The Bollywood star and former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen is pleased that Indian women are winning international beauty pageants again, and that she has a role to play.
Sen, who was crowned Miss Universe in 1994, spurring the growth of the beauty industry in India, has tasted success for the second time this year with her own grooming school and beauty contest, I Am She. Her protégée Payal Duggal was placed first runner-up at the Miss Globe International beauty pageant held in Cyprus this week and Sen congratulated her in a series of tweets from Thailand, where the actress was on a Christmas holiday.
"Last night, Parul Duggal of India won 1st runners up at 'Miss Globe International' in Cyprus," she tweeted yesterday, adding that Duggal had also won Best National Costume. "We are so proud of you, Parul Duggal. You brought honour to our Indian glory."
Sen, who starred with Shah Rukh Khan in his first home production Main Hoon Na, also congratulated the leading Bollywood designer Neeta Lulla for creating the award-winning national costume.
Earlier this year, India's Tanvi Singla, another I Am She winner, made it into the top five at the Miss Asia Pacific World pageant held in Busan, South Korea.
In 2010, Sushmita acquired the rights to choose India's official entry for the Miss Universe, Miss Asia Pacific World and Miss Globe International pageants through her grooming school.
After Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai won the Miss World crown. Their entries into Bollywood initiated a trend of beauty-pageant winners turning to film careers.
Khan goes on book-buying binge in Dubai
Shah Rukh Khan went on a book-shopping spree in a Dubai bookstore on Thursday as his film Don 2, the last big Bollywood release of 2011, continued to do well at the box office.
Khan had left Mumbai earlier in the week on a year-end holiday with his wife Gauri, son Aryan and daughter Suhana.
"In Dubai ... had a great book-shopping spree with my son. How he has grown ... holding his hand now seems I am holding someone stronger than me," Khan wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter on Thursday evening, disclosing his whereabouts to his fans.
"Can't wait to get my teeth into the books I bought. Beach ... books ... babies. I like the end of a year. Endings are beginnings backwards ... hmmmn" tweeted the actor, who is known to be among Bollywood's most tech-savvy stars.
Brand and Perry's marriage collapses
Russell Brand is divorcing Katy Perry after 14 months of what had appeared to be a storybook marriage.
"Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage," Brand said in a statement released to the Associated Press on Friday. "I'll always adore her and I know we'll remain friends."
Brand, 36, offered no other details, but in papers filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the British comedian cited irreconcilable differences.
He and the 27-year-old pop singer were married in October 2010 in a tiger reserve in India. The internet has been buzzing recently with rumours about possible trouble for the couple after they were seen over Christmas without wedding rings.
Queen gives gong to Bonham Carter
The Oscar-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter joins a former prisoner, a reality television guru and several Olympics organisers on the list of people honoured by Queen Elizabeth in the UK this New Year.
Bonham Carter, who has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), said she was dedicating the award to her late father.
The businessman Gerald Ronson, who was jailed in 1990 for his part in a share-trading scandal and served six months of the one-year sentence, was also made a CBE for his services to charity. Ronson fought a long legal battle to clear his name, and although the European Court of Human Rights later ruled his trial was unfair, Britain's highest appeal court never overturned his conviction. He now runs the property company Heron International and is a leading philanthropist.
Peter Bazalgette, who brought the show Big Brother to the UK and devised a string of much-copied lifestyle and reality shows, was made a knight. Geoffrey Hill, who has been described as the greatest living poet in the English language, also became a knight. As Britain prepares for the 2012 London Olympics, several organisers were recognised for their work. Britain's honours are bestowed twice a year by the monarch - at New Year and on her official birthday in June.