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Janelle Vreeland

Richard Hamilton signs with Chicago Bulls

Richard Hamilton’s contract reportedly worth $15 million over three years

Richard “Rip” Hamilton has signed with the Chicago Bulls.

The Washington post reports that Hamilton, 33, will be joining reigning MVP Derrick Rose in Chicago. 

“With [Hamilton], I’m going to have a lot more assists this year,” an ecstatic Rose said.

Hamilton was the shooting guard for the Detroit Pistons and a cornerstone of the team for nine seasons. Hamilton tweeted a message to all of his Detroit fans last week, saying, “Thank u to all my Detroit fans. Love all of u. U will always have a special place in my heart. Yessssssirrrrr.”

Read more about Richard Hamilton here.

Howard Stern to join "America's Got Talent"

Howard Stern to join Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne

Shock jock Howard Stern will be joining the “America’s Got Talent” panel of judges.

AP reports that Stern will be joing the talent show. The show will be moving from Los Angeles to New York in order to accomodate Stern. Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Nick Cannon will remain on the show.

“Howard Stern’s larger-than-life personality will bring a thrilling new dynamic to ‘America’s Got Talent’ starting this summer,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late night programming. “He’s a proven innovator and his track record in broadcasting is truly remarkable.

Stern will remain in New York in order to continue his long-running radio show.

Read more about Howard Stern and “America’s Got Talent” here.

Moonshine kills at least 125 in India

Moonshine, “country liquor,” common among the poor in India

Moonshine is responsible for at least 125 deaths in India.

Reuters reports that a bad batch of moonshine sold by several illegal shops is responsible for mass deaths in the town of Mograhat. Ambulances brought ill residents from outside villages to already cramped hospitals.

Reportedly, the current death toll is at 131. The victims of the bad moonshine were mostly poor laborers. Moonshine, or “country liquor,” is common among the poor in India because it is cheaper than alcohol from licensed shops.

A hospital official told Reuters, “More and more [moonshine] victims are coming. Many are waiting for treatment, but with a lack of beds it’ll take time to manage.”

Read more about the moonshine deaths here.

War in Iraq declared officially over

War in Iraq shut down by officials

The U.S. war in Iraq is formally over.

AP reports that officials have shut down the war in Iraq. Overall, the war in Iraq has left 4,500 Americans dead, 100,000 Iraqi dead and 32,000 Americans injured. The war in Iraq also cost the U.S. more than $800 billion. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that these sacrifices set Iraq on the path to democracy.

“You will leave with great pride — lasting pride,” Panetta told the troops in Baghdad Thursday. “Secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to begin a new chapter in history.”

Now that the war in Iraq has officially ended, there are only two U.S. bases and about 4,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq.

“[The Iraqi people are] going face challenges in the future,” Panetta said Wednesday during a visit with troops in Afghanistan. “They’ll face challenges from terrorism, they’ll face challenges from those that would want to divide their country. They’ll face challenges from just the test of democracy, a new democracy and trying to make it work. But the fact is, we have given them the opportunity to be able to succeed.”

Read more about the end to the war in Iraq here.

Yu Darvish reportedly draws bids from multiple teams

Yu Darvish’s highest bidder remains a mystery

Yu Darvish reportedly drew a number of bids from several teams during Wednesday’s bidding process, but there is no word yet on who was the winning team.

Federal Baseball reports that Darvish that teams interested in Darvish had until 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday  to submit a bid. Although reports said that it the winning Darvish bid may be announced Thursday morning, Darvish’s manager, Don Nomura, tweeted that it will take longer. “Bidding time came and gone. MLB send high bid to jpn 4 biz day to respond to the bid then winner announced. Long wait.”

Several soures are reporting that many teams entered a bid for Darvish. Phil Rogers tweeted, “The #Cubs did put in a bid on Yu Darvish, according to a ML source. He fits profile of how Epstein wants to build.” Federal Baseball reported that the Washington Nationals showed interest in Darvish, and the Star-Ledger says the the Yankees reportedly entered a bid for Darvish.

Darvish, 25, is the pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Read more about Yu Darvish here.

Paris Jackson fills in for Lindsay Lohan on "Ellen"

Paris Jackson sits down with Ellen DeGeneres for first solo interview

Paris Jackson made a surprise appearance on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” Wednesday when a travel-related snafu prevented Lindsay Lohan from making her appearance. Paris’ interview, it turns out, is getting just as much buzz as Lohan’s would have.

Radar Online reports that Jackson’s episode will air on Thursday, and it offers Paris’ perspective on growing up with her father, Michael.

When asked about the masks that Michael would make the children wear, Paris said that, at the time, she thought, “‘This is stupid, why am I wearing a mask?’ But, I, kind of realized the older I got, like, he only tried to protect us and he’d explain that to us too.”

Paris also remembered the advice Michael gave her. “He said, ‘If I die tomorrow, always remember what I told you,” Paris recalled. “I took his advice and I remembered everything he told me.”

Paris, 13, is slated to appear in the upcoming film adaptation of “Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys.” She recalled that her father would help her hone her acting skills.

“We would do improv together. He would give us little scenarios. He would say, ‘OK, in this scene, you’re going to cry,’ and I’d cry on the spot.”

Check out a preview of Ellen’s interview with Paris Jackson below.

Elizabeth Taylor auction sets records

Elizabeth Taylor auction brings in $116 million

The Elizabeth Taylor auction has shattered records, raking in nearly $116 million.

Forbes reports that the Taylor auction has set a world record for an auction of a private collection of jewels. The Taylor auction also broke six other world records, including the price achieved for a pearl jewel, the per carat price for a colorless diamond, the price for an Indian jewel, and a ruby per carat.

The “La Peregrina,” the 16th Century pearl on a necklace designed by Cartier for Taylor, sold for $11.8 million and was the biggest seller of the night. The Taj Mahal Diamond, which Taylor received from Richard Burton for her 40th birthday, sold for $8.8 million. The diamond’s original owner is believed to have been emperor Shah Jahan — the emperor who commisioned the Taj Mahal in memory of his late wife Mumtaz-i-Mahal.

Christie’s jewelry expert Francois Curiel explained that the items were priced according to their “intrinsic value” and not based on Taylor’s celebrity appeal.

Read more about the Elizabeth Taylor auction here.

Time person of the year is 'the protester'

Time person of the year recognizes the protester

The Time person of the year for 2011 is an unusual, but not surprising choice — it’s the protester.

“No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent,” Time writes. “In 2011, protesters didn’t just voice their complaints; they changed the world.”

Indeed, 2011 has been the year of the protester, from protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, to protests in Russia and even the U.S. 

“There was a lot of consensus among our people,” Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel said about the Time person of the year for 2011. “It felt right.”

Time’s person of the year is an 80-year-old tradtition that recognizes the person who has had the greatest impace on the past year — for good or for ill. Past choices for Time’s person of the year have included Charles Lindbergh, Adolf Hitler and Mark Zuckerberg.

Read more about the Time person of the year for 2011 here.

Fantasia Barrino gives birth

Fantasia Barrino gives birth to son, Dallas Xavier Barrino

Fantasia Barrino has given birth to a baby boy.

Popular Critic reports that Barrino gave birth to baby Dallas Xavier Barrino on Tuesday. This is Barrino’s first child with longtime boyfriend Atwaun Cook.

“I feel so blessed that my son Dallas Xavier was born healthy, and is a wonderful new addition to our family,” Barrino stated. “I thank all my fans for their well wishes and continued support.”

Barrino gained a lot of negative attention when Cook’s estranged wife Paula took the couple to court allegeding adultery. The judge ruled that the Cooks were separated before the affair with Barrino began. This didn’t stop the negative press, however, and when Barrino became pregnant with her first child with Cook, she had an abortion and allegedly attempted suicide.

Barrino also has a daughter named Zion.

Read more about Fantasia Barrino here.

NTSB looks to gadget-makers for help on cellphone ban

NTSB wants to ban use of portable electronics while driving

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is working to ban the use of portable electronics while driving.

PC World reports that the NTSB is suggesting that lawmakers in all 50 states enact laws banning drivers from using such devices. The NTSB’s proposed ban would include cellphones, hands-free cellphones and other electronic devices.

The NTSB is also looking to gadget-makers to help them enforce this ban. The NTSB is encouraging electronics manufacturers to develop features that “disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion.” Ideally, this proposed feature would allow for emergency phone calls, and would allow for passengers to use their phones without restrictions.

The NTSB’s proposed ban is inspired by the horrific 2010 crash that took place in Gray Summit, Mo. The crash killed two and injured 38. The driver of the pickup truck who caused the accident had sent 11 texts in 11 minutes.

Read more about the NTSB’s proposed ban here.