Charge won't be pursued against Swift trespasser
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Prosecutors on Thursday declined to pursue a criminal trespassing charge against a Wisconsin man arrested earlier this month for climbing a fence at a Nashville home linked to country star Taylor Swift.
Jacob Kulke, of Marshfield, Wis., will remain in jail in Nashville as he is fighting extradition to Colorado for probation violation. Kulke did not appear in court during his Thursday hearing. The 24-year-old Kulke was arrested Dec. 14 after climbing a fence and a gate at a home in Belle Meade that has been publicly linked to Swift.
The affidavit said Kulke claimed he was in contact with a person at the home through social media. He said he was dating her and it was her birthday and he wanted to surprise her. Swift was overseas at the time her spokeswoman has previously declined to comment on the case.
Sean McKinney, Kulke's attorney, said Thursday that prosecutors discussed the decision not to prosecute with representatives for Swift. He said that Kulke is not guilty of the trespassing charge and said that his client was tricked by someone into believing that he was communicating with the star. Kulke told police he rode a bus to Nashville from Wisconsin, and then took a taxi to the home.
"It is the defense's position that he was misled by someone else," McKinney said. "Mr. Kulke had reasonable belief that he was invited on to the premises."
McKinney said that prosecutors could still bring the charge back within the statutes of limitations, but no restrictions were placed on him by the prosecutors or Swift.
Survey finds increase in e-reading, drop in paper
NEW YORK (AP) -- The tastes of the reading public are turning digital.
A Pew Internet Research Center survey released Thursday found that the percentage of Americans aged 16 and older who read an e-book grew from 16 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year. Readers of traditional books dropped from 72 percent to 67 percent. Overall, those reading books of any kind dropped from 78 percent to 75 percent, a shift Pew called statistically insignificant.
Those owning an e-book device or tablet jumped from 18 percent to 33 percent, with much of that increase coming from last year's holiday season, when millions received Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers as gifts.
Awareness that libraries offer digital texts grew from 24 percent to 31 percent.
The telephone survey of 2,252 people aged 16 and older was conducted from Oct. 15 to Nov. 10. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
Animal rights group settles suit with Ringling
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An animal rights group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle its part of a lawsuit stemming from claims the circus abused its elephants.
The circus company's owners announced the settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Friday. The animal rights group was one of several that in 2000 sued the circus' owner, Feld Entertainment Inc., claiming elephants were abused. Courts later found that the animal rights activists had paid a former Ringling employee to bring the lawsuit and that the man didn't have the right to sue the circus.
The Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment then sued the animal rights groups, accusing them of conspiracy to harm its business other illegal acts. Friday's settlement covers only the ASPCA.
Fans to join Beyonce onstage at Super Bowl
NEW YORK (AP) -- All the single ladies -- and fellas -- will have a chance to join Beyonce onstage at the upcoming Super Bowl.
Pepsi announced Friday that 100 fans will hit the stage when the Grammy-winning diva performs on Feb. 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. A contest that kicks off Saturday will allow fans to submit photos of themselves in various poses, including head bopping, feet tapping and hip shaking. Those pictures will be used in a TV ad introducing Beyonce's halftime performance, and 50 people -- along with a friend -- will be selected to join the singer onstage.
The photo contest -- at www.pepsi.com/halftime -- ends Jan. 19, but Jan. 11 is the cut-off date for those interested in appearing onstage with Beyonce.
Katie Holmes' Broadway play 'Dead Accounts' closes
NEW YORK (AP) -- Katie Holmes' return to Broadway will be much shorter than she would have liked.
The former Mrs. Cruise's play "Dead Accounts" will close within a week of the new year. Producers said Thursday that Theresa Rebeck's drama will close on Jan. 6 after 27 previews and 44 performances.
The show, which opened to poor reviews on Nov. 29, stars Norbert Leo Butz as Holmes' onstage brother who returns to his Midwest home with a secret. Rebeck created the first season of NBC's "Smash" and several well-received plays including "Seminar" and "Mauritius."
Holmes, who became a star in the teen soap opera "Dawson's Creek," made her Broadway debut in the 2008 production of "All My Sons." She was married to Tom Cruise from 2006 until this year.
Composer/pianist Richard Rodney Bennett dies
LONDON (AP) -- British composer, pianist and arranger Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, who was nominated three times for Academy Awards, has died in New York City at age 76.
His publisher Novello & Co. said in a statement Friday that Bennett died on Dec. 24 following a brief illness.
Bennett was nominated for Oscars for the scores for "Far from the Madding Crowd" in 1967, "Nicholas and Alexandra" in 1971 and "Murder on the Orient Express" in 1974.
A student of Pierre Boulez in 1957-58, Bennett's work evolved from the avant-garde to a more tonal style. As a pianist, he performed with singer Claire Martin and he recorded music by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen.
Bennett's extensive output included more than 200 works for the concert hall and 50 scores for film and television, five operas and miscellaneous works including settings of Christmas carols.
"Richard was the most complete musician of his generation -- lavishly gifted as a composer, performer and entertainer in a multiplicity of styles and genres," said Chris Butler, head of publishing for the Music Sales Group in London.
"He was a loyal friend to music, musicians, and music publishing and we will remember him with great respect and affection."
British composer Daryl Runswick said he had benefited from Bennett's help and encouragement.
"He was a cultured gay man and every aspect of his creativity was defined by elegance," Runswick wrote on The Guardian's website.
"He wanted, and achieved, a refined style in both his music and his life: that is why he went to New York, and was so happy there."
Bennett was born March 29, 1936, in Broadstairs near the English Channel coast, but his family moved to the safer area of Devon after war broke out. His mother, who had studied with the composer Gustav Holst and had sung in the first performance of "The Planets," was an early musical influence on her son.
"People ask what was the first piece of music I wrote. There was no first piece," Bennett said in an interview last year with The Guardian newspaper.
"I just scribbled away and eventually a C-major chord was there. I didn't ever decide I was going to be a composer. It was like being tall. It's what I was. It's what I did."
He moved to New York in 1979, following the end of a long relationship and feeling stifled in Britain. Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein supported his application for a green card work permit.
"I was doing a lot of things out of guilt," he said of his departure from Britain.
"I hated teaching composition. I was playing music I didn't particularly want to play, being on committees I didn't want to be on. I wanted to write music, and cook, and play cards, and have a nice time," The Guardian quoted him as saying.
In New York he indulged his passion for jazz, accompanying singer Claire Martin in shows at the Algonquin Hotel and drawing praise from The New York Times as "a sensitive, truly intimate collaborator."
He helped Paul McCartney with his orchestral work "Standing Stone," commenting on sections faxed by the former Beatle.
"I sent him one, thinking it was pretty good," McCartney said. "A few minutes later, I got a fax back with the word 'feeble' scribbled across it.
"I phoned him straight back and said, 'Richard, that's what my teacher wrote on my essays. You're a sensitive artist, and if you don't like something, could you please write, 'That's a little below par?"'
Bennett coached Elizabeth Taylor to sing a nursery rhyme for the film "Secret Ceremony," for which he wrote the musical score. Prince Charles commissioned Bennett in 2005 to write "Reflection on a Scottish Folk Song" in honor of the prince's grandmother, Queen Mother Elizabeth.
Bennett was knighted in 1998. Funeral details were not announced.