Queen Elizabeth II attends pop concert for 92nd birthday

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 92nd birthday with a Saturday night concert in London featuring British singers such as Sting, Tom Jones and Jamie Cullum.

Kylie Minogue, Shaggy and Craig David also performed during the “Queen’s Birthday Party” at Royal Albert Hall.

Elizabeth — the world’s longest-reigning living monarch — attended the show with other members of the royal family. Flanked by Prince Charles and Prince William — first and second in line for the throne — she waved to the crowd as she took her seat. The audience sang happy birthday when the queen went on stage toward the end of the program.

Prince Harry, with fiancee Meghan Markle as his concert date, led the tributes to his grandmother.

Earlier in the day, honorary gun salutes were staged at Hyde Park, the Tower of London, a castle in Wales and the town of Windsor to mark the occasion.

The queen celebrates two birthdays every year: Her actual birthday on April 21, which she usually marks privately with her family, and her “official birthday” in the summer. That usually falls on the second Saturday in June, when she joins the Trooping the Color military parade in central London.

Elizabeth’s real birthday this year came on the tails of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which brought the leaders of the 53 Commonwealth countries together in England.

The queen has led the disparate group, made up of Britain and its former colonies, since she took the throne in 1952.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Verne Troyer, Mini Me in ‘Austin Powers’ Films, Dead at 49

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Actor Verne Troyer, known for his role as Mini Me in two of the “Austin Powers” films, died today at the age of 49, according to a statement on the actor’s Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” the statement began. “Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible.

“… Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.”

No cause of death was given, but Troyer was hospitalized earlier this month after reports that he was drinking heavily and suicidal.
The celebrity news website TMZ.com reported that Troyer had been on life support since that incident.

Troyer was born with a case of dwarfism that left him — at 2-feet-8- inches — one of the shortest men in the world. He had over 50 acting credits on his resume, but was best-known as Mini Mi in 1999’s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and 2002’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


With Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig expecting a baby, how old is too old to have kids?

Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin in "My Cousin Rachel." (Nicola Dove/FoxSearchlight Pictures)

News came Friday that Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are expecting their first child together. Both have made babies before, and neither is what you would call a young rookie when it comes to parenting.

The James Bond star is 50 and has a 25-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Meanwhile, Weisz, who has an 11-year-old son from her marriage to director Darren Aronofsky, is 48.

Craig and Weisz have been married for six years and are well established in their careers, so in many ways they’re in a good place to have another child. But when it comes to reproductive biology, their ages may have been a factor in Weisz becoming pregnant.

“I’ll be showing soon,” Weisz told the New York Times in a story published Friday. adding “Daniel and I are so happy.”

Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin in “My Cousin Rachel.” (Nicola Dove/Fox
Searchlight Pictures)

The Academy Award winner continued: “We’re going to have a little human. We can’t wait to meet him or her. It’s all such a mystery.”

What may add to the mystery is that Weisz is past the age of peak fertility for women. Fertility in women gradually decreases beginning at around age 32 and decreases more rapidly after age 37, according to the American College Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That’s mostly due to a decrease in egg quality.

Dr. Lynn Westphal from the Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center said in a 2014 interview with the Mercury News that women who wait until they are 40 to try bearing children must face the likelihood that “probably half their eggs will be chromosomally abnormal.”

Another study puts the percentage of abnormal eggs as high as 90 percent, increasing the potential for miscarriages or birth defects, according to The Cut.

Westphal works with a growing number of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Bridge: April 21, 2018

Tribune Content Agency

Even if you’re a near-beginner, you can enjoy the challenge and camaraderie of duplicate bridge. Many ACBL-affiliated clubs offer easygoing games for newer players.

Duplicate lets you compare results with players who faced the same deal at other tables. Say you play at today’s six spades. You win West’s trump lead and count 11 tricks. To succeed, you will surely need a trick from dummy’s long clubs. Suppose you take the A-K of trumps and A-K of clubs and ruff a club. Alas, West overruffs, and you must go down.


To minimize the chance of an overruff, take the king of trumps, ace of hearts, ace of clubs and ace of trumps, and discard a club on the king of hearts. You can ruff a club safely, lead a trump to the queen, cash the king of clubs and ruff a club. Go to the ace of diamonds for the good club.

If you made this slam, I’ll bet you would get a “top” on the deal: quite an achievement.

Duplicate is fun. For info on the ACBL and clubs in your area, see acbl.org.


You hold: S A Q 3 H K 2 D A 6 4 C K 6 5 4 3. Your partner opens 1NT. The next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: You have 16 good points, and your fifth club may well be a winner — worth another point or two. If partner’s 1NT bid promised 16 to 18 points, raise to 6NT. If he might have as few as 15 points, you might settle for a slam-invitational “quantitative” raise to 4NT. Do your duty and try to get your side to the proper level.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable


S A Q 3

H K 2

D A 6 4

C K 6 5 4 3


S J 10 9

H Q 10 8 6 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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