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Heath Ledger's death 'was totally his fault,' father says

Kim Ledger, the father of "Batman" actor Heath Ledger, said his son's death eight years ago "was totally his fault."

Ledger was found unresponsive in his New York City apartment in 2008 and was later pronounced dead from an apparent overdose. He was 28.

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"It was no one else's (fault) – he reached for them, he put them in his system," Kim Ledger told The Daily Mail Australia. "You can't blame anyone else in that situation."

Kim Ledger also revealed what it was like to come to this realization.

"(It's) hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him," he told the news outlet.

Kim Ledger said his family tried to help Ledger fight drug addiction just days before his sudden death.

"His sister was on the phone to him the night before telling him not to take the prescription medications with the sleeping tablets," he told The Daily Mail Australia. "He said: 'Katie, Katie, I'm fine. I know what I'm doing.' He would have had no idea."

The autopsy report for the "Brokeback Mountain" star revealed that he had traces of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine in his body at the time of death.

Kim Ledger attributed that to Ledger's many doctors.

"Because he was traveling a lot, he would pop in to a doctor," Kim Ledger said. "In the case of someone with a higher profile, it's often a case of 'what do you want' instead of 'what do you need.'"

Kim Ledger said stress from his acting career caused great anxiety in his son's life.

"There's so much pressure on them to perform so even though your body is telling you that it's not good and needs time, it's like 'just take these painkillers and keep going'," Kim Ledger said. "That was the case with Heath."

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher went online to find their wedding bands

Mila Kunis shocked fans while appearing on "Conan" Wednesday night when she revealed where she and superstar hubby Ashton Kutcher picked up their wedding bands.

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The Golden Globe nominated actress said Kutcher got her a "stunning, stunning, stunning" engagement ring, but when it came time to choose a wedding band she "decided to just get them off of Etsy."

"I've been talking to you for years and I've always loved the fact that you're frugal," host Conan O'Brien said.

"That's a nice way of saying 'cheap,' but yes," Kunis laughed.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_0eT3hUFcFY?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

She told O'Brien she wanted "the thinnest possible platinum band," but balked at the prices she found until she searched Etsy.

Her band cost $90. Kutcher's was slightly more expensive at $100.

The pair starred together in "That 70's Show," which ran from 1998 to 2006, and started dating in 2012. They were engaged in 2014 and tied the knot in July 2015 in Oak Glen, California.

They have one daughter, Wyatt Isabelle, and a second child on its way.

Justin Bieber made terminally ill girl's dream come true just before she died

A mother from Rochester, New Hampsire, thanked singer Justin Bieber on Facebook for meeting her sick daughter before the girl passed away.

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"Justin I am thanking you with all my heart," mom Pam Drew wrote in her post. "You made my daughter's wish come true in Boston."

Drew's daughter, Karlee, recently passed away from myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder, which turned into myeloid leukemia.

Drew said that in her last few days Karlee was mostly unresponsive, except for one moment when a paramedic started playing a Justin Bieber song on his phone.

"My daughter's head bounced up and down a few times and she smiled," Pam wrote. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Justin I am thanking you with all my heart, you made my daughters wish come true in Boston. She has since passed and I...Posted by Pam Drew on Monday, July 25, 2016

Pelosi tracks the mega-donors to political campaigns

As she sat overlooking a hotel lobby in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention this week, Alexandra Pelosi said she spied three of the wealthy men featured in her HBO documentary, "Meet the Donors: Does Money Talk?"

For her sake, it's fortunate that the film premieres Monday (9 p.m. EDT), presumably after everyone has left town.

"I think they expected me to come to them and say they could vet this, and I didn't do that," Pelosi said. "So now all that I'm doing is hiding behind bushes."

Pelosi, best known for her 2002 fly-on-the-wall "Journeys With George" documentary about George W. Bush's first presidential campaign, takes us into the fundraisers to meet the people who write big checks for the people who run for president. She deals in a limited way with the corrosive impact of special-interest spending on government action, but wanted to stay mostly out of Washington and to make sure the story wasn't boring.

"This is not a PowerPoint presentation that will be presented at a Harvard review of campaign finance reform," she said. "This is an HBO documentary for a Monday night, when you're competing against 'Undercover Boss.'"

Many of the big donors wouldn't talk to Pelosi. But a surprising number did. Pelosi, daughter of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, already knew many of them from accompanying mom on the canape circuit. Some wanted to demystify the process, annoyed at being vilified as the "billionaire class" by Bernie Sanders, and suggest their influence is exaggerated.

The point was made to comical effect by Brad Freeman, who has given more than a million dollars to the Bush family. He got a call from George W. Bush shortly after he was elected, and visions of grandeur danced in his head; Freeman dreamed of a chance to run the C.I.A. Instead, the conversation turned to Bush's cat, which Freeman had taken a liking to. Bush couldn't bring the cat to the White House. Would Freeman want it?

When people wonder what he got in return for his donations, Freeman says ruefully, "I got the frickin' cat."

What's almost sad is the revelation of how much life is like high school, even in the high-rent district.

Elizabeth Bagley, a donor whose loyalty to the Clintons earned her an ambassadorship to Portugal, proudly displays framed pictures of herself with Bill and Hillary. "Elizabeth — you're the best! Love, Hillary," was inscribed on one. A cardiologist, Bruce Charash, also exhibits photos of himself with politicians including President Barack Obama.

"The more you have pictures of powerful people in your office," he says, "the more powerful people think you are."

Billionaire grocery magnate John Catsimatidis talks about wanting to "pee with the big dogs." He gives to candidates from both parties. "I want to be in a position where I make a call, it will be picked up," he says.

"There are a lot of rich people who aren't the most interesting people," Pelosi said. "This is a way of buying friends, of getting people to show up at your parties."

Many donors have strong feelings about issues and want to be listened to. Pelosi talks to broadcasting executive Stanley Hubbard, her first boss, a conservative who rails about "too many tree-hugging fruitcakes" and dismisses global warming.

"I have never, ever called a politician for help," Hubbard tells her. "But yes, I can get in to talk to him. I get access."

Donors who host fundraising parties often get the same stump speeches a candidate gives publicly. For the most part, the donations pay for commercials that are effectively canceled out by ads another rich person buys for an opponent. "Maybe the donors are suckers," Pelosi said. "If you want to see a candidate, you go to a diner in Iowa or New Hampshire and see them for free."

But don't be naive. Billionaire T. Boone Pickens believes his funding of the Swift Boat commercials against John Kerry in 2004 was a significant factor in Bush's re-election. He also thinks that natural gas legislation he supported failed not because of its merit, but because the deep-pocketed Koch brothers were able to spend more than him to oppose it.

Pelosi also profiles people like Vin Ryan, disgusted by democracy's turn. He's taking the seemingly contradictory stance of only spending money on behalf of candidates who support efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Her concluding point: if there's a way to get some of the money out of politics, perhaps it would bring more voters in.

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Online: http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/meet-the-donors-does-money-talk/

Keep track on how much Clinton and Trump are spending on television advertising, and where they're spending it, via AP's interactive ad tracker. http://elections.ap.org/content/ad-spending .

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Follow David Bauder at twitter.com/dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder

AP PHOTOS: Shiite tattoos a show of pride amid tensions

Hamada Bayloun is not particularly religious, but across his entire upper back spreads a large tattoo of the most revered saint in Shiite Islam, Imam Ali.

He is one of a growing number of Shiite Muslims in Lebanon who have inked themselves with Shiite religious and political symbols as a show of pride in their community since neighboring Syria's civil war broke out in 2011, fanning hatreds between Shiites, Sunnis and other faiths across the region.

The 30-year-old Bayloun got his tattoo a few months after the war began, partly as a response to attempts to bomb Shiite shrines in Syria and Iraq.

"We can't respond with car bombs, but (through tattoos) we can show our strength and love for the prophet and his family," he said, referring to Islam's Prophet Muhammad, who was Ali's cousin and father-in-law.

The Syrian conflict, which began with government forces crushing protests against President Bashar Assad, became a fight between predominantly Sunni rebels against Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiism. The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah has sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to support Assad, alongside Iranian, Iraqi and other Shiite militias.

That is why one Lebanese man, Tayseer, got the face of the bespectacled Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, tattooed on his chest, right above his heart.

He said it's a show of "deep love" for the man he says is protecting Lebanon from the Islamic State group and other Sunni extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq.

"Everyone should get Nasrallah tattooed," said the 30-year-old civil servant, who asked not to be identified further so as not to jeopardize his job.

Tattoos are forbidden by Sunni clerics but are generally accepted in Shiite circles. Among the most popular tattoos is "313," the number of commanders Shiites believe will accompany their last imam, Mahdi, when he returns to save the world from oppression.

Tattoo artist Hussein Mistrah, 24, says tattoos in general have become fashionable in Lebanon. His small tattoo parlor in Beirut's Shiite district of Dahiyeh is always busy.

He inks an average of three or four Shiite tattoos per week, and among his clients are Hezbollah supporters fighting in Syria. At least 25 of his clients have been killed. "These are the ones I know about," he said.

While an Associated Press photographer visited recently, a 21-year-old fighter name Mohammad Talal came in to get Nasrallah's portrait on his chest. He was told the first appointment would be in two months.

"I could be dead in two months!" Talal shot back. Mistrah said he would try to fit him in sooner.

Mohammad Mehdi al-Ameli, a Lebanese-Australian Shiite cleric who teaches religion in south Lebanon, said tattoos are a visual expression of faith.

"Shiites are under strain ... and have been alienated, and they use this to belong," he said. "The others do it like sheep that follow the flock."

Farah Najm has a tattoo of Ali's sword on the back of her neck. The 21-year-old aviation maintenance student said she got it a few years ago when she was "in a religious state, out of love for Ali."

Although she's no longer observant, she kept the tattoo. She tries to hide it when she's out partying "out of respect."

For some, tattoos have extra benefits.

Zulfiqar, 30, said his tattoos are a magnet for women, especially at the beach. On one pec he has Ali's face, and on the other the name "Zeinab," Ali's daughter and the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

"Sometimes I get women's phone numbers because of the tattoo. Maybe they like it more than they like me," he laughed.

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Follow AP photographer Hassan Ammar:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hassanammar/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hassanammar5

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Associated Press photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

The Latest: Polish officials say 500,000 see pope at rally

The Latest on Pope Francis' visit to Poland and World Youth Day celebrations (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, says Polish church officials estimated that upward of 500,000 young people from around the globe joined in a pep rally led by Pope Francis in a Krakow meadow, in southern Poland.

Lombardi told reporters Thursday evening in Krakow that clearly the "situation is one of enthusiasm" for the Argentine-born pontiff during his first-ever trip to Poland for this week's Catholic World Youth Day events.

He provided no Vatican estimates for that crowd, nor for a morning Mass celebrated by Francis at Jasna Gora shrine, some 100 kilometers away. At that papal appearance, Polish church officials estimated some 600,000 faithful turned out at the nation's holiest shrine.

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7:15 p.m.

A woman attending the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis had to leave early — when she went into labor.

The town hall in Czestochowa, home to the Jasna Gora shrine, says on its website that the woman was taken to a hospital where she gave birth to a girl Thursday, about two hours after the pope headed back to Krakow.

The hospital declined to give any details, including whether the newborn might have been named the Polish equivalent of Frances, the feminine version of Francis.

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6:30 p.m.

Tens of thousands of young Catholics are singing and dancing in joy in the rain for Pope Francis at a park in Poland.

Participants at a youth jamboree Francis is attending this week in Krakow swayed and clapped Thursday evening as they moved to bouncy rhythms while Francis took in the show from a canopied platform.

Participants twirled flags from their homelands, including from Africa and South America, as the Argentine pope listened to greetings in many languages. One woman belted out a U.S. gospel music number

Among the joyful was Alyson Radford, 27, of Steubenville, Ohio. She says "I feel so blessed to be where the pope is."

She says seeing so many other young Catholics is inspiring and "gives us courage to live out our faith, shows us that we are not alone in our love for God."

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6:20 p.m.

Pope Francis has been greeted during the official inauguration of World Youth Day, a global Catholic celebration taking place in Krakow, Poland, with messages by young people in different languages and dance and musical performances.

As Francis sat on a stage in his white robe, he watched a dance performance below by youth in traditional colorful Polish costumes as well as tango, a tradition in his native Argentina.

Next came a procession of various national flags representing all corners of the world.

Rainfall did not appear to dampen a mood of celebration

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5:40 p.m.

Pope Francis has taken a ride with disabled young people through the heart of Krakow in an electric tram — underlining his mission to fight climate change and encouraging more concern for the disadvantaged.

When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires in his native Argentina, Francis rode public transport to inspire humility within the church hierarchy.

The tram was decorated in the Vatican colors of yellow and white. In place of the usual destination indicator were the words "Tram del Papa" — Italian for "the pope's tram."

His actual destination was Blonia, a park where young Catholics participating in World Youth Day were gathering.

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5:30 p.m.

A large number of young pilgrims are filling a field in Krakow to await Pope Francis for the first official meeting between him and the youth for World Youth Day, a global gathering.

With security high, a warning was repeated in English and Polish over loudspeakers warning people not to leave backpacks or other items unattended.

The young people, many in rain coats and waving their national flags, sang and danced as they waited for Francis. Many nuns also danced with them.

The gathering officially began Tuesday and Francis arrived in Poland on Wednesday, but the meeting in Blonia Park will be the first official encounter between the pontiff and youth.

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4:20 p.m.

Poland's former president and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, a devout Catholic, says a late invitation prevented him from attending the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the nation's holiest shrine of Jasna Gora.

Francis celebrated the open-air Mass Thursday for hundreds of thousands of faithful. President Andrzej Duda and members of the conservative government — with whom Walesa is at odds — were present.

Walesa said on his Facebook account that his invitation arrived on Tuesday, too late for him to change earlier appointments in the central city of Torun, some 300 kilometers (190 miles) from the Jasna Gora monastery.

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2:15 p.m.

A Polish police official has warned that anybody who tries to break through security barriers to approach Pope Francis during his visit to Poland risks being shot.

The warning by police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka on Thursday came a day after a man ran up to the pope as he traveled through Krakow in an open popemobile.

Ciarka said the man was a 36-year-old priest from Argentina, Francis's homeland, who was overcome with emotion and hoped to have a rosary blessed by the pontiff. Security forces immediately seized the man and took him to a police station for questioning.

Ciarka said: "Anyone who decides on such a move should count on the fact that the services might use coercive measures. In extreme cases, they might even be shot."

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11:45 a.m.

Pope Francis has praised native son St. John Paul II as a "meek and powerful" herald of mercy as well as countless "ordinary yet remarkable people" who held firm to their Catholic faith throughout adversity in the former Communist-ruled nation.

The Argentine pontiff, who had never had set foot in Eastern Europe before this week's five-day pilgrimage, gazed in awe for several minutes at the Jasna Gora monastery shrine's iconic image of the so-called Black Madonna and Child. The faces in the images are blackened by centuries of varnish and candle soot since the artwork became the object of veneration starting in the 14th century.

Then, during an outdoor Mass before tens of thousands, Francis lavished praise on a legacy of steadfast Polish Catholic faith as he urged Poles to hold fast to their faith.

The Mass was held in celebration of the 1,050th anniversary this year of the Poland's acceptance of Roman Catholicism. The baptism of a medieval king in 966 put the nation on course to be part of the Latin-speaking world, setting it apart from Orthodox nations on its borders.

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9:30 a.m.

Pope Francis is urging today's Poles to stay united, as their nation is divided over such issues as how to view refugees and migrants, especially those who aren't Christians.

During an outdoor Mass before tens of thousands of people, Francis prayed that Poles would have "the desire to leave behind all past wrongs and wounds, and to build fellowship for all, without ever yielding to the temptation to withdraw or to domineer."

Worry about bad weather prompted a last-minute change in his day's travel plans, with the pontiff opting to take a car instead of a military helicopter to Czestochowa. But the gray skies held into the Mass.

Francis will have his first big meeting with the young faithful in a Krakow meadow on Thursday evening.

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9 a.m.

Pope Francis has made an unscheduled stop at a clinic to visit and pray for comatose Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, an-89-year-old retired prelate who had been archbishop of Krakow.

Marcharski had replaced Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in the post after the latter was elected the world's first Polish pontiff, John Paul II, in 1978.

With John Paul a national hero as well as a beloved saint, Francis on this five-day trip finds himself in a deeply Catholic country that is attached to Czestochowa, where the shrine is located, and where a main boulevard is named after John Paul.

Terror attack play scratched after victim families object

A Southern California college has canceled plans to create a play about a hometown terrorist attack that killed 14 people after family members of some victims complained.

San Bernardino Valley College President Diana Z. Rodriguez released a letter Thursday apologizing "for any pain or hurt we may have caused."

"We would never seek to exacerbate the profound grief with which our community still lives," the letter said.

"SB Strong" was supposed to performed this fall. The play was envisioned as a community response to the Dec. 2 attack in this eastern Los Angeles suburb that killed 14 and wounded nearly two dozen people.

An ensemble that might include actors, singers, dancers and musicians would create the piece after interviewing community members, the San Bernardino Sun (http://bit.ly/2aNTlnC) reported.

Among those objecting was Mark Sandefur, the father of Daniel Kaufman. Kaufman ran a coffee shop at the social services center where Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a holiday gathering.

"I am aghast at the suggestion that you'd want to profit from Daniel's death," Sandefur wrote in an email to Valley College officials Thursday morning. "What incredibly bad taste you show. I can't imagine who thought this was a good idea."

Rodriguez said the faculty is considering a new theme for the school's fall production.

"If a project like this one is considered in the future, we will seek wider community input to ensure that we do not misrepresent or dishonor the lives of the innocent people who were injured or taken from us on Dec. 2," she wrote.

The name of the proposed play was drawn from a logo created by Juan Esteban Garcia-Ruiz, a San Bernardino graphic designer. It was used on T-shirts sold by a local minor league team, raising more than $45,000 for the San Bernardino United Relief Fund.

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Information from: The Sun, http://www.sbsun.com

Terror attack play scratched after victim families object

A Southern California college has canceled plans to create a play about a hometown terrorist attack that killed 14 people after family members of some victims complained.

San Bernardino Valley College President Diana Z. Rodriguez released a letter Thursday apologizing "for any pain or hurt we may have caused."

"We would never seek to exacerbate the profound grief with which our community still lives," the letter said.

"SB Strong" was supposed to performed this fall. The play was envisioned as a community response to the Dec. 2 attack in this eastern Los Angeles suburb that killed 14 and wounded nearly two dozen people.

An ensemble that might include actors, singers, dancers and musicians would create the piece after interviewing community members, the San Bernardino Sun (http://bit.ly/2aNTlnC) reported.

Among those objecting was Mark Sandefur, the father of Daniel Kaufman. Kaufman ran a coffee shop at the social services center where Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a holiday gathering.

"I am aghast at the suggestion that you'd want to profit from Daniel's death," Sandefur wrote in an email to Valley College officials Thursday morning. "What incredibly bad taste you show. I can't imagine who thought this was a good idea."

Rodriguez said the faculty is considering a new theme for the school's fall production.

"If a project like this one is considered in the future, we will seek wider community input to ensure that we do not misrepresent or dishonor the lives of the innocent people who were injured or taken from us on Dec. 2," she wrote.

The name of the proposed play was drawn from a logo created by Juan Esteban Garcia-Ruiz, a San Bernardino graphic designer. It was used on T-shirts sold by a local minor league team, raising more than $45,000 for the San Bernardino United Relief Fund.

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Information from: The Sun, http://www.sbsun.com

Internet star Hayes Grier hospitalized after bike accident

Internet celebrity and former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Hayes Grier is recovering after a dirt bike accident.

A spokeswoman for the 16-year-old social media star says Hayes is "under great care" at a hospital in North Carolina.

Grier's spokeswoman, Natalie Geday, said he suffered a concussion, broken rib, bruised lung and multiple skin lacerations.

"Thankfully, he is OK and currently resting and recovering in the hospital surrounded by his family, where he will remain for the next few days," said Geday.

Grier appeared in the 21st edition of the ABC ballroom competition "Dancing with the Stars." He has over 14 million followers across Facebook, Vine, Instagram and YouTube.

Variety reported July 18 that Grier is scheduled to appear a streaming comedy series where he attempts to run his family's 19-acre farm in Moorseville, North Carolina.

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Online:

http://www.twitter.com/hayesgrier

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

VP Biden to appear on episode of 'Law & Order: SVU'

You have the right to remain starstruck: It's Vice President Joe Biden on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Biden will be in New York on Friday to tape an episode of the long-running NBC series. The White House says Biden's appearance on the episode will focus on the backlog in processing rape kits and efforts to prevent violence against women.

Biden has frequently teamed up with the show's star, Mariska Hargitay, for events raising awareness about the issues. She narrated a biographical video about Biden that aired just before his speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention.

The White House hasn't said when the episode will air.

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