J-Lo kicks off World Cup opening ceremony. Video: smh.com.au
Let's hope the symbolic doves of peace flew wide of the military helicopters as Brazil's World Cup of contradictions officially opened.
Three doves were released by children at a lavish opening ceremony on Thursday at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.
The doves flew as protests raged elsewhere in Brazil's largest city, far removed from the joyous 25-minute ceremony.
A paraplegic in a robot suit delivered the first ceremonial kick of the cup ahead of Brazil's tournament opener against Croatia.
The futuristic scene came as the host nation sought to cast side its oft-used mocking slogan: Brazil is a country of the future, and always will be.
The ceremony was held in the 62,600-capacity stadium before guests including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Blatter no doubt hoped the opening ceremony took some focus off corruption claims dogging soccer's world governing body, and the protests.
The pre-match extravaganza starred pop superstar Jennifer Lopez, who performed the tournament's official song, We Are One, with Brazilian songstress Claudia Leitte and rapper Pitbull.
More than 600 artists, including acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, marshal arts-style capoeira performers and stilt walkers also featured in a homage to Brazil's three great treasures: nature, people football.
The centre of the show was a giant LED ball made up of more than 90,000 light clusters - one of few large-scale technical wonders in the event as organisers were ordered to avoid placing a strain on the pitch where Brazil and Croatia face off 75 minutes after the ceremony.
Game of Thrones' Jaime Lannister arrives in Sydney
Game of Thrones’ heartthrob Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has landed in Sydney.
Best known as Jaime ‘‘Kingslayer’’ Lannister from the popular fantasy series, Coster-Waldau touched down on Friday morning.
The handsome Dane is scheduled to make a guest appearance at pop culture expo, Supanova, while he’s in town.
Coster-Waldau’s visit is good timing for Thrones fans, as they gear up for this season’s 66-minute finale set to air in the US over the weekend.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have teased the fourth season’s final episode will be the best closing instalment yet.
‘‘All of it came together in perhaps the finest hour we’ve produced,’’ they said in a statement.
Harrison Ford hurt on Star Wars set
Harrison Ford has been injured on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII and was taken to a hospital.
Disney said the 71-year-old actor was being treated for an ankle injury that happened during filming on Thursday.
The Star Wars sequel is being filmed at Pinewood Studios outside of London.
Ford is one of the several original Star Wars stars returning to the JJ Abrams-directed sequel.He’s joined by fellow alums Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew.
A representative for Ford didn’t immediately respond to a message left on Thursday.Disney said shooting will continue as planned while Ford recuperates.
Mila wants Ashton at birth - at a distance
Mila Kunis says she wants her fiance Ashton Kutcher present at the birth of their baby - as long as he stays clear of the action.
‘‘Two people are allowed in my delivery room. My doctor and my significant other,’’ the actress told US Marie Claire.
‘‘And he is staying above the action ... I highly doubt he wants to see (me) being ripped apart and shredded. Because it will be shredded. It’s just a matter of how badly.’’
Kunis made headlines this week with her rant warning men to stop saying ‘‘we’re pregnant’’.Now she says she’s happy for her partner to be at her side during the birth as long as he stays at the top end of the delivery bed.
Kunis and Kutcher met in 1998 as co-stars of the popular US sitcom That ’70s Show, in which they played an on-screen couple.
Their off-screen romance didn’t begin until April, 2012, months after his 2011 separation from ex-wife Demi Moore.‘‘One day, it just changed,’’ Kunis said of her relationship with Kutcher.
‘‘All of a sudden, it wasn’t the same. And I was really proud of myself for acknowledging that.
‘‘The best day of my life so far was the proposal. I cried. I was a mess. Not to discredit any relationships in my past, but this relationship is different.’’
Kunis, 30, has never been married but enjoyed a long-term relationship with Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin between 2002 and 2011.
At the time she said they didn’t wed because marriage wasn’t ‘‘important’’ to her.
Stars race to space
Who will be the first star to perform in space?
Lady Gaga announced last year she would be the first recording artist to sing in space aboard a Virgin Galactic flight in 2015.
But now Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ex-wife Sarah Brightman has paid more than $US48 million ($A51.93 million) in a bid to become the first singer to perform among the stars, according to The Guardian newspaper.
The opera singer will train on a Russian Soyuz capsule later this year ahead of a trip to the International Space Station in 2015, reports The Guardian.
Officials at Space Adventures, who offer trips into space for non-astronauts, have confirmed the Phantom Of The Opera star’s involvement in the trip, revealing she will pay millions for a 10-day stay aboard the station.
‘‘She’s absolutely 100 per cent committed. She’s putting together her mission plan now,’’ chairman Tom Shelley said.Lady Gaga’s performance from the Virgin Galactic ship will be beamed to the Zero G Colony festival in New Mexico next year.She told a concert audience in Brooklyn last November:
‘‘I did not buy a ticket.‘‘No my ticket was given to me. I was asked specifically to sing. So I’m going to be the first recording artist to sing in space.
‘‘And I did not purchase my flight. This is a special festival event held by Zero G Colony and I will be flying to space two months after the first commercial flights take off.’’It is not clear whether her space ’gig’ will take place before or after Brightman’s.