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Archive for Tuesday, April 22, 2008

People in the news

April 22, 2008

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Hawking theorizes on extraterrestrial life

Washington - Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has been thinking a lot about the cosmic question, "Are we alone?" The answer is probably not, he says.

If there is life elsewhere in the universe, Hawking asks why haven't we stumbled onto some alien broadcasts in space, maybe something like "alien quiz shows?"

Hawking's comments were part of a lecture at George Washington University on Monday in honor of NASA's 50th anniversary. He theorized that there are possible answers to whether there is extraterrestrial life.

One option is that there likely isn't life elsewhere. Or maybe there is intelligent life elsewhere, but when it gets smart enough to send signals into space, it also is smart enough to make destructive nuclear weapons.

Hawking said he prefers the third option: "Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare." He then quickly added: "Some would say it has yet to occur on earth."

So should you worry about aliens? Alien abduction claims come from "weirdos" and are unlikely. However, because alien life might not have DNA like us, Hawking warned: "Watch out if you would meet an alien. You could be infected with a disease with which you have no resistance."

Ebert hopes to attend namesake film fest

Los Angeles - Roger Ebert hopes to make it to his annual namesake film festival this week despite hip surgery.

The 65-year-old film critic was recovering Friday at a Chicago hospital from minor hip surgery after a recent fall.

"The show must go on," Ebert said in a statement posted on his Web site. "I am doing fine and if the doctors clear me, I will be there to welcome our guests."

Scheduled guests at the 10th annual film festival include Ang Lee, Richard Roeper, Richard Corliss and Christine Lahti.

The 2008 "Ebertfest" - sponsored by the critic's alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - will be Wednesday through Sunday.

A film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 40 years, Ebert has undergone a series of cancer surgeries in recent years, including the removal of a growth on his salivary gland and a tracheostomy, a procedure that opens an airway through an incision in the windpipe, that left him unable to speak.

Ebert has been on hiatus from his TV show, "At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper," since 2006.

Moore endorses Obama

Los Angeles - Filmmaker Michael Moore has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for today's Pennsylvania primary.

Writing on his Web site www.michaelmoore.com, the director of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko" said that at first he didn't take sides between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton; he simply wanted a Democrat to win the presidency.

But, he said, lately he has been turned off by the tactics used by Clinton's campaign. "The actions and words of Hillary Clinton have gone from being merely disappointing to downright disgusting," he said.

Shakira promotes British PM's agenda

London - George Clooney. Angelina Jolie. Shakira.

Not a red carpet lineup, but a roll call of celebrities the sometimes dour British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has recruited to inject glamour into his appeals to help the developing world.

Brown joined a telephone conference Monday with Shakira, praising the Colombian pop sensation for taking an inspirational role in work to provide a basic education for every child in the world.

The Grammy-winning singer, famed for her hit "Hips Don't Lie," is supporting a week of events to highlight the cause of education advocacy group the Global Campaign for Education.

She said the group is pressing world leaders to provide funding for primary education for 72 million young children who now miss out on schooling as a result of poverty.

Brown has made work on meeting the Millennium Development Goals - a set of development standards on education, health, literacy and poverty - a key plank of his foreign policy.

Betraying his often gloomy demeanor, Brown regularly courts celebrities to lend backing to his campaigns. He held talks with Clooney earlier this month on violence in Darfur, has worked closely with Bono and Bob Geldof on aid for Africa, and chatted with Jolie in 2006 on education.

Hasselhoff has surgery; rehab rumor denied

Los Angeles - The Hoff's hospitalized.

Former "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff was taken to the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center on Saturday to have something removed above his eye, his publicist, Judy Katz, told The Associated Press on Monday.

"He's fine, he had something removed, he's coming out tonight," Katz said, declining to elaborate on what was removed.

Rumors that Hasselhoff checked into rehab were not true, Katz said.

Hasselhoff, 55, was treated in a hospital for alcoholism in October.

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