x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Jennifer Hudson takes stand in family murder trial

Plus: Ryan Seacrest to stay as host of American Idol; Sinead O'Connor cancels tour; Giuliana and Bill Rancic having a baby; Lindsay Lohan to play Elizabeth Taylor; Katrina Kaif to star in centenary documentary and Big B to promote more Unicef drives.

Katrina Kaif. Rich-Joseph Facun for The National
Katrina Kaif. Rich-Joseph Facun for The National

The trial of the man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's family opened with prosecutors putting the award-winning actress and singer on the stand on Monday for a testimony that may well leave a lasting impression on jurors.

Hudson, wearing a simple black dress, broke down at one point, stopping to dab her tears and regain her composure, as she testified just yards from her former brother-in-law, William Balfour, who prosecutors say killed her mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew in a horrific act of vindictiveness against Hudson's sister four years ago. She had no evidence about the actual shootings but offered moving testimony about her family, including her reaction to her sister, Julia Hudson, telling her in 2006 she was marrying Balfour.

"None of us wanted her to marry him," Hudson said, her voice cracking and struggling to hold back tears. "We did not like how he treated her."

Balfour has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the October 2008 killings.

* AP

Ryan Seacrest to stay as host of American Idol

The Fox network said on Monday that Ryan Seacrest "will continue" as the host of the hit TV singing competition American Idol, over which he has presided since its premiere a decade ago. The network gave no specifics about the length of his new contract, or any financial details. Seacrest called the show's run until now "a wild ride" and said he is excited it will continue with him on board. This summer, Seacrest will also take part in coverage of the London Olympics for NBC.

* AP

Sinead O'Connor cancels tour

Sinead O'Connor says she is cancelling her 2012 tour due to her bipolar disorder. The singer made the announcement on Monday in a posting on her website. She wrote that she is "very unwell" and had been advised by her doctor to not hit the road after her "very serious breakdown between December and March". In December, O'Connor announced her split from her therapist husband Barry Herridge after 16 days of marriage. The Irish singer-songwriter's latest album - How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? - was released in February. The 45-year-old says she had planned the tour because of the album's release, but was "attempting to be stronger than I actually am".

* AP

Giuliana and Bill Rancic having a baby

After beating breast cancer with a double mastectomy and a long infertility battle, the television host Giuliana Rancic and her husband have announced they are having their first child via a gestational surrogate.

"We are so thrilled that our prayers have been answered," Rancic, an E! News anchor and Fashion Police co-host, said. Her husband added: "We are absolutely ecstatic to be sharing this with everyone who has been following our journey."

The baby is due this summer and although it will be carried to term by another woman, it will be the couple's genetic child.

The pair's fertility issues have been at the centre of their Style Network reality show, which is now in its fifth season. They have also signed up to host a new dating show to be produced by the Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria. Ready for Love is due to debut later this year on NBC.

Lindsay Lohan to play Elizabeth Taylor

The troubled actress Lindsay Lohan will portray the Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor in a television movie about her romance with the actor Richard Burton, Lifetime confirmed on Monday. Production will begin in June in Los Angeles for the movie Liz and Dick.

The role is a break for Lohan, 25, who after a promising early start has become known chiefly for substance abuse problems and frequent brushes with the law.


Katrina to star in centenary documentary

Katrina Kaif will perform her popular number Sheila Ki Jawani and star in a documentary being made by Zoya Akhtar to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema this year.

Kaif confirmed her participation in the documentary, named after the chart-busting dance number choreographed by Farah Khan in her husband Shirish Kunder's flop film, Tees Maar Khan.

Akhtar's documentary will trace the history of Indian cinema and will be part of the centenary celebrations. Indian cinema's first talkie was Raja Harishchandra, directed by the film pioneer Dadasaheb Phalke and released in 1913, giving birth to the multibillion industry.

* Anjali A

Big B to promote more Unicef drives

After their highly successful awareness campaign to eradicate polio, Unicef and Uno have approached Amitabh Bachchan to star in similar campaigns for other causes.

"Unicef and Uno come over to extend my association with them for other causes too. Immunisation of little ones!!" Bachchan announced on Twitter late last night.

The actor was part of a high-visibility, Unicef-backed government campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of polio for 10 years. The campaign, titled Do Boond Zindagi Ke (Two Drops of Life), raised awareness about the dangers of polio and sharply reduced the incidence of the disease.

Zero incidence of polio was reported this year, following which Prime minister Manmohan Singh formally announced India polio-free.

* Anjali A