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Grammy and Oscars push for diversity at awards

LOS ANGELES: The Grammy Awards are expanding the number of nominees in the top categories for the highest honors in the music business from five to eight in the biggest push to increase diversity in the 60-year history of the awards. The changes announced on Tuesday by the Recording Academy which organizes the annual event, will take effect for the 2019 Grammy Awards and follow an uproar earlier this year over the low numbers of female nominees, winners, and performers on the televised ceremony. New Zealand singer…

America Is Less White, Getting Older, and More Urban: Census

The nation’s over/under age demarcation line rose to 38.0 years, according to 2017 estimates released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2000, the median age was 37.2 years. "Baby boomers and millennials alike are responsible for this trend in increased aging,” said Molly Cromwell, a demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau. “Boomers continue to age and are slowly outnumbering children as the birth rate has declined steadily over the last decade.” By 2035, Americans age 65 and older are forecast to outnumber kids for…

Diversity on screen equals bigger box office earnings, study finds

LOS ANGELES: Films whose casts more accurately reflect the racial makeup of U.S. and global populations perform better at the box office than their less diverse counterparts, according to an annual study released on Tuesday. The University of California, Los Angeles study, which analyzed 2016 film and TV data, comes as debates on race and gender dominate Hollywood, and led to a push by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to diversify its membership. The study, which covered the top 200 grossing films, found…

Fired Google engineer hires prominent Republican lawyer in legal fight

WASHINGTON: The engineer fired from Google for writing a memo critical of the company's diversity hiring policies has hired a lawyer who is a member of the Republican National Committee to represent him. James Damore has not sued Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, over his termination but said earlier this month he is exploring his legal options. Conservative lawyer Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the party-leading Republican National Committee, said on Wednesday she is representing Damore. Before his firing, Damore…

Google cancels staff meeting over fears of online harassment

CALIFORNIA: Alphabet's Google canceled on Thursday a company-wide meeting scheduled to discuss the controversy over a memo opposing diversity policies, the company said, citing concerns about personal attacks on employees from far-right commentators. The company meeting was called to discuss the fallout of Google's decision on Monday to fire an engineer, James Damore, after he posted a memo on Google's internal network arguing that the company's dearth of female engineers was because women were genetically less…

Fired Google engineer gets job offer from WikiLeaks publisher

CALIFORNIA: The male Google engineer fired for circulating a memo decrying the company's diversity hiring program became the center of a heated debate on sexism, drawing scorn, cheers and even a job offer on Tuesday from WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. James Damore confirmed his dismissal from Alphabet Inc's Google on Monday, after he wrote a 10-page memo that the company was hostile to conservative viewpoints shaped by a flawed left-wing ideology. 1/ Censorship is for losers. @WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired…

Women, minorities fare (a little) better in Hollywood: report

LOS ANGELES: Women and minorities are faring better in Hollywood and feature prominently at this year's upcoming Oscars, but they are still woefully underrepresented overall in the entertainment industry, according to a report. The "2017 Hollywood Diversity Report" -- the fourth in a series by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at the University of California Los Angeles -- examined 200 top-grossing films released in 2015 as well as 1,206 television shows that aired or streamed during the 2014-15…