Olivia Newton-John reveals she's battling cancer for third time

Olivia Newton-John has admitted she is currently battling cancer for the third time - after keeping her second fight with the disease in 2013 a secret.

Olivia Newton-John is currently battling cancer for the third time - after keeping her second fight with the disease a secret.

The 69-year-old singer and actress was revealed she was fighting breast cancer in May last year, and whilst it was believed the latest struggle was her second time facing the disease after a battle 26 years ago, she has now revealed she dealt with the illness in secret in 2013.

Olivia revealed she was involved in a minor car accident five years ago which led to the discovery of a lump on her back, and whilst she originally thought it was caused by the strain of her seatbelt during the collision, subsequent scans revealed the lump was actually the return of breast cancer.

Speaking about keeping the diagnoses under wraps, she said: "I thought, 'It's my life' and I just decided to keep it to myself."

The 'Grease' star has undergone radiation therapy for the new tumour at the base of her spine, and says she's also being aided by medical marijuana that her husband of 10 years, John Easterling, grows at the couple's ranch in Santa Barbara, California.

She said: "In California, it's legal to grow a certain amount of plants for your own medicinal purposes ... I'm very lucky that I live in a state where it's legal and that I have a husband that is a plant-medicine man."

Despite her ongoing medical battle, Olivia won't be consumed by negativity, as she knows she's "a very privileged person".

The Physical hitmaker added: "There are other people out there doing much, much worse than me. I'm a very privileged person, and I'm very aware of that. I live in this beautiful place.

"I have a wonderful husband. I have all the animals that I adore. I have an incredible career. I have nothing, really, to complain about."

And she's confident she'll pull through and beat the disease once and for all.

Speaking to Australia's Sunday Night, she said: "I believe I will win over it, and that's my goal."

VIÑA DEL MAR, CHILE - FEBRUARY 22:  Olivia Newton John speaks during a press conference as part of the Viña del Mar Festival 2017 at Sheraton Hotel on February 22, 2017 in Viña del Mar, Chile. (Photo by Marcelo Benitez/Latincontent/Getty Images)
Olivia Newton-John. Source: Getty



Asia Argento threatens Rose McGowan with legal action for telling 'horrendous lies'

Asia Argento has threatened Rose McGowan with legal action for the alleged "horrendous lies" she told about her.

The 42-year-old actress was accused last month of having sexually assaulted a 17-year-old boy in 2013, and fellow actress Rose - who had become friends with Asia after they both accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct - later said she was "heartbroken" by the accusations.

Now, Asia has issued a statement to Rose via Twitter, claiming she has 24 hours to retract her previous comments, before the actress takes "immediate legal action".

Her tweet read: "Dear @RoseMcGowan. It is with genuine regret that I am giving you 24 hours to retract and apologise for the horrendous lies made against me in your statement of August 27th.

"If you fail to address this libel I will have no option other than to take immediate legal action."

In Rose's statement, she urged the actress to be "honest and fair" following allegations that she had reached a $US380,000 settlement with Jimmy Bennett at the end of last year, after he accused her of sexual assault.

The 45-year-old actress wrote: "Asia you were my friend. I loved you. You've spent and risked a lot to stand with the MeToo movement. I really hope you find your way through this process to rehabilitation and betterment.

"Anyone can be be better- I hope you can be, too. Do the right thing. Be honest. Be fair. Let justice stay its course. Be the person you wish Harvey could have been."

Italian actress and MeToo activist Asia Argento. Source: Associated Press


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Game of Thrones, Mrs. Maisel triumph at Emmys

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honours and HBO's Game of Thrones recaptured the best drama series award today a ceremony that largely slighted its most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon's freshman sitcom about an unhappy 1950s homemaker liberated by stand-up comedy, earned best actress honours for star Rachel Brosnahan.

Her castmate Alex Borstein earned the supporting actress trophy and the series creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, nabbed writing and directing awards.

Claire Foy of The Crown and Matthew Rhys of The Americans won top drama acting Emmys, their first trophies for the roles and last chance to claim them, with Foy's role as Queen Elizabeth II going to another actress and Rhys' show wrapped.

The field bested by Foy included last year's winner Elisabeth Moss for The Handmaid's Tale and Sandra Oh of Killing Eve, who would have been the first actor of Asian descent to get a top drama award.

"This wasn't supposed to happen," said a startled Foy.

Game of Thrones, which sat out last year's Emmys because of scheduling, won despite competition from defending champ The Handmaid's Tale.

"Thank you for letting us take care of your people," Game of Thrones producer D.B. Weiss said to George R.R. Martin, whose novels fuel the drama.

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever, the early awards all went to whites.

"Let's get it trending: #EmmysSoWhite," presenter James Corden joked at the midway point, riffing off an earlier tribute to Betty White.

"I want to say six awards, all white winners, and nobody has thanked Jesus yet," co-host Michael Che said, referring back to his earlier joke that only African-American and Republican winners do.

Then Regina King broke the string, with a best actress trophy in a limited series or movie for Seven Seconds, which tracks the fallout from a white police officer's traffic accident involving a black teenager.

She was followed by Darren Criss, who won the lead acting award for the miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace and who is of Filipino descent.

Thandie Newton won best supporting drama actress for Westworld, and Peter Dinklage added a third trophy to his collection for Game of Thrones.

Brosnahan used her acceptance speech to give a shout-out to her comedy's celebration of women power.

"It's about a woman who's finding her voice anew, and it's one of the things that's happening all over the country now," she said. She urged the audience to exercise that power by voting.

Bill Hader collected the best comedy actor award for Barry, a dark comedy about a hired killer who stumbles into a possible acting career.

Henry Winkler, aka 'The Fonz', won a supporting actor award - his first Emmy - for Barry, four decades after gaining fame for his role in Happy Days.

"If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you. Tonight, I got to clear the table," an ebullient Winkler said, with an equally delighted auditorium audience rising to give him a standing ovation. To his grown children, he said: "You can go to bed now, daddy won!"

The biggest award so far won by a broadcast network was Saturday Night Live for best variety sketch series.

The Emmys had a real-life dramatic moment when winning director Glenn Weiss, noting his mother had died two weeks ago, proposed to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen.

"You wonder why I don't want to call you my girlfriend? It's because I want to call you my wife," Weiss said. She said yes, he put his mother's ring on her finger and the crowd whooped and cheered.

John Oliver, in picking up the trophy for best variety talk show award for Last Week Tonight, thanked Weiss' girlfriend for giving the right answer or, he joked, the whole ceremony could have gone south.

The Emmys kicked off with a song, We Solved It, a celebration to the diversity of nominees sung by stars including Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson. The tune included a mention that Oh could become the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy. "There were none, now there's one, so we're done," the comedians sang.

Oh played along from her seat: "Thank you, but it's an honor just to be Asian," said the Korean-Canadian actress.

Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, producing his second Emmy telecast in 30 years, was tasked with turning viewership around after the 2017 show's audience of 11.4 million narrowly avoided the embarrassment of setting a new low.

The ceremony clearly bore his stamp, with Che and Jost as hosts and familiar SNL faces, including Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, as presenters and nominees. The long-running NBC sketch show, already the top Emmy winner ever with 71, won again for best variety sketch series.

The pressure's on Michaels because NBC and other broadcasters are increasingly reliant on awards and other live events to draw viewers distracted by streaming and more 21st- century options. The networks, which air the Emmy telecast on a rotating basis, are so eager for the ad dollars it generates and its promotional value for fall shows that they endure online competitors sharing the stage.

The cast of Game of Thrones poses backstage after winning the award for outstanding drama series at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Source: Associated Press

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Oxfam claims NZ among countries hit by tax-shifting drug companies

Global charity Oxfam claims four pharmaceutical corporations are not paying $21 million in New Zealand taxes every year by stashing their profits in overseas havens.

It says Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer are systematically shifting their profits to unfairly avoid paying higher tax in the countries where they operate.

Oxfam said the companies avoid billions of dollars in tax across 16 countries.

It found subsidiaries located in tax havens were on average significantly more profitable than those located elsewhere.

"That is not what one would expect if the geographic distribution of profits reflected the geographic distribution of the real value of economic activities," it said.

It is calling on the Government to require multinational corporations based here to publish key financial information about their operations in every country.

The charity said New Zealand took positive steps this year by passing the Tax (Neutralizing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Act.

Its New Zealand executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said the companies' practices were not unlawful but they were depriving governments of money to spend on public services and alleviating poverty.

"In no way is Oxfam saying that these companies have undertaken anything strictly illegal but what it does involve is a complex mechanism of setting up where their patents are based for their medicines," she said.

Inland Revenue calls Oxfam report methodology "completely misrepresenting"

But John Nash from Inland Revenue said the charity was using methodology which completely misrepresented what was happening in this country.

"Oxfam have applied a global average profit margin, which attributes just far too much profit to New Zealand, you really need to look at what is actually done in New Zealand, what functions are performed here, what assets are utilised and what risks are taken."

He said IRD's monitoring of companies is detailed.

"We have a comprehensive compliance programme which looks at all multinational companies with $30 million of turnover and upwards so we really do cover the field quite comprehensively.

But Mr Nash would not be drawn in on whether the four multinationals named by Oxfam were shifting profits overseas and said he could not comment on specifics.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said he had asked officials to look into Oxfam's report.

"I won't be talking to the companies [named by Oxfam] but I will be asking officials just for a brief report on the Oxfam document and give me an idea on whether their figure was close to the mark or in fact the modelling they used was way off," he said.

New legislation tightening rules on tax for multinational companies came into effect in July, Mr Nash said.

He suspected the effects of the legislation to already be happening.

All the firms say they abide by tax laws and pay all taxes owed in New Zealand.

In a statement, a Pfizer spokesperson said it abides by all accounting and tax laws wherever it does business and pays all taxes due.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said it does not sell pharmaceuticals in New Zealand.

"Abbott is a responsible and transparent tax payer, paying all of its taxes owed in every country in which it operates around the world," Mr Stoffel said in a statement.

"With businesses in more than 150 countries, our tax contribution is substantial and global in scope, and we make significant contributions to the health and economies of societies around the world.

"This includes the impact of our products, people, taxes, and purchases of local goods and services, as well as public-private partnerships to strengthen health systems and meet critical health needs."

Johnson & Johnson said as well as paying its fair share of taxes, it also worked closely with the New Zealand government to deliver greater access to life-saving medicines.

"The Oxfam report released today paints a distorted picture of Johnson & Johnson's commitment to the patients and the global communities we serve and to Johnson & Johnson's commitment to paying our fair share of taxes," it said in a statement.

"Johnson & Johnson complies with tax requirements in every jurisdiction, including New Zealand, where we operate with consistently high accounting, tax filing and tax reporting standards.

"Johnson & Johnson's publicly filed financial statements show $27.67 billion in income taxes from 2013 to 2017, before significant additional contributions for VAT/sales taxes, employment taxes, social contributions, property taxes, import and customs duties," it said.

"In addition, Johnson & Johnson values and strives for cooperative and transparent relationships with taxing authorities including the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand."

By Gill Bonnett 

rnz.co.nz

Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore.
Pharmaceuticals on pharmacy shelf (file picture). Source: istock.com


Photos: Ed Sheeran delights young fans with private show at children's hospital

Ed Sheeran has cheered up some sick kids by performing one of his hits for them in a private show at Boston Children's Hospital on the weekend.

Sheeran, who played at Boston's Gilette Stadium on Friday and Saturday, took time out of his busy schedule to visit the kids, where he played a song and posed for selfies with his young fans.

Ed Sheeran at Boston Children's Hospital. Source: Boston Children's Hospital

"Over the weekend, Boston Children’s welcomed special guest Ed Sheeran! The award-winning singer/songwriter answered questions from patients, posed for selfies, and sang his hit song ‘Perfect.'

"Thank you Ed for helping to bring smiles to faces of our patients, families and staff! We hope to see you again soon!" Boston Children's Hospital wrote in a Facebook post with pictures of his visit.

Ed Sheeran at Boston Children's Hospital. Source: Boston Children's Hospital

According to WCBV5 the British singer also met with a 10-year-old girl who was paralysed by a brain tumour at his concert on Friday.

Ed Sheeran meets a young fan at Boston Children's Hospital. Source: Boston Children's Hospital