Twitter app used to pirate Game of Thrones

Also, 007 on a mission to save lives; astronaut to release album made in space; Abhishek to appear in wife’s comeback film; Michell Obama pays tribute to gospel music; Kardashian visits Jerusalem church; Baby on the way for Billy Joel; Rita Wilson has double mastectomy.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. Courtesy OSN
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Days after the online leak of the first four episodes of season five of Game of Thrones, which began on Sunday, April 12, in the United States, users of a Twitter-­owned live-streaming app have also been illegally sharing the fantasy drama. HBO said it had sent "take down" notices to Periscope, the app that allows users to stream video from their phones to Twitter followers. The unrelated incidents don't appear to have hurt the ratings for the show, which is thought to be the most pirated TV programme. HBO has yet to release official figures, but it's thought that about eight million viewers tuned in to the premiere of season five in the US, the highest audience yet for the series. HBO said that app developers should have tools to "proactively prevent mass copyright infringement" and not rely solely on being notified after incidents occur. – AP

007 on a mission to save lives

James Bond has been given a special life-saving mission by the United Nations. Secretary-­General Ban Ki-moon has appointed 007 actor Daniel Craig as the first UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards. He said that he told the British star: “As 007, you have a licence to kill. Today, we are giving you a licence to save. I am the eighth secretary-general, so I am 008.” During a ceremony at UN headquarters, Ban thanked Craig for his commitment to supporting the organisation’s vision for a world free from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and said he hopes the actor will help to raise support for the campaign to abolish them. – AFP

Astronaut to release album made in space

Astronaut Chris Hadfield is taking music to new heights with the first album written and recorded in space. The debut album by the 55-year-old Canadian, who rocketed to stardom in 2013 with his cover version of David Bowie's Space Oddity, recorded on the International Space Station, will be released in the autumn. "Space album! Happy to announce that we will release a full album's worth of music written and recorded in space in fall 2015 with Warner Music Canada. Exciting!" he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. Hadfield retired as an astronaut after returning to Earth after his stint at the ISS from December 2012 to May 2013. "The guitar and vocal tracks were recorded in space – a human first," Warner Music said. Hadfield's video of Space Oddity, made in zero gravity during on the ISS, has racked up more than 25 million views on YouTube. – AFP

Abhishek to appear in wife’s comeback film

Abhishek Bachchan will make a cameo appearance in Jazbaa, his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's comeback project. Director Sanjay Gupta shared the news with fans on Twitter: "Big excitement at the shoot today as Abhishek Bachchan shoots his special appearance in Jazbaa." The couple have worked together on several films including Guru (2007), Dhoom 2 (2006) and Raavan (2010). Aishwarya, 41, hasn't been in a film since Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish in 2010. Jazbaa is due out on October 9. Meanwhile, filmmaker Farah Khan says Abhishek Bachchan has taken on the "responsibility" of writing the sequel to her comedy Happy New Year!, which filmed extensively at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai and released last year. Khan says Bachchan had insisted on a sequel. "If I like the script, we will make the sequel. I will be directing it," said Khan. – IANS

Michell Obama pays tribute to gospel music

America's first lady, Michelle Obama, says gospel music is a "ray of hope" that fuelled her love of music in general. "It's what helps connect us to God, to that higher power," she said on Tuesday at a gospel-music workshop for students from around the United States. "For so many, when times have darkened, when there's struggle, gospel music is that ray of hope and it gives you that strength." The workshop preceded a gospel-music concert on Tuesday night at the White House. Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett and Darlene Love were among the stars on the bill. The concert was the latest in the In Performance at the White House series broadcast by PBS TV stations in the US and streamed live on – AP

Kardashian visits Jerusalem church

Kim Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West, paid an early-morning visit to a Crusader-era church in Jerusalem that marks the traditional spot of Jesus’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Sharon Schaveet, an Israeli producer who helped to organise the visit, said the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was empty at the time of the celebrity couple’s 5am visit on Tuesday. A photo on Kardashian’s Instagram account showed them kneeling together at the church. It was their last stop in Jerusalem before leaving for Paris. Reality TV’s first family, including their child, North West, made a two-day visit to the Holy Land after visiting Armenia. – AP

Baby on the way for Billy Joel

Billy Joel has a new release due in summer: a baby. The 65-year-old singer and girlfriend Alexis Roderick, 33, who have been dating since 2009, are expecting their first child together. Joel is also the father of the singer-songwriter Alexa Ray Joel, 29, from his marriage to model Christie Brinkley. – AP

Rita Wilson has double mastectomy

The actress Rita Wilson, who is married to Hollywood star Tom Hanks, has revealed that she had a double mastectomy following a breast-cancer diagnosis, People magazine has reported. The 58-year-old said that she underwent surgery last week and is taking a break from her work on Broadway to recover. "Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma," she said. Wilson revealed that initially she was told that she did not have cancer, but received the diagnosis after consulting a second physician. "I am recovering and, most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion." A mother of two, Wilson said she expects to be able to return next month to her role in the play Fish in the Dark, which also stars Curb Your Enthusiam's Larry David and is having a successful run on Broadway. – AFP