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Brittney Elkins

Jennifer Lawrence is becoming a role model for girls

The talented actress has indie cred, an Academy Award nomination, and another film releasing in 2012. The girl’s on fire!

Jennifer Lawrence started acting at 14, but her new role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games has everyone talking about the sexy starlet.

Jennifer Lawrence landed an Academy Award nomination for the 2010 indie drama Winter’s Bone. Speculation is already rising that The Hunger Games will receive an Oscar nod, and potentially another nomination for Jennifer Lawrence.

The next installment in The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, won’t come out until November 2013 and production hasn’t even begun on the film. But Jennifer Lawrence fans don’t have to wait until then to catch the gorgeous actress on the big screen.

The next project for Jennifer Lawrence is the thriller House at the End of the Street, which hits theaters in September.

Jennifer Lawrence is quickly becoming a role model for young girls, and she’s well aware of it.

“I’m now a role model for young girls, so my language has to change a lot,” Jennifer Lawrence joked recently. “I know that would change a lot of decisions work-wise personally… as far as my next roles, because there would be young girls watching what I’m doing and emulating.”

Jennifer Lawrence, a Hunger Games fan herself, looked for a balance between Collins’ Katniss and making the role her own.

“I wish that I was much more like Katniss than I actually am. I think the hardest part about her was that in the books, she doesn’t know how to get people to like her… at the same time, you don’t want to watch somebody for two hours that you don’t like,” Jennifer Lawrence said.

Jennifer Lawrence may have to clean up her language a little bit, but after playing a tough girl who is at the same time feminine, brave and able to catch dinner, she’s on her way to being the kind of role model young girls need from Hollywood.

Mauritania has not agreed to extradite Gaddafi's right hand man

al-Senussi is wanted in Libya, France, and the Hague.

Mauritania was recently reported to have agreed to the extradition of Abdullah al-Senussi, but government officials later denied any such agreement had been made.

Muammar Gaddafi’s ex-spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, arrived in Mauritania more than a week ago. He is wanted in Libya so he can go to trial for charges of attacking civilians during the uprising in Libya last year, and for the 1989 bombing of a French airliner.

Mauritania government officials said, “Mauritania has given no assurances whatsoever to Libya regarding handing over al-Senussi,” just hours after Libya claimed Mauritania had agreed to extradite Gaddafi’s right hand man.

France and the Hague-based International Criminal Court also want to bring al-Senussi to trial.

Mauritania officials were wary of handing over al-Senussi because it is unclear if he would receive a fair trial in Libya. Gaddafi was killed by the mob that arrested him, and al-Senussi could face the same fate if handed over to Libyan officials.

The West African country of Mauritania has become a safe haven for more than just ex-spies wanted for war crimes. Thousands of refugees have arrived in southern Mauritania after recent fighting in northern Mali displaced many. Intensifying fights have forced entire communities to flee Mali, while droughts have forced Mauritanians to move south to Mali in hopes of finding pastures for their herds.

Cholesterol shot has success in early phase trial

The new drug reduced bad cholesterol in patients, but has a long way to go before passing by the FDA

A cholesterol shot produced by the biotech firm Amgen looks promising after early clinical trials reduced patients’ cholesterol by up to 66 percent.

The monthly injection that has been dubbed the cholesterol shot was given to 51 patients either once every two or every four weeks. The early phase 1 clinical trial was designed to see if the cholesterol shot was safe.

Patients who received the cholesterol shot every two weeks saw their bad cholesterol decrease an average of 63 percent in the eighth week, while patients taking the cholesterol shot every four weeks saw a decrease of 66 percent.

Phase two of the study will begin later this year. If it eventually passes by the Food and Drug Administration, the cholesterol shot may be ideal for patients who cannot tolerate statin therapy or who have had difficulty lowering their cholesterol with diet changes.

The cholesterol shot did not result in any deaths or side effects in the phase 1 study. High LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, leads to strokes and heart attacks, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Josh Hutcherson rises to mega stardom

The actor bulked up and went blond for his role as Peeta Mellark

Josh Hutcherson is on the late night circuit talking about everything from going blond to dealing with mega-fame.

Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark in the new movie The Hunger Games, has seen a lot of strange thins since becoming the District 12 tribute.

“We’ve seen some insane signs,” Josh Hutcherson told MTV about his fans, “’Is that a loaf of bread in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?’ Funny stuff along those lines. Very original. One just said, ‘I will do unspeakable things.’ I thought that was very interesting… and mildly terrifying!”

Josh Hutcherson first made his appearance on the big screen in the films Bridge to Terabithia and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Now, he is the baker’s son who saves Katniss Everdeen and is later saved by her.

Josh Hutcherson said he is excited about playing the role of Peeta.

“I think that over the course of the next couple of books, he has so many interesting places to go to, character-wise. I’m ready to dive full-force into it. When I saw the movie actually, it got me energized. Let’s go get some cameras! Let’s go shoot the second one right now,” Josh Hutcherson said.

The second installment of the Hunger Games has not yet started filming, but it sounds like Josh Hutcherson is eager to reprise his role.

Fans of the books weren’t happy with the casting decisions when they were first announced. None of the three main characters had the right hair color or build for their characters, but thanks to the magic of Hollywood, dieting, exercise and hair dye, each pulled off his or her character with style.

“Liam had to lose 50 pounds and dye his hair brown,” Josh Hutcherson said, “I had to gain 50 pounds and dye my hair blonde. We should have just switched roles. It would have been a lot easier on our bodies, that’s for sure.”

Jennifer Lawrence was criticized for her blonde hair as well, but she looked stunning as the brunette huntress shooting arrows and climbing trees.

The Hunger Games stars are definitely receiving more hype than ever before, and there’s still a lot to get used to. After all, franchises like this typically lead to everything from lunch boxes to action figures to life-sized cardboard cutouts.

Josh Hutcherson isn’t just an actor from Kentucky anymore. His face will always be that of Peeta Mellark from District 12.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 trailer premiers before the Hunger Games

Bella is back… and she’s immortal.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is on its way, and those who went to see the Hunger Games this weekend were treated to the first look at the final installment of the Twilight Saga.

The Breaking Dawn Part 2 trailer debuted in the previews before the Hunger Games this weekend—along with two other vampire flicks, and one other Kristen Stewart film, leaving viewers to wonder whether a movie can make a splash this year without vampires or Snow White—and fans finally had a first look at Bella as a vampire.

“After 18 years of being utterly ordinary, I finally found that I can shine,” Bella’s voice says over a montage of close-ups.

In this short fragment of a trailer, Jacob saunters towards Bella saying, “I didn’t expect you to seem so… you,” while Edward takes in his beautiful bride with the line, “We’re the same temperature now.”

This particular trailer to Breaking Dawn Part 2 is only about 45 seconds long and is just a taste of what Twilight fans can expect from the upcoming film. The trailer ends with a horror-movie style shot of Bella stalking a deer in the forest.

While fans sites are sure to be buzzing about the final installment in the Twilight saga, movie goers will have to sit tight for another eight months. Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters on Nov. 16.

Eagle Cam voyeurs witness the birth of National emblem

Eagle Cams are popping up all over the country as eaglets hatch all over the U.S.

Eagle Cam fans have had quite a show this week.

In 2011, thousands tuned in to the Eagle Cam to see the eaglets in Decorah, Iowa hatch. The Decorah eagles returned to nest at the end of December. Since then, the Eagle Cam has had more than 11 million views.

The first egg was laid on Feb. 17 and was expected to hatch on March 23 or 24 with the other two likely to hatch in the following two weeks. Each eaglet will take between 12 to 48 hours to hatch, so Eagle Cam enthusiasts will have plenty of time to catch the miracle that is the birth of a National emblem.

The Decorah Eagle Cam isn’t the only nest surveillance on the Web. Further east, The Richmond Eagle Cam, in Richmond, Virginia, is keeping an eye on two chicks that just can’t seem to get along.

The larger chick in the Richmond nest opened a wound on the back of the smaller one Monday. Eagle expert Bryan Watts told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he has never seen a chick as aggressive as the bigger Richmond eaglet.

Watts said that he has seen wounds in chicks before and isn’t as concerned about the sibling rivalry as he is that the chicks won’t get enough food.

The Richmond Eagle Cam keeps surveillance on a nest settled on the James River, which has been flooding since Sunday. Eagles can have trouble fishing in muddy fast water, but the chicks appear to be healthy so far.

It seems that no eagle nest is safe from the Eagle Cam. Cities all over the nation have wired cameras near nesting sites in order to chronicle the birth of eagle chicks. Forget the awe factor; it’s the “aww” factor that’s keeping bird watchers and procrastinators alike tuning in to watch these little beaks break through their shells.

Geraldo Rivera condemns hoodies, but that isn't stopping anyone.

People don’t kill people, hooded sweatshirts do.

Geraldo Rivera takes a lot of stock in the ancient adage “the clothes make the man.”

Geraldo Rivera caused outrage across the nation with his Twitter comments about Trayvon Martin’s hooded sweatshirt, placing as much blame on the hoodie as on George Zimmerman.

“His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman,” Geraldo Rivera tweeted.

“It’s not blaming the victim it’s common sense—look like a gangsta and some armed schmuck will take you at your word,” and, “President Obama says if he had a son he would look like Trayvon—He could add, and he would never let his son walk around D.C. in a hoodie,” Geraldo Rivera added later.

Geraldo Rivera should have known that such slippery-slope allegations wouldn’t be taken in stride by pretty much anyone. Stephen Colbert didn’t hold back on mocking Geraldo Rivera.

“Yes, it was the hoodie’s fault. A hooded sweatshirt can make an innocent teen look like a criminal, just like a suit and glasses can make Geraldo Rivera look like a journalist,” Colbert said on his show the Colbert Report.

Colbert didn’t stop there. He took the Florida gun laws into his lampoon on Geraldo Rivera.

“Congress must pass strict hoodie-control legislation. It is terrifying that you can live in a country where you can walk into any Walmart and buy a hoodie right off the rack. No background check. No seven-day waiting period,” Colbert said, “Many parents keep their hoodies in an unlocked drawer where their kids can get at them. That’s why my hoodies are hidden in the back of my gun closet.”

Now, thanks to Geraldo Rivera urging Black and Latino teens not to wear hoodies, have become a symbol of protest in Martin’s death.

The One Million Hoodie March gathered in Union Square in New York last week to advocate justice in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The protesters wore hooded sweatshirts like the one shooter George Zimmerman found “suspicious.”

Geraldo Rivera stood by his hoodie comments, although he did acknowledge that his own son didn’t agree with him.

“My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position [regarding] hoodies—still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe,” Rivera wrote, “It’s sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America—channel the rage.”

The hoodies were a symbol of Martin’s death before Geraldo Rivera tweeted about them. Days after he made the comments though, political figures, athletes and celebrities donned hoodies to note that clothing is not the problem.

Geraldo River did apologize in a tweet yesterday, sort of.
“Heard petition demands my apology to Trayvon’s parents. Save effort: I deeply apologize for any hurt I caused—that is not my goal or intent,” Geraldo Rivera tweeted.

If Justin Bieber didn’t make hoodies popular enough in the past couple of years, Trayvon’s death will certainly send hoodie sales through the roof. Sorry for any inconvenience, Geraldo Rivera.

Pink slime no longer on the menu

BPI shut down production in three of its four plants Monday… temporarily.

Pink slime is off the menu.

The maker of pink slime, an ammonia-treated filler used to bulk up many processed meats, suspended operations at three of its four plants on Monday.

Beef Products Inc. has seen a decline in business ever since the social media storm hit spreading the word about what is really being used in school lunches. Pink slime was taken off the menus of fast food chains almost immediately after the story broke, and since then several school districts have banned unappetizing processed meat as well.

Craig Letch, Director of food quality and assurance for BPI, said that the company will develop a strategy for rebuilding business and addressing misconceptions about the beef the company makes.

“We feel like when people can start to understand the truth and reality then our business will come back. It’s 100 percent beef,” Letch said.
BPI suspended operations in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa. Approximately 200 employees at each plant will get full salary and benefits for 60 days during the suspension, Letch said.

Federal regulators say the product known as pink slime meets food safety standards. But that hasn’t stopped pink slime from doing its damage in the public eye.

Pink slime has been used for years, but recently celebrity chef Jamie Oliver raised awareness about the product on his show Food Revolution, causing a domino effect that spurred a petition to get pink slime off school lunch trays.

Now the beef industry is mad, and claiming that the media has blown pink slime out of proportion with uninformed stories. BPI has launched a new Web site promoting the safety of pink slime, and other beef industry execs are making statements about the mischaracterization of the products.

“At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family’s dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of Lean Finely Textured Beef as pink slime is unconscionable,” Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the National Meat Association said in a statement Monday.

The safety factor of pink slime has certainly been debated, but the greater message in the story is being aware of what Americans are eating. America has gained a reputation for being an obese country, and a big part of the problem is that we don’t know what exactly is in our food. The pink slime controversy is a small part of the greater issue.

BPI has shut down production temporarily until they can figure out a new business plan, or at least a new PR campaign. Pink slime is off the menus for now, but the future of the food industry is still hazy. Maybe this is the beginning of a food revolution, as Jamie Oliver would hope. Or maybe it’s just another over-hyped media story that will fade away in a few months, reappearing for a minor role in the 2012 episode of Best Year Ever.

Monster titanoboa takes a bite out of the Big Apple

The world’s largest snake appears in Manhattan

Titanoboa, the largest snake that ever lived, has arrived in New York.

Thankfully this titanoboa is not living, but it is life-sized. A life-sized model of the titanoboa has moved in to Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal. The 48-foot, 2,500-pound replica is about the size of a school bus.

The titanoboa is thought to have lived alongside the dinosaurs, and its remains were discovered in a Columbian coal mine in 2005. The model is based on the fossilized vertebrae discovered in the coal mines.

The replica of the titanoboa has been displayed as a way of promoting a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in D.C. opening March, which ties into a TV special on the Smithsonian Channel called Titanoboa: Monster Snake.

The titanoboa is related to a boa constrictor, but behaved like an anaconda. It lived in the water and fed on fish, other titanoboas, and very large prehistoric crocodiles. But don’t compare it to the predator in the movie Anaconda.

That monster wasn’t as big as the titanoboa.

If this monster slithered by you, it would be waist high.  This starkly contrasts the belief researchers held for many years that the 20-foot python was the largest snake ever to slither the earth. But the titanoboa, at twice that length and weighing more than a ton, puts the python to shame.

If Michael Crichton knew about the titanoboa when he wrote Jurassic Park, the landscape could have been quite a bit different. This monster has been called the T-Rex of snakes.

Thankfully, we’ll never have to worry about running into a living titanoboa… that is, unless Michael Crighton’s visions of Jurassic Park ever come to life.

Carrie Bradshaw and Carrie Bradshaw exist in harmony

SJP has passed the torch to ASR

Carrie Bradshaw didn’t pay attention to Doc Brown’s warnings about the space-time continuum.

The adult Carrie Bradshaw and the 1980s Carrie Bradshaw have been in touch, and it looks like SJP is passing the torch with grace.

Sarah Jessica Parker sent a letter to the new Carrie Bradshaw, AnnaSophia Robb, who will star in the CW’s prequel pilot, The Carrie Diaries.

The pilot is based on Candace Bushnell’s prequel to Sex and the City. The Carrie Diaries is a series created by Bushnell for the YA genre and based on Carrie Bradshaw as a high school student, trying to make it as a writer.

The show takes place before Carrie Bradshaw knew much about fashion, but true to herself had her own unique sense of style.

“She sent me a letter! I wrote her one back, too. She was just very encouraging about it all. It was really cool,” AnnaSophia Robb told Us Weekly.

In the new series, Carrie Bradshaw hasn’t met Miranda, Charlotte, or Samantha yet. She does have her heart set on the new guy in school, and it’s just the beginning of about 20+ years of man troubles and heartache.

In preparation for her role as Carrie Bradshaw, AnnaSophia Robb says she has been watching old episodes of Sex and the City to “click with the character.”

Fans idolize Carrie Bradshaw, so her Manolo Blahniks will be awfully hard to fill. But AnnaSophia Robb isn’t worried about competing with the HBO hit.

“I know everyone’s going to compare it to Sex and the City, but we’re never going to be that. The show is more for my generation, but it’s set in the ‘80s, so it’s fun,” she said.

Still, fans are nervous about seeing their favorite unlucky-in-love fashion icon as a somewhat awkward teenager. Understandably so, since The Carrie Diaries’ Carrie Bradshaw is pre-Manhattan, pre-success as a writer, and pre-credit cards that allow her to splurge at Barney’s.

She is still learning a lot about herself and hasn’t met her trio of girlfriends who support her in everything she does, right or wrong. This Carrie Bradshaw struggles in her relationships with her sisters and father, and her best friends aren’t the soul-mate kind she finds in her later-in-life friends.

For die-hard Carrie Bradshaw fans, the hard part will be knowing how these relationships end. The best part will be getting insight into the earlier life of a beloved icon that we just can’t seem to get enough of.

Now that Sarah Jessica Parker has passed the torch to AnnaSophia Robb (was her name what cinched her for the role?), Carrie Bradshaw fans can rest assured that adult Carrie and teenage Carrie exist in harmony.