Serena Williams fined for U.S. Open outburst

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Tennis champion Serena Williams was fined a record-setting $82,500 Monday for her fiery argument in September with a U.S. Open judge.  The previous highest fine issued at a Grand Slam tournament was $48,000.  She is now on probation for the next two years.  If another altercation occurs during that time, Williams would face a $175,000 fine and be barred from the U.S. Open, said Grand Slam administrator Bill Babcock.

Williams is a 11-time Grand Slam singles champion and ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association.

“I am thankful that we now have closure on the incident and we can all move forward,” Williams said in a statement released Monday by her publicist. “I am back in training in preparation for next season and I continue to be grateful for all of the support from my fans and the tennis community.”

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The Obamas host first state dinner

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle honored Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his wife Mrs. Gursharan Kaur Tuesday night during the first state dinner of the Obama administration.  Besides political insiders, the 338- guest list included Hollywood stars such as Alfre Woodard, who is a member of the president’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Blair Underwood.

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The First Lady wore a sleeveless, gold and cream-colored sheath dress with an overlay of silver and matching shawl by Indian-born designer Naeem Khan.  The designer has also dressed Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Noor of Jordan.  Academy Award winning actor and singer Jennifer Hudson performed at the event.

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Obama meets with half-brother in China

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While visiting China, President Obama met Monday with his half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo, who lives in China with his wife, a native of the country.  Ndesandjo recently wrote a semiautobiographical novel about their abusive Kenyan father.

“I don’t know him well. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago,” Obama told CNN. “He stopped by with his wife for about five minutes during the trip.”

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Jennifer Hudson to play Winnie Mandela

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Chicago’s favorite ‘Dreamgirl’, Jennifer Hudson, will begin production in South Africa May 30 on her new film “Winnie.”  The Oscar-winning actress will play the the former wife of South Africa’s first Black president, Nelson Mandela.  The wife, mother and activist was jailed for campaigning for her husband’s release and the end of apartheid.  She was later convicted of fraud.

“I was compelled and moved when I read the script,” Hudson told Variety. “Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman and I’m honored to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told.”

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Janet Jackson to kick off American Music Awards

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After a opening tribute to her late brother Michael Jackson at the MTV Video Awards, Janet Jackson is now set to kick off the American Music Awards Nov. 22. at 7 p.m. central time.

“We’re thrilled about having Janet Jackson open this year’s show,” said American Music Awards producer Larry Klein in a news release.  “She is an incredibly dynamic performer, and I think the audience will be excited to see what she has in store.”

She is also set to release a greatest hits two-CD set, “Number Ones,” before the awards show.  She will also release a new single, “Make Me.”

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Wendy Williams inducted into Radio Hall of Fame

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How you doing?!  Talk show host Wendy Williams was in Chicago this past weekend to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Before debuting her daytime talk show this year, Williams was a New York radio personality for more than 20 years.

“Women, I scored one for us!” said Williams on her talk show Tuesday after noting that there are few women or African Americans in the Radio Hall of Fame.

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