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Quick Takes: British Library acquires Gospel

April 17, 2012

The British Library has paid $14.3 million to acquire the St. Cuthbert Gospel, a 7th century British tome described by the library as the oldest European book to survive fully intact.

The palm-sized book, a manuscript copy of the Gospel of John in Latin, was bought from the British branch of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the library said.

The book comes from the time of St. Cuthbert, who died in 687. It was discovered inside his coffin when the casket was opened in 1104 at Durham Cathedral.

The book will be displayed at the British Library in London and then in Durham next year.

—Associated Press

KFI continues

as ratings leader

KFI-AM (640) retained its No. 1 title in the local radio ratings released Monday, the third month in a row that the talk station has topped Arbitron's survey of listening habits in the Los Angeles-Orange County market.

From March 1 to March 28, KFI captured an average of 4.9% of the audience age 6 and older, edging pop music outlet KIIS-FM (102.7), which had 4.8%. KIIS notched nearly three times as many people tuning in for at least five minutes each week, but KFI's audience stayed tuned for longer periods and with dogged consistency: On weekdays, KFI placed first in the morning, third at midday, second in the afternoon and second at night.

Rounding out the top five were, in order, music stations KOST-FM (103.5), KBIG-FM (104.3) and KPWR-FM (105.9).

Among local public radio stations, news and public-affairs outlet KPCC-FM (89.3) fared best, finishing 21st out of more than five dozen stations included in the survey.

—Lee Margulies

Slow start for HBO's 'Girls'

Critics evidently love "Girls" more than viewers do.

HBO's comedy got off to a slow start in the ratings Sunday night, despite some brilliant reviews. An average of 872,000 viewers tuned in to the 10:30 p.m. premiere, with 246,000 more showing up for the 12:30 a.m. encore, according to Nielsen.

Critics poured love on "Girls," which stars Lena Dunham as a young woman navigating career and relationship troubles in New York: The show garnered an aggregate rating of 87 out of 100 at the website Metacritic.com.

—Scott Collins

Old home week for Ferguson

Craig Ferguson is going back to Scotland and taking "Late Late Show" viewers along for the trip.

CBS says the Scotland-based episodes will air the week of May 14. Ferguson explores Edinburgh and Glasgow. He also returns to his hometown of Cumbernauld, with stops at his childhood home and high school.

On the trip, taped last month, he's joined by actors Mila Kunis, Michael Clarke Duncan and Rashida Jones, as well as author-humorist David Sedaris.

Music will be performed by local Glasgow rock band the Imagineers.

—Associated Press

Criticism for British book fair

Britain's biggest book fair opened Monday amid criticism of its decision to extend a special invitation to China, a country that regularly censors and imprisons authors.

"We're disappointed that the full breadth and depth of Chinese literature is not represented at the book fair," said Robert Sharp of the free-speech group English PEN.

The three-day book fair features seminars on Chinese literature and readings from about 20 Chinese authors, and is being attended by more than 180 Chinese publishers.

Writer Ma Jian, who lives in Britain, said the fair was "giving tacit approval to China's suppression of free speech."

"The fair is giving the Communist party a stage on which to perform its propaganda show," he told the Guardian newspaper.

Fair director Alistair Burtenshaw and British Council literature chief Susie Nickin defended the China program as "a great opportunity to deepen understanding and strengthen cultural and business links between [Britain] and China."

—Associated Press

Doctors expect O'Neal recovery

Ryan O'Neal says the prognosis is positive for his recovery from Stage 2 prostate cancer.

The 70-year-old actor said in a statement released Monday that he was "shocked and stunned by the news" but feels fortunate the disease was caught early.

He said his doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

—Associated Press

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