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San Francisco restaurants open kitchens to refugee chefs

At San Francisco's Tawla restaurant, Muna Anaee powdered her hands with flour and gently broke off a piece of golden dough to prepare bread eaten in Iraq, the country she fled with her family.

Anaee was preparing more than 100 loaves for diners Wednesday night as part of a program that lets refugees aspiring to be chefs work in professional kitchens.

The Refugee Food Festival — a joint initiative of the United Nations Refugee Agency and a French nonprofit, Food Sweet Food — started in Paris in 2016 and came to the U.S. for the first time this year, with restaurants in New York participating as well. The establishments' owners turn over their kitchens to refugee chefs for an evening, allowing them to prepare sampling platters of their country's cuisine and share a taste of their home.

Restaurants in 12 cities outside the U.S. are taking part in the program this month.

"It's been a big dream to open a restaurant," said Anaee, 45, who now has a green card.

Anaee was among five refugees chosen to showcase their food in San Francisco — each at a different restaurant and on a different night, from Tuesday through Saturday. Organizers say the goal is to help the refugees succeed as chefs and raise awareness about the plight of refugees worldwide.

It's important to "really get to know these refugees and their personal stories," said Sara Shah, who brought the event to California after seeing it in Belgium.

Anaee and her husband and two children left Baghdad in 2013 over concerns about terrorism and violence. She worked as a kindergarten teacher in Iraq, not a chef, but was urged to pursue cooking as a career by peers in an English class she took in California after they tasted some of her food.

Azhar Hashem, Tawla's owner, said hosting Anaee was part of the restaurant's mission to broaden diners' understanding of the Middle East — a region that inspires some of its dishes.

"Food is the best — and most humanizing — catalyst for having harder conservations," she said.

The four other aspiring chefs serving food in San Francisco are from Myanmar, Bhutan, Syria and Senegal.

Karen Ferguson, executive director of the Northern California offices of the International Rescue Committee, said San Francisco was a good city for the food festival.

"We have so much diversity, and we see the evidence of that in the culinary expertise in the area," she said.

The Bay Area has a high concentration of refugees from Afghanistan, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Eritrea and Burma, though exact numbers are unclear, according to the rescue committee. Its Oakland office settled more than 400 refugees in the Bay Area last year, but the number of refugees settling in the region has fallen dramatically since the Trump administration this year placed a cap on arrivals, Ferguson said.

Pa Wah, a 41-year-old refugee from Myanmar, presented dishes at San Francisco's Hog Island Oyster Co. on Tuesday. She said she didn't consider a career in cooking until she moved to California in 2011 and got her green card.

Cooking was a means of survival at the Thailand refugee camp where she lived after escaping civil conflict in Myanmar as a child. Participating in the food festival showed her the challenges of running a restaurant, but also helped her realize she was capable of opening her own, she said.

Former US poet laureate Donald Hall dies in New Hampshire

Donald Hall, a prolific, award-winning poet and man of letters widely admired for his sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past, has died at age 89.

Hall's daughter, Philippa Smith, confirmed Sunday that her father died Saturday at his home in Wilmot, New Hampshire, after being in hospice care for some time.

"He's really quite amazingly versatile," said Hall's long-time friend Mike Pride, the editor emeritus of the Concord Monitor newspaper and a retired administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. He said Hall would occasionally speak to reporters at the Monitor about the importance of words.

Hall was the nation's 2006-2007 poet laureate.

Starting in the 1950s, Hall published more than 50 books, from poetry and drama to biography and memoirs, and edited a pair of influential anthologies. He was an avid baseball fan who wrote odes to his beloved Boston Red Sox, completed a book on pitcher Dock Ellis and contributed to Sports Illustrated. He wrote a prize-winning children's book, "Ox-Cart Man," and even attempted a biography of Charles Laughton, only to have his actor's widow, Elsa Lancaster, kill the project.

But the greatest acclaim came for his poetry, for which his honors included a National Book Critics Circle prize, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a National Medal of Arts. Although his style varied from haikus to blank verse, he returned repeatedly to a handful of themes: his childhood, the death of his parents and grandparents and the loss of his second wife and fellow poet, Jane Kenyon.

"Much of my poetry has been elegiac, even morbid, beginning with laments over New Hampshire farms and extending to the death of my wife," he wrote in the memoir "Packing the Boxes," published in 2008.

In person, he at times resembled a 19th century rustic with his untrimmed beard and ragged hair. And his work reached back to timeless images of his beloved, ancestral New Hampshire home, Eagle Pond Farm, built in 1803 and belonging to his family since the 1860s. He kept country hours for much of his working life, rising at 6 and writing for two hours.

For Hall, the industrialized, commercialized world often seemed an intrusion, like a neon sign along a dirt road. In the tradition of T.S. Eliot and other modernists, he juxtaposed classical and historical references with contemporary slang and brand names. In "Building a House," he begins with the drafters of the U.S. Constitution leaving Philadelphia, then shifts the setting to the 20th century.

___

Some delegates hitched rides chatting with teamsters

some flew standby and wandered stoned in O'Hare

or borrowed from King Alexander's National Bank.

____

An opponent of the Vietnam War whose taxes were audited year after year, he was also ruthlessly self-critical. Nakedly, even abjectly, he recorded his failures and shortcomings and disappointments, whether his infidelities or his struggles with alcoholism.

The joy and tragedy of his life were his years with Kenyon, his second wife. They met in 1969, when she was his student at the University of Michigan. By the mid-70s, they were married and living together at Eagle Creek, fellow poets enjoying a fantasy of mind and body — of sex, work and homemaking.

"We sleep, we make love, we plant a tree, we walk up and down/eating lunch," he wrote.

But Kenyon was diagnosed with leukemia and died 18 months later, in 1995, when she was only 47. Even as he found new lovers — and sought them compulsively — Hall never stopped mourning her and arranged to be buried next to her, beneath a headstone inscribed with lines from one of her poems: "I BELIEVE IN THE MIRACLES OF ART, BUT WHAT PRODIGY WILL KEEP YOU BESIDE ME?"

In the 1998 collection "Without," and in many poems after, he reflected on her dying days, on the shock of outliving a woman so many years younger, and the lasting bewilderment of their dog Gus, who years later was still looking for her. In "Rain," he bitterly summarized his efforts to help her.

___

I never

belittled her sorrows or joshed at her dreads and miseries

How admirable I found myself.

____

Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928, but soon favored Eagle Pond to the "blocks of six-room houses" back home. By age 14, he had decided to become a poet, inspired after a conversation with a fellow teen versifier who declared, "It is my profession."

"I had never heard anyone speak so thrilling a sentence," Hall remembered.

He published poetry while a struggling student at Phillips Exeter Academy and formed many lasting literary friendships at Harvard University, including with fellow poets Robert Bly and Adrienne Rich and with George Plimpton, for whom he later served as the first poetry editor at The Paris Review. He also met Daniel Ellsberg and would suspect well before others that the anonymous leaker of the Vietnam War documents known as the Pentagon Papers was his old college friend.

After graduating from Harvard, Hall studied at the University of Oxford and became one of the few Americans to win the Newdigate Prize, a poetry honor founded at Oxford and previously given to Oscar Wilde, John Ruskin and other British writers. He returned to the states in the mid-1950s and taught at several schools, including Stanford University at Bennington College. He was married to Kirby Thompson from 1952-69, and they had two children.

Hall's first literary hero was Edgar Allan Poe and death was an early subject. He completed his debut collection, "Exiles and Marriages," between visits to his ailing father, who died at the end of 1955. In the poem "Snow," Hall confesses, "Like an old man/whatever I touch I turn/to the story of death."

In recent years, as Hall entered the "planet of antiquity," many of his elegies were for himself. He worried that "anthologies dropped him out/Poetry festivals never invited him." He pictured himself awaking "mournful," dressed in black pajamas. He warned that a story with a happy ending had not really ended, but advised that we leave behind a story to tell.

"Work, love, build a house, and die," he wrote. "But build a house."

'Jurassic World' sequel stomps its way to $150 million debut

The dinosaurs still rule the box office.

"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" surpassed expectations to open with $150 million in ticket sales in U.S. and Canada theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. While that total didn't approach the record-breaking $208.8 million debut of 2015's "Jurassic World," it proved the 25-year-old franchise still roars loudly among moviegoers.

It also gave Hollywood its first back-to-back $100 million-plus openings in a non-holiday period. After opening with $182.7 million last week, Pixar's acclaimed sequel "Incredibles 2" slid 56 percent in its second week, with an $80.9 million haul.

The combined firepower of "Fallen Kingdom" and "Incredibles 2" fueled $280 million in total ticket sales, making it Hollywood's fourth-biggest overall weekend ever, not accounting for inflation. Business was roughly double what it was the same June weekend last year, according to comScore.

"The normal course of box office is that the two films would cannibalize each other's box office in some way," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "This weekend proves that if you have two incredibly appealing movies in the marketplace at the same time, the marketplace will expand. The year-to-date box office jumped 2.5 percent in one weekend, from 6 percent to 8.5 percent."

"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" has already tallied hundreds of millions in overseas ticket sales over the past two weeks. Its worldwide total already stands at $711.5 million.

The film, starring Chris Pratt and Dallas Bryce Howard, moves the action away from an isolated tropical island. In "Fallen Kingdom," directed by J.A. Bayona, the dinosaurs are again threatened with extinction because of a soon-to-explode volcano.

But they are trapped by a band of mercenaries, a plot intended to mirror real-life animal poaching .

Like 2015's "Jurassic World," ''Fallen Kingdom" was able to shrug off mediocre reviews — something that many other franchises have struggled to do lately. It sits at just 50 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes but received an A-minus CinemaScore from audiences.

Universal Pictures, which is planning a third "Jurassic World" film, heavily promoted the $170 million production. Drawing audiences equally young and old, male and female, and from a diverse array of ethnicities, "Fallen Kingdom" played like a classic crowd-pleaser.

"We're seeing exit polls that indicate all quadrants came out to see this movie," said Jim Orr, Universal's distribution chief. "The majority of the audience was under 25. Obviously, we're playing very broadly, and to families overall, and so thus the result at the very high end of our expectations."

The domestic opening is the second best for the 106-year-old Universal. It only follows "Jurassic World."

After notching the biggest opening ever for an animated release last weekend, Brad Bird's "Incredibles 2" held on strongly considering the family-film competition. Its global gross is now up to $485 million, including a $21.2 million debut in China, a Pixar best.

The female-fronted heist film "Ocean's 8," starring Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, crossed $100 million domestically, with $11.7 million in its third week. Thanks to drive-in double-features with "Incredibles 2," Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle in Time" also cleared the $100 million milestone, a first for a black female director.

The Fred Rogers documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor" became the summer's second documentary to crack the top 10. Following the Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary "RBG," Morgan Neville's hit documentary on the man behind "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" grossed $1.9 million on 348 screens.

Sony Pictures Classics' "Boundaries," a father-daughter road trip starring Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer, made a muted debut with $29,000 from five theaters.

Peter Fonda, who plays a supporting role in the film, on Wednesday apologized for a tweet in which he suggested 12-year-old Barron Trump, son of President Donald Trump, should be ripped from "his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles" as payback for the policy of separating children from their parents at the Mexican border.

Donald Trump Jr. criticized Sony Pictures Classics for releasing the film. In response, the specialty distributor condemned Fonda's words as "abhorrent and reckless" but said it would go ahead with the film's planned limited release.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," $150 million ($106.7 million international).

2. "Incredibles 2," $80.9 million ($56.8 million international).

3. "Ocean's 8," $11.7 million.

4. "Tag," $8.2 million.

5. "Solo: A Star Wars Story," $4 million ($2.6 million international).

6. "Deadpool 2," $5.3 million.

7. "Hereditary," $3.8 million.

8. "Superfly," $3.4 million.

9. "Avengers: Infinity War," $2.5 million ($1.4 million international).

10. "Won't You Be My Neighbor," $1.9 million.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.

The Association for Library Service to Children's board made the unanimous decision Saturday at a meeting in New Orleans. The name has been changed to the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

The association says the work of Wilder — best known for her "Little House on the Prairie" novels — "includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values."

The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC says Wilder's work continues to be published and read but her "legacy is complex" and "not universally embraced."

The American Library Association is based in Chicago.

Bangkok hosts Indian film industry's biggest annual event

Thailand's capital has hosted the Indian film industry's biggest annual event, with awards given to top Bollywood actors and movies, and dazzling performances by Indian artists.

The International Indian Film Academy Awards has been held in cities around the world since its inception in 2000 to celebrate the Hindi-language film industry globally.

This year's three-day extravaganza, which ran Friday through Sunday in Bangkok, witnessed the star-studded presentation of awards to Bollywood's outstanding films and performers of 2017.

Past editions of the IIFA Awards were held in places including New York, Toronto, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

The highly acclaimed actress Rekha was among the participants this year. The 64-year-old star is known as Bollywood's timeless beauty and has acted in more than 180 films in a career spanning over 50 years.

Anita Baker to be honored at BET Awards, Jamie Foxx to host

Legendary singer Anita Baker will be honored at the 2018 BET Awards, which will be hosted Sunday by Jamie Foxx and feature performances by Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg and Migos.

DJ Khaled is the leading nominee with six at the show, kicking off at 8 p.m. Eastern from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Baker, who dominated the R&B charts from the early '80s to mid-90s with smooth songs like "Sweet Love" and "Giving You the Best That I Got," will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. She has won eight Grammy Awards.

Cardi B, who is pregnant and will not attend the show, is nominated twice for the top prize — video of the year — with the songs "Bodak Yellow" and "Finesse Remix" with Bruno Mars. She has a strong chance of picking up best female hip-hop artist, an award Remy Ma won last year, ending Minaj's seven-year winning streak in the category.

Drake is also a double nominee for video of the year with "God's Plan" and "Walk It Talk It" with Migos. Others nominees are Kendrick Lamar's "Humble" and "Wild Thoughts" by DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller.

SZA, who will attend the show, is nominated for four awards, including best new artist and best female R&B/pop artist, pitting her against Beyonce, Rihanna, H.E.R. and Kehlani.

Performers at the show include Miguel, J. Cole, Janelle Monae, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, Jay Rock, Yolanda Adams, Ledisi and newcomer Ella Mai, whose R&B hit "Boo'd Up" continues to climb the pop charts.

The BET Awards normally hands its Humanitarian Award to one person, but six individuals will receive the honor Sunday. Dubbed "Humanitarian Heroes," the network will award James Shaw Jr., who wrestled an assault-style rifle away from a gunman in a Tennessee Waffle House in April; Anthony Borges, the 15-year-old student who was shot five times and is credited with saving the lives of at least 20 other students during February massacre in Florida; Mamoudou Gassama, who scaled an apartment building to save a child dangling from a balcony last month in Paris; Naomi Wadler, the 11-year-old who gave a memorable and influential speech at March for Our Lives; Justin Blackman, the only student to walk out of his high school in North Carolina during the nationwide student walkout to protest gun violence in March and journalist and activist Shaun King.

Tyler Perry, John Legend, Tyra Banks, Kevin Hart, Chloe x Halle, Yvonne Orji and Bobby Brown are set to present awards.

_____

Online:

https://www.bet.com/shows/bet-awards.html

'Fixer Upper' stars Chip and Joanna Gaines welcome baby boy, reveal his name

The latest addition to Chip and Joanna Gaines' family has arrived.

>> Chip and Joanna Gaines: 10 things to know

The "Fixer Upper" stars took to social media Saturday to announce the birth of their fifth child, sharing a photo of the baby boy and revealing his name.

>> ‘Fixer Upper’ stars Chip and Joanna Gaines fined $40,000 over EPA violations

"Our baby boy, Crew Gaines, is here and we couldn’t be more in love," Joanna wrote Saturday night on Instagram. "He made an unexpected (and speedy) entrance into the world two and a half weeks early – which is fitting given he was a sweet surprise from day one. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful."

>> See the post here

Earlier in the day, Chip tweeted: "And then there were 5.. The Gaines crew is now 1 stronger! 10 beautiful toes and 10 beautiful fingers all accounted for, and big momma is doing great!" He added the hashtag "#blessedBeyondBelief."

>> Read more trending news 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to Country Living, the couple have two other sons, Drake and Duke, and two daughters, Ella and Emmie.

Read more here.

France, Belgium seek UNESCO recognition for WWI memorials

France and Belgium are urging UNESCO to designate scores of their World War I memorials and cemeteries as World Heritage sites as the centennial remembrance of the 1914-1918 war nears its end.

Both sides of the Franco-Belgian border, where much of the fiercest fighting of World War I took place, are dotted with monuments to the dead who fought on the decisive Western Front battlefields like Verdun in France and Passchendaele in Belgium.

The war between a group led by Germany against France, the British Commonwealth and the United States saw some 3 million people die around the front line, which stretched from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border. More than 2 million men are buried in the region, hailing from almost 80 present-day nations.

"These sites force us to draw lessons from the past in order to construct a more peaceful future," said Minister-President Geert Bourgeois from Belgium's Flemish region, which was particularly hard hit during the war.

France and Belgium are seeking recognition for 139 sites. UNESCO's World Heritage committee will assess their request and 29 other nominations for inclusion on the list during a meeting in Bahrain that starts Sunday and runs until July 4.

Even though the scenes of dank trenches and pockmarked battlefields where nerve gas could kill thousands a day are iconic, France and Belgium are centering on the dead and the cemeteries and memorials instead. They stress they do not want to glorify war.

"Immediately after the war, these were mainly places for mourning, for pilgrimages of the ones who had lost their loved ones. But quite quickly they became much more than that," said Luc Vandael, project manager for the Flemish region.

"They became an appeal for peace and reconciliation. The slogan 'no more wars' is quickly associated with those sites. So yes, there is something larger than just being a cemetery," Vandael said.

Now people make pilgrimages from across the world to remember those who gave their lives in western Europe. The appeal of the sites has spiked during the four years of centennial remembrances that will end with the marking of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice.

The Menin Gate in western Belgium is one of the most iconic memorials. It is etched with the names of almost 54,000 soldiers killed in the months-long battles around Ypres, many of whose remains were never recovered or did not receive proper burials.

"Through these sites, the nations and people involved can accommodate a shared part of their history. And this is truly a heritage of the world," said Bourgeois.

___

AP photojournalist Virginia Mayo and videojournalist Bishr El-Touni contributed.

World's Ugliest Dog Contest: Zsa Zsa the English bulldog slurps up 2018 title

An English bulldog has fetched the crown in the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California.

>> PHOTOS: Zsa Zsa the English bulldog wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest

According to The Associated Press, Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old pooch from Anoka, Minnesota, won the pageant Saturday, beating out more than a dozen less-than-pretty pups for the $1,500 grand prize.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog contestants

>> 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest: Contestants, how to vote and past winners

According to the event's website, Zsa Zsa "was a puppy mill dog for five years in Missouri, and instead of placing her in a loving home at her end of breeding, she was put in a dog auction." After Underdog Rescue saved the uncomely canine, current owner Megan Brainard found her on Petfinder and adopted her.

>> Read more trending news 

Check out some memorable moments from this year's contest below:

Read more here.

Photos: Zsa Zsa the English bulldog wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old English bulldog, won the title Saturday night at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, California.

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