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Iran Holds Funeral For Slain Military Nuclear Scientist

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran held a funeral service Monday for the slain scientist who founded its military nuclear program two decades ago, with the Islamic Republic’s defense minister vowing to continue the man’s work “with more speed and more power.”

An honor guard carried the casket containing the body of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who reportedly was gunned down in a military-style ambush Friday that Iranian officials have blamed on Israel. An arm of Iranian state television, citing an anonymous source, reported Monday that a weapon recovered from the scene appeared to be Israeli.

Israel, long suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the last decade, has declined to comment on the attack.

Fakhrizadeh headed Iran’s so-called AMAD program, which Israel and the West have alleged was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that “structured program” ended in 2003. U.S. intelligence agencies concurred with that assessment in a 2007 report.

Israel insists Iran still maintains the ambition of developing nuclear weapons, pointing to Tehran’s ballistic missile program and research into other technologies. Iran long has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful.

Monday’s service took place at an outdoor portion of Iran’s Defense Ministry in Tehran, with officials including Revolutionary Guard chief Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guard’s Quds Force leader Gen. Esmail Ghaani, civilian nuclear program chief Ali Akbar Sahei and Intelligence Minister Mamoud Alavi. They sat apart from each other and wore masks due to the coronavirus pandemic as reciters melodically read portions of the Quran and religious texts.

Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami gave a speech after kissing Fakhrizadeh’s casket and putting his forehead against it. He said Fakhrizadeh’s killing would make Iranians “more united, more determined.”

“For the continuation of your path, we will continue with more speed and more power,” Hatami said in comments aired live by state television.

Hatami also criticized countries that hadn’t condemned Fakhrizadeh’s killing, warning: “This will catch up with you someday.” Overnight, the United Arab Emirates, which just reached a normalization deal with Israel, issued a statement condemning “the heinous assassination.” The UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, warned it “could further fuel conflict in the region.”

Last year, the UAE found itself in the middle of an escalating series of incidents between Iran and the U.S. Though long suspicious of Iran’s nuclear program, the Emirates has said it wants to de-escalate the crisis. The UAE just started passenger air service to Israel and Israelis are expected to vacation in the country over Hanukkah in the coming days.

Hatami also called the nuclear arsenal of the U.S. — and the stockpile of atomic bombs Israel long has been suspected of holding — “the most dangerous threat against humanity.”

Mourners later buried Fakhrizadeh in the courtyard of Imamzadeh Saleh mosque in north Tehran.

Just after the burial, state TV’s English-language Press TV reported a weapon recovered from the scene of the attack bore ”“the logo and specifications of the Israeli military industry.” State TV’s Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam, claimed the weapons used were “controlled by satellite,” a claim also made Sunday by the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, separately told state TV that Iran’s enemies had launched “a number of failed operations” against Fakhrizadeh in the past.

“This time, the enemy applied a completely new, professional and sophisticated method,” Shamkhani said, without elaborating.

In response to the killing, Iran’s parliament has begun a review of a bill that would stop inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The nuclear watchdog has provided an unprecedented, real-time look at Iran’s civilian nuclear program following the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The deal has unraveled after President Donald Trump’s unilateral 2018 withdrawal of the U.S. from the accord. Iran’s civilian atomic program has since continued its experiments and now enriches a growing uranium stockpile up to 4.5% purity.

That’s still far below weapons-grade levels of 90%, though experts warn Iran now has enough low-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least two atomic bombs if it chose to pursue them. The proposed bill reportedly also would require Iran’s civilian atomic program to produce at least 120 kilograms (265 pounds) of uranium enriched to 20% — a short technical step to 90%.

Iran’s 290-seat parliament is dominated by hard-liners who likely would support the bill. It ultimately would have to be approved by Iran’s Guardian Council. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also has final say on all matters of state.

Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.





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Olivia Wilde Wears See-Through Dress To 2022 People’s Choice Awards

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Olivia Wilde appeared to be taking a page from the style books of both Florence Pugh and Princess Diana at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday.

The “Don’t Worry Darling” director attended the Los Angeles ceremony in a plunging black Christian Dior gown featuring a completely see-through lace bodice. She completed the look with a pair of Bebe platform shoes.

Wilde attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in a plunging black Christian Dior gown featuring a lace see-through bodice.

Amy Sussman via Getty Images

Wilde’s daring ensemble drew comparisons to Pugh, who starred in “Don’t Worry Darling” and wore a similarly sheer gown at Valentino’s haute couture show in Rome this summer.

Others, however, likened it to the black “revenge dress” worn by Princess Diana in 1994 just hours after King Charles III, who was then a prince, and her husband, admitted on television that he’d been unfaithful during their marriage.

Wilde wearing a gown many likened to Princess Diana's "revenge dress" at the People's Choice Award on Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Los Angeles, California.
Wilde wearing a gown many likened to Princess Diana’s “revenge dress” at the People’s Choice Award on Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Los Angeles, California.

Chris Polk/E! Entertainment/NBC via Getty Images

It was a victorious night for Wilde, who took home the award for drama movie of 2022 for “Don’t Worry Darling.”

“We made this movie in 2020 when many people were not confident that audiences would ever return to theaters if they ever reopened,” she told the starry crowd in her acceptance speech. “And yet more than 190 brilliant crew members showed up every single day during a pandemic to make something that they hoped that you guys would show up for. And you did show up. And we’re so, so grateful.”

Wilde took home the award for drama movie of 2022 for “Don’t Worry Darling” at the People's Choice Awards on Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Los Angeles, California.
Wilde took home the award for drama movie of 2022 for “Don’t Worry Darling” at the People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Los Angeles, California.

Chris Polk/E! Entertainment/NBC via Getty Images

Wilde’s triumph comes less than a month after it was reported that she and Harry Styles, who stars in “Don’t Worry Darling,” had broken up after about two years of dating.

The former couple’s relationship was just one component in the media firestorm that preceded the release of “Don’t Worry Darling” in September. Among other subjects of intrigue pertaining to the movie include allegations of a behind-the-scenes feud between Wilde and Pugh as well as the director’s seemingly contentious split from Jason Sudeikis, with whom she shares two children.





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Idina Menzel Offers Deeply Personal Look At IVF Journey In New Documentary

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When Idina Menzel agreed to let a camera crew follow her across the U.S. for a new documentary, she hoped to chronicle the fulfillment of her lifelong dream of taking the stage at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Due out on Disney+ Friday, “Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage?” captures the excitement of that 2018 concert for posterity. True to form, the Tony winner delivers goosebump-inducing showstoppers from Broadway’s “Rent” and “Wicked,” as well as a selection of pop-rock tracks from her two solo albums. A behind-the-scenes glimpse at her evolution into a Disney princess, by way of 2013’s animated smash “Frozen” and its 2019 sequel, is also a highlight.

But “Which Way to the Stage?” also looks beyond theatrics to offer a moving portrait of a working mother who at a relatable crossroads. Amid the chaos of her tour, Menzel attempts ― to varying degrees of success ― to prioritize moments with her 13-year-old son, Walker, whom she shares with ex-husband Taye Diggs. At the same time, she and her current husband, Aaron Lohr, are hoping to expand their family.

The Disney+ documentary “Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage?” premieres Friday, Dec. 9.

Eric Maldin/Walkman Productions for Disney

“We’re all performing. We’re all trying to get through the day, do what we love in our work and also be present in our lives, for the people we love,” Menzel told HuffPost. “As much as I want to be in the spotlight, wear sequined outfits, get the accolades and have a crowd cheering for me, it’s just as important for me to be at my son’s basketball game, and go trick-or-treating with him.”

Working with director Anne McCabe, Menzel looks back at her own childhood on New York’s Long Island through home videos and archival photos, and revisits the reception hall where she spent her young adult years as a wedding singer with big dreams. (The 1980s and ’90s hairstyles that mark each of those life chapters are worthy of their own retrospective.)

As Menzel made a name for herself, private tribulations emerged. Her parents divorced when she was 15, leaving her with “a lot of neuroses and distrust.” The film’s biggest revelation, however, is her experience undergoing fertility treatment while on tour as she tries to have a baby with Lohr. Ultimately, she must contend with the fact that becoming a mom for the second time “wasn’t meant to be.”

Aaron Lohr (left) and Idina Menzel have been married since 2017.
Aaron Lohr (left) and Idina Menzel have been married since 2017.

Dominik Bindl via Getty Images

“I felt it was important for people, especially women, to understand that there’s no shame in the failure of that process,” said Menzel, who hadn’t spoken publicly about her attempt to have a second child until now. “It was helpful for me to not stay the victim. I compartmentalized a lot, but having an outlet to make music with my band every night was healing. It helped me to stay true to why I do what I do, and that’s to make other people feel good.”

These days, Menzel is busier than ever, turning in well-received performances in 2019’s “Uncut Gems,” starring Adam Sandler, and this fall’s “Disenchanted,” the long-awaited sequel to Disney’s “Enchanted.” She also unveiled a clothing line, Encore by Idina, this year and made her children’s publishing debut this year with the picture book “Loud Mouse,” co-written with her sister Cara Mentzel.

Watch the trailer for “Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage?” below.

But the actor and singer isn’t one to dwell on the past, or focus too much on a recent success. Fittingly, “Which Way To The Stage?” climaxes with a chilling rendition of “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked,” and like Elphaba, her character in that musical, she’s eager to embrace the future with enthusiasm.

“I want to keep developing original roles. But I also want to travel and take my family to see the world. I want to keep showing up at my kid’s games and sitting on the couch with my husband and binge-watching TV,” she said. “At this point in my life, I’m willing to take a little credit for being a good messenger.”





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Matt Lucas Quits As ‘Great British Bake Off’ Host: ‘It’s Been A Delicious Experience’

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Matt Lucas has quit as co-host of “The Great British Bake Off” (which airs in the U.S. on Netflix as “The Great British Baking Show”).

The comedian, who has presented the show alongside Noel Fielding for the past three seasons, explained he was leaving due to a schedule clash.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening, Lucas wrote: “Farewell Bake Off! It’s been a delicious experience and I can’t imagine a more fun way of spending my summers.

“But it’s become clear to me that I can’t present both ‘Fantasy Football League’ and Bake Off alongside all my other projects.

“So, after three series and 51 episodes, I am cheerfully passing the baguette on to someone else.”

He continued: “I would like to give my warmest thanks and gratitude to everyone at Love Productions and Channel 4 and to Noelipops, Paul, Dame Prue, the crew and, of course, the wonderful bakers for welcoming me into the tent.

“I wish whoever takes over the very best and I can’t wait to tune into the next series without already knowing who won!”

The U.K.’s Channel 4 is yet to announce who will replace Lucas.

However, the former “Little Britain” star will still be seen on screen in forthcoming “Bake Off” Christmas specials, which are set to air on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day in the U.K.

Lucas joined the “Bake Off” team in 2020, taking over from Fielding’s previous co-host Sandi Toksvig.

Following Lucas’ announcement, judge Prue Leith posted on Twitter: “I have absolutely loved working with you @RealMattLucas. Thank you for bringing so much laughter and fun to the tent.”





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Stephen Colbert Clocks Rudy Giuliani’s Weirdest Wardrobe Malfunction

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Stephen Colbert spotted a bizarre moment in Rudy Giuliani’s D.C. Bar hearing to determine whether his law license should be suspended for his attempts to overthrow the 2020 election on behalf of former President Donald Trump.

After a lunch break was announced on Monday’s hearing, former Trump attorney Giuliani looked at his arm and appeared to only just realize he was wearing two watches.

“Do you know I have 2 watches on?” the ex-New York Mayor asked.

“The Late Show” host Colbert suggested a reason.

“It may seem weird, but of course he wears two watches. That way it’s twice as likely to be 5 o’clock somewhere,” he cracked.





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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Rule Red Carpet Just Days Before Netflix Series Drops

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NEW YORK CITY ― Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ruled the red carpet at the annual Ripple of Hope Gala on Tuesday night, just two days before the official Netflix premiere of their highly anticipated docuseries, “Harry & Meghan.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the recipients of the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope award.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Midtown Hilton for the Ripple Awards on December 06, 2022 in New York City.

Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit organization that is named after her late father and is honoring the couple, spoke about why the Sussexes are being awarded in a press release sent out prior to the event.

“The couple has always stood out for their willingness to speak up and change the narrative on racial justice and mental health around the world,” Kennedy said in an emailed statement. “They embody the type of moral courage that my father once called the ‘one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.’”

The awards, which are being emceed by Alec Baldwin, will also honor the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the Ripple of Hope award. NBA player and civil rights activist Bill Russell, who died in 2022, will also be recognized with a posthumous award.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala at New York Hilton on December 06, 2022 in New York City.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala at New York Hilton on December 06, 2022 in New York City.

Mike Coppola via Getty Images

Last month, Kennedy shed more light on the couple’s honor in an exclusive interview with the Spanish website El Confidencial.

She told the magazine, via a translated version of the article, that Meghan and Harry “went to the oldest institution in UK history and told them what they were doing wrong, that they couldn’t have structural racism within the institution; that they could not maintain a misunderstanding about mental health,” referencing the couple’s claim of racism within the royal family and a lack of help when the Duchess of Sussex said she was experiencing suicidal ideation.

“They knew that if they did this there would be consequences, that they would be ostracized, they would lose their family, their position within this structure, and that people would blame them for it,” Kennedy continued.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, left, and Prince Harry, center, attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Awards Gala at the New York Hilton Midtown on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in New York.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, left, and Prince Harry, center, attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Awards Gala at the New York Hilton Midtown on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in New York.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

She said that the two did it anyway “because they believed they couldn’t live with themselves if they didn’t question this authority,” and ended by calling the two “heroic.”

Harry and Meghan have dominated headlines even more than usual recently, as Netflix released the controversial official trailer for the couple’s six-part series on Monday. The streaming giant also made waves when the teaser for the show was released last week, on the second day of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal visit to Boston.

The first three episodes of the series will be released on Thursday at 3 a.m. ET, while the second batch will drop next Thursday, Dec. 15.





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Kirstie Alley Said More Than Once That John Travolta Was The Love Of Her Life

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It seems one of Kirstie Alley’s biggest regrets was that she never dated John Travolta.

Alley — who died Monday at the age of 71, from what her children said was cancer she’d “only recently discovered” — expressed her feelings for Travolta numerous times throughout the years.

“It took me years to not look at John as a romantic interest,” Alley said while speaking to Howard Stern in 2013.

In 2012, she told ABC’s Barbara Walters that Travolta was “the greatest love of my life.”

The two met when they starred together in the first “Look Who’s Talking” film in 1989. At the time, Alley was married to actor Parker Stevenson, whom she would divorce in 1997.

Travolta and Alley in a promotional image for “Look Who’s Talking.”

Archive Photos via Getty Images

“We were fun and funny together,” Alley said of Travolta during an appearance on the “Dan Wootton Interview” podcast in 2018. “It wasn’t a sexual relationship, because I’m not going to cheat on my husband.”

But she said in the same interview that not sleeping with Travolta was “the hardest decision I’ve ever made, because I was madly in love with him.”

That same year, while appearing on “Celebrity Big Brother,” Alley was asked by other cast members if she had ever fallen in love with any of her leading men. She said she’d kissed and had strong feelings for two of her co-stars: Travolta and Patrick Swayze.

“I almost ran off and married John. I did love him, I still love him,” Alley said on the reality show. “If I hadn’t been married, I would have gone and married him ― and I would’ve been in an airplane, because he has his own.”

During her 2013 conversation with Stern, Alley said that Travolta reciprocated her romantic feelings when they first met. But he married Kelly Preston in 1991, while Alley was still married to Stevenson.

Alley told Stern that Preston ― who died in 2020 ― was well aware of her feelings toward Travolta, and that she shut them down pretty quickly.

“In the beginning, she would bust me,” Alley said. “She would be like, ‘Are you flirting with my husband?’ And the answer was ‘Yes.’”

Although Travolta has never publicly expressed as much romantic ardor for Alley, he did seem to cherish their bond.

Alley and Travolta attend the premiere of Quiver Distribution's "The Fanatic" in 2019.
Alley and Travolta attend the premiere of Quiver Distribution’s “The Fanatic” in 2019.

Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images

In the wake of Alley’s sudden death, Travolta led a wave of online celebrity remembrances by posting a photo of the two of them on Instagram.

“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had,” Travolta wrote alongside the photo. “I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.”





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King Charles Dodges Second Supposed Egging Incident In Less Than A Month

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King Charles was almost egged (again) during a royal engagement on Tuesday, according to police.

The monarch was visiting Luton town centre and taking part in a walkabout when the incident occurred, the PA agency reported.

Bedfordshire Police have said that a man in his 20s has now been arrested on suspicion of common assault and was in custody for questioning.

The eggs were thought to have been thrown towards Charles, and he was temporarily steered away from the crowds outside Luton Town Hall by his security staff shortly after arriving in the area.

But he soon returned to shake hands with the public before moving on to the next part of his visit.

The King was also looking around a new Sikh temple and shuttle at the local airport in Luton.

He met with council officials at the town hall too along with volunteers, taking to the balcony to wave to the public below.

The incident came after a 23-year-old man was arrested for also throwing eggs at Charles (and his wife, the Queen Consort) in Leeds on November 9.

None of the eggs struck either of the royals.

Police officers restrained the man on the ground behind temporary fencing at the time, and was heard reportedly saying, “This country was build on the blood of slaves,” and “not my king”.

Others in the crowd shouted over him, “God save the king” and “shame on you” at the demonstrator.

He was later released on bail. Charles and his wife seemed unperturbed by the interruption and continued greeting the well-wishers.





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