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Saturday, December 31, 2005
· Airline’s 7-hour delay prompts charges. Six German airline passengers who said they were being held against their will on an aircraft stuck on the runway for hours during a snowstorm have filed "false imprisonment" charges, German police said Saturday.
· Amtrak passengers stuck on train for 20 hours before moving. Exasperated passengers were stuck on an Amtrak train for close to 20 hours while engineers waited for a derailed freight train to be removed. After running out of food and toilet paper, Amtrak arranged to provide free lunches for its outraged passengers.
· Tom Jones Receives Knighthood From Britain. What's new, Pussycat? It's Sir Tom Jones now. The big-voiced singer from Wales was among the new knights of the realm in the New Year list of honors announced Saturday. Jones, 65, joins a group of previous pop-rock knights including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Elton John.
· Police say man hired 12-year-old to torch ex-wife's car. A 12-year-old boy and a 49-year-old man face charges in an alleged arson-for-hire scheme in which the man allegedly paid the boy $125 to torch his ex-wife's car on Christmas Eve.
· Dick Clark set for New Year's homecoming. A year after he was sidelined by a stroke, veteran TV host Dick Clark returns on Saturday night to the annual New Year's eve broadcast he launched in 1972, but it remains unclear whether his Times Square homecoming will end up being a swan song.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Anachronism [a·nach·ro·nism] n. One that is out of its proper, chronological, or historical order, especially a person or practice that belongs to an earlier time. [the sword is an anachronism in modern warfare].
· PETA Staffer Legally Changes Name To KentuckyFriedCruelty.com. A 19-year-old PETA staffer has legally changed his name to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com. Chris Garnett, youth outreach coordinator for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said he changed his name in support of the group's anti-KFC campaign. "People don't believe me at first when I tell them my name, but it never fails to spark a discussion," Garnett, er, KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, said in a statement.
· Model charged in theft. Model Beverly Peele, whose face and figure have graced magazine pages and runways for designers Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Prada and Versace, was charged Wednesday with using stolen credit cards for some $10,000 in purchases to furnish her Saugus home.
· $14,000 a night? N.Y. hotel rates are soaring. The Days Inn Brooklyn sits on a charmless block in a working-class neighborhood 30 minutes by subway from the nearest tourist spot in Manhattan. Security glass encloses the front desk. Breakfast is packaged commercial pastry, served from a rack in a closet-sized lobby. The clean but drab rooms overlook train tracks. Everything about the place says budget travel, except the price - $229 per night.
· Thousands Of Inmates Released? Um, No. The automated telephone call shook Karla Edwards so badly she couldn't compose herself. On the other end of the phone, a message was telling her the man who was in prison for her sister's slaying had been released. Thousands of Ohio crime victims or their family members received calls from a computer notification system Friday mistakenly telling them inmates had been released, a spokesman said.
· Katrina sent sex offenders off the radar. Governors in states that accepted Katrina evacuees are being urged to locate about 2,000 registered sex offenders who fled the Gulf region during the hurricane's mayhem and may have vanished from legally required tracking.
Friday, December 30, 2005
· N.J. Grandma Will Be First Baby Boomer To Turn 60. A New Jersey mother and grandmother is turning 60 on New Year's Day, and she has the distinction being the very first baby boomer, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time. There are about 79 million boomers, according to USA Today.
· Judge Grants Hinckley Overnight Visits. A federal judge Friday loosened the restrictions on John W. Hinckley Jr., allowing the hospitalized presidential assailant to spend seven overnight visits with his parents in Williamsburg, Va.
· Daughter says father passed her off as wife in 15-year relationship. The Wilmington man charged with repeatedly raping a teenage quadriplegic has fathered two children with his own daughter, his abused offspring revealed Thursday. "He made it look like we were husband and wife," Susan Clelland said of her father, 68-year-old Lawrence Southwood.
· Tiger Woods buys new den in Florida. Tiger Woods turns 30 today and he's been looking to buy himself something. Golf's superstar is reportedly paying $40 million for a 10-acre oceanfront compound on Jupiter Island in Florida.
· "Jump the couch!" Tom Cruise inspires new slang. When Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah's couch, a new slang term was born. And now, "jump the couch" has been named the Slang of the Year by the editors of the Historical Dictionary of American Slang. The dictionary defines "jump the couch" as exhibiting "strange or frenetic behavior."
· Man Breaks Into Woman's Home, Puts Porn On Computer. A woman in California called police to report that an intruder broke into her home and added pornography to her computer. The woman in Fremont said she woke up and was startled to see a stranger typing away on her computer.
· Suspected Lesbian Students Sue Christian School For Expulsion. Two 16-year-olds who were expelled from a Lutheran high school because they were suspected of being lesbians have sued the school for invasion of privacy and discrimination. The lawsuit states that the school's principal said their friendship was "uncharacteristic of normal girl relationships and more characteristic of a lesbian one."
· Cop Attacked By Angry Dogs - Itty-Bitty Angry Dogs. A California police officer is OK after being attacked by a pack of angry dogs. He suffered only minor injuries, including bites to his ankle. Oh - did we mention that the dogs were chihuahuas?
· "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" named most memorable phrase. Call it the wrong phrase at the wrong time but "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" was named on Thursday as president George W. Bush's most memorable phrase of 2005.
· Sam's Club To Sell Health Plans. Sam's Club plans to unveil a new health-insurance offering for some of its customers on Wednesday, making such a service available nationally for the first time. While the coverage is available elsewhere, Extend Benefits will charge Sam's Club members lower administrative fees. It'll cost $150 to establish an account instead of $500, with a monthly administration fee of $4 rather than $5.
· Bowler dies shortly after rolling perfect game. A bowler collapsed and died at a bowling alley shortly after rolling the third perfect game of his life. Ed Lorenz, 69, bowled a 300 on Wednesday in his first league game of the night at Airway Lanes. When the retiree got up to bowl in the fifth frame of his second game, he clutched his chest and fell over. "If he could have written a way to go out, this would be it," said friend Johnny Masters.
· N.Y. Jail For Gay, Transgender Prisoners To Close. One of the nation's few jail dormitories specifically for gay or transgender prisoners is closing. The unit, on New York City's Rikers Island, stopped accepting new inmates last month. Plans call for the specialized unit to be replaced with a new protective custody system available to prisoners who feel threatened, regardless of their sexual orientation.
· W.Va. Police Chief Faces Incest, Sex Abuse Charges. A West Virginia police chief has been arrested on three sex-related charges. State Police said the arrest warrants charge 63-year-old McMechen Police Chief Franklin D. Dunn with one count of incest, one count of sexual abuse by a custodian and one count of second-degree sexual assault.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Exacerbate [ex·ac·er·bate] transitive verb. To make more violent, bitter, or severe; to irritate or make worse [the prosecution's witness may exacerbate her legal problems].
· Marlon Brando's Son Sued by Ex-Wife. Christian Brando, son of late actor Marlon Brando, was sued by his ex-wife and his stepdaughter, who alleged he abused and threatened to kill them, their attorney said Thursday. Deborah Brando and her 13-year-old daughter filed a lawsuit against Brando in Superior Court on Tuesday for violation of their civil rights, assault, domestic violence, battery and emotional distress.
· The plan was solid, but the execution stunk. The two criminal masterminds planned the heist carefully, knowing the courier would have a suitcase full of cash. They waited for his car to pass, then pursued him at high speed, shooting at the vehicle until the courier was forced to pull over. As the courier cowered, the crooks forced open the car's trunk, grabbed the case and fled. Back at their secret hideout, the bandits prepared to force the locks and spring the cash. That's when they noticed their plan had gone horribly wrong. Instead of a suitcase filled with cash, they had seized the courier's first aid kit.
· A&E unearths America's newest roll models. Short skirts and fishnet stockings aside, "Rollergirls" is about friendships, competition, sisterhood and making time in busy lives for this blue-collar pastime and its devoted following in Austin. Away from the roller derby arena, the women who go by names such as Jail Bait, Venis Envy and Miss Conduct hold such jobs as maternity unit nurse, special education teacher and biologist.
· Telemarketer's Call Saves 85-Year-Old's Life. An 85-year-old Illinois man fell and spent the night outdoors before help came in the form of a random caller. Crystal Rozell works for Consumer Direct Marketing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. When she called the elderly man last Thursday morning, he was cold and desperate outside his rural home. His phone could not make outgoing calls.
· Will work for crack. Andrew Uitvlugt, candidate for mayor of Kelowna, British Columbia, proposed in November to coax drug addicts into public jobs, such as trash collection, by rewarding them with crack cocaine, on the theory that the work would be so fulfilling that they would ultimately decline the drugs.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
· Porn Actress Arrested on Child Rape Charge. A porn actress was arrested in Oklahoma on child rape charges after allegedly persuading a high school student to run away from home and have sex with her, authorities said.
· Overstock shares fade as CEO warns of 'drugs or dead body' caper. Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne continues to break new ground as the head of a publicly traded company. In a single TV interview last week, he shocked investors by revealing that holiday sales were far below expectations, perplexed the financial crowd by talking about drugs and dead bodies being found in his trunk and initiated a verbal war with billionaire blogger Mark Cuban.
· 'Honor' killings shock Pakistan. Nazir Ahmed appears calm and unrepentant as he recounts how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor." Ahmed said he killed his daughters so they would not commit adultery when they grew up. Hundreds of women are murdered by male relatives each year in this Islamic nation.
· Nevada tanning salon gets 9/11 loan. A Texas golf course, a Nevada tanning salon and an Illinois candy shop were among small businesses that may have improperly received U.S. subsidized loans intended for firms hurt by the September 11 attacks, an internal government watchdog has found.
· Teen runs away - to Iraq. Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border, leaving him alone in the middle of the desert. Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation. And he didn't even tell his parents.
· Tom Cruise Voted Most Irritating Star Of All Time. Maybe it was jumping on Oprah's couch. Or perhaps it was his testy interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today" show, or his constant expressions of love for his fiancee, Katie Holmes. Maybe it was all of those things combined that prompted British movie fans to name Tom Cruise the most irritating actor in Hollywood.
· College Student Sues Over Mistaken Drug Bust. When college freshman Janet Lee packed her bags for a Christmas trip home two years ago, her luggage contained three condoms filled with flour - devices that she and some friends made as a joke. Philadelphia Airport screeners found the condoms, and their initial tests showed they contained drugs. The College student was arrested on drug trafficking charges and jailed. Three weeks later, she was released after a lab test backed her story, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.
· Student cashes in with $million Web idea. Alex Tew turned his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots which he sells for a dollar a dot to anyone who wants to put up their logo. So far they have bought up 911,800 pixels. Tew's home page now looks like an online Times Square, festooned with a multi-colored confetti of ads.
· 'Bronx Tale' Actor Says He's Sorry For Cop Slaying. A young "Sopranos" actor accused in the slaying of an off-duty police officer said in a jailhouse interview he's sorry and didn't know his alleged burglary accomplice was carrying a gun.
· UPS worker goes postal. A 56-year-old woman is found riddled with bullets, her body set ablaze in her northwest Detroit home. A 23-year-old United Parcel Service worker is discovered in a pool of blood near trash bins in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
· Baby Sitter Charged In Case Of Drunk 2-Year-Old. A 37-year-old man was charged with child endangerment after one of two toddlers he was baby-sitting was found drunk, authorities said. The deputies had noticed the 2-year-old was having difficulty standing, had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol and was lethargic.
· Fresh Prince Fraud Behind Bars. Carlos Lomax, the guy who stole Will Smith's identity and ran up nearly $33,000 in credit card debt in the actor's name, was sent back to prison Tuesday after violating the terms of his probation.
· PlayStation Graffiti Ads Spark Controversy. Sony scouted out an unusual place to advertise its PlayStation Portable before the holidays: the side of an abandoned building in a gritty North Philadelphia neighborhood. The black-on-white graffiti shows wide-eyed cartoon characters riding the PlayStation like a skateboard. But there's no mention of the Sony or PlayStation brands - nor any hint the wordless display is an ad. The stealth marketing campaign has popped up in San Francisco, New York and other large cities.
· Photographer Not Charged in Lohan Crash. The photographer whose collision with actress Lindsay Lohan helped prompt California to adopt an anti-paparazzi law won't be charged with a crime, the district attorney's office said. Deputy District Attorney William Hodgman said there was no evidence photographer Galo Cesar Ramirez deliberately crashed his minivan into Lohan's Mercedes-Benz.
· Accused Nazi ordered deported from U.S. A federal immigration judge Wednesday ordered an Ohio man accused of having served as a Nazi death-camp guard deported to his native Ukraine. John Demjanjuk, a retired Cleveland-area autoworker, has 30 days to appeal. A federal judge found in 2002 that Demjanjuk, now 85, had been a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where a quarter of a million people were killed during World War II, and at two other concentration camps.
· Surfing up for women, but Web gaps remain. Once the playground for young techie guys, the Internet in recent years has been dominated by women as the overall gender gap closed, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
· NSA "accidently" places tracking cookies on its website. The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them. These files, known as "cookies," disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake. Nonetheless, the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States.
· Stallone Magazine Allowed to Stay on Sale. Sylvester Stallone can keep his magazine, Sly, on newsstands despite the complaints of an Internet magazine with the same name that a judge suggested was more of a shoe "fetish" publication. Judge Richard Casey said the 59-year-old actor, who gained fame in the "Rocky" movies, could continue to produce the fitness magazine for middle-age men even though it carries the same title as the Internet magazine.
· Mayor defends Fire Chief despite explosion. Bergenfield, NJ Mayor Richard Bohan may be regretting his decision to hold a news conference to proclaim the town's support of Fire Chief John Pampaloni. Bohan grew upset and annoyed with reporters as they kept asking him to explain why he thought the chief was being unfairly criticized for failing to detect the gas leak that led to an explosion at an apartment building, killing three tenants.
· Bill Gates buys 80 more Berkshire Hathaway shares. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates last week spent $7.1 million to buy 80 more Class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the investment company run by Warren Buffett. The shares fell $100 to $88,500 per share in Wednesday trading.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
· Teen Who Made Blog 'Confession' Gets 5 Years In Prison. A 19-year-old man who confessed on his Weblog to causing a crash that fatally injured his friend was sentenced Wednesday to 5 years in prison, 10 years of probation and a permanent suspension of his driver's license. Ranking was accused of grabbing the steering wheel from the back seat as a prank.
· Ohio justice scolded for drunk driving. A panel of state appellate judges publicly reprimanded Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick on Wednesday, saying her drunken driving conviction violated the state's judicial code of conduct. No other discipline was recommended.
· Nursing home protections 'too costly.' A new Illinois law to protect nursing home residents from sex offenders and other ex-cons is being watered down because of industry concerns that the $10 per person background checks would be too costly.
· Computer Visionary Diebold Dies at 79. John Diebold, a business visionary who preached computerization during the era of Elvis and Eisenhower as the future of worldwide industry, has died at the age of 79. "I was too early," he once said. "It was before the first computer was installed for business use." Diebold laid out his vision of a computerized future with his 1952 book, "Automation," which presented the then-radical notion of using programmable devices in daily business.
· What's Hot In 2006? Trend Watchers Share Predictions. In fashion, designers say look for a return to preppy, collegiate styles, with upturned collars, argyle sweaters and tiny embroidered logos from the 1980s. Waistlines will head north to a more natural place. On the electronics scene, the iPod will remain the must-have device. One electronics writer said there will be massive growth in downloadable video and TV offerings. And satellite radio competitors XM and Sirius are expected to offer even more programming choices.
· 49 Accused of Defrauding Hurricane Fund. The number of people indicted in a scheme that bilked thousands of dollars from a Red Cross fund designated for Hurricane Katrina victims has risen to 49, federal authorities said. At least 14 suspects worked at a Red Cross call center in Bakersfield and are accused of helping family and friends file false claims for aid money, said Mary Wenger, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott in Sacramento.
· Marriott Discloses Missing Data Files. Marriott International Inc.'s time-share division said yesterday that it is missing backup computer tapes containing credit card account information and the Social Security numbers of about 206,000 time-share owners and customers, as well as employees of the company.
· Officials Backtrack on Oprah Plane Mishap. Officials now say that it was wear and tear, and not a collision with a bird, that damaged the windshield of Oprah Winfrey's private jet and forced it to return to the city airport.
· Glitter 'pays girls' families.' Former British rocker Gary Glitter has paid $4,000 to the families of Vietnamese girls whom he is accused of sexually abusing in exchange for their cooperation, his lawyer says. Attorney Le Thanh Kinh said on Wednesday that Glitter gave $2,000 each to the families of two girls, ages 11 and 12, after they agreed to write letters to the court asking that the case be dropped.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Innocuous [in·noc·u·ous] adj. 1. Having no adverse effect; harmless. 2. Not likely to offend or provoke to strong emotion; insipid. [the seemingly innocuous e-mail actually contained a malicious virus].
· 'Huggy' Teacher Faces More Molestation Charges. Three more charges were filed Tuesday night against a 55-year-old elementary school teacher accused of inappropriately touching children at the school.
· Dunkin' Donuts Ad Actor Michael Vale Dies. Michael Vale, the actor best known for his portrayal of a sleepy-eyed Dunkin' Donuts baker who said "Time to make the doughnuts," has died. He was 83. Vale died Saturday in New York City of complications from diabetes, according to son-in law Rick Reil.
· Comedian Mitch Hedberg Died of OD. Comedian Mitch Hedberg died accidentally in March of "multiple drug toxicity," including cocaine and heroin, Spin magazine reports, citing reports filed by the New Jersey medical examiner's office. Hedberg, 37, died in a hotel room in Livingston, N.J., while on a club tour performing standup. The comedian, who was born with a heart defect, was initially believed to have died from heart failure.
· Jack Black's 'Kong' 'lost weekend.' As if a giant ape weren't enough to get Jack Black going in "King Kong," the actor says he let loose one time while making the film. "I had a bit of a lost weekend while we were doing 'King Kong,"' Black says in the January issue of GQ magazine. "Overall I'm very responsible on set. I'm not one of those dudes who come drunk to the set." "But there was a lost weekend where I had a little time off and I did some Ecstasy and I went on a kind of crazy rampage.
· Mich. companies tout dieting incentives. Losing weight is earning some Michigan workers more than a slimmer waistline. At the Clarkston-based Freedom One Financial Corp., employees who meet weight loss goals are earning tropical vacations. "It's actually selfish," Freedom One President and CEO Mark Wayne told The Detroit News for a Tuesday story. "When somebody feels good, they're healthy, they work harder and they're more focused."
· Dispelling myths about how well a good watch tells time. If this is your first time buying an expensive wristwatch, there is one very important fact you need to know in advance. A $25 Timex or Casio digital watch will keep time just as well as, and possibly better than, a $20,000 solid gold mechanical Omega, Rolex, or other very fine watch.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
· Update: Judge tosses Letterman restraining order. A state judge has lifted a restraining order granted to a Santa Fe woman who accused talk-show host David Letterman of using coded words to show that he wanted to marry her and train her as his co-host. After the hearing, the woman said that if Letterman or any of his representatives came near her, "I will break their legs."
· Actress Tori Spelling Reportedly Engaged. Tori Spelling is engaged, just months after separating from her first husband, People and Us Weekly magazines reported Tuesday. Actor Dean McDermott, who has been dating the former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star for several months, proposed Christmas Eve in Toronto
· Britney Spears' Husband Launches Web Site. Kevin Federline, aspiring rapper and husband of Britney Spears, has unveiled his own Web site. Federline, whose new hip-hop album, "The Truth," is due out in 2006, appears to expect big things in the coming year.
· Fatal Shooting By New Orleans Police Caught On Tape. Police officers shot and killed a man brandishing a knife in a confrontation that was partially videotaped by a bystander, setting off another internal investigation of the embattled department.
· Dozens accused of stealing money Red Cross raised after Katrina. Nearly 50 people have been indicted in a scheme that bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Red Cross program created to put cash into the hands of Hurricane Katrina victims, according to federal authorities.
· Woman Puts Husband's Body In Suitcase After He Dies At Home. Police say a woman put her husband in a suitcase after he died in their New York apartment and left him there. Police say the woman appeared confused about how long her husband had been dead but she said she wanted to take him to Arizona to be buried, as he had wished.
· Munich mastermind spurns Spielberg's peace appeal. The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes died said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg's new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation.
· Woman burned in fire grows new face. More than five years ago Katherine Dowling was badly burned in a house fire. A year ago, she discovered a procedure called Isolagen, which has healed the skin on her face.
· Former major league baseball pitcher charged with robbing store. Former major league pitcher Jeff Reardon is charged with robbing a Palm Beach Gardens jewelry store. Police said the 50 year old walked into Hamilton Jewelers at the Gardens Mall about 11:50 a.m Monday. He's accused of handing an employee a note that said he had a gun and the store was being robbed.
· Update: Swallowing Cell Phone May Not Be Voluntary. A woman who police thought deliberately tried to swallow her cell phone during an argument with her boyfriend was apparently the victim of an assault instead, authorities said. "It appears she didn't voluntarily swallow this phone," Sgt. Allen Kintz said. "It's not quite the way it was first portrayed."
· Amazon says it had best season ever. Amazon.com announced that the 2005 holiday season finished as its best ever, with the company surpassing 108 million items ordered for the first time. On the peak day this season, Amazon's worldwide fulfillment network shipped over 2.7 million units.
· Oprah's Jet Grounded After Striking Bird. A bird has left its mark on Oprah Winfrey's private jet. The Gulfstream jet had to return to the airport in Santa Barbara, California, Mondayafter it struck a bird after takeoff. The impact cracked the jet's windshield.
· Cops doomed by elements. A perfect storm of deadly conditions - broken warning gates, a raised lift bridge, blinding fog and a driving rain - doomed two Jersey City cops on Christmas night. Officers Shawn Carson, 40, and Robert Nguyen, 30, were dispatched to the Lincoln Highway bridge, which connects Jersey City to Kearny, to help warn motorists of the broken gates. As they helped set up flares and cones, they never saw the bridge rise to allow a tugboat to pass. "Everything in the universe that could have gone wrong, did go wrong," said Lt. Tom Comey of the Jersey City police.
· Man who died after 9 years in coma unknown. New York police are trying to identify a crime victim who died after nine years in a coma. Otherwise he will be buried in a potter's field. Police are urging anyone who might know him to come forward, the New York Post said.
· Two CBS Sitcoms Can Now Be Viewed Online. Joining the trend of TV shows migrating to the Internet, a pair of episodes from the CBS comedies "Two and a Half Men" and "How I Met Your Mother" are being offered for free video streaming this week from the Yahoo! Web site. Available through next Monday, the half-hour shows, which aired earlier this season, will be available in their entirety and without commercials.
Monday, December 26, 2005
· Character Actor Vincent Schiavelli Dies. Character actor Vincent Schiavelli, who appeared in scores of movies, including "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Ghost," died Monday at his home in Sicily. He was 57, dying from lung cancer.
· Mobile phones to announce 'you've been indicted.' South Koreans may look at their mobile phones with some trepidation in the new year because prosecutors will start telling people they have been indicted via text messages, an official said Monday. The indictments by text messages are not intended to take people by surprise. "People will receive a text message of a legal notice only after they apply for the service," he said.
· Slasher-Santa Display For Sale. For the man who has everything - or someone really desperate to find a last-minute gift - Joel Krupnik and Mildred Castellanos have an answer: Their red-suited Santa Claus figure, holding a bloody knife in one hand and a severed doll's head in the other, went up for auction on Christmas Day.
· Reindeer Animal Rights Group Sues Bush For Abuse. Reindeer, buffalo and a Marin County farm animal protection group sued President Bush and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Friday in federal court in San Francisco for allegedly allowing inhumane slaughter.
· ABC Bids Farewell to Monday Night Football. If you were ready for some football, it was the place to be for 35 seasons on Monday nights. Tonight, the NFL bids farewell to ABC, with the New England Patriots playing the New York Jets.
· N.J. cops plunge into river. Two Jersey City police officers driving in an emergency-service truck plunged into the Hackensack River last night off an open drawbridge. Authorities said the driver of the emergency-squad truck carrying the officers apparently failed to notice that Jersey City's Hackensack River Bridgewas in the up position.
· White House Aids Playboy Playmate in Court. Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith has an unusual bedfellow in the Supreme Court fight over her late husband's fortune: the Bush administration. The administration's top Supreme Court lawyer filed arguments on Smith's behalf and wants to take part when the case is argued before the justices.
· Clark, Philbin to Host Competing Bashes. New Year's Eve is the biggest party night of the year, and television is among the most youth-obsessed media, so guess who will be the top hosts this weekend when the ball drops in Times Square? A couple of guys in their 70s, that's who. Dick Clark and Regis Philbin have long cultivated a sort of ageless appeal, and that will be put to the test during New Year's Eve specials on ABC and Fox, respectively. Clark partner Ryan Seacrest and NBC's Carson Daly are also on duty.
· Oprah gives best friend a man? What did Oprah Winfrey get her best friend, Gayle King, for the holidays? Apparently, a man. A source close to the best buds say that the queen of talk has hooked King up with none other than one of her other pals, gospel star BeBe Winans.
· Excommunicated priest holds ‘illicit’ Mass. At least 1,500 people attended Christmas Eve Mass presided by an excommunicated Roman Catholic priest, despite warnings from the archbishop that participating would be a mortal sin.
· Bezos brings space race to Kent as he plans a passenger rocket. The new space race has touched down in Kent, where Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos is building a rocket-ship complex set to open early next year. Blue Origin, Bezos' aerospace company, will use the facility to design and build spacecraft and engines.
· Feds rack up $39 million Katrina credit tab. Federal employees helping Katrina victims charged more than $39 million on government credit cards for disaster relief items, and Congressional investigators want to make sure the taxpayers got a good deal. One senator, citing past abuse, wants to know whether anyone used the cards for holiday shopping. Many of the goods, which included $60,639 for sleeping bags and $713 for four 27-inch televisions, were bought at retail rather than cheaper volume prices.
· College student wins $46-million Florida lottery. Christmas has come early for one Florida college student. April Martin said her father actually bought the ticket, and gave it to her when he discovered it had the winning numbers.
· Christmas package thieves arrested. Three Waltham men were arrested on Wednesday and charged with stealing packages from the mailboxes and doorsteps of Weston homes shortly after a UPS truck delivered them, police said.
· Returns, Sales Signal Retailers' 'Second Season'. Shoppers who didn't get what they want for Christmas may find it on sale now. Retailers are expanding hours and offering deep discounts on items that weren't bought before the holidays.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
· Behind the beard and the red suit, a big business. Santa Claus starts his day on the treadmill. It helps keep his knees from getting sore when he crouches to greet a reluctant child. Santa eats an occasional salad. He can't afford to get indigestion or the flu during the holiday season. For children, Santa may be magical. But for the malls, Santa is serious business, and often earn Santas between $3,000 and $20,000 for the season.
· Those in 20s Join Quest to Retain Looks. Forget "40 is the new 30." Now even twentysomethings are joining the quest for eternal youth by using anti-aging products and wrinkle treatments. "Instead of starting when you're 40 or 45, you might as well start now," says Joanne Katsigiannis, a 24-year-old from suburban Chicago who's been using anti-aging products for about two years.
· Stars turn backs on America's troops in Iraq. During world war two American troops away from home for Christmas were entertained by Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby and the Marx Brothers. Even in Vietnam Bob Hope was guaranteed to put in an appearance. But soldiers in Iraq are more likely to get a show from a Christian hip-hop group, a country singer you have probably never heard of and two cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys.
· Mom Fights Downloading Suit on Her Own. It was Easter Sunday, and Patricia Santangelo was in church with her kids when she says the music recording industry peeked into her computer and decided to take her to court. Santangelo says she has never downloaded a single song on her computer, but the industry didn't see it that way.
· Stolen Puppy Returned To Family In Time For Christmas. A poodle puppy that had been stolen from its 10-year-old owner two days ago was returned Friday, along with a stocking full of dog toys, just in time for Christmas.
· Judge Lets Man Change Name To Jesus Christ. Manhattan man's holiday spirits soared to celestial heights this weekend when a judge gave him permission to change his name to Jesus Christ. Jose Luis Espinal, 42, of Washington Heights, said he was "happy" and "grateful" that the judge approved the change, effective immediately.
· Spanish royal family 'creates' holiday photograph. A holiday photograph of Spain's king and queen surrounded by their seven grandchildren was indeed too good to be true. The traditional New Year's picture was not real but rather a montage pieced together, the royal press office said Friday after local media raised suspicions about the snapshot.
· Harlem boys choir gets eviction notice. The world-renown Boys Choir of Harlem, struggling under multi-million dollar debt and sexual abuse allegations, is facing eviction. New York City has asked the group to leave the public school where it practices for free by January 31, 2006.
· Snowboarder Fined After 3-Day Search. A man who said he got lost while snowboarding and was rescued after three days in the woods has been cited for violating the Colorado Skier Safety Act and carrying a concealed weapon.
· Mugging It Up. These allegedly lawless ladies and gentlemen are some of the best mugshots of the year, and should be commended for their awful hair, unfortunate clothes, array of bandages, and goofy smiles.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
· Santa is on the move. Radar, satellites and jet fighters are tracking the travels of Santa Claus this Christmas Eve. It's the 50th anniversary of the tradition involving NORAD personnel. Earlier Saturday, Santa was spotted near Fiji, Japan. Later, his sleigh was seen speeding across Germany.
· Shopper Pays for Marine's Engagement Ring. A Marine who's planning to marry a Texan got an early Christmas present: A fellow shopper picked up the tab for a $3,000 diamond engagement ring after the two struck up a conversation in a jewelry store.
· Deaf girl hears Jingle Bells for the first time. Josie Caven, who was born deaf, will be able to hear Christmas carols for the first time after having cochlear implants in both ears. Josie, 12, beamed with delight as she listened to Jingle Bells for the first time. "It is so nice to hear music, especially Christmas carols," she said.
· Woman swallows cell phone to end fight. A lovers’ dispute over a cell phone ended suddenly when the woman swallowed the phone whole, police said. Police said they received a call at 4:52 a.m. Friday from a Blue Springs man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. When they arrived at the house they found the 24-year-old woman had a cell phone lodged in her throat.
· The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years. With the holidays in full swing, and as folks shop for the right gear to give their loved ones, join PC World as they visit with the ghosts of gadgets past and present.
· Foxy Brown sticks tongue out at NY judge. A judge on Friday ordered hip-hop artist Foxy Brown handcuffed to her seat in court until she apologized for sticking out her tongue during a hearing stemming from the rapper's 2004 arrest on assault charges.
· Old aunt spurned by Sting. The aunt of rock star Sting got a letter from the Queen on her 100th birthday — but no card from her famous nephew. Rose Sumner — widow of Sting’s dad’s brother Ernie — celebrated her big day with family. Ms. Sumner said “it would have been nice” if Sting had remembered her big day, but added: “I realize that he’s busy being a rock star.”
Word of The Day by WordThink
Austere [aus·tere] adj. 1. Markedly simple without adornment or ornamentation. [an austere office] [an austere style of writing]. 2. Strict or stern in appearance or manner [an austere critic].
· Man mistakenly left in jail for 15 months. A man was jailed for more than a year without seeing a lawyer as he waited for a repeatedly postponed court hearing, gaining release only after a cellmate told an attorney about the case. Walter Mann Sr., 69, was released December 16 after a year and three months - more than twice the time he would have served if he had been convicted in his contempt-of-court case.
· Midway Plane Crash Passenger Sues Airline, City. A woman who was aboard a Southwest Airlines jet when it slid off the end of a runway at Midway Airport in a snowstorm earlier this month sued the airline and the city on Friday. Bernice James' lawsuit claims the Dallas-based airline was careless and negligent in landing the plane on the snowy runway on Dec. 8, causing her to suffer "severe fear and terror, emotional distress" and physical injuries.
· Sweet surprise for See's clerk who lost her ring in chocolates. Thea Sawyer, who did the right thing, doesn't want $2,500 for doing it. "The right thing to do is the right thing to do,'' the San Jose yoga teacher said after returning a diamond ring she found in a bag of candy. "It's not that big a deal.' Last week, Sawyer bought a gift basket of chocolates at a See's candy store in Saratoga, and sales clerk Wanda Estrada put it in a bag for her. When Sawyer opened the bag on Wednesday and removed the candy basket, she noticed a gold ring with three large diamonds at the bottom.
· Cheney's iPod Takes Top Priority on Extended Flight. After a four-day overseas trip that took him to four countries in the Middle East, Vice President Dick Cheney really wanted to get his iPod charged for that long return flight to Washington. Since it is his plane, the vice president's iPod took priority and was plugged into one of the only working power outlets on Air Force Two, frustrating reporters who were trying to file stories.
· New Year To Come 1 Second Late. The year 2006 has been postponed. But not for long. The U.S. Naval Observatory says a leap second will be inserted in the world's clocks just before midnight Greenwich mean time on New Year's Eve.
· 'Munich' Backlash Well Under Way. Prior to this weekend's opening of "Munich," the award-winning director's latest film, critics were already lashing out after the movie was screened for Jewish leaders in New York. Based on the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics by the Palestinian Black September group, "Munich" follows a Mossad hit squad assigned to strike back.
· Wrong Number Lands Man In Jail. Police said Randy Wessel thought he was calling his buddy to tell him about stealing a car from a pizza deliveryman. Unfortunately for him, the person on the other end of the phone was an undercover police officer.
· FBI Tracks Radiation At Mosques, Other Sites. A classified radiation monitoring program, conducted without warrants, has targeted private U.S. property in Seattle and other cities in an effort to prevent an al-Qaida attack, federal law enforcement officials confirmed Friday. While declining to provide details including the number of cities and sites monitored, the officials said the air monitoring took place since the Sept. 11 attacks and from publicly accessible areas - which they said made warrants and court orders unnecessary.
Friday, December 23, 2005
· Mike Myers and Wife Decide to End Marriage. "Austin Powers" star Mike Myers and his wife, Robin Ruzan, are ending their 12-year marriage, a spokeswoman said Friday.
The 42-year-old actor-comedian and Ruzan, a writer and actress, were married in May 1993. They have no children.
· Wife of Congressman Involved in Bar Fight. The wife of Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers has been accused of punching a woman in the eye during a bar fight. A spokesman for Monica Conyers, a city councilwoman-elect, confirmed Friday that she was involved in an altercation. But he said Conyers merely defended herself after being attacked by another woman.
· Privacy laws keep families apart. Efforts to locate 500 children still classified as missing after Hurricane Katrina are stalled because the Federal Emergency Management Agency, citing privacy laws, has refused to share its evacuee database with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to investigators tracking the cases.
· Jolie, Johansson and now Theron say no to 'Bond.' It has been a jinx so far for Casino Royale, the next James Bond thriller. This time Jinx is not the name of the Bond girl but rather the lack of one. The girls who reportedly turned it down include Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Kimberley Davies and now the Oscar-winning Charlize Theron.
· Tall glasses are less 'potent.' If you'd like to make a toast this holiday season without getting too tipsy, try using a tall, slender highball glass rather than a short tumbler, according to a study by a leading food psychology researcher. People tend to pour about 20% to 30% more alcohol in short glasses than taller ones.
· New Home Sales Plummet in November. Sales of new homes plunged in November by the largest amount in nearly 12 years, providing the most dramatic evidence yet that the red hot housing market over the last five years is starting to cool down.
· Bin Laden niece in glamour shots. Wafah Dufour, an aspiring musician and model, is the daughter of the al-Qaeda leader's half-brother Yeslam. She appears stripped to ostrich feather lingerie, and in a bubble bath, in photos for GQ magazine.
· Jury slaps Wal-Mart with $172 million ruling. Jurors in Oakland, Calif., Thursday awarded $172 million to thousands of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees after deciding that the world's largest retailer violated state law by denying lunch breaks, a court spokesman said.
· Mariah ties Elvis with 17th No. 1 single. Mariah Carey moved a step closer to the Beatles' record of 20 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Thursday as "Don't Forget About Us" ascended one rung to the top of the singles chart in its 11th week. With 17 chart-toppers, she now ties Elvis Presley at No. 2 on the all-time list, and becomes the only artist to post two No. 1 songs on the Hot 100 in 2005.
· Love for sale. The New York Post is reporting that Courtney Love is broke and wants to raise cash by selling her rights to the song catalog of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, and Nirvana. Sources say Love, whose Crosby Street apartment was in foreclosure earlier this year, is looking for $100 million.
· Woman settles after almost being hit by truck. Louise D’Orsi, a former Turnpike Authority toll collector, was stricken with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a mail truck came within two feet of her booth 3 1/2 years ago. She has now dropped her $10 million lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service in exchange for a $94,000 out-of-court settlement.
· Chris Rock's Show Says Santa Doesn't Exist. Yes, Chris Rock, there is a Santa Claus. Parents with young children who happened to watch "Everybody Hates Chris" in the past week had some explaining to do when the character of Rock's brother suddenly told his younger sister that Santa doesn't exist.
· Wahlberg Loses Entourage Member. Mark Wahlberg's real-life entourage is minus one member. Donnie Carroll, the rapper-turned-actor's childhood pal who served as the inspiration for the character Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) on HBO's Entourage, died Sunday of an asthma attack in Boston. He was 39.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
· Paris Testimony Gone Wild. Alleged extortion is so not hot. The man accused of blackmailing Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis was ordered to stand trial Tuesday following testimony from the boob-happy kingpin and a cameo of sorts from Paris Hilton. Francis claimed during the preliminary hearing that Darnell Riley, 28, broke into Francis' Bel-Air home in January 2004, forced the GGW mogul to make a sexually demeaning videotape at gunpoint and then threatened to release it to the Internet unless Riley was paid $500,000.
· Nuns Convicted Of Defacing Missle Silo With Blood Released From Prison. A nun convicted of defacing a missile silo in Colorado has been released from prison after more than two years behind bars. Ardeth Platte, who's 69, was one of three Dominican sisters arrested in October of 2002 for cutting a chain link fence and using baby bottles to dispense their own blood in the shape of a cross on the silo.
· Gubernatorial candidate: Do as I say, not as I do. As attorney general, Charlie Crist rails against spam e-mails. "Spam is an annoying, intrusive form of e-mail that almost all of us receive but few of us want. Much of it can be downright offensive," the AG said in May in his efforts to fight unwanted e-mail. But as a Republican candidate for governor, Crist is annoying Floridians himself by obtaining people's addresses and sending them unsolicited e-mails touting his candidacy and asking for campaign donations.
· Indianapolis Colts Coach Dungy's Son Dies. Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy's son James, 18, was found dead in an apartment near Tampa on Thursday morning. Police said there were no signs of foul play, but did not confirm if the cause of death was suicide.
· Nat'l Huricane Center: 'Oops.' It's been called the storm of the century and a monster, and Hurricane Katrina will almost certainly hold the record for the biggest and costliest natural disaster in the country's history, but what is known now is that Hurricane Katrina was not the lion people thought it was. After examining devices that were dropped into Katrina from hurricane-hunter aircraft and after reviewing readings from weather stations and weather buoys, the National Hurricane Center has concluded that Katrina was only a Category 1 when it hit New Orleans.
· Zellweger, Chesney Union Annulled in L.A. Renee Zellweger's marriage to country crooner Kenny Chesney never existed - at least in the eyes of the law. The couple's union has been annulled by the Los Angeles Superior Court, according to documents obtained this week. Publicists for Zellweger and Chesney did not return calls to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
· Miami serial rape suspect escapes jail. A man accused of raping seven girls and women in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood escaped from jail by crawling through a ceiling vent and then climbing down from the roof using tied-together bed sheets, police said.
· Linda Tripp opens authentic German market. Weihnachts Markt is a traditional German Christmas market plunked down along the Middleburg's main drag. Middleburg resident Linda Tripp (yes, of Clinton scandal fame) and her husband, German architect Dieter Rausch, are serving up bratwurst and other German delights to hungry, if not curious, passersby.
· Hawke Seeks Clemency for N.J. Murderer. Ethan Hawke has asked New Jersey's acting governor to grant clemency to a 65-year-old woman who has been in prison for more than 16 years for murdering her police officer-boyfriend. The 35-year-old actor said in an e-mail Tuesday that his mother knows Melvina McClain, who is serving a 30-year-old sentence for shooting Detective Louis Glenn in a bar in 1986, and that she "believes in her entirely."
· Ice Age Footprints Found. Hundreds of human footprints dating back to the last Ice Age have been found in the remote Australian Outback, an official reported Thursday. The 457 footprints found in Mungo National Park in western New South Wales state is the largest collection of its kind in the world and the oldest in Australia.
· Top 10 fastest growing states. For the 19th straight year, Nevada was the fastest growing state. Its population rose 3.5 percent for the year ended at mid-year in 2005. The population in Arizona, the No. 2 fastest growing state, grew at just under 3.5 percent. The other fastest growing states were Idaho (up 2.4%), Florida (up 2.3%) and Utah (up 2%), in the top five.
· 3 Stabbed at Notorious B.I.G. Record Party. Three people were stabbed early Wednesday at a Manhattan club that was hosting a record-release party for a new collection of duets featuring slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. Detectives also were investigating a shooting near the club, named Exit, that occurred around the same time.
· NYC Transit Strike Boosts Online Shopping. There's one silver lining to the New York City transit strike that has shut down buses and subways, while crippling many businesses. Online retailing - which has enjoyed robust sales this holiday season - is getting a further boost in the season's final days, as New York area shoppers turn to the Internet for last-minute buying.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
· Letterman Lawyers Fight Restraining Order. Lawyers for David Letterman want a judge to quash a restraining order granted to Colleen Nestler of Santa Fe who contends the CBS late-night host used code words to show he wanted to marry her and train her as his co-host. Nestler requested that Letterman, who tapes his show in New York, stay at least 3 yards away and not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering."
· Police Officer Arrested After Two Officers Found Slain. Two Baltimore city police officers, a man and a woman, were found shot to death Wednesday afternoon in a townhome in the Randallstown, Md., area. Baltimore County police said a Department of General Services police officer allegedly shot and killed the two Baltimore City police officers shortly after noon on Wednesday.
· This Santa has just the ticket for cheer. A "Parking Ticket Santa Claus" has been spreading cash as well as Christmas cheer around the English city of Birmingham, a newspaper reported Wednesday. The mystery Santa has placed Christmas cards containing $53 on the windscreens of drivers who have received parking tickets, the Daily Telegraph said.
· Mayor begs Schwarzenegger not to cut ties. The mayor of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian hometown on Tuesday begged the California governor to reconsider his decision to cut ties to the city after locals assailed him for his death penalty stance.
· Embezzled church money buys shore home, breast implants. Instead of feeding children in third-world countries and fixing the leaky roof, a woman used money from First Church of Lansdowne, PA collection plates to buy a shore home and breast implants. "I was very dishonest and selfish," Colleen Lacombe, 34, of Drexel Hill, told Judge Robert C. Wright tearfully.
· Man Caught In Strip Club Ceiling. A 40-year-old man was arrested and charged after he was found crawling around in the ceiling of a Cocoa Beach strip club, according to police. Earl Bushey, 40, of Rockledge, was being held at the Brevard County Jail on $5,000 bond after being arrested over the weekend on burglary and criminal mischief charges.
· "Jesus Juice" Down The Drain. If you were looking forward to soon purchasing "Jesus Juice" wine, well, you'll have to wait a bit longer. The California couple who filed an application to trademark the term so that they could slap it on bottles of merlot have dropped their bid, according to a recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing.
· Teacher sentenced to 2 years for sex with student. A popular former Colorado high school teacher who had sex with a troubled, underage student will spend two years in prison under a plea agreement announced yesterday. Nicole Barnhart, 36, a married mother of two, will be sentenced Jan. 3 on two felony charges.
· Clooney, De Niro Questioned By FBI. Hollywood stars George Clooney, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci have reportedly been interviewed by federal agents during an ongoing investigation into an alleged racketeering scandal. The actors are reportedly friends of Rick Rizzolo, owner of Las Vegas, Nevada stripclub Crazy Horse, which is currently at the center of an FBI investigation.
· Elton John and partner 'tie the knot.' Pop star Elton John and his partner David Furnish tied the knot on Wednesday in a star-studded event that capped the first week of civil partnership ceremonies in the United Kingdom. The couple exchanged vows during a civil partnership ceremony at Windsor's town hall - the Guildhall - where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles wed in April.
· Court Fines NYC Transit Strikers $1M a Day. The city's subway and bus workers went on strike Tuesday for the first time in more than 25 years, stranding millions of commuters, holiday shoppers and tourists at the height of the Christmas rush. A judge promptly slapped the union with a $1 million-a-day fine.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Disingenuous [dis·in·gen·u·ous] adj. Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating. 'It was disingenuous of her to claim she had no financial interest in the legal case.'
· Mugger dies hiding in tiger enclosure. A South African mugger has been mauled to death by tigers after fleeing the scene of his crime and taking refuge in what turned out to be a tiger enclosure at a nearby zoo, police said.
· Man Planned To Bomb Competitor's Restaurant. A restaurant owner in Palm Bay, Fla., was arrested Tuesday after being accused of buying explosives he planned to use to blow up his competitor's restaurant. Investigators said Jorge Sanchez bought five pipe bombs to blow up a competitor's restaurant because of a long-standing feud.
· Sleepwalker cleared of three rapes. A man was cleared of raping a woman three times in a matter of minutes after a jury accepted yesterday that he was sleepwalking during the attack. James Bilton admitted he must have had sex with the 22-year-old woman, but claimed he could not remember anything that had happened.
· Firefighters Accused Of Dumping Gas That Led To Explosion. Two firefighters poured gasoline down a firehouse drain, leading to an explosion a few blocks away that badly burned two people, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Both firefighters were indicted on charges of assault, official misconduct, environmental crimes and other offenses, District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said.
· America Online, Google seal $1 billion deal. America Online on Tuesday agreed to sell a 5 percent stake to Google Inc. in a $1 billion deal that deepens the ties binding two of the Web's most popular sites while thwarting Microsoft's efforts to grab a larger piece of the booming Internet advertising market.
· Inventor Of Light Beer Dies. The man who's given credit for inventing both Miller and Budweiser light beer has died. Joseph Owades, 86, was also credited with creating the formulas for some well-known brands, including Samuel Adams and Tuborg.
· Wing broke off doomed seaplane. The right wing detached from a vintage seaplane before it plunged into the sea off Miami Beach and killed 20 people, but it was unclear what caused the wing to break off, investigators said Tuesday.
· More than van or gifts, owner wants his dog back. John McNaughton keeps on searching. His 2005 Nissan van, his dog and thousands of dollars worth of Christmas presents have been missing for 10 days, all stolen at a gas station off Interstate 4 when McNaughton made a restroom stop. But McNaughton, a seasonal resident who lives on 48th Place N, isn't giving up. He particularly misses Blue, his 6-year-old Great Dane. "I really want that dog back. The car can be replaced," said McNaughton, 63
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
· Group Sues to Halt Ill. Contraceptive Rule. A group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson is suing to stop Illinois from requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, saying the rule violates a druggist's right to refuse on religious and moral grounds.
· Teen's blog confession forces him to plead guilty plea in fatal crash. Blake Ranking was a Eustis High School senior and still aching from a horrible crash three days earlier when he posted "I did it" on blurty.com, a site for Web logs. Although Ranking later retracted his words - deleting them from the blog and penning an explanation - they came back to haunt him, forcing him Monday to plead guilty to DUI manslaughter.
· Priest Accused Of Groping Boy During 'King Kong.' A Roman Catholic priest in Marble Falls., Texas was arrested after being accused of groping a 16-year-old boy at a movie theatre showing "King Kong." Father Paul Clogan, 74, was charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact.
· Atlanta opens 'pedophile musical' for the holidays. This season in Atlanta, Actor's Express wants to stir up buzz about a less familiar property - namely, a pedophile musical. The Express has already started pushing "Love Jerry," a new musical written and composed by Megan Gogerty that follows the tortured story of Jerry, who develops a sexual relationship with his nephew while trying to stay friends with the boy's father.
· Strike shuts down New York City. Under threat of legal action, more than 30,000 New York City transit workers went on strike early Tuesday, shutting down the nation's largest public transportation system just days ahead of Christmas. "Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected," said TWU President Roger Toussaint.
· Britney Spears Sues 'Us Weekly' for $20 million. Britney Spears filed a $20 million libel lawsuit Monday against celebrity magazine Us Weekly, charging it published a false story reporting she and her husband, Kevin Federline, made a sex tape and were worried about its release.
· Marijuana-Growing Operation In Cave Like James Bond Movie. Investigators described a marijuana-growing operation discovered inside a cave in Trousdale County as something out of a James Bond movie. The cave was beneath a stylish A-frame home where authorities say three men were able to grow as much as 100 pounds of marijuana every eight weeks.
· Gretzky's mom dies at 64 of lung cancer. Phyllis Gretzky, the mother of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, died Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes said. She was 64. She was diagnosed with lung cancer late in 2004 and died two nights after her son took an indefinite leave of absence as coach of the Coyotes to return home to Ontario to be with her.
· Hershey Sues Publisher Over Cover Image. The image of a distinctive chocolate bar on the dust jacket of a new book about the founder of The Hershey Co. violates its trademark, the candy maker said in a federal lawsuit.
· High Web traffic means sales. Winners in the holiday online shopping race appear to be Wal-Mart, Amazon and Apple Computer, which are doing the best job of turning browsers into buyers, according to an analysis of Web traffic patterns.
· High-Tech Visa Plan Dropped From Bill. A Senate-passed measure to add more visas for foreign workers in high-tech and specialty fields was dropped from a budget bill that passed the House early Monday, disappointing high-tech and manufacturing firms in search of skilled workers. The Senate plan would have allowed 30,000 more of the popular H1-B visas each year, and increased fees for those visas to help trim the budget deficit.
Monday, December 19, 2005
· Worker Drives Through Home Depot, Tries To Burn Store. A former Home Depot store employee in Chandler, Ariz., was arrested after he drove his car through the store and then attempted to burn the business down in an apparent fit of anger. Police said Ali Warrayat, 24, drove his car through the entrance doors of the building Sunday and nearly hit an employee.
· Jig is up for cheery homeless man who dared to dance. 45-year-old Paul Wicklund decided to dance on a public Minneapolis street, and learned the hard way that it is a violation of Minneapolis city statute 427.20: "No person shall dance or engage or participate in any dancing upon any public street or highway in the city; and no person shall provide for, promote or conduct any dance or dancing upon any public street or highway in the city, except at a block party." Mr. Wicklund was fined $112.
· Mob Boss Vinny 'The Chin' Gigante Dies. Mob boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, the powerful Mafioso who avoided jail for decades by wandering the Greenwich Village streets in a ratty bathrobe and slippers as part of an elaborate feigned mental illness, has died in prison, federal officials said on Monday. He was 77. Dubbed the "Oddfather" for his bizarre behavior, the former Genovese crime family head finally admitted his insanity ruse at an April 2003 court hearing.
· Hemingway Heirs File Lawsuit Over Bar Name. Was the name of a swanky bar in downtown Greensboro inspired by a literary giant or a pet bulldog? It may take a court decision to settle the dispute. The owner of Hemingway's Downtown says he named the 6-month-old business after the English bulldog he had as a boy. Heirs of Ernest Hemingway, the author of "The Old Man and the Sea" and "A Farewell to Arms," say that doesn't matter and have filed a lawsuit.
· Former Waffle House Cook Charged in Poisoning. Henry County Police have filed new and more serious charges against a former Waffle House employee accused of poisoning a homeless man. Family members say 50-year-old Rex Leo is in critical condition after drinking a concoction that included industrial strength dishwashing detergent.
· SEC charges 2 with trading on Stern deal. U.S. regulators said on Monday they charged two individuals with insider trading ahead of news in 2004 that radio shock jock Howard Stern was moving to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. The SEC said accountant Gary Herwitz and former Sirius executive Tracey Stanyer "illegally profited from advance knowledge of radio personality Howard Stern's $500 million contract with Sirius."
· Plane crash off Miami Beach kills 19. All 19 people aboard a seaplane that crashed on takeoff from Miami for the Bahamas have been recovered, a spokesman for the mayor of Miami told reporters. "There are no survivors at this point," the spokesman said. He said the manifest showed 17 passengers and two crew members, though the airline had earlier reported 20 were aboard the plane.
· Blue-collar workers turn backs on UAW. For more than a month, workers at a small auto supply plant outside Port Huron have fought bitterly to keep the United Auto Workers from organizing their shop. The blue-collar denizens at Schefenacker Vision Systems USA occasionally picket outside the factory - carrying homemade signs with slogans like "UAW Kills Jobs" and "Proud to be union free."
· Newspapers to drop columnist who took cash. Two U.S. newspapers said on Monday that they would no longer publish opinion pieces by a conservative commentator who has admitted taking payments from lobbyist Jack Abramoff to write op-ed pieces favorable to Abramoff's clients. The Manchester Union Leader and the Washington Times said they did not know that Peter Ferrara took undisclosed payments for his op-ed pieces. Ferrara told BusinessWeek Online last week that he takes payments from lobbyists "all the time" to write articles favorable to their clients and did not see anything wrong with the practice.
· Caregiver Accused Of Raping 90-Year-Old. A nursing home worker in Central Florida accused of sexually assaulting a 90-year-old woman last month will likely find out what his future holds Monday afternoon.
· Cruise's Faith Nurtured at Secret Compound. Tom Cruise's faith in Scientology was nurtured at a secretive Southern California desert compound that catered to his needs around the clock, a newspaper reported. Long before Cruise sprang onto Oprah's couch or blasted Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants, the Hollywood superstar undertook intensive study and counseling at the compound in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reported. Cruise stayed at the resort for weeks at a time, and stayed in a bungalow near a golf course and had a special staff to prepare his meals, do his laundry and handle other tasks around the clock.
· Man Accused Of Shooting Wife Twice Claims It Was Accident. Cecil Mathews, who sits in a Clay County jail charged with the murder of his wife, claims the shooting was an accident. "It wasn't murder, I didn't plan it, it wasn't premeditated," Mathews said.
· Teacher Charged After Son Twice Brought Gun To School. An elementary school teacher whose 11-year-old son twice brought a loaded handgun to school faces felony child endangerment charges. Linnea C. Holdren, 43, and her son were both suspended.
· Reality TV crew indicted for assault. Four employees of the WB's reality show "Cheaters" have been indicted in Fort Worth, Texas, on charges including assault. Rafael Gutierrez Jr. had films of his wife, Maria, having sex with Police Capt. Duane Paul in an unmarked city vehicle on three occasions, the newspaper said. He confronted his wife about her alleged affair outside her work with the "Cheaters" crew in tow.
· Baseball caps banned at British cafes after being tied to "deviant behavior." Baseball caps are being banned in easyGroup's British Internet cafes due to their association with "deviant behavior," the group told a newspaper. The 'easyInternet cafe' chain, owned by easyJet airline founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said they made regular customers feel uncomfortable.
· Police say toilet paper guy became unglued. Something stinks in the Briscoe Middle School bathroom, and it isn’t the toilets. Beverly police say a jilted toilet-paper supplier was so miffed he lost his contract to sell to the schools, he decided to wipe out his competition. Armed with a tube of superglue, he snuck into the school and glued the locks on four toilet-paper dispensers in a boy’s bathroom, preventing anyone from filling them, police say.
· Gold Teeth Found In Salvation Army Kettle. The Salvation Army has often found some odd items in its famous red kettles. But gold teeth? A worker tallying collections Thursday found a pair of golden molars in a plastic bag inside a kettle, said Maj. Darren Mudge of the nonprofit organization in York County. "I have no clue what we are going to do with them," Mudge said. "It's a wonderful gesture, I guess."
· Thieves target church gutters. It's hard to imagine someone stealing from a church, especially during the Christmas season. But it seems some local churches have something the criminals want - Copper. The thieves are tearing copper gutters off the buildings, presumably so they can sell them for the scrap value.
· Nielsen to Start Using DVRs in Ratings. Starting next week, the company that measures what people watch on television will also follow what they record on DVRs to watch later. An estimated 7 percent of the nation's 110 million homes with televisions now have digital video recorders, and that's expected to rise to one quarter of the TV population by sometime in 2007, Nielsen said.
· Law requires bathrooms for transvestites. For most people, it's an easy choice: men's room or women's. A Brazilian city is trying to create an alternative for those who don't fit easily into either category. A bill passed by the Nova Iguacu city council would require night clubs, shopping malls, movie theaters and large restaurants to provide a third type of bathroom for transvestites.
· Richest Lottery Reaches $2.4 Billion In Prize Money. The lottery billed as the world's richest is richer than ever this year, with prize money totaling $2.4 billion. The Spanish Christmas sweepstakes is known as El Gordo, or the fat one. Winners will be announced this week during a complicated, three-hour televised ceremony that usually brings Spain to a standstill. It's estimated that three out of every four Spaniards buy tickets.
· Cars to Cigars: Gifts for the Rich and Famous. When buying gifts for the rich and famous this holiday season, forget the champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Today's big spenders want Bentleys, bling and a little peace of mind. Where to begin? Purchasing for the privileged is easy if you follow a few cardinal rules.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
· Time Honors Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono. Time magazine has named Bill and Melinda Gates and rock star Bono its "Persons of the Year," citing their charitable work and activism aimed at reducing global poverty and improving world health. The magazine said 2005 was a year of extraordinary charity in which people donated record amounts in response to extreme natural disasters, from the tsunami in South Asia to Hurricane Katrina.
· Missed deadline leaves inmate without appeal. Though the Supreme Court has prohibited the execution of the mentally retarded, a Texas Death Row inmate who may be retarded cannot raise the issue in federal court because his lawyer missed a filing deadline, a federal appeals court ruled this week.
· Paper: 'Dog' in $2.6M 'Bounty Hunter' Deal. The Dog is coming back for more. Duane "Dog" Chapman has signed a $2.6 million contract for a third season of the reality television series "Dog, the Bounty Hunter," a newspaper reports.
· Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist. While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left. These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.
· Dozens of drunken Santas go on a rampage in New Zealand. A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus outfits, many of them drunk, went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses, police said Sunday.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Ostensible [os·ten·si·ble] adj. 1. Intended for display, open to view. 2. Being such in appearance, plausible rather than demonstrably true or real. [the ostensible purpose of the trip was business].
· Multimillionaire shot several times in ambush. A former MIT professor and multimillionaire businessman who has been praised for his riveting lectures but also known for his family disputes was ambushed outside his office and shot multiple times, authorities said Saturday. 63-year-old John J. Donovan, founder of consulting firm Cambridge Executive Enterprises was shot several times, and it wasn't immediately clear why he wasn't more seriously injured, police spokesman Frank Pasquarello said. He didn't know if Donovan was wearing a bulletproof vest, but said a belt buckle may have helped save his life.
· Homeowners Hear Conflicting Advice On Shoveling Snow. When it comes to shoveling your sidewalk, it can be a case of darned if you do and darned if you don't. According to some attorneys, if you don't touch the natural accumulation of snow, the homeowner actually has less liability if someone falls down. On the other hand, most cities, including Columbus, can fine people $100 if they don't keep their sidewalks free and clear of ice and snow.
· When in doubt blame the victim. William Burden’s just an unlucky guy. It was bad luck that he was caught by an armed citizen when he was trying to rob a home in Upper Deerfield, New Jersey. He recently told a court that the people to blame are his victims, saying “I wish they had answered the door. Had they done that, me and my boy would have gone on our way." "Maybe it wouldn't have brought down all these other burglaries and stuff I didn't commit on me," says Burden. "Not to minimize what I did, but I'm going through a terrible situation because of all these charges I'm facing."
· Police: Teen Climbs In Girl's Bed, Forces Pill In Mouth. A 19-year-old in Central Florida is accused of breaking into a 9-year-old girl's bedroom, getting into bed with her and then trying to force a pill down her throat, according to a police report.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
· How TV Shows Dealt With Loss of a Star. The death Friday of John Spencer, who played vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry on NBC's "The West Wing," deprives the series of a key character. Here are some other shows that also lost stars, and the outcome.
· University Class President Robs Bank After Racking Up Poker Debt. Class president, son of a Baptist minister, second cello in the Lehigh University orchestra, chaplain's office assistant ... bank robber? Class of 2008 president Greg Hogan was arrested on Friday on charges of bank robbery, and now the sophomore class leader faces up to 20 years in prison.
· Store manager fired amid firestorm. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has fired the manager of a supercenter here for "poor judgment" after he called sheriff's deputies to apprehend a black manager of a business whose $13,600 company check could not be verified.
· Jack Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, Dies at 83. Jack Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning muckraking columnist who struck fear into the hearts of corrupt or secretive politicians, inspiring Nixon operatives to plot his murder, died Saturday.
· Simpson Files for Divorce From Lachey. There will be no romantic reunion - Jessica Simpson filed for divorce Friday from former boy band star Nick Lachey. The couple jointly announced their separation Nov. 23 following months of rumors that their tabloid-friendly relationship had soured. Simpson cited irreconcilable differences in a divorce petition filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The couple had no prenuptial agreement and in the petition, Simpson asked the court not to grant Lachey spousal support.
· Heist of hefty Henry Moore sculpture. British police hunted for three men on Saturday who stole a huge bronze Henry Moore sculpture worth up to $5.3 million and a spokesman said they feared the piece would be destroyed for scrap. Police said the 11 foot 6 inch long sculpture, "A Reclining Figure," was stolen from the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire, north of London, on Thursday night by three men who drove it away.
· Tragically, for John Spencer, life didn't imitate art. year after his West Wing alter ego survived a heart attack, Spencer was felled Friday morning by a deadly one. He was four days shy of his 59th birthday.
Friday, December 16, 2005
· 'West Wing' Actor Dies of Heart Attack. John Spencer, who played vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry on NBC's "The West Wing," died of a heart attack Friday, his publicist said. Spencer, 58, died at a Los Angeles hospital, said publicist Ron Hofmann.
· Man accused of killing girlfriend's parents faces death penalty. A prosecutor said Friday he will seek the death penalty against 18-year-old David Ludwig accused of shooting to death his 14-year-old girlfriend's parents, and announced he does not plan to charge the girl.
· High-End Shops Wooing Men With Pizza, Beer. Mike Galaska does not like to shop. He doesn't like the crowds or spending money. It's for women, he says. But pizza and beer? He can handle that. Galaska, 48, of Bellevue, Neb., was among the hundreds of men who came out for men's night at Omaha jewelry store Borsheim's this week, which uses free pizza and beer to counteract the otherwise intimidating notion of buying jewelry.
· Jury acquits 66-year-old accused of assaulting MU student. A 66-year-old Columbia man was acquitted yesterday of the attempted sexual assault last year of a 19-year-old University of Missouri-Columbia student whom police found face down and naked, her nose broken and breath reeking of alcohol inside the door to her Hitt Street apartment.
· Trent Lott sues insurance company over loss of home. U.S. Sen. Trent Lott and wife Tricia are suing State Farm over its refusal to cover the loss of their Pascagoula home to Hurricane Katrina. The Lotts' suit, filed today in U.S. District Court, accuses the insurance company of fraud for denying coverage based on a "flood" exemption and asks that the court order the claim paid.
· Man Allegedly Tries to Alter Ticket. Next time, just pay the ticket. William S. Shufro, 46, faces a felony forgery charge for allegedly trying to alter a $100 ticket received for parking illegally in a handicapped space. Police allege that Shufro tried to alter the ticket to give the appearance that it had been issued for parking in a no-parking zone, which carries just a $20 fine. Police, who had a copy of the original ticket, saw the change then charged Shufro with forgery, a felony punishable by 3 1/2 to seven years in prison, Hoysradt said.
· Man Shot 15 Years Ago Dies, Gunman Not Prosecuted. A man who lived with three bullets in his body from a 1990 shooting died three months ago, but prosecutors said they can't bring charges against the shooter even though a medical examiner ruled the bullets were to blame for the man's death.
· Ashlee Simpson Collapses After Tokyo Show. Ashlee Simpson collapsed following a performance in Tokyo and has been hospitalized. The 21-year-old singer on Thursday had just performed her single, "Boyfriend" for MTV Japan, when she told the audience she felt sick and said to them, "I love you guys," Us Weekly reported Friday. She then collapsed in an elevator and was rushed by ambulance to a hospital.
· Teri Hatcher Wins Libel Payout. "Desperate Housewives" star Teri Hatcher has accepted libel damages from a tabloid that claimed she regularly had sex with men in a van outside her home, her lawyer told a court Friday. The Daily Sport, which published the story in July and repeated it in August, agreed to pay "very substantial damages" and her legal costs, to print a front-page apology and promised not to repeat the allegations, her attorney said.
· Software decodes Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile. Nicu Sebe's algorithm, developed with researchers at the Beckman Institute, examines key facial features such as the curvature of the lips and crinkles around the eyes, then scores each face with respect to six basic emotions. It turns out that Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was 83 per cent happy, 9 per cent disgusted, 6 per cent fearful and 2 per cent angry.
· Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr Sue EMI. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and relatives of their Beatles' bandmates are suing EMI to recover what they claim is more than $53 million in unpaid royalties, their company said Friday.
· Donald Trump Chooses New 'Apprentice.' Donald Trump chose Randal Pinkett, an experienced 34-year-old founder of a New Jersey consulting firm, for his fourth "Apprentice" on the show's finale Thursday.
· Pastor charged with fathering grandkids with daughter. The founder and pastor of the church, 52-year-old Rubin Thompson Jr., has been charged with five counts of incest for allegedly fathering his own grandchildren with his daughter.
· Planned Billboard Angers Arab-Americans. A proposed billboard that would go up near the state Capitol in North Carolina is sparking controversy. The group behind the billboard is trying to tighten standards for obtaining driver's licenses. The billboard shows a man wearing a traditional Arab head scarf, clutching a grenade and a North Carolina license. The message on the billboard reads: "Don't license terrorists, North Carolina." A spokeswoman for the Arab American Institute said the ad sends the message that "Arabs are dangerous and violent people."
· Howard Stern Bids Farewell to His Fans. The free ride for Howard Stern fans ends Friday. Stern, a New York radio fixture for 20 years and host of a syndicated show for 12 million daily listeners, bids farewell to his fans with a final show on terrestrial radio. On Jan. 9, Stern makes his move to satellite radio _ where his once-free speech will cost listeners $12.95 a month.
· 'Kong' conks out on Day 1. "King Kong" isn't the king of the box office - yet. Director Peter Jackson's $207 million remake of the 1933 classic didn't even break the $10 million mark in its first day in theaters. "Spider-Man 2," which holds the record for best Wednesday, made $40 million when it debuted in June 2004.
· Officer Accused Of Stealing Credit Cards From Arrested Man. A Chicago police officer has been charged with theft and official misconduct after being accused of stealing credit cards from a man he arrested and then running up $1,600 in charges. James Chevas, 36, is accused of taking a debit and credit card from Nik Lohja, who Chevas arrested after a bar fight.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
· Al-Zarqawi caught, released. Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday. Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head - was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details.
· NTSB: Plane at Midway Needed More Runway. A Southwest Airlines jet that skidded off a runway at Midway International Airport and into a city street needed about 800 more feet of runway to come to a safe stop, federal investigators said Thursday. A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the airplane touched down with about 4,500 feet of runway remaining, but snowy conditions and other factors meant the plane needed about 5,300 feet of runway to stop, according to a report released Thursday
· Ex-Raiders star Russell killed in car crash. Darrell Russell, a former standout NFL and Southern California defensive lineman whose promising career was derailed by drugs, was killed in a high-speed car crash early Thursday. Russell, 29, was a passenger in a car driven by former USC teammate Mike Bastianelli that went out of control about 6 a.m. and hit a curb, tree, newsstand, fire hydrant, light pole, another tree and an unoccupied transit bus, Lt. Paul Vernon said.
· Lance Armstrong to stand trial defamation charge. Lance Armstrong has been ordered to stand trial in Italy on charges of defaming cyclist Filippo Simeoni. Armstrong is being investigated for pursuing Simeoni during an early stage breakaway in last year's Tour de France and reportedly threatening him for testifying about doping abuse in the trial of an Italian doctor associated with him.
· Mom Tosses Baby From Smoky Third-Floor Window. A New York mom had no other choice as smoke and flames cornered her and her baby in their third-floor apartment. So she tossed her 1-month-old baby son out the window to a man below. That man - Felix Vazquez - made the catch, and gave the baby mouth to mouth resuscitation, when he noticed it wasn't breathing.
· Man acquitted of murder under 'Make My Day' law. A man accused of fatally shooting someone in a car has been acquitted of first-degree murder under a state law that provides legal protection to homeowners who defend themselves. But a legislator says the 1985 law - known as the "Make My Day" law - may have been misinterpreted by the jury.
· Man's Pickup Stolen As He Stops To Help Crashed Family. From the "no good deed goes unpunished" file comes the story of Nelson Santos. Someone stole his pickup while he helped to rescue a mother and her three kids from their overturned SUV.
· Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that relies on volunteers to pen nearly 4 million articles, is about as accurate in covering scientific topics as Encyclopedia Britannica, the journal Nature wrote in an online article published Wednesday.
· CNN Host Sues Alleged Stalker. CNN talk show host Nancy Grace has obtained a court order that directs a mental patient she accused of stalking her to leave her alone. The man is "apparently obsessed with Ms. Grace, believes that he loves her, insists that she can solve all of his problems and will help him to meet with Osama bin Laden," Grace's court papers say.
· Diamond ring left in unlocked car by anonymous gift giver. A man returned to a parking lot to find a rock on the seat of his car last week, but this was no act of vandalism. The rock, a $15,000 engagement-style diamond ring, was placed in a box, topped with a small white bow, accompanied by a note. "Merry Christmas. Thank you for leaving your car door unlocked. Instead of stealing your car I gave you a present. Hopefully this will land in the hands of someone you love, for my love is gone now. Merry Christmas to you," the note read.
· Southwest pilot violated braking policy. The Southwest Airlines pilot at the helm during Thursday's snowy crash at Midway Airport told federal investigators he used the Boeing 737's "autobrakes," a device airline officials say their pilots are told not to activate.
· Police: Man kills wife, 3 kids after argument over chores. A man accused of killing his family told police he beat and strangled his wife and killed their three young daughters after the couple argued about household chores, according to court documents. Police found Simon Rios, 33, on the front porch of his home after getting a suicide call early Tuesday. Inside, they discovered blood in the living room and Rios' wife and their three children dead in a bedroom.
· Cursing is costly at two high schools. Students at two Connecticut schools can either watch their language or watch their money disappear. Police officers stationed in the schools issue $103 tickets to students who curse.
· Ex-Employee Sues Dave Chappelle. One of Dave Chappelle's former employees says the comic asked him to be his manager for nine months beginning last year, but never paid him. The suit said Abuelhija was owed his cut of an initial payment of $4.5 million from Comedy Central for the third and fourth seasons of "Chappelle's Show." The deal was reportedly to be worth $50 million, but the comic walked out after doing half of the third-season episodes.
· Woman will be jailed every anniversary of boy's death. A woman who passed a stopped school bus and struck a boy with her car has been ordered to head to jail on every anniversary of the child's death for the next 10 years.
· JFK Screeners Arrested For Wallet Theft. Two airport screeners at Kennedy Airport - both of them women - have been arrested and charged with stealing the wallet of a man who was going through security screening. They then allegedly went on a spending spree with the man's money.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
· Amish man targeted in sex scam. A 75-year-old Amish widower, afraid his church community would find out about him seeking sex from a prostitute, was scammed out of more than $67,000 from the prostitute and her boyfriend.
· Thief Takes Photo Of Himself In Stolen Car. Police in Southern California had a lot of help catching a car theft suspect, from the suspect himself. Police said Alber Engelsman, 28, stole a car and then took pictures of himself inside the car with a disposable camera. But when Engelsman ditched the car, he left the camera and his fingerprints inside it.
· Phony $5 Bills Traced To Central Fla. Man's Computer. man in Eustis, Fla., is accused of creating phony $5 bills on a computer and then using them to pay for fast food at a McDonald's restaurant in Mount Dora, Fla., according to a police news release.
· NBC Pulls Pamela's Pole Dance. Pamela Anderson's pole-dancing prowess proved too provocative for the Peacock. NBC cut footage of the Stacked star performing some suggestive steps around a pole from an Elton John television special that aired Monday night, after deeming Anderson's routine too racy for prime time.
· Cruise hawks fake fire cure. Tom Cruise will make a rare personal appearance tonight at the Tribeca Rooftop to raise money for a controversial Church of Scientology program that claims to be healing firefighters and rescue workers who breathed toxic smoke on 9/11. Cruise is a co-founder of the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, and declares, "More than 500 individuals have recovered health and job fitness through this project — but for thousands more, the passage of time is only bringing more suffering," according to the New York Post.
· Jenna Jameson fights strip club rules in Scottsdale. Adult-film star and topless-club owner Jenna Jameson plans to launch a referendum drive in an attempt to overturn Scottsdale’s new strip club regulations. Jameson’s New York attorney also said Tuesday he is piecing together a lawsuit that will argue Scottsdale discriminated against her by pursuing tougher regulations once officials learned she had purchased a share of Babe’s Cabaret.
· Texas Teacher Tells First-Graders There Is No Santa. Guess what, kids? There's no such thing as Santa Claus! That's what a suburban Dallas music teacher told first-graders on Monday — and the school's been hearing from parents ever since. The angry phone calls prompted the Richardson school district to issue a pro-Santa statement.
· Cindy Sheehan 'asleep' on son's grave. Cindy Sheehan continues her media campaign in the January issue of Vanity Fair magazine with a two-page photo spread of her apparently asleep on the grassy grave of her son Casey, who was killed in battle in Iraq. National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg said it "may be the most shameless, exploitative stunt of the decade."
· Air marshals to patrol trains, buses. Federal air marshals are expanding their work beyond airplanes, launching counterterror surveillance at train stations and other mass transit facilities in a three-day test program.
· Lucie Arnaz manager plunges to his death. Lucie Arnaz's longtime business manager jumped to his death yesterday from the actress' 40th-floor apartment in Manhattan, authorities said. Kieth Dodge, 64, who landed on the garage of an adjacent Lincoln Square building about 12:30 p.m., was struggling with the effects of several strokes he suffered a month ago, said Arnaz, the daughter of the legendary performers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
· State police make arrest in killing of jogger on Big Bird's property. A 36-year-old man was charged with kidnapping Tuesday night in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found on property owned by the performer who plays Big Bird on the children's television show "Sesame Street," state police said. Caroll Spinney, who also plays Oscar the Grouch on the show, had nothing to do with the woman's death, said police Sgt. J. Paul Vance.
· Bloody Santa Display With Severed Heads Upsets Neighborhood. Not to be outdone by the 'hanging Santa' last week, a family's display featuring a bloody Santa Claus wielding a knife, beheaded Barbie dolls and a severed head with blood gushing from its eyes has scared children and angered some homeowners in a New York neighborhood.
· Congress Eyes Cruise Ship Dangers. Lawmakers are set this morning to investigate the potential dangers to vacationers cruising the high seas. Two congressional committees will hold a joint hearing focusing on cruise-ship disappearances and crimes. The hearing comes on the heels of another cruise-ship disappearance in recent months, this one aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Sea, which returned to Florida on Sunday with one less passenger than when it departed.
· 'M-A-S-H' star Wayne Rogers gets star on Hollywood walk of fame. Actor Wayne Rogers, best known for playing surgeon Trapper John McIntyre on the 1970s hit television show M-A-S-H, was joined by co-stars from the Korean War sitcom Tuesday as he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
· University To Student: No More Bible Studies. A resident assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire said he was stunned when a school official ordered him to stop hosting Bible studies in his dorm this year. Lance Steiger told state lawmakers at a hearing in Madison that he wasn't informed until this year that RAs couldn't host religious events, although he'd been a dorm worker for two years. Steiger has filed a lawsuit charging that his free speech and religious rights were violated.
· Thieves Try to Sell Art to Gallery. In the world of high stakes crimes, this was no work of art. Instead, police arrested three people after they tried to sell paintings worth tens of thousands of dollars back to the gallery that owned the artwork. Deanna Joao, 46, of South San Francisco, was arrested Sunday after she was allegedly caught with two paintings worth $45,000, according to police. Jeffrey Harp, 33, and Derek Hanson, 41, tried to flee but were caught after a police dog bit Hanson's leg.
· Is Anne Murray washed up? Anne Murray broke down countless barriers to become Canada's first international female superstar, but these days she thinks most people have forgotten her accomplishments, and admits to feeling hurt when people suggest she's a has-been.
· Same Lotto Numbers Come Up Sat, Sun. The odds of the same Oklahoma Pick-3 lottery numbers coming up two nights in a row are a million to one, but that's just what happened last weekend. The numbers 1-7-5 were selected at random both Saturday and Sunday night.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
· The wonderful world of celebrity prenups. No mother-in-law sleepovers. Only one football game per Sunday. Mandatory sexual positions. With celebrity marriages often shorter than Jessica Simpson's Daisy Dukes, the power of the prenuptial agreement cannot be denied. Simpson and soon-to-be-ex-husband Nick Lachey didn't have a prenup - he actually had more earning power than she did when they got married three years ago - so Simpson could have to part with half of the $30 million she earned last year.
· 'Cell Phone Bandit' Pleads Guilty. The woman known as the "cell phone bandit" could spend the rest of her life behind bars. Candice Martinez, 19, pleaded guilty in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday to charges of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
· Lay Seeks Help From Former Enron Workers. Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay launched an impassioned plea Tuesday for former employees of the bankrupt energy company to defy a "wave of terror" by federal prosecutors and help him battle criminal charges. "It will only take a few brave individuals who are willing to stand up and say it's time for the truth to come out," Lay told the Houston Forum a month before he faces trial on fraud and conspiracy counts.
· Man dates gal on Internet for six months - turns out she's his mother. Skirt-chasing playboy Daniel Anceneaux spent weeks talking with a sensual woman on the Internet before arranging a romantic rendezvous at a remote beach - and discovering that his on-line sweetie of six months was his own mother.
· Cellphone rulings could mean billions in tax refunds. Phone customers are due $9 billion in tax refunds and a 3% cut in wireless phone and long-distance bills, according to a series of federal court decisions. But the federal government continues to collect the tax and requires so much paperwork for refunds that only big corporations are likely to benefit.
· Pregnant Skydiver Survives Face-First Plunge Into Parking Lot. Shayna Richardson was making her first solo skydiving jump when she had trouble with her parachutes and, while falling at about 50 mph, hit face first in a parking lot. Although badly hurt, she survived - and doctors treating her injuries discovered she was pregnant. Four surgeries and two months later, Richardson said she and the fetus are doing fine.
· Man faces 50 years for sex with bride, 14. A 22-year-old man faces up to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to sexual assault charges filed after he impregnated and then married a 14-year-old girl. Matthew Koso legally married the girl in Kansas after she became pregnant. The girl, 14-year-old Crystal Koso, gave birth August 24 to a girl, Samara.
· Update: MARTA Rider Must Stand Trial For Token Incident. Don Pirone says he was just trying to help out a fellow MARTA rider, when MARTA police handcuffed and arrested him. Pirone says another rider was having trouble getting the change machine to work at the West End MARTA station on Nov. 30. He says the man asked for his extra token and then the man paid him for what the token was worth - $1.75. That's when undercover officers arrested Pirone.
· U.S. Sprinters Suspended Over Doping. Tim Montgomery was suspended for two years for doping Tuesday, and the 100-meter world record he once held was wiped from the books. Another U.S. sprinter implicated in the BALCO scandal, two-time Olympic relay medalist Chryste Gaines, also received a two-year ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
· 'Daily Show' halts production following suicide. An employee of the Comedy Central program "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" has committed suicide, leading the network to suspend production of Monday night's episode of the program, a spokesman confirmed. Bill Clarey, 25, took his own life over the weekend.
· Georgia Woman Who Married 15-Year-Old Says She Prefers Older Men. A 37-year-old woman who is seven months pregnant by her 15-year-old groom says she prefers older men, but the teenager aggressively wooed her. Lisa Clark, who is charged with child molestation, statutory rape and enticing a child for indecent purposes, said in television interviews Monday that she still hopes to make a life with him and their baby.
· Coroner's Office Offers Gift Ideas. Looking for off-the-wall Christmas gift ideas? The Clark County coroner's office can help. Tucked away in the office is a gift shop with items that walk a fine line between humor and morbidity. There's a coffee mug with the inscription "Playing for Keeps," a $10 fake jawbone that holds business cards and a T-shirt that reads "Coroner ... Cashed Out in Las Vegas." That's about as risque as we go," Assistant Coroner John Fudenberg told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We certainly don't want to make a mockery of death."
· Lohan's Parents Reach Divorce Settlement. Lindsay Lohan's parents reached a divorce settlement Monday, ending a contentious marital battle. The agreement to end the 20-year marriage came the same day the trial was scheduled to start. Terms of the deal were confidential, but attorneys for both sides said their clients were happy.
· Car Buried in 1957 to Be Unearthed in '07. A Plymouth Belvedere that was buried in a concrete vault nearly 50 years ago as part of the state's golden anniversary celebration will be unearthed in 2007 as part of the Oklahoma centennial festivities. The 1957 Belvedere is underground next to the Tulsa County Courthouse. Also buried with it were five gallons of gas and a case of beer.
· 'Bizarre' defense means new trial. In her 27 years as a lawyer and judge, Circuit Judge Linda Allan had never heard such offensive, bizarre and flawed arguments. Ernesto Hedges, a former Tampa police officer, was accused of molesting two 9-year-old girls during a family gathering. Hedges, 50, faced spending the rest of his life in prison. His defense team seemed ill prepared. One attorney, Jorge Chalela, known as the "Traffic Ticket King of Tampa," had never tried a sex abuse case. He had taken no depositions, hired no experts and had no idea Hedges faced a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years until it was announced in court. In rambling closing arguments, Chalela talked about everything from Socrates to semen to his own testicles.
Monday, December 12, 2005
· Farrell Treated for Medication Dependency. Colin Farrell is being treated for exhaustion and dependency on prescription medication, his publicist said. The statement said Farrell had checked himself into a treatment center, which wasn't identified.
· Radio Station Sells Newsroom Naming Rights To Bank. A radio station has sold the naming rights to its newsroom, sparking some concern that advertisers had crossed a line that could influence news coverage. The WIBA newsroom in Madison will be known as the Amcore Bank News Center beginning Jan. 1.
· Paltrow Praises Brave Londoners. Gwyneth Paltrow has praised Londoners for their resilience after the British capital's transport network was attacked by suicide bombers on July 7. She says, "I find the English amazing how they got over 7/7. "There were no multiple memorials with people sobbing as they would have been in America. "There, they are constantly scaring people but at the same time, people think nothing of going to see a therapist," MSN reports.
· DreamWorks Deal Played Like a Drama. In an early morning meeting at Mr. Spielberg's home in Pacific Palisades, high above the ocean, the bleary-eyed chairman of Paramount Pictures produced last minute contracts for a $1.6 billion sale.
· Dad dies of injuries suffered en route to see injured son. A retired Bozeman police administrator has died of injuries suffered in a head-on crash as he traveled to see his son, hospitalized after a fraternity fight.
· Teacher Accused Of Two-Year Affair With Her Student. A 24-year-old teacher in Pensacola had an unlawful two-year affair with a 16-year-old student, according to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. Officials said Janelle Marie Bird was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor in connection with the incident.
· Bar Owner Learns Ohio District in Dry. The beer taps behind the bar at a northeast Ohio pub are sitting unused after the owner discovered he picked a dry district. More than $560,000 was invested in Legends Sports Pub & Grille in nearby Plain Township before owner Mike Bolognue learned from the state Division of Liquor Control that he couldn't get a liquor license.
· Trial Set To Begin For Baseball Coach Accused Of Molesting Players. A 33-year-old youth baseball coach in Central Florida is expected in court Monday to go on trial for allegedly molesting two of his players. In March, Orange County sheriff's deputies arrested Edwin Vasquez after a boy on the Osceola Rage traveling team told them that Vasquez molested him during a team trip.
· Lawyer Seeks Witnesses To Chicago Jet Accident. An attorney for the parents of a boy killed when an airliner slid off a runway and into their car urged witnesses and passengers Sunday to contact his office. Lawyer Ronald Stearney Jr. said it was too early to say if Joshua Woods' parents would file a lawsuit, though autopsy results released Sunday determined the 6-year-old died from the impact of the plane hitting the car.
· Protege's downward spiral stuns De Niro. Actor Robert De Niro expressed shock yesterday that the one-time protege he plucked from obscurity and gave a starring movie role is suspected in the murder of a cop. Lillo Brancato made his movie debut 12 years ago opposite De Niro, went on to a role in "The Sopranos" and once performed with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. "This is deeply disturbing news, a tragedy beyond comprehension," De Niro said yesterday. "I join others in extending my deepest sympathy to Officer Enchautegui's family."
· Racial Violence Shocks Australian City. Thousands of drunken white youths attacked police and people they believed were Arab immigrants at a Sydney beach on Sunday, angered by reports that youths of Lebanese descent had assaulted two lifeguards. Young men of Arab descent retaliated in several Sydney suburbs, fighting with police and smashing 40 cars with sticks and bats, police said. Thirty-one people were injured and 28 were arrested in hours of violence. Police said they were seeking an Arab man who allegedly stabbed a white man in the back.
· Judge Declares Mistrial In Federal Vioxx Case. The judge in the first federal Vioxx trial has declared a mistrial. After about 18 hours of deliberations over three days, the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
· 'King Kong,' 'Lost' among AFI 2005 honorees. Critics' darling "Brokeback Mountain," the upcoming effects extravaganza "King Kong" and the raucous comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" are among the 10 films that the American Film Institute has judged as the most outstanding motion pictures of the year.
· Man Apologizes After Fake Wikipedia Post. A man who posted false information on an online encyclopedia linking a prominent journalist to the Kennedy assassinations says he was playing a trick on a co-worker. Brian Chase, 38, ended up resigning from his job and apologizing to John Seigenthaler Sr., the former publisher of the Tennessean newspaper and founding editorial director of USA Today.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
· 7-year-old at wheel after hit-and-run. Police got a surprise when they stopped a van following a hit-and-run crash on Kentucky's Mountain Parkway: A 7-year-old boy was at the wheel, sitting on his father's lap. Donald Everett Waters, 39, of Flemingsburg, faces two felony counts of wanton endangerment and numerous other charges following the Friday afternoon incident.
· Vigil for woman hit by her own car after it is stolen. A woman was run over by her own car Thursday night after she left it running as she shopped and a thief stole it. "She comes out of the Village Market, she sees her car ... and somebody is trying to drive it away," Reier said. "She jumps in front of the car as it's exiting the driveway. She's saying, 'Stop, stop, stop.' " Police said the driver hit her and kept going.
· Man Tries to Rob Bank by Phone. A man who robbed a New Zealand bank was so disappointed with his haul he tried again - this time by phone, police said Saturday. "He's rung (the bank) and said 'I'm the guy who robbed you the other day and I want the manager to put some money in a bag and go and stand in the street," said Detective Sergeant Chris Winder of the Auckland Police. "(He said) 'I'll drive by slowly and take the bag from you and drive off.'"
· Prince Charles quizzed in Diana crash probe. Prince Charles has been questioned by the former London police chief leading an official investigation into the death of Princess Diana, the prince's office said Sunday. Lord Stevens, former Metropolitan Police commissioner, met with the prince "as part of his ongoing inquiry" into the 1997 death in Charles' ex-wife, Clarence House said.
· "Sopranos" actor suspected of killing New York cop. A dozen years ago, Lillo Brancato Jr. was going to be a star. The unknown actor earned critical acclaim opposite his idol, Robert De Niro, in the 1993 movie "A Bronx Tale," and appeared in a half-dozen episodes of "The Sopranos." But on Saturday, the actor was far from the bright lights of Hollywood. Instead, police said, he was breaking into a vacant house with another man when a gunfight erupted.
· DreamWorks Sale—Why the Dream Didn't Work. The dream is over. Eleven years after founding their studio, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg agreed to sell DreamWorks SKG to Viacom for a reported $1.6 billion. Viacom's studio division, Paramount Pictures, gets DreamWorks' library of about 60 films—such as "Saving Private Ryan" and Oscar winners "American Beauty" and "Gladiator"—along with a slate of films DreamWorks planned to release next year.
· Dick Clark to appear on 'Rockin' Eve' special. More than a year after Dick Clark suffered a stroke that caused him to miss the ABC New Year's Eve celebration he's been presiding over for more than 30 years, the legendary TV host has yet to make a full recovery. "I'm not going to tell you he's 100%," said Larry Klein, longtime producer of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" on ABC. But Clark, 76, will be in Times Square this year to count down the last hours of 2005 with co-host Ryan Seacrest.
· NTSB: Crew says jet's reverse thrusters didn't kick in promptly. The reverse thrusters that should have slowed a Southwest Airlines jetliner before it slid off a runway and into a busy street didn't immediately kick in when the pilots tried to deploy them, federal investigators said Saturday after interviewing the crew. The flight attendants said they could tell the Boeing 737 wasn't slowing after it touched down in the snow Thursday evening, and the pilots said they applied the brakes manually as soon as they realized something was wrong.
· Pope says materialism pollutes Christmas spirit. Pope Benedict warned on Sunday against rampant materialism which he said was polluting the spirit of Christmas. "In today's consumer society, this time of the year unfortunately suffers from a sort of commercial 'pollution' that threatens to alter its real spirit," the Pope told a large crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear his weekly Angelus blessing.
· Hunter Rescued After Being Trapped Upside Down For 8 Hours In Deer Stand. A hunter suffered hypothermia and kidney damage after becoming entangled in his deer stand and dangling upside down 30 feet above the ground in sleet for 81/2 hours. Raybon E. Upton was hunting by himself Wednesday when his ankle became caught on the deer stand and he slipped. He was trapped there until about midnight when rescuers called by his wife were finally able to free him.
· Skateboard move creator sues for $20 million. The creator of an aerial skateboarding move known as ollie is suing several companies, including Disney and Sega, over the use of the word. Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, 42, says the companies infringed on trademarking rights. He is seeking more than $20 million in damages.
· Office Parties not like those you can't remember. It's office party time of year again, but the holiday shindigs just aren't what they used to be. Gone are the nights of photocopying one's bare buttocks, groping interns and hauling home a gift bag full of goodies. Instead, sensitized by sexual harassment cases, sobered by the dangers of drunk driving, solemn since September 11, 2001, saddened by Hurricane Katrina and set back by economic worries, companies are staging sedate affairs these days.
· Long-Lost Time Capsule Found in Hawaii. Using radar equipment along a wall of a landmark Hawaiian building, military specialists Saturday quickly located a time capsule buried more than a century ago by King Kamehameha V. The small casket was buried Feb. 19, 1872 - more than two decades before the kingdom was annexed by the United States - during a celebration where Kamehameha V laid the cornerstone of the Aliiolani Hale.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
· Comedian Richard Pryor Dies at Age 65. Richard Pryor, the caustic yet perceptive actor-comedian who lived dangerously close to the edge died of a heart attack at his home in the San Fernando Valley, according to his ex-wife Flyn Pryor.
· Garth, Trisha File for Marriage License. Months after a proposal in front of thousands of fans, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood may be setting up their wedding bells. The couple, who live in Oklahoma, filed for a marriage license Friday in Rogers County, court records show. Under Oklahoma law, a couple must be married within 10 days of the filing of a marriage license.
· School food police propose ban of whole milk. Cartons of whole milk would be considered junk food, but baked Cheetos would not, under new rules proposed Friday by Illinois education officials. The State Board of Education proposed the rules after Gov. Rod Blagojevich asked for a junk food ban in elementary and middle schools.
· Ex-priest gets 9-year sentence. A defrocked priest was sentenced Friday to nine years in federal prison for receiving child pornography at a Franklin County home for troubled priests. David J. Malsch, 66, was committed to the facility, called RECON, after serving a prison term for a sex crime involving a child in Wisconsin.
· Elementary Teacher Accused Of Tying Kids To Chairs With Computer Cords. A teacher at a Los Angeles-area elementary school is accused of using computer cords to restrain students to their chairs at the waist and legs, according to a Local 6 News report. Police said two boys and a girl at Maxson Elementary School were apparently tied to their chairs for about five minutes with computer cords at the school. El Monte police said the incident could be considered a misdemeanor or a felony of child abuse or emotional abuse.
· Teacher Accused Of Having Sexual Encounters With Student. A York, Pa. English teacher has been charged with corruption of minors for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student at the school. Police say Robin Winkis, 29, of York had five separate sexual encounters with the 17-year-old student between October and November of this year.
· Woman to cash in on face transplant. The Frenchwoman who had the world's first face transplant has signed a deal that could make her more than $235,000 from the sale of photographs and a film of the operation.
· Chris Rock won't return to host Oscars. Chris Rock won't be back cracking wise as the host of next year's Oscars telecast. "He is not hosting the Academy Awards," the comedian's publicist, Matt Labov, said Friday in a brief statement e-mailed to AP.
· Michael Jackson faces financial ruin. The eccentric singer - whose money troubles have allegedly escalated since he was cleared of child abuse earlier this year - is said to have missed payments on his $273 million loan, which was secured against his Neverland Ranch. He's been ordered to pay them back by December 20. If he doesn't, the star could lose his home. He could also be forced to give up his Beatles music catalog.
· Tables turned on robber. A Brookline man was arraigned on a charge of felony armed robbery yesterday, sporting injuries police said were from a pistol-whipping he received from a female clerk using his own handgun. Dianne Duval, who has run the store along with her husband for the past 17 years, said yesterday her voice was still hoarse from yelling at the would-be robber who entered her store about 8:15 p.m. "He followed me behind the counter, put his gun down and turned his back to me and went to grab the register,” Duval recalled. “That’s when I picked up the gun and cold-cocked him over the head."
· Police Find Assault Weapon In Parking Lot Near Supreme Court. Police in the nation's capital are investigating the discovery of a loaded assault weapon found in a parking lot a block from the Supreme Court in Washington. The gun is said to be a MAC-10 assault weapon, capable of firing many bullets over a wide area in a few seconds.
Friday, December 9, 2005
· Boy was singing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" just before airliner killed him. The six-year-old boy who was killed when a Southwest Airlines jet skidded off a runway was traveling to visit his grandparents in the Chicago area. Ronald Stearney, who's representing the family of Joshua Woods, says they had just visited McDonald's and that Joshua was eating his food and singing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" just before the accident occurred.
· Man Admits Sex With Blind, Deaf, Terminally-Ill Girl. A former hospice worker was placed on 20 years of probation and two years of work release after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a blind, deaf and nearly comatose 10-year-old girl with a terminal illness. James Ernest Philpott, 55, said he had sex with the girl because he wanted her to experience pleasure before she died.
· Spector prosecutor is stepping down from the case. The lead prosecutor in the murder case against music producer Phil Spector is stepping down from the case and stepping up to the bench. Deputy District Attorney Douglas Sortino, 46, was named a Los Angeles Superior Court judge by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
· Man Claims Self-Defense in Nun's Death. The man accused of killing the American nun and rain forest defender Dorothy Stang told a jury Friday that he acted in self-defense after mistaking her Bible for a gun.
· Man Charged With Selling Stolen Christmas Trees. A 30-year-old man in Oregon was charged with stealing Christmas trees and then attempting to sell them on the side of the road. Police in Portland said Evan Dean was standing near several Christmas trees with a sign that said; "50 Percent Off Christmas Trees."
· Americans burning corn to cut heating costs. As US heating costs spiral to all-time highs, American homeowners are turning to burning corn in special stoves to reduce their energy bills. Sales of corn-burning stoves have tripled this year and distributors across the country have been sold out for weeks.
· Man Arrested at White House Reportedly Interested in Chelsea Clinton. It looks like the Arkansas man who was arrested after he jumped the fence onto the White House grounds was after Chelsea Clinton, not anyone from President Bush's family. According to a court-ordered report from the D.C. Department of Mental Health, 29-year-old Shawn Cox thought Clinton still lived at the White House and thought he was destined to marry her.
· Tiffany & Co. Sues Restaurant Chain. Patrons at Tony Siragusa's four Tiffany's rib joints don't get their food in little blue boxes. But that hasn't stopped the venerable jeweler Tiffany and Company from suing the former NFL lineman and his business partners in federal court in Newark.
· Lawyer: Glitter Admits Having Girl in Bed. Former British rocker Gary Glitter admitted to police that an 11-year-old girl slept in his bed, but denied sexually abusing her, his attorney said Thursday. During interrogations by police, Glitter said he allowed the girl to sleep in his bed after she claimed she was afraid of ghosts, attorney Le Thanh Kinh told The Associated Press.
· Subway Rider Busted for Selling a Token. Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said Friday that the officer "acted within the law" after he spotted Donald Pirone, 42, selling the token Nov. 30 inside the West End subway station. Instead of giving Pirone a warning, the officer decided to handcuff him and give him the misdemeanor citation under a 1992 state law that bars passengers from selling Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority tokens, she said.
· Court rules girl not responsible for sex with teacher. A 13-year-old girl cannot be held at fault for having sex with her teacher, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting a school district's argument that it shouldn't have been sued because the girl was partially responsible. The district and Principal Preston Andersen argued that contributory fault applied because the girl "had a duty to protect herself against sexual abuse but failed to do so."
· Lesbian bikers get 'Dykes on Bikes' trademark. Lesbian motorcycle enthusiasts in San Francisco have won their fight to trademark the name "Dykes on Bikes," a lawyer for their group said on Thursday. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had denied applications by the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent to trademark "Dykes on Bikes," arguing the phrase would be perceived as disparaging to lesbians.
· Man searches fields, trash bins for lottery ticket. A $25,000 lottery ticket was easy money for Mike Sargent - until he lost it. Then it meant days of searching fields, ditches, and trash bins - before help arrived from an unexpected source.
· 2 sons lost, minutes apart. A father unknowingly passes the scene of one son's fatal accident on the way to the site of his other son's car crash. In a matter of minutes, sheriff's Deputy Andy McDowell was forced to live a parent's worst nightmare - twice. After he was taken to where one of his two sons was killed in a car crash early Wednesday, McDowell was driven past another fatal accident scene. Only later did he learn that the fiery wreck took the life of his only other child.
· Boy killed after plane skids off runway. A Southwest Airlines jet carrying 103 people has slid off the runway during a heavy snowstorm at Chicago's Midway Airport and crashed into two vehicles in a nearby intersection, killing a young boy. Eleven other people, including three jet passengers with minor injuries, were taken to hospitals after Thursday's incident.
· Streisand cancels LA Times subscription over columnist's firing. Barbra Streisand has canceled her subscription to the Los Angeles Times over the firing of the paper's liberal columnist. The newspaper dropped Robert Scheer and several other columnists last month; Scheer speculated he was let go because the Times had tired of his politics. Perhaps the most liberal voice on the paper's opinion pages, Scheer had been a Times columnist for 12 years.
· Substitute Teacher Charged With Sniffing Cocaine In Class. A substitute teacher was arrested Thursday after students reported watching him use what appeared to be cocaine during a seventh-grade science class, authorities said. Terry John Kappila, 45, of Jacksonville, was charged with felony cocaine possession. He was being held at Duval County jail.
· Condo Owner Dogged by Canine-Related Fines. Most people can't assign a dollar value to a pet's love, but Pamela McMahan can - $50 a day. That's the amount she's fined every time she takes her mixed-breed cocker spaniel, Ginger, out through the lobby of her ocean-view condominium building and back inside again. Her tab so far is $1,600.
· Fla. Officer Accused Of Stealing Money From Undercover Detective. Miami-Dade County police officer was dismissed Thursday after he allegedly stole money from an undercover detective during a traffic stop. Officer Jose Novoa faced numerous charges, Detective Nelda Fonticiella said. Novoa stopped an undercover detective for a traffic violation, then allegedly stole money from him.
· Jet forced to land over 'mile high' antics. Two business class air passengers have been arrested following claims they flew into a drunken rage after being caught having sex on a plane, it has emerged. The British Airways jet with about 200 people on board was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Bermuda after the incident on Monday, the airline said.
Thursday, December 8, 2005
· Schools throw away "Merry Christmas" lunch menus Lunch menus imprinted with the words "Merry Christmas" have been discarded and replaced in a school district near Seattle. The lunch menus for all 23 elementary schools were recalled and reprinted with the words "Happy Holidays" at a cost of almost $500.
· Judge rejects Debra LaFave's plea deal. A judge in Marion County has rejected Debra LaFave's plea deal. A trial is now scheduled in Marion County for April 10. LaFave, a former schoolteacher, is accused of having sexual relations with one of her students. She faced separate charges in both Hillsborough and Marion counties. A plea deal was made for the Hillsborough charges, but today's ruling has the plea deal rejected for Marion County.
· Playmates Arrested After Flight. Two Playboy playmates found themselves in trouble after apparently getting drunk and unruly on a Frontier Airlines flight out of Denver International Airport last weekend. CBS4 learned the playmates were arrested when the plane landed in San Antonio, Texas Sunday after the flight from Denver landed. They were apparently so drunk on the plane that they were deemed a danger to themselves and others.
· Billy Graham's daughter beats up husband, gets probation. Evangelist Billy Graham's daughter must complete a year of probation and counseling before her domestic abuse charge can be dropped. Virginia Graham Foreman, 59, spent a night in jail after a July 1 confrontation with her husband outside a shopping center.
· Iran leader: Move Israel to Europe. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred and suggested Israel be moved to Europe. His comments, reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency from a news conference he gave on Thursday in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, follow his call in October for Israel to be "wiped off the map," which sparked widespread international condemnation.
· Update: Original Hollywood sign sells for $450,000. In an eBay-fueled frenzy, some of Hollywood's most beloved memorabilia are beginning to fetch big money in online auctions. Entrepreneur Dan Bliss has just accepted a $450,400 bid for the original Hollywood sign through the online auction site.
· Man Arrested For Stealing Car Three Minutes After Release From Jail. David Mulligan, 21, of Sitka, served 25 days in jail for drunken driving, and was released at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities say he stole a van three minutes later.
· Times Union sex offender. The Times Union has been running stories about older people in need, hoping to get donations for its Holiday Fund. But readers may not feel as generous after learning that one of those stories profiled a registered sex offender.
· Two arrested after 'Casablanca' manuscript found. In a run-down house scattered with debris, authorities found the original manuscripts of "Casablanca," "Citizen Kane" and "My Fair Lady" hidden in boxes in a bedroom closet Wednesday morning. Two men were arrested after detectives served a search warrant and recovered at least $500,000 of movie and sports memorabilia from a series of burglaries in the Los Angeles area over the past year.
· PeopleSoft founder scales back mansion plan. Bowing to pressure from his neighbors, high-tech billionaire David Duffield has scaled back plans to build a gigantic mansion in Bryan Ranch, a subdivision of Alamo near Mount Diablo. Duffield, founder of PeopleSoft, had planned to build a 72,000-square-foot mansion on a property now occupied by an 8,000-square-foot home.
· Two Vehicles Crash Into Woman's Orange County Home. Not one but two vehicles crashed into a south Orange County home. Apparently, the truck, which belongs to a roofing company, had been heading northbound on Natal Avenue in the quiet neighborhood when the road came to an end at Manduria Street. Instead of turning left or right, the truck kept going, right into the house, and the car right behind it did the very same thing.
· Marin County feud with a view. An ugly fracas has broken out in a leafy hillside neighborhood in Sausalito over an effort by homeowners to get their neighbors to help pay for burying the overhead wires and utility poles that block their panoramic views of San Francisco Bay.
· San Francisco Police Officers Suspended Over Video. A parody video that features uniformed and plainclothes San Francisco police officers and racist and sexist stereotypes has led to the suspension of at least 20 police officers. In a press conference Wednesday evening with Police Chief Heather Fong, Mayor Gavin Newsom described the video as a series of skits showing situations demeaning to Asians, African-Americans, homosexuals and transsexuals.
· Shoe Bomber Alert Preceded Airport Shooting. Federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News they had been on the alert for a possible shoe bomber when a federal air marshal opened fire at the Miami International Airport today.
· Anchorwoman Accepts Proposal on Air. KDBC anchorwoman Nichole Ayoub got a surprise at the end of the 6 p.m. television newscast Wednesday — a wedding proposal. As Ayoub was ready to close the show, Travis Hughes suddenly appeared at the news desk, holding a ring box. Choking on emotion, Hughes said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Ayoub before asking, "Will you marry me?" Breathless and fighting back tears, Ayoub accepted and hugged her fiance.
· Woman, 82, Convicted of Attempted Assault. 82-year-old Ester McCullough has been found guilty of attempted assault on a peace officer for trying to hit a Sheriff's deputy on the head with her cane in August.
· 13-Year-Old Girl Charged With Robbing Bank. A 13-year-old girl in Johnstown, Pa., was charged Wednesday with robbing a bank. Police said the girl walked into the First National Bank and handed a teller a note demanding money.
· Nebraska Judge Says 128 mph Not 'Reckless.' Speeding is not necessarily reckless, even at 128 mph, a judge ruled in the case of a motorcyclist who tried to flee from state troopers. With some reluctance, County Judge John Steinheider ruled last week that Jacob H. Carman, 20, was not guilty of reckless driving on Sept. 5, when he was spotted by a trooper who then chased him at the top speed of his cruiser's odometer — 128 mph.
· Reiner will not run for governor in 2006. Director Rob Reiner said Wednesday he will not be a candidate for governor in 2006, putting to rest rumors of a potential "Meathead vs. Terminator" showdown with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
· 87 percent of Americans don't like their jobs. You know the feeling: Getting out of bed Monday morning is a struggle, followed by five long, bleak days. You're not alone. About a million people a day phone in sick — and it's not the bird flu. Some surveys have found that 87 percent of Americans don't like their jobs.
· Microsoft's CEO will have to shop for his Xbox. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will have to shop around for an Xbox 360 game console this holiday season just like the rest of us - it doesn't come with his job. "The Ballmer children do not have their Xbox 360 yet. I'm in the same boat as many of you," Ballmer said.
· Nicole Richie, Fiance Call Off Engagement. Nicole Richie and her fiance, Adam Goldstein, have called off their nine-month engagement. Richie's publicist, Cindy Guagenti, confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the couple have split. She said the breakup had been in the works for several days, but would not give any further details.
· Great Grandmother Tasered. A grandmother is suing a police officer after she says he used a taser on her. Beverly Kidwell is a 68-year-old great-grandmother in Ohio. She says the use of force was completely unwarranted.
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
· Passenger killed after claiming to have bomb. Federal air marshals shot and killed a 44-year-old U.S. citizen on a boarding bridge at Miami International Airport after he said he had a bomb. Flight 924 was in Miami on a stopover during a flight from Colombia, when the man said there was a bomb in his carry-on luggage. According to a witness, the man frantically ran down the aisle of the Boeing 757 and his wife explained that he was mentally ill and had not taken his medication.
· Sharif Pleads Innocent to Valet Smackdown. Omar Sharif is not ready to take the heat for supposedly striking a parking valet at a Beverly Hills restaurant last June. The Lawrence of Arabia star pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly assaulting parking lot attendant Juan Anderson.
· Running Behind on Your Christmas Shopping? The Shopping Column, our sister site to the Tabloid Column, is the largest online mall providing direct links to the stores people visit most often. Whether you are shopping for Men, Women, and Kids, Major Department Stores and Electronics, or just looking for Gift Ideas, the Shopping Column provides the quickest access to several hundred of the finest stores on the Internet. Best of all, it's free!
· State troopers mascarading for $100 ticket scheme. Seattle state patrol troopers are posing as panhandlers with cardboard signs that say to buckle up, while trying to catch and fine drivers who aren't wearing their seat belt.
· Photographer: Topless Aniston 'Exposed Herself.' The photographer who snapped topless photos of actress Jennifer Aniston says he never intended to sell them, but he admits exclusively to ABC News that sending them to publications along with other pictures was "maybe my mistake." Even so, Peter Brandt says that the former "Friends" star should take some responsibility. "She's the one who went out there topless."
· Child discipline the old fashioned way. Is your toddler a fussy eater? Then starve him for 24 hours and he will soon eat anything. Your baby won’t sleep through the night? Simple: smack her until she stops crying. These examples of childcare advice may well seem bizarre, if not abhorrent, now but 75 years ago they were accepted wisdom and printed in the advice columns of the country’s leading childcare magazine, Nursery World.
· Demoted Dean Files Discrimination Complaint. A former University of Wisconsin dean demoted after an audit showed he misspent campus funds filed a racial discrimination complaint against the school Tuesday. Lee Jones filed the complaint with the state's Equal Rights Division, saying university officials singled him out for an audit and demoted him because he is black.
· Police say woman mistakes cheese for cocaine, hires hit man. In an unusual case of mistaken identity, a woman who thought a block of white cheese was cocaine is charged with trying to hire a hit man to rob and kill four men. The woman also was mistaken about the hit man. He turned out to be an undercover police officer.
· Judge orders man not to drink, goes to lunch, sees him drinking. When Circuit Judge William Syler put Jacob V. Vandeven on probation Monday morning for drunken driving, he ordered him not to drink. But less than a half-hour later, Vandeven was seen hoisting an adult beverage at Tractor's Classic American Grill in Jackson... by Judge Syler himself.
· Pervert Santa drops his pants at mall. A man dressed as Santa was arrested after he walked into a New Hampshire mall and dropped his pants in front of some teens. "He continued doing this multiple times," Salem police spokesman Robert Larson said.
· Suspect In Salvation Army Kettle Robberies Found Dead. A former auto-repair shop owner suspected of robbing several Salvation Army bell ringers was found dead in his car at the bottom of a creek near the Hillsborough River, police said Tuesday. The body of Lee J. George, 41, was pulled from the submerged car Monday afternoon.
· Spokane Mayor Recalled in Sex Scandal. Mayor James E. West was recalled from office Tuesday in a special election over allegations he offered jobs and perks to young men he met in a gay Internet chat room.
· Louisiana Mother Accused Of Putting Infant In Clothes Dryer. A mother was booked on a charge of first-degree murder for allegedly placing her 3-month-old son in a clothes dryer and turning it on. The infant had third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body and suffered blunt force trauma to the head, the St. Tammany Parish coroner said.
· Don Ho Recovering From Stem Cell Procedure. Legendary Hawaiian crooner Don Ho was recovering Tuesday at a hospital in Thailand after undergoing an experimental stem cell procedure on his ailing heart. Ho, 75, known for his signature tune "Tiny Bubbles," underwent a new treatment that has not been approved in the United States.
· Bertinelli Divorcing Rocker Eddie Van Halen. Valerie Bertinelli and her rock star husband, Eddie Van Halen, are divorcing after 24 years of marriage, Bertinelli's publicist confirmed Tuesday. A divorce petition that Bertinelli, 45, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday cited irreconcilable differences.
· Oprah Rah! Rah! The critics have put Oprah's much- touted media power to the test, and so far it seems to be holding up. "The Color Purple" — or, as the ads and marquee have it, "Oprah Winfrey's The Color Purple" (it used to be Alice Walker's, but she doesn't sell tickets) — opened Thursday to the kind of tepid reviews that would normally sink a $10 million musical.
· How to sell more newspapers. They are calling it the Great Chinese Takeaway, but who ordered it is a mystery. On the day a local paper carried a front-page report that a Chinese restaurant had been fined $35,000 after a cockroach was found in the king prawns, every copy within 20 miles vanished from the shops. The buyers were two men who spent the afternoon visiting more than 40 newsagents buying up to 50 copies of the paper at a time. The mystery buyers snapped up 1,400 copies of the Bristol Evening Post at a cost of about $900. Cam and Kiem Mu, millionaire owners of the Sea Palace restaurant in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, denied being behind the buy-up.
· Sony BMG Urges Security Fix for CDs. Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Tuesday some 5.7 million of its CDs were shipped with anti-piracy technology that requires a new software patch to plug a potential security breach in computers used to play the CDs.
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
· 83-year-old millionaire now 'penniless' after yard dispute. An elderly woman in Tequesta, Fla., stands to lose everything in a dispute with local officials because she believed it was her constitutional right to keep her yard the way she wanted it – even if that meant refusing to trim back overgrown vegetation. The city racked up $1.8 million in fines for Hattie Siegel, and yesterday in bankruptcy court, Judge Steven Friedman said she must pay the fine.
· Pen Gun Accident Kills Budding Rapper. Steven Zorn had put the pen gun to his head and clicked before, apparently thinking it was jammed and would not work. But on the third try, the tiny silver pistol went off as the 22-year-old budding rap artist was drinking to celebrate an impending record deal.
· Jury Reaches No Convictions Against Accused Terrorist Supporter. In a stinging defeat for prosecutors, a former Florida professor accused of helping lead a terrorist group that has carried out suicide bombings against Israel was acquitted on nearly half the charges against him Tuesday, and the jury deadlocked on the rest. The case against Sami Al-Arian, 47, had been seen as one of the biggest courtroom tests yet of the Patriot Act's expanded search-and-surveillance powers. After a five-month trial and 13 days of deliberations, the jury acquitted Al-Arian of eight of the 17 counts against him, including a key charge of conspiring to maim and murder people overseas.
· Murder charge could follow right-to-die fight. The stepfather of an 11-year-old girl went to Massachusetts' highest court on Tuesday hoping to block the state from taking her off life support. If the girl dies, he could face a murder charge for taking part in the beating that left her comatose.
· Christina Applegate Going Solo. Looks like Christina Applegate will soon be divorced... without children. The actress' husband, Johnathon Schaech, got the ball rolling by filing for divorce Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences.
· Alabama teacher sentenced to year for sex with teen. A former Leeds High School teacher was sentenced to a year in prison Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree rape for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old boy who was a student at her school. Emily Morris, 27, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Jim Hill to a split 5-year sentence, with one year in prison and four on probation.
· Man Who Blamed Shooting On 1998 Joke Disrupts Court Hearing. A man charged with killing a co-worker seven years after he allegedly heard the victim tell a racist joke disrupted his court hearing Monday by overturning chairs, cursing and demanding to be sent home. Stanford A. Douglas Jr., 30, was in Bucks County Court to enter a plea in the March 27 killing of William Berkeyheiser.
· Update: San Diego Mayor Restores Motto to Web Site. Jerry Sanders was sworn in as mayor of California's second-biggest city Monday and restored the title of "America's Finest City" to San Diego's Web site in his first official act. The Associated Press reported Sunday that city officials had quietly dropped the self-proclaimed title from the Web site in August following a series of scandals involving San Diego's elected officials.
· Busted: Customer Gives Pizza Man His Own Card. When Vegard Sjaastad delivered a pizza near the western Norwegian town of Aalesund, there was something familiar about the customer's credit card. It was his card, and had been stolen the day before. "It was like I met myself in the doorway," the 24-year-old said by telephone Tuesday. "It was my picture on the back of the card."
· Cafe Stirs Debate Over Kids' Behavior. Dan McCauley had seen one too many kids at his cafe lying on the floor in front of the counter and coming perilously close to getting their fingers pinched in the front door. So he posted a sign: "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices." While it is common policy for upscale restaurants to bar children, owners of other types of businesses also are setting limits on kids.
· FEMA Adds Security After Threats. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has increased security for workers in a severely flood-damaged neighborhood after a recent threat of violence, a spokesman said Monday. FEMA workers have been advised not to wear clothing identifying them as members of the department when they're off duty.
· Ford to pull ads from publications that cater to gays. Ford Motor Co. said Monday that its Jaguar and Land Rover brands will stop advertising in magazines that cater to gay and lesbian people, but the automaker denied that it struck a secret deal with a conservative Christian group to pull its ads to avert a boycott.
· Westin hotel chain to ban smoking. A major hotel chain is going smoke-free next month and will add $200 to the bill of anyone who violates the policy, an executive said Monday. Westin Hotels & Resorts is banning smoking indoors and poolside at all 77 of its properties in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, said senior Vice President Sue Brush.
· Former Scout Exec Sentenced in Porn Case. A former Boy Scouts executive was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for collecting child pornography from the Internet. Douglas S, Smith, Jr., 62, an executive in the Boy Scouts of America at the time he was charged, pleaded guilty in March to one count of possessing child porn. "The good news is that the court certainly harmed Mr. Smith a lot less than the court could have," said Jack Strickland, Smith's attorney. Smith had faced between five and 20 years in prison.
· Man Struck by Car, Ticketed Later Dies. A 73-year-old man who received a $5 jaywalking ticket after he was struck by a car later died from his injuries, police said Monday. "We knew it was a serious injury, but we didn't know it was life-threatening," police Capt. Willie Smith said, adding "We wouldn't have issued the ticket if we knew he was going to die."
Monday, December 5, 2005
· Man escapes from jail, returns with hamburgers. The Roane County Sheriff's Department is investigating a jail break with a unique twist. Dustin Scarbrough was later found and evidence taken that Scarbrough isn't a big fan of jail food. "Four McDonalds Hamburgers," says Sgt. Stooksbury. It is unclear whether or not the accused was planning to keep the items for himself or if he was trying to smuggle the items back in prison to sell to other prisoners.
· Judge OKs Money-Laundering Charges Against DeLay. A judge dismissed a conspiracy charge Monday against Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, but refused to throw out the far more serious allegations of money-laundering, dashing the congressman's hopes for now of reclaiming his post as House majority leader.
· Christmas Lights Shut Bay Bridge. Someone is missing a string of Christmas lights. Authorities feared the worst when a suspicious package was found on the bottom deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge yesterday. Traffic had to be stopped in both directions twice while authorities investigated. Officers X-rayed the small suitcase and found it had wires and other electrical components. But after the suitcase was blasted by a water cannon and tossed into the dirt by a robot, the bomb squad just found some old-fashioned Christmas lights inside.
· Woman Catches Man in Her Underwear. A young Houston woman kept coming home to find the lights in her apartment on. The problem: She'd turned them off before leaving. Unsure of whether she should be worried, Nicole, whose last name is being withheld, let her boyfriend persuade her to set up a hidden camera to monitor her home when she was away. Police said the intruder was 37-year-old Shawn Rogers, who lived nearby in Nicole's upscale neighborhood. The intruder stripped, then tried on Nicole's lingerie.
· Two Named to Head 'World News Tonight.' ABC News named Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff co-anchors of "World News Tonight" on Monday, replacing the late Peter Jennings. The network said "World News Tonight" also would become the first network evening newscast to be broadcast live each night in three time zones, including for the West Coast. Vargas and Woodruff have been two of the chief substitute anchors on "World News Tonight" since Jennings announced in April that he had lung cancer.
· Pennsylvania Bans Spanking In Schools. Pennsylvania’s public educators can no longer spank their students. Regulations barring paddling and other physical discipline that causes pain and fear in students took effect on Saturday. That makes Pennsylvania the 28th state to ban the use of corporal punishment.
· Singing Helps Newton-John Deal With Loss. Olivia Newton-John said her singing is helping her cope with the mysterious disappearance of her longtime boyfriend. Patrick McDermott, 48, failed to return from a June 30 California fishing trip. It is being investigated as a missing person case.
· Dr. Phil admits "no expertise" in diet scheme. "Dr. Phil" McGraw admits in damning E-mails he had "no expertise" in making the line of diet products he endorsed and is being sued for. Still, he put his name on Shape Up! diet products after asking for "the strongest of disclaimers" in the products' ads.
· Some oil executives worry prices may fall. Hold on to your gas guzzlers: Cheap oil may once again be just around the corner. Even as consumers worry about high gasoline prices and rising heating bills, oil executives in London, Texas and Saudi Arabia seem to be concerned about a prospect of falling oil prices. The big issue is what demand is going to be next year," David O'Reilly, the chief executive of Chevron, said by telephone. "High prices tend to attract higher production and higher supplies."
· Music legend Phil Spector set to go to trial on murder charges in April. A Los Angeles judge has set a date of April 24 for the murder trial of legendary music producer Phil Spector. Spector, 65, is charged with the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, whose body police found in the foyer of Spector's Alhambra mansion with a single gunshot wound to her head. Spector has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.
· Study finds coffee reduces liver risk. Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink alcohol too much, are overweight, or have too much iron in the blood, researchers reported on Sunday.
· School's $62 painting nets $3.1 million on auction. An abstract painting bought by New Trier High School for $62.50 in 1948 sold for more than $3 million at Christie's auction house in New York, officials said Friday. The painting by Stuart Davis, one of the first Americans to embrace modernist art, was sold to an anonymous phone bidder for $3.152 million, said Rik Pike, a Christie's spokesman.
· 'Harry Potter' Remains Top Movie With $20M. The third weekend was still a charm for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which remained the top movie with $20.45 million. Charlize Theron's sci-fi tale "Aeon Flux," a movie apparently so bad distributor Paramount did not screen it beforehand for critics, still managed to debut in second place with $13.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
· Ex-Sept. 11 Commissioners: U.S. at Risk. The U.S. is at great risk for more terrorist attacks because Congress and the White House have failed to enact several strong security measures, members of the former Sept. 11 commission said Sunday. "It's not a priority for the government right now," said the former chairman, Thomas Kean, ahead of the group's release of a report Monday assessing how well its recommendations have been followed. "More than four years after 9/11 ... people are not paying attention," the former Republican governor of New Jersey said. "God help us if we have another attack."
Sunday, December 4, 2005
· San Diego Dethrones Itself As Finest City. America's Finest City? Not any more. One of its congressmen admitted taking $2.4 million in bribes, the FBI has investigated City Hall, the mayor resigned, a $1.37 billion pension shortfall damaged the city's credit rating and fueled talk of bankruptcy, and two councilmen were convicted of taking bribes from a strip club owner. Faced with all that ill repute, the city has quietly dethroned itself and dropped the self-proclaimed title "America's Finest City" from its official Web site. "We couldn't stake that claim anymore," said Gina Lew, the city's director of public and media affairs. "We were taking too many hits."
· Name Change Pending for 'Dummer' School. Jokes about Governor Dummer Academy, the nation's oldest independent boarding school, are about to become history. The Newbury school's board of trustees voted Saturday to shed "Dummer" and change the name to The Governor's Academy.
· Kennedy Center Honors Redford, Tina Turner. The stars - "Sundance Kid" Robert Redford, pop diva Tina Turner and crooner Tony Bennett, among them - were coming out early to be honored at the White House for a lifetime of achievement.
· Authorities Arrest Suspected Balloon Thief. Authorities have arrested a man they say stole a hot-air balloon from a Knox County home and then broke into another residence where he forced the family there to feed him. Gregory Allen Williams, 40, was caught by police Friday night as he left the house authorities say he broke into during the evening. Williams made the family there feed him, though the couple's adult daughter hid in a closet and alerted authorities by using her cell phone,
· John Lennon's Death Lingers for Witnesses. A television news producer. An emergency room doctor. Two NYPD beat cops. Before that December night 25 years ago, they shared little but this: As children of the '60s, the soundtrack of their lives came courtesy of the Beatles.
· $2.6 million jigsaw prize almost in place. An inventor who thought he had devised the world's hardest jigsaw puzzle, only to see it swiftly solved by two mathematicians, is having another go. Christopher Monckton, an aristocratic former policy adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, launched Eternity, a 209-piece jigsaw made up of geometric shapes with no pattern to follow, six years ago. Mr Monckton is now working on Eternity II, a puzzle he claims is far more difficult and for which he plans to offer a $2.6 million prize for solving.
· Hundreds in Philadelphia Show Up for 'Rocky' Casting Call. No one had to sprint up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps or spar in a meat locker. All the hundreds of fans who packed the Philadelphia streets Saturday for an open casting call for extras for the new "Rocky" movie needed was a picture, a resume and a simple message that would have made the fictional ex-champ proud: "Yo, pick me!"
· One of First Christmas Cards Auctioned. A 162-year-old Christmas card, one of the first commercial cards produced for the season, sold at auction in England on Saturday for $16,000. The hand-colored card, which shows a family celebrating around a table, is one of about 10 surviving from an original batch of 1,000 printed in 1843.
· Man charged with hiding body of lottery winner's granddaughter. The body of a Powerball jackpot winner's 17-year-old granddaughter was hidden under a van for weeks after she died of a drug overdose, police said. Brandi Bragg died December 5, 2004, of a drug overdose in the home of Steve Crosier, Brandon Crosier's father. Her death came two years after her grandfather, Jack Whittaker, won nearly $315 million in the Powerball lottery - the largest single jackpot in history.
· Shootout At Harrah's Tahoe Casino Leaves One Dead, Two Injured. A shootout across a high-stakes players lounge in Harrah's Tahoe casino killed one man, injured two sheriff's deputies and sent gamblers running for the doors Saturday afternoon, authorities and witnesses said.
· Blast Fails to Fell Tallest S.D. Building. Thousands of spectators gathered Saturday to watch the demolition of the city's tallest building - but the Zip Feed Mill tower was no pushover. The 202-foot-tall concrete structure dropped slightly, leaned a little - and stopped. Onlookers at viewing spots all over downtown groaned and gasped - with a few jokes mixed in. "The leaning tower of Zip," one woman said. "The building won!" yelled another man, to the cheers of onlookers. The abandoned feed mill elevator, widely considered the tallest building in South Dakota, was being demolished to make way for office and retail space.
· Are they ready for a high-definition close-up? The unforgiving clarity of high-definition television has induced paranoia among celebrities obsessed with their appearance. Distressed celebrities are rushing to plastic surgeons and dermatologists for Botox or laser treatments. Technical and make-up experts are, meanwhile, devising increasingly ingenious techniques for masking flaws such as acne scars and bulging veins. Philip Swann, whose website TVPredictions.com covers television technology, said: "With high-definition television facial imperfections and ageing signs are dramatically visible." He said many celebrities were "scared to death" by the technology.
· New Canadian law will permit some lawsuits against mothers. Alberta has become the first province in Canada to enact legislation allowing children to sue their mothers for injuries suffered in the womb. But the law applies only to damage suffered in car accidents.
· 1,000 bottles of bubbly at billionaire wedding. The Greek billionaire Athina Roussel Onassis married a Brazilian Olympic equestrian Saturday night in a palm-tree lined estate, celebrating with more than 1,000 bottles of champagne. On grounds surrounded by trees and azalea bushes, the 20-year-old granddaughter and heiress of the late shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis wed Alvaro Afonso de Miranda, a 32-year-old divorced father and son of an insurance company owner.
Saturday, December 3, 2005
· Tampa woman sues former Panthers cheerleader over assault. A Tampa woman has sued a former Carolina Panthers cheerleader for allegedly punching her at a bar. Police say 26-year-old Melissa Holden was waiting in line in the bathroom of a Tampa bar on November 6th when Victoria Renee Thomas punched her. Police say cheerleaders Thomas and Angela Keathley emerged from a stall after other patrons yelled at them. Holden filed the lawsuit Friday. It says Thomas maliciously assaulted her.
· Update: Katrina-Themed Christmas Display Returns To Mall. The outcry was so intense after a suburban New Orleans mall removed a Christmas display of a miniature hurricane-ravaged town that the exhibit is going back up this weekend. Frank Evans, who designed the tiny blue-tarped roofs and little toppled fences, said he was reinstalling them at the mall's request starting Friday night.
· Former Police Officer Gets 20 Years For Sex With Teen. A former Miami police officer who had rejected a plea bargain of probation and no jail time was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for having sex with a 14-year-old girl in the police explorer program.
· Brad Pitt to adopt Angelina's children. Brad Pitt is seeking to become the adoptive father of Angelina Jolie's children, the actor's publicist announced Friday. A legal petition seeking to change the names of the children to Zahara Jolie-Pitt and Maddox Jolie-Pitt was filed Friday in Los Angeles.
· Show & Tell: Boy, 2, Takes Crack Cocaine To Day Care. A two-year-old boy showed up at a day-care center Friday with crack cocaine in his pocket, police in Philadelphia said. The toddler's mother was arrested. According to police, the boy went to day care, pulled two packets out of his pocket and handed them to his teacher.
· Grandmother Charged In Baby Jesus Theft. Virginia Voiers thought she was taking part in a rambunctious holiday custom, but a carriage driver thought differently and called police when he saw the 70-year-old grandmother stealing the baby Jesus from the city's nativity scene. "It was a lark, it wasn't any serious stealing," Voiers told the local newspaper of Eureka Springs. "My granddaughter commented that no one had taken the baby Jesus this year and said, 'Grandma?' I said, 'Oh, what the heck.'"
· Oprah Gives Dave Best Audience in Decade. David Letterman has learned the Power of Oprah: her "Late Show" appearance Thursday earned him his biggest audience in more than a decade. An estimated 13.5 million people stayed up late to watch Winfrey's first visit to Letterman in 16 years, Nielsen Media Research said on Friday. Only three times has Letterman had a bigger audience on CBS - for his network premiere in 1993 and twice in 1994 in the midst of the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding ice skating melodrama. Winfrey's appearance more than tripled Letterman's typical audience of 4.3 million viewers, Nielsen said.
· Professional Surfer Drowns Off Hawaii. A Tahitian professional surfer drowned Friday after wiping out on a big wave off Oahu's North Shore. Malik Joyeux, 25, was underwater for about 10 minutes after falling on an 8-foot wave at Hawaii's famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, according to witness and photographer Bruno Lemos. The wave exploded on top of Joyeux, snapping his board in half, Lemos said. Surfers spotted Joyeux's body floating in a nearby break and paddled him to shore, where lifeguards and ocean safety officials unsuccessfully tried to revive him, Lemos said.
· Bodies Found In Ohio Could Be Missing Children. The mother of two murdered New Hampshire children whose bodies have never been found said she had learned to take things week-to-week and month-to-month. But now, she said, it's minute-to-minute. Two bodies found in Ohio may be those of 14-year-old Sarah Gehring and her 11-year-old brother, Philip, authorities said. Their father admitted killing them in 2003, but he could not pinpoint the spot where they were buried.
· Rap Mogul Acquitted of Money Laundering. A hip hop music producer who cultivated a gangster image by taking the last name "Gotti" finally has something in common with the late Teflon Don: an acquittal. A federal jury in Brooklyn found Irving "Irv Gotti" Lorenzo and his brother Christopher not guilty Friday of laundering piles of drug money for a notorious crack kingpin. Jurors also acquitted the Lorenzo's record company, until recently known as Murder Inc., at a trial that was followed closely by some of the music industry's big stars.
Friday, December 2, 2005
· Woman Says 'Merci' After Face Transplant. A woman who underwent the world's first partial face transplant regained consciousness 24 hours after the groundbreaking operation and her first words were "thank you," one of her doctors said Friday. Dr. Bernard Devauchelle, one of the surgeons leading two teams who operated on the woman, said there were no post-surgical problems and she was doing fine.
· Atheists Sue Over Road Crosses For Troopers Killed In Line Of Duty. A group of atheists in Salt Lake City is taking on the State of Utah and the Utah Highway Patrol over the law enforcement agency's use of crosses on roadways to memorialize troopers killed in the line of duty.
· Report: Britney threw out hubby. Britney Spears is said to have booted her wastrel husband, Kevin Federline, out of their Malibu mansion. The New York Daily News is reporting the couple had a blazing row Wednesday night in which the pop princess banished the skeevy dancer to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Word is Brit lost it when a pot-packing pal of Federline's showed up at their house.
· "Sexy" not allowed on billboard. A new controversy is occurring over billboards in the town of Spring Hill, TN. The first problem arose with an electronic signs that flipped images, but now it appears the city will not allow words like "sexy" to appear on signs. Hair stylist Cindy Landis of "Studio 4 Hair And More" wanted her clients to know she carried the brand name "Sexy" hair products in her salon. City officials, however, have now forced her to take down the reference to "sexy" products citing complaints of indecency from people who live nearby.
· Pilot Reports 'Missile' Fired at Jetliner Near LAX. FBI agents and Homeland Security officials spent the weekend investigating the report of a possible missile fired at an American Airlines plane taking off from Los Angeles International Airport. Sources tell ABC News the pilot of American Airlines Flight 621, en route to Chicago, radioed air traffic controllers after takeoff from LAX. He told them a missile had been fired at the aircraft and missed.
· 9-year-old qualifies for national pool tournament. Nine-year old Jontel Barita qualified for the U.S. Pool Players Association national tournament in Reno, Nev., which started Thursday. "He doesn't miss very often," said Wayne Whiting, director of the Southern Oregon chapter of U.S. Pool Players Association. "He has to stretch a lot because he's so short."
· Man Guilty Of Killing Boy Who Threw Eggs At Him. A jury convicted a man of murder for fatally shooting a 15-year-old boy who threw eggs at him. The murdered boy's uncle, Charles Russell, said the incident was a lesson for teens to avoid the actions that led to the shooting. "A child's prank can have consequences that no one could anticipate," Russell said.
· Bush Called For Jury Duty In Texas. The president has been summoned to the county courthouse near his Texas ranch as a potential juror. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the McLennan County court has been called and told the president has other commitments on Monday. McClellan said the White House will work with the court to reschedule Bush's jury duty.
· Two 'Lost' Stars Arrested Within Minutes Of Each Other. Two cast members of the hit ABC series "Lost" were released on $500 bail each Thursday after being charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Police said Michelle Rodriguez - who plays Ana Lucia - and Cynthia Watros - who portrays Libby - were arrested in separate cars within 15 minutes of each other in Kailua.
· Tallest skyscraper may cause earthquakes. Taipei 101 is a building with a lot to boast about. Standing 1,667ft high, it is the world's tallest. And at 700,000 tons, it must be among the heaviest. But the sheer size of the Taiwan skyscraper has raised unexpected concerns that may have far-reaching implications for the construction of other buildings and man-made megastructures. Taipei 101 is thought to have triggered two recent earthquakes because of the stress that it exerts on the ground beneath it.
· Man Pays For Dominatrix Beatings With Charity Funds. An New York executive for a foundation that funds heart disease research was accused of embezzling more than $237,000 and using some of the money to pay for the services of a dominatrix.
· 6-Year-Old Boy Faces Expulsion For Touching Classmate's Bottom. A 6-year-old boy was facing expulsion for touching a classmate's rear end, and his mother said she thinks the school district is going too far.
· Canadian professor gets $100,000 grant to research sex life of squirrels. An assistant professor of biology at Laurentian University, Dr. Albrecht Shulte-Hostedde, is going to receive $100,000 in provincial research funding. Schulte-Hostedde said “My students and I will seek to identify and understand the factors - such as climate change - that influence the reproductive success and survival of animals, including the northern flying squirrels."
· Letterman welcomes Oprah to end 'feud.' Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman buried the hatchet on "The Late Show" and wondered just how their 16-year feud started in the first place. "Could you tell me please what has transpired?" Winfrey asked Letterman during the show Thursday. "I have never for a moment had a feud with you."
· Grace Period for Gulf Coast Mortgages Ends. Like many homeowners around here, Janet Kisling owes a pile of debt on little more than a pile of debris. She has a $1,000-a-month mortgage on a home that is uninhabitable. For her and others along the Gulf Coast, December brings a cruel cut-off: It marks the end of an informal 90-day grace period that many lenders offered to Hurricane Katrina victims that let them put their mortgage payments on hold.
· Ellison to pay $122 million in settlement. Software mogul Larry Ellison has agreed to pay $122 million in a revised settlement with Oracle shareholders. The terms of the new, approved settlement leave the $100 million payment to charities intact while requiring Ellison to pay $22 million in legal fees. "This provision makes an excellent settlement even better," Joseph Tabacco, the attorney who brought the case, said in a statement.
· The Forbes Fictional 15. Many are fascinated by the super-rich, devouring their biographies. With the Forbes Fictional 15, they have taken fiction’s caricatures and elevated them to the status of real people, from Santa Claus - to Bruce Wayne.
· Man sues Texas governor, others for $100 trillion. An East St. Louis man is suing an oil company, a bank and several high profile Texas public officials for $100 trillion, claiming they've stood in his way of recovering $100,000 unclaimed by a relative.
· Garner and Affleck Have Baby Girl. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck had a baby girl Thursday. "Mother, father and baby are doing great," their publicists, Ken Sunshine and Nicole King, told The Associated Press.
· Camera in school bathroom. A Jasper County mother says her 8th grade son found a video camera taping in the school bathroom this week. But now, he is the one in trouble. Cindy Champion says her son, Mac Bedor, and a few of his friends took the camera out of the ceiling because they felt it violated their privacy. Champion says her son brought the camera home to show her that afternoon. She says when she contacted the Jasper County Comprehensive School, she found out high school principal, Howard Fore, put the camera there. She says Fore told her he put the camera in the boys' bathroom to catch students vandalizing. Champion says her son is now suspended for taking school property.
· NBC pulls 'Joey,' reshuffles Thursday. NBC is making big changes to its prime-time lineup for Thursday - the night it used to own in the era of "must-see TV" - by instituting a two-hour comedy block led by "My Name Is Earl." Banished from the night, and temporarily off the air entirely, is "Joey," the spinoff that lost all of the energy and most of the viewers from "Friends."
· New death threats against Mohammed cartoonists. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned Danish travellers to Pakistan of increased hazard after a Danish newspaper's decision to publish cartoons of Muslim prophet Mohammed escalated into a bounty being placed on the heads of the cartoonists.
· N.C. carries out nation's 1,000th execution. A convicted murderer was put to death Friday in the nation’s 1,000th execution since capital punishment resumed in 1977. Kenneth Lee Boyd, who was convicted of killing his estranged wife and father-in-law, received a lethal injection and was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. this morning.
· TSA to unveil new security procedures. The Transportation Security Administration will announce changes in screening procedures at the nation's commercial airports Friday, allowing passengers to take small scissors and tools on planes but increasing random passenger checks and the thoroughness of pat-down searches.
Thursday, December 1, 2005
· Katrina-Themed Christmas Display Sparks Controversy. A controversial Christmas display in Metairie, La., featuring miniature figurines of floating hurricane victims, blue-tarped roofs on tiny homes and piles of hurricane debris has been ordered to be removed by mall management.
· Sex offender Web site shows smiling Lafave. Debra Lafave is still beaming, even from the sex offender Web site. Lafave made it onto the list after pleading guilty last week to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery for having sex with a teenage boy.
· Stowaway cat flies business class back home. It has been a long road trip for a Wisconsin cat that wound up across the Atlantic. But after two months away, Emily is heading home today in style. She’s taking a Continental Airlines flight from Paris to Newark, New Jersey. From there she’ll fly to Milwaukee and will be picked up by her family.
· Woman admits $2.9 million casino heist. A former armored car driver who turned herself in after more than a decade in hiding pleaded guilty Wednesday in a $2.9 million heist on the Las Vegas Strip. Heather Tallchief, 33, surrendered in Las Vegas after living for years in Amsterdam under an assumed name. Her lawyers said she was tired of hiding and wanted her son to have a normal life.
· Grinch Strikes in Jonesboro. Thieves broke into the Salvation Army facility in Jonesboro and stole dozens of toys. Director John Crain tells WSB's Lisa Campbell they were intended for children up to age 16 for the holiday season.
· Man Found Not Guilty In Sex Assault Because He Was Asleep. Rape crisis counselors and women's advocates are outraged Thursday after a man in Toronto, Canada was found not guilty of raping a woman because he was sleepwalking at the time.
· Mom charged with hosting underage beer bash. A mother apparently trying to help her son make friends, is accused of throwing a rowdy keg party where she sold teens beer. Police say Kim Caufield, 39, now faces charges of distributing alcohol to a minor and delinquency of a minor. Caufield and her family reportedly moved to Reading about two months ago from Florida. Students speculate she threw the beer bash — complete with a keg — to help her 14-year-old son make friends.
· Conn. Police Fine Students for Cursing. Bad words are costing Hartford Public and Bulkeley high schoolers $103 each. Police officers assigned to the schools have fined about two dozen students for cursing in a new program to curtail unruly behavior. The joint effort by school and police officials targets students who swear while defying teachers and administrators.
· 'Bosom Buddies,' 'Back To The Future' Actress Dies At 46. Actress and cancer care activist Wendie Jo Sperber, who starred opposite Tom Hanks on television's "Bosom Buddies," has died. A publicist said Sperber died at home after an eight-year battle with breast cancer. Sperber played Amy Cassidy on "Bosom Buddies" and Linda McFly in all three "Back to the Future" movies.
· Update: Boyfriend Unaware of Deadly Peanut Allergy. Thinking she was having an asthma attack, Christina Desforges burst into a friend's room and woke him in a desperate search for medicine. Friends called an ambulance as her breathing grew labored, but Desforges collapsed a moment after she stepped outside. She died four days later. It quickly became clear the 15-year-old girl succumbed to a peanut allergy - not from nuts she ate, but a peanut-butter sandwich her boyfriend had consumed before kissing her that day. A friend said that Desforges' boyfriend and other companions had no idea she was allergic to peanuts.
· Battle Over Vietnamese Woman's Death Over. The long legal battle over the death of a San Jose mother, killed by a San Jose police officer, is over. The city has agreed to pay $1.8 million to the family of 25-year-old Bich Cau Thi Tran. In July 2003, an officer shot and killed her as she waved an Asian-style vegetable peeler that he mistook for a cleaver.
· For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower. If you’re tired of anaemic, one-lung snowblowers with their slipping drive belts, you might consider Kai Grundt’s V8 snow blower which raises the bar on the traditional snow blower in every respect. With electric start, electric block heater, and eight cylinders, it produces 412 horsepower that can throw snow 50 feet. [Photos]
· Body of Missing Mobster Turns Up in NJ. Authorities were investigating whether a body found Wednesday in the trunk of a car behind a diner is that of a reputed New York mobster who went missing during his racketeering trial earlier this year.
· The second man in stripper slaying steps out. One of two Romeos who romanced a fresh-faced stripper found murdered in her upper East Side NY apartment surfaced yesterday as cops returned to the bloody crime scene to gather more evidence.
· Schwarzenegger Makes Democrat His Top Aide. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called his new chief of staff a hard-working, dedicated woman and a top-notch manager. Susan Kennedy is also the former executive director of the state Democratic Party, the former head of an abortion rights league and a gay woman who held a "commitment ceremony" in Hawaii with her partner.