De Niro takes boxing drama 'Hands of Stone' to Cannes

CANNES, France Oscar winner Robert De Niro premiered his latest movie, boxing drama "Hands of Stone", at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday, walking the glamorous red carpet on the French Riviera.The movie looks at the life of famed Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran, portrayed by Edgar Ramirez, and his trainer Ray Arcel, played by De Niro."Hands of Stone", which also stars singer Usher, is featuring out of competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.  (Reporting By Reuters Television; Writing by Francis Maguire; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian) Read more

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) Read more

Officials encouraged by how much of Canada city spared by wildfire

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta Canadian officials who got their first glimpse on Monday of the oil sands boomtown of Fort McMurray since a wildfire erupted said they were encouraged by how much of it escaped destruction, estimating almost 90 percent of its buildings were saved.But a tour of the fire-ravaged city also revealed scenes of utter devastation, with blocks of homes reduced to blackened foundations, front steps and metal barbecues. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said 2,400 structures had burned within the city while almost 25,000 were saved.The fire that has ravaged some 204,000 hectares (504,000 acres) of the western Canadian province moved far enough from the evacuated town of 88,000 people to allow an official delegation led by the Notley to visit."We were really encouraged today to see the extent of residential communities that were saved," Notley said. "That of course doesn't mean there aren't going to be some really heartbreaking images for some people to see when they come back."Reporters on the tour viewed the charred rubble of the community's Beacon Hill neighborhood, where some 80 percent of the homes had been burned to the ground and the wreckage of blackened and melted cars remained on roads.Notley said it was not safe for residents to enter the city unescorted, with parts still smoldering and large areas without power, water and gas. She said repair crews will have weeks of work ahead of them.Fire Chief Darby Allen told reporters that 85 percent of the buildings in Fort McMurray had survived the blaze, offering a slightly lower estimate than Notley. All schools except one that had been under construction were intact. Notley credited the efforts of firefighters who battled the out-of-control blaze for days.The assessment by officials came a few hours after insurance experts revised sharply downward their estimates of the cost of damage from the blaze, which began on May 1. Canada's largest property and casualty insurer Intact Financial Corp expects to suffer losses ranging from C$130 million to C$160 million ($100 million-$123 million) from the wildfire. Intact used satellite imagery and geocoding technology to see if buildings were a total loss or partially destroyed.Analysts said Intact's forecast implied overall industry losses of between C$1 billion C$1.1 billion, much less than one earlier forecast of C$9 billion.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed a multi-year commitment by the national government to rebuild Fort McMurray but gave no details.Fire officials said the blaze was still large, growing and dangerous. But they noted cooler weather had slowed the fire's spread and would help in the coming days. High temperatures and winds accelerated the blaze last week. RAIN NEEDED TO TAME 'BEAST'The cool weather was expected to linger through Thursday, according to Environment Canada. Still, much of Alberta is tinder-box dry after a mild winter and warm spring."This beast is so big, we need rain to fix it," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said.Government weather forecasts show the first possibility of rain on Wednesday with a 30 percent chance. Notley said she expected to be able to provide a schedule within two weeks for the return of residents. Thousands of evacuees are camped in nearby towns.Fort McMurray is the center of Canada's oil sands region. About half of its crude output, or 1 million barrels per day, has been taken offline, according to a Reuters estimate.In one encouraging sign for industry, Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it restarted production at a reduced rate at its Albian oil sands mining operation in Alberta, and it plans to fly staff in and out.But Statoil ASA said it will suspend all production at its Leismer oil sands project in northern Alberta until midstream terminals needed to transport crude oil via pipeline reopen.And Imperial Oil said it completed a controlled shutdown of its Kearl oil sands mining project due to uncertainties associated with logistics.Other shutdowns include Nexen Energy's Long Lake facility, Suncor Energy's base plant operations, a Syncrude project and Conoco Phillips' Surmont project.Nearly all of Fort McMurray's residents escaped the fire safely, although two teenagers died in a car crash during the evacuation. (With additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Nia Williams in Calgary and Matt Schuffman, Ethan Lou and Allison Martell in Toronto; Writing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Cynthia Osterman) Read more

One winning ticket sold in $429 million Powerball lottery

One winning ticket matched the numbers drawn on Saturday night for the multi-state Powerball jackpot for a payout estimated at $429.6 million, the ninth-highest U.S. lottery prize in history, officials said.The winning numbers selected just before 11 p.m. EDT were 25 66 44 5 26 with the Powerball 9. Lottery officials said one ticket, purchased in New Jersey, had the winning combination, according to media reports.The winner was not identified. Winners of huge lottery payouts sometimes do not come forward publicly for months.It was the largest jackpot for any U.S. lottery since January, when three Powerball tickets split a record $1.6 billion. The odds of winning at Powerball are one in 292 million. Statistics experts say that means an American is roughly 25 times more likely to become the next president of the United States than to win the game. Kelly Cripe, a Texas-based lottery spokeswoman, said Saturday's Powerball followed 17 consecutive draws without a winner.A spate of late ticket-buying on Saturday increased the jackpot by some $15 million, to an estimated $429.6 million. Powerball is played in 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Chris Michaud; Editing by Digby Lidstone, Eric Meijer and Paul Tait) Read more

Canada wildfire explodes in size, evacuees urged to go to cities

GREGOIRE LAKE, Alberta A raging Canadian wildfire grew explosively on Saturday as hot, dry winds pushed the blaze across the energy heartland of Alberta and smoke forced the shutdown of a major oil sands project.The fire that has already prompted the evacuation of all 88,000 people who lived the city of Fort McMurray was set to double in size on Saturday, the seventh day of what is expected to be the costliest natural disaster in Canada's history.Provincial officials praised evacuees for their patience and, in a sign of how long the crisis could drag on, said the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, many hundreds of miles to the south, were the best place to receive longer-term support such as medical care and emergency payments.Alberta's Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee said the fire was still out of control and warned residents not to try to return."I know ... how very hard it is to be patient and how difficult it is not to know so many things. I know what it's like to wonder what is left from your home," she told a briefing in the provincial capital Edmonton.Firefighting officials said the inferno, pushed northeast towards neighboring Saskatchewan by high winds and fueled by tinder-dry forests, was set to double in size to 300,000 hectares by the end of Saturday.Cooler weather forecast for Sunday could then help keep the blaze under control, said Chad Morrison, manager of Alberta's wildfire prevention, predicting that without substantial rain the fire might easily last for months.The full extent of property losses in Fort McMurray has yet to be determined, but one analyst estimated insurance losses could exceed C$9 billion ($7 billion).More than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze in and around Fort McMurray, along with 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers, the Alberta government said. Within Fort McMurray, visibility is often less than 30 feet (9 meters) due to the smoke, making it still very dangerous to circulate in the city, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.Firefighter Adam Bugden said he and his colleagues were working up to 36 hours at a time without sleep."We all have busted-up feet and hands ... we're hauling hose, we're going up and down hills, we're fighting 40-feet flames," he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.Syncrude oil sands project said it would shut down its northern Alberta operation and remove all personnel from the site due to smoke. There was no imminent threat from the fire.Officials said the fire could burn to the edge of a project operated by Suncor Energy Inc, but noted the site was highly resilient to fire damage. At least 10 oil sand operators have cut production due to evacuations and other emergency measures. [CRU/CA]About half of Canada's oil sands production capacity, or one million barrels per day (bpd), had been taken offline as of Friday, according to a Reuters estimate.Police escorted another convoy of evacuees out of the oil sands region north of Fort McMurray on Saturday, on a harrowing journey through burned-out parts of the city and billowing smoke.Around 25,000 residents who initially went north found themselves cut off in overcrowded conditions. Larivee said she hoped the entire group would have moved south by the end of Saturday. Entire neighborhoods were reduced to ruins, but most evacuees fled without knowing the fate of their own homes. The majority got away with few possessions, some forced to leave pets behind.Stephane Dumais, thumbing through his insurance documents at an evacuation center, said he had thought about moving away. But the idea does not sit well with the heavy equipment operator for a logging company."To me that's like giving up on my city," he said. "As long as it takes to rebuild it, let's work together. It's not going to be the same as it used to be."Quite how quickly Fort McMurray can recover is unclear. Earlier in the day Alberta premier Rachel Notley said the city's gas had been turned off, its power grid was damaged and the water undrinkable.Later on, Scott Long of the Alberta emergency management agency said planning had started for residents to return once the city was safe."There is no timeline on that but I am not looking at months," he told the briefing later on Saturday.The fire struck at a time when many students were preparing for exams and Larivee said she had asked all the province's schools to temporarily accept pupils from Fort McMurray. (Additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Writing by Jeffrey Hodgson and David Ljunggren; Editing by Diane Craft and James Dalgleish) Read more

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