Murdoch, Jerry Hall to celebrate marriage at 'journalists' church' St Bride's

LONDON Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former supermodel Jerry Hall will hold a marriage service next month at St Bride's church on London's Fleet Street, the spiritual home of British journalism.The 84-year-old executive chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox Inc and Hall, 59, announced their engagement last month in a classified advert in the Times newspaper, one of the papers his group owns.The couple's nuptials will be celebrated on March 5 at the historic church, famed for its wedding-cake spire and designed by Christopher Wren who was also responsible for the nearby St Paul's Cathedral."He will be having a service to celebrate the marriage," Claire Seaton from St Bride's told Reuters. She said the actual wedding ceremony would take place elsewhere.The three-times-married media tycoon and Hall, the former longtime partner of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, got engaged in Los Angeles, where they had been attending Hollywood's Golden Globes awards ceremony. Murdoch divorced his third wife, Wendi Deng, a former executive at Murdoch-owned Star TV in China, in 2013 after 14 years, saying their marriage had been irretrievably broken. Hall was married to Jagger for more than 20 years but in divorce proceedings in 1999 the British musician claimed they were never legally married.There was no immediate comment from Murdoch's spokesman, but Britain's Guardian newspaper said the couple's former partners were not expected to attend. Among the 150 or so guests would be Robert Thomson, News Corp's chief executive and Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of his British media arm, the paper said. St Bride's link with journalism dates back centuries from a time when Fleet Street was home to Britain's national newspapers and to many offices of regional and international papers.It was Murdoch himself who hastened its demise as the hub for journalism in 1986 when he moved his print works to a plant in Wapping, east London, after some 6,000 newspaper workers went on strike. "Within months the printing dinosaur that was Fleet Street was dead. By 1989 all the national newspapers had decamped as other proprietors followed Murdoch's lead," the church's website says.It adds: "Many people at that time feared that the diaspora of the Fourth Estate might result in St Bride's losing its title of the cathedral of Fleet Street. Might Rupert Murdoch's vision bring about what pestilence, fire and the Luftwaffe had failed to achieve?"However, the church said it still maintained close links with the industry and held a large number of memorial and carol services for journalists, newspapers and media organizations. (Editing by Stephen Addison)

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'The Kiss' and other Rodin bronzes up for auction in Paris

PARIS Five small bronze statues by French 19th century sculptor Auguste Rodin will be auctioned in Paris next week, including a cast of his celebrated "The Kiss", which is estimated at 1.5 to 2 million euros ($1.70-2.27 million). The five statues, to be sold by auction house Drouot on Tuesday, come from the collection of late French art dealer Jean de Ruaz, who bought them from the Rodin Museum in the 1940s.The main piece is an 85 cm (33.5 inch) high cast of "The Kiss", produced in 1927, 10 years after Rodin's death, by the same Alexis Rudier foundry that had cast many of Rodin's pieces. First exhibited in 1887, the sculpture portrays Paolo and Francesca, two characters from Dante's Divine Comedy, but became known as "Le Baiser". It is one of Rodin's best known works, along with "The Thinker" and "The Burghers of Calais". Auctioneer Alexandre Giquello said some 40 to 50 casts of the work were made after Rodin's death but only about 10 to 15 are of high quality and undisputed provenance. De Ruaz had lent the work to New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1963, he said.During Rodin's life only about seven casts were made and those had been sold at auctions for 6 to 7 million euros. "We expect the statue will sell for more than 1.5 million euros," Giquello said, adding that it will be the first public sale of a cast of "The Kiss" made after Rodin's death. The white marble version of the work housed in Paris' newly renovated Rodin Museum is nearly 2 meters high, but miniaturized bronze casts are highly popular with collectors.The other pieces Drouot will auction next week include "Eternal Spring", another medium-size bronze of a kissing couple, cast between 1935 and 1945 and estimated at 300,000 to 400,000 euros. Three small statuettes, also cast after Rodin's death, are estimated at between 30,000 and 100,000 euros. Rodin's work has been widely forged, notably by convicted forger Guy Hain, who in the 1990s produced thousands of fake bronze Rodins, often using original Rodin plaster casts and the Rudier stamp.The five statues in the auction will be exhibited at Drouot on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Paul Taylor)

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Storyful editor to join Facebook to manage journalism partnerships

NEW YORK The managing editor of News Corp's social media news agency Storyful said on Wednesday she is leaving to manage journalism partnerships at Facebook Inc , as the social network broadens its push into news. Aine Kerr said in a blog post on Storyful's site that she would leave later this month. She linked her announcement to a separate post from Storyful Chief Executive Rahul Chopra who announced her departure, as well as the appointment of Mandy Jenkins as head of news, and Joe Galvin as director of news."I leave so excited about the possibilities for journalism, for the role Facebook plays as a source of valuable, newsworthy content, but also as a destination with the largest online audience in the world and advertising revenue models to match," Kerr wrote. (here#.VruXqflVhBe) Facebook did not respond immediately to requests for comment on Wednesday.Facebook has pushed to include more news on its site, including a change to its algorithm to surface higher-quality and more relevant news. It also launched last year Instant Articles, a partnership with nine news publishers that lets them publish articles directly into the News Feed, rather than directing users to another website that has a slower load time.   Founded in 2010 and based in Dublin, Ireland, Storyful finds and verifies social media content for its clients so that the content can be trusted for use in print. Kerr joined Storyful in 2011, according to her post. Prior to becoming managing editor, she was political editor and head of content at the agency, which News Corp acquired in 2013. Her former boss, Storyful founder Mark Little, left last year to join Twitter Inc. (Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; editing by Diane Craft)

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Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Exclusive: U.S. athletes should consider skipping Rio if fear Zika - officials

NEW YORK The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.The message was delivered in a conference call involving USOC officials and leaders of U.S. sport federations in late January, according to two people who participated in the call.Federations were told that no one should go to Brazil "if they don't feel comfortable going. Bottom line," said Donald Anthony, president and board chairman of USA Fencing.The USOC’s briefing to sport federations is the latest sign that Olympics officials are taking the Zika threat to the games in Rio de Janeiro seriously, and acknowledging that at least some athletes and support staff could face a tough decision over whether to attend.The United States won most medals at the last Olympics in London in 2012, so any disruption to its presence would be important for the Rio games.Global health authorities suspect the mosquito-borne Zika virus has caused a spike in Brazil of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head. As a result, the World Health Organization declared an international health emergency Feb. 1, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising pregnant women or those considering becoming pregnant to avoid travel to places with Zika outbreaks.The USOC’s Alan Ashley, its chief of sport performance, and other USOC officials, briefed the leaders of the federations.Ashley did not respond to email or phone calls requesting comment.USOC spokesman Mark Jones confirmed by email that Ashley had "briefed federation leaders on the CDC's recommendations and we will continue to ensure that athletes and officials affiliated with Team USA receive any updates from the CDC."The USOC has not issued its own set of recommendations for athletes and staff beyond what the CDC and WHO have issued.Jones declined to comment further or respond to specific questions from Reuters before publication.In a statement on Monday, another USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said media reports that the USOC has advised U.S. athletes to reconsider competing in Rio due to the Zika virus were inaccurate. It was unclear what media reports he was referring to and he couldn't be immediately reached for comment."Team USA looks forward to the Games and we did not, would not and will not prevent athletes from competing for their country should they qualify," Sandusky said. EXPRESSED OPTIMISMRecalling the conference call, Anthony, a former Olympian, said: "One of the things that they immediately said was, especially for women that may be pregnant or even thinking of getting pregnant, that whether you are scheduled to go to Rio or no, that you shouldn't go.""And no one should go if they feel at all as though that that threat could impact them," said Anthony, who praised the USOC's handling of the outbreak so far.Zika outbreaks have been reported in 33 countries, most of them in the Americas. Symptoms of infection often are mild or imperceptible. But the outbreak in Brazil that began last year has been accompanied by more than 4,000 cases of suspected microcephaly; investigators have confirmed more than 400. The link to Zika is unproven but strongly suspected.In El Salvador, which is experiencing outbreaks of the virus, women are being advised to put off pregnancy until 2018.Will Connell, Director of Sport at the U.S. Equestrian Federation, said the USOC was leaving the decision up to individual athletes and staff members. "They said no one who has reasons to be concerned should feel obliged to go,” Connell said. "If an athlete feels that way, of course they may decide not to go."During the call, the USOC did not indicate they were concerned that large numbers of athletes would avoid Rio or that Zika could derail the Games, the two federation leaders said. Instead, officials expressed optimism that risk would be minimized by close cooperation among health agencies, mosquito control efforts and the Games’ timing during Brazil’s winter when mosquito-borne illnesses are less common.The USOC officials on the call said the organization would adhere to the recommendations of health agencies including the CDC, the sport federation leaders said.    "As we get closer to the Olympics the guidance could get updated," Connell said.In a Jan. 29 letter from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to national committees, the IOC’s chief doctors said they were monitoring the situation closely. They passed along mosquito avoidance advice, but remained confident the games would go ahead as planned. The Australian and New Zealand Olympic Committees said they had already warned their athletes of the potential dangers for pregnant women."If any athletes on the team felt they didn't want to go, we would absolutely support them on that," an NZOC spokeswoman said on Tuesday.An Australian Olympic Committee spokeswoman said they would "totally understand" if an athlete chose not to go to Brazil."But at this point no athletes have indicated they intend to withdraw from the team," she added.Both Connell and U.S. Fencing’s Anthony said the USOC’s message was focused primarily on the potential risks for women who are pregnant or are thinking about trying to become pregnant.Since the call, the CDC has issued more guidance in light of increasing suspicion that Zika can be transmitted sexually. The CDC said Friday that men who reside in or have traveled to Zika-affected areas may want to abstain from sexual activity or use condoms.The Olympics have long promised to be a triumphant showcase for Latin America, which is playing host to the global sports spectacle for the first time. Rio has also been expecting more than 380,000 tourists for the Games, which come as Brazil’s economy is mired in recession and its government reels from a corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras.An ongoing Zika epidemic could prompt some athletes, staff, sponsors and high-spending tourists to steer clear of the Games. Even if the risk of infection to any given visitor is very low – as health experts expect – uncertainties persist. There is no Zika vaccine, and currently available blood tests cannot always detect the virus.Olympics officials "are taking the right approach from a standpoint of, let's be cautious, do not do anything that is going to put anybody, our staff or our athletes in danger," Anthony said.Anthony said no U.S. fencers had spoken to him about Zika."I think our athletes are aware," he said. "But it has not become a mission critical issue yet. Not yet." (Reporting By Daniel Bases and Joshua Schneyer; Additional reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Lisa Girion and Martin Howell)

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