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23/10/2010

How Would Chelsea and 50 Cent Rate Among Hollywood's Odd Couples?

CelebritySquares.com, the mobile source for hot Hollywood info, looks at some of the strangest Hollywood pairings past and present.

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 12, 2010

When comedienne Chelsea Handler and rapper 50 Cent were recently spotted getting hot and heavy at a New Orleans bar, the inevitable whispers of "Are they or aren't they" were topped by a more pressing query: "Uh, really?" When news came via a tweet from Ms. Handler that it was all work and no play between the two, one could almost hear the world sigh in disappointment. Whether they're hooking up, breaking up, or even just made up, Holly-weird couples have an odd hold over the public imagination. The leading mobile entertainment service Celebrity Squares ranks the most head-scratching celeb pairings.

1. Brigitte Nielsen & Flavor FlavAs much as VH1 producers must have loved it, even they could not have planned for the eccentric clock-wearing rapper and 6' 1" Danish actress - once linked to Sly Stallone - falling for each other on season 3 of the "Surreal Life."The two took bubble baths together as Nielsen lovingly called him "foofy foofy" and even got fitted with gold teeth to match his. After that show, the couple starred in a spinoff called "Strange Love," but alas, endless bickering ended this match made in reality heaven.

2. Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie PresleyOn paper, it sort of made sense: Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, and Michael Jackson, the eccentric King of Pop. But actually seeing these two together could only be described as bizarre. The public was even skeptical, due to suspect timing - Jackson was being investigated on child molestation charges. Though Lisa Marie blogged after Jackson's death that "our relationship was not 'a sham'," it's hard to forget the words she had uttered to Oprah years before when asked about that time in her life: "Holy Mother of God!"

3. Julia Roberts & Lyle LovettIn the early '90s, the world was in love with the "Pretty Woman" and couldn't wait to see who would capture her heart.After a failed engagement to Keifer Sutherland, she became romantically involved with a slew of hunks including Liam Neeson, Jason Patric and, reportedly, Daniel Day-Lewis. However, no traditional leading man ultimately got Ms. Roberts to flash her mega-watt smile. Rather, the unconventionally handsome country crooner Lyle Lovett swept Julia off her feet. Tabloids labeled them "Beauty and the Beast" when the two eloped after just a few months, but this fairytale did not end happily ever after.

4. David Spade & Heather Locklear It's not hard to spot actor/comedian David Spade with a gorgeous Hollywood starlet on his arm. What's more difficult is obtaining confirmation of any serious commitment. Point in case: when Heather Locklear was on the rebound from her breakup with rockstar hubbie Richie Sambora, she was often seen hand in hand with Spade, enjoying intimate dinners and laughing the night away (the little guy is funny, got to give him that). Despite the constant companionship, the two would admit nothing more than "they were good friends." Spade seems to be "good friends" with a bevy of beauties despite his less than movie star stature. Most recently he was linked with the exotic "Top Chef" host, Padma Lakshmi - just another "friend."

5. Courtney Cox & David ArquetteThis week's most prominent casualty, the romance between "Friends" star Courtney Cox and the quirky actor David Arquette had been intact for so long, one could forget how shocking it was when the two first got together. Perhaps the pair's disparate personalities finally proved irreconcilable. Or, Cox's "Cougar Town" experience got under her ski It's even possible that Arquette's rumored fling with Megan Fox look-alike Jasmine Waltz triggered the just-announced separation. In any case, this was one unlikely couple that seemed solid enough to defy the odds.

6. Demi Moore & Ashton KutcherWhen Demi and Ashton first got together, all people could see was a 15-year age difference and a physical attraction that many regarded as nothing but a fling. But when the two made it official, with Demi's ex Bruce Willis and their three daughters in attendance, Moore and Kutcher became the archetype for the modern power couple. Five years after they tied the knot, the two are still going strong. Despite the occasional bump in the road (like Kutcher's little cheating scandal last month), it seems that Demi trusts her Twitterific man. In fact, the oddest thing about this couple is how devoted they are to each other in a town where breaking up is apparently not hard to do.

For the latest Hollywood rumors and entertainment headlines, go to CelebritySquares.com.

About CelebritySquares.com

Celebrity Squares combines the hottest entertainment news and trivia into an exciting mobile game. Members answer trivia taken from the latest pop culture headlines, earning points toward portable DVD players, video games, digital cameras, gift cards and more, while at the same time receiving SMS updates on breaking celebrity news stories. For more information, visit . Celebrity Squares is acompany.

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Peter DedmanSnackable Media212 588 1180Email Information

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New Jersey governor to re-examine tunnel funding

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will examine a report this weekend on an $8.7 billion rail tunnel after the federal government urged him to reconsider his cancellation of the project, his spokesman said on Friday.

The tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan would be the largest U.S. public-works project and has been backed by Democratic politicians who argue that major infrastructure projects can boost sluggish economic growth.

Christie, a Republican, pulled funding for the tunnel on October 7 but is reconsidering his decision at the request of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican former congressman.

"The governor expects to get a report from (New Jersey Transit Executive Director) Jim Weinstein on recommendations, conclusions from the fed/state working group," Christie's spokesman Michael Drewniak wrote in an e-mail on Friday. "The governor will consider that through at least the weekend."

LaHood said on Friday that he wants to find a way to keep the tunnel project alive.

He released Transportation Department estimates that the tunnel exceeded the initial cost estimate by at least $1 billion, costing between $9.775 billion and $12.708 billion. The project also includes a new bridge that would cost an additional $775 million, LaHood said.

Drewniak said the figures showed the entire tunnel project could cost up to $13.475 billion, supporting Christie's concerns that it would be too expensive.

"The hurdle remains unchanged," Drewniak said in a statement. "He is not willing to saddle New Jersey taxpayers with a public-works project with such a large, indeterminate cost overrun projection with no way to fund it."

By withdrawing state funding from the project, which would have created 6,000 jobs, the governor took one side of a clear divide in U.S. politics ahead of November 2 elections -- one that sees big government and higher taxes as a threat to prosperity.

The tunnel would run alongside the century-old Hudson River commuter train tunnel that links New Jersey and Manhattan's Pennsylvania Station. Transit advocates say it is crucial to relieving a transportation bottleneck.

New Jersey's economy depends heavily on commuters who work in New York City and financial analysts say the state's economic growth will choke without the new tunnel.

COST OVERRUNS

Christie said his state would be responsible for paying the excess from the original estimate.

"We were willing to put our $5.7 billion on the table. But ... I cannot afford to put close to $10 or $11 billion on the table. The people of New Jersey don't have the money," Christie told "NBC Nightly News" on Thursday.

Under the original financing deal, which was agreed to before Christie took office earlier this year, New Jersey would pay $2.7 billion, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey $3 billion, and the federal government $3 billion. Any overruns would be paid by New Jersey.

Christie challenged his critics from The New York Times op-ed page -- and billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a tunnel supporter -- to pay the difference.

(Reporting by Jon Hurdle; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Eric Beech)

21/10/2010

U.S.-Pakistani officials tackle difficult issues

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama praised the movement of U.S.-Pakistani relations toward a strategic partnership on Wednesday even as his national security team sought greater pressure on extremist safe havens in Pakistan.

Obama told visiting officials attending the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue -- including Foreign Ministers Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani -- he would not visit Pakistan during his trip to South Asia this year. But he said he would travel to Pakistan in 2011 and would host President Asif Ali Zardari in Washington as well.

Obama underscored the importance of the strategic dialogue "in moving our relationship toward a true partnership based on mutual respect," the White House said in a statement. Both sides agreed "on the importance of cooperating toward a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan," it said.

The meeting with Obama came on the opening day of the third round of the strategic dialogue, a series of wide-ranging talks aimed at broadening relations between the two countries beyond the war against Islamist insurgents.

Officials will discuss everything from water to energy in the three days of talks, but the dominant element was the ongoing counterinsurgency campaigns in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and the strain the conflict has put on bilateral relations.

Qureshi praised Obama's decision to visit Pakistan but signaled Islamabad's displeasure at the kinds of shortcomings in the relationship that led to a recent cross-border helicopter incursion that killed two Pakistani border guards.

"The global fight against terrorism has advanced thus far essentially on the basis of international cooperation," Qureshi told an audience at the Brookings Institution. "Actions are required that reinforce and not undercut such counterterrorism operations. We have stated before and I reiterate again, Pakistan's sovereignty is and will remain non-negotiable."

Qureshi said the war against insurgents was "a strategic and moral imperative" with Pakistan and the country would not waver in its resolve "to fight extremism and terrorism as our nation has suffered the most at the hands of the scourge."

But Obama discussed the war in the Afghan-Pakistan border region with his national security team before meeting with the Pakistani delegation. The security team talked about Afghan reconciliation efforts and "the need to increase pressure on extremist safe havens" in Pakistan, the White House said.

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said later the two sides had made "a great deal of progress" in the war against Islamist insurgents but "there is much more that can be done."

STRATEGIC DIALOGUE

The strategic dialogue is organized into 13 working groups, four of which met on Wednesday -- water, agriculture, communications and defense. The other nine groups will meet over the next two days. The meetings conclude in a plenary session on Friday led by Qureshi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Key issues were a multi-year U.S. military funding package for Islamabad and floods that inundated an Italy-sized swath of Pakistan in August, causing $9.7 billion in damages. But security issues were expected to dominate.

"I want to be clear to you that as we talk about water and energy and women's empowerment and communications and agriculture, we also talk intensively and extensively about how to improve our mutual efforts against the terrorist threat," Holbrooke said.

During a session at the Pentagon, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Kayani discussed long-term security aid for Islamabad.

Gates also apologized to Kayani for the cross-border incursion by U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan that killed two Pakistani border guards, a spokesman said.

The incident soured tiesetween the two allies and prompted the closure of a border crossing near the Khyber Pass, barring trucks ferrying supplies to NATO forces for 10 days.

"Pakistani-U.S. relations have taken a hit in the past few weeks," said Mark Quarterman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's actually very timely that the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue is occurring after this period so they can sit down and clear the air."

Analysts said two sides in the dialogue would try to reach a common understanding of where they are headed in Afghanistan.

"The objective of the strategic dialogue will be to get us as close as possible to the same strategic page in Afghanistan and to make a public declaration to that effect," said Teresita Schaffer, the head of the South Asia Program at the CSIS.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington, and Chris Allbritton and Zeeshan Haider in Islambad; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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