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Country singer Toby Keith pulls for 'our team'

December 12, 2009

Keith pulls for 'our team'

There's no reason to apologize for supporting U.S. war efforts, American country singer Toby Keith said Friday, just hours before performing at the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway.

Keith, whose 2002 saber-rattling hit "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" was inspired by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said he stands by President Obama's decision to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

Keith's appearance at the downtown Oslo Spektrum arena had been questioned by Norwegians dismayed that a performer known for a fervent pro-war anthem was playing at a show focused on peace.

The musician dismissed the criticism.

"If President Obama has to send [more] troops into Afghanistan to fight evil, I'll pull for our guys to win, and I won't apologize for it," Keith said. "I'm an American, and I do pull for our team to fight evil."

-- Associated Press

Polanski film gets a distributor

Roman Polanski may still be in Switzerland, but his movie will be coming to the U.S.

The director, who is caught in legal limbo, will see his new movie -- a thriller called "The Ghost Writer" -- released in the U.S. by Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the successful "Twilight" franchise.

The company said Friday it plans a quick turnaround, releasing the Polanski film sometime in the first half of 2010. "Ghost Writer" did not previously have a U.S. distributor.

The embattled Polanski is currently living in a Swiss chalet after being released from jail on $4.5-million bail, waiting to find out if he'll be extradited to L.A. In an eerie parallel, his new movie also involves a prominent figure living in exile under solitary conditions: It tells of a former British prime minister who is holed up on an island off the coast of the eastern U.S.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Ring of Italian looters thwarted

Italian police have broken up a ring of looters who raided tombs for ancient artifacts and exported them illegally to countries including the United States, officials said Friday.

During more than a year of investigations, authorities recovered nearly 1,700 statues, vases and other artifacts dating from pre-Roman times to the heyday of the empire. Police flagged 19 people for possible investigation by prosecutors.

The artifacts were mainly dug out from tombs in the areas around Naples and Venice and included a bronze bust of the emperor Augustus, customs police in Rome said.

Part of the loot had been smuggled to the United States to be sold to collectors, they said.

The Italians said they worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Haven, Conn., to recover 47 ceramic and bronze statues that had been looted from a tomb in southern Italy dating between the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

-- associated press

Better make that title '19 Kids . . .'

An Arkansas couple featured on the reality TV show "18 Kids and Counting" now has 19.

Cable network TLC said 43-year-old Michelle Duggar gave birth to a 1-pound, 6-ounce daughter Thursday night during an emergency cesarean section. She'd been due March 18.

The child was in stable condition at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, TLC said.

The family lives in a 7,000-square-foot house in Arkansas, where they manage commercial real estate property.

The couple, who welcomed their first grandchild Oct. 8, has said they'll continue welcoming children as long as Michelle is able to have them.

-- associated press

Biennial selects a dozen locals

Twelve Los Angeles-based artists have been chosen to participate in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, it was announced Friday.

The art show, which is considered by some to be the most prestigious in the United States, is scheduled to run Feb. 25 through May 30 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

This year's list contains 55 artists ranging in age from 23 to 75.

Among the L.A. artists who will participate are such recognizable names as Martin Kersels, Michael Asher, Pae White and Charles Ray. Also included are Hannah Greely, Jesse Aron Green, Lesley Vance, Thomas Houseago, Kelly Nipper, Kerry Tribe and Erika Vogt.

The other is Chatsworth-based artist Robert Williams, who is best known for his underground creations for Zap Comics and other publications.

"I guess I'm overwhelmed and I'm herniated with humble gratitude," Williams said in an interview Friday. He said that for the biennial, he will exhibit six new watercolors that are in the cartoonist vein of his past work.

-- David Ng

Finally

Series grounded: "Flight of the Conchords" creators Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie and James Bobin announced on their official website that the HBO comedy will not be returning for a third season.

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