- - Monday, January 9, 2012

Beyonce, Jay-Z welcome baby girl, Blue Ivy Carter

Music royalty Beyonce and Jay-Z are the proud parents of a baby girl named Blue Ivy, media reports said, breaking the news of one of the biggest celebrity births in years.

According to Agence France-Presse, the 30-year-old pop diva gave birth by cesarian section on Saturday night in a private wing of the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan with her husband by her side, E! Online reported.

Initial reports had the baby’s name as Ivy Blue, but those close to the couple confirmed later it was the other way around. The Houston Chronicle, Beyonce’s hometown paper, was alone in spelling it Blu Ivy, without the “e.”

The Twitterverse was abuzz as celebrities and fans alike delighted in news of the star couple’s first child.

“Welcome to the world Blue! We love you already,” close friend Gwyneth Paltrow wrote before clearing up the name issue in a second tweet: “It’s Blue Ivy Carter!”

“The most beautiful girl in the world,” Beyonce’s sister Solange Knowles tweeted before adding, in another probable reference to the name mix-up: “Information that goes through the telephone always gets delivered wrong.”

Fellow pop diva Rihanna also weighed in on the momentous showbiz arrival, tweeting: “Welcome to the world princess Carter! Love Aunty Rih.”

Beyonce checked into the hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side late Friday under the name “Ingrid Jackson,” renting out its entire fourth floor for $1.3 million, the New York Daily News reported.

People were seen bringing bags of food and wine into the hospital on Saturday night, apparently for celebrations, as security guards patrolled the perimeter.

But not everybody was happy by the tight security arrangements.

“They just used the hospital like it was their own and nobody else mattered,” new dad Neil Coulon told the New York Post.

Mr. Coulon’s efforts to see his premature newborn twins in the neonatal unit were disrupted by the birth of the new celebrity, the paper said.

Actor Gary Sinise arranging benefit for wounded Marine

Actor Gary Sinise, known for playing a soldier who loses his legs in the film “Forrest Gump,” wants to stage a benefit concert to raise money to build a home in Temecula, Calif., for a Marine who lost his limbs in Afghanistan.

According to the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Sinise was expected to ask the Temecula City Council on Tuesday if he can hold a concert tentatively set for March 1.

Mr. Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band, named for his movie character, would perform and raise money for Marine Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez, who lost his legs and right arm in 2010.

The Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation have built several such homes for wounded veterans.

Elton John book on AIDS to benefit foundation

Elton John is writing his first book, a personal account of the AIDS crisis.

According to the Associated Press, the musician said “Love Is the Cure: Ending the Global Aids Epidemic” will include memories of friends who died of AIDS-related illnesses, including Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

British publisher Hodder & Stoughton said the book will be published in July along with an audio book read by the British pop star. The U.S. publisher is Little, Brown.

Proceeds will go to the Elton John’s AIDS Foundation.

Mr. John said Monday the book would ask why more is not being done to cure the disease.

He said AIDS “is a disease that must be cured not by a miraculous vaccine but by changing hearts and minds and through a collective effort to break down social barriers.”

Hawking too ill to attend birthday conference

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking was too ill to attend a conference in honor of his 70th birthday Sunday, but in a recorded message played to attendees, he repeated his call for humans to colonize other worlds, the Associated Press reports.

University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz told the conference that Mr. Hawking, who is almost completely paralyzed because of Lou Gehrig’s disease, had only recently been discharged from the hospital for an unspecified ailment.

“Unfortunately, his recovery has not been fast enough for him to be able to be here,” Mr. Borysiewicz said.

In his recorded speech, Mr. Hawking pleaded for interplanetary travel, arguing that humans face a grim future unless they spread out from their terrestrial home. “I don’t think we will survive another thousand years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” he said.

Mr. Hawking’s speech - delivered in his distinctive, robotic monotone - charmed the audience of scientists, students and journalists gathered at Cambridge’s Lady Mitchell Hall.

Colleagues including Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter and renowned astronomer Martin Rees hailed Mr. Hawking as one of the most important physicists since Albert Einstein.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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