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MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell apologizes for off-air rant

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell has apologized after clips surfaced of him profanely yelling at staffers in between segments of his prime-time program.

The clips from O'Donnell's Aug. 29 show were published online by Mediaite on Wednesday. They show O'Donnell angrily reacting over the wrong sound being fed into his earpiece. He also demands someone put an end to hammering near the studio, calling on staffers to call MSNBC president Phil Griffin, if necessary.

O'Donnell's rant quickly became fodder for memes on social media. One widely-shared video spliced up O'Donnell's comments about the hammering with the music video for M.C. Hammer's "U Can't Touch This."

O'Donnell was contrite in a Twitter post Wednesday night, writing: "A better anchorman and a better person would've had a better reaction to technical difficulties. I'm sorry."

Milan fashion meets global crises with lightness

The Milan fashion world is responding to global crises with transparency and lightness.

Designers are choosing diaphanous textiles to create airy looks, often layering sheer trench coats and anoraks over form-fitting knit dresses or jumpsuits for contrast. It's about comfort, being nimble and joyous in times of uncertainty.

Milan Fashion Week womenswear previews for next spring and summer continued for the second day on Thursday with shows by Fendi, Max Mara, Prada and Moschino. Here are some highlights:

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FENDI FUTURISM

Backgammon in the tropics anyone? Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi collection for next Spring-Summer 2018 proposes futuristic looks with nods to yesteryear.

Plaids and skewed stripes give the collection an underlying order and discipline that also was reflected in the disciplined shoulders and cinched waistlines.

Shoulders often were left bare, courtesy of peek-a-boo cut-outs and asymmetrical ruching. Men's bowling shirts and rugby polos provided the inspiration for sheer tops that tucked prettily into diaphanous skirts.

"It is a very light collection, with an airy breeze that goes through the clothes," the brand's creative director, Silvia Venturini Fendi, said backstage.

Seafoam green, coral and sand dominated the color palette, "the colors of summer landscape," Fendi said.

Pretty detailing — tropical leaf cutouts and trailing grosgrain ribbons on hemlines and necklines adorned several designs. Materials included light cotton, nylon and netting, along with leather and the fashion house's trademark fur, some bearing the double F logo.

The celebrity model trio of Gigi Hadid, sister Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner took turns on the Fendi runway. Gigi indulged fashionista fans backstage with a few selfies as she left wearing a hot-pink plaid suit and wire frame sunglasses.

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MAX MARA EVOLUTION

Max Mara designs for next spring and summer were an evolution of the brand's trademark monochromes, logo plays and garden florals in pretty silhouette-revealing shapes.

The light-and-airy complemented the form-fitting, as in the sheer trench worn belted over a tight, ribbed knit dress. Creative director Ian Griffiths took a step toward deconstruction, cuffing slim dress trousers to the knee. Longer skirts featured trailing strips of cloth that resembled pleats freed from their usual geometry.

The collection segued into a new Max Mara logo spelling out the brand in floating letters and then into florals shown on suit, dress and trench combos and long billowing dresses worn over trousers.

The shoe of choice is a T-shaped high-heeled sandal, often in matching prints. Bags were worn strapped on the back.

As with last season's show, Max Mara featured a model wearing a Muslim hijab, part of the fashion world's embrace of inclusivity and the Mideast market.

Tom Cruise partially at fault for two pilots' deaths, families say

Tom Cruise is partially to blame for the 2015 plane crash that killed two men during the filming of the action movie “American Made,” the families of the deceased say.

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According to new court documents obtained by The Blast and provided to People magazine, the estates of Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl claim that Cruise and director Doug Liman’s desire to film a “high-risk, action-packed motion picture” contributed to the circumstances that led to the accident.

A twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600 carrying three of the pilots helping with the movie crashed in the mountains. Purwin and Berl died on the scene, and the third pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland, lost feeling in the lower half of his body.

“The demands of filming in Colombia, together with Cruise’s and director Doug Liman’s enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences, added hours to every filming day and added days to the schedule,” the documents state.

RELATED: New details on the extent of Tom Cruise’s injuries after a failed stunt attempt on “Mission Impossible 6”

The families of Purwin and Berl are both suing the producers of Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures for wrongful death and damages, People magazine reported.

“Lapses in planning, coordinating, scheduling and flight safety that were the defendants’ responsibility resulted in an unqualified and unprepared pilot being pressed into service for a dangerous flight in a vintage aircraft across an unfamiliar mountain pass in bad weather,” the documents state.

Cruise and Liman are not named as defendants in the lawsuit, but the families say the two men were “negligent” for having the flight go forward, given the conditions of the weather and crew.

The families also claim that Cruise could have piloted the plane himself, arguing that the star is “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing.”

Salma Hayek pledges $100,000 donation to Mexican earthquake victims

Actress Salma Hayek is giving back to her home country of Mexico in a big way.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard” star, 51, shared a video on Instagram Wednesday encouraging people to donate money toward relief efforts in Mexico City and surrounding areas after they were devastated by a huge earthquake on Tuesday. She also revealed that she has survived a previous natural disaster.

RELATED: Actress Salma Hayek thinks America can learn from and come together during Trump’s presidency

“After the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, I was evacuated from my building,” Hayek said in the video. “A lot of friends died, including an uncle that was very, very close to me.”

“I have lived through the aftermath of a disaster of this magnitude, and it’s horrific,” she continued. “I am starting a Crowdrise to try to raise money to help families who are going through this nightmare right now in Mexico.

“I implore to your hearts ... to your compassion to help,” she added. “Anything that you can give will make a big difference. I will match the first $100,000 that are donated.”

Hayek wrote on Instagram that her donated funds are going to UNICEF.

New Ondaatje novel 'Warlight' coming in May

Michael Ondaatje (On-DAH-Chay), author of the acclaimed novel "The English Patient," is once again writing about World War II.

Alfred A. Knopf announced Thursday that Ondaatje's "Warlight" will come out May 8. The novel is set in London in 1945 and tells of two young siblings who have been separated from their parents in the aftermath of the Nazi bombings. "Warlight" is Ondaatje's first work of fiction since the 2011 release of "The Cat's Table."

Ondaatje's other books include "In the Skin of a Lion" and "Anil's Ghost." He won the Booker Prize for "The English Patient," a 1992 publication later adapted into an Oscar-winning film of the same name starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche.

Anthony Rapp embarks, thrilled, on 'Star Trek: Discovery'

The original "Star Trek" was born into a world of hurt. The United States was embroiled in a war that wouldn't end. The president was increasingly embattled. Americans were polarized.

Now, a half-century later, "Star Trek: Discovery" lands in a nation that seems no less burdened, while the new show's mission is unchanged from the series that spawned it: to enter the future with hope and face the present with courage. It is an upbeat tone as much as a taste for adventure that has propelled the "Star Trek" franchise through so many TV and film iterations. Now comes the eagerly awaited "Star Trek: Discovery," which premieres on CBS on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. After the broadcast premiere, the series launches Sunday night on the CBS All Access subscription streaming channel, the exclusive home for the rest of the series.

"Even though this first season is set against the backdrop of a Klingon-Federation conflict, it's really about finding the Starfleet way to get OUT of the conflict," says Gretchen J. Berg, an executive producer and co-showrunner with Aaron Harberts. "How do you end the war and still maintain the ideals the Starfleet confederacy is all about? To that end, there will be hope, there will be optimism, there will be people trying to be the best version of themselves, which is something I think we really need to be focused on in this day and age."

Real-life current events on planet Earth "create a lot of story for us," she acknowledges, "and through our storytelling we're trying to help figure out a pathway to a brighter tomorrow. Talk about making lemonade out of some very bitter lemons!"

The new series, which begins a few years before the 23rd century time frame of the original Captain Kirk-led "Star Trek," boasts a large cast including Jason Isaacs, James Frain and Rainn Wilson, as well as fan-favorite Sonequa Martin-Green, late of "The Walking Dead" and now the first black woman in command of a "Star Trek" starship.

Always on the vanguard in promoting diversity and tolerance, "Star Trek" takes another step forward on "Discovery" by including in its crew an openly gay character played by an openly gay actor, Anthony Rapp.

Lt. Paul Stamets is an astromicologist (studying mushrooms and other fungi in outer space). With his scientific bent and sky-high IQ, he can be a little prickly, Rapp says, which only adds to the fun of playing him.

The 45-year-old Rapp, who landed his first professional job at age 9, won fame 20 years ago for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway hit musical "Rent," a role he reprised in the 2005 film. He also played Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and originated the role of Lucas in the musical "If/Then" in 2014.

"I've always been a nerd and fan of 'Star Trek' and all sorts of science fiction," he says, "but I never conceived of myself as being inside of it as an actor. This is like a childhood fantasy gone wild, actually doing it in real life."

On his first day at the vast Toronto soundstage, Rapp says he found himself on-set "walking through these corridors in my Starfleet uniform with my badge— like I'm in space! It's really, really thrilling."

Devout Trekkers have been less than thrilled that the new series, announced in late 2015 and promised a bit more than a year later, has been repeatedly postponed thanks to unforeseen complexities of production and casting.

"I can totally understand that it can be frustrating and mysterious to people who aren't inside the process," says Rapp. "But I can assure you the delays have resulted in something that is incredibly well-conceived and brought to life."

For the first time, this "Star Trek" will be serialized, with its narrative flowing from the premiere through episode 15, which concludes its second season.

"It's about culture clash," Rapp says. "I think that's a theme that's pretty relevant these days. But 'Star Trek' has always been grounded in philosophical and ethical questions, exploring what it means to be human and what do you do when you encounter another culture."

It's the sort of positive message Rapp has always sought to put forward, as both an actor and a human.

It prompted him to come out a quarter-century ago.

"Visibility matters," he explains. "It's so easy to denigrate or ignore someone you don't see and you feel different from. If there was any chance that whatever visibility I have could make a difference, I'd want to be on the right side of that."

Then Rapp reaches for his phone to share a message he had gotten minutes earlier, en route to this interview, which in three short sentences maybe says it all: "I'm Muslim but that doesn't mean I have a problem with you being gay," it reads. "In fact, you've helped me open my mind up. And I love science fiction and I love 'Star Trek' and I can't wait to see the show."

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Online:

https://www.cbs.com/all-access

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org

Kiss members Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley reunite on stage

Original Kiss members Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley have reunited for their first public appearance since their group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

But unlike that terse ceremony, the Star Tribune reports , they came to St. Paul's CHS field to play Wednesday night in their first show together in 16 years.

The event was a hurricane relief benefit that Simmons helped organize for the Minnesota-based charity Matter.ngo. The nonprofit focuses on feeding and aiding children worldwide, but after Harvey struck Texas in late August the concert's theme turned to assistance for Houston and surrounding areas.

Frehley took the stage about three-fourths of the way into Simmons' set, then tore into "Cold Gin" and "Shock Me" before the finale "Rock and Roll All Nite."

Annie Proulx to receive honorary National Book Award

The Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards didn't prepare Annie Proulx for her latest honor: a National Book Award medal for lifetime achievement.

"I was astonished when first I heard that news," Proulx told The Associated Press during a recent email interview. "I simply had not thought of my various writings as a body of work that might be considered as a contribution to American letters. It almost seemed that I had been negligent in writing what I considered discrete novels and stories instead of shaping a holistic something that might be regarded as a life work."

On Thursday, the National Book Foundation praised the author of "The Shipping News," ''Brokeback Mountain" and other fiction for her "impressive lyricism and wit that captivates readers of all ages." Anne Hathaway, who starred in the film version of "Brokeback Mountain," will present the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Proulx during a Nov. 15 dinner ceremony in Manhattan, when competitive prizes will be given for the year's best fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature books. Scholastic Inc. President and CEO Dick Robinson will be given the Literarian Award for "Outstanding Service" to the literary community.

Previous recipients of the Distinguished Contribution medal include Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Joan Didion.

"Annie Proulx's ability to explore the nuances of the human spirit and render deeply moving reflections on rural life have solidified her place in American Letters," Lisa Lucas, the foundation's executive director, said in a statement. "In addition to her astounding literary accomplishments, film adaptations of Proulx's work have reached scores of viewers who may not have encountered her work on the page."

Proulx, 82, won the Pulitzer and National Book Award for "The Shipping News," and her novel "Postcards" made her the first women to win the PEN/Faulkner award. She has also expressed reservations about literary prizes, worrying that they overshadow the work.

"It is true that I have noticed awards sometimes affect writers negatively by encouraging them to weigh their succeeding works on a scale of notability rather than intrinsic verities in the work itself," Proulx told the AP. "That's badly put: I feel writing the thing on the worktable should have the focus, and that awards should come like shifts in a veering wind, as gratifying surprises."

Born Edna Ann Proulx, in Norwich, Connecticut, the author has lived everywhere from Vermont to Wyoming to Seattle, and set her work around the country and beyond. "The Shipping News" takes place in Newfoundland, "Brokeback Mountain" in Wyoming and her latest, the ecological epic "Barkskins," begins in Canada and journeys worldwide. "Barkskins" warns of climate change, which Proulx considers a defining issue of the moment and one "impossible to ignore" in her future work. But she is also known for her explorations of history, whether the haunting secrets of a Newfoundland community in "The Shipping News," or, in "Accordion Crimes," when she traces an accordion's journey from Sicily in the 1890s to Florida a century later.

"For reasons I have never understood the past has always had a hold on the way I look at events. I am attuned to long, slow change," she wrote to the AP. "Throughout my life I have slid in and out of gestalt reversals, imaging earlier times for almost every situation, not only when writing, but in the normal course of a day — the Viking presence in L'Anse aux Meadows, the peopled steeps of Chaco, the funerary rites of 19th C. Vermont, the lustrous eyes of unwary pronghorn, standing on the quivering false islands of Okeefenokee, spider-webs in Pacific Northwest autumn forests. If I met you I might briefly imagine you in 18th century clothing or the raiment of Utzi or pharaonic trappings. This habit of thinking/imagining is hard to explain, but it is a kind of automatic juxtaposition of specific present situations and people into the past. I do this constantly, in every social interaction and sometimes write about the past through that channel of imagination."

Lifetime achievement awards are a time for stepping back and looking at the impact of one's career — one's legacy.

"I usually write about rural places and situations and am drawn to socio-historical change as background (or foreground, depending on your perception)," she wrote in her email. "The French Annales approach to history through the lives of ordinary or working class people has guided my outlook. In the work structural backgrounds have included the disappearance of Vermont hill farms, immigration, homophobia, the shift from traditional rodeo, returning veterans, the incursion of hog farms, the collapsing Newfoundland cod fishery before the Moratorium, deforestation.

"How this all shakes out into a legacy I have no idea — it's more a defining characteristic of the way I look at the world I have lived in. I feel writers have a responsibility to nail down a piece of the time they inhabit."

4 detained in probe linked to film on Russian czar's affair

Russian police say they have detained four people suspected of an arson attack linked to a movie about the last Russian czar's affair with a ballerina.

"Matilda," which is set to be released in October, has sparked harsh criticism from hard-line nationalists and some Orthodox believers in Russia.

Two cars were set on fire earlier this week outside the office of the attorney for the film's director and signs reading "burn for Matilda" were reportedly found near the scene. Last month, assailants tried to set fire to the director's film studio.

Police spokeswoman Irina Volk said in a statement Thursday that three of the detained have been charged with arson. They include Alexander Kalinin, the leader of an obscure Christian Orthodox group who has publicly condoned the attacks.

12-year-old ventriloquist wins 'America's Got Talent'

A 12-year-old singing ventriloquist is getting a $1 million prize and her own Las Vegas show after taking the "America's Got Talent" crown on the season 12 finale of the NBC reality competition.

Darci Lynne Farmer, of Oklahoma City, beat out another youngster, 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale, for the 'AGT' title Wednesday by garnering the most votes from viewers.

Farmer told The Associated Press after the show that she was "overcome with joy and luckiness." Judge Heidi Klum said the girl "is the full package," adding that "she really touched people's hearts" and "made people laugh at home."

Farmer is the third ventriloquist to win the competition. Season 2 champ Terry Fator performed a duet with Farmer on the season finale and worked with her on her scripts.

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