‘SNL’ pays tribute to Vegas victims, Petty during opening

NEW YORK (AP) — “Saturday Night Live” has paid tribute to victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting and the late rock superstar Tom Petty by opening its show with country star Jason Aldean singing one of Petty’s songs.

Aldean performed “I Won’t Back Down” during the live opening Saturday night and then introduced the show.

Aldean was performing at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas last Sunday night when a gunman sprayed bullets into the crowd from a high-rise hotel, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500.

Petty died the next day in Los Angeles after suffering cardiac arrest.

Developers offer to buy Dr. Seuss mural decried as racist

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A real estate developer and his partner have offered to buy a mural featuring a Chinese character from a Dr. Seuss book after it was deemed offensive.

The mural inside the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Massachusetts features illustrations from the author’s first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.”

The museum, which is in the author’s hometown of Springfield, said Thursday the mural will be replaced after three children’s authors said it contains a “jarring racial stereotype.”

The Republican reports Chinese-American developer Andy Yee and businessman Peter Picknelly announced Saturday they’re willing to buy the mural if it’s removed. Picknelly called the criticism “political correctness gone insane.”

Democratic Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says he wants the mural to remain in the museum.


This story has been corrected to show the museum is called the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, not Dr. Seuss Enterprises.


Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://bit.ly/2gjTeUF

‘Bumfights’ homeless actor Rufus Hannah dies at 63

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rufus Hannah, a formerly homeless alcoholic who fought and performed dangerous stunts in the notorious “Bumfights” videos, has died. He was 63.

The Georgia State Patrol says Hannah was a passenger in a car that collided with a semi-truck Wednesday just outside of Swainsboro, Georgia. He had been living in nearby Adrian.

On Friday, Hannah’s friend and benefactor, Barry Soper, placed a bouquet on the Dumpster in San Diego where he first encountered Hannah more than 15 years ago.

Hannah appeared in videos that featured homeless people brawling or performing degrading stunts such as lighting their hair on fire or slamming head-first into walls. They got about $10 per stunt and were usually drunk.

Soper gave Hannah a job and helped in his eventual recovery. He tells KNSD-TV (http://bit.ly/2fYw6ON ) that Hannah was a “beautiful soul” who had been sober for 13 years.

FBI begins removing belongings left after Las Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nearly a week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, federal agents on Saturday started hauling away the piles of backpacks, purses, baby strollers and lawn chairs left behind when frantic concert-goers scrambled to escape raining bullets from a gunman who was shooting from his high-rise hotel suite.

FBI agents fanned out across the crime scene near the Las Vegas Strip throughout the week stacking the belongings left from last Sunday’s shooting into more than a dozen large piles. On Saturday morning, the agents were seen loading the items onto dollies and into the back of a white truck. Authorities have said they plan to return the belongings to people in the next week.

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Las Vegas on Saturday to take part in a ceremony honoring the victims of last weekend’s massacre.

Meanwhile, investigators remained stumped about what drove gunman Stephen Paddock, a reclusive 64-year-old high-stakes gambler, to begin shooting at the crowd at a country music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite, killing 58 and wounding hundreds before taking his own life.

Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said investigators had “looked at literally everything” and still do not have a clear motive.

Investigators have chased 1,000 leads and examined Paddock’s politics, finances, any possible radicalization and his social behavior — typical investigative avenues that have helped uncover the motive in past shootings.

Authorities have even put up billboards asking anyone with information to contact the FBI.

Investigators had reviewed voluminous video from the casino and don’t think Paddock had an accomplice in the shooting, McMahill said. But they want to know if anyone knew about his plot beforehand, he said.

In their effort to find any hint of his motive, investigators were looking into whether he was with a prostitute days before the shooting, scrutinizing cruises he took and trying to make sense of a cryptic note with numbers jotted on it found in his hotel room, a federal official said.

The U.S. official briefed by federal law enforcement officers wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The official said investigators were interviewing other call girls for information and looking into at least a dozen cruises Paddock took in the last few years, including one to the Middle East.

It is unusual to have so few clues five days after a mass shooting. McMahill noted that in past mass killings or terrorist attacks, killers left notes, social media postings and information on a computer, or even phoned police.

What officers have found is that Paddock planned his attack meticulously.

He requested an upper-floor room overlooking the festival, stockpiled 23 guns, a dozen of them modified to fire continuously like an automatic weapon, and set up cameras inside and outside his room to watch for approaching officers.

In a possible sign he was contemplating massacres at other sites, he also booked rooms overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August and the Life Is Beautiful show near the Vegas Strip in late September, according to authorities.

His arsenal also included tracer rounds that can improve a shooter’s firing accuracy in the dark, a law enforcement official told the AP. It wasn’t clear whether Paddock fired any of the illuminated bullets during the massacre.

Paddock bought 1,000 rounds of the .308-caliber and .223-caliber tracer ammunition from a private buyer he met at a Phoenix gun show, a law enforcement official not authorized to comment on the investigation said on condition of anonymity.

Tracer rounds illuminate their path so a gunman can home in on targets at night. But they can also give away the shooter’s position.

Video shot of the pandemonium that erupted when Paddock started strafing the festival showed a muzzle flash from his room at the Mandalay Bay resort, but bullets weren’t visible in the night sky.

Investigators are looking into Paddock’s mental health and any medications he was on, McMahill said.

His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told FBI agents Wednesday that she had not seen indications he could become violent, according to a federal official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Danley said she was unaware of any plans Paddock had when he sent her overseas to see family in her native Philippines. She was out of the country at the time of the attacks and has been labeled a “person of interest,” though she’s not in custody and is cooperating with authorities.

Because so few people knew Paddock well, investigators will have a harder time probing his background for clues or hints he may have dropped about his plans, said Erroll Southers, director of homegrown violent extremism studies at the University of Southern California.

There’s “no one to say who’s he mad at, what his motive is,” Southers said. “The key to this case right now is the girlfriend.”


Melley reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Brian Skoloff, Ken Ritter, Regina Garcia Cano and Josh Hoffner in Las Vegas; Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix; and Don Babwin and Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this report.


For complete coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, click here: http://bit.ly/2gis28X.

Bloom resigns as lawyer for embattled movie mogul Weinstein

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorney Lisa Bloom says she is no longer representing movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as he confronts sexual harassment allegations.

Bloom posted on Twitter that she has resigned as an adviser to Weinstein. She added that he and his board of directors are “moving toward an agreement.”

Bloom didn’t immediately respond to an email request for further comment. She previously has represented victims of sexual harassment and assault and her work with Weinstein drew fierce criticism online.

Charles Harder, another attorney representing Weinstein, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein were detailed in a report this week by The New York Times. Weinstein is on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded while it conducts an investigation into the allegations.

Serbia’s dethroned royals hold a wedding in Belgrade

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Although it’s not a kingdom now, Serbia has hosted a wedding for dethroned royals.

Prince Philip Karadjordjevic, of the dethroned Serbian royals, married Danica Marinkovic on Saturday in a ceremony at Belgrade’s main cathedral.

The wedding was performed by the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, and attended by many public figures. Dozens gathered outside the church on a sunny but chilly autumn day.

Philip is one of the sons of Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, the heir to Serbia’s now-defunct throne. The royal family ruled Yugoslavia until communists took power after World War II and abolished the monarchy. Exiled during WWII, the family returned to Serbia after 2000.

Philip was born in Fairfax, Virginia, while his wife is the daughter of prominent Serbian painter Cile Marinkovic.

Cindy Crawford: Daughter’s entry into modeling ‘inevitable’

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Cindy Crawford says it’s inevitable that her 16-year-old daughter has followed her famous mother into the world of international modeling.

Kaia (KEYE’-uh) Gerber made her New York Fashion Week debut last month.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Crawford say she’s more concerned with her daughter getting her driver’s license than becoming a model.

Kaia Gerber, who bears a striking resemblance to her 51-year-old mother, has made a splash walking the runway for a number of top designers.

Crawford spoke to the AP on Thursday during a philanthropic event held at an Art Van Furniture store near Detroit. The supermodel for the past few years has served as the official ambassador of the Art Van Charity Challenge, a charitable giving initiative.

South Africa revives groundbreaking apartheid-era musical

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The rise and fall of flamboyant, ferocious Ezekiel Dlamini, a black South African boxer known as “King Kong” who was jailed for murder, inspired a 1959 musical whose black cast performed for multi-racial audiences, testing the apartheid system of that era. Now the musical that helped to propel the careers of singer Miriam Makeba and trumpeter Hugh Masekela is back on the stage in South Africa.

“King Kong: Legend of a Boxer” highlights the jazz infused with indigenous influences that flourished in some black urban areas, particularly Johannesburg’s Sophiatown, in racially segregated South Africa in the 1950s, as well as the underworld of gangsters and bars known as shebeens accompanying the creative ferment. The backdrop, while not explicitly addressed in the play, is the white minority rule that marginalized the country’s black majority.

The show, which ends a run at the Joburg Theatre on Sunday and returns to The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town on Dec. 12, is a cautionary tale. In 1957, Dlamini fatally stabbed girlfriend Maria Miya, an act that resonates in a country whose high rate of violent crime counts many women among its victims.

One theme in the musical is “the importance of understanding and owning your power but also taking responsibility for it,” said Nondumiso Tembe, a Los Angeles-based South African actor playing the role of Joyce, a host at a bar called Back o’ the Moon who becomes romantically entangled with the boxer. Tembe noted that the killing of women “has sort of become an epidemic in our society today.”

In a reminder of that scourge, President Jacob Zuma on Thursday condemned the fatal shooting of eight women and girls, reportedly members of the same family, in a village in KwaZulu-Natal province and said curbing violence against women is a priority for his government. Police are investigating whether the killings Tuesday were the result of a family feud or were linked to political rivalries that periodically turn violent in the region.

Some South African commentary on “King Kong” has recalled Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee athlete who was sentenced to murder for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Dlamini was a gambler and brawler from a rural village who flouted conformity and gained a big following in Johannesburg, becoming South Africa’s “non-European” heavyweight champion. (Black and white boxers were not allowed to fight each other in those days.) An old photograph shows him bare-chested, wearing chains that he donned to show his humiliation after losing a fight.

Eventually, he “became involved with local gangsters and succumbed to bouts of drunkenness and with that came an increasingly violent and paranoid lifestyle,” the musical’s program says. He killed Miya after a quarrel, according to reports. Dlamini asked to be put to death after he was convicted, but was sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. Soon after that, he drowned in a prison reservoir in what was believed to be a suicide.

A 1979 remake of “King Kong” got bad reviews and quickly collapsed.

In this year’s version, Dlamini is played by Andile Gumbi, who had the role of Simba in “The Lion King” on Broadway and elsewhere. Briton Jonathan Munby directs.

In the original show in South Africa, Makeba played Joyce, Dlamini’s lover, but was soon bound for bigger success in the United States. She died in 2008. Masekela, who was 19 when he performed in “King Kong,” said Saturday that he was canceling commitments in the near future because of prostate cancer.

The original show, a huge success in South Africa that also toured Britain, featured composer Todd Matshikiza and a mostly white management and production team. Nelson Mandela, an amateur boxer, attended the opening night of the musical that embodied the potential for multi-racial collaboration at a time when South Africa’s racist rule was staunchly enforced.

By skirting the injustices of apartheid, the original “King Kong” production dodged any move by authorities to shut it down. Similarly, the musical could have faced a crackdown if white actors had joined the all-black cast on stage, said Pat Williams, who wrote the original lyrics.

Williams, who lives in Britain, said a big difference between the 1959 and 2017 shows is that the current actors are professionals, while some in the old cast were inexperienced with theater but all too familiar with the grit and hardship of life in apartheid South Africa.

“It was their own lives they were putting on the stage,” she told The Associated Press. “The result was electric.”


Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/torchiachris

After bombshell Weinstein revelations, many ask, ‘Why now’?

NEW YORK (AP) — Why now?

That was the first question many were asking this weekend after explosive revelations came to light about Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, and decades of alleged sexual harassment on his part.

First, it was a question about Hollywood, where tales about Weinstein and his behavior with women had circulated for years, yet news outlets had been unable to nail down the story. But it also fed into a broader question, one that touched on the recent fates of Bill Cosby, the late Roger Ailes, and Bill O’Reilly — all rich and hugely powerful men brought down, in one way or another, by lingering accusations that finally burst into the open. What factors had enabled all those stories to emerge?

In the view of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose accusations led to the downfall last year of former Fox CEO Ailes, the key dynamic was women giving each other courage — spurring each other to tell their stories despite the risk of retaliation.

“When one woman decides to finally say ‘enough already,’ the courage can be contagious,” Carlson said in an email message Friday, a day after the bombshell New York Times report on Weinstein. “And that’s what we are seeing now. Women are saying they aren’t going to take it anymore. They will have their voices heard.”

In an expose that rocked Hollywood, the Times reported that Weinstein had reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment. In one of its most stunning allegations, actress Ashley Judd told the paper she was summoned years ago to what she thought was a business breakfast meeting with the Oscar-winning producer at his hotel, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage — or she could watch him shower.

Weinstein, 65, apologized in a rambling statement that didn’t address any specific incident, and said he was taking a leave of absence. The Weinstein Co.’s remaining board of directors said Friday that his leave would be indefinite, and his future employment is dependent on his actions and the results of an independent investigation.

Many thought it could be the beginning of the end for a man whose influence had been so great, Meryl Streep even referred to him as “God” in an Oscar speech.

And virtually everyone was stunned. “I think people just can’t believe their eyes, that a story so many people have whispered about for so long has finally made it to publication,” said longtime Hollywood chronicler Janice Min, former editor of the Hollywood Reporter and Us Weekly. Many in Hollywood were likely “crying tears of joy,” she added, and that included both women and men: “Schadenfreude is gender-neutral.”

For Min, who said she had been trying unsuccessfully to nail down the Weinstein story during her entire 7-year tenure at The Hollywood Reporter, several factors were at play in the recent cascade of allegations about Weinstein, and about Cosby, Ailes and O’Reilly before him. Perhaps most obviously, she said, was the idea of safety in numbers. “One woman’s story begets another,” she said. “It changes this whole culture of silence.”

That view was echoed by Gloria Allred, the attorney who has represented countless victims of alleged sexual harassment over four decades, including dozens of Bill Cosby accusers. (The only criminal case against Cosby ended in a mistrial in June; he has denied all wrongdoing.) “Many women are not willing to suffer in silence anymore,” Allred said in an interview. “They’ve reached their tipping point. And then one comes out, and then two, and it does encourage others — they feel safer in numbers.”

Not only that, she said, but women find they are taken more seriously in numbers. “The more women who speak out, the more likely they are to be believed,” she said. “That’s what happened with Cosby. The number grew and grew.”

Allred is in what could be called an awkward position; her daughter, attorney Lisa Bloom, is advising Weinstein. Though Allred issued a statement saying she would have declined to work with the producer, she was careful not to criticize her daughter. “She is a professional,” Allred said. “I don’t second-guess who she represents, and she doesn’t second-guess who I represent.”

Some have proposed that one reason the Weinstein story came out now, rather than years ago, is that the man who produced such Oscar-winning hits as “Shakespeare in Love,” ”The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” has fallen on more challenging times recently, and his influence appeared to be waning.

“Harvey Weinstein had what could be called a very challenged business over the last few years,” Min said. Other factors, she said, include the fact that a substantial number of female reporters in newsrooms are aggressively pursuing the sexual harassment story and a rising female voice on social media, willing to speak out.

And, of course, a generational shift: “You could say the current generation is trying the crimes of an older generation,” Min said. “This is a sign of how cultural change is happening so quickly, that if you’re in your 30s, what was happening just 20 or 30 years ago is totally appalling.”

Of course, it’s not certain that Weinstein’s career will be felled by the accusations; Hollywood can be a forgiving place, and a common remark among Hollywood insiders was: “Never say never.”

But outside Hollywood, some were saying that this could be the start of a major cultural shift.

Kathy Spillar, executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said she’s been reminded of what happened with Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. He may have gotten onto the court anyway, but Hill’s allegations spurred many women to come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment — many who hadn’t even realized that what they were experiencing from their bosses was actually illegal.

“Silence is the enemy of justice, and these powerful men know that,” Spillar said. “I think this is going to start an avalanche, I really do. And we all know this behavior is not limited to Cosby, Ailes, O’Reilly and Weinstein.”

Not that coming forward will suddenly become easy.

“Taking on powerful men who’ve sexually harassed you is an excruciating choice for any woman to make,” Carlson wrote in her email. “You don’t just build the courage to do it overnight. It’s not like a light switch that you turn off and on. Will you be believed? Will you be retaliated against? Will you lose your job? Unfortunately, even in 2017, all of those fears are still realities.”

Rapper Nelly arrested on rape accusation

AUBURN, Wash. (AP) — Police have arrested rapper Nelly after a woman said he raped her in a town outside Seattle, an accusation the Grammy winner’s attorney staunchly denies.

Auburn police spokesman Commander Steve Stocker said officers arrested Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., early Saturday morning in his tour bus at a Walmart.

Nelly is scheduled to perform in Ridgefield, Washington, on Saturday night.

Nelly’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said the allegation was false and motivated by “greed and vindictiveness.”

Stocker says Nelly’s in jail and will have his first appearance before a judge “at some point.”

Nelly is known for his hits “Hot in Herre,” ”My Place” and “Over and Over.” He also appeared in the 2005 film “The Longest Yard.”

Murdoch’s UK firm pays damages to ex-spy in hacking scandal

LONDON (AP) — Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper company has agreed to pay damages to a former intelligence officer whose computer was hacked by detectives working for Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, lawyers said Friday.

Ian Hurst, who ran agents inside the IRA in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, sued Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers after learning from a BBC news report in 2011 that his emails had been hacked.

Hurst’s lawyer, Jeremy Reed, said at the High Court in London that News Group acknowledged the agent’s emails had been intercepted “routinely and intensively” over several months in 2006.

Reed said when he found out, Hurst “feared for the safety of many of the people with whom he had been in contact,” who included people in the witness protection program.

News Group lawyer Anthony Hudson said the company “accepts that such activity happened, accepts that it should never have happened, and has undertaken to the court that it will never happen again.”

The company agreed to pay Hurst “substantial” damages and legal costs. The amount of damages was not disclosed.

Murdoch shut down the News of the World in 2011 after the revelation that its employees had hacked the phone voicemails of celebrities, politicians and others in the public eye. It has paid millions to settle claims from hacking victims.

The phone hacking scandal scuttled a 2011 attempt by Murdoch’s company to take full control of British broadcaster Sky, in which it holds a 39 percent stake.

Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox is currently trying again to take control of Sky. The British government has referred the deal to the country’s competition regulator over fears the deal would concentrate too much power in Murdoch’s hands, and concerns about broadcasting standards.

Opponents say the U.K. tabloid wrongdoing and allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment at Murdoch’s U.S. TV network Fox News show that he does not meet the requirement that U.K. media owners be “fit and proper” people.

Trump hits back at late night shows critical of Republicans

President Donald Trump is pushing back against late night television show hosts who have been sharply critical of Republicans.

The president took to Twitter Saturday morning to argue that Republicans should be given “equal time” because of the “one-sided” coverage, an apparent reference to Federal Communications Commission rules dealing with candidates during elections.

Trump tweeted: “Late Night host(s) are dealing with the Democrats for their very ‘unfunny’ & repetitive material, always anti-Trump! Should we get Equal Time?”

He suggested “more and more people” are clamoring for more coverage of the GOP.

The host of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Myers” immediately tweeted back that he’d “love” to have Trump on his show. Myers, who’s been among the most vocal Trump critics, said his studio address was “15 Penguin Avenue, Antarctica.”

South African musician Hugh Masekela battles prostate cancer

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African musician Hugh Masekela says he is canceling commitments in the near future because he needs all his energy to continue treatment for prostate cancer.

The jazz trumpeter said in a statement Saturday that he started treatment in 2008 after doctors found a “small ‘speck'” on his bladder, and had surgery in March 2016 after the cancer spread.

The 78-year-old Masekela also says he felt an “imbalance” and had an eye problem after a fall in April in Morocco in which he sprained his shoulder. He says another tumor was then discovered and he had surgery last month.

Masekela, whose hits include “Grazing in the Grass,” says he is in a “good space” and urges all men to have regular tests for prostate cancer.

Patrick Dempsey returns to home state for cancer fundraiser

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Actor Patrick Dempsey is back in his home state for a cancer fundraiser.

Dempsey created the bike-and-run Dempsey Challenge to raise money for a cancer center created in 2008 in partnership with the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

He was inspired by his mother, Amanda, who died of cancer in 2014.

Dempsey opened the two-day event that started Saturday with 10K and 5K runs, along with a two-day ride. Cyclists on Sunday will participate in road races ranging from 10 miles to 100 miles.

Dempsey became widely known as Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” After leaving the show, he went to London to film “Bridget Jones’s Baby.” He’s currently filming a 10-part adaption of the best-selling novel, “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.”