Brad Pitt ‘Attacked’ at Maleficent Premiere…

A man has been arrested on suspicion of battery after allegedly punching Brad Pitt in the face at the premiere of Maleficent in Los Angeles.

Ukrainian reporter Vitalii Sediuk – who is known for pranking celebrities – was reportedly seen jumping over a barrier, hugging and then striking the star.

The 25-year-old was wrestled to the floor by bodyguards before being led away in handcuffs by police.

Pitt, who had been signing autographs at the time, was not seriously hurt.

Maleficent is Disney’s modern retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, starring Pitt’s partner Angelina Jolie as its villain.

A spokesperson for the film company said: “This was an unfortunate and inappropriate incident that is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.”

A police spokesman said Mr Sediuk was held in custody on Wednesday night pending $20,000 (£12,000) bail.

“The officers who were handling him said it looked like [the attack] was intentional, but at this point, it remains to be determined,” Sgt Leonard Calderon told Reuters.

Mr Sediuk has a history of red carpet stunts and pranking celebrities.

Last week, he hit headlines after he crawled under the skirt of Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera at the Cannes Film Festival.

At the SAG Awards in January he was seen on his knees hugging Bradley Cooper’s crotch – a stunt he also pulled on Leonardo DiCaprio at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in February.

Last year, he crashed the stage during the Grammys, running up to Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull to accept Adele’s award for best pop solo performance before the singer reached the stairs.

He was charged with entering a performance area and interfering with the ceremony but was not jailed.

In 2012, Mr Sediuk also received a slap on the face from actor Will Smith after he tried to kiss him on the lips while on the Men In Black 3 red carpet in Moscow.

Ponting Calls for Swift Action on Corruption…

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has called for swift action on cricket’s corruption crisis, saying there is nothing worse for the game than the shadow hanging over it.

Ponting said match-fixing and other rumours had circulated for years and he pleaded with the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption watchdog and individual boards to act quickly so players and fans could have full faith that what happens on the field was legitimate.

“We’ve all been aware of a certain amount of corruption in the game for a long time now and there’s always just been a bit of smoke, there hasn’t been much fire around it,” he said late Wednesday.

“But like a lot of other big issues in our games, whether it’s drugs or whatever, the sooner the governing bodies can get to the bottom of these issues and actually start making an example of some of the people they know are in the wrong and they know are guilty, the better off we’re all going to be.

“There is nothing worse than having that (corruption) tag around, the worry about the integrity of cricket and that is what every governing body would be fearing and a lot of the players. It takes away a bit from the game they love,” he added.

Ex-New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent and his former Sussex teammate Naved Arif were last week charged with fixing in English county cricket. Vincent faces further charges dating to the 2011 and 2012 Champions League.

The most high-profile cricket fixing scandal in recent years led to the jailing of three Pakistan Test cricketers — then captain Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer in 2011.

Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is also serving a life ban imposed in 2012 by the England and Wales Cricket Board for spot-fixing in a county match.

Ponting said he doubts Australian players were involved in match-fixing.

“I have no worries at all,” he told Australian Associated Press. “Certainly anyone that I’ve played with in Australian or Tasmanian teams, I can’t see how it will impact on any of us — who I know, anyway.”

He added that Australian players were well-educated about corruption and he did not think they were so vulnerable.

“Probably where we’re a bit different to the other countries … is we’re very well-paid in Australia for what we do,” said the 39-year-old, who retired from all forms of cricket late last year and is now involved in sports management.

“It seems to me, a lot of the targets, if you like, are guys who probably haven’t been paid that well during their careers.”

Sri Lanka Wants JVs With Foreign Investors to Cater to Domestic Market!

Sri Lanka wants foreign investors to set up joint ventures where the output will be allowed to be sold to the domestic market, investment promotion minister Lakshman Abeywardena said, amid fears of new protectionism.

“We will indicate to a local investor or a local investor who forms a joint venture with a foreign investor what type of goods that can be produced in the next five years,” Abeywardena said.
“For example we will show how much cement will be needed. How much wires will be needed. Or how much equipment will be needed for hotels.

“How much metal, or timber or aluminum will be needed. Or sanitary ware, tiles or glass.”

Abeywardena said engineering division of the Board of Investment had estimated the needs of such material for upcoming large investments in the next 5 years.

“Based on these needs they can start investments in Sri Lanka,” Abeywardena said. “There is security then that when they produce a good it can be put to the local market.”

“So we can put in the investment agreement that they can sell to the local market.”

He said for example 6 million tonnes of cement would be needed.

“We have expanded the negative list (of imports in free trade agreements), so the amount of goods that can be brought has been limited,” Abeywardena said. “So all these items under the negative list can be produced here.

“So we will give facilities for investors to produce the goods locally.

“It they have difficulty in facing competition from the world, we can discuss and see what more tax benefits we can give.”

Abeywardena said the cabinet of ministers had this week already approved two such investments and a committee had been set up to examine the issue in depth.

Reporters told minister that in Sri Lanka, homeless people building houses already paid some of the highest prices in the world for basic materials including, steel, cables, tiles and sanitaryware due to import tax protection that took away their trade freedoms.

Import tax protected businesses engage in tax arbitrage (profits from the tax difference) and have no incentive to cut costs. They can also become uncompetitive in the export market while building large monopolies by selling over-priced goods to domestic customers.

At the moment only cement among key building materials is competitively produced and is under price control. The firms under price control happen to be owned by foreign and minority business interests.

Economists point out that in any so-called ‘capitalist’ society with free trade and competition income inequalities widen due to profits when masses choose to buy products from a business that competes against other businesses in price and quality to please them.

But when tax protection is given in a Mercantilist or nationalist society, the masses are forced to buy the products of the big business at high prices with competition and their essential trade freedoms being limited through the coercive power of the state.

Such firms can build large monopolies and earn unjust rents rather than free enterprise profits, by selling over-priced goods to customers without taking much effort to please customer under free competition.

Happy Birthday Wynonna Judd!

Country singer who was in The Judds and has multiple #1 country singles, including “She is His Only Need” and “I Saw the Light.”

Judd’s love of country music was inspired by her mother’s musical tastes. She moved to Nashville with her mother with the dream of
making it big.

She won the 1994 ACM Female Artist of the Year Award.

She married Arch Kelley on January 21, 1996, then D.R. Roach on November 22, 2003, and then Cactus Moser on June 10, 2012.

She recorded “Burning Love” for the film Lilo & Stitch, which starred actor Ving Rhames.

Maya Angelou ‘The Brightest Light’ says Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama has led the tributes to Maya Angelou, describing the poet, author and activist as “one of the brightest lights of our time”.

He hailed Angelou, who has died aged 86, as “a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman”.

She made her name with the memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which charted a childhood of oppression and abuse in the Deep South in the 1930s.

Her family described her as “a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace”.

In a statement on Facebook, they said she passed away quietly at home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at 08:00 EST (12:00 GMT).

“Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belaboured by a loss of acuity or comprehension,” they said.

“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being… The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”