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The barometer

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Sometimes you're up, sometimes, you're down. Who has had a good week, and who has had a shocker?

It's been a bad week for...

Oprah Winfrey


Fifteen girls at Oprah Winfrey's South African leadership academy blew open the abuse scandal.

The American TV matriarch said she was devastated by the news that the school she founded in one of the most deprived areas of South Africa has been rocked by scandal -- including allegations that one of the matrons indecently assaulted students -- many of whom come from the country's poorest families. Watch video.


He's battled super villains and saved Gotham City from destruction on numerous occasions, but Hong Kong's deadly bacteria got the better of Batman this week. Filming of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight," starring Christian Bale in the Chinese metropolis had to be halted when it was found that the water in Hong Kong harbor was too polluted for a scene that was to see Batman plunge into the sea between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Traces of bacteria that cause tuberculosis and salmonella were discovered and filming had to be moved to the more refined environment of Victoria Peak. Read more.

U.S. movies and TV shows

Topical programs and late night comedy shows were the first casualties of the first strike by Hollywood writers against TV networks and movie studios in nearly two decades."The Late Show With David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" went into reruns after writers on both coasts headed for the picket line. The walkout became inevitable after last-minute negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to produce a deal on such key issues as how much writers are paid when their shows are available on the Internet. Some stars came out to support the writers. Jay Leno rolled up to a picket line on his motorcycle with doughnuts for striking writers at NBC. Read more.


Meatloaf has cancelled the rest of his European tour after apparently being diagnosed with a cyst on his vocal cords. The rock star, famed for his album "Bat Out Of Hell," promised he would be back next year, but the move fueled speculation his live career was over. The 60-year-old has not performed since he walked off stage midway through a concert in Newcastle, England, last Wednesday after announcing his retirement.


The toy manufacturer Mattel had to recall more than 172,000 Fischer-Price toys in the U.S., UK and three other countries after several children were reported to gag and choke on the removable parts. Elsewhere, an Australian toy distributor Moose Enterprise, issued a global recall of a toy called Bindeez that has been sold over the Internet, after traces of the "date rape" drug, gamma hydroxybutyrate, was found in some of the toys' beads. Read more.

Frank Gehry

Massachusetts's Institute of Technology (MIT) has launched a lawsuit against renowned architect Frank Gehry alleging that faulty design has reduced a building that was supposed to be a university centerpiece into a "leaky tenement." MIT say that poor drainage has lead to a myriad of problems.


A British survey showed the wealthiest members of the UK are caught in runaway inflation that's hiking up the price of boarding schools, grouse shooting and high-end rental properties in Central London (rents in Chelsea and Kensington soared more than 150 percent in the past five years -- easily outstripping Manhattan that rose by 74 percent). Doesn't your heart just bleed for them?

It's been a good week for...

Jennifer Lopez

The 39-year-old singer and actress announced what most of her fans had already guessed, that she is pregnant. After the announcement made at a concert in Miami, J-Lo's husband Marc Anthony kissed her belly and said he didn't think she was "going to talk."

Art collectors

Billionaires may be having a hard time with inflation (see above), but those with some cash to dabble in the art market will find that it's buoyant at the moment. A world record sum was reached for a Matisse painting sold at an auction in New York earlier this week. The painting from 1937, entitled "L'Odalisque, harmonie bleu" fetched $33.64 million.


The race horse Efficient produced a sensational late sprint to win the 147th running of the Melbourne Cup. Ridden by Michael Rodd, Efficient raced home from near the back of the field to overhaul the English-trained Purple Moon in the shadows of the post and win by half a length.

Old rockers

Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin guitarist was honored with a Living Legend Award at the Classic Rock 'n' Roll of Honor on Monday night. Page, 63 recently fractured his finger, leading to a postponement of Led Zeppelin's reunion concert later this month. In a triumph of experience over youth, The Eagles beat Britney Spears for top spot on the Billboard 200 Top Album charts.

Thin people

Obesity raises the risk of 10 different types of cancer in women, a new study says. Britain's largest study of the link between weight and malignant disease found that being overweight doubles the risk of certain cancers. The new research is published in the online edition of the British Medical Journal.

Weird-looking Star Trek fans

There must be plenty of them out there and this week some may get the chance of a lifetime to appear in the new "Star Trek" film. The producers of the film at Paramount Pictures announced they will hold open casting sessions for people with unique features, preferably with "long necks, small heads, bug eyes, large foreheads or oversized ears," to act as extras alongside principal actors Simon Pegg and Eric Bana. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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