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Vincent Nguini, guitarist for Paul Simon, dead at 65

Vincent Nguini, a guitarist from Cameroon who worked with Paul Simon since the late 1980s, died last week in Brazil. He was 65.

Simon's publicist, Elizabeth Freund, confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday. Freund said Nguini died on Dec. 8 with his wife, Florence Nombulelo Yawa, by his side.

No more details or cause of death were provided.

Nguini co-wrote "The Coast" from Simon's 1992 album, "The Rhythm of the Saints." He also played guitar throughout the album.

Nguini also worked in recording sessions with Peter Gabriel, Jimmy Buffett, Josh Groban, the Neville Brothers and Angelique Kidjo.

Nguini is also survived by his daughter Olivia Michelle; his sisters Nomo Cecile, Meyo Virginie; his brother Jean Marie; his ex-wife Stephanie Batchelor; and three grandchildren.

The top 10 songs and albums on the iTunes Store

iTunes Official Music Charts for the week ending December 14, 2017:

Top Songs

1. Perfect, Ed Sheeran

2. rockstar (feat. 21 Savage), Post Malone

3. Havana (feat. Young Thug), Camila Cabello

4. Perfect Duet (with Beyoncé), Ed Sheeran

5. Never Be the Same, Camila Cabello

6. Thunder, Imagine Dragons

7. I Want to Know What Love Is, Chloe Kohanski

8. Both Sides Now, Addison Agen

9. Meant to Be (feat. Florida Geo..., Bebe Rexha

10. Bad at Love, Halsey

Top Albums

1. What Makes You Country, Luke Bryan

2. ÷, Ed Sheeran

3. A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe, Pentatonix

4. Double Or Nothing, Big Sean & Metro Boomin

5. Reputation, Taylor Swift

6. From A Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton

7. You Make It Feel Like Christmas, Gwen Stefani

8. The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Various Artists

9. boom., Walker Hayes

10. Christmas, Michael Bublé

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(copyright) 2017 Apple Inc.

Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus to perform Elton John tribute show

Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus and Coldplay's Chris Martin are set to honor Elton John at a tribute concert next month.

The Recording Academy announced Friday that it will tape "Elton John: I'm Still Standing — A GRAMMY Salute" at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 30, two days after the 2018 Grammy Awards.

The concert will broadcast at a later date on CBS. The Grammys will air live from Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28.

Others set to honor John onstage include John Legend, Miranda Lambert, Kesha, Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Maren Morris. John will also perform.

John has won five Grammys and received 34 nominations. He is also the recipient of the Grammy Legend Award.

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Online:

https://www.grammy.com/

https://www.eltonjohn.com

Peter Jackson's Weinstein story opens old wounds for Sorvino

Director Peter Jackson says he is now realizing that Harvey Weinstein's advice to avoid working with Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd was likely part of a smear campaign against the two actresses.

Jackson tells Stuff that he was told by Miramax in the late 1990s that they were "a nightmare" to work with and thus didn't consider either for his Lord of the Rings films.

Sorvino said on Twitter that she burst out crying when she saw the article. She says it is confirmation that Weinstein derailed her career.

Judd and Sorvino are among dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

A spokesperson for Weinstein disputed the account, saying that his company Miramax was not involved in casting, which was handled by New Line.

Jackson said late Friday that "aspects of Harvey's denial are insincere."

In a statement on behalf of himself and producer Fran Walsh, he says that they both expressed enthusiasm for Judd and Sorvino.

"We were immediately told by Miramax to steer clear of them, because they claimed to have had "bad experiences" with these particular actresses in the past," Jackson wrote. "We have no direct evidence linking Ashley and Mira's allegations to our Lord of the Rings casting conversations of 20 years ago — but we stand by what we were told by Miramax when we raised both of their names, and we are recounting it accurately. If we were unwitting accomplices in harming their careers, Fran and I unreservedly apologize to both Ashley and Mira."

Manhattan prosecutor returns 3 ancient sculptures to Lebanon

Three ancient sculptures are being returned to their rightful owners in Lebanon as the Manhattan district attorney forms a new antiquities trafficking unit whose goal is to repatriate stolen pieces from around the world.

At a news conference in his office Friday, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. stood by the more than 2,000-year-old treasures that were recently owned by private collectors and valued at more than $5 million.

They were excavated from the Temple of Eshmun, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Beirut, stolen during the Lebanese civil war that started in 1975 and confiscated in New York in the past few months, Vance said.

A marble torso from about the 4th century B.C., sold by an antiquities dealer, was seized in November. Another marble torso from the 6th century B.C. was recovered in October. And a bull's head from about 360 B.C. was recovered from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was on loan from a collector.

They're the latest looted artifacts to be returned from New York, considered the U.S. hub of antiquity sales that are fueled by the city's concentration of wealth.

Matthew Bogdanos, who leads the DA's new antiquities trafficking unit, said ancient works found in war-torn lands easily end up in the hands of dealers who are "less than scrupulous" in determining their origins.

Majdi Ramadan, the Lebanese consul general in New York, said the Manhattan prosecutor's efforts "will mark the end of a long trail of theft and illicit trading."

Vance said that since 2012, his office has recovered several thousand trafficked antiquities collectively valued at more than $150 million. Members of the new trafficking unit are working with foreign governments as well as investigators from the Department of Homeland Security.

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This story has been corrected to show the pieces were first excavated from the temple, then stolen, not stolen directly from the temple.

Court rules for AP in reporter impersonation document fight

A federal appeals court has sided with reporters in a court fight over documents that began after an FBI agent pretended to be an Associated Press journalist while investigating bomb threats at a Washington state high school.

When the ruse became public in 2014, the AP and a press freedom organization attempted to get government records about the case and any other times FBI agents have impersonated journalists. After initially getting no records from the FBI, the AP and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sued. Though some documents were produced, the organizations argued that the agency's response was inadequate.

In an opinion issued Friday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed. Judge David Tatel wrote for himself and colleagues Brett Kavanaugh and Laurence Silberman that the FBI "failed to demonstrate" that it conducted a search "for the requested records, using methods which can be reasonably expected to produce the information requested." The opinion reverses a lower court ruling in favor of the government that the FBI had "conducted a good-faith, reasonable search."

The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court. The FBI will have to search for additional records located in the office of the FBI's director and better explain how it conducted its overall document search, said Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press lawyer Katie Townsend. She said her organization was "obviously really pleased" with the decision.

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

The lawsuit stems from a 2007 investigation into bomb threats emailed to Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington, which is near the state capital of Olympia. As part of the investigation, an FBI agent communicating with a suspect in the case portrayed himself as an AP reporter. The agent sent the suspect a link to a fabricated AP news article, a link that when clicked allowed the FBI to pinpoint the suspect's location.

After the FBI's actions came to light in 2014, resulting in an outcry from the AP and other news organizations, both the AP and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted records requests to the government under the Freedom of Information Act. The organizations asked for additional information about the Timberline High School incident, information about other instances where the FBI impersonated a member of the news media, and information about policies or guidelines governing the FBI's impersonation of members of the media.

After getting no records, the organizations sued in 2015. The government ultimately turned over about 190 pages of records, more than half of those pages with redactions.

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Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

Destiny’s Child might reunite when Beyonce performs at Coachella

Beyonce is set to headline Coachella next year, and she could be reuniting with  members of both the original and final lineups of Destiny’s Child while she’s at it. At least, the BeyHive thinks so.

>> Read more trending news 

Vogue reported that Beyonce’s fans began speculating about the reunion with founding members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett and the latest member of the final lineup, Michelle Williams, based on social media posts by each.

In October, Luckett posted a throwback photo of the group on Instagram. 

In early December, Roberson tweeted, “I have so much to tell you guys! All I’m allowed to say right now is... never mind.”

Williams shared a photo of her outfit from her surprise appearance at Beyonce’s 2016 Super Bowl performance on her Instagram story in Dec. At that show, Williams and fellow Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland reunited with Beyonce.

And this week, Beyonce shared a series of photos on her official site, one of which shows her wearing an AC/DC T-shirt with her hair covering the letters “AC,” leaving only the letters “DC” visible.

Rowland, for her part, hasn’t appeared to tease any such reunion. 

Assuming these posts, which are months apart, are indicative of a DC reunion may be a stretch, but it’s fun to speculate.

Fans can see if their theory holds up when Beyonce headlines the music festival in April.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' boasts $45 million opening night

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is off to a death star-sized start at the box office. Disney says Friday that the eighth installment in the space franchise has earned an estimated $45 million from Thursday night showings.

It's the second-highest Thursday night preview tally following the $57 million start for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which kicked off this modern trilogy in 2015.

"The Last Jedi" is expected to net around $200 million throughout the weekend, which would make it the fourth-biggest opening of all time. It's set to play on 4,232 screens in North America.

Rian Johnson wrote and directed "The Last Jedi," which stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver.

Producer of live events drops ties to Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley's career has taken another hit as live producer Mills Entertainment pulled out of backing the TV host's theatrical production focusing on the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.

Smiley, who has been indefinitely suspended from his PBS talk show and lost his Walmart sponsorship, was to launch a nationwide 40-city tour of "Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience," based on his 2014 book.

But Mills Entertainment said Friday that "in light of the recent allegations" it will "suspending our relationship with" Smiley. "We take seriously the allegations," the statement added.

PBS suspended Smiley after an independent investigation uncovered "multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS."

Smiley has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Year in Review: Celebrity couple splits in 2017

The year in celebrity relationships saw marriages and engagements, but it also had its fair share of breakups and divorces. 

>> Read more trending news 

Whether they were married for decades or dated for months, here is a list of some of 2017’s celebrity splits.

Chris Pratt and Anna Faris

Funny couple Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced their separation in August.

“Anna and I are sad to announce we are legally separating,” Pratt said in a statement. “We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed. Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake, we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward. We still have love for each other, will always cherish our time together and continue to have the deepest respect for one another.” 

Related: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris announce separation

Faris shared a similar statement on her own social media platforms. The couple married in 2009 and have a 4-year-old son named Jack.

Fergie and Josh Duhamel

Married for eight years, singer Fergie and actor Josh Duhamel announced they were separating in a joint statement in September.

“With absolute love and respect, we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year. To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family.”

Related: Singer Fergie, actor Josh Duhamel announce separation

The parents of son, Axl Jack, 4, were separated for some time before making the news public. Soon after the news broke, Fergie said it was “weird” pretending they were still to together before making the public announcement.

Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman

Georgina Chapman said in a statement she was leaving her husband of 10 years, movie producer Harvey Weinstein, after he had been accused of rape and sexual harassment by multiple women.

Related: Harvey Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman leaving him amid sexual harassment allegations

“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband,” Chapman said in a statement to People. “Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”

The couple are parents to India Pearl, 7, and Dashiell Max Robert, 4.

Tamar Braxton and Vincent Herbert

After more than a decade together, Tamar Braxton filed for divorce from her husband and manager, Vincent Herbert, in October. The two are parents to 4-year-old Logan Vincent.

Related: Tamar Braxton files for divorce from husband and manager Vincent Herbert

“At this time we can confirm Ms. Braxton has made an extremely difficult decision and has filed for divorce from Vincent Herbert,” a representative for Braxton said in a statement. “Collectively, their son Logan and his well-being during this extremely unfortunate process is most important. We ask that everyone respects her privacy during this incredibly difficult time. She appreciates everyone’s love and prayers.”

The couple started dating in 2003 and were married in 2008. Braxton is reportedly seeking joint custody of Logan.

Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana

Pop superstar Janet Jackson confirmed she was divorcing her husband, Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana, 42, nearly a month after reports speculated a separation.

“I just want to keep it real with you guys for a second: Yes, I separated from my husband,” Jackson, 51, told fans in a video message. “We are in court and the rest is in God’s hands.”

The couple welcomed their first child, a son named Eissa, in January. They were married in 2012.

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga

After being engaged for nine years, “American Idol” alumn Jennifer Hudson, 36, split from former pro wrestler David Otunga, 37 in November. At the same time of the report, Hudson’s representative said she filed a protective order against Otunga.

“They have been in the process of ending their relationship for a number of months,” Hudson’s rep told People in a statement.

“Today, Jennifer requested and received a protective order against her ex-fiancé. Jennifer’s actions are solely taken in the best interest of their son,” the Nov. 16 statement said.

Related: Jennifer Hudson’s ex David Otunga wins primary custody of their son

Later that same month, it was reported that Otunga won primary custody of the couple’s son, 8-year-old David Jr.

“This wasn’t a victory for David,” an unnamed source told People. “Jennifer dropped the order so they could remove the matter from the courtroom and work together to do what is best for their child.”

Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres

Actors Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres were separated for a year before publicly announcing their separation in September and divorce in November. Torres issued a statement confirming the separation after she was photographed kissing another man.

“With heavy hearts, Laurence and I quietly separated and began the dissolution of our marriage in the early fall of last year,” Torres said in a statement to People Sept. 20. “There are no bad guys here. Only a love story with a different ending than either one of us had expected.

Related: Laurence Fishburne, Gina Torres divorcing months after separation announcement

“Happily, however, our family remains intact and we will continue to raise our daughter together with love and joy and awe. As well as raise each other up with respect and love and the continued understanding that we’re in this together, if not side by side.”

Fishburne, 56, and Torres, 48, were married in 2002 and have one daughter, Delilah Fishburne.

Selena Gomez and The Weeknd

Distance was reportedly a factor in the break up of musicians Selena Gomez and The Weekend. The two dated for 10 months from January to October. Despite reports that the two remained friendly, The Weeknd, whose birth name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, removed all photos of Gomez by November.

Related: Selena Gomez, The Weeknd reportedly split after Gomez spotted with Justin Bieber

Gomez has since rekindled her on-again, off-again romance with Justin Bieber. 

Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna

After a whirlwind romance, reality TV personality Rob Kardashian proposed to Blac Chyna 10 weeks into dating in April 2016. They announced they were expecting their first child a month later.

Related: Rob Kardashian accuses Blac Chyna of cheating on him, using him for money on Instagram

Daughter Dream Kardashian was born in November 2016, and the couple broke up that December. Although they reunited in January, the broke up for good in February of this year. After a nasty battle that included Kardashian accusing Chyna of using him for money, posting nude photos of his ex and accusing her of cheating and Chyna getting a restraining order against Kardashian, the two appeared to have played nice for now. The two share joint custody of 1-year-old Dream. 

Kylie Jenner and Tyga

Kylie Jenner, the youngest sister in the Kardashian-Jenner family dated rapper Tyga on-and-off for years before the couple ended things for good in April. The two intially denied their romance as they reportedly began dating in 2014, when Jenner was 17 and Tyga was 24. They formally went public as a couple the next year once Jenner turned 18.

Jenner, 20, has since moved on and is reportedly expecting her first child with rapper Travis Scott, 25. 

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor 

In May, one of Hollywood’s longest-lasting couples, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor announced they were separating after 18 years together.

Related: Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor separating after 18 years together

“With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate,” the couple said in a joint statement to “Entertainment Tonight.” “Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time.”

The couple met in 1999 and got engaged the same year. They were married in May 2000 and are parents to Ella, 15, and Quinlin, 11.

Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill

Rappers Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill broke up in January after dating for two years. Minaj started dating Mill shortly after ending a long-term relationship with rapper Safaree.

Minaj has moved on and, based on some Instagram posts, could be dating legendary Queens rapper Nas.

Theresa and Larry Caputo

“Long Island Medium” star Theresa Caputo was married to her husband, Larry Caputo, for 28 years before they decided to divorce.

“After 28 years of marriage, we have decided to legally separate,” the couple said in s Dec. 3 statement to Us Weekly. “We will always love each other and our two wonderful children. We are united in supporting each other and our family. Please respect our privacy during this time.”

Related: ‘Long Island Medium’ Theresa Caputo splits from husband of 28 years

Theresa Caputo’s TLC show recently gave a look at their marital issues. 

“Since the last season of ‘Long Island Medium’ and through a period of time, Larry and I’s relationship has changed,” Theresa Caputo, 51, said in an episode of the show over lunch with a friend.

“I sometimes interpret it as growing apart. I’ve changed and he has changed. We’re both not happy and, you know, it’s hard to try to work through that,” she later says in a confessional.

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