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TV crew attempts to pass fake bomb through airport security

Authorities say at least seven people who claimed to be working for a TV network were arrested at a New Jersey airport after they tried to film themselves passing a fake explosive device through a security checkpoint.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says it happened at Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday. She says some members of the group attempted to bring the fake explosive device in a carry-on bag, but it was detected by TSA officers and never made it past security.

Farbstein says the alleged TV crew members were arrested on multiple charges and face possible civil penalties by the TSA.

Endemol Shine North America, which employs the crew, says the device is a "specially designed suitcase" used to compact clothing and "has no other intended use."

Peter Mayle, author of 'A Year in Provence,' is dead at 78

Peter Mayle, the British author whose midlife relocation to France inspired his best-selling "A Year in Provence" and other works set in his adopted country, died Thursday at age 78.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced that Mayle died after a brief illness in a hospital near his home in the south of France.

A Brighton native, Mayle was in his late 40s and had worked in advertising and in educational publishing when he moved to France in 1987, planning to write a novel. But, as he told the Guardian in 2010, he was so caught up in the new world around him — "the farmer next door, the mushroom hunter and the lady with the frustrated donkey" — that he wrote to his agent, Abner Stein, telling him that the novel wasn't working out.

"Eventually I sent Abner a long letter, largely inspired by guilt, trying to explain why I hadn't even started the novel, listing some of the distractions," Mayle explained. "To my enormous surprise and relief, he wrote back saying that if I could do another 250 pages like the letter, he might be able to find a publisher."

"A Year in Provence," released in 1989, was a word-of-mouth success that sold millions of copies, was adapted into a miniseries by the BBC and was credited with opening up a market for such other expatriate stories as Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun."

Mayle's other books included the children's stories "Where Did I Come From?" and "What's Happening to Me?" and the novel "A Good Year," adapted by Ridley Scott into the 2006 movie of the same name, starring Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard. In recent years, Mayle completed a quartet of "Caper" novels: "The Vintage Caper," ''The Corsican Caper," ''The Marseille Caper" and "The Diamond Caper."

Top-selling albums don't mean an album of the year win

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was the biggest-selling album of all time, and it was richly rewarded by the Recording Academy, earning a then-unprecedented eight trophies, including album of the year in 1984.

Other best-selling albums have also been crowned with the top Grammy, including Santana's "Supernatural," ''Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac and Adele's "21."

But having a popular album doesn't guarantee a Grammy win for album of the year — sometimes, not even a nomination.

Based on sales figures from the Recording Industry Association of America, here are top-selling albums of all time that aren't compilations, greatest hits or live albums that don't have an album-of-the-year Grammy.

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— Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin IV" has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and includes the classic "Stairway to Heaven," but the 1971 disc didn't appear in nominations for album of the year.

— Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is not only considered one of rock's classics, it also boasts 23 million albums sold. It was nominated for 1980 album of the year but lost to Christopher Cross' self-titled album.

— AC/DC's "Back in Black" sold 22 million albums but wasn't a Grammy nominee.

— Shania Twain's "Come on Over" sold 20 million albums and won two Grammys. It was nominated for album of the year but lost to Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" in 1999.

— The Beatles' "The Beatles" was perhaps better known as the group's legendary "White Album." The 1968 album's classics include "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," among others, but it didn't receive a nomination for album of the year. It is the Beatles' best-selling album with 19 million copies sold to date. However, the band had won best album for the 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," so perhaps it was just too soon for Grammy voters.

— Guns N' Roses' 1987 classic "Appetite for Destruction" didn't have any Grammy nominations. It has sold 18 million albums.

— Boston's "Boston" didn't get an album of the year nomination, but the band was nominated for best new artist. "Boston," released in 1976, has sold 17 million copies.

— Garth Brooks' "No Fences" also had no nominations; the 1990 album has sold 17 million copies.

— The Eagles' "Hotel California" was nominated but lost to Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" in 1978. It won two Grammys that year, including record of the year for the title track. The album has sold 16 million copies.

— Hootie & the Blowfish's "Cracked Rear View has sold 16 million since its 1994 release. It netted the group best new artist and pop performance by a duo or group trophies (the latter for "Let Her Cry"), but the album wasn't nominated for album of the year.

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The 60th annual Grammys will be presented Jan. 28 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Video: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin gets upset with Delta agent over missed flight

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin got upset with a Delta Air Lines agent after missing a flight at Los Angeles International Airport, according to TMZ video posted Tuesday.

Aldrin was told he wouldn’t be able to get on the flight, which prompted his frustration

 >> Read more trending news 

The issue was that it was past the check-in cutoff time at Los Angeles International for the flight, but the agent offered to rebook him on an alternate flight.

“Are you operating an airline here or not?” Aldrin asked on the video. “We’ve been sitting here now 20 minutes waiting for somebody to come and fix a two-minute problem…. This is the most lousy operation I’ve ever seen.” 

At one point, Aldrin stands up out of his wheelchair, frustrated about having to be booked on an alternate flight.

A TMZ cameraman later caught up with Aldrin, who seemed to have cooled off. “Look, my son worked for Delta, I know the people quite well,” Aldrin said.

The astronaut said he’d get a later flight.

Robert Redford addresses Weinstein, Me Too at Sundance

Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford did not shy away from addressing the elephants in the room — Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo — Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival, saying that the fallen executive is not "going to stop the show."

Both the lingering shadow of Weinstein, who long lorded over the indie film festival, and the Me Too movement dominated conversation at the historically tame opening day press conference in Park City, Utah.

"Harvey Weinstein was a moment in time and we're going to move past that," Redford said. "I don't think he's going to stop the show."

In recent months, Weinstein has been accused of two instances of assault at Sundance, including actress Rose McGowan's rape allegation from 1997. Representatives for Weinstein have denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

"We were sickened to hear along with everyone else about Harvey's behavior and even more so to learn that at least a couple of those instances happened at the Sundance Film Festival," added Keri Putnam, the executive director for the Sundance Institute. "They are nothing we were aware of at the time."

Putnam said that recent revelations and conversations around sexual misconduct are creating a new awareness.

"This isn't a new conversation for us, but it's a new moment and we're not going to go backward from here," she said.

In response to assault allegations during the festival and heightened sensitivity to sexual misconduct, the festival has taken strides to ensure the safety of its guests, including instilling a public code of conduct and a 24-hour safety hotline in partnership with Utah Attorney General's office.

"It's a bit of a ground zero," said festival director John Cooper.

Redford also addressed the Me Too and Time's Up movements saying that he's, "Pretty encouraged right now."

"It's bringing forth more opportunity for women and more opportunity for women in film for their voices to be heard and have their own projects," Redford said. "The role for men right now is to listen and to let women's voices be heard and think about it."

The Sundance Film Festival runs through Jan. 28.

Forever young Paul Rudd named Hasty Pudding Man of the Year

Paul Rudd, the versatile and forever young actor and screenwriter who stars in "Ant-Man" was named 2018 Man of the Year by Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals on Thursday.

Rudd, 48, will get his pudding pot during a roast at Harvard on Feb. 2.

"He has starred in indies, mainstream films, acclaimed and often heartfelt comedies, and now he currently plays one of Marvel's biggest (and smallest) superheroes," the oldest collegiate theatrical organization in the nation announced.

He also apparently holds the secret to the fountain of youth.

"The entire company is in awe of his many accomplishments in film and television," Hasty Pudding President Amira Weeks said in a statement. "Specifically, in his ability to have not aged since 1995. Oh, and we hear he's a pretty funny guy, too."

Rudd co-wrote and starred in 2015's "Ant-Man" and its sequel due out this year, "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

He also plays the lead in "The Catcher Was a Spy," the real-life story of Ivy Leaguer and major league ballplayer Moe Berg, a spy with the forerunner of the CIA during World War II, premiering later this month at the Sundance Film Festival.

Previous film credits include "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," ''This is 40" and "Knocked Up."

Hasty Pudding gives out the awards annually to people "who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment."

Last year's man of the year was Ryan Reynolds. Previous winners dating to 1967 include James Stewart, Sylvester Stallone and Samuel L. Jackson.

Mila Kunis was named 2018 Woman of the Year last week.

Prosecutors want to call 19 other accusers at Cosby retrial

Prosecutors preparing for Bill Cosby's retrial on sexual assault charges told a judge Thursday that they want to call 19 other accusers to try to show a pattern of "prior bad acts" over five decades.

The comedian's first trial ended with a hung jury in June. In that proceeding, prosecutors asked to call 13 other accusers, but the judge allowed only one to testify, a woman who said she was attacked by Cosby at a Los Angeles hotel in 1996.

In Thursday's filing, prosecutors asked the court to reconsider its earlier order, saying the 19 women's accusations show that Cosby's prior bad acts are sufficiently "distinctive and so nearly identical as to become the signature of the same perpetrator."

Kathleen Bliss, one of Cosby's lawyers, said she couldn't comment on the filing.

Pennsylvania law allows testimony about "prior bad acts" if they fit a nearly identical crime pattern.

Prosecutors say that's the case for the TV star once dubbed "America's Dad" for his role as Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." They say Cosby routinely used his fame and power to befriend impressionable young women, knocked them out with drugs or alcohol and then sexually assaulted them.

Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby has said the encounter was consensual.

The new potential witnesses include model Janice Dickinson, who claims Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe, California in 1982; a woman who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her after she opened for him at a Denver club in 1980; and a talent agency secretary who says Cosby spiked her drinks and tried to force her to give him oral sex in 1965.

In the run-up to his first trial, Cosby's lawyers objected to any testimony about "prior bad acts," saying that in some cases the sex was consensual, while others involved models and actresses falsely accusing Cosby to gain money or attention.

His attorneys also argued that some of the allegations were so vague — with some of the women unsure of when the alleged encounters even took place — that it would be impossible for Cosby to defend himself.

He has a new legal team for the retrial, set for April 2 in suburban Philadelphia.

Prosecutors say the 19 women are among more than 50 they interviewed claiming Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them.

"Each of these women has come forward with harrowing accounts of sexual assault by the defendant, strikingly similar to the tactics he employed with Ms. Constand," the motion reads.

The testimony of the 19 others — should Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill allow some or all of it — could bolster the case that turns on the question of consent. Cosby, in a decade-old deposition, acknowledged some of the encounters but said they were consensual.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they are sexual assault victims, unless they agree to be identified. Constand and Dickinson have consented.

Brigitte Bardot: 'MeToo' actresses are 'hypocritical'

Former French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot said in an interview published Thursday that she thinks most actresses protesting sexual harassment in the film industry are "hypocritical" and "ridiculous" because many play "the teases" with producers to land parts.

The star of "And God Created Woman" also said in the interview with weekly Paris-Match magazine that in her view, so many actresses are coming out with sexual misconduct allegations "so that we talk about them."

Bardot, 83, is the second French film legend to distance herself from the worldwide protest movement against sexual misconduct, known as the #MeToo campaign. Last week, Catherine Deneuve signed a collective op-ed that said "insistent or clumsy hitting-on is not a crime."

Bardot, who is known as an animal rights activist these days but inspired the term "sex kitten" as a young actress, said she never had been a victim of sexual harassment and found it "charming to be told that I was beautiful or that I had a nice little ass."

"This kind of compliment is pleasant," she said.

Bardot said her comments on sexual misconduct only concerned actresses, not women in general. She added that actresses campaigning against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry are "of no interest."

"This (issue) takes the place of important topics that could be discussed" instead in the news, she argued

As for actresses who allege they have been victims of misconduct, Bardot suggested they might become the targets of a personal backlash instead of the publicity she thinks they want.

"Actually, rather than benefit them, it only harms them," Bardot said.

In an open letter published last week in Le Monde newspaper, Deneuve and 100 or so performers, scholars and other prominent French women said men are being unfairly accused of sexual misconduct and harassment and should be free to hit on women.

The signatories argued that the "legitimate protest against sexual violence" stemming from the Harvey Weinstein scandal had gone too far and threatened hard-won sexual freedoms.

After the op-ed encountered intense criticism in the French press and on social media, Deneuve, who is known as a women's advocate, apologized to victims of "odious" acts of sexual abuse.

Bardot has a different profile. Since ending her acting career more than four decades ago, she has dedicated herself to the cause of animal welfare. Politically, she defines herself as a right-wing conservative.

Bardot also has been convicted of multiple racial hatred offenses for comments about Islam and the Muslim community.

HuffPost shutting down contributor section

HuffPost is shutting down its contributor platform, which has allowed more than 100,000 people to post opinions on its site since it was introduced in 2005.

The site's top editor, Lydia Polgreen, says HuffPost needs to take ownership of what it publishes. HuffPost will cast a wide net for contributors to a new curated opinion section — and these writers will be paid, Polgreen says in a statement Thursday.

She says there are many more outlets for people to express their opinions online than there were 13 years and online platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten through a flood of false information to undermine democracy.

Polgreen says that when everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard.

Dolly Parton earns two Guinness World Records

Dolly Parton has yet another accomplishment to add to her already legendary list: two world records.

Billboard reported the singer and songwriter holds Guinness World Records for the most decades with a Top 20 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, with six decades, and most hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart by a female artist, with 107 hits.

>> Read more trending news 

Parton has Top 20 Billboard hits across six consecutive decades, starting with 1967’s “Something Fishy” and ending with a 2016 version of her 1974 song, “Jolene” with Pentatonix. That same 2016 song set the record for her 107th Hot Country Songs chart entry. Her first was “Dumb Blonde” in 1967.

“To receive these two Guinness World Records is so great,” Parton said in a statement. Joining so many wonderful singers and songwriters who have been honoured this way feels so special to me. You never know when you start out with your work how it’s going to turn out, but to have these two world records makes me feel very humbled and blessed!”

Parton’s six-decade run puts her in the company of George Jones, the only other country artist who spent more than five decades on the Hot Country Songs chart.

Speaking to Guinness World Records about her songwriting process, Parton said it comes from her own experiences.

“I’ve always just written from my heart,” she said. “I try not to dwell on just trying to be commercial and what's a radio hit or whatever. Usually when an idea hits me, it comes from my heart, but I still try to be alert and to be aware and to try to be as up-to-date as I can be, and evidently I’m doing alright after all these decades.”

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