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President Obama

Cuban Cigar Crisis ...

La Foto Es Verdad!!

12/18/2014 4:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

1218_barack_obama_cigar_photos_launchMove over Monica ... there's a new controversial cigar in the White House -- a Cuban fingered by President Obama in a photo many thought was fake, but we've learned it's the real deal. 

The original pic shows Obama Wednesday night ... sampling the aroma of what's alleged to be a Cuban cigar. It was posted on Reddit Thursday morning, and immediately the Internet started tearing it apart as a Photoshop job. 

TMZ has obtained several high-res pics of POTUS' run-in with the cigar -- and our photo/art experts say everything about them looks legit. Significant ... since Cuba and the U.S. just agreed to open embassies in each other's countries.

According to our D.C. sources ... the hand-off went down during the White House Hanukkah party -- when an invitee walked up and said, "Mr. President, here's a Cuban." Obama proceeded to give it a huge sniff and then held on to the gift. It's unclear if he pocketed it or handed it to the Secret Service. 

Considering Michelle Obama -- who's been known to make a stink about Barack's cigarette smoking -- was standing right next to him ... we're guessing he ditched it.

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Justin Bieber

Blazin' Again ...

But Not Like That

less than a minute ago BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Justin Bieber Racing
Justin Bieber was caught speeding in the valley and it's cost him thousands ... which is just how he planned it.

Biebs was down for a little late night go-kart action Wednesday night for a bud's b-day ... and dropped a few grand for an after-hours, all-access adrenaline session at MB2 Raceway.

We're told ... JB arrived with a dozen friends -- including Hailey Baldwin. We're told he dropped $2,700 ... the cost of burning rubber for 2 hours.

The staff gladly stuck around ...  Justin threw them an extra $500.

Go Biebs Racer ... Go!

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Soulja Boy

I Scored a Deal

For My Loaded Gun Case

11 minutes ago BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Soulja Boy DealSoulja Boy cut a deal Thursday ... but he wasn't signed to a new record label -- the rapper copped a plea in his loaded gun case ... and the gun in question will soon be history.

Soulja pled no contest Thursday to carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle ... in return, the possession charge was dropped.

Soulja was also sentenced to 24 months summary probation and 170 hours of community service.

As for the gun ... according to the deal it will be destroyed.

Case closed.

Kenny Anderson

Having Met Kim Jong-un ...

I Know Sony Should Back Off

16 minutes ago BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1218-kenny-anderson-the-interview-01Former NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson says Sony Pictures absolutely did the right thing by pulling "The Interview" out of theaters ... and adds he can't figure out why they made it in the first place.

Kenny actually met Kim Jong-un when he went to North Korea in January as part of Dennis Rodman's goodwill team of ex-NBA players. He tells TMZ Sports ... "I was trippin' when I saw the movie preview. Why would they want to ruffle their feathers? They already hate America."

Kenny says Kim Jong-un actually treated him very well while he was there -- but admits he was ignorant to the atrocities committed by Kim's regime ... until he got back stateside. 

He says he's confused about the plan to greenlight 'Interview' .. but adds, "I think they might've been trying to make Americans aware of some of the stuff that happens over there."

As for the financial hit Sony stands to take -- Kenny says the money's not as important as human lives. As he puts it, "Sometimes it's best to cut your losses."

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

Hey Sony,

You Owe America 'The Interview'

21 minutes ago BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Jon Huntsman Jr Sony The Interview
Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Hunstman, Jr. isn't scared of North Korea and doesn't think Sony should be either ... and he thinks Sony screwed up by shelving 'The Interview.'

Our D.C. photog felt Hunstman was the perfect person to ask, since he's North Korea adjacent, having served as U.S. Ambassador to both Singapore and China.

The former presidential hopeful had some friendly advice for Sony: Don't let anybody stand in the way of what you do best ... making movies.

Has he seen 'White House Down?'

"TOY SOLDIERS"

SINGER MARTIKA

'MEMBA HER?!

31 minutes ago BY TMZ STAFF

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After a stint on the TV show "Kids Incorporated" -- Martika gained fame for singing the chart topping 1989 song "Toy Soldiers" and the not as popular songs "More Than You Know" and "I Feel The Earth Move." Guess what she looks like now!

In other news...

This Might Be The Most Fierce You'll Ever See Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato ditched almost all her makeup and got dressed up in some futuristic outfits for a photo shoot and ... HOT DAMN she looks good!

SEE MORE »

Ray Rice

All Is Forgiven ...

Surrounded by Fans at Kids Event

12/18/2014 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

1218-ray-rice-instagram-02Ray Rice is back in the good graces of many Baltimore Ravens fans ... who flocked to him last night during a Christmas charity event.

Ray and Janay Rice went to a Toys for Tots drive organized by his ex-teammate Torrey Smith -- and no one shied away from Ray as he walked around the event. In fact, he and Janay posed for several pictures with people during his first public appearance since his suspension was overturned.

Organizers say this is the 3rd consecutive year that Rice has pitched in with the charity.

He told a reporter for WJZ ... "I just made a horrible mistake in my life but you know, if they truly believe in second chances - they would forgive me "

We've said it before -- comebacks happen all the time.  
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Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The Cham-Pee-On

Of Saks Fifth Ave.

39 minutes ago BY TMZ STAFF
TMZ TV

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. has won yet another fight … this time against a woman at Saks Fifth Avenue who tried to stop him from using the bathroom -- even though he's undefeated at department store pissers!

Yes, even when there's a private event going down. 
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Beyonce, Jay Z

Lose Bidding War for Epic L.A. House

12/18/2014 3:06 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1218_beyonce_jay_z_beverly_hills_home_launchA 35-year-old Swedish video game programmer just got the prized house that Jay Z and Beyonce also wanted ... TMZ has learned.

Our real estate sources tell us ... Markus Persson plunked down $70 million cash for a 23,000 square foot palace in Bev Hills.

Markus can afford it ... he sold his company, Mojang -- which created the video game Minecraft -- to Microsoft for $2.5 BILLION.

As we reported, Beyonce and Jay Z visited the house multiple times and made an offer but Markus beat them out at 70.  

The other winners ... realtors Branden Williams and Ben Bacal who get a big fat commission check.

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In other news...

You Walked Outside Wearing What?!

Shannen Doherty stepped out wearing a pair of Daisy Dukes and a button-up vest ... that wasn't buttoned up.

Can she get away with this look?

SEE MORE »

New 'Voice' Champ

Digging a Hole ...

With Fans Already

12/18/2014 6:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
TMZ TV

121814_tv_tune_in_craig_wayne_boyd_launch_V3Craig Wayne Boyd just won "The Voice" and he's already got fans flocking around him in NYC ... which would be awesome -- except for the fact he blew off a bunch of them. 

CWB -- not just a great singer, but a great hole digger!
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TMZ Live

Gangster Rappers:

Why Won't the Grammys Show Us Love?

12/17/2014 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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HERE'S THE RUNDOWN
  • Big Celebs Come to Amy Paschal's Defense
  • Britney Spears Accused of Some Major Photoshoppin'
  • Stephen Collins Finally Speaks about Molestation Allegations
  • Taylor Swift's B-Day Sold a Load of S**t!

In other news...

Of Course Nicki Minaj Suffered A Nip Slip In This Shirt

You're pretty much just waiting for Nicki's boobs to pop out of this shirt, so it was no surprise when one did.

SEE MORE »

CM Punk

Laughs Off Green Ranger Challenge

For UFC Debut

12/18/2014 2:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Video

CM Punk UFC Fight Green Ranger CM Punk could choose ANY opponent for his UFC debut ... but it almost certainly won't be the Green Power Ranger -- not based on CM's reaction to the guy's name, anyway.

The former WWE champ was in NYC Thursday when he told our photog how training is going for his first bout in the Octagon. His new UFC contract was announced earlier this month.

CM wouldn't name names yet as far as his first opponent -- looks like he's enjoying the speculation. But you gotta see his reaction when we bring up Jason David Frank -- a former Power Ranger who's been calling out Punk. He's clearly not impressed.

Go go ... go to sleep.

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Rev. Al Sharpton

Meets with Amy Pascal

All Talk, Let's See Some Action

12/18/2014 2:22 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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Al Sharpton is willing to give Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal a chance to prove she'll do the right thing for African Americans, but he says, "The proof is in the pudding and you don't know until you eat it."

Sharpton tells TMZ he met with Pascal for 90 minutes Thursday in NYC, and she admitted she was "wrong and silly" to engage producer Scott Rudin in speculation that Prez Obama only likes "black movies."

Sharpton says the head of the National Urban League was also on hand and told her they were "outraged" by her comments. She said it was "an isolated incident," but Sharpton retorted it was indicative of a bigger problem in Hollywood ... no blacks at the top.

The Rev says he's not calling for Amy's head, but he wants to see real action before making a final decision. The contrition is clearly not complete, because he says he and Amy will sit down for another chitchat next week.

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