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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel could launch a pre-emptive strike to stop Syria’s chemical weapons from reaching Lebanon’s Hezbollah or al-Qaida inspired groups, officials said Sunday,
The warning came as the military moved a rocket defense system to a main northern city, and Israel’s premier warned of dangers from both Syria and Iran.
Israel has long expressed concerns that Syrian President Bashar Assad, clinging to power during a 22-month civil war, could lose control over his chemical weapons.
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Sunday that Israel’s top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. The fact of the meeting, held the morning after a national election, had not been made public before.
Shalom told the Army Radio station that the transfer of weapons to violent groups, particularly the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, would be a game changer.
“It would be crossing a line that would demand a different approach, including even action,” he said. Asked whether this might mean a pre-emptive attack, he said: “We will have to make the decisions.”
Israel has kept out of the civil war that has engulfed Syria and killed more than 60,000 people, but it is concerned that violence could spill over from its northern border into Israel.
Israel deployed its Iron Dome rocket defense system in the northern city of Haifa on Sunday. The city was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire during a war in the summer of 2006. The military called the deployment “routine.”
Iron Dome, an Israel-developed system that shoots down incoming short-range rockets, was used to defend Israeli cities during a round of hostilities with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, on Israel’s southern flank, last November.
Yisrael Hasson, a lawmaker and former deputy head of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency, said Israel was closely following developments in Syria to make sure chemical weapons don’t “fall into the wrong hands.”
“Syria has a massive amount of chemical weapons, and if they fall into hands even more extreme than Syria like Hezbollah or global jihad groups it would completely transform the map of threats,” Hasson told Army Radio.
“Global jihad” is the term Israel uses for forces influenced by al-Qaida. Syria’s rebels include al-Qaida-allied groups.
Syria has rarely acknowledged possessing chemical weapons.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to threats from Syria and Iran at a Cabinet meeting Sunday. Iran is Syria’s main regional ally.
“We must look around us, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies and at what is happening in other areas, with the deadly weapons in Syria, which is increasingly coming apart,” he said.
Israel views Iran as an existential threat because of its nuclear and missile programs and support for violent anti-Israeli groups in Lebanon and Gaza, as well as repeated references by Iranian leaders to Israel’s destruction. Iran denies it is seeking to build atomic weapons, insisting its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
On Friday, Israeli Channel 2 TV broadcast an interview with a former Iranian diplomat who defected to the West in 2010. He warned that if Tehran gets nuclear weapons, it would use them against Israel. He did not provide evidence.
Part of Mohammad Reza Heydari’s job was to draft foreign scientists to work on Tehran’s nuclear program and he brought many from North Korea into Iran, the report said.
Heydari spoke from Oslo, where he has received political asylum.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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