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'Scary' Lucille Ball statue replaced in her New York hometown

NEW YORK Lucille Ball fans can rest easy.A new statue honoring the "I Love Lucy" star was set to be unveiled on Saturday in Celoron, New York, on what would have been Ball's 105th birthday, after residents of her hometown made it clear they did not "love" an unflattering previous version.The life-size bronze artwork was created by the well-known sculptor Carolyn Palmer, whose proposal was selected from more than 60 submitted by artists around the world.The statue at Lucille Ball Memorial Park will replace another that was installed seven years ago. Critics panned the sculpture, saying it looked nothing like the iconic redhead, and it eventually became known as "Scary Lucy." Palmer spent nine months working on the project, including watching countless episodes of "I Love Lucy" and hiring models to pose in 1950s-style dresses."I not only wanted to portray the playful, animated and spontaneous Lucy, but also the glamorous Hollywood icon," Palmer said in a statement. Palmer has sculpted a number of other famous figures. Her marble statue of Pope Francis stands at the papal residence in New York City, where the pope blessed it during his visit last year.A bronze version of that statue is being produced for St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. "I Love Lucy" aired in the 1950s and is considered one of the greatest television comedies ever. Ball played the wife of bandleader Ricky Ricardo, who was portrayed by her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz. (Editing by Frank McGurty)

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Typhoon Nida shuts Hong Kong, more than 150 flights canceled

HONG KONG Typhoon Nida swept through Hong Kong on Tuesday, shutting down most of the financial hub and disrupting hundreds of flights with gale-force winds, while low-lying areas were put on flood alert. Hong Kong's first major typhoon this year brought gusts of more than 100 km per hour (62 mph) and prompted authorities to issue an amber warning, signifying heavy rain, at 5.20 a.m. Hong Kong time. More than 150 flights were canceled, the Airport Authority said, with Cathay Pacific and Dragonair warning none of their flights would be operating until 2 p.m. at the earliest. Thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport and about 325 flights are expected to be rescheduled. The city's ferry, tram and bus services gradually resumed in the afternoon after the Hong Kong Observatory lowered the tropical cyclone warning to 3 from 8, shortly after midday. Trading in Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), including Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect trading, and the derivatives market, would be suspended for the rest of the day.The Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society suspended trading on Tuesday morning.Streets had been largely deserted and shops shuttered since Monday evening when the typhoon signal 8 was hoisted, prompting many people to leave work early. Nida was moving inland and winds near its center had showed signs of weakening, the Hong Kong Observatory said.Across the border, part of Guangdong province closed offices, factories and schools as the typhoon swept across the southern part of the metropolis of Guangzhou. Airports in the southern part of the province, including Shenzhen and Zhuhai, canceled most flights while more than 35,000 people were evacuated, state media reported. Last month, Typhoon Nepartak drove at least 420,000 people from their homes and caused more than 7.1 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in losses in China's Fujian province alone. (Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Yimou Lee in Hong Kong; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)

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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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IOC vows 'toughest sanctions' after report finds Moscow ran broad doping scheme

TORONTO With the Rio Olympics less than three weeks away, the IOC on Monday promised "the toughest sanctions available" after a report found Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping tests in many sports ahead of the Sochi winter Games.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not spell out whether it would heed growing calls for Olympic bans already imposed on Russia's track and field athletes and weightlifters to be extended to all its competitors in Rio.However, IOC President Thomas Bach said the independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation had revealed "a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games.The IOC Executive Board is to hold a telephone conference on Tuesday to take its first decisions, which may include provisional measures and sanctions with regard to the Rio Olympics."Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organization implicated."WADA itself explicitly urged the IOC to consider banning Russia from the Rio Olympics altogether.Russian President Vladimir Putin, who staked his reputation on the Sochi Games, the costliest in history, said the WADA-backed report was the result of political interference and that the Olympic movement could now split.The report confirmed allegations made by Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.He told the New York Times two months ago that dozens of Russians had used performance-enhancing drugs in Sochi with the support not only of national sports authorities but even the domestic intelligence service, the FSB.Monday's report said Russia, a traditional sporting superpower, had been stung into action by its performance at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, where it finished 11th, with only three gold medals."The surprise result of the Sochi investigation was the revelation of the extent of State oversight and directed control of the Moscow Laboratory in processing and covering up urine samples of Russian athletes from virtually all sports before and after the Sochi Games," said the report, unveiled in Toronto. "FAILSAFE STRATEGY"The investigation was led by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren, who sat on the independent commission that last year exposed doping and corruption in Russian track and field, leading to its exclusion from international competition.The report said Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh had been advised of every positive test across all sports from 2011 onwards and decided "who would benefit from a cover up and who would not be protected."The State implemented a simple failsafe strategy," it said. "If all the operational precautions to promote and permit doping by Russian athletes proved to have been ineffective for whatever reason, the laboratory provided a failsafe mechanism."The State had the ability to transform a positive analytical result into a negative one by ordering that the analytical process of the Moscow Laboratory be altered."Among the hundreds of samples that disappeared were 35 from Paralympic athletes. In Sochi itself, where international observers were scrutinizing the drug tests, positive results could not simply be brushed away, so the FSB developed a method of opening urine bottles to allow samples to be swapped undetected.Rodchenkov spoke of a clandestine night-time operation in which staff secretly took samples from the lab via a "mouse hole" cut into a wall, and replaced them with clean samples taken from the same athlete months earlier and sometimes manipulated."CREDIBLE WITNESSES"McLaren said Rodchenkov and all other witnesses interviewed had been deemed credible, and the report said the investigators "confirm the general veracity of the published information concerning the sample swapping that went on at the Sochi Laboratory during the Sochi Games".The investigations showed that caps had been removed from a number of samples, and that they contained unusually high levels of salt, "significantly exceeding the levels produced by the human body". Nagornykh and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was mentioned 21 times in McLaren's 97-page report, were not immediately available for comment.Putin said in a statement that there was "no place for doping in sport", and that the officials named in the report would be suspended.Following the statement, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suspended Deputy Sports Minister Nagornykh.Putin also said the allegations were based on the testimony of only one man, and were an attempt to "make sport an instrument of geopolitical pressure, to form a negative image of countries and peoples".Harking back to the tit-for-tat superpower boycotts of the 1980s, he said: "The Olympic movement ... may again be on the verge of a split."In a leaked draft letter intended to be sent to the IOC on Monday, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart called for a ban on all Russian athletes, not only in track and field.Paul Melia, head of the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sports, said the letter was backed by various athletes' committees and the anti-doping organizations of the United States, Germany, Japan and New Zealand, among others.However, Russian track and field athletes have appealed against their ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is due to rule by Thursday.If it finds in their favor, there would seem to be little chance of a wider ban on Russian competitors holding up.Bach had indicated last week that he was reluctant to see athletes from one sport punished for the crimes of athletes or officials from another. (Writing by Frank Pingue and Kevin Liffey; Additional reporting by Gene Cherry in the United States and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford)

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Philistines were more sophisticated than given credit for, say archeologists

ASHKELON, Israel Philistines were no "philistines", say archaeologists who unearthed a 3,000-year-old cemetery in which members of the biblical nation were buried along with jewelry and perfumed oil.Little was known about the Philistines prior to the recent excavation in the Israeli port city of Ashkelon. The famed arch enemies of the ancient Israelites -- Goliath was a Philistine -- flourished in this area of the Mediterranean, starting in the 12th century BC, but their way of life and origin have remained a mystery.That stands to change after what researchers have called the first discovery of a Philistine cemetery. It contains the remains of about 150 people in numerous burial chambers, some containing surprisingly sophisticated items.The team also found DNA on parts of the skeletons and hope that further testing will determine the origins of the Philistine people.We may need to rethink today's derogatory use of the word philistine, which refers to someone averse to culture and the arts, said archaeologist Lawrence Stager, who has led the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon since 1985. "The Philistines have had some bad press, and this will dispel a lot of myths," Stager said.Stager's team dug down about 3 meters (10 feet) to uncover the cemetery, which they found to have been used centuries later as a Roman vineyard.On hands and knees, workers brushed away layers of dusty earth to reveal the brittle white bones of entire Philistine skeletons reposed as they were three millennia ago. Decorated juglets believed to have contained perfumed oil were found in graves. Some bodies were still wearing bracelets and earrings. Others had weapons. The archeologists also discovered some cremations, which the team say were rare and expensive for the period, and some larger jugs contained the bones of infants. "The cosmopolitan life here is so much more elegant and worldly and connected with other parts of the eastern Mediterranean," Stager said, adding that this was in contrast to the more modest village lifestyle of the Israelites who lived in the hills to the east.Bones, ceramics and other remains were moved to a tented compound for further study and some artifacts were reconstructed piece by piece. The team mapped the position of every bone removed to produce a digital 3D recreation of the burial site.Final reports on the finds are being published by the Semitic Museum at Harvard University. (Editing by David Goodman)

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