|Ed Sheeran says duet was Elton John's idea|
Ed Sheeran has revealed that it was Elton John's idea that the two should duet at the 2013 Grammys.
In an interview with MTV News, the 21-year-old British singer-songwriter said: "He put it together. He rung me up one day and said, 'How would you feel about performing with me at the Grammys?' I was like, 'I'll check my schedule'."
Sheeran, who is nominated in the Song of the Year category for his track the A-Team, added that he had known John for several years.
"He's been in touch for the past three years, but mostly became very prominent when we started to break the [United] States, because he knows the States like the back of his hand."
Last week, it was announced that the two would perform one of Sheeran's songs together at the 55th Grammy Awards ceremony. John, who has won six Grammy Awards, last performed at the American music industry awards in 2010, when he duetted with Lady Gaga.
Yesterday, it was confirmed that the 65 year-old would headline Bestival 2013 this September. It will be the first major UK festival appearance of his six-decade career.
Grammys organisers have also revealed that Justin Timberlake will make his live comeback at the awards ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles next month.
Timberlake, a six-time Grammy winner, will make his first television performance since he announced the release of his first album for seven years. The 20/20 Experience will come out on March 19.
|The Sapphires sparkles at Australian film awards|
|The tale of an Aboriginal family singing group entertaining American troops in the Vietnam War won best film and five other awards at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts ceremony Wednesday night.|
Best Lead Actress Deborah Mailman and Best Supporting Actress Jessica Mauboy won for playing sisters in the group. The award for lead actor went to Chris O’Dowd, who played “The Sapphires” talent manager and is perhaps best known for his role as a police officer in the smash comedy “Bridesmaids.”
The academy also recognized “The Sapphires” director Wayne Blair and writers, Keith Thompson and Tony Briggs, who adapted the screenplay from Briggs’ stage production inspired by his mother’s experiences.
“The Sapphires” won 11 awards in all, including technical categories announced earlier. Backstage, Blair said he never thought such a result would be possible, “not in my wildest dreams.
“It just came out of the blue. Out of the 12 nominations I thought we might win you know, one or two, that’d be lovely, that’d be vindication of something,” he told Australian Associated Press. “But winning a few more is good, very positive.”
Mauboy accepted her award from presenter Nicole Kidman and claimed she felt undeserving of the prize because she had been in the industry for “like a second.”
|Teachers in Elmwood Park and Saddle Brook get donations from Walmart|
The Saddle Brook Walmart showed local teachers some appreciation with a $700 gift card donation to teachers at Franklin School.
The retailer gave away 10, $50 gift cards on Dec. 6 to teachers, and surprised the school with an additional $200 at the end of its presentation.
Board of Education Trustee and Deputy Police Chief Bob White heard about Walmart’s Teacher Rewards Program in other districts. He said Store Manager Liz Persaud was willing to include Saddle Brook as one of the participants.
In Elmwood Park this past fall, Gantner Avenue School also received gift cards on behalf on the program, Franklin School Principal Sal Cusmano said. His wife, a teacher at Gantner, was one of the gift card recipients.
Cusmano expressed his gratitude for the donation, which provided teachers with some extra money for much needed school supplies.
"We are a lower-middle income community, so we’re kinda one of the schools that doesn’t have enough to do everything on its own," said Cusmano. "The donation came in handy."
The winners’ names were picked out of a hat during a presentation after Persaud read a statement from Walmart.
Although this is the first year of the program, Persaud said in an email that they were "overjoyed" to help the school and hope to do so again next year.
|Governor Proclaims Wednesday "Armed Forces|
|Gov. Sam Brownback has proclaimed Wednesday "Armed Forces Appreciation Day" in Kansas.|
The governor says it's "a chance to show our deep gratitude for their service and sacrifice--and the sacrifice made by their families. Today we pledge our support for them in peace, in crisis, and in war."
Kansas' military installations--Forbes Field, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, Great Plains Joint Training Center, and McConnell Air Force Base--generate more than $8 billion to the Gross State Product. Together, they generate more than $390 million in property and income taxes. Gov. Brownback says it's in the state's best interest to foster strong partnerships between local governments and the military.
Following the proclamation signing, the Governor's Military Council met to get an update on federal military-related issues, and to discuss their effects on Kansas.
|Apple Up, Moutai Down Among Gifts for China’s Rich|
As China’s central government takes aim at certain luxury items known to play a role in bribery, the desires of the country’s elite appear to be changing in tandem.
Apple Inc. AAPL -0.67%, maker of the iPad and iPhone has shot up to the second most-preferred brand among wealthy Chinese men and fifth most-preferred brand among wealthy Chinese women in a ranking of preferred gifts compiled by Shanghai-based wealth research firm Hurun Research Institute. The ranking was based on a survey of 551 Chinese millionaires with personal wealth of at least $1.6 million.
Last year, Apple ranked sixth for a combined survey of men and women, according to Hurun.
Chinese millionaires’ increasing preference for Apple came at the expense of Moutai, China’s brutally powerful and notoriously expensive national liquor. China Kweichow Moutai Distillery Co.’s famed liquor dropped to the No. 13 preferred luxury gift this year from No. 5 last year, according to Hurun.
Apple’s rise and Moutai’s fall reflect a shift in China’s economic and political climate, in which innovators like Steve Jobs are increasingly held up as models and leaders are coming under increasing fire for leading indulgent lives on the public dime.
The central government has recently moved to quash the lavish consumption habits of civil servants. Last March, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced a plan to ban the use of public funds to buy “high- end” alcohol and cigarettes, according to a government statement. In December, China’s Central Military Commission issued new rules that banned luxury banquets and liquor at receptions.
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