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Updated: 2013-12-29 08:18

(China Daily)

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Paquin's scene cut from X-Men film

A scene featuring X-Men film franchise regular Rogue has been cut from the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Director Bryan Singer said that a rescue sequence, which was shot early in the film's production, and featured Magneto (Ian McKellen), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), had been ditched from the final film. "Through the editing process, the sequence became extraneous," said Singer. "It will probably end up on the DVD so people can see it it was just one of the things that had to go. Unfortunately, it was the one and only sequence Anna Paquin was in." Singer was at pains to emphasize the decision had nothing to do with Paquin or with her performance. "She did a fantastic job," he said.

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Man mistakenly shoots stepdaughter

A 14-year-old girl was shot dead by her stepfather in the United States after he reportedly mistook her for a burglar. The incident happened in Colorado Springs, Colorado, just before 6 am on Monday. Reports state the girl may have been trying to sneak into the house through a basement window after a night out when she was shot in the stomach and chest. A 911 caller, presumably the girl's stepfather, informed the operator that a burglar had been shot. A little more than a minute later the operator reported the news that the victim wasn't an intruder. The girl was alive when police arrived at the scene but died later in hospital. The District Attorney's Office will decide what charges, if any, to lay against the girl's stepfather, whose name is being withheld.

Santana's Yuletide surprise

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Musician Carlos Santana has been reunited with one of his former band mates who, unbeknownst to him, had been living on the streets in California. Marcus Malone was interviewed on a TV news report about homeless people in the lead-up to Christmas, claiming he used to be an original member of Santana's band, leaving the group just before they found international fame after performing at Woodstock in 1969. After the interview, the reporter did some research to verify the claim and discovered that Malone was telling the truth. When Santana, 66, heard about the news report, he contacted the station to arrange a meeting with Malone, whom he had lost contact with when the percussionist was sent to prison for three years. After an emotional reunion, Santana has promised to help Malone get back on his feet by getting him an apartment and has offered to allow him to play on Santana's next album with the original band.

Man buys Christmas gifts for homeless

A US man dubbed "The Random Altruist" made Christmas for some homeless people when he bought presents for them last week. The good Samaritan had asked each homeless person what they "really, really wanted for Christmas" and then went ahead and bought the items. Their choice of presents varied from a jumper to a burger to a box of cereal, with one man even asking for a calculator. Upon receiving their gifts, many burst into tears and some even broke out into a celebratory dance. "While most of us want the best phone or the biggest TV for the holidays, there are a lot of people out there who just need the basics like food and clothing," the altruist wrote on his YouTube page. "So this year, instead of shopping for people who already have a lot ... I decided to spend my money shopping for people who don't have much at all."

Bieber tweets 'retirement'

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber spent Christmas teasing fans with his imminent retirement from the music business, posting mixed messages over his Twitter feed. The tweet to the 19-year-old's nearly 48 million followers read: "My beloved beliebers, I'm officially retiring." But it was quickly followed by another message: "I'm never leaving you, being a belieber is a lifestyle." And then: "I'm here forever." The tweets came on the eve of the Christmas Day release of the latest film chronicling the life of the Baby singer called Justin Bieber's Believe. The "retirement" message went out on the night of Christmas Eve and by the following morning had nearly a quarter million retweets and more than 185,000 favorites.

Vatican to take on Church of England

The Vatican will take on the Church of England in a game of cricket, nearly 500 years after the two Churches split. Last October, the Vatican formed the St. Peter's Cricket Club, a league composed of teams of priests and seminarians from Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome. The best players formed a Vatican team, called the "Vatican XI", and recently challenged the Church of England to form its own team of Anglican priests and seminarians to play in London at Lord's, the home of cricket, next September. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the 80 million strong worldwide Anglican communion, accepted the Vatican's challenge last week. The Anglican side will put together a similar team of amateurs from Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and nearby theological schools.

- Agencies

(China Daily 12/29/2013 page4)