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Apple starts selling unlocked iPhone 4



Apple has officially started selling an unlocked iPhone 4.

The company's online store now lists both a 16GB and 32GB unlocked version of the smartphone. Customers can choose between a black or white model. The company's 16GB version retails for $649, while the 32GB option is available for $749.

Apple currently sells locked versions of the iPhone for $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively.

"If you don't want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice," Apple writes on the device's product page. "It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you'll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide."

That last statement is perhaps most important to potential customers. Apple's unlocked smartphones will only be capable of running on AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the U.S. The company said it will also work around the world on "supported GSM carriers."

Unlocking the iPhone has long been the practice of some iPhone owners. Over the years, several unlocking tools have been made available to people who wanted to break from the grasps of AT&T and try out T-Mobile in the U.S. Last August, for instance, the iPhone Dev Team released an unlock solution for the iPhone 4, called "ultrasn0w," that allowed users who had jailbroken their iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G to bring the device to another carrier.

But those who wanted more official means of unlocking the smartphone have been forced to wait it out in the U.S. while other consumers around the world had their pick of Apple's unlocked devices. Last year, Apple started selling unlocked iPhone 4 units to customers in Canada after it offered the same deal to U.K. customers.

Rumors of an unlocked iPhone 4 hitting the U.S. cropped up over the weekend when Twitter user @chronicwire started divulging details on the devices. The person correctly claimed that Apple would be selling the 16GB and 32GB black and white iPhone 4 models.

But exactly how long U.S. customers will be able to enjoy the unlocked option remains to be seen.

Earlier this year, AT&T announced its plans to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. If that deal is approved by regulators in the coming months, there will be just one GSM carrier in the U.S., and the need for an unlocked iPhone 4 will be diminished.

However, it won't be eliminated. As Apple points out numerous times on its unlocked-iPhone 4 page, the devices are especially useful for global travelers who want to quickly switch carriers while on the go. Around the world, GSM is the overwhelmingly dominant technology for mobile communications.

"Buying an unlocked iPhone 4 allows you to choose your own GSM carrier, change carriers at any time, and even use multiple carriers if you travel frequently," Apple points out on its unlocked-iPhone 4 page.

Apple's newly unlocked iPhones will ship in one to three business days.
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Program realiti popular berakhir dengan suasana hambar



KEMERIAHAN yang diharapkan nampak pada persembahan terakhir program realiti Akademi Fantasia ke-9 (AF9) hambar apabila sistem bunyi gagal berfungsi dengan baik terutama kepada penonton di rumah.
Malah ada ketika, mereka yang berada di Dataran Putrajaya, Precint 3, lokasi acara itu dijalankan juga menerima nasib yang sama.

Ada ketika suara penyanyi tidak kedengaran dan perkara itu kerap kali berlaku sehingga mengganggu mood penonton.

Bagaimana perkara seperti ini boleh berlaku untuk sebuah program yang sudah hampir sedekad bersiaran secara langsung. Di manakah tahap kematangan pihak produksi terutama jurutera bunyi yang bertanggungjawab mengendalikan sistem itu?

Ketika diajukan persoalan gangguan teknikal yang mencacatkan konsert itu, Penerbit Eksekutif AF9, Irwan Rauf, menjadikan masalah transmisi sebagai punca utama.

"Sebelum ini, iaitu sepanjang kami membuat latihan dan juga raptai, masalah gangguan bunyi tidak pernah terjadi. Mungkin apa yang berlaku terhadap penonton di rumah adalah masalah transmisi.
“Kami memohon maaf di atas apa yang berlaku dan saya memberi jaminan masalah ini tidak akan berlaku untuk program kami yang akan datang," katanya pada sidang media sejurus selepas acara itu berakhir.

Hadir sama, Pengurus Saluran Ria, Azlin Reza Azmi dan barisan finalis AF9 iaitu Hazama, Lena, Fina dan Azri.

Memilih tempat terbuka sebagai persembahan kemuncak AF barangkali adalah keputusan kurang tepat yang pernah dilakukan oleh pihak produksi. Selain membenarkan masalah gangguan teknikal berlaku berulang kali, ia juga tidak menggambarkan sebuah persembahan terakhir AF yang sebenar berbanding jika diadakan di sebuah lokasi tertutup.

Dengan persembahan segelintir bekas peserta AF yang boleh diibaratkan seperti melepaskan batok di tangga, sudah cukup untuk menjadikan acara selingan itu hambar pada pengamatan mata penonton. Cuma persembahan Stacy dan Mila saja yang mampu menyuntik warna kemeriahan dalam acara itu.

Turut dipersoalkan dalam sidang media itu adalah tindakan Azri memijak piano ketika menyampaikan lagu Ku Tak Bisa yang dipopularkan oleh kumpulan Slank. Walaupun bagi sesetengah pihak, itu hanyalah perkara remeh namun bagi pemuzik, perbuatan itu adalah satu penghinaan buat mereka.

Malah, juri undangan malam itu, Datuk Ramli MS turut menegur tindakan peserta berusia 23 tahun itu. Dan sekali lagi apabila perkara itu dibangkitkan, Irwan mengambil langkah memohon maaf seandainya perkara itu menyentuh sensitiviti pemuzik dan apa yang dilakukan itu hanyalah sebagai konsep sebuah persembahan semata-mata.

Persembahan pelajar dan juga kesemua lagu terbaru yang dinyanyikan oleh finalis AF9 memang sedap didengar dan tidak mustahil mampu mendaki carta populariti jika berterusan diputarkan di corong radio.

Dan hakikat yang harus diterima adalah rata-rata yang datang malam itu kebanyakannya hanya mahu menyaksikan kumpulan Search beraksi.

Penantian yang berbaloi

LIMA tahun lalu, dia pernah dinafikan haknya apabila gagal melayakkan diri untuk bergelar pelajar AF4 kerana terkandas sewaktu konsert prelude. Selepas itu, Hazama Mohd Azmi atau Hazama lebih selesa meneruskan kerjaya seninya di luar sekali gus mengumpul pengalaman.

Walaupun aktif dalam gelanggang seni terutama apabila sering diundang menjayakan persembahan bersama kumpulan Meet Uncle Hussain, namun jauh di sudut hatinya, dia tidak menaruh harapan untuk menjadi penghuni sangkar emas AF satu hari nanti.

Ternyata, doanya dijawab Tuhan apabila dia diserap masuk pada minggu keempat bagi menggantikan dua peserta yang disingkirkan menerusi Ops Gugur. Selepas itu, Hazama tidak menoleh ke belakang sehinggalah namanya dinobatkan sebagai juara terbaru AF dan berdiri sebaris dengan Vince, Zahid, Mawi, Faizal,Mila, Stacy, Hafiz dan Shahir.

Dengan memperoleh undian sebanyak 45 peratus, peserta berusia 27 tahun ini jauh meninggalkan pencabarnya iaitu Lenaber Haidir atau lena iaitu 28 peratus, Nur Syafinaz Jebat atau Fina (15%) dan Mohamad Azri Abdullah atau Azri (12%).

"Saya sedar apabila saya masuk ke dalam AF, ramai yang berkata, ala budak ini lagi. Saya masuk AF sebenarnya kerana mahu belajar. Selepas menyertai AF, perkara pertama yang saya pelajari adalah, cara nyanyian yang betul,” kata Hazama yang membawa hadiah wang tunai RM200,000, trofi sumbangan Astro, hamper dan wang tunai bernilai RM5,000 sumbangan Power Root serta sebuah kamera.

Hazama berkata dia mahu memanfaatkan wang kemenangan itu dengan sebaik mungkin.

"Saya akan laburkan ke dalam ASB, beli jam tangan baru dan untuk belanja perkahwinan,” katanya telus. Hazama adalah pemenang pertama yang tidak diberikan kereta sebagai hadiah kemenangan.

Mengulas perkara itu, Azlin mempunyai alasan tersendiri berhubung perkara itu.

"Lebih baik jika kami berikan wang sebagai ganjaran kerana dengan wang itu mereka boleh beli apa yang mereka ingini," kata Azlin sambil memberitahu jumlah SMS yang diterima untuk musim ini adalah sebanyak 3.74 juta dan meningkat sebanyak tujuh peratus berbanding tahun lalu.

Komen finalis lain

Lena: Saya tidak kecewa walaupun tewas pada Hazama kerana saya sedar ini semua adalah rezeki yang ditentukan Tuhan. Saya bersyukur dengan kemenangan ini kerana bukan mudah untuk mencapai kedudukan tempat kedua. Sepanjang berada di AF, saya sempat mencipta dua buah lagu dan mungkin saya akan menyanyikan lagu itu selepas ini

Fina: Berada di tempat ketiga sudah cukup membanggakan kerana apa yang lebih penting, tujuan saya menyertai pertandingan ini adalah menunjukkan bakat dan mahu mengangkat nama kumpulan kami adik beradik iaitu Sassu supaya lebih dikenali lagi.

Azri: Kehadiran Hazama sebenarnya saya anggap lebih kepada sebagai satu amaran kerana sebelum ini kami tidak serius. Justeru, apabila dia muncul, kami kena lebih peka dan lebih berusaha untuk mendapatkan apa yang kami inginkan.
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Lady Gaga in Rome for EuroPride parade performance



Lady Gaga is lending her support to the EuroPride parade as she is reportedly in Rome and ready to perform for gay rights.

Gaga will be attending the event that was organized by citizens who wanted to voice “their defiance against the Vatican and Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘backward’ government,” states Celebrity Gossip. However, Gaga can expect a not so smooth sailing as protesters will reportedly be present.

Gaga is reportedly expected to give a short speech and will then allegedly perform “Born This Way.”




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Paris Hilton’s assistant defends the star’s behavior



HollywoodNews.com: Paris Hilton’s assistant spends a lot of time with the star, so she probably knows her pretty well, but she is also paid by her so she might not be the best source.

However, her assistant, Lexie Dreyfus, is defending Paris in regard to how she acted over having to do community service, states RadarOnline.com. “She’s being real. Don’t bust her butt for really being real. Wouldn’t you say it sucked if you had to do community service at 8 in the morning? Even if you had to do it if you did something wrong?” Lexie commented.

Lexie also revealed that Paris is just a great person in general and shouldn’t be judged for one comment: “I think she’s so kind and sweet and I think she has a sense of humor that most people don’t really get but at the end of the day she’s funny.”




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Jennifer Connelly welcomes a baby girl



(PEOPLE.com) -- It's a girl for Jennifer Connelly and husband Paul Bettany!
The actress, 40, welcomed daughter Agnes Lark on May 31 in New York City, her rep confirms to PEOPLE.

The actress had a scheduled home water birth only three days after strolling with her family in New York.

RELATED: Star Moms Over 40
Their new addition joins big brothers Stellan, 7and a 1/2, and Kai, 13, Connelly's son from her previous relationship with David Dugan.

The couple, who first met while filming "A Beautiful Mind" and later wed in Scotland in 2003, confirmed the pregnancy in December.




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Tune Talk offering two types of BlackBerry prepaid service plans



Tune Talk is the latest to add the BlackBerry prepaid service package into its portfolio, offering prepaid rates for as low as RM0.98 per day and RM28 per month for full BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) unlimited usage plan.
It is also offering a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) + Instant messaging (IM) package for RM0.38 per day and RM11 per month.

All Tune Talk products and services are prepaid-based.

Included in the BIS package is unlimited usage of e-mail and the Internet using the default BIS browser. However, e-mail messages received using BIS cannot exceed 8MB, regardless of the size of the customer´s e-mail box too.

Streaming data is also not considered as part of the unlimited on-device browsing offer and will be billed according the customer´s prevailing data tariff plan.

Tune Talk subscribers will also be able to purchase a BlackBerry smartphones from one of its exclusive partners. These include the BlackBerry Torch 9800, BlackBerry Bold 9780, BlackBerry Curve 9300 and BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone.

"The BlackBerry solution comes as and added-value for Tune Talk Mobile Prepaid subscribers who can now enjoy many exciting business and lifestyle applications. More enhancements are in the pipeline to ensure that our subscribers get maximum value and convenience," said Jason Lo, Tune Talk chief executive officer on the collaboration with Research In Motion (RIM) for the BlackBerry service.

In addition, Tune Talk charges a flat rate of RM0.16 per minute for calls to any mobile or fixed-line operator in Malaysia, while an SMS costs RM0.05 each. Data usage is available at 5 sen per MB while its IDD rates are around 10 percent to 30 percent cheaper than other operators.

Apart from free personal accident insurance coverage worth RM100 000, Tune Talk subscribers also get to enjoy Tune Talk Points for AirAsia Flights that can be redeemed for a seat on any domestic or international flights by AirAsia or AirAsia X.




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Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' jacket up for auction



BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP): The jacket Michael Jackson wore in his "Thriller" video is hitting the auction block.

Auction administrator Darren Julien says the red and black leather jacket is "the most recognized and significant piece of pop culture" to come up for sale, and he expects it to fetch at least $200,000 at the Music Icons auction on June 25 and 26 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills.

Jackson autographed the jacket as a gift to his longtime costume designers, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush. He wanted them to use the small calfskin jacket as a template for his future concert fashions.

A portion of the proceeds from its sale will benefit the Shambala Preserve, where Jackson's two Bengal tigers, Thriller and Sabu, have been living since the pop star left his Neverland ranch in 2006.

Other Jackson items up for sale include the wig he wore when he announced his ill-fated "This Is It" concert series in London, a fedora and spangled glove he wore on stage, his shirt from the "Scream" video and the battered mailbox from the Carolwood Drive estate where Jackson died at age 50 in 2009.

The Music Icons sale also includes one of Eric Clapton's guitars, Frank Sinatra's patent leather boots and 1986 Jaguar, handwritten lyrics and a leather jacket from Johnny Cash, jackets and a guitar from Elvis Presley, a signed harmonica from Bob Dylan and nearly 600 other pieces of music memorabilia from Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, The Beatles and others.

The collection will be on view free to the public from June 13 to 25 at Julien's Auctions Gallery in Beverly Hills.




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Ja Rule sentenced to prison in NYC gun case



NEW YORK (AP): Ja Rule headed to prison Wednesday for up to two years in a gun case, bidding a stoic but upbeat farewell-for-now to family and fans at a New York courthouse.

The multiplatinum-selling rapper and actor - whose gravelly voice, thuggish tough talk and duets with R&B divas made him one of rap's stars in the early 2000s - signed autographs for fans on his way to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty in December to attempted criminal weapon possession; the case stemmed from gun found in his luxury sports car in July 2007.

"See y'all later," he told family and friends in the courtroom audience as he was handcuffed.

"Love you!" called the group, which included his wife, Aisha, and his mother and mother-in-law.

Dressed in a white T-shirt, gray pants and a gray hooded sweat shirt, he replied, "Love you, too."

With that, Ja Rule, 35, was led away to start serving his sentence. He'll briefly be in a city jail before heading to a state prison yet to be determined.

He also faces the possibility of a federal prison sentence for failing to pay taxes on more than $3 million in income; he pleaded guilty to that in March. He faces up to three years in prison in that case, though his will push for any prison time in that case to be served at the same time as his New York term.

His sentencing in the tax case has been set for Monday. But it will likely be postponed to later in the summer, said his lawyer, Stacey Richman.

In the meantime, Ja Rule heads to prison with an album on the way and, he has said, plans to write and otherwise keep busy behind bars.

"Out on my patio having my last free moment," he tweeted before heading to court.

"I love all my fans," he added. "Pain is love!!!"

Born Jeffrey Atkins, Ja Rule emerged as a hardcore rapper in the late 1990s but then became known for his collaborations with female pop singers, including Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti. He scored a best rap album Grammy Award nomination in 2002 with "Pain Is Love" and has sold nearly 20 million albums during his career.

He also has appeared in more than a dozen movies, including the 2001 film "The Fast and the Furious" and 2003's "Scary Movie 3."

He now is also the latest in a long line of prominent rappers to do time. The list includes Lil Wayne, who was arrested separately on a gun charge the same night as Ja Rule after a show they both played at Manhattan's Beacon Theatre. Lil Wayne also pleaded guilty to attempted criminal weapon possession and spent about eight months of last year in a city jail.

Police said they stopped Ja Rule's $250,000-plus Maybach sports car for speeding and found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun in a rear door. The gun wasn't registered, and he was charged under a New York law that generally bars people from having firearms outside their homes or workplaces.

"He stood up and took responsibility for everything," Richman said. Ja Rule said Monday on Fox 5's "Good Day New York" that "I try not to regret anything I do in life, because you go through life and you do things, and you man up to them."

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the rapper's sentence "should put all illegal gun owners in New York on notice."

Ja Rule's road manager and uncle, Dennis Cherry, and the artist's driver, Mohamed Gamal, were arrested with him. Gamal died before his case was resolved. Cherry's was closed without jail time after he met various conditions.

Originally from Queens, Ja Rule now lives in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, with his wife - whom he has known since high school - and children, 15, 11 and 9.

He spent the final days before his prison term putting finishing touches on his next album, "Pain Is Love 2," expected out in late July or early August, manager Ron Robinson said.

"Toward the end, he had new songs that he was passionate about," the manager said. Thinking about his impending prison term "turned up a lot of feelings for him."

Ja Rule had some previous brushes with the law, including pleading guilty to assault for punching someone at a Toronto nightclub in 2004. He was fined $1,200. He said he was provoked by a crowd shouting derogatory remarks about his feud with rapper 50 Cent, who had derided him in songs and interviews.

Ja Rule recently told TMZ.com he plans to keep busy behind bars by writing a book, getting his GED and possibly taking up the guitar. "I'm gonna try to make good of my time while I'm inside," he said. Ja Rule might be able to get out in as little as 18 months by meeting requirements for good behavior and other standards.

"See you in 18," he told reporters and fans on his way into court. "One love."




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Taylor Swift wins video of year at CMT Awards



NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP): Taylor Swift's fans gave her another trophy, Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" continued its extraordinary run and Sheryl Crow's underwear stole the show at the fan-voted 2011 CMT Music Awards.

Swift won the night's biggest award, video of the year, for her song "Mine" thanks to her fans. Lambert took female video of the year for the life-changing song that's earned her a Grammy and the major country awards already and her new husband, Blake Shelton, was the night's only multiple winner.

Swift, who won the fan-voted entertainer of the year award at the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this year, joined the show via live video uplink from Wisconsin where she's on tour.

"I wish I could be there, but I'm hanging out with 15,000 of my closest friends in Milwaukee," Swift said as frenzied fans screamed in the background.

Shelton and Lambert also weren't able to make it and they missed some interesting moments.

Starting with Crow's underwear. She wore a short, white skirt and sat on a stool to sing "Collide" alongside host Kid Rock. She briefly flashed the camera as she stood up.

It happened in a blink of the eye, but in the age of DVRs, the moment went viral on Twitter, something Crow acknowledged about an hour later when she and Sara Evans presented an award.

"Well, at least you were wearing underwear," Evans told Crow. "I was wearing underwear because I'm good, clean, wholesome family fun," Crow joked.

That wasn't the night's only surprising moment at an awards show known for its unlikely mashups and celebrity cross-pollination.

Swift joined Shania Twain for their pre-recorded faux movie trailer recreating "Thelma & Louise" that included guest appearances by Donald Trump and Kenny Rogers. Justin Bieber induced tears from teenagers as he walked the red carpet with Rascal Flatts. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and "Dancing With the Stars" champion Hines Ward wore cowboy boots and shook his hips on stage.

Lady A turned in one of the night's most interesting performances. The trio opened with its record-setting single "Just a Kiss" before singer Charles Kelley jumped on the drums as the band morphed into Prince's "Kiss."

Wynonna Judd put Kid Rock in his place and taught him a little something about country on a duet of his "Hell, Yes, I'm Country."

And near the end of the show, fans audibly gasped as Twain slipped and fell on her way to the stage to make an introduction.

Jason Aldean, who was shut out after earning a leading four nominations, topped off the night with a surprise version of his hip hop-infused hit "Dirt Road Anthem" with rapper Ludacris. It was a perfect end to a show that thrived on unlikely pairings.

Kid Rock, hosting for the second year, thought the song was a great illustration of where country is going.

"I've said this before: Country and hip hop aren't that far apart in spirit if you break it down," he said after the show. "They're both blues music."

Shelton, who appeared via video uplink from the set of his reality contest show "The Voice," won male video of the year for "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" and best Web video for "Kiss My Country Ass."

Sugarland kicked off the night with the first win, taking duo video of the year for "Stuck Like Glue."

Lady Antebellum won group video of the year for "Hello World." The Band Perry won breakthrough video for "If I Die Young." Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown won best CMT performance of the year for "Margaritaville." And pop heartthrob Bieber added a CMT belt buckle to the pile of trophies he's won in the last year, taking home best collaboration with Rascal Flatts for "That Should Be Me."

Long a fan of Rascal Flatts, Bieber drew some of the night's biggest cheers from the crowd in a corridor of the arena, where the red carpet was moved to avoid oppressive temperatures near 100. One of the night's largest entourages included Rascal Flatts singer Gary LeVox's daughters, 10-year-old Brittany and 8-year-old Brooklyn, who were clearly smitten with the teen sensation.

"If I wanted to go home, I had no choice but to bring them," LeVox said.




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