! To everyone and on behalf
of all Jordanians, please count Jordan as your 2nd home
any time!”
“We are honored to host your new film Mr. Smith, hope
you have a blast in Jordan and take a glimpse at the true
Middle Eastern culture away from the noise of American
mainstream media. Make sure to try mansaf (traditional
Jordanian dish),” wrote Shadi Hawari.
There’s a dead bug in
the Van Gogh
WASHINGTON: When a Kansas City museum put a Vincent van Gogh
painting under the microscope, it found an unlikely intruder: a grass-
hopper trapped in the canvas’s painterly whirls for 128 years. Mary
Schafer, a conservator at The Nelson-Atkins Museumof Art, came across
the tiny dried, brown carcass in the lower foreground while studying the
painting of olive groves. “I was mainly trying to understand the differ-
ent layers of the painting and how it was constructed, and that’s how I
came upon part of the body of this little grasshopper,” she told AFP.“The
fact that we have this little surprise of a grasshopper is a fun way to have
a new look at a Van Gogh.” The find, announced this week, reflects the
artist’s practice of painting in the outdoors, where it was often windy
enough to send dust, grass and insects flying. “I must have picked up a
good hundred flies and more off the four canvases that you’ll be getting,
not to mention dust and sand,” Van Gogh mused in an 1885 letter to his
brother Theo. “When one carries them across the heath and through
hedgerows for a few hours, the odd branch or two scrapes across them.”
But Van Gogh was no bug killer. Paleo-entomologist Michael Engel of
the University of Kansas told the museum’s team that the grasshopper’s
thorax and abdomen were missing, and no sign of movement was evi-
dent in the paint around the insect, indicating it was already dead when
it landed on Van Gogh’s canvas.
NASA seeks nickname for tiny,
icy world in space
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: Heads up, armchair travelers. NASA is
seeking a nickname for a tiny, icy world on the edge of the solar sys-
tem that is the next destination for New Horizons, the spacecraft that
surveyed Pluto. New Horizons whipped past Pluto two years ago. Now
it is headed for 2014 MU69 — gobbledygook to even the most die-
hard scientists. To lighten the mood as New Horizons aims for a 2019
flyby, the research team is holding a naming contest. The deadline is
Dec. 1. MU69 is 6.5 billion kilometers away and may actually be two
objects, either stuck together or orbiting one another. If so, two nick-
names would be needed. The nicknames will be temporary. NASA said
Monday that a formal name will come after the flyby.
Polish government asks citizens to multiply like
WARSAW: The Polish government is encouraging citizens to go forth
and multiply like rabbits. The health ministry of Poland, which has one
of the lowest birth rates in Europe, has put out a short video praising
rabbits for producing many offspring. The YouTube video shows rabbits
munching on lettuce and carrots while a rabbit “narrator” reveals the
secret of their big families—exercise, a healthy diet and little stress. The
brief appearance of a human couple enjoying a romantic picnic hints
that a little romance might help, and a wine glass turned upside down
suggested an anti-alcohol message. Viewers are told: “If you ever want to
be a parent, follow the example of rabbits.” It is the latest step by the
conservative government in this mostly Catholic country of 38 million to
reverse a shrinking population. European Union figures show that
Poland’s birth rate was 1.32 children per woman in 2015. Only Portugal
had a lower fertility rate, though the figures in Spain and Greece were
almost as low as Poland. The health ministry said in a statement to The
Associated Press that it was trying to encourage Poles in their reproduc-
tive years — between the ages of 18 and 45 — to adopt a healthy life-
style that would improve their reproductive health.
Screams of ‘Help!’ draw 911 call, but parrot is the
CLACKAMAS, Oregon: A deliveryman in Oregon who heard a
woman’s screams for help had his wife call 911, but when a deputy
showed up it turned out the screamer was a parrot, not a woman. The
Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that when Clackamas
County Sheriff’s Deputy Hayden Sanders showed up, all he found was
Diego the Parrot. The green-and-yellow bird was in good health and
no humans were involved.
— Compiled from agencies
Nancy Ajram
— AP
Will Smith visited Petra in Jordan with
his crew onWednesday.
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