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Oscars-Ellen's Selfie

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ellen DeGeneres' goal of setting a retweet record with her star-studded selfie was achieved before the Oscars telecast was even over.

During a comic bit, the Oscars host prevailed upon actor Bradley Cooper to take a picture with her and several other stars crowding around, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Long before midnight Sunday, the photo had been retweeted more than 2 million times, breaking a record set by President Barack Obama with the picture of him hugging First Lady Michelle Obama after his re-election in 2012.

Twitter also sent out an apology because all of the retweeting disrupted service for more than 20 minutes after 10 p.m. ET.

New Zealand-Royal Visit

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — British royals Prince William and wife Kate plan to go jet boating and sailing during an adventurous trip Down Under.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by 7-month old son Prince George, plan to spend three weeks in Australia and New Zealand next month, according to a Kensington Palace announcement Monday.

In New Zealand, which is known for its high-adrenaline tourist activities, the royal couple is planning to take a ride on a jet boat on the Shotover River in Queenstown and to try match racing on America's Cup sailboats. They'll also watch a rugby tournament as well as participate in the more traditional rounds of meetings, events and memorials.

In Australia, the couple plans to visit Uluru, the stunning Outback sandstone formation that's also known as Ayers Rock.

Boy Scouts-Disney

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Walt Disney Company will cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 because of a policy that bans gay adult leaders in the organization.

Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, said in a statement Sunday that the decision will affect the organization's ability to serve children.

Disney does not provide direct funding to the Boy Scouts, but it donates money to some troops in exchange for volunteer hours completed by Disney employees.

Smith says the program has provided small grants to local Scout troops and packs.

David Jefferson, chief spokesman for The Walt Disney Company, did not respond to calls or emails.

The Boy Scouts lifted a ban on gay youth last year, but a ban on gay adult leaders remains.

Yosemite-Half Dome Lottery

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Park rangers say hikers can now apply for permits to ascend the summit of Yosemite National Park's iconic Half Dome.

A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed on the metal cables on the mountain's steep granite shoulder each day. Reservations are required, and a limited number of permits for this year can be obtained through a lottery system that started on Saturday.

The 17-mile trail is strenuous with a 4,800 feet elevation gain, and it is dangerous when wet.

The route had been inundated with thousands of visitors a day, so in 2011, park officials instituted a permit lottery for daily access to increase safety.

The lottery system will end March 31, but about 50 additional permits per day will be available through a two-day-in-advance lottery during the hiking season.

Hip-Hop Street Art

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was the lyrics of hip-hop artist Big L that launched a contemporary art project that has graced more than a hundred intersections in New York and Los Angeles.

Artist Jay Shells was in his New York City studio last year, painting while listening to the rapper when some lyrics booming through the room grabbed his attention:

"On 139 and Lenox Ave, there's a big park. And if you're soft, don't go through it when it gets dark."

Shells immediately got the idea to put Big L's words on a street sign and hang it at that very intersection.

A year later, Shells has put up scores of carefully drawn, hand-screened signs featuring the words of other rappers. In April, he'll put 90 of the signs at an LA gallery.

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The Associated Press

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