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Tibet to get first KFC next year, amid China expansion

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Entertainment | Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:31am IST


DALLAS KFC is expected to open its first restaurant in Tibet next year, as parent Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N) looks to expand in the Chinese market and shake off a series of food scares and marketing blunders that have severely dented its sales in the country.

A franchisee will open the KFC restaurant, known for its American-style fried chicken, in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in the first half of 2016, Yum said in a statement.

The move comes as the owner of the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands prepares to spin off its business in China. The China unit aims to roughly triple its restaurant count to 20,000 and bring in more franchise partners.

KFC pulled plans to set up shop in Tibet more than a decade ago, saying in 2004 it was not “economically feasible” to enter the region. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader and a staunch vegetarian, opposed Yum’s plans at the time.

As China’s economy stutters, Yum’s 6,900 China restaurants face the challenge of luring diners who increasingly are looking for healthier, local options and going online to hunt for deals.

Yum executives are hosting an investor meeting in Dallas on Thursday, where they are expected to unveil more details about the China spinoff planned for late 2016.

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Peter Cooney)

Source: R-Entertainment

Settlement over 'Happy Birthday' copyright puts song in public domain

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<span class="focusParagraph articleLocation”>A settlement has been reached in a U.S. lawsuit with Warner/Chappell Music over the copyright to “Happy Birthday to You” that will put one of the world’s most recognizable songs in the public domain, according to court papers released on Wednesday and a source close to the case.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed in court papers announcing the settlement, but it puts an end to the class-action lawsuit filed in 2013 by a group of artists and filmmakers who had sought a return of the millions of dollars in fees the company had collected over the years for use of the song.

Once the settlement is finalised, the song will be in the public domain, the source said. That means it will be free for all to use without fear of a lawsuit.

In September, Chief U.S. District Judge George King in Los Angeles ruled that Warner/Chappell, the music publishing arm of privately owned Warner Music Group, did not own a copyright to the Happy Birthday lyrics.

“While we respectfully disagreed with the court’s decision, we are pleased to have now resolved this matter,” Warner/Chappell said in a statement. An attorney for the artists, Mark Rifkin, said in an email they were pleased with the settlement but declined to provide further details.

The case garnered attention from around the world not only because the tune is so commonly performed, but because many people were not aware it was still under copyright, let alone purportedly owned by a major corporation.

The song has a complicated history reaching back to the 1893 publication of “Good Morning to All,” a children’s song written by a Kentucky woman named Mildred Hill and her sister, Patty.

That melody eventually came to be sung with the familiar Happy Birthday lyrics.

Warner contended its copyright to the lyrics came through the Hill sisters’ publisher that it had acquired. But King said that publisher never got the rights to the lyrics and so neither did Warner.

People who sing Happy Birthday in their homes or at private gatherings have typically never been at risk of a lawsuit. But when the song has been used for commercial purposes, such as in films, Warner has enforced its rights, and took in an estimated $2 million in royalties for such uses each year.

The case is Good Morning To You Productions Corp et al v. Warner/Chappell Music Inc, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 13-cv-4460.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Alexia Garamfalvi)

Source: R-Entertainment

Transgender Venezuelan lawmaker vows to fight for gay rights

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CARACAS Venezuela’s first transgender lawmaker says she will fight for gay rights and gender equality, drawing inspiration from a flurry of new laws on marriage and civil unions in the rest of traditionally Roman Catholic Latin America.

After her historic election to the National Assembly as part of an opposition triumph, lawyer and activist Tamara Adrian told Reuters she would seek to change Venezuela’s often “macho” society.

“In Venezuela we don’t have any rights,” Adrian, 61, said of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement.

The lawmaker-elect had to register under her given name Thomas Adrian despite a 2002 sex change, for instance, because Venezuelan law does not allow anyone born male to legally become female or take a woman’s name.

“There are some precarious and isolated rules on the issue of non-discrimination and in the labour sector, but nothing more. We hope to have a law on marriage equality very soon,” she said in her book-filled Caracas office on Tuesday.

Argentina in 2010 became the first Latin American country to allow gay couples to marry and adopt children.

Several other countries have since legalized gay marriage or civil partnerships, defying opposition from the traditionally strong Catholic Church and the increasingly influential Evangelical lobby.

“We have to talk about what countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador have, and what they’re discussing now in Bolivia,” she said.

“In each of these there is the right to maternity, adoption, rights for couples, marriage, protection against discrimination, (or) recognition of transgender identity,” added Adrian.

She also stressed the need for better sexual education and use of contraceptives in Venezuela, which has one of the region’s highest rates of teenage pregnancy, especially in poor sectors.

But Adrian, who ran with the opposition party Popular Will, which includes some of the most outspoken critics of President Nicolas Maduro, stresses she is not a one-issue candidate.

“I have a lot to say in the economic area, about how to get Venezuela out of this deep crisis,” said Adrian, who helped draw up economic laws in the 1990s and also worked as a Central Bank adviser.

Venezuelans are suffering severe shortages of goods ranging from rice to vaccines, income-destroying inflation, and a profound recession.

Long lines for scarce food and medicines have turned many against the ruling Socialist Party, and candidates like Adrian capitalized on the discontent.

The real “urgency” now is fixing the economy, Adrian said.

(Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Tom Brown)

Source: R-Entertainment

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