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    Children in lower-income families spend more time watching TV and using electronic devices than kids in more affluent homes, according to a survey released Thursday. The report by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media on the viewing habits of more than 1,400 children nationwide age 8 and under found that less-affluent youngsters spend nearly three-and-a-half hours daily watching TV and using varied devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and video game players. By comparison, kids in higher-income homes spend just under two hours on such activities. The offspring of better-educated parents also spend less time with media (1 hour, 37 minutes) compared with children of those with less education (2 hours, 50 minutes). 'Before we can begin to understand the impact of media and technology on kids and families, we have to better understand their attitudes and behaviors,' James P. Steyer, the nonprofit group's CEO and founder, and Reveta Franklin Bowers, chair of its board, said in a preface to the report. The survey found that Latino parents expressed the most concern about what their children are exposed to in media, including sex, violence and racial and gender stereotypes. African-American parents voiced somewhat less concern, with white parents expressing the least worry among ethnic groups. But a majority of parents overall said their children's use of digital media helps boost learning and creativity. The time youngsters spend reading or being read to has remained steady at 30 minutes daily, compared with previous studies in 2011 and 2013. But fewer than half (43 percent) of children under 2 are read to each day, counter to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that reading to kids should begin at infancy to help develop language and literacy skills. Nearly half (49 percent) of children are watching TV or using electronic media shortly before bedtime, contrary to the academy's recommendation of an hour gap between such activities and sleep. According to its conclusion, the survey 'should not be read as a judgment on the quality of children's time with media; rather, it is a snapshot of how media and technology are infused into daily life. Additional experimental and qualitative work is essential to better understanding the full implications of children's media use.' Other key findings: — Children 8 and younger spend an average of 2 hours, 19 minutes daily with screen media, about the same as in prior study years. TV gets the lion's share, 58 minutes, but mobile has risen rapidly from 5 minutes daily in 2011 to 48 minutes in 2017. — ?The 'digital divide' is narrower but still exists between more and less affluent families. Home computers and internet access were found in 72 percent and 74 percent, respectively, of low-income homes, compared with 97 percent and 96 percent for higher-income families. — In a surprising twist, children pick 'old-fashioned' paper books over digital reading. Only three of the 29 minutes that kids spend reading each day are on electronic devices. ___ Online: www.commonsense.org/research ___ Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.
  • Singer Jason Aldean and other stars honored victims of a mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas instead of accepting awards at the CMT Artists of the Year show Wednesday night. The format of the show pivoted to focus on victims of the shooting, as well as those recovering from hurricanes and wildfires, with a night of somber tributes, inspirational anthems and voices lifted in harmony. Aldean, who was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting occurred Oct. 1, stood side-by-side with the night's other award winners, including Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban, to dedicate the night to music fans. The honorees did not accept awards or give speeches as usual, but some chose to perform or other musicians performed in their honor. 'We've been tested beyond our worst nightmare these past few months,' Aldean said during the live broadcast from Nashville, Tennessee. 'Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe how some of us feel. But we have proven time and again in this country that we have the power to overcome anything that threatens our way of life, or our freedom. We dedicate this night to you and everyone who has experienced loss or tragedy in the last few months.' Aldean closed out the night with a defiant and rollicking group performance of 'I Won't Back Down' by Tom Petty with Urban, Stapleton and Little Big Town. Andra Day kicked off the awards show with her anthem 'Rise Up,' in a beautiful harmony duet by Little Big Town. Then Lee Ann Womack, Danielle Bradbury and rapper Common joined them for a performance of 'Stand Up For Something.' 'On this night when we usually celebrate a year of music, we also want to celebrate a year of incredible human spirit, the spirit we see in our fans every night,' Stapleton said. 'So in some small way we want to thank you for your resolve and perhaps lift your spirits for just a moment,' Urban said. The names of the 58 victims from Las Vegas were listed during an in memoriam segment, along with the names of Petty, Gregg Allman, Glen Campbell, Don Williams and Troy Gentry. Other performances including Bryan singing his single 'Fast,' and Stapleton singing his song 'Broken Halos,' a song that he's dedicated to victims of the Vegas shooting. The Backstreet Boys sang Florida Georgia Line's emotional ballad 'H.O.L.Y.' and Keith Urban performed a jazzy version of his song 'Blue Ain't Your Color.' Phillip Phillips added some blues licks to Sam Hunt's mega hit 'Body Like a Back Road,' which was named song of the year by CMT. Near the end of the night, Bryan took a moment to honor his friend Aldean. 'It could have been any one of us standing on that stage two weeks ago,' Bryan said. 'It's a nightmare that nobody should have to face. Jason has responded with dignity, care, respect and, some ways, defiance. And we all proud of him, especially me.' ___ Online: http://www.cmt.com/artists-of-the-year __ — Follow Kristin Hall at Twitter.com/kmhall
  • A federal appeals court refused Wednesday to revive a defamation lawsuit filed against Bill Cosby by a woman who said he raped her decades ago. A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a lower court ruling dismissing Kathrine McKee's lawsuit against Cosby. The former actress said Cosby defamed her in a letter that his lawyer sent to the New York Daily News demanding a retraction of a 2014 story about McKee's rape allegations. The judge who dismissed McKee's case said the letter was protected by the First Amendment. McKee, who said Cosby raped her in a Detroit hotel room in 1974, was among dozens of women who came forward with allegations against the actor once known as 'America's Dad' for his TV role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable. Cosby has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Alan Greenberg, an attorney for Cosby, said in an email that they are pleased with the appeals court's 'well-reasoned decision confirming that there was no defamation.' An attorney for McKee did not immediately respond to an email on Wednesday. McKee's lawyer argued earlier this month that McKee does not have to prove actual malice because she is not a public figure. To show actual malice, she would have to prove Cosby knew statements in the letter were false or entertained serious doubts as to whether they might be true. But the appeals court said McKee became a public figure when she went public with the rape allegations in the newspaper. 'McKee took concerted steps meant to influence the public's perception of whether Cosby was, in fact, a sexual predator,' Judge Sandra Lynch wrote for the panel. A separate defamation lawsuit filed by seven other women also is pending in Massachusetts, where Cosby owns a home. The 80-year-old has filed a counter lawsuit accusing those women of defamation. The only criminal case against Cosby ended in a mistrial in Pennsylvania in June. Cosby is expected to be retried in April on charges that he drugged and molested an employee of Temple University, his alma mater. Cosby insists their encounter was consensual.
  • E! is canceling its hit red carpet and style talk show “Fashion Police” after 22 years. Variety reported Wednesday that the series will end with a series-finale special celebrating Joan Rivers in November. The finale, titled, “Fashion Police: The Farewell,” will have surprise celebrity guests as well as a look back at memorable moments. E! News reported that the special will include unaired footage of Joan Rivers. >> Read more trending news Rivers began covering red carpets with her daughter, Melissa, and brought her sharp humor and cutting wit to her interviews and critiques. The coverage evolved from red carpets to a show with other panelists.  After Joan Rivers’ death in 2014, the show continued as specials around award show events. Melissa Rivers became the host, discussing celeb clothing choices with panelists Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski, NeNe Leakes, and Margaret Cho. “Joan's beloved no-holds-barred style fueled the franchise's clever approach to fashion and comedy, and we are incredibly proud of its long-running success,” E! president Adam Stotsky said in a statement. We are also especially grateful to Melissa, as well as Giuliana, Brad, Nene, Margaret and the entire Fashion Police team, who have continued to deliver the laughs and make this iconic franchise truly one of a kind.” “I am so proud to have been a part of this show and am so proud that it’s part of my mother’s legacy,” Melissa Rivers said of the series’ end. “It really changed, along with the red carpets, awards-show programming and fashion.” “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the franchise, celebrate Joan and how much we miss her, and pull back the curtain and show fans some things that they haven’t seen,” Stotsky said. “Fashion Police: The Farewell,” airs Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. on E!
  • Harvard University is rescinding a 2014 medal it awarded to Harvey Weinstein for his contributions to African American culture. The school's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research decided to revoke the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal on Tuesday in light of allegations of sexual abuse against the movie mogul. Weinstein was given the award in 2014 along with seven others, including Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. It's considered Harvard's highest honor in the field of African and African American Studies. The center's leaders said they stand with 'the women who have courageously come forward' to fight for themselves and 'all of those who have experienced similar abuse.' Weinstein was fired from the film company he started following allegations of sexual harassment and rape from more than three dozen women.
  • Sexual harassment and mistreatment of models have always been widely known and tolerated in the fashion industry, Christy Turlington Burns said. 'The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experienced at some point in our careers. I feel fortunate that I did not personally experience anything traumatic, but also know that is not the norm,' she told Women's Wear Daily in an interview published Wednesday. The former supermodel, who is married to actor-director Ed Burns, said her mother was often by her side in the early days and once she grew successful, 'I was handled with extra care.' In hindsight, Burns said she wondered whether she served as a 'honeypot,' meaning she was used to make others feel protected. 'There were no chaperones on sets to monitor the hours worked or appropriateness of the themes of shoots and behavior of the crews, no tutors required or penalties if standards were broken,' said Burns, who was at her height as a model in the 1980s and '90s. Burns went on to earn her master's degree in public health and has a nonprofit organization that trains midwives in Guatemala.
  • Nearly six weeks after country musician Troy Gentry died in a helicopter crash, fans and friends are still grieving over half of the Montgomery Gentry duo. >> Read more trending news Eddie Montgomery and the band immortalized Gentry’s legacy in a lyric video for the band’s latest single, “Better Me.” Both concert and personal photos of Troy flood the clip as the duo sings, “I ain’t saying I’m perfect, but I’m working on a better me.” Related: Eddie Montgomery breaks his silence about life without Troy Gentry “Better Me” is part of the duo’s new album that was reportedly slated for release next year. No details have been revealed regarding that album’s potential release date. Watch the lyric video below.
  • A judge who sentenced Michael Douglas' son to nearly a decade in prison several years ago told him on Wednesday that he can go to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman cleared a path to Hollywood for Cameron Douglas after attorney Ben Brafman said his client planned to initially live with his grandfather, 100-year-old screen legend Kirk Douglas, as he looks for his own place. The clearance came after probation authorities indicated that the 38-year-old New York City resident has remained clean during drug testing and obeyed court-ordered conditions since his release from a halfway house in March. One of his first projects could be his own story. The lawyer said Douglas is considering writing a book about his life after his long stint behind bars. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in connection with selling methamphetamine in July 2009 from a high-end Manhattan hotel. The judge added 4 ½ years to the sentence after it was discovered that Douglas had successfully smuggled drugs into prison. In court, Brafman called Douglas' confinement difficult, saying 'being the son of a famous person' and being housed with prisoners who knew he had cooperated with prosecutors at a drug supplier's trial had made him a target. Brafman said it was necessary for Douglas to live in Los Angeles, so that he can audition for acting roles and be on set during filming. At a sentencing hearing in 2010, Douglas called being an entertainer his 'true passion in life.' Before imprisonment, Douglas had landed minor film roles, including one in 2003's 'It Runs in the Family,' starring his father and grandfather. The lawyer said Douglas has the support of his famous family, including his Oscar winning father. 'The whole family's on board to see that he continues his treatment and continues to improve,' Brafman said. Douglas' girlfriend is expected to deliver their child in late November or early December, Brafman said. The couple plans to spend the holidays in New York with his father and the rest of his family after Douglas moves to Los Angeles Nov. 1 to pursue film opportunities. The judge said he was disappointed Douglas had not yet begun 450 hours of community service he is required to perform. Brafman said it had been decided that Douglas would be better off starting his community service in Los Angeles instead of New York because any location has to clear potential liability issues related to a volunteer who has spent time in prison. Douglas also declined comment as he walked hand-in-hand from the courthouse with his girlfriend. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Cameron Douglas is 38 years old, not 39.
  • Channing Tatum is no longer developing a film with The Weinstein Co. that dealt with a boy dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse. Tatum writes on Instagram Wednesday that he will not be developing anything with Harvey Weinstein's former company, which has been embroiled in sexual harassment scandals over the past two weeks. The film was to be based on author Matthew Quick's book 'Forgive Me Leonard Peacock.' Quick also wrote 'Silver Linings Playbook,' which The Weinstein Co. developed into a film that would win star Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar. Tatum writes that now is a time to be reminded of the healing message of the book and says that this is an opportunity for real change. He calls for an elimination of abuse from creative culture.
  • Greek riot police have used batons to stop an attempted theater invasion by monks, priests and other Orthodox Christians protesting what they claim is a blasphemous play. Wielding poles with Greek flags on them, some of the 100-strong crowd tried to break a police cordon Wednesday outside the Aristoteleion Theatre in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. Protesters oppose the staging of 'The Hour of the Devil,' an adaptation of a story by Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa about a discussion between a young woman and a personable devil. Chanting 'Freemasons out of Greece!' they brandished religious banners and icons. Cast member Evgenia Samara voiced shock and surprise at the protest, while director Grigoris Apostolopoulos said the 'symbolic' play speaks about good and evil in all humans.