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Thursday, August 31, 2006
· Radio staff apologizes for contest. An Alliance radio station has discontinued an on-air "Mongoloid Mike" contest that outraged advocates for the disabled. The contest, run by an evening DJ, asked callers to sing a song as if they were mentally retarded. Listeners would be asked to guess what the "Mongoloid" is singing.
· Taxi Driver Shoots Man in Bin Laden Mask. Osama bin Laden take note: You wouldn't be safe in Costa Rica. A startled taxi driver shot and wounded a jokester wearing a plastic mask of the al-Qaida leader, police said Tuesday. Leonel Arias, 47, told police he was playing a practical joke by donning the Bin Laden mask, toting his pellet rifle and jumping out to scare drivers on a narrow street in his hometown near San Jose. Arias had already startled several drivers, but when he jumped out in front of taxi driver Juan Pablo Sandoval, the driver reached for a gun and shot him twice in the stomach.
· Report: U.S. Secretly Negotiated with Gaza Kidnappers. The U.S. secretly agreed to the "real demands" set by the group behind the August 14 kidnapping of two Fox News journalists in Gaza, according to a report in the pan-Arab newspaper al Hayat.
· Norwegian police recover 'The Scream.' "The Scream" and another stolen masterpiece by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch were recovered by police today, two years after gunmen seized the paintings from an Oslo museum. "'The Scream' and 'Madonna' are now in police possession," police chief Iver Stensrud said. "The damage is much less than we could have feared."
· Swiss police stop multitasking motorist. A 34-year-old saleswoman was caught driving down a Swiss motorway while she was using her laptop computer and chatting on a handheld mobile phone, police in northeastern Switzerland said.
· Trump tells Carolyn: 'You're fired!' Carolyn Kepcher, the blonde co-star of Donald Trump's 'The Apprentice,' has been fired. The 36-year old sidekick, who in addition to her role on the show ran the Trump National Golf Club in posh Westchester County north of New York City, was fired earlier this week. Trump's daughter Ivanka has replaced Kepcher in the role, while Trump's son Don Jr. is the successor to the 78-year old real estate lawyer George Ross on the show.
» Sources: Too much 'self-promotion as a star.' Sources say Carolyn Kepcher’s firing was a result of her excessive self-promotion as a star at the expense of her performance at her day job. The person insisted on anonymity because it was a personnel matter.
· One More Year Of Life Costs $20,000. Despite exploding costs, most Americans got sizable life-extending bang for their medical bucks over recent decades, says one of the most sweeping studies ever of health-care value. The federally funded study calculated that Americans of all ages spent an average of $19,900 on medical care for each extra year of life expectancy gained over the last four decades of the 20th century.
· California Bills Target Huge Stores. Bills that would give California's local governments more power to fight Wal-Mart and other huge stores are heading to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, over the objections of the giant retailer, business groups and Republican lawmakers.
· Stereotyping is leading to terror, says first Muslim Miss England. The first Muslim to be crowned Miss England has warned that stereotyping members of her community is leading some towards extremism.
· Burns Says Terrorists Drive Taxis by Day. Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, whose recent comments have stirred controversy, says the United States is up against a faceless enemy of terrorists who ``drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill at night.''
· Rail spike injures woman. A Sarasota woman is recovering from her injuries today after someone dropped a railroad spike through her windshield. Nathan and Deidra Dempsey were driving north on I-75 Tuesday with their 3-year-old son when an object fell from the overpass and shattered their windshield.
· Man gives kids 40 mm shell to play with; 2 killed, 5 hurt. A military shell given to a group of children by a neighbor exploded while they played with it, killing two children and injuring five others, police and witnesses said. Police were investigating the cause of Tuesday's explosion, which damaged homes and forced neighbors to wrap bloodied and dazed children in blankets.
· Lexington controller had only 2 hours of sleep. The lone air-traffic controller on duty at the time of a jet crash Sunday morning in Lexington, Kentucky, was working on only two hours of sleep, a National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman said Wednesday.
· Bartender Gets $10,000 Tip on $26 Tab. Two weeks ago, one of Cindy Kienow's regular customers left her a $100 tip on a tab that wasn't even half that. This week, he added a couple of zeros. Kienow, a bartender at Applebee's, got a $10,000 tip from the man - for a $26 meal - on Sunday.
· Passenger Asked To Remove Arabic Script T-Shirt. An Arab human rights activist says he was prevented from boarding a JetBlue plane at Kennedy International Airport while wearing a T-shirt that said, "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic.
· Anti-Bush Shirt OK in School, Court Says. A middle school that censored the anti-drug, anti-Bush message on a student's T-shirt violated the boy's right to free speech, an appeals court ruled Wednesday. The shirt bore images of cocaine and a martini glass in addition to messages calling President Bush a lying drunk driver who abused cocaine and marijuana, and the "chicken-hawk-in-chief" who was engaged in a "world domination tour."
· Warren Buffett Marries Longtime Companion on 76th Birthday. Warren Buffett married his longtime companion, Astrid Menks, in a private ceremony Wednesday, the Omaha World-Herald reported in a copyrighted story in its Thursday editions.
· AFL-CIO to spend $40 million on elections. AFL-CIO announced Wednesday it will spend $40 million on get-out-the-vote operations for the midterm elections in an effort to try to drive congressional Republicans from power as well as win governorships in 21 states across the country.
· School shooting suspect charged with killing father. A 19-year-old who was taken into custody following a school shooting Wednesday afternoon was charged with killing his father earlier in the day, according to the Orange County, North Carolina, sheriff's office. The teen fired eight shots at Orange High School, injuring two students and sending others running for cover, police and parents told local media outlets.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
· Pilot locked out of cockpit during flight. The pilot of a Canadian airliner who went to the washroom during a flight found himself locked out of the cockpit, forcing the crew to remove the door from its hinges to let him back in, the airline said Wednesday. A report in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper said that for about 10 minutes "passengers described seeing the pilot bang on the door and communicating with the cockpit though an internal telephone but being unable to open the door."
· 13-year-old Accused of Raping 71-year-old Woman. A 13-year-old boy sat patiently waiting to stand before a Duval County Judge on charges of rape and attempted armed robbery. A young boy accused of committing some serious adult crimes, so serious, Judge Henry Davis had to double check his age.
· Lawyers have a heart after all. A personal injury lawfirm has already published its condolences to family members of those who died in the Kentucky airline accident: "Our sympathy goes to the families and friends of the victims of Comair Flight 5191 - a tragedy that should not have happened. While money cannot bring back a loved one, victims' families should be compensated for their senseless loss. Negligent parties should be held accountable, and a cause for the accident should be found, primarily so a similar disaster never happens again."
· Woman who helped husband rape 10-year-old daughter gets 100 years with no possibility of parole. A woman who helped her husband rape her 10-year-old daughter and videotaped the acts received Tuesday what amounts to a life sentence in prison. A judge handed down a term of 100 years behind bars with no possibility of parole to Sherie Ratliff, 36, of Kingsport.
· Sen. Stevens is 'the secret senator.' The identity of the blogosphere's "secret senator" has been revealed. CNN has confirmed that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has placed a hold on a bill that would require the government to publish online a database of federal spending. "He does have a hold on the bill," Stevens' spokesperson Aaron Saunders told CNN. The bill has become a cause célèbre for both liberal and conservative bloggers as they tried to uncover the "secret senator" who had blocked passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.
· Lawyer Charged With Murdering Neighbor. A lawyer climbed through a neighbor's bedroom window and stabbed him to death after being told by a family member that the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter, authorities say. Barry James, 58, was stabbed in the chest nearly a dozen times Monday. The lawyer, Jonathon Edington, 29, was charged with murder and burglary and was released on $1 million bail Wednesday.
· Radio Shack Uses E-Mail to Fire 400 Employees. Radio Shack notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts. Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately, your position is one that has been eliminated."
· Sex offender guilty of kidnapping, murdering student. A federal jury found a convicted sex offender guilty Wednesday in the kidnapping and murder of college student Dru Sjodin, whose body was found abandoned in Minnesota a ravine. The verdict clears the way for the first death penalty deliberations in North Dakota in more than a century.
· Scientists report baldness breakthrough. In a finding that could help treat an inherited form of baldness, a research team in Manchester claims to have discovered a protein "code" that instructs cells to sprout hair. By sending the code to more cells than usual, the scientists at the University of Manchester say they were able to breed mice with more fur - a feat that could potentially be replicated in humans.
· Judge Tosses 'Grossly Excessive' $50 Million Award in Vioxx Case. The $50 million compensatory damage award in a federal Vioxx case this month was "grossly excessive," and a new trial must be held to decide damages for a retired FBI agent who suffered a heart attack after taking the painkiller, a federal judge ruled.
· Students claim school in 'chaos.' Teachers voted for no confidence in the administration, four students climbed out of high school windows and eight security guards were fired for failing background checks. Yet the administration said schools were running as smoothly as possible in the second day of the Perkins Schools teachers' strike in Ohio.
· CBS Magazine Slims Down Couric in Photo. No, Katie Couric didn't suddenly lose 20 pounds. The incoming "CBS Evening News" anchor appears significantly thinner in a network promotional magazine photo thanks to digital airbrushing.
· Sold Cell Phones Share Your Secrets. Selling your old phone once you upgrade to a fancier model can be like handing over your diaries. All sorts of sensitive information pile up inside our cell phones, and deleting it may be more difficult than you think. A popular practice among sellers, resetting the phone, often means sensitive information appears to have been erased. But it can be resurrected using specialized yet inexpensive software found on the Internet.
· One Dead, 14 Injured After Driver Plows People in San Francisco. The driver in a bloody hit-and-run spree that killed one man and injured more than a dozen people was mentally unstable and feeling stress from a recent arranged marriage, according to relatives. Omeed A. Popal, 29, was taken into custody Tuesday following a rampage that terrorized pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
· No welcome wagon for mayor Nagin in New York. Big Easy Mayor Ray Nagin can expect a big chill when he visits the Big Apple. The New Orleans mayor, who took a cheap shot at New York recently, describing Ground Zero as a "hole in the ground," is due here Friday to talk up his city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. But Mayor Bloomberg will skip Nagin's New Orleans Economic Development Tour at Tribeca Cinemas, despite the theater's Web site claim that Hizzoner will offer brief remarks.
· CNN sorry for Bush speech gaffe. CNN apologized Tuesday after an open mike transmitted an anchor's bathroom conversation with another woman live over the network as it was carrying President Bush's speech in New Orleans. "I've got to be protective of him," anchor Kyra Phillips said without being aware that the mic was on. "He's married, three kids, and his wife is just a control freak." CNN anchor Daryn Kagan broke into the telecast immediately afterward updating viewers on what Bush had been saying.
· Former Teacher Had Sex With 6-Year-Old. A former teacher is being held without bail in a Sarasota County jail after being charged with sexual battery on a 6-year-old girl. James Milligan was accused of having sex with a girl, who was vacationing with her family in Siesta Key.
· Air controller had back turned before Ky. crash. The lone air traffic controller on duty the morning Comair Flight 5181 crashed cleared the jet for takeoff, then turned his back to do some “administrative duties” as the aircraft veered down the wrong runway, a federal investigator said Tuesday.
· Tom Arnold Separates from Wife No. 3. Guess Tom Arnold didn't have the best damn marriage period. The comedian on Monday filed for a legal separation from his wife of four years, political consultant Shelby Roos. There was no immediate mention of the D-word.
· Inquiry Criticizes U.S. Broadcasting Official Over Hiring. State Department investigators have concluded that Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the head of the federal agency that oversees most government broadcasts to foreign countries, improperly hired a friend on the public payroll for nearly $250,000 over two and a half years, according to a summary of their report made public this afternoon by Democratic Congressional staff members. They also said that Mr. Tomlinson, whose job puts him in charge of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, used his government office for personal business, including running a “horse racing operation.”
· Inmates shave heads to mop up oil spill. Thousands of prisoners have been shaving their heads and chests to donate hair to help mop up the Philippines' worst oil spill, officials said on Wednesday. The collection was in response to a nationwide drive by the government to amass tonnes of hair and feathers to absorb more than 200,000 liters of industrial fuel that leaked from a tanker when it sank off the central island of Guimaras.
· New Jersey is richest state, but has some of the poorest cities. New Jersey again has the highest household income of any state and one of the lowest poverty rates, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, but two of its biggest cities are among the poorest in the nation.
· Man Kills Self After Minor Fender Bender. A Milton man fatally shot himself in his car after a minor fender bender. Police responded Monday to a minor crash with no injuries on the Scenic Highway. The man, whose identity has not been released, returned to his vehicle, grabbed a handgun and shot himself.
· Bumbling bandit pulls regrettable robbery. Nothing went right for the bumbling gunman wearing a Ronald Reagan mask and a cape who held up a Grantville bank Tuesday morning. The thief walked into the Bank of America on Mission Gorge Road at Friars Road just after 10 a.m. with the mask covering his face and told everyone in the bank to get down, San Diego police Lt. Lawrence McKinney said. His first mistake was wearing a mask that obstructed his view. His second was wearing a cape that got tangled with his gun, causing him to drop the weapon on the ground, McKinney said.
· Long working hours linked to high blood pressure. Workers who clocked more than 51 hours at the office each week were 29 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those who worked 39 hours or less, a new study has found.
· Google CEO joins Apple board. Apple Computer named Google CEO Eric Schmidt to its board of directors today, creating a high-profile link between two of Silicon Valley's most prized companies as they try to expand their recent successes and topple Microsoft as high technology's kingpin.
· Wallace escapes crash, gives sponsor a plug. Former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace walked away from an accident in which a driver talking on her cell phone ran a stop sign and collided with Wallace's SUV - then used the occasion to tout the safety of his Dodge Durango. "You hear car companies talk about safety a lot," the former driver of the No. 2 Dodge said in a statement Tuesday, "but I can tell you that (wife) Patti and I are both really thankful for the research and development that Dodge puts into the safety of their vehicles."
· Illinois Girl Gets 53 Years in Jail for Killing Schoolmate. A teenager was sentenced to 53 years in prison Tuesday for killing a new schoolmate who showed interest in boys she had dated. Judge James Teros called the killing "a murder over nothing."
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
· Postman suspended for anti-junk mail advice. A London postman who gave people advice on how to stem the rising tide of junk mail into their homes has been suspended and could lose his job. Roger Annies, 48, wrote and delivered leaflets to people on his round explaining how to block letters offering loans, credit cards and other services. While some people welcomed the unofficial advice, Royal Mail bosses took a dim view of the apparent bid to undermine a lucrative and growing part of its business.
· It pays to be sick in Oakland. Thanks to a cushy union contract, Oakland, California police get 60 days of paid sick leave per year. As a result, the Oakland Police Department's patrol division is chronically understaffed. A June grand jury report found, "As many as 20 percent of the officers assigned to work patrol on a given day are absent due to attendance at a school, injury, illness, vacation or other reason." Hence the department's heavy reliance on costly overtime. According to KTVU, some 13 percent of Oakland police used more than 12 sick days last year, but union officials say the average is under 3 days per employee.
· Forgotten stock is woman’s windfall. A woman who invested in a wig-making company during the 1960s but believed it had gone out of business recently learned she was wrong — and that her $800 investment had grown far larger. Carol Lee Woods received a check last week for $116,429 from Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter, whose office’s Unclaimed Property Division received the stock because Woods’ shares had no activity for at least five years.
· Immigration ads prove tricky for candidates. Capturing the immigration debate in political ads this campaign season - without upsetting Hispanic voters - is proving tricky for candidates. An ad criticizing Stephen Laffey, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee for the Republican nomination in Rhode Island, set off grumbling in the Latino community. The ad criticized Laffey, mayor of Cranston, for allowing city police to accept ID cards issued by the Mexican government as identification.
· Teen was text messaging when cop was hit. A veteran Allen Park cop was released from the hospital Monday after suffering injuries in a car crash police say was caused by a teenager sending text messages - an activity most experts agree is unwise while driving but some claim is on the rise.
· DA: Karr's Words Were the Only Evidence. The prosecutor in the JonBenet Ramsey case acknowledged Tuesday that some people want her "tarred and feathered" for pursuing John Mark Karr's now-debunked claims, but she said separating fact from fantasy was difficult because so much of the evidence is public knowledge. District Attorney Mary Lacy said "We felt we could not ignore this, we had to follow it. We also had ... there was a real public safety concern here directed at a particular child." Lacy added that a forensic psychologist "advised that this person was dangerous, this person was escalating."
· Kids Watch As Clown Is Crushed to Death. A hot-air balloon caught fire during a circus stunt, killing a clown acrobat as dozens of children watched, police said Tuesday. The accident happened Monday night as the Royal Russian Circus was performing in Scariff, County Clare, a village in western Ireland.
· Salt Lake City's mayor organizes protest of president Bush visit. Offended by Rocky Anderson's plans to protest President Bush this week, the Utah Republican Party is waging a public-relations campaign urging Utahns to call the mayor and tell him to "stop embarrassing" the state.
· Sex slave 'pregnant by kidnapper.' The girl held for eight years as a sex slave in a tiny cellar in Vienna, is pregnant by her captor, it was claimed today. Natascha Kampusch, now 18, escaped the clutches of pervert Wolfgang Priklopil last Wednesday, but now according to German newspaper reports, it is feared she is carrying his child.
· 'Most Wanted' polygamist captured. The fugitive leader of a polygamist sect has been arrested in southern Nevada, the FBI said today. Warren Steed Jeffs, 50, was taken into custody after he and two other people were pulled over late Monday by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 just north of Las Vegas, FBI spokesman David Staretz said. Jeffs was wanted on suspicion of sexual misconduct for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.
· New Orleans bar stayed open through Katrina and chaos that followed. Johnny White's is a Bourbon Street bar that never closes. Not during the raging wind and rain of Hurricane Katrina. Not during the looting. Or the curfews. Or those long, lonely weeks when New Orleans stagnated under floodwaters that covered 80 percent of the city and officials tried to force the last of its residents to evacuate. Call it madness. Call it anti-authoritarian pigheadedness. Or call it dogged determination not to let a lifestyle die. "You've got to have someplace open, even during the worst of times," said owner JD Landrum.
· Poll Worker Fired For Comments. A New Smyrna Beach voting equipment inspector was fired after she said she didn't like the new touch-screen voting machines being used for the first time in Volusia County. Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall fired 76-year-old Drusilla Synal, a poll worker for more than a decade, for making the derogatory remarks as she cast her ballot during an early voting session last week. McFall said Synal told everyone in the polling place that she disliked the touch-screen voting machines because they don't leave a paper trail.
· Student With Dynamite on Plane Released. A college student who packed a stick of dynamite on a flight to Houston from Argentina was granted bond Monday on a federal charge of carrying an explosive aboard an aircraft. Howard MacFarland Fish had been in federal custody since early Friday when agents found a stick of dynamite — as well as a black powder-based fuse and a blasting cap — in his checked luggage upon his arrival to Houston on a Continental Airlines flight that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
· Pilots Noticed Lack Of Runway Lights. Investigators in Lexington, Ky., say the pilots of a Comair jet that crashed Sunday on takeoff noticed there were no lights on the runway they mistakenly used. It was too short. A National Transportation Safety Board official said the only survivor, the first officer, was piloting the plane. All 49 others on board were killed. The safety official said the cockpit voice recorder shows the pilots were talking about the absence of lights on the runway, but they didn't report it to the control tower. Investigators are looking into whether the runway lights or changes made to a taxiway during a repaving project a week ago confused the commuter jet's pilots.
· Vandalism Suspects Received Rides From Mother. A mother suspected of driving a tagging crew of five - including two of her children - in her sport utility vehicle as they allegedly spray painted graffiti is being held without bond, authorities said Monday.
· Cruise Production Biz Finds New Backers. Tom Cruise's production company, which broke ties with Paramount Pictures last week in an unusually public dispute, has signed a two-year financing deal with an investment partnership headed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
· Attack victim wants to know why suspect was free. The 74-year-old woman who was brutally beaten during an attempted rape says that she doesn’t understand why the suspect was out of jail at the time of the attack. Police arrested 32-year-old Gerardo Anaya Castelo and charged him with the crime. They found his wallet at the scene of the attack. Castelo has a history of violence toward women and had been jailed twice in the past three months in connection with a domestic assault. Both times he was released, despite a warning to the court that he had a “high probability” of being violent again.
· Man Charged for Making His Own Gas. A 32-year-old man is in trouble after he illegally made and sold his own brand of privately mixed diesel fuel, state authorities said Monday. Samuel Floyd Bolt, who lives near Willis in Floyd County, said he was unaware that he needed a state license to sell his product.
· Bad Break for Broderick. Ferris Bueller's latest day off was derailed by some inopportune horseplay. Matthew Broderick broke his collarbone Sunday after falling off a horse while vacationing in Ireland with wife Sarah Jessica Parker.
· Foxy Brown Pleads Guilty to Assault. Rapper Foxy Brown pleaded guilty on Monday to misdemeanor assault charges stemming from a fight with salon workers over a manicure. The plea deal, which spares her jail time, requires her to serve three years probation and take anger management classes, said Edison Alban, a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Monday, August 28, 2006
· Colorado governor: DA should be held accountable to taxpayers. Governor Bill Owens released a statement late Monday afternoon saying, "I find it incredible that Boulder authorities wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars to bring Karr to Colorado given such a lack of evidence. Mary Lacy should be held accountable for the most extravagant and expensive DNA test in Colorado history."
· Airport's Taxi Route Change Before Crash. The taxi route for commercial jets at Blue Grass Airport was altered a week before Comair Flight 5191 took the wrong runway and crashed, killing all but one of the 50 people aboard, the airport's director said Monday. It wasn't clear if the Comair pilots aboard Flight 5191 had been to the airport since the routing changes.
· Prosecutors Drop Case in JonBenet Slaying. Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case Monday against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at the crime scene despite his insistence he strangled the 6-year-old beauty queen. Just a week and a half after Karr's arrest in Thailand was seen as a remarkable break in the sensational, decade-old case, prosecutors suggested in court papers that he was just a man with a twisted fascination with JonBenet who confessed to a crime he didn't commit. The 41-year-old schoolteacher will be kept in jail in Boulder until he can be sent to Sonoma County, Calif., to face child pornography charges dating to 2001, authorities said.
· Ringo Starr's wife hospitalized for broken leg. Barbara Bach, a former Bond girl and wife of ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, was hospitalized with a broken leg after being kicked by a horse, a hospital official said. Bach, who turned 59 on Sunday, married Starr in 1981.
· NBC Expresses Regret for Air-Crash Skit. NBC expressed regret Monday for an Emmy Awards comedy skit that included a mock plane crash and aired on the network the evening of a fatal Kentucky jetliner accident. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the many families who lost loved ones in the plane crash in Kentucky on Sunday, and to the entire community that has suffered this terrible loss," NBC said in a statement the day after the ceremony.
· Federal Firefighter Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Arson. A federal firefighter accused of persuading a friend to set a brush fire on the city's outskirts has been charged with conspiracy to commit arson.
· Credit 'holds' trip up travel plans. Hotels, car rental agencies, gas stations and some restaurants request holds — essentially reservations on funds available through credit or debit cards — to make sure card users don't exceed their credit lines or, in the case of debit cards, their bank account balances before checking out or returning a car. They're legal, and no disclosure is required.
· Scots Eye Keith Richards Smoking Onstage. Keith Richards may have violated Scotland's smoking ban by lighting up during a Rolling Stones concert. The Glasgow City Council said Sunday it heard from journalists that the 62-year-old guitarist was smoking during a Friday night performance. "It's been brought to our attention that he was smoking, and we'll be looking into it," a council spokesman said. With a fine of only $95, it is unlikely Richards will be too concerned about it.
· Democrats See Victory in U.S. House Races, Senate Within Reach. Democratic insiders, who months ago thought their chances of winning a majority in the House were no better than even, and that the Senate was a lost cause, have become far more optimistic. Now, they say, winning the House is a lock, and the Senate is within reach. James Carville, who ran Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign said ``If we can't win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party.''
· Jewish veterans, local ACLU latest to sue over cross. The local chapter of The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday to force the Mount Soledad cross to be moved in the latest challenge over the La Jolla landmark's constitutionality. The suit, filed in San Diego federal court on behalf of a national Jewish war veterans organization and three San Diego residents, is the newest development in an increasingly high-profile, 17-year legal battle over the cross. On Aug. 14, President Bush signed a bill that transferred the ownership of the cross and war memorial site to the federal government, specifically the Department of Defense. The bill halted a legal process that seemed destined to lead to the removal of the cross, which has stood on city-owned land for decades.
· Emmy Parodies Plane crash Hours After Kentucky Accident. It was meant to be funny. But a fake plane crash during the opening Emmy awards skit made many cringe on Sunday - the same day 49 people died in a fiery plane crash in Kentucky. The skit, aired live at the start of NBC's Emmy telecast, brought a swift response from the general manager of NBC's Lexington, Ky., affiliate, WLEX. "It was a live telecast. We were completely helpless," Tim Gilbert was quoted as saying on the Lexington Herald-Leader's Web site. "By the time we began to react, it was over. At the station, we were as horrified as they were at home," Gilbert said.
· Detroit's teachers agree to go on strike. The Detroit Federation of Teachers voted Sunday against a two-year contract proposal that included pay and benefit cuts and agreed to a strike that will put teachers on the picket lines in front of schools starting Monday.
· Student Arrested After Airport Bomb Threat. A man attending college in South Florida was arrested after authorities say he called in a bomb threat to the Long Beach Airport because he arrived late for his flight and was prevented from boarding, an FBI spokesman said Sunday.
· Dungeon captor 'part of my life.' An Austrian teenager who spent eight years in a dingy underground cell until her dramatic escape last week issued a statement Monday defending her captor as "part of my life" and insisting she didn't miss anything during her long ordeal. In remarks read to reporters by a psychologist, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch said she understood the "extreme curiosity" about what she endured and how she is faring since she bolted to freedom last Wednesday, but she pleaded with journalists: "Please leave me alone for a while."
· Sunlight Curbs Afternoon Drowsiness. Letting in a little extra light throughout the day may do more than just lift your spirits. It could make you more alert and help you avoid an afternoon energy slump. The researchers exposed a group of people to 21 minutes of bright white light in the morning while they imaged their brains. Not only were the participants more alert, but responses in certain parts of their brain also got a boost.
· Biden not worried about Southern Dems. Sen. Joseph Biden says he can hold his own in a 2008 presidential primary against Democratic contenders from the South, noting that his home state of Delaware was a "slave state." "You don't know my state," he said. "My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state."
· Many in New Orleans can't afford insurance. Attorney Vallie Schwartz fell in love with the 130-year-old Victorian shotgun in the French Quarter, which like all grand houses in this former Spanish enclave has tall, cathedral ceilings and brightly painted cypress shutters. A successful personal injury lawyer, she could comfortably afford the mortgage on the half-million-dollar house, so she made an offer — one that was soon accepted. That was before she knew how much it would cost to insure the property: The best quote she got from a private insurer was nearly $10,000 per year, or over $800 a month on top of her monthly mortgage — far more than she had budgeted and enough to price her out of the house.
· Dick Clark humbled by Emmys tribute. Too often, it seems, one has to die in order to receive a tribute from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences -- as was the case this year with Aaron Spelling. Fortunately, Dick Clark is here, though still battling the effects of a stroke suffered in late 2004. He was honored Sunday night on the Emmy stage for his vast contributions to the television business, particularly the iconic weekly music series "American Bandstand."
· Late-bloomer '24' collects big Emmy wins. Kiefer Sutherland always comes through in the end on "24." After years of being snubbed, the actor and series were finally victorious at the Emmy Awards, too.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
· Cynics mock stars aiding Africa. Madonna feels responsible for the children of the world and has found herself a "big, big project" to help orphans in Malawi. Gwyneth Paltrow declares "I am African" in a new advertisement for a charity working in Africa. But the latest flood of stars searching for a good cause has prompted a collective groan, as people question their methods and motives. "We are on the verge of farcical at this point," said Michael Wolff, columnist for Vanity Fair, when asked about Africa's popularity among famous performers. "This has become just a part of the public relations play book. Everybody has a PR person and every PR person says 'which country do you want to adopt?'."
· Football coaches paid considerably more than teachers. Football coaches at Texas schools average $31,404 more in salary than teachers. The latest numbers show coaches making an average of $73,804, compared to $42,400 for teachers.
· Lawmakers forgot that new Colts stadium may need electricity. The $675 million Lucas Oil Stadium is expected to be one of the country's premier sporting venues when it opens in 2008, boasting a state-of-the-art retractable roof, swanky suites and fan-friendly amenities. Unfortunately, while lawmakers raised taxes to build the stadium, the financing package they passed last year did not include money for electricity and other maintenance expenses. "We'd be fine for the first game, but we would soon run out of money," said Fred Glass, head of the Capital Improvement Board.
· Karr items already up for bid on eBay. A John Mark Karr doll with leather pants. A red car "pimped out" with Karr's mug. And a 129-page journal written by Wendy Wonda Pearl Hutchens about infamous friends including Karr, the suspect in JonBenet Ramsey's 1996 killing. These are among a growing list of items recently sold or now for sale on eBay.
· Alcohol may have been a factor. A Houston County man going down the railroad tracks on a riding lawn mower was hit and killed by a train early Saturday. Anthony Potts, 38, was traveling southbound on the Norfolk Southern tracks when he was hit by a northbound train at 1:13 a.m.. "Alcohol is a contributing factor," police said.
· Update: Comair Jet Used Wrong Runway. Pilots of the Comair commuter jet that crashed with 50 people aboard near Lexington, Ky., used the wrong runway, CBS News has learned. Forty-nine of the 50 people aboard were killed. The one survivor, a crewmember, was reported in critical condition. Flight controllers gave the pilots clearance to take off from runway 22, but it appears the pilots took off from runway 26, which is only half the size of the 7,000 foot runway 22.
· Teacher's gender affects learning. For all the differences between the sexes, here's one that might stir up debate in the teacher's lounge: Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women. That's the upshot of a provocative study by Thomas Dee, an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College and visiting scholar at Stanford University.
· Hezbollah Head Didn't Foresee Such a War. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday that if he had known the capture of two Israeli soldiers would lead to such a war, he wouldn't have ordered it. "We did not think, even one percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said.
· Meredith Vieira: The View has become a joke. Meredith Vieira, the soon-to-debut new anchor of NBC's Today Show talks about morning viewers, working moms who want to have it all and how The View has become a joke.
· Plane Crash in Kentucky. A Comair flight carrying 50 people crashed a mile from Lexington's airport Sunday morning shortly after takeoff, the Federal Aviation Administration said. At least one person may have survived the crash.
· Man Reports Seeing Karr In Colo. In 1996. For the first time, there may be a witness who can put John Mark Karr in Boulder when Jonbenet Ramsey was murdered. The Rocky Mountain News today reported that Daniel Pride, now of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said he saw a man resembling Karr at a bus stop. He said the man was wearing a fleece vest with a "shiny red spot" that Pride took to be a stain.
· Kidnapped Fox journalists released. Two Fox journalists kidnapped two weeks ago in Gaza were released Sunday and appeared to be in good health, video from the Palestinian news service Ramattan TV showed. Fox reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig were released shortly after noon and dropped off at the Beach Hotel in Gaza City, where they were greeted by a swarm of people offering hugs, video from Ramattan showed. The hotel is a popular place for journalists.
· Alabama Democrats ban candidate for extremist views. Democratic Party leaders want a former candidate for attorney general who denies the Holocaust occurred to stay out of their future primaries. The party's executive committee passed a resolution Saturday informing Larry Darby that "he is not welcome in the Alabama Democratic Party." Darby, the founder of the Atheist Law Center, denied that millions of Jews died in the Holocaust during World War II. He also called for martial law and the posting of troops on interstates entering Alabama to check for illegal immigrants
· Harris clarifies comments on religion. U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris (news, bio, voting record) told a religious journal that separation of church and state is "a lie" and God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country be "a nation of secular laws." The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also said that if Christians are not elected, politicians will "legislate sin," including abortion and gay marriage.
· 128 Students Suspended at Indiana School. Classrooms were a little less crowded at Morton High School on the first day of classes: 128 students were sent home for wearing the wrong clothes. Fed up with inappropriate outfits, the principal suspended the students for one day Wednesday, minutes after doors opened at the school. Those suspended represent more than 10 percent of the 1,200 total students.
· 'Bin brother' fear over England's garbage bin tags. Half a million household wheelie bins have been secretly tagged with hidden electronic "bugs", it has been reported. The tiny devices identify each bin so that records can be kept on the waste disposal habits of its owners, and up to 500,000 bins in council districts across England are thought to have already been fitted.
· Texas Immigration Proposal Draws Protest. Clutching American flags and signs that read "America was formed by immigrants," more than 300 protesters on Saturday denounced a city proposal that would prohibit landlords from leasing to illegal immigrants. About two dozen counter-protesters staged a demonstration nearby. The proposal by City Councilman Tim O'Hare would also make it tougher for illegal immigrants to work in the Dallas suburb, penalize businesses that employ undocumented workers and make English the city's official language.
· N.D. town short squad cars after chase. The city is short on squad cars after a man led police on a destructive chase and crashed his van into 10 cruisers, officials said. By the time officers stopped Jeffrey Bean in Minnesota, eight squad cars from Grand Forks and two from East Grand Forks, Minn., were damaged.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
· DWI Brothers Crash Into Each Other. Brothers David and Michael Murphy ran into each other early Saturday morning. Unfortunately, police said, they were behind the wheels of separate cars and both were drunk.
· Obama gets bribe money back for TV crews. Swamped by thousands of Kenyan fans at the memorial to victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing here, Barack Obama also pressured the Kenyan government Friday to refund what he said was shakedown money two Chicago TV crews were forced to pay at the airport to get their equipment out of customs.
· Photo Leads To Suspected Counterfeiter's Capture. A suspected counterfeiter passing counterfeit $20 and $100 bills has been caught at the California State Fair with help from a photo booth. A victim told state fair Police Chief Robert Craft that he remembered the suspect was carrying a photograph with him. When officers went to the fair's photo kiosk to investigate, they said they found a picture taken by state fair staff of the 17-year-old suspect standing with his friends and holding wads of cash.
· Woman Sues Actor LeBlanc for Defamation. Matt LeBlanc has been sued for defamation by a woman who claims the former "Friends" actor made sexually charged comments about her that were published in the National Enquirer. Stephanie Stephens claims in a lawsuit she was never sexually aggressive toward LeBlanc, never made sexual requests and never gave a lap dance.
· Long-Awaited FEMA Trailer Explodes. New Orleans couple waited nearly a year for a FEMA trailer, only to have it explode minutes after they got inside. A neighbor said the man appeared to have been burned to the bone on his arms. Fire officials said flammable vapors somehow ignited, causing an explosion and a rolling wave of fire throughout the trailer.
· Taller people are smarter? While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it's not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality - tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds.
· Federline Will Appear on 'CSI' This Fall. First dancing, then rapping. What will Kevin Federline do next? Looks like the 28-year-old husband of singer Britney Spears will be shuffling over to the small screen, where he will appear in an episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on CBS this fall.
· Hacker sentenced to 37 months in prison. Christopher Maxwell was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for a global robot virus attack in 2004 and 2005. "I am a 21-year-old boy with a good heart and I made a mistake," Maxwell told the judge. "I never realized how dangerous a computer could be. I thank God no one was hurt."
· Iran Opens Nuclear Reactor, Defying U.N. Iran's hard-line president on Saturday inaugurated a heavy-water production plant, a facility the West fears will be used to develop a nuclear bomb, as Tehran remained defiant ahead of a U.N. deadline that could lead to sanctions. The U.N. has called on Tehran to stop the separate process of uranium enrichment - which also can be used to create nuclear weapons - by Thursday or face economic and political sanctions.
· Nebraska tries to oust trooper linked to KKK. Robert Henderson was not fired as a state trooper because he belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and another white supremacist group, authorities said. Instead, he was ousted because he could not uphold public trust while participating in such groups, they said. An arbitrator disagreed, ordering the State Patrol to reinstate Henderson within 60 days and pay him back wages.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Voracity; Voracious [vo·ra·cious] adj. Consuming or eager to consume great amounts of food; ravenous. 2. Having or marked by an insatiable appetite for an activity or pursuit; greedy: "A voracious reader."
· Karr defender: DNA samples obtained illegally. The public defender for John Mark Karr said Friday that any DNA samples taken from his client in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying investigation could not have been legally obtained — and any more testing will need his approval. "Biological evidence reveals highly private and sensitive information about a person," Deputy Public Defender Seth Temin wrote. "Mr. Karr's right to privacy can only be protected by giving him the opportunity to be heard on this issue prior to collection of a sample."
· Rob Reiner latest to criticize Gibson. Mel Gibson's apology for making drunken anti-Semitic remarks isn't enough to redeem him, actor-producer Rob Reiner said. The actor also must acknowledge that "his work reflects anti-Semitism," particularly the 2004 hit movie "The Passion of the Christ," Reiner said.
· Russian scientist predicts global cooling. A Russian scientist predicts a period of global cooling in coming decades. Khabibullo Abdusamatov expects a repeat of the period known as the Little Ice Age. Abdusamatov and his colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory said the prediction is based on measurement of solar emissions, Novosti reported. They expect the cooling to begin within a few years and to reach its peak between 2055 and 2060.
· Hezbollah launches boy band to stardom. They were struggling in a boy band, working the West Bank wedding circuit and dreaming of stardom. Now the five singers who make up the Northern Band have come a little closer to their goal, with help from an unwitting ally - Hezbollah guerrilla chief Hassan Nasrallah.
· Kidnapped girl kept diary during her eight-year ordeal. Natascha Kampusch, who was kidnapped at the age of 10 and held for eight years until she escaped her captor in Vienna this week, kept a diary throughout her ordeal, it was revealed yesterday.
· Tiger over the roof but finishes in the lead. Tiger Woods hit a 9-iron over the clubhouse roof and escaped with a bogey because it was not marked out-of-bounds, making the Bridgestone Invitational nothing short of bizarre on Friday.
· School canceled indefinitely in Gary, Indiana. Officials on Thursday indefinitely canceled classes citywide after teachers, striking for a fourth day, blocked streets and swarmed a car attempting to park at an elementary school. Two picketers were slightly hurt as the car rolled through the crowd.
Friday, August 25, 2006
· Forbes Article: 'Don't Marry Career Women.' A magazine that usually sticks to drumming up lists of the world's richest men, is now stirring up quite a controversy. "To put it bluntly, the more successful she is, the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you," Noer said. "A word of advice - marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career."
· Whistleblowers Say State Farm Cheated Katrina Victims. State Farm Insurance supervisors systematically demanded that Hurricane Katrina damage reports be buried or replaced or changed so that the company would not have to pay policyholders' claims in Mississippi, two State Farm insiders tell ABC News. State Farm supervisors allegedly pressured outside engineers to prepare reports concluding that damage was caused by water, not covered under State Farm policies, rather than by wind.
· Dynamite traces found in bag at Bush airport. A college student's checked luggage on a Continental Airlines flight from Argentina to Houston contained traces of dynamite, authorities said, in one of six security incidents today involving U.S. flights.
· Scam in South Africa uses Oprah's name. Police questioned eight people Friday after discovering an investment scam that used Oprah Winfrey's name days after she interviewed prospective pupils in South Africa for her new all-girls school. Some 500 people crowded into a community center in the eastern city of Grahamstown after being told that they had to make a simple payment of $1.40 with the promise of then receiving $168 per month for 10 years.
· Urgent Fundraiser? Bush Wanted Carpool Lanes Closed. Secret Service officials confirm to The Washington Post they tried to get the Virginia Department of Transportation to close down the carpool lanes on a highway leading out of Washington Wednesday so President George W. Bush could easily get to and from a fundraiser for Republican Sen. George Allen. The request was denied.
· 7-Eleven clerk is killed over $1.16 taco. A Detroit 7-Eleven clerk who was fatally shot by a customer early Thursday morning may have lost his life over a $1.16 taco. Authorities said a videotape shows the suspect leaving the store, then coming back and shooting Utica resident Wajed Baig four times after an argument at 1am.
· Google Seeks Exemption for Cash Hoard. Search-engine giant Google Inc. has piled up so much cash that it is in danger of being mistaken for a mutual fund. The company, which wants to diversify its investment strategy but doesn't want to be regulated as a mutual fund, has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to exempt it from regulations.
· Macy slams Lohan for lateness. Veteran actor William H Macy has blasted co-star Lindsay Lohan for her behaviour while filming the movie Bobby, insisting she "should have her a** kicked." The star shared scenes with the 20-year-old actress in the film and admires her talent, but not her manners. He said, "You can't show up late. It's very, very disrespectful."
· Ohio Supreme Court rules cult leader convicted of killing a family of 5 in 1989 to be executed. A religious cult leader convicted of killing a family of five in 1989 will be executed on Oct. 10, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Jeffrey Lundgren, 56, was convicted of shooting to death a man, his wife and his three daughters who had moved from Missouri in 1987 to follow Lundgren's teachings. He referred to the killings as “pruning the vineyard.”
· NYC Officials Want New 'Survivor' Pulled. As CBS prepares to launch a new season of the hit reality show "Survivor," this time featuring teams divided by race, enraged city officials are saying it promotes divisiveness and are calling for the network to reconsider. "The idea of having a battle of the races is preposterous," City Councilman John Liu said Thursday. "How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?"
· Gay candidate, foe disqualified. A Democratic Party committee Thursday night disqualified an openly gay candidate for the Alabama Legislature and the woman she defeated in the primary runoff because both women violated a party rule that party officials said no other candidate has obeyed since 1988.
· A former press aide to Mayor Rudy Giuliani found naked and strangled. Detectives investigating the grisly slaying of a former press aide to Mayor Rudy Giuliani have discovered that the murderer took the victim's keys, cell phone and laptop computer, law enforcement sources said yesterday. Martín Barreto, 48, a respected public relations guru who lived an opulent lifestyle in both Manhattan and Miami, was found naked and strangled.
· Judge detains five over ringing phones. A judge detained and questioned a row of spectators when a cell phone rang for a third time in her courtroom, later ordering two people to serve community service for contempt of court.
· New Orleans Mayor Takes Swipe At New York's 'Hole in The Ground.' Confronted by accusations that he’s taking too long to clean up his city after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin defended himself by remarking on New York City’s failure to rebuild Ground Zero. "That’s alright. You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later," Nagin said.
· Mason Sues Jews for Jesus Over Pamphlet. Mason is suing Jews for Jesus, claiming the missionary group damaged him by using his name and likeness in a pamphlet. Founded in the 1970s, Jews for Jesus practices Judaism but regards Jesus as the Messiah. The $2 million lawsuit seeks the immediate destruction of the pamphlets, which Jews for Jesus members have been handing out at various points around New York City.
· California lawmakers to allow condoms in prisons. California lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday to permit condom distribution in the state's prisons, where the HIV infection rate is eight times higher than on the streets of Los Angeles.
· Husband gets share of casino payments. A Minnesota appeals court has ruled that U.S. Indians who receive payments from tribal casinos may have to split them with ex-spouses. The court upheld a lower court decision in favor of Jeremy Zander, whose ex-wife, Alice, receives $84,000 a month as a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
· Man arrested in string of robberies denies involvement: "The clowns are still out there." Three women and one man were arrested Wednesday in connection with a recent string of robberies committed by a duo dubbed the "clown robbers," officials announced Thursday. One of the suspects, Charles Lipscomb, denied having any involvement in any of the incidents. "The clowns are still out there," he said, sobbing.
· Congressman's Sri Lanka trip funded by terrorist group. A trip to Sri Lanka by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., reportedly paid for by a terrorist group, is under investigation, sources say. The 7-day journey by Davis and an aide last year was said to have been funded by the Tamil Tigers, a group the U.S. government designated as a terrorist organization, the Chicago Tribune said.
· Witness Late To Court Allows Repeat Offender To Be Set Free. An Orange County Florida judge threw out a burglary charge against a repeat offender during his trial because the key prosecution witness was late getting to court. The state crime lab analyst could have helped put the suspect behind bars for 10 years. Instead, he walked free. Prosecutors said the judge could have delayed the case rather than giving a habitual offender a free pass instead of sending him back to prison for the seventh time.
· Schmidt runs into trouble. Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt attracts controversy whether she's running for office - or just running a marathon. Four months after she was reprimanded for making false statements about having a second undergraduate degree, the state's top elections officials will investigate whether the Miami Township Republican told the truth about how well she fared in - or whether she even ran - a 1993 marathon in the state capital. Congressional opponent Nathan Noy alleges that a photo of Schmidt is fake.
· Wal-Mart Gets Communist Branch in China. Wal-Mart, capitalist retailer for the masses, now has its own Communist Party branch. Earlier this month, Communist Party and Communist Youth League branches and a trade union were set up at a Wal-Mart outlet in the northeastern industrial city of Shenyang, a staffer in the store's communications department said Thursday, confirming Chinese media reports.
· New rules let air marshals dress how they want. Air marshals were told Thursday they will be allowed to dress the way they want and choose their own hotels in order to protect their anonymity while on missions. Air marshals had complained that Brown's predecessor, Thomas Quinn, insisted on a too-formal dress code that allowed people to pick them out. The marshals said, for example, that being forced to wear a jacket and collared shirt made them stand out. Air marshals also won an agreement from Brown to let them choose their own hotels "within economic and related guidelines" to help keep their identities secret.
· Haunted house dare gets cheerleader shot. Someone shot at a carload of teenage girls, critically wounding one of them, after some of them had stepped near a house that had been rumored by fellow students to be haunted, police said. A man who lives in the house, Allen S. Davis, was arrested Wednesday in the shooting of 17-year-old Rachel Barezinsky the night before.
· Cruise Not a Popularity Contest Winner. It seems Sumner Redstone is not alone in his distaste for Tom Cruise's couch-jumping conduct. On the heels of Paramount Pictures' decision not to renew Cruise's production deal comes word that the Mission: Impossible star's popularity ratings are down. Way down. According to Marketing Evaluations Incorporated, the company that calculates the Q scores which measure a given celebrity's likeability factor, the public's positive perception of Cruise has fallen by 40 percent, while the negative perception of the actor has jumped a whopping 100 percent.
· Cruise may have been undone by DVD slowdown. The public rupture this week between Paramount Pictures and Tom Cruise generated plenty of dramatic headlines. But the breakdown in the negotiations over renewing a 14-year deal between the Viacom-owned studio and Cruise's production company, Cruise/Wagner Prods., might have been the result of something as mundane as DVD sales.
· NY's oldest bartender still mixing martinis at 90. A man who mixed martinis for Marilyn Monroe and poured Scotch for John Lennon was feted as New York's oldest bartender when he turned 90 this week, and he vowed to keep working. Hoy Wong, who was born in Hong Kong and served in the U.S. military in World War II, is known simply as Mr. Hoy at the historic Algonquin Hotel. Hoy started tending bar in 1948 and worked at various hotels and restaurants, including Freeman Chum in New York where he served Monroe drinks, before moving to the Algonquin where former Beatle Lennon used to order Scotch.
· JonBenet suspect in Colorado jail. John Mark Karr, the suspect in the killing of JonBenet Ramsey, now sits in the Boulder County Jail, separated from other inmates for his own safety. A plane belonging to the Colorado State Patrol brought Karr to Colorado on Thursday, ending days of speculation regarding when his transfer from California would take place.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
· Geography teacher returning to class. A seventh-grade geography teacher put on paid leave for refusing to remove Chinese, Mexican and United Nations flags from his classroom will return to school tomorrow. Denver principal John Schalk put Eric Hamlin on administrative leave with pay yesterday for insubordination after the teacher refused to remove the foreign flags.
· Lacrosse player charged in police beating. A vacationing police officer was beaten with a baseball bat at the New Jersey shore in what authorities called a hate crime, and three men — including a university lacrosse player — have been charged.
· Seattle to ban cheap beer and wine. A proposed ban on the sale of more than two dozen cheap beers and wines in several Seattle neighborhoods moved closer to reality Wednesday as the staff of the Washington State Liquor Control Board recommended that the board approve the ban.
· JonBenet suspect ran day-care in Alabama. John Mark Karr, the man accused of killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, kept children at a home day-care center he operated in northwest Alabama, the state welfare agency said Thursday. The Marion County Department of Human Resources issued a license for Karr to begin operating a day-care out of his rural home in June 1997, said John Bradford, a spokesman with the Alabama Department of Human Resources. "We do know he kept children, but it is really hard to get a handle on the number," he said.
· Hells Angels win payoff after city kills dogs. The city agreed to pay nearly $800,000 to the Hells Angels motorcycle club to settle claims that police needlessly killed three dogs during raids on club members' homes. Ninety officers participated in the raids on the club's San Jose headquarters and nine members' homes after a 1997 killing at a strip club.
· Trial set for lawsuit against city for kid on Ecstasy jumping off pier. A tentative trial date has been set for a $10 million lawsuit against Myrtle Beach and its police department claiming that the city did not do enough to investigate the drowning death of a New Jersey college student on spring break. Police said Jeffrey Rothman died in March 2001 at age 20 after jumping off Second Avenue Pier, and an autopsy determined that he had taken the drug Ecstasy and died accidentally.
· America's Drunkest Cities. Milwaukee has been ranked by Forbes.com as "America's Drunkest City," based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 70 percent of adult Milwaukeeans reported that they had at least one alcoholic drink within the past 30 days. That compares with 45 percent in Nashville, Tenn., which ranked last among the 35 cities on the list.
· McCartney's wife is sick of being called a gold digger. The Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce battle is getting uglier and more expensive. A divorce process that began amicably has turned hostile. The high-priced lawyers have been called in. Money's involved. And while Mills has been offered a nice chunk of his fortune — some say close to $60 million dollars for the four years they were married, she wants more, perhaps $400 million.
· Austrian escapes captor after 8 years. An 18-year-old woman who was kidnapped eight years ago and held captive in a cellar managed to escape, and her alleged abductor committed suicide by jumping in front of a train, authorities said Thursday.
· For Sale: 'Mary Tyler Moore House.' It is famously known as the "Mary Tyler Moore house." But these renovated digs might be a smidgen too upscale for even the real Mary. With an infusion of pizzazz, heralded by a daily symphony of saws, drills and hammers, the Victorian house just west of Lake of the Isles soon will be on the market for more than $3 million.
· More problems for man late for meeting with parole officer. A Kingston man tore through Toronto in a stolen SUV yesterday, rolled it on Highway 401 and then tried to carjack other vehicles because he was late for an appointment with his parole officer, police say. The 40-year-old now faces 44 charges for the trail of damaged vehicles and beat-up motorists he allegedly left behind.
· Explosions rock Louisiana bomb recycling plant. A series of explosions and a fire at a plant where military bombs are disassembled forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 people from nearby schools and a jail, authorities said. "It's still a dangerous situation because you still have fire and you still have explosives and the two don't mix very well," said Ed Baswell...
· Texas may have executed an innocent man. Texas executed its fifth teenage offender at 22 minutes after midnight on Aug. 24, 1993, after his last request for bubble gum had been refused. Ruben Cantu, 17 at the time of his crime, had no previous convictions, and now two witnesses admit they lied during his trial. Cantu "was innocent. It was a case of an innocent person being killed," Juan Moreno said. Presented with this evidence, key players in Cantu's death — including the judge, prosecutor, head juror and defense attorney — now acknowledge that his conviction seems to have been built on omissions and lies.
· Former POW Jessica Lynch Expecting Baby. Jessica Lynch, the former prisoner of war whose 2003 rescue in Iraq made her an instant celebrity, is pregnant. She and boyfriend Wes Robinson are expecting their first child in January, publicist Aly Goodwin Gregg said Thursday. "I was not sure if this could ever happen for me," Lynch, 23, said in a statement.
· Coffee: One cup will kill you, four cups OK. That morning cup of coffee may be enough to trigger a first-time heart attack in vulnerable people, a study suggests. Researchers found that among middle-aged and older adults, light to moderate coffee drinkers had an elevated risk of heart attack in the hour after having a cup of coffee. On the other hand, there was no risk of having a heart attack among people who were heavy coffee drinkers, downing four or more cups per day.
· Black students ordered to give up seats to white children. Nine black children attending a Shreveport elementary school were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children. The situation has outraged relatives of the black children who have filed a complaint with school officials. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also is considering filing a formal charge with the U.S. Department of Justice.
· No prescription needed. Women may buy the morning-after pill without a prescription - but only with proof they're 18 or older, federal health officials ruled Thursday, capping a contentious three-year effort to ease access to the emergency contraceptive.
· Astronomers say Pluto is no longer a planet. Leading astronomers declared that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight. After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930.
· Even a few extra pounds can be bad, new studies show. Baby boomers grappling with middle-age spread, take note: Two major studies representing 1.7 million people show your risk of death increases if you are overweight, even if you don't qualify as obese. Among 50-year-old nonsmokers, the study found a 20% to 40% increase in risk of death among overweight people. The risk more than doubled among the obese.
· Man Charged With Beating Employee With Bat. A Hollywood, Florida man was arrested for allegedly using an aluminum bat to beat man working for him on a landscaping crew. Sheriff officials said 26-year-old Lance Wamley confronted 23-year-old Eric Torres because Wamley didn't like the way he was cutting grass.
· Missouri town tackles illegal immigration. "We're concerned that Valley Park could wind up as a haven for illegal immigrants," Valley Park Mayor Jeffery Whitteaker says. "We're out to stop that from happening." While the targets here in Valley Park, MO are illegal immigrants, the city is going after businesses hiring them and the landlords who house them.
· Woman admits stealing $2.3M to play lottery. A former bookkeeper for a doctor's office pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $2.3 million from her employer to buy lottery tickets. Annie Donnelly, 38, of Farmingville, New York, spent as much as $6,000 a day playing lotto and scratch-off lottery games, prosecutors said.
· JFK illegally targeting Muslims, groups say. Muslim, Arab and South Asian passengers are being profiled by Homeland Security officers at Kennedy Airport, civil liberties groups said Wednesday, citing a New Jersey family that was detained and interrogated after a flight from Dubai last week.
· IRS Warns Against Phony Debt Collectors. The IRS warned taxpayers Wednesday not to be duped by scammers posing as private debt collectors the agency has hired to chase unpaid tax debts. The Internal Revenue Service designed the debt collection program to minimize that risk "because we know what it's like out there with regard to identity theft nowadays," said Brady Bennett, IRS director of collection. But some critics of the program see so many pitfalls that they're urging debtors to insist on negotiating payment directly with the IRS.
· Update: Police say rattlesnakes not "released" in theater. A Phoenix police sergeant Wednesday refuted widely circulated news stories that baby rattlesnakes had been released in a city theater showing "Snakes on a Plane." Phoenix Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said that a 10-inch-long rattlesnake had in fact slithered into a hallway at AMC Desert Ridge, and a second rattler was found outside, but there was no evidence that they were purposefully placed there.
· Land mine victims hit by McCartney divorce. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has pulled out of a Los Angeles fundraiser for land mine victims because of his impending divorce from wife Heather Mills, the charity said on Thursday. In 2005, the event hosted by the couple raised a record $3 million.
· SWAT teams may step up role on U.S.-Mexico border. Elite U.S. Border Patrol units armed with assault rifles and stun grenades may be set to play a more prominent role as authorities gain greater control over the porous border with Mexico. Little known outside law enforcement circles, the Bortac tactical teams have been deployed to remote reaches of the border to hunt drug and human traffickers using out-of-the way routes since the 1980s.
· Woman Hosted Alcohol, Sex Parties for Teens. Lexington County deputies have taken a woman into custody who they say hosted alcohol and sex parties for teenagers. Deputies arrested 46-year-old Patricia Hartwell and charged her with six counts of transferring beer to a minor and five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
· Update: Officer Sentenced For Stealing From Motorists. The Broward State Attorney's Office said a police officer was sentenced to 18 months probation Wednesday for stealing money from motorists during traffic stops. Officer Michael Dunsavage pleaded guilty to grand theft in a Broward County courtroom.
· Allies Start to Escalate Dispute Between Cruise and Viacom. A day after Viacom’s chairman, Sumner M. Redstone, abruptly evicted Tom Cruise from his longstanding home on the Paramount movie lot, the war of words between the actor’s camp and Mr. Redstone and his allies was on the verge of escalating Wednesday from recrimination to retribution. Mr. Redstone said in an interview that he had taken congratulatory calls from investors and such Hollywood luminaries as David Geffen and producer Brian Grazer. “Dominick Dunne called me to say that I behaved like Samuel Goldwyn,” he said, referring to the famed producer and studio mogul. And his friend Alan C. Greenberg — the chairman of the executive committee at Bear Stearns, the Wall Street firm, and a longtime Viacom board member — spoke out in support of Mr. Redstone. “Tom Cruise has gone nuts,” Mr. Greenberg said.
· Syria opposes U.N. force on its border. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has expressed strong opposition to the deployment of U.N. troops along his country's border with Lebanon, saying such a move would be "hostile" to Syria and create problems between the two nations. "This negates the sovereignty of Lebanon," Al-Assad said in an interview Wednesday with Dubai TV. "No country in the world accepts having soldiers of another nationality patrolling its border."
· McCain heads overseas to observe global warming effects. Arizona Sen. John McCain will visit Greenland, Turkey, Georgia, Montenegro and Italy as part of a Senate delegation headed overseas during Congress' summer break. McCain and the other Republican senators want to observe the effects of global warming while in Greenland. They also will attend an A-list economic and political conference at a swanky northern Italian resort.
· Calif. Museum Gives Up Stolen Painting. The San Diego Museum of Art relinquished an 18th-century painting to the Mexican government Wednesday after it was found to have been stolen from a rural Mexican church. In July 2000, thieves slashed the canvas of "Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" from its wooden frame and removed it from a church in San Juan Tepemazalco in Hidalgo state, U.S. and Mexican authorities said. The museum bought the painting five months later from a private collector for $45,000.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
· Sleeping in driveway can be hazardous to your health. A man who passed out in his driveway quickly sobered up when his wife came home and accidentally ran over him. Kristine Bolson said she drove into her driveway shortly after midnight, heard a bump, then moaning. She got out and found her husband laying near her vehicle where he "must have passed out" in the driveway earlier.
· Former Marine takes down man after clerk is hit. A man who had just been released from jail hours earlier was sent back Monday after police say he picked the wrong store to attempt a robbery. The 30-year-old man stole a carton of cigarettes at a 7-Eleven, then punched a female clerk in the face when she confronted him outside. James Sjostrom was in the store and saw the entire thing unfold. Sjostrom, who is a former Marine who taught hand-to-hand combat and currently teaches martial arts, quickly grabbed the man and threw him to the ground. He became "pretty quiet" waiting for the police, Sjostrom said.
· It's generally the best policy to tell the truth. Cook County prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother didn't want her to know he'd packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey. So he told security it was a bomb, officials said. Madin Azad Amin was stopped by officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said. He later told officials he'd lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn't want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump.
· Karr's Family Offers Book, Movie Rights. John Mark Karr's relatives offered the movie and book rights to the family's story Wednesday in hopes of hiring a high-level attorney to defend the schoolteacher against charges he killed 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
· U.S. Ends 'Catch-And-Release' at Border. Nearly all non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught sneaking into the United States are being held until they can be returned to their home countries. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said this marks the end of the so-called "catch-and-release" policy that for years helped illegal immigrants remain in the United States unhindered.
· Boy Charged For Meowing At Neighbor Lady. Meow. A Pennsylvania judge is being asked to decide whether that word is a harmless taunt or grounds for misdemeanor harassment. Police have charged a 14-year-old boy with that crime. Michael Loughner is accused of meowing whenever he sees his 78-year-old neighbor, Alexandria Carasia.
· Are you feeling old? You may now. For this year’s crop of college freshmen, Starbucks has always been around the corner, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” has always been on the air, and men named George Bush have been president for more than half of their lives. Among the other notables for the younger set: Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead; They never saw a Howard Johnson’s with 28 ice cream flavors; They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register; "Google" has always been a verb; They never played the game of state license plates in the car; and they’re more familiar with Greg Gumbel than with Bryant Gumbel.
· New Stem-Cell Procedure Doesn't Harm Embryos. A biotechnology company has developed a new way of creating stem cells without destroying human embryos, billing it as a potential solution to a contentious political and ethical debate. "This will make it far more difficult to oppose this research," said Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology.
· State Department Rejects Demands by Journalists' Kidnappers. The State Department rejected on Wednesday demands by a Palestinian group for the release of all Muslim prisoners in U.S. prisons in exchange for the release of two kidnapped Fox News journalists.
· Sheehan Undergoes Surgery. Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was recovering Wednesday at Providence Health Center in Waco after undergoing a hysterectomy on Tuesday. Sheehan, 49, of Berkeley, Calif., is expected to remain in the hospital for several days before she rejoins the peace vigil near the president’s Texas ranch.
· Poker champ sued for $6 million. Call it the $6 million promise. Recently crowned World Series of Poker champion Jamie Gold is being sued for half of his mammoth, $12 million winnings. According to a suit filed Monday in District Court, Los Angeles-based "television development executive" Bruce Crispin Leyser claims that Gold promised to pay him half of whatever he won at the series as part of an informal arrangement. Leyser also asked a judge to stop Gold from claiming or spending any of the money until the dispute is settled.
· Cardinals Stadium owners say no to Pink Taco. The Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority, which owns and operates the new Arizona Cardinals stadium facility, has a certain amount of input on naming rights thanks to a use agreement with the team that deals with community decency standards. "There’s no way the stadium would be named what the Morton group (Pink Taco owners) wants it to be named.”
· Judge in wiretap case under fire. Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan foundation based in Washington, D.C., called on Tuesday for a closer look at the links between U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor and the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Taylor is the secretary and a trustee on the board of the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, which has given money to the ACLU Michigan office, including a $45,000 grant to support gay and lesbian rights.
· The Political Fertility Gap. Liberals have a baby problem. They don't have enough of them, compared to conservatives. And this failure to replenish their ranks is a reason why they lose elections. "The political right is having a lot more kids than the political left," Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks says. "The gap is actually 41 percent." Brooks found that 100 unrelated liberal adults have 147 children, while 100 unrelated conservatives have 208 kids - and 80% of the offspring vote like their parents.
· Katrina evacuees trash Houston apartments. Apartment owners say they gladly took in those fleeing the hurricane because Mayor White asked them to. But now they say the mayor and city staff are turning on them, by amending and enforcing a nuisance ordinance designed for another purpose. Inside several apartments, some Katrina evacuees left behind a mess that apartment owners have been forced to clean up. Manager Stephanie Richardo wanted to know, "How could they, after what we've done?"
· Man Arrives At Courthouse Drunk For DUI Sentencing. A man who showed up in court drunk to be sentenced for drunken driving told the judge he routinely drinks 12 beers a day, “and then some.” Carbon County Judge Roger Nanovic sentenced 25-year-old Joshua Beury yesterday to 30 days to six months in prison for contempt of court and the second-offense DUI charge.
· Dallas City Council wants to ban baggy pants. Dallas school trustee Ron Price, with the backing of several City Council members, wants to prohibit pants that hang well below the waist. He wants an ordinance banning the look within city limits. Mr. Price said he's fed up with people who walk the streets "with their pants below their buttocks with their underwear exposed."
· Man Facing 2nd Deportation Finds He's U.S. Citizen. Duarnis Perez became an American citizen when he was 15, but he didn't find out until after he had been deported and then jailed for trying to get back into the country.
· Muslim students' shocked at ejection from jet by passenger mutiny. Two Asian students have revealed their shock and despair after being thrown off a plane because other passengers feared they were suicide bombers. "Just because we're Muslim does not mean we are suicide bombers."
· Daley says Chicago City Council making city a laughingstock. Mayor Daley urged the City Council on Tuesday to come to its senses and repeal a foie gras ban that has made Chicago an international laughingstock in restaurant circles. "When you pass laws that are silly, it costs taxpayers money. [Aldermen are saying] 'I don't care if it's unconstitutional. Let's pass it.' If that's the way government keeps working, then it costs taxpayers more and more money," Mayor Daley said. "Restaurants are a great industry . . . All of a sudden, you can question anything you serve in a restaurant - the poor snails and the mussels and the shrimp, the lobsters. You can go on and on." Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said the City Council has no plans to repeal the ban. "The mayor had the opportunity to veto the ordinance. He chose not to. Let's move on," said Moore, chief sponsor of both the foie gras ban and the big-box wage increase debacle now facing a historic mayoral veto.
· DNA may lead to dead end. DNA swiped from John Mark Karr after his arrest last week in connection with the JonBenet Ramsey murder might be irrelevant, in part because "something got screwed up" when samples were taken from the crime scene in 1996, a former investigator on the case said. Some of the DNA taken from the 6-year-old pageant queen's fingernails and underwear was "degraded," former Boulder assistant DA Bill Wise said. He said the tool used to take samples wasn't clean. "It had foreign DNA on it," he said.
· Bus Driver Gets Life For Sex With Student. A former Collier County school bus driver will spend life in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student while his girlfriend videotaped them and took photographs. Thirty-year-old Joshua Grotberg of East Naples was convicted of 24 felony counts including lewd battery, lewd molestation and promoting a sexual performance by a minor.
· Update: Paramount fires Cruise over recent conduct. Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom Inc., which owns Paramount Pictures, said yesterday the studio would sever its long relationship with Tom Cruise's film production company. "It's nothing to do with his acting ability, he's a terrific actor," Redstone said. "But we don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the [studio] lot," adding that Cruise's "recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
· Los Angeles City Workers Picket For Higher Wages. About 1,600 unionized city workers, including some from police crime labs, water treatment plants and LAX, walked off the job Tuesday, picketing for higher wages. The City Council voted last week to provide a 4 percent raise for EAA members and an additional 2.25 percent pay increase in January, bringing the average salary to $74,500 per year - with some workers making more than $125,000 annually, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. Union leaders want at least 3.25 percent per year, over the next five years of the contract.
· Bottle of Water Forces Flight to Land. An AirTran flight from Atlanta to New York’s LaGuardia Airport made an emergency landing in Charlotte on Tuesday night after a flight attendant noticed that a passenger had a bottle of water. The flight was met in Charlotte by authorities and TSA officials. Everyone was escorted off of the airplane; the passenger with the water was interviewed by police. Everyone was then re-screened before reboarding and taking off several hours later.
· Northwest Airlines recommends dumpster diving for laid-off workers. In a remarkable bit of corporate insensitivity, Northwest Airlines brass gave its laid off workers a booklet offering "101 Ways To Save Money," including "don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash," "ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions," "shorter showers," and "thrift store shopping."
· Rap community rejects federline. Members of the hip-hop community have slammed Britney Spears' husband Kevin Federline's debut performance at the Teen Choice awards, labeling him a joke. XXL magazine editor in chief Elliot Wilson and King magazine executive editor Jermaine Hall have both hit out at the lackluster performance. Wilson says, "I think we ignore him. He's a joke, basically. I just don't think he gets it. "He doesn't get that he's Britney's man, and it's hard to take him seriously."
· Video of Kidnapped Journalists Released. A previously unknown Palestinian group released video Wednesday of two kidnapped Fox News journalists and demanded that Muslim prisoners in U.S. jails be released within 72 hours in exchange for the men, a Palestinian news agency broadcast by Al-Jazeera reported. The video was the first sign of American correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, of the San Francisco area, and cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, since they were kidnapped Aug. 14.
· Lafave granted break for interview. Debra Lafave, the teacher turned seducer of a 14-year-old boy, got a break from her home confinement to sit down Tuesday with NBC’s Matt Lauer for an interview that will air on national TV. Her probation officer didn’t agree to it. A judge and prosecutors did. “Debbie really wanted to explain her bipolar illness in hopes that it might be beneficial to people when they hear about it,” her attorney said.
· Popular Teacher Fired for Not Having Enough Hours. Dr. Robin Spital was fired because he didn't have enough certification hours under the federal "No Child Left Behind" program, despite the fact he has a Ph.D. and M.S. in physics from Cornell, an undergraduate degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Harvard, and praises from administration and students.
· Firms Who Hire Illegal Immigrants Sued. Frustrated by lax enforcement of immigration law, businesses are taking their fight against illegal immigration to court, accusing competitors of hiring illegal workers to achieve an unfair advantage. Businesses and anti-illegal immigration groups said the legal action was an attempt to create an economic deterrent against hiring illegal employees.
· Two police officers killed during charity event. A van accompanying bicyclists riding to raise money for slain police officers was struck by a truck and spun into the group, killing a state trooper and a retired sheriff's official, authorities said. Another cyclist was injured.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
· Live Rattlesnakes Released In 'Snakes On A Plane' Theater. Two live diamondback rattlesnakes were released in an Arizona movie theater during a showing of the new film "Snakes on a Plane." Authorities said pranksters released the young venomous rattlesnakes in a dark theater at the AMC Desert Ridge in Phoenix. Understandably, the two snakes caused a panic in the dark theater, according to the report.
· ACLU to host town hall on voting rights for felons. The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee will hold a town hall meeting in Nashville entitled, "Get Your Right to Vote Back," to discuss a new law to restore the voting rights of former felons.
· Jailed Ex-Mayor Says City Owes Him Money. A former Waterbury, Conn. mayor who is serving 37 years on federal child sex charges claims the city owes him tens of thousands of dollars for vacation, sick days and personal days he never took before his arrest.
· Paramount fires Cruise: "Conduct not acceptable." It's Tom Cruise vs. Sumner Redstone in a case of I quit-you're fired at Hollywood's highest level. On one side is the chairman of Viacom, Inc., which owns Paramount Pictures. On the other is the industry's biggest and most bankable star, whose last seven films have each generated over $100 million. Redstone said Tuesday that Paramount would sever its long and profitable relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions, Cruise's company with producing partner Paula Wagner. Redstone told the Wall Street Journal that Cruise's "recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."
· Las Vegas Puts End To Overnight Marriage Licenses. Getting married is as much a tradition in Las Vegas as slot machines and buffets. But when the urge to merge comes in the wee hours, you'll have to wait. Citing budget constraints, county officials said the graveyard shift is being scrapped. Would-be brides and grooms will now be able to apply for licenses only between 8 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week.
· Bob Dylan says modern music is worthless. Bob Dylan says modern recordings sound "atrocious," and even the songs on his new album sounded much better in the studio than on disc. "I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really," the 65-year-old rocker said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
· Sean `Pee Diddy' Combs to Be a Daddy Again. Sean "Pee Diddy" Combs and longtime girlfriend, model Kim Porter, are "happy to confirm that they are expecting their second child together," Combs' representative, Keesha Johnson, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
· Teacher Burns American Flags In Class To Motivate Students. School officials in Louisville reassigned a teacher after he burned two American flags in his class to apparently motivate his students for an assignment. Officials said he told administrators he was trying to motivate his students for a weekend writing assignment on the freedom of speech.
· Illegal Mexicans use bicycles to cross Arizona desert. Illegal immigrants and drug traffickers are using dilapidated bicycles to make a swift, night-time dash over the desert to Arizona from Mexico, border police say. "The bikes have no amenities like brakes and they sometimes are lucky to have a seat on them."
· Karr confessed to Californians 5 years ago. John Mark Karr, the 41-year-old schoolteacher who has said he was with JonBenet when she died in 1996, tangled with California authorities five years ago after telling an acquaintance that he broke into the Ramsey house the night of the slaying. Wendy Hutchens of Roseville, Calif., told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and KRON-TV in San Francisco that she contacted Sonoma County authorities five years ago after Karr told her that he met JonBenet at the family's Christmas party, then sneaked back into the house that night through a downstairs storm window.
· Dixie Chicks movie to be released this fall. Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck's politically charged documentary "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing" has been picked up for worldwide distribution by the Weinstein Co. A release is tentatively scheduled for the fall, possibly right before the November elections. The film revolves around the aftermath of singer Natalie Maines' statement at a 2003 London concert, where she said, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
· Judge Upholds Parking Ticket for Brooklyn Priest. A Brooklyn priest is protesting a judge's decision to uphold a parking ticket he got while he was rushing into a hospital to administer last rites to a dying woman. The Rev. Cletus Forson got a $115 ticket when he parked in front of Maimonides Medical Center on July 26. He put his "Clergy on Call'' placard on his dashboard and ran into the hospital for 20 minutes.
· Democrats in Congress battle for minimum wage hikes. To be sure, the half-million Americans who earn the minimum would welcome a raise. But since the last federal minimum-wage hike of $5.15 in 1997, inflation has pushed up most wages to the point that only 0.3% of full-time workers are paid the minimum. And in a tight labor market, businesses are finding that they need to pay higher wages, even to entry-level employees, to find good workers and retain them.
· Teen sisters release new album of hate. Fourteen-year-old twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede have two albums, music videos, a DVD and devoted fans. But unlike most other pop sensations, their fans are not your typical teeny boppers — they're white nationalists.
· Guards thought teen with no pulse was faking. Guards at a privately operated juvenile prison didn't immediately start CPR on a collapsed teenage inmate because they thought he was faking even though his heart was stopped, one of the officers told investigators. CPR wasn't begun for 20 minutes because "some of these kids will play pranks," a guard said.
· Madonna to rid nuclear waste with "Kabbalah fluid." When Madonna isn’t busy being crucified in concert or horseback riding in the English countryside, she wants to use the powers of Kabbalah to rid the world of nuclear waste. The singer and her director hubby Guy Ritchie have been “lobbying the government and nuclear industry over a scheme to clean up radioactive waste with a supposedly magic Kabbalah fluid,” according to London’s Sunday Times.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Colloquialism [col·lo·qui·al·ism] n. 1. An informal word or phrase that is more common in conversation than in formal speech or writing. Colloquialisms can include words such as "gonna" and phrases such as "ain't nothin'" and "dead as a doornail."
· Brooke Burke Pregnant and Engaged. Brooke Burke, host of the CBS reality series "Rock Star: Supernova," and actor David Charvet are getting married and expecting a child together, her representative, Nancy Iannios, said on Monday.
· Russian solves historic math problem, shuns prize. A reclusive Russian won an academic prize Tuesday for work toward solving one of history's toughest math problems, but he refused to accept the award - a stunning renunciation of accolades from his field's top minds. Grigory Perelman, a 40-year-old native of St. Petersburg, was praised for work in the field known as topology, which studies shapes, and for a breakthrough that might help scientists figure out nothing less than the shape of the universe. But besides shunning the medal, academic colleagues say he also seems uninterested in a separate, $1 million prize he might be awarded for his feat.
· Tunnels underneath Congress contain asbestos, endanger workers. Inside tunnels that snake their way for miles, huge slabs of concrete fall from ceilings and white powder coats some pipes and floors. But it’s not all dust. Much of it is asbestos — harmful fibers that can scar lungs and, potentially, cause death. Federal investigators recently found that conditions in the tunnels pose an “imminent danger” to the workers, and that the owner of the tunnels had “effectively ignored” safety warnings for six years.
· Media Ask to See JonBenet Documents. Media organizations asked a judge Monday to unseal the arrest warrant and other documents involving John Mark Karr, who claims he was with 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey when the young beauty pageant queen was killed.
· Snake forces Alaska jet evacuation on landing. In a strange twist of life imitating art, a snake suddenly appeared in the cabin of an Alaska Airlines jet originating from Seattle shortly after landing in Long Beach, Calif., Sunday evening, prompting the evacuation of 140 passengers and the five-member crew on the plane's emergency slides.
· Pizza fraudsters take a slice of your credit. A fraudster contacts an AT&T service rep and says he works at a pizza parlor and that the phone is having trouble. Until things get fixed, he requests that all incoming calls be forwarded to another number, which he provides. Pizza orders are thus routed by AT&T to the fraudster's line. When a call comes in, the fraudster pretends to take the customer's order but says payment must be made in advance by credit card.
· Cuomo Becomes News Anchor of 'Good Morning America.' Chris Cuomo will be working the early shift as news anchor of "Good Morning America" starting next month. Cuomo, who is also an anchor of ABC News' "Primetime," will begin his dawn duties Sept. 5, joining anchors Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts at the "GMA" studio in Times Square, ABC announced.
· North Carolina closes smoking loophole. It was illegal to sell tobacco to minors...but it was not illegal for them to buy it or have it. Starting today, a young person who even has tobacco in their possession could be fined or even lose their driver's license. It's a $25 fine, and if they don't pay it, they could have their driver's license restricted.
Monday, August 21, 2006
· Alaska governor could be unseated. Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski is fighting to survive Tuesday's primary after a rocky first term. Murkowski's approval ratings have skidded over the past four years because of much-criticized decisions such as appointing his daughter Lisa to his U.S. Senate seat and purchasing a $2.6 million state jet after his request for the aircraft was denied by both the federal government and state Legislature.
· "Mr. Chicken" out of a job. A northern Illinois town has banned local businesses from using costumed mascots outside their stores to attract customers. "We think it's a distraction to drivers," said Joseph Napolitano, who says fines for violating the ordinance can cost businesses $50 to $750 a day.
· Bullets fired into crowd outside club after alleged theft. A 20-year-old college student was shot and killed early Sunday outside the State Theatre after a man fired a gun randomly into a crowd because he said someone stole his Cartier sunglasses.
· Tennessee psychiatrist arrested following road rage incident. The Highway Patrol has charged a Murfreesboro psychiatrist with three counts of aggravated assault after an apparent road rage incident where he allegedly fire on a vehicle carrying an adult and two children.
· Car buyers must be told about 'black boxes.' The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has passed a regulation requiring car makers to inform customers when their car has been equipped with an Event Data Recorder, the agency said Monday. EDRs, similar to "black boxes" used in commercial airliners, record data about what a car is doing in the moments just before and after a crash. About 65 percent of model year 2005 cars were equipped with EDRs.
· Tape Catching Sen. Burns Falling Asleep. When Republican Sen. Conrad Burns briefly struggled to keep his eyes open at a Montana farm bill hearing, a state Democratic party operative was right there taping it. Within hours, the video of Burns was on YouTube.com and available to viewers around the world.
· Kerry Calls Lieberman the New Cheney. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., blasted a fellow Democrat, Sen. Joe Lieberman, for continuing his bid in the Connecticut Senate race despite a narrow loss to newcomer Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary earlier this month.
Kerry accused the 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate of "adopting the rhetoric of Dick Cheney."
· Is Tomorrow Doomsday? While no extra safeguards are in place, U.S. law enforcement are not ignoring the possible significance of tomorrow's date, August 22, a date that marks an important historic event on the Islamic calendar. Internet websites have been full of speculation that it could be a target date for terrorists in commemoration of the return of the 12th imam, a supposed day of reckoning for Shiites.
· Tips for healing hangovers. More than half of American adults drink alcohol and statistics show 77 percent of those who drink will have at least one hangover every year. About 15 percent of drinkers will have a hangover once a month. Although the obvious answer to prevent hangovers is simply not drink to excess, here are a few tips for the rest.
· Baltimore lawyer faces hurdles in Nigeria presidential run. Those of a political bent would probably acknowledge that Godson M. Nnaka has a few stumbling blocks to overcome in his campaign to become the next president of Nigeria, among them: He has lived in the Baltimore area for the past 20 years, and was arrested last month and charged with sexual solicitation of a minor, allegedly offering a client a discount in return for sexual favors.
· Terrorists uses Michael Moore film to mock Bush. An Iraqi militant group has produced an elaborate video of what it said were attacks on U.S. troops, in the latest example of the increasingly sophisticated propaganda war being waged by Iraqi insurgents.
· Are you SURE you want to remove that? An Indian businessman born with two penises wants one of them removed surgically as he wants to marry and lead a normal sexual life. The 24-year-old man from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh admitted himself to a New Delhi hospital this week with an extremely rare medical condition called penile duplication or diphallus.
· US facing wave of murders and gun violence. In a shift from trends of the past decade, violent crime is on the rise, fueling criticism of Bush administration policies as a wave of murders and shootings hits smaller cities and states with little experience with serious urban violence. Explanations vary - from softer gun laws to budget cuts, fewer police on the beat, more people in poverty and simple complacency. But many blame a national preoccupation with potential threats from abroad.
· ‘Tom and Jerry’ smoking scenes to be axed. They chase each other at high speed wielding axes and hammers. But the famous cartoon duo of Tom and Jerry are in trouble in Britain for smoking on screen.
· An unproductive Monday morning at Tabloid Column. While we would prefer spending our time providing our readers with the best articles we can find, the childish actions of a limited few have forced us to dig through hundreds of log files and suspend the IP addresses of those that feel they need to use up to eight different names to make their points in the forum. This doesn't mean that the person can't go to a neighbor's computer and make future multiple-named posts, but then the neighbor will be banned as well. We have compiled some additional information in the Forum Rules page. Please look it over. For the overwhelming majority of our posters, thank you for your continued sense of humor and intellect in your posts.
· Ambulance chaser hits train. A local man and his family are in the hospital after trying to follow an ambulance to beat traffic. Authorities say a man driving pickup truck, with his family inside, was following an ambulance down Highway 231, going 80 miles per hour when he lost control and hit a parked Bay Line train.
· Bill Gates Foundation investing in newspapers. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation extended its charity work, in a sense, to the MediaNews Group in helping finance its recent purchase of several California newspapers. MediaNews obtained a financing package from a group of lenders that enabled the newspaper company to borrow up to $597 million to help finance its acquisitions of the San Jose Mercury News and others papers.
· JonBenet Ramsey Suspect in L.A. Jail. John Mark Karr's return to the U.S. took him from clinking his champagne glass during a luxurious flight - to a high-security jail where he was awaiting a transfer to face charges in JonBenet Ramsey's murder.
» Biz-class trip 'insane,' rage Boulder folks. The spectacle of a confessed child killer sipping champagne in a business-class airline seat on someone else's dime outraged some Colorado taxpayers yesterday. "That's just not sending the right message," said life-long Boulder resident Justin Griswell, 35. "If he has been arrested for the murder of a child, it's really not a positive thing ... especially with school funding being cut all the time."
» Experts Praise Royal Treatment of Karr. Authorities probably had a very good reason for allowing JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr to live it up on the 15-hour flight to the United States, legal experts say — they wanted him to talk. Denver attorney Larry Pozner, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the royal treatment during Sunday's journey — king prawns, champagne, French wine — was "a brilliant move." "What the cops want most is this guy to talk."
· Court rules seizure correct despite no drugs found. Authorities were correct to assume nearly $125,000 they seized from a California man's car during a traffic stop may have been connected to narcotics trafficking, despite finding no drugs in the vehicle, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
· Pastor Biking Across Country Shot With Pellet Gun. A pastor cycling across the country to help poor Haitian children found himself the target of pranksters. Jesse Johnson was biking through Georgia on his way to Florida when a young man in a van shot him in the leg with a pellet gun. The pastor said he has a sharp, burning pain in his upper thigh, but no other injuries.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Oxymoron [ox·y·mo·ron] n.pl. A phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect, for example, “wise fool” or “to make haste slowly.”
· Judge allows Ten Commandments monument. A federal judge said a Ten Commandments monument outside a courthouse can stay, rejecting arguments that it promotes Christianity at the expense of other religions.
· Sunday school teacher fired for being female. Since 1946, Mary Lambert has been a member of the First Baptist Church in Watertown, and for the past 11 years, she's been the Sunday school teacher. But, last Thursday Lambert received a letter from the Diaconate Board telling her that she was dismissed from her position because the board had adopted the scriptural qualifications for Sunday school teachers. In short, this prohibits women from teaching men.
· Unfair advantage. Aaron Durley towers over the competition at the Little League World Series. The 13-year-old first baseman for Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, stands an imposing 6-foot-8 and weighs 256 pounds. "I was standing next to him and I was up to his elbows," Scott Kingery, a 12-year-old, 4-foot-9 Phoenix shortstop, said after meeting Durley.
· Joe Rosenthal, photographer who shot Iwo Jima flag-raising, dies. Photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his immortal picture of six World War II fighting men raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima, died Sunday. He was 94.
· Mumbai's "Hitler" eatery angers Indian Jews. A new restaurant in India's financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country's small Jewish community.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
· Daytona Police Chief's Home Burglarized. The police chief of Daytona Beach was the victim of a home burglary this weekend. Police Chief Michael Chitwood was speaking to Neighborhood Watch members Friday about working with the police department to prevent burglaries when his home was targeted. He returned home to find the place ransacked and his TV, stereo, laptop, watch and other items missing.
· Site of destroyed East Side townhouse on the market for $8 million. The East Side lot where a townhouse stood until Dr. Nicholas Bartha blew it up so that his ex-wife couldn't profit from its sale is on the market for $8 million. Bartha, 66, died July 15, five days after authorities say he caused a gas explosion to level the mansion so that his former wife, Cordula Hahn Bartha, couldn't benefit from its sale. Before the explosion, the 124-year-old mansion was said to be worth $4 million, according to court papers.
· Cheers! Luxury flight has Karr sipping champagne, clinking glasses with Boulder DA investigator. John Mark Karr, the suspect in the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, sipped champagne and ate fried king prawns in business class Sunday after being put aboard a flight to Los Angeles to face charges. The 41-year-old teacher sat in a business class window seat next to Mark Spray, an investigator with the Boulder District Attorney's office. A U.S. Embassy official and an agent with "Homeland Security" on his T-shirt were also part of the escort party. Before takeoff, Karr took a glass of champagne from a flight attendant and clinked glasses with Boulder DA investigator Spray.
· Experts: Sex Slaves Are The Girls Next Door. Raids conducted last week on 20 Northeast brothels uncovered more than 70 suspected sex slaves, exposing a long-ignored national problem found in towns large and small, with immigrants and U.S. citizens alike as victims, experts say. "It's a very overwhelming subject for a lot of people to recognize that there is slavery at this time in our country," said Carole Angel, staff attorney with the Immigrant Women Program of the women's rights advocacy group Legal Momentum in Washington. "It's hard for us as humans to contemplate what this means."
· Driver crashes through Kmart entrance before calmly shopping. A man drove his car into the front of a Kmart early Saturday morning. Police say Bryant Weiford of Hampton drove through the main entrance of the K-Mart on Mercury Boulevard before workers said the 20-year-old hopped out of his car and started shopping - and trying on women's shoes.
· Coroner arrested for stealing drugs from dead people. Benton County Coroner Kimberly Scott confiscated prescription medication from dead hospice patients for personal use, the Benton County, Arkansas prosecutor said Saturday. She may face removal from office following her Friday night arrest.
· Innocent woman vindicated of embezzling. A year ago, Lisa Hansen finished her shift as a receptionist at Panapolous Salons and made the nightly money-drop at the Huntington Bank branch. But when the money didn't show up in their account, Hansen was arrested, tossed in jail and found guilty. But on August 9, a year later, a bank worker found the money stuck inside the night depository. "They told me it was stuck in the chute," said Hansen.
· Firefighters Shot at for Not Helping Cat. A man angry at firefighters who refused to rescue a cat from a tree was arrested after he started shooting at the fire crew, officials said. Jeffrey Cullen, 58, was charged with four felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a spokeswoman said. Cullen called in a tree fire, telling firefighters he wanted a cat rescued from his tree and knew they would only respond to a fire call.
· Ohio city puts price on police response. Alex Patterson was shaken after he ran into a motorist last month, but the 18-year-old instinctively knew what the next step was. He pulled out his cell phone and called Stow, Ohio police. Last week, he received a bill for their assistance: $209.44 for the use of a police vehicle, $38.08 for the time of one police officer, and $28.56 for paperwork. The bill noted that the officer performed the service of determining if there were injuries at no additional cost.
· Busta Rhymes Busted. Rapper Busta Rhymes has been arrested and charged with assault, police said Sunday. Police have been wanting to interview Rhymes since the February shooting death of one of his bodyguards, Israel Ramirez. Ramirez, 29, was killed outside a Brooklyn studio where Rhymes was recording a music video. The rapper and another bodyguard were sued the following month by a fan who says the two men beat him after he asked for the Rhymes' autograph.
· Ambulance worker charged with molesting 14-year-old patient. An ambulance worker is charged with molesting a 14-year-old patient while she was being taken to a psychiatric hospital. Matt Defillippo was charged Thursday with two counts each of third-degree and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
· Time for a driver's education overhaul? Driver's education is a hodgepodge across the country. Yet, car accidents are the top killer of teens. Nearly 6,000 teens were killed and 303,000 hurt in auto crashes in 2004. Teens make up 6 percent of all licensed drivers, but they are involved in 14 percent of deadly crashes. "There is no national outrage about this," said Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the safety board.
· Israel still trying to determine what "cease-fire" means. Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep in Lebanon on Saturday, engaging in a fierce gunbattle, and the Lebanese government threatened to halt further troop deployments to protest what U.N. officials called a violation of the 6-day-old cease-fire.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
· Strip poker championships bring mass a-peel. Up to 200 strip poker players competed on Saturday to see who will lose their shirts — and more — and who will scoop 10,000 pounds by retaining their clothes and modesty.
· Mona Lisa's smile stops traffic. Standing at a majestic 60-feet tall, this new feature on the Newport, Virginia landscape is certainly a traffic stopper. Motorists have been left open-mouthed at the sight of this landscape image of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
· Grandma, 41, Among Army's Older Recruits. Margie Black had wanted to enter the military as a teenager, but having her first child at 19 put off her ambitions. So when she learned the Army raised its enlistment age, Black, now a 41-year-old grandmother from West Columbia, Texas, didn't hesitate to join.
· IRS Enlists Help in Collecting Delinquent Taxes. If you owe back taxes to the federal government, the next call asking you to pay may come not from an Internal Revenue Service officer, but from a private debt collector. Within two weeks, the IRS will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors will continue to be pursued by IRS officers.
· The defense will have a tough time explaining this. A man was arrested in the killing of a retired schoolteacher whose dismembered body was found in his Long Island home and severed head was discovered in the trunk of his car, police said.
· Teen crime spree ends after "twirling handgun" trick. Two teenagers who fled Oregon with two dozen stolen weapons were arrested here after one shot himself in the leg, apparently while twirling a handgun on his finger.
· Shattered dreams. A Quebec man wants a consolation prize from his local newspaper after experiencing the thrill of winning the lottery, only to discover the paper had printed the wrong numbers. Ulysee Maillot thought he had won last week's $42 million Lotto 6-49 jackpot - the second-largest in Canadian history.
· Friedman: Willie Nelson Should Lead Energy. Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman on Friday reiterated his top pick to implement his energy plan that emphasizes renewable sources: Willie Nelson. Friedman said the country singer/songwriter and benefactor of biodiesel was a natural choice to lead a state energy department or commission, which he wants to create. He also said Nelson "would never have his hand in Texas' pocket."
· "Attack of the Mannequins" coming to a store near you. Diana Newton, 51, of Westminster sued the J.C. Penney Co. last month after she was allegedly bludgeoned on the head by a department store dummy. Newton said she was ambushed by a legless female mannequin at a Westminster Mall store, a skirmish that left her with a bloodied scalp, a cracked tooth, recurring shoulder pain and numbness in her fingers. The alleged attack was the latest in a string of mannequin mayhem incidents nationwide.
· Restaurant Robbed While Mayor There. Friday afternoon the Piccadilly Cafeteria was robbed while Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton was there eating lunch with his body guard. Police say they arrested him around 5:30 p.m. after a homeowner spotted him hiding underneath a nearby house. The homeowner held the accused robber at gunpoint until police arrived.
· DHS: Illegal aliens in U.S. jump 30% to 11 million. In just six years, the number of illegal aliens calling the United States home has jumped by nearly 30 percent, according to new federal figures. The Department of Homeland Security say 11 million illegals were in the country at the start of 2006 - up from 8.5 million in early 2000.
» ICE: Gov't won't enter Illinois church. Immigration enforcement officers do not plan to enter a church where a single mother sought sanctuary rather than submit to deportation to Mexico, a government official said Friday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had said they would apprehend Elvira Arellano, 31, at a time and place "of their choosing" and that nothing prevented them from going into the church.
· Nagin: Racism, red tape slowed recovery. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Friday blamed racism and government bureaucracy for hamstringing his city's ability to weather Hurricane Katrina and recover from the disaster that struck the Gulf Coast nearly a year ago. "And I, to this day, believe that if that would have happened in Orange County, California, if that would have happened in South Beach, Miami, it would have been a different response," the mayor said. Nagin, who earlier this year apologized after declaring New Orleans would again become a "chocolate" city, condemned federal regulations that discourage rebuilding in the largely black and low-lying Ninth Ward.
· Karr's yearbook entry yields possible clue. Authorities are examining John Mark Karr's writings, including a 1982 high-school yearbook inscription he made for a friend, for clues that might link him to the death of JonBenet Ramsey 10 years ago. The yearbook entry ends with Karr saying in capital block letters, "Though, deep in the future, maybe I shall be the conquerer [sic] and live in multiple peace." The ransom note found in the Ramsey home had demanded money for JonBenet's return and had ended with the word "Victory!" and was signed "S.B.T.C." Authorities want to know whether those letters might stand for "shall be the conquerer."
· Israeli Troops Criticize Army, Equipment. Israeli soldiers returning from the war in Lebanon say the army was slow to rescue wounded comrades and suffered from a lack of supplies so dire that they had to drink water from the canteens of dead Hezbollah guerrillas. "We fought for nothing. We cleared houses that will be reoccupied in no time," said Ilia Marshak, a 22-year-old infantryman who spent a week in Lebanon.
· Judge rules bus riders shouldn't stand 14 feet in 13 1/2 foot tunnel. A state appeals court has rejected a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco by the family of a woman who was killed when her head slammed into the low ceiling of the Broadway Tunnel as she stood on the open upper deck of a private bus. Diana Cushing Canning, 50, was one of two passengers killed on the chartered bus that was carrying protesters to San Francisco in October 2002 for a demonstration against the impending war in Iraq.
· Your Brain Boots Up Like a Computer. As we yawn and open our eyes in the morning, the brain stem sends little puffs of nitric oxide to another part of the brain, the thalamus, which then directs it elsewhere. Like a computer booting up its operating system before running more complicated programs, the nitric oxide triggers certain functions that set the stage for more complex brain operations, according to a new study.
· UK cops find martyr tapes. Several martyr videos were reportedly discovered on at least six laptops owned by some of the 23 suspects being questioned in the foiled terror plot to bomb as many as 10 jetliners bound for the United States. The BBC, citing an unofficial police source, said Friday that several videos of the type that suicide bombers sometimes leave had been found as part of the intense investigation into the alleged plot.
Friday, August 18, 2006
· Florida To Shut Home For Mentally Ill Girls. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is closing the high-security Umatilla Academy for Girls following multiple reports of mistreatment and neglect. A state review of the facility found an employee had dragged one inmate down a hallway by her ankles, workers failed to send another girl to a hospital after she swallowed two-inch nails and a caretaker delayed calling for help after a third overdosed on medication.
· L.A.'s Only Country Music Station Closes. This was the week that country music died in Los Angeles. After more than 20 years on the air, the city's only country music station, KZLA-FM, abruptly left the air and quickly transitioned from George Strait and Keith Urban in the morning - to Pink and the Black Eyed Peas by lunchtime. KZLA's sudden and unannounced demise leaves America's two largest cities, Los Angeles and New York, without country music stations.
· Apple: No Forced Labor at iPod Plant. Apple Computer Inc.'s investigation into claims of poor conditions at a Chinese iPod factory found no forced labor but revealed that workers were exceeding the company's limits on hours and days to be worked per week, the company said Friday. The probe found that in many cases workers were exceeding the company's limits for overtime, which specify a maximum of 60 hours or six days a week, but "We found no instances of forced overtime," the report said. Workers assembling iPods were paid at least the minimum wage, with more than half earning more than minimum wage," or about $100 per month.
· JonBenet's Mom Almost Met With Karr. John Ramsey's family attorney said Friday that authorities asked Patsy Ramsey in late May — a month before she died of cancer — whether she would be willing to meet with the man who claims he killed her daughter. Ramsey said she would meet with Karr if it would advance the investigation into JonBenet's Christmastime slaying, but the meeting never took place because authorities did not get back to her before she died in June, attorney Lin Wood said.
· UN peacekeepers involved in child prostitution ring. Child prostitutes in the Democratic Republic of Congo say their customers have included U.N. peacekeepers. The United Nations banned members of the peacekeeping force from sexual relations with local residents after an investigation last year found some soldiers had had sex with girls as young as 13, the BBC reports.
· Update: "Penis pump" judge gets 4 years in prison. Former judge Donald Thompson convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe, was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.
· Update: France wants "safety guarantees" before deploying troops. Despite United Nations expectations that France would provide the bulk of a planned 15,000 strong UN force, Paris said Thursday it would send 200 troops to reinforce the UN mission in Lebanon, but now say they want "safety guarantees" in place before deploying their peacekeeper troops.
· Las Vegas Passes Public Defecation Law. City officials have made it illegal to sleep within 500 feet of urine or feces, but the city attorney says the new law was passed by mistake and won't be enforced.
· Men who didn't receive Mother's Day gift may be entitled to $4,000. A lawsuit against the Angels baseball team claims thousands of men and fans under age 18 are each entitled to $4,000 in damages because they were treated unfairly during last May's Mother's Day promotion.
· Armed clowns terrorize Arizona town. Authorities in Tucson, Arizona are searching for at least two armed clowns who have robbed several businesses, with painted faces and foam noses. Investigators said one of the clowns was wearing a red wig and the other had a black beanie. Both had their faces painted white and bow ties.
· City Nixes Immigration Ordinance. After a six-hour showdown, the City Council in Palm Bay, Fla., voted down a controversial ordinance that would have fined businesses that hire undocumented workers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund vowed a legal challenge had the ordinance passed.
· Dad jumps off balcony with small kids after argument with wife. A British man is facing a murder charge after his son, 6, died and his daughter, 2, was injured when the trio plunged from a fourth-story hotel balcony in Greece after an argument with his wife. Panayotis Spatharakis, director of the Heraklion Hospital, told the Daily Mirror: "We asked him why he did it and he told us he was very drunk and could not exactly remember what happened." "I feel that once he recovers and understands what he has done he should commit suicide."
· Man trapped waist-deep in chocolate. It might sound like a chocoholic's dream, but stepping into a vat of chocolate became a two-hour nightmare for a 21-year-old man Friday morning. The man, an employee of a Kenosha company that supplies chocolate ingredients, told police he got into the tank at Debelis Corp. to unplug it and became trapped waist-deep in the chocolate. "It was pretty thick. It was virtually like quicksand," police said.
· Lawsuit is filed over molestation at school. The family of a 13-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted at a Catholic elementary school has sued the school and the St. Louis Archdiocese. The suit, filed this week, alleges that she was further traumatized when the principal identified her to other students at a school assembly and allowed them to ask her why she didn't scream or resist.
· Man On Crutches Robs Store. Police are asking for the public's help to catch a man on crutches who was caught on camera robbing a convenience store. After grabbing a soda, he approached the counter, then pulled out a gun and demanded money. [video]
· Hizbollah hands out cash to Lebanese. Hizbollah handed out bundles of cash from Iran on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group's support among Lebanon's Shi'ites and embarrassing the Beirut government. "This is a very, very reasonable amount. It is not small," said Ayman Jaber, 27, holding a wad he had just picked up from Hizbollah of $12,000 in banknotes wrapped in tissue.
· Questions Arise in JonBenet Ramsey Case. If the stunning confession in JonBenet Ramsey's slaying has made the decade-old case any easier to solve, prosecutors aren't saying. And it may have made it more puzzling. Hours after John Mark Karr told reporters in Thailand he was with JonBenet when she died, questions arose about his claims - including whether he drugged the 6-year-old beauty queen, sexually assaulted her or was even in Colorado at the time of the slaying.
» JonBenet Suspect Known For Marriages To Teens. Court records show a 14-year-old girl sought an annulment of their "ceremonial marriage" in 1985. She claimed she feared for her life when she agreed to wed him in 1984, when she was just 13 and he was 19. Karr admitted she was a minor, but denied she was 13. A judge granted the annulment. Karr later married Lara Karr, who was 16 when their twin daughters died the day they were born.
· Father Accused Of Drunken Driving Says 4-Year-Old Son At Wheel. Police said a man accused of drunken driving told them his 4-year-old son was at the wheel of his sport utility vehicle when it crashed into a tree. They said 33-year-old Albert Monroe Boyce Jr., of Hyndman, told them his son, who was sitting on his lap, had turned the wheel too far to one side, sending the SUV careening off the road. Police said Boyce had an open 30-pack of Budweiser and a cooler in the vehicle when the crash occurred.
· Woman Sues Over 1960s 'Batman' Series. A New Mexico woman is suing 20th Century Fox Film Corporation alleging she was defrauded out of $4.4 million she was entitled to receive for the popular 1960s "Batman" television series. Deborah Dozier Potter, whose father William Dozier was one of the producers of the show, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Superior Court that alleges fraud, concealment and breach of contract.
· Andrew Young steps down from Wal-Mart after statements. Civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was hired to help Wal-Mart improve its public image, said early Friday he stepped down from his position as head of an outside support group. The controversy started from an interview, where Young was asked whether he was concerned that Wal-Mart causes smaller, mom-and-pop stores to close. "Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighborhood," the paper quoted Young as saying. "But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores."
· IRS puts bills in Oscar goodie bags. Movie stars enjoying the lavish gift bags handed out at this year's Oscars will get some decidedly unglamorous notices: don't forget to pay tax on the windfall. "There's no special red-carpet tax loophole for the stars," Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson said Thursday.
· Sharpton: 'Gangsterism' harming blacks. Al Sharpton said that many potential young black leaders fall under the spell of the "gangster mentality". "I think we've allowed a whole generation of young people to feel that if they're focused, they're not black enough. If they speak well and act well, they're acting white, and there's nothing more racist than that," Sharpton said.
· Osment Charged With DUI, Pot Possession. "The Sixth Sense" star Haley Joel Osment, who suffered a broken rib last month when his car struck a mailbox, faces up to six months in jail on charges that he was driving drunk and possessing marijuana, authorities said. Osment's blood-alcohol level after the July 20 crash was measured at .16 percent, twice the legal limit, said DA spokeswoman Jane Robison.
· Affidavit: Woman Urinated on Plane Floor. A woman on a trans-Atlantic flight diverted to Boston for security concerns passed several notes to crew members, urinated on the cabin floor and made comments the crew believed were references to al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks, according to an affidavit filed Thursday. Catherine C. Mayo, 59, of Braintree, Vt., appeared in federal court Thursday on a charge of interfering with a flight crew on United 923 as it flew from London to Washington, D.C.
· Duane 'Dog' Chapman Faces Calif. Suit. Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, who spends most of his days tracking fugitives who skip court appearances, might have to make a few court appearances of his own. The suit filed by Simaile "Cisco" Lutu, 29, claims the group wrongly tried to apprehend him when trying to snare a bail jumper who played for the Daly City Renegades semipro football team. He said police then continued to target him.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
· Mom Arrested After Toddler Found Wandering In Road. A woman in Orlando, Fla., was arrested Thursday after her 2-year-old son was found walking alone on a road at 3 a.m., according to police. Police said the boy's mother, Alexandra Rodriguez, 20, went to find his father after the pair got into an argument and left the toddler alone in an apartment.
· Rev. Jackson offers to negotiate Middle East prisoner swap. Trying to build on a cease-fire in Lebanon, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson launched an effort Tuesday to arrange the release of prisoners held by Hezbollah and Israel.
· U.N. disapponted France only providing 200 troops. France will initially provide only 200 extra troops for a new United Nations force in Lebanon, President Jacques Chirac said on Thursday, disappointing some U.N. officials who had hoped for a contribution of thousands.
· Senator Biden blasts Wal-Mart. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, delivered a 15-minute, blistering attack to warm applause from Democrats and union organizers here on Wednesday. But Mr. Biden’s main target was not Republicans in Washington, or even his prospective presidential rivals. It was Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer. “My problem with Wal-Mart is that I don’t see any indication that they care about the fate of middle-class people,” Mr. Biden said. “They talk about paying them $10 an hour. That’s true. How can you live a middle-class life on that?”
· Starbucks faces roach rap. Current and former employees of the gourmet coffee chain filed a federal complaint yesterday claiming their corporate bosses have refused to heed repeated warnings about inadequate training and chronic infestations of roaches, rats and other vermin in New York Starbucks stores. But the company strongly denied the allegations, noting the complaints were coordinated by a handful of activists who are trying to unionize the stores.
· Burqa buster. Kate Moss is offending Muslims in the Big Apple and she doesn't even know it. A big poster for Calvin Klein's new ad campaign showing a topless Moss in different poses, one in which she's holding onto a shirtless hunk, has popped up right across the street from the Madina Masjid Mosque on East 11th Street.
· Mom Shot Trying To Retrieve Son's Bicycle. A woman in Winter Springs, Fla., who was trying to get her son's stolen bicycle back from a neighbor was shot, sparking a four-hour SWAT police standoff with a gunman, according to a Local 6 News report.
· Federal judge says government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional. A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it. U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.
» FLASHBACK: Judge could alter war on terror. Anna Diggs Taylor never intended to become the first black woman to serve as chief judge of the U.S. District Court in eastern Michigan. But she accepted out of a sense of historic duty. And although Taylor is a liberal with Democratic roots and defended civil-rights workers in the South in the 1960s, people who know her say she will follow the law - not her politics - in deciding the case.
· Mel Gibson pleads no contest in DUI case, gets probation. Mel Gibson's lawyer went to the Malibu Courthouse Thursday and appeared with the prosecutor to reveal a plea deal. Gibson has agreed to three years probation, but will avoid jail time.
· Judge delays jail sentence for football. A judge decided two high school athletes can complete the football season this fall before they serve 60-day jail sentences for a car crash caused by a decoy deer placed in a country road. Two teens were injured. "I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm going to. I see positive things about participating in football," Judge Gary McKinley said.
· Woman killed heading to visit dying husband. Authorities say a Coconut Creek woman driving to the hospital to see her dying husband was killed after her car plunged into a canal. The husband died about six hours later.
· Mom drove car for son's drive-by shooting. A 15-year-old’s mother was driving the car from which the boy fired the shots that killed a mentally disabled man, police said. The woman slowed the car as she drove past the house Wednesday afternoon and her son shot Jermaine Martin, 27, with an SKS semiautomatic rifle, police said. Martin was shot in the back and collapsed face down on his lawn.
· Passenger describes dramatic events on diverted flight. Antony Nash grew nervous watching the petite woman in a jogging suit seated near him in the back of United 923 as the plane flew over the Atlantic from London toward Washington. She had been pacing the aisle, mumbling incoherent phrases peppered with the word "Pakistan," and making too many visits to the restroom, he said. Suddenly, two men in plain clothes and flight attendants raced up the aisle and tackled the woman, thrusting her onto the bathroom door, then to the ground, and putting her in handcuffs, Nash and other passengers said.
· Bush pardons 17 minor criminals. All 17 pardoned Wednesday are minor criminals and most weren't sentenced to prison. The longest sentence any had received was five years. Two of the latest Bush pardons were issued to men convicted of violating liquor laws, including possession of an unregistered still.
· JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect: 'I loved her.' An American arrested in Thailand, confessing that he was with child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey when she died in her parents' basement nearly a decade ago, said today that her death was an accident. John Mark Karr, 41, insisted his crime was not first-degree murder but that she died during a kidnapping attempt that went awry. Karr also told reporters: "I loved JonBenet."
» Dead Psychic's Sketch Of JonBenet Killer Revisited. Psychic Dorothy Allison believed she knew what JonBenet's killer looked like and provided a sketch to the Ramsey family, based on her visions. The Ramsey family Web site published the sketch, asking the public, "Have you seen this man? This man may have been in the Boulder area in December 1996." Comparing the sketch side-by-side with that of a picture of suspect John Karr appears to show remarkable resemblance.
» Amazing detective adds another notch to his belt. He is old-school, a detective who knows that even as technology advances there is no substitute for stopping and staring and thinking and asking. And then doing it again. It's a trait that has served Lou Smit, 71, well as he has cracked murder cases that confounded other investigators.
» Suspect obsessed by child slayings. The man busted for the notorious murder of little beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was a would-be author obsessed with killers who commit horrible crimes against children, his brother said last night. John Karr was described as a smart and wonderful family man who taught school and in his spare time was researching a book on heinous crimes involving kids. Karr married his wife, Laura, in 1989 in Alabama and the couple has "three lovely children," the brother said. Laura Karr said last night that she was devastated and embarrassed by the murder charge, but does not believe that her husband committed the crime. She said she and her husband were living in Alabama around Christmas 1996, when JonBenet was murdered in her Colorado home.
· Father-in-law of cyclist Landis commits suicide. The father-in-law of embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis was found dead in his car after committing suicide, coroner's officials said Wednesday.
· Immigrant Takes Refuge in Chicago Church. Immigration activists around the country are taking up the cause of a single mother who invoked the ancient principle of sanctuary and took refuge in a Chicago church rather than submit to deportation to Mexico. Elvira Arellano, 31, illegally crossed into the United States in 1997 and was deported shortly afterward. She returned within days, living for three years in Oregon before moving to Chicago in 2000. Arrested two years later at O'Hare Airport, where she was working as a cleaning woman, she was convicted of working under a false Social Security number and ordered to appear at the immigration office in Chicago.
· Wife wants to call off merger with Tyco crook. Guess she wasn't all that impressed by the $2 million birthday party, after all. The wife of jailed corporate crook Dennis Kozlowski has filed for divorce from the ex-Tyco boss, who used company funds for her lavish, seven-figure 40th birthday bash in the Mediterranean. Karen Kozlowski wants half of the disgraced titan's assets - many of which are being sold to pay fines and restitution - including an opulent waterfront mansion in Boca Raton, Fla.
· Video Leads To Cop Busts. Last April, police targeted a sex-for-money operation at a well-known Brooklyn massage parlor. They sent in an undercover officer to catch them in the act. Instead, the cops involved were the ones who got stung. Pictures taken from a series of hidden surveillance cameras show the undercover officer entering, standing in the massage parlor lobby and then walking out. He spends a total of 43 seconds inside. Yet the officer claimed that during those 43 seconds he was solicited by all eight women working there. After learning a video tape proved the officer was lying, a police sergeant, with his lieutenant by his side, broke into the massage parlor to steal the tape. While police recovered the tape, they didn't realize their burglary was also being video taped.
· Man drinks potion for good luck: doesn't get any. Peru's government warned people to be wary of fake medicine men offering cure-all miracle herb potions on Tuesday, after a bogus brew killed a man hoping to shake off a spell of bad luck.
· Residents wonder if dead animal is legendary mystery beast. Residents are wondering if an animal found dead over the weekend may be the mysterious creature that has mauled dogs, frightened residents and been the subject of local legend for half a generation. Michelle O'Donnell of Turner spotted the animal near her yard about a week before it was killed. She called it a "hybrid mutant of something."
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
· Second-grade teacher arrested in JonBenet Ramsey murder case. A man arrested in Thailand is being held in connection with the slaying nearly a decade ago of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, U.S. officials said Wednesday. Federal officials familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the man was already being held in Bangkok on unrelated sex charges. Media reported that the suspect's name is John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old second-grade teacher from Conyers, Georgia. Karr will be brought back to the United States this weekend.
· Girl Scouts Sue To Collect Cookie Payments. The Girl Scouts are pursuing 12 court claims in Akron, Ohio, for uncollected cookie money ranging from $54 to $3,500. The scouts claim the deadbeats - all adults - picked up cookies and signed for them.
· Man Who Flipped Off Judge Is Jailed. A man who flipped off a judge and called him an obscene name after failing to have a speeding ticket thrown out is thinking about his behavior in the Porter County Jail today. Thirty-one-year-old Jonathan Wilson of San Pierre faced no more than a fine yesterday until he reacted to the ruling by Porter Superior Judge David Chidester. He ordered that Wilson remain in jail until he writes a letter of apology.
· Muslim couple planned to use 6-month-old son in mass murder. Twisted young British parents planned to sacrifice their baby in the evil cause of jihad by mass murder. Terror suspect Abdula Ahmed Ali, 25, and his wife, Cossor, 23, allegedly planned to use 6-month-old son Zain's baby bottle as a liquid bomb, blowing themselves and their child up, along with hundreds of others aboard the flight.
· Gwyneth Paltrow Is Returning to Acting. Gwyneth Paltrow, on hiatus from acting for more than two years, is ready to get back to work. "For a long time, I thought, 'I've done it. I've done what I wanted to do. I'm not interested. I just want to be home with my family,'" the 33-year-old actress tells Harper's Bazaar.
· NBA's Baxter Arrested Near White House. Former NBA player Lonny Baxter was arrested by uniformed Secret Service agents on Wednesday after shots were fired from a vehicle about two blocks from the White House. Baxter, who played with the Charlotte Bobcats last season, was taken into custody around 2:30 a.m. after a witness flagged down a Secret Service agent and reported shots fired from a white sport-utility vehicle, said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren. "There were spent shell casings in plain view inside the vehicle," Zahren said. Officers also recovered a handgun.
· Candidate Compares Gay Marriage To Bestiality. Democrats pounced on Colorado's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and his newly chosen running mate Janet Rowland on Tuesday for comments she made five months ago comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality. Rowland said homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle, adding, "For some people, the alternative lifestyle is bestiality. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep?"
· Police Officer Charged With Stealing From Motorists. Police officer Michael Dunsavage is charged with stealing money from motorists during traffic stops. Authorities say Dunsavage took $590 from the wallets of two men during one stop. He's accused of taking money from two other people as well.
· Update: Spilled Decaf Costs Starbucks A Lot Of Beans. A Manhattan lawyer won $310,000 from Starbucks because of a cup of hot decaf spilled on her foot. The jury's verdict was handed down in April and upheld yesterday by State Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman.
· Stalled Car Foils Kidnapping. A kidnapping attempt in Maitland, Fla., was foiled when the alleged culprit's car stalled after he pulled a woman inside his vehicle and tried to flee the scene. "When he stepped out of the car, she locked the doors, put up the windows and started blowing the horn and he ran," Maitland police officer Alison Diller said.
· Hasselhoff charged $7 to return to Baywatch. Former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff was stunned when he revisited the Malibu beach set of his most famous show because he was charged an admission fee.
· Democratic Web ad angers some Hispanics. A Democratic political ad is under fire from Hispanics who say it unfairly compares Latino immigrants to terrorists. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sponsored a 35-second ad on its Web site that shows footage of two people scaling a border fence mixed with images of Osama Bin Laden and North Korea President Kim Jong Il.
· Israeli army chief sold stocks hours before war. Israel's army chief Dan Halutz reportedly offloaded his stock portfolio hours before the Jewish state unleashed a massive offensive in Lebanon and the stock market tumbled. "The country was under fire and all that was important to him was his stock portfolio," Colette Aviattal, a Labor MP said.
· Priests told to stop part-time witch doctor work. Southern Africa's Catholic bishops have warned priests to stop moonlighting as witch doctors, fortune tellers and traditional healers, and to rely on Christ for miracles.
· Country Star Faces Charges For Killing "Pet" Bear. Country singer Troy Lee Gentry appeared in U.S. District Court in Duluth Tuesday, accused of killing a tame black bear that federal officials say he tagged as killed in the wild. Authorities allege that Gentry purchased the bear from a Minnesota wildlife center, shot the bear in an enclosed pen with a bow and arrow, then allegedly arranged for the doctoring of a videotape of the alleged "wild" kill.
· Town sued over strict immigration law. Civil rights campaigners sued the Pennsylvania town of Hazleton on Tuesday, seeking to block one of America's toughest local laws against illegal immigrants. The suit says Hazelton's City Council violated the U.S. constitution when it passed a law denying business permits to companies that hire illegal aliens and fining landlords who rent homes to them.
· FCC cracks down on 'fake news.' The Federal Communications Commission has mailed letters to the owners of 77 television stations inquiring about their use of video news releases, a type of programming critics refer to as "fake news." Video news releases are packaged news stories that usually employ actors to portray reporters who are paid by commercial or government groups. "You can't tell any more the difference between what's propaganda and what's news," FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said.
· 'City Slickers' Actor Bruno Kirby Dies. Bruno Kirby, a veteran character actor known for playing the best friend in two of Billy Crystal's biggest comedies "When Harry Met Sally" and "City Slickers," has died. He was 57. Kirby died Monday in Los Angeles from complications related to leukemia.
· Orlando Mayor's Mug Shot May Appear On Billboard. The mug shot of Orlando's mayor could be coming to a billboard near you. Someone mailed postcards criticizing Mayor Buddy Dyer and promised to put the same message on ten, 40-foot billboards around the city.
· Brad Garrett's Secret Split. Brad Garrett said that he and his wife of seven years, Jill Diven, managed to amicably separate and divorce this past year without anybody noticing - not even Garrett's parents. Being both a recovering alcoholic and Jewish, Garrett was then asked his thoughts on the whole Mel Gibson hullabaloo. "I pray for his sobriety," Garrett said. "Booze will make you do some scary, scary things. In the days when I used to drink, I would get drunk and yell out awful things about Lethal Weapon 3."
· David Copperfield claims he's found Fountain of Youth. The man who made the Statue of Liberty appear to vanish may soon claim to do the same for unsightly bags and wrinkles. David Copperfield is coy about his reasons for the Fountain of Youth claim, but the man best known for entertaining with grand deception insists his archipelago also contains the legendary waters that bestow perpetual youth.
· Remembering the King. Thousands filled the street in front of Graceland Tuesday twinkling candles to the heavens as they waited to pay their respects to the King of Rock and Roll, 29 years after Elvis Presley's untimely death at age 42.
· Timberlake not a Taylor Hicks fan. Justin Timberlake is not in awe of Taylor Hicks’ talent. “People think he looks so normal, and he’s so sweet and he’s so earnest, but he can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” Timberlake told Fashion Rocks, a supplement of Vanity Fair. Timberlake also thinks that Hicks’ fame is fragile. “If [Hicks] has any skeletons whatsoever, if God forbid, he’s gay, and if all these people in Mississippi who voted for him are like [then he takes on a thick southern accent], ‘Oh my god, I voted for a queer!’ It’s just too much pressure.”
· Dell Recall Stems From Production Flaw. Dell's record-setting recall of 4.1 million notebook batteries raised safety concerns about the power source of countless electronic devices, but experts said the problem appears to stem from flaws in the production of the laptop batteries, not the underlying technology. Battery packs contain cells of rolled up metal strips. During the manufacturing process at a Sony factory in Japan, crimping the rolls left tiny shards of metal loose in the cells, and some of those shards caused batteries to short-circuit and overheat, according to Sony.
· Congressman delivers his own son. Rep. Bobby Jindal barely had time to call 911 when his wife woke with labor pains Tuesday. Minutes later, he helped deliver his own son. Slade Ryan Jindal arrived before the ambulance did at about 3:25 a.m. Jindal, coached over the phone by a nurse.
· Son of Jimmy Carter Wins Nevada Senate Primary. Jimmy Carter's son, Jack Carter, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday to face Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign in November in Nevada, where voters also picked candidates in a sometimes-zany pair of primaries to replace popular Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
· Lover's traffic stop forces state's top lawyer to quit. New Jersey's attorney general resigned Tuesday after a special prosecutor concluded she violated state ethics laws by intervening in a traffic stop involving her boyfriend.
· AOL plans dig for spammer's gold - in a back yard. AOL is preparing to dig for buried gold and platinum on property in Massachusetts owned by the parents of a man it sued and received a judgment of $12.8 million for sending millions of unwanted spam e-mails to its customers. AOL said Tuesday it intends to search for gold and platinum bars the company suspects are hidden near the home of Davis Wolfgang Hawke's parents on two acres in Medfield, Massachusetts.
· Sex ring employed 240 call girls. Two men were arrested on suspicion of running a massive prostitution ring that employed more than 240 women across several Western states and generated millions of dollars, authorities said.
· Nebraska man arrested for 226th time. Kevin Holder's rap sheet is 43 pages long, dating back to 1980, and he just got another entry - his 226th arrest. Police say they caught him Sunday morning after a brief chase and found burglar tools in his possession. "He's very well-known to Lincoln police officers," Police Chief Tom Casady said. A number of people have more than 500 arrests in the city of 226,000 people. Lincoln's record was held by Edward Rooks, who died in 2004, with 652 arrests.
· Prosecutors to Monitor Madonna Act. Prosecutors plan to keep an eye on Madonna's weekend concert in Duesseldorf to see if the pop diva repeats the mock crucifixion scene that has drawn fire from religious leaders. Johannes Mocken, a spokesman for prosecutors in Duesseldorf, said Tuesday that a repeat during Sunday's concert could be construed as insulting religious beliefs.
· Councilwoman Accused of Hitting Mayor. A city councilwoman has been charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly choking and hitting the mayor during a Ecorse, Michigan council meeting. Theresa Peguese was charged last week with assault and battery and obstruction of a government function during the July 18 council meeting.
· Lack of radio promotion blamed for cuts in 'Chicks' tour. Louis Messina, president of the Messina Group, the Houston-based concert promoter that booked the Dixie Chicks' "Accidents and Accusations Tour" says Houston's country radio stations refused advertising dollars to promote the show. Radio is still upset with the band's loose-lipped members — singer Natalie Maines, fiddler Martie Maguire and banjoist Emily Robison — who publicly requested a divorce from the country format earlier this year. "Radio has chosen not only to not promote (the Dixie Chicks); they wouldn't even accept our advertising money," Messina says.
· Forgotten Beatle still a crowd pleaser. As the live beat of Beatles classics begins bouncing off the walls of the Elks Lodge, a man with a gray mustache stands before his drum set and speaks up in a Liverpool lilt. "Let's take you back," he tells the crowd, "to the days when I used to play with a bunch of guys by the names of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison ..." Ringo Starr's playing the Elks club?
· Slain pastor's wife free on bond. A minister's wife accused of killing her husband got out of jail Tuesday on $750,000 bond. Mary Winkler, 32, is charged with killing Matthew Winkler with a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun as he lay in bed.
· Update: Palestinians Look for 2 Fox Journalists. Palestinian security forces hunted for two abducted Fox News journalists Tuesday, and the Palestinian president and prime minister of the Hamas-led government intervened in an attempt to gain their release.
· The Stones Cancel 2nd Concert in Spain. The Rolling Stones have canceled a second concert in Spain while Mick Jagger, 63, recovers from a sore throat. Another date is being sought for the show, which had been scheduled Wednesday in the southern city of El Ejido, said Jose Hurtado, a spokesman for concert promoter Music Frog, on Tuesday. Jagger developed laryngitis over the weekend and has been ordered by his doctor to rest his voice, the British rockers said in a statement on their Web site.
· Wal-Mart Posts First Profit Drop In 10 Years. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. posted its first profit decline in a decade Tuesday. Chief Executive Lee Scott also said sales at Wal-Mart's U.S. stores were disappointing as high gas and energy prices hit the pocketbooks of customers.
· Judge Rules Nationwide Insurance Policy Doesn't Cover Katrina Flood Damage. Nationwide and other insurers say their homeowners policies cover damage from a hurricane's wind, but not in cases where it resulted from a combination of wind and water. "This reading of the policy would mean that an insured whose dwelling lost its roof in high winds and at the same time suffered an incursion of even an inch of water could recover nothing under his Nationwide policy," the judge wrote. The Leonards had estimated the total damage to their home at $130,253. They said $47,365 in damage was caused by wind. Nationwide paid only $1,661, blaming the remainder on the storm surge.
· Ronald Reagan's shooter wants more freedom. John W. Hinckley Jr., who was committed to a mental hospital after trying to assassinate President Reagan, is asking a federal judge to let him spend more time with his family. Prosecutors oppose the request, saying they need to review Hinckley's medical records. Hinckley, who said he shot Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982.
· Sex Ed Changes At School With 65 Pregnant Teens. An Ohio school board is expanding sex education following the revelation that 13 percent of one high school's female students were pregnant last year. There were 490 female students at Timken High School in 2005, and 65 were pregnant.
· Lawsuit: Shopping Center Aided Attacking Squirrel. A woman who says she was attacked by a squirrel after walking out of the Tiffany and Co. jewelry store at a shopping mall has filed a lawsuit saying its employees "encouraged" the squirrel's presence by feeding it. In the suit, Marcy Meckler alleges she suffered injuries "and will in the future endure pain and suffering in body and mind."
· Unwed Couple Sues Over Living-Together Fines. A couple with three children has sued a suburban St. Louis town that refused to give them a housing permit because they are not married. The suit, filed on their behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union, claimed that the town of Black Jack's housing law violates the state and U.S. constitutions, as well as the Federal Fair Housing Act. It seeks unspecified damages. The ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption."
· NASA loses 'one small step for man' recording. The U.S. government has misplaced the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," a NASA spokesman said on Monday. Armstrong's famous space walk, seen by millions of viewers on July 20, 1969, is among transmissions that NASA has failed to turn up in a year of searching, spokesman Grey Hautaloma said. In all, some 700 boxes of transmissions from the Apollo lunar missions are missing.
· Man Shocks Boy To Stop Him From Urinating On Electrical Devices. A Florida man is accused of aggravated child abuse after allegedly using an electrical device to intentionally shock a 3½-year-old boy to teach him the dangers of electricity. Paul Trotman, 51, admitted using a transformer putting out 56 volts to shock the boy who was intentionally urinating on electrical devices to see them spark.
· PETA Activists Go Back to Given Names. The animal rights activist formerly known as Kentuckyfriedcruelty.com is now just plain, old Christopher Garnett. Ringlingbeatsanimals.com has also changed her name back to Brandi Valladolid. The staffers at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were two of three workers who changed their names to support the organizations goals.
· Man Pleads Guilty in Oprah Bus Scam. A travel company operator pleaded guilty to bilking about 60 people, mostly senior citizens, by selling them bogus tickets and charter bus trips to Chicago to see the "Oprah Winfrey Show."
· Mystery 9/11 rescuer reveals himself. For years, authorities wondered about the identity of a U.S. Marine who appeared at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, helped find a pair of police officers buried in the rubble, then vanished. Even the producers of the new film chronicling the rescue, "World Trade Center," couldn't locate the mystery serviceman, who had given his name only as Sgt. Thomas.
· Republicans Raise Money For Lieberman. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut will be able to raise the funds necessary to mount a campaign to keep his Senate seat, both Democratic and Republican donors say. A Republican campaign fund-raiser based in Washington, who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name, said, “There’s a definite sense among a significant number of the Republicans who I deal with that Joe Lieberman is a man of principle and a man we should support.”
· FEMA: Same key could open many hurricane evacuee trailer homes. FEMA will replace locks on as many as 118,000 trailers used by Katrina victims after discovering that the same key could open multiple mobile homes, the agency said Monday. Some keys could open as many as 50 different locks — causing a security risk in heavily populated trailer parks in Louisiana and Mississippi.
· Sheen, Richards Amicably Resolve Issues. The acrimony is apparently over for the once-coupled Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards. There has been an amicable resolution in the couple's divorce case, lawyers for Sheen and Richards announced Monday after meeting with a judge in chambers. The lawyers wouldn't elaborate on the issues resolved Monday. They also refused to say whether a restraining order Richards obtained against Sheen in April remained in effect.
· Found Guilty Of Misusing Public Money. Florida State Sen. Gary Siplin was found guilty Monday on charges that he used employees on the state payroll in his 2004 Senate re-election campaign. The jury deliberated about three hours before finding the Orlando Democrat guilty of third-degree felony grand theft of $5,000 or more and misdemeanor using services of employees for his candidacy.
· The science of creating killers. What exactly does it take to kill someone? Here's how 21-year-old West Texas Army Pvt. Steven Green described shooting a man who refused to stop at an Iraqi checkpoint: "It was like nothing. Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody, and it's like, 'All right, let's go get some pizza.' "
· James Woods clears away gal pal. Memo to Hollywood powerbrokers: The trouble with having 20-year-old girlfriends is, like, they're 20. Youthful Ashley Madison made the gossip pages in June when she parlayed her relationship with James Woods, 59, into a role on "Entourage." But the romance spectacularly soured when Madison showed up at Woods' brother Michael's July 31 funeral "in a 3-inch miniskirt and chain-smoking." "At the funeral she was concerned about the amount of magazines she was in," says Woods' pal Scott Sandler. "Jimmy was on his knees with tears staining his shirt, and she was showing pictures of herself." The actor has known Madison, the pal of a golfing buddy, since she was 5. "She's the anti-Christ," says Sandler. "She truly has the soul of a moth and the brain of a dead trout."
· Diversity growing in nearly every state. America’s growing diversity has reached nearly every state. From South Carolina’s budding immigrant population to the fast-rising number of Hispanics in Arkansas, minority groups make up an increasing share of the population in every state but one, according figures from the Census Bureau. West Virginia is the exception, with its struggling economy and little history of attracting immigrants.
· Police: Fake Doctor May Have Performed Gynecological Exams. A man in Orlando, Fla., was arrested on suspicion he posed as a doctor and practiced medicine without a license, possibly giving gynecological exams to women.
· FBI: No Indication of Terror Ties for Muslim Men in Cell Phone Arrest. The FBI said Monday it had no information to indicate that the three Texas men arrested with about 1,000 cell phones in their van had any direct connection to known terrorist groups.
· Jet evacuated at LAX after toy spooks crew. An Alaska Airlines flight was evacuated on landing at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday after the flight crew became suspicious of a toy found on board. The device was identified as a type of toy transmitter and a thorough search of the plane and cargo hold for explosives came up negative.
Monday, August 14, 2006
· Katrina victims blamed for Houston crime. Houston took in 150,000 evacuees — the most of any U.S. city — after Katrina struck on Aug. 29. Houston police believe a large part of their 17.5 percent increase in homicides, and an additional $18 million in criminal justice costs, are the result of their welcome mat to Katrina evacuees.
· Luxury spending found in legal program. The federal program that provides legal help to poor Americans turns away half of its applicants for lack of resources. But that hasn't stopped its executives from lavishing expensive meals, chauffeur-driven cars and foreign trips on themselves.
· Gunmen kidnap Fox News journalists in Gaza. Palestinian gunmen kidnapped two foreign journalists working for the Fox News Channel in Gaza on Monday, a witness and the U.S. television network said. A Fox spokeswoman in New York named the two journalists as correspondent Steve Centanni, an American, and cameraman Olaf Wiig, from New Zealand.
· Hezbollah still firing - on Lebanon. After a tenuous cease-fire ended 34 days of vicious combat between Israel and Hezbollah overnight, Hezbollah guerrillas fired at least 10 Katyusha rockets that landed in southern Lebanon early Tuesday, the Israeli army said, adding that nobody was injured. The army said that none of the rockets, which were fired over a two-hour period, had crossed the border and so it had not responded.
· Bush signs bill transferring Mount Soledad cross to federal control. President Bush on Monday signed into law a plan to transfer San Diego's Mount Soledad cross to federal control in an effort to avoid its court-ordered removal.
· Judge rules it's OK for cops to lie on search warrant applications. Baltimore police “do not deny that they made intentionally false and malicious statements in contravention of law in the affidavit in support of a search warrant,” attorney Clarke Ahlers wrote. “They claim absolute immunity for making these false and malicious statements because they were made in the course of judicial proceedings.” Ahlers added that Judge M. Brooke Murdock's ruling gives police carte blanche to make false statements on court documents and search anyone’s home based on lies.
· Teacher admits paying scantily clad teens for work. Suspended Lehigh High School teacher Keith Lord Snyder admitted he paid scantily clad teenage boys to do work around his home. "Can you tell me why you would do this?" Northampton County Judge F.P. Kimberly McFadden asked. "This was to me a joke," Snyder said. "I think the joke's gonna be on you," the judge added.
· Vets upset with soldier cartoon. A local poster protest continues with some military veterans taking issue with a cartoon in the window of a Milford liquor store. The cartoon depicts a soldier in camouflage and reads: "Out of Work? Undereducated? No Health Plan? Join the Army and see Iraq."
· Kate Hudson and Rocker-Husband Separate. Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson are splitting up after nearly six years of marriage, said her publicist, Brad Cafarelli. The couple married in 2000. They have a 2-year-old son, Ryder Russell Robinson. Hudson, 27, is the daughter of Goldie Hawn. Robinson, 39, is the lead singer of The Black Crowes.
· Santa Barbara OKs housing project for "poor folks" making $160,000 a year. The Santa Barbara City Council has created a class of affordable housing called the "Los Portales" project for people making up to $160,000 per year.
· Passport photo of girl, 5, banned 'in case it offends Muslims.' A five-year-old girl's passport application was rejected because it shows her bare shoulders and might offend Muslims. Hannah Edwards's mother Jane was told that her daughter's exposed skin may be considered offensive in a Muslim country. The photograph was taken in a booth at a local British post office for a family trip to the south of France.
· Hizbullah claims 'big victory.' Hizbullah distributed leaflets on Monday congratulating Lebanon on its "big victory" and thanking citizens for their patience during the 34-day war with Israel. Supporters of the terror group were seen passing out leaflets to cars heading south on the Zahrani highway, which connects the hard-hit southern cities of Nabatiyeh, Tyre and Sidon. "Congratulations to you on the big victory, with the support of God, the mujahedeen (holy warriors) and your patience," it read.
· Sri Lanka bombing kills 43 schoolgirls. Fighting in Sri Lanka's north and east, and a bombing in the capital, left at least 50 people dead Monday, including 43 schoolgirls killed in what the Tamil Tigers charged was a government air raid on a children's home in rebel territory. The government denied attacking a children's home, instead insisting it was a rebel base and blaming the insurgents for the bombing in Colombo.
· Another land grab in Africa. South Africa has told white farmers it may seize their properties under the land restitution program if they fail to agree on a selling price within six months. The program aims to hand back land or offer financial compensation to black people who were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes under apartheid. A similar takeover of land from white farmers in Zimbabwe proved to be an overwhelming economic failure.
· Face up to your problem, Muslims told. London's most influential former police chief takes on Britain's Muslims, blaming them for the terrorist networks in the country. "When will the Muslim community in this country accept an absolute, undeniable, total truth: that Islamic terrorism is their problem?" wrote John Stevens, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, in a Sunday newspaper. In an inflammatory opinion column, he called on Muslims to "stop the denial, endless fudging and constant wailing that somehow it is everyone else's problem and, if Islamic terrorism exists at all, they are somehow the main victims."
· Fatherhood a financial incentive for K-Fed? Does Kevin Federline have more reason than most to celebrate fatherhood? The former backup dancer is expecting his second child with wife Britney Spears (he has two others with a former girlfriend) but a source says K-Fed might have more reason than many to celebrate the pitter patter of little feet. “Before he got married, Kevin was sitting down with lawyers, discussing legal and financial issues,” says a source. “He was sitting sort of slumped over with a baseball cap over his eyes and a lawyer was talking about how he had to sign a pre-nup and Kevin looked sort of bummed out. But then the lawyer explained that for every child the two of you have together, you would receive X amount of dollars. His eyes really lit up,” according to MSNBC's Jeannette Walls.
· Ice Cream Man Shot To Death In Chicago. Someone shot and killed an ice cream man in Chicago Sunday night. Police said he was shot as he drove his ice cream truck through the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. As the vehicle came to a rest, music that's typically deployed to draw the attention of children and their parents continued to play over the truck's loudspeakers.
· Dr. Phil's son marries Playboy Playmate. Jay McGraw, the son of TV pop psychologist Dr. Phil, got married on Saturday in Beverly Hills to former Playboy Playmate Erica Dahm – and Oprah was a notable no-show.
· Men allegedly shoot ATV thieves, killing one. One man is dead and another in the hospital after police say a man caught them stealing his all-terrain vehicle. According to police, the two men from the home then shot the two theft suspects, killing one and sending the other to the hospital. “Quite a few rounds were shot,” Shilling said. Even though the two men from the home say they were defending their property, they could face charges because they chased the two suspects for seven miles before shooting them.
· Man protests at home of Muslim candidate. A protester staked out the home of a Muslim candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, holding a sign and wearing a T-shirt that mocked Islam. Timothy Truett sat in a folding chair Saturday on the cul-de-sac outside Saqib Ali's home in Gaithersburg with a sign reading "Islam sucks," and a shirt with the slogan, "This mind is an Allah-free zone." Truett called his protest "an experiment," explaining: "I had heard that Muslims were generally intolerant of views other than their own, and so I thought I would put it to the test."
· Leo Proves That The Rich Get Richer. Leo DiCaprio makes tens of millions of dollars for each movie he shoots. So what do you get the man who has everything when you have to buy him a present? You get him even richer. We've learned that Leo went to the pricey Williams-Sonoma store in Beverly Hills the other day to buy a few kitchen items. When it came time to checkout, Leo handed the guy at the register a gift certificate for more than $5,700.
· Boy George Reports for Trash Duty. Boy George reported for garbage duty on the streets of Manhattan early Monday, his court-ordered community service that was described by a judge as an "exercise in humiliation or in humility." The one-time Culture Club singer was ordered to spend five days working for the Department of Sanitation after pleading guilty in March to falsely reporting a burglary at his lower Manhattan apartment. The officers who responded found cocaine instead.
· Armstrong to Landis: Cool it with the media. Lance Armstrong believes Floyd Landis has said too much in public in his attempt to disprove the positive drug test that cost him the Tour de France title. "In this day and age, you're not going to get a fair shake in the media," said Armstrong, who rode his bike for charity Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
· Boy who died refused food. A 13-year-old cadet at a private military academy who died while camping at a state park refused food throughout the excursion, the father of two fellow cadets said Sunday.
· Fake Officer Arrested After Stopping Real Deputy. A man accused of impersonating an Osceola County sheriff's deputy and pulling drivers over had a Taser gun, flashing lights and a badge apparently purchased online and in magazines.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
· Religion-related fraud getting worse. Billions of dollars has been stolen in religion-related fraud in recent years, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association, a group of state officials who work to protect investors. Between 1984 and 1989, about $450 million was stolen in religion-related scams, the association says. In its latest count — from 1998 to 2001 — the toll had risen to $2 billion. Rip-offs have only become more common since.
· British Airways flight turns back after cell phone rings. British Airways flight was turned back after a mobile phone was heard ringing at the back of the plane. No one on board admitted owning the phone so flight BA179 with 217 passengers on board returned to Heathrow as a precautionary measure. A businessman who was among the passengers told BBC News 24: "When the plane took off a mobile phone started ringing. "One and a half hours later the captain made the decision, having spoken to his company, that we need to come back. He dumped fuel and we're now back at Heathrow."
· 'Talladega' leads box office pack again. The Will Ferrell comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" raced ahead of the competition to remain the box office champ for a second weekend with $23 million in ticket sales. Last week's news of another terror plot against airliners apparently did not dampen audience appetite for Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center." The Paramount Pictures release beat expectations by earning $19 million over the weekend to place it third at the weekend box office.
· If you're 'Gellin like Magellan,' you might miss your flight. Due to enhanced security measures most liquids, gels, lotions and other items of similar consistency will not be permitted in carry-on baggage. According to the new prohibited carry-on list provided by the TSA, even Dr. Scholls' gel shoe inserts are now prohibited.
· Bishop sorry for not turning in pervert priest. A Roman Catholic bishop apologized Saturday for waiting several days to notify authorities about sexual abuse allegations against a priest, a delay that may have allowed the priest to flee to Mexico. Church officials say The Rev. Xavier Ochoa admitted April 28 to sexually abusing a 12-year-old altar boy, but the allegations were not reported to Child Protective Services until May 1, and Ochoa disappeared the next day.
· Hooters billboard too hot for mayor. Mayor Frank Hibbard was on his way home from church one Sunday when he first saw the billboard for the Hooters restaurant chain. "Liquor in Clearwater, Poker in Vegas," read the billboard. "The first time I read it, it went over my head, and then I got it," said the mayor.
· Girl's 1st Turn At Wheel Is As Bus Crash Heroine. She had never driven before, but that didn't stop 14-year-old Mariela Hernandez from taking the wheel of an out-of-control school bus Friday morning and hitting the brakes. The Shields Middle School student leapt from her third-row seat after a milk truck crashed into the bus and knocked the driver unconscious.
· Man claims he contaminated everyone on flight, then released. Customs area at a Detroit airport was briefly shut down Saturday after a passenger claimed he had contaminated everyone on a flight with a biological agent, officials said. At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a man got of a Northwest Airlines flight and implied to the crew he had a biological agent of some sort and had contaminated the flight. Airport emergency medical technicians examined the man and decided that he did not pose a health risk. He was allowed to leave, U.S. Customs agent Ron Smith said.
· Man Picks Wrong Spot When Nature Calls. Sometimes when nature calls, there's no time to delay, but a Kentucky man sure picked the wrong spot for a pit stop. Michael Ray Hunter, 37, found out Wednesday night that the parking lot of the West Virginia State Police headquarters in South Charleston isn't the right spot. Trooper J.S. Crane just happened to be walking nearby as Hunter was relieving himself.
· Mom accused of helping son find robbery victim. A mother has been charged with helping her 13-year-old son search for someone to rob. The boy told police his mother, Janine C. Lewis, drove him around Stoughton, helping him look for someone to rob, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Dane County Circuit Court. She later acknowledged she helped her son commit the robbery, saying she told him it was something they could do together, according to the complaint.
· Fans Meet Costner on 'Field of Dreams.' The corn lining the outfield is tall again this year. The white farmhouse, wraparound porch and picket fence appear unaffected by time. The mythic baseball diamond and lush outfield look just like they did in the film made 17 years ago.
· PETA urges Patriots to go meatless. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the New England Patriots to sell meatless hot dogs and food products. Dan Shannon of PETA pointed out what he called "a severe lapse in judgment" in a letter to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the Boston Globe said Saturday.
· Hamptons eatery sells $25 hot dogs. The latest way to splurge in the Hamptons has nothing to do with a $2,500 dress or a $25 million mansion. It's a hot dog. A $25 hot dog. The Laundry, one of East Hampton's toniest eateries, has been offering a foot-long beef frank since the beginning of July. They're selling like, well, hot dogs. So far, the restaurant has served more than 1,000. Two weekends ago, they even sold out.
· Martha Stewart to Sell Her Luxury Farmhouse in Connecticut. Six years after Martha Stewart said she was leaving Westport, the domestic diva really is bidding farewell to this wealthy seaside town — if only someone will buy her house. Stewart has been trying for more than two months to sell her early 19th century federal-style farmhouse for $9 million. "There was certainly no real sense of loss," said Cristin Marandino, editor of Westport Magazine. "I think 70 percent of the people who live in Westport have a Martha story. She just wasn't very easy to live with."
Saturday, August 12, 2006
· Chicago says farewell to foie gras. These are dangerous times for ducks and geese in Chicago. With the city's ban on foie gras — a delicacy made of duck or goose liver — just days away from going into effect, upscale restaurants in the city are serving it up like never before. "They're going too far when they're telling you what to eat, what not to eat," said Mario Lara. "Will veal be next? Lobster? And what about that fur coat in the closet?"
· 'Sopranos' Bodyguard Cuts Deal in Queens. The actor who played Tony Soprano's bodyguard in the latest season of the hit HBO television series will dodge a criminal mischief charge if he stays out of trouble for the next six months, his attorney said. Louis Gross, 23, was arrested in April after a woman claimed that he broke into her home. His lawyer, Samuel Bernstein, said Gross was staying with a friend and got locked out before the "misunderstanding" occurred. After his arrest, Gross told reporters: "I don't know nothing. I'm innocent. I'm always innocent."
· Man wrongly jailed for 27 years: 'I Feel I've Been Robbed.' A man who did not receive any money after suing the city of Chicago and several police officers spoke out on Thursday after a jury refused to award Michael Evans any money in his $60 million lawsuit that he filed after being wrongfully convicted of the 1976 kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Lisa Cabassa. Evans spent 27 years in jail. Evans, who is now 47 years old, was exonerated in 2003 via DNA evidence. Evans and his co-defendant were both pardoned by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and each has received about $140,000 from the state for the 27 years they spent in prison.
· Hezbollah leader agrees to cease-fire, with reservations. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday that his militia will agree to a U.N. call for a cease-fire with Israel once a deal on timing is reached. But he said the Security Council resolution passed Friday is biased toward Israel, neglecting to blame it for what he described as "massacres" and "war crimes" during the month-long conflict.
· Court nixes man‘s middle name for ballot. A man running for Tennessee governor and the U.S. Senate does not have the right to use his middle name, "None of the Above," on the November ballot, a court ruled Friday.
· Pit Bull Owner Charged In Fatal Attack. The owner of two pit bull dogs that attacked an 81-year-old man who later died now faces charges. The Osceola County Sheriff's Office charged Peter Santiago with culpable negligence. Police said John Brannaman died last month from a heart attack as he recovered from being attacked by a pair of loose pit bulls while taking out his trash.
» Man charged with releasing pit bulls `to cause some excitement.' A 34-year-old man released three pit bulls into an Independence neighborhood where they attacked three men because he wanted to "cause some excitement," prosecutors said in filing criminal charges Friday. Bryan P. Smith, 34, of Independence, faces three counts of third-degree assault stemming from the May 4 attacks, the Jackson County prosecutor's Office said. All three victims, two of whom had been mowing grass, were attacked by all three dogs.
· Woman arrested after 69 speeding tickets. A woman accused of speeding landed in a Scottsdale, Arizona jail this week after police claim she was caught speeding on photo radar 69 times in five months. Francesca Cisneros, 32, admitted she speeds in her 2002 Honda Civic because she’s always late to meetings, police said. She told police she threw the tickets away because she thought nothing would happen to her.
· Judge: Unabomber Items to Be Sold Online. A federal judge has ordered personal items seized in 1996 from Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski's Montana cabin to be sold online. U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. ruled Thursday that items belonging to Kaczynski - including books, tools, clothing and two checkbooks - should be sold at a "reasonably advertised Internet auction." The auction will not include 100 items the government considers to be bomb-making materials.
· Ashcroft finds profitable niche as lobbyist. Former U.S. attorney general John D. Ashcroft, whose tenure saw the creation of a burgeoning homeland security industry, has emerged as the highest-ranking former Bush administration official to lobby for and invest in companies in that field. Nearly two years after he left the Justice Department for a glass-and-marble office tower six blocks away, Ashcroft is building a lucrative consulting company helping security and other firms find business with federal agencies. Federal spending on homeland security is expected to reach nearly $60 billion in fiscal 2007.
· Border police bust Mexican smuggler with 88 pounds of - cheese. Puzzled U.S. border police arrested a Mexican smuggler with 88 pounds of cheese hidden in a special compartment in his truck, police said Friday. Police arrested the 38-year-old driver, seized the cheese and confiscated the truck because he failed to declare his cargo. In 2003, border police in the area impounded nearly 800 pounds of bologna as it was being smuggled across the border from Mexico.
· Cheney Accused of Politicizing Terrorism. Senate Democratic leaders accused VP Dick Cheney of playing politics with terrorism and contended that voters won't buy Republican arguments that the GOP is stronger on national security. Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y. responded, saying Democrats were sounding a "defeatist, surrender message" and catering to the party's liberal base "that prefers a flag that is lily-white to a flag that is red, white, and blue."
· Britney's ranting 'I'm ugly' video. A bizarre video of Britney Spears belching and ranting at her husband has shocked fans worldwide. The pop star - who appears confused as she speaks to the camera - moans about being ugly and whinges at husband Kevin Federline while eating what appears to be takeaway chicken and chips. She also moans that she has "missed out on life."
· Security Council OKs Mideast Peace Deal. The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution seeking a "full cessation" of violence between Israel and Hezbollah, offering the region its best chance yet for peace after a month of fighting that has killed more than 800 people and inflamed Mideast tensions. The resolution, adopted unanimously, authorizes 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israeli forces that have occupied the area withdraw.
· Sheehan Treated at Waco Hospital. Anti-war demonstrator Cindy Sheehan was hospitalized Friday evening for dehydration and exhaustion after fasting for more than a month and protesting earlier this week in 100-degree weather, friends and relatives said.
· New robot balances on metal ball. Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a new type of mobile robot that balances on a ball instead of legs or wheels. "Ballbot" is a self-contained, battery-operated, omnidirectional robot that balances dynamically on a single urethane-coated metal sphere. It weighs 95 pounds and is the approximate height and width of a person.
Friday, August 11, 2006
· Bankruptcy of Krispy Kreme franchise leads to store closures. If you have a craving for a stop at a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in the southwest, you may have to drive a ways. "The Krispy Kreme's franchises in Arizona and New Mexico recently filed for bankruptcy," Krispy Kreme spokesman James Golden said.
· Swiss bank locks grandma in safe. An 85-year-old woman was found in the vault of a Swiss bank when she set off motion detectors hours after the bank was already closed, according to a statement released Wednesday. Employees at the Zürcher Kantonalbank apparently forgot about the woman.
· Lou Diamond Phillips arrested in LA. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips was arrested early Friday after authorities said he physically abused his live-in girlfriend. Phillips, best known for his roles in "La Bamba" and "Stand and Deliver," was being held on $50,000 dollars bail for investigation of felony domestic violence.
· Woman comes home to find house cleaned. When Debbie Phillips tried to report a crime, police just snickered. "I told him that someone came into my house and cleaned," the president of the Putnam County School Board said. "He just laughed." The problem wasn't that her home smelled a little fresher or looked a little tidier. The problem was that Phillips had no idea who the mystery cleaner was.
· Suspected London Plane Terrorists Have Al Qaeda Connection. Police arrested 40 people in cities throughout Italy in raids on Muslim gathering places in a security crackdown after Britain thwarted an alleged terror plot, the Interior Ministry said Friday, as Pakistani intelligence agents claimed there was an Al Qaeda connection with ties to Afghanistan to the group of suspected terrorists arrested Thursday. The arrests in Italy were made Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and other cities on Thursday and Friday "as part of an extraordinary operation that followed the British anti-terrorist operation," the ministry said in a statement.
· Researchers seek 'hard-core' repeat drunk drivers for study. A research team at Montreal's Douglas Hospital Research Centre is looking for 200 "hard-core" drunk drivers for a study on why they keep getting behind the wheel while impaired.
· Bush's 'Islamic fascist' remark upsets Muslim groups. President George Bush's remark blaming "Islamic fascists" for the plot in London to blow up US-bound flights has caused an uproar among American Muslim groups. In a letter to Bush, Parvez Ahmed, board chairman of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote, "The use of ill-defined hot button terms such as 'Islamic fascists,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire,' harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, particularly in the Islamic world."
Word of The Day by WordThink
Assiduous [as·sid·u·ous] adj. 1. Constant in application or attention; diligent: "An assiduous worker who strove for perfection." 2. Unceasing; persistent: "Assiduous cancer research."
· Mike Wallace gushes over Iranian president. CBS let Mike Wallace humanize Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an interview that clearly left the "60 Minutes" star awestruck. Veteran TV questioner Mike Wallace, now 88 years of age, could hardly contain himself talking about his hour-and-a-half meeting with Iran's Islamofascist leader, excerpts of which were telecast Thursday night with the full interview set to be shown Sunday. "He's an impressive fellow, this guy," Wallace said. "He's obviously smart as hell."
· Undercover UK Agent Infiltrated Suspected Terror Cell That Plotted to Blow Up 10 Jetliners. America may have been just days away from another Sept. 11, Department of Homeland Security officials said. That dire assessment came hours after British police swooped in and arrested 24 people in London Thursday, busting up an alleged terrorist plot to blow 10 packed U.S.-bound jetliners out of the sky over the Atlantic.
» ‘World Trade Center’ ads may be scaled back. Following the news early Thursday of a terrorist plot to blow up in-flight passenger airplanes, executives at Paramount Pictures considered scaling back advertising for the new Oliver Stone film, “World Trade Center,” which opened nationwide Wednesday.
» Bank Of England Releases List Of 19 Terror Suspects. The Bank of England froze the assets of 19 people early Friday, naming them as people arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged terror plot to bomb British passenger jets. The oldest person on the list, Shamin Mohammed Uddin, is 35. The youngest, Abdul Muneem Patel, is 17.
· Spousal nagging may make you live longer. People who have never married run a significantly higher risk of dying early, even though they are more likely to exercise and less likely to be overweight in later life. A study of census and death certification data for more than 67,000 American adults has revealed that those who stayed single were more likely to die first, while a surviving marriage was strongly associated with a longer life. Men who had never married were found to be more vulnerable than unmarried women, while younger unmarried men — between the ages of 19 and 44 — were more than twice as likely to die as their married male peers of the same age.
· TSA: Failures OK. The Transportation Security Administration recently announced it is changing the way it grades airport screeners on performance tests. While the TSA will still give annual tests to screeners, it will not fire screeners for failing.
· Judge bans jumping fan. A baseball fan who jumped from the upper deck at Yankee Stadium onto the netting behind home plate has been banned for life from the ballpark and could be sent to jail, a judge said Wednesday.
· Police sergeant accused of rape indicted. A police sergeant accused of raping four women since 2002 was charged in a grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday with 35 counts, including multiple attacks on three of the victims. Sgt. Jeff Pelo, 41, had already pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the four women.
· Electra Files for Divorce From Navarro. MTV reality marriages are looking more and more like "Divorce Court." The latest celebrity schism moved further toward official kaputness Thursday when Carmen Electra filed for divorce from rocker Dave Navarro, according to Superior Court documents. The former "Baywatch" babe - real name Tara Patrick - cited "irreconcilable differences."
· Courage under fire of teenage medic who saved life of sergeant. A teenage medic is in line to become the first female soldier to be decorated for bravery in Iraq after saving her commander's life during a fierce gun battle. Pte Michelle "Chuck" Norris, who is just 5ft tall, braved heavy sniper fire for three minutes when she climbed on top of a Warrior armoured vehicle to pull her sergeant to safety after he was wounded in the head.
· Japan's Richest Man, Worth U.S. $5.4 Billion, Dies at 76. Japan's richest man, Yasuo Takei, who rose to fame as founder of consumer credit company Takefuji Corp. but retired in shame after a wiretapping scandal, has died, a company spokesman said.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
· Fla. Police Chief Charged With Forging Check. Fort Pierce's longtime police chief was indicted on felony charges of forging his ex-wife's signature on a $5,800 real estate check and taking the money. Eugene Savage, 57, was was indicted on charges of grand theft and bank check forgery.
· Officials Probe Lieberman Web Site Crash. Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign Web site remained offline Thursday, and federal and state authorities were investigating why it crashed on the eve of his defeat. The Lieberman campaign denied speculation among liberal Web pundits that the Web site had simply crashed because it didn't pay enough to handle the volume. The campaign manager says it spends about $100 to $150 a month on Web hosting services, and the site has more than enough bandwidth - 200 gigabytes a month - to handle a crush of visitors.
· Lowe's holds up expansion plans in Chicago. Lowe's has put its plans for two home-improvement centers in Chicago on hold in the wake of the city's new "big-box" minimum-wage ordinance, following similar steps taken by Wal-Mart and Target, a developer and alderman said. Officials of Wal-Mart Stores have said that as many as 20 new outlets in Chicago that had been in the planning stages were on hold because of the ordinance. Target Corp. has taken a similar stance last week on a list of planned stores in the city.
· N.J. has highest property taxes in U.S. Despite efforts by governors and lawmakers to do something about it, New Jersey has the highest property taxes in America — a burden that is alarming young couples and retirees alike and deepening public cynicism in a state with a long and rich history of graft and self-dealing.
· Unser brothers arrested for ignoring deputies. Racing veterans Al Unser Sr. and Bobby Unser were arrested Wednesday after sheriff's deputies said the brothers ignored orders to leave an area where authorities had cornered a carjacking suspect. The Bernalillo County sheriff's department said the suspect led police on a high-speed chase while shooting at them Wednesday morning. The man eventually crashed into a car on the city's west side and later shot himself. During the standoff, authorities had cordoned off a road named after the Unser family. Deputies said Al Unser Sr. started to go through the roadblock to get to his property when he was told to stop. Bobby Unser, who arrived later in a separate vehicle, also refused to leave.
· Terrorists planned to stage dry run within two days. The terrorist attack foiled by British authorities on Thursday was aimed at blowing up as many as 10 airplanes on trans-Atlantic flights, and plotters hoped to stage a dry run within two days, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The actual attack would have followed within days.
· Michigan men held on terror charges. Two men were charged Wednesday with money laundering in support of terrorism after authorities said they found airplane passenger lists and information on airport security checkpoints in their car. Deputies stopped Osama Sabhi Abulhassan, 20, and Ali Houssaiky, 20, both of Dearborn, Michigan, on a traffic violation Tuesday. They found the flight documents along with $11,000 cash and 12 phones in the car. Abulhassan and Houssaiky also admitted buying about 600 cell phones in recent months.
· Three Alleged Ringleaders ID'd - Explosives planned in sports drink. Three of the alleged ringleaders of the foiled airplane bomb plot have been identified by Western intelligence agencies involved in unraveling the plot. Sources identify the three, who are now in custody, as: Rashid Rauf, Mohammed al-Ghandra, and Ahmed al Khan. The suspected terror plotters arrested in Britain had planned to conceal their liquid or gel explosives inside a modified sports beverage drink container and trigger the device with the flash from a disposable camera.
· Bomb plot causes worldwide airline chaos. Air travel to and from Britain has been plunged into chaos in the wake of the discovery of a plot to blow up airlines on transatlantic flights. Many airlines said they were cancelling all flights to Britain and to the epicentre of the threat, London Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports.
· Plot had "footprint to Al Qaeda." A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said authorities believe dozens of people — possibly as many as 50 — were involved in the plot, which "had a footprint to Al Qaeda back to it." Another U.S. source in Washington said the plot had a "serious Al Qaeda connection." The terrorists were targeting United, American, and Continental airlines, two U.S. officials said.
· UK foils "mass murder on an unimaginable scale." British police say they have arrested 21 people in connection with a terrorist plot to blow up aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States. Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said the plot was "intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale," and the UK's threat warning level was raised to "critical" - meaning "an attack is expected imminently."
· US raises air security alert to "RED" or "Severe" for first time. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was taking an unprecedented step by raising the threat level for commercial flights originating in the United Kingdom to "severe," or red. The threat level for all other commercial aircraft operating in or destined for the United States would be raised to "high," or orange, from "elevated," or yellow, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement. The threat level for the country as a whole remained at yellow, according to the department's Web site.
· Terrorists planned to blow up planes headed for U.S. A plot to blow up planes in flight from the UK to the US and commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" has been disrupted, Scotland Yard has said. It is thought the plan was to detonate explosive devices smuggled in hand luggage on to as many as 10 aircraft. According to MI5's website, critical threat level - the highest - means "an attack is expected imminently and indicates an extremely high level of threat to the UK."
· “Liquid chemical” explosive device planned for multiple planes. British police thwarted on Thursday what they said was a plot to blow up aircraft in mid-flight between Britain and the United States and arrested more than 15 people. Both countries stepped up security, causing severe delays at airports following the revelation of the plot, which a police source said was believed to involve a “liquid chemical” device.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Precarious [pre·car·i·ous] adj. 1. Dangerously lacking in security or stability: "The precarious life of an undercover cop." 2. Subject to chance or unknown conditions: "His kingdom was still precarious." 3. Based on uncertain, unwarranted, or unproved premises: "A precarious solution to a difficult problem."
· Slain preacher's wife to get out on bond. A Tennessee woman accused of fatally shooting her preacher husband is expected to be released from custody on Thursday, a defense attorney told CNN. Mary Winkler had been expected to be released from jail in McNairy County, Tennessee, Wednesday after her attorneys posted bail.
· 3 Egyptian Students Taken Into Custody. Three Egyptian students who were being sought for failing to turn up for an exchange program at Montana State University were taken into custody Wednesday, more than a week after they arrived in the United States. One student was arrested in Minnesota, and two others surrendered to authorities in New Jersey. They were among 11 students being sought by law enforcement after they failed to attend a monthlong program on the English language and U.S. history and culture in Bozeman, Mont., the FBI said. Eight students remain at large. They arrived in New York on July 29 as part of a group of 17 students. Six students reported to Bozeman on time.
· Smells Like Dead Fish. Camille has beauty and brains. She's a former model and a Phi Beta Kappa with a master's in education. There's a part of her, though, that's not so perfect. She smells like spoiled fish.
· Gore isn't quite as green as he's led the world to believe. Al Gore has spoken: The world must embrace a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." To do otherwise, he says, will result in a cataclysmic catastrophe. "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb," warns the website for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin." But public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.
· Robot shopping carts follow you around. It looks almost like any other shopping cart, except sensors allow it to follow the shopper around the supermarket and slow down when needed so items can be placed in it, and it never crashes into anyone's heels.
· Former O.J. Lawyer Settles in Scam Case. High-profile celebrity attorney Robert L. Shapiro has settled a lawsuit accusing him of siphoning money from a $90 million death futures scam that one of his clients ran. Shapiro, whose clients have included O.J. Simpson and Christian Brando, reached the settlement Tuesday with attorney Barry A. Fisher, who was assigned to recoup the investors' losses from the scam.
· Bank Robber Using Public Buses To Elude Police. Authorities in Central Florida are searching for a man who has robbed five banks in the last 14 days, using public transportation to flee the crime scenes.
· Photographer Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Death of Taylor Behl. A judge has convicted amateur photographer Benjamin Fawley, 39, of second-degree murder in the death of a 17-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University student.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
· Illegals may unionize in U.S. After losing millions of its Service Employees Int'l and United Food Worker union workers, the AFL-CIO is now focusing on illegal aliens to ultimately bolster its membership. The union agreed on Wednesday to work with a network of immigrant day laborers to improve wages and working conditions for those who solicit work from street corners across America. Under the plan, the AFL-CIO will pursue minimum wage campaigns, safety at construction sites, and work on reforms that provide amnesty for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.
· Five Fat Girls Sought. Early this morning, Scott Gibson, 44, was returning from the grocery store with a gallon of milk when, as he told cops, he was surrounded by "5 fat black girls" in the parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken. As described by officers Patrick Sutherland and Kristi Eycke in the below Toledo Police Department incident report, one of the "hefty felons" asked Gibson to surrender his milk. Believing that he was being pranked, Gibson just laughed at the request. He realized it was no joke when the "rotund robbers" began "pelting him with a flurry of chubby fists."
· PSA: Never use a sledgehammer to open a grenade. A Brazilian man died Tuesday when he tried to open what police believe was a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer in a mechanical workshop on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
· Hillary Clinton on display at NY's Museum of Sex. A "Presidential Bust" of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton was unveiled on Wednesday at New York's Museum of Sex, where sculptor Daniel Edwards hopes it will spark discussion about sex, politics and celebrity. Edwards, the artist who also created a life-size nude of Britney Spears giving birth on a bear-skin rug, said he wanted to capture Clinton's age and femininity in the sculpture.
· Teacher sentenced to three years for molesting student. A teacher in Central Florida pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting a 15-year-old girl in a school classroom. Gareth Godfrey, who was a teacher at Lawton Chiles Elementary, was accused of kissing, fondling and exposing himself to the teen.
· Calif. Man Arrested After Migrants Allegedly Sewn In Seats. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a U.S. man Tuesday morning after they say he tried to smuggle three migrants into the country hidden in the seats of his vehicle. Officers discovered three illegals sewn into three seats of the conversion van, including the driver’s seat. CBP officers said they carefully extracted two men and a woman from inside the seats.
· Mexican Man Charged In Rollover That Killed 12. Authorities filed charges Tuesday against a man believed to be behind the wheel during a rollover crash that killed nine illegal immigrants and injured a dozen more.
· "Bully" video game to be released in October. Rockstar, the maker of best-selling video game series "Grant Theft Auto" said on Wednesday it would launch in October "Bully", a game with themes of school fighting that has anti-violence critics up in arms. The game's main character is 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, who must defend himself against school bullies at a fictional U.S. boarding school. Weapons included baseball bats that break after several blows, stink bombs and bags of marbles that when strategically thrown will lay flat most pursuers.
· Robin Williams Checks Self Into Rehab Again. Acclaimed actor-comedian Robin Williams has checked himself into rehab to battle alcoholism. "After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family."
· Another "we already knew that" study. According to a new Harvard study, Americans have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades.
· Update: Judge disciplined after ordering 'Go Seahawks' cheer. A state panel has disciplined a judge who ordered cheers in court for the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks before issuing a manslaughter sentence.
· Was the BP pipeline problem preventable? When British Petroleum (BP) shut down a vital oil pipeline, the company blamed "unexpectedly severe corrosion" in transit pipes. Yet only five months ago, BP's aging pipeline created the largest-ever oil spill on Alaska’s North Slope. Federal regulators blamed the spill on "internal corrosion" and said in some areas the walls of the pipes were so corroded they were almost paper-thin.
· "The View" producers knew what they were doing. Looks like the folks at "The View" knew what they were doing: The recently-fired Star Jones is the most unfavorably-viewed TV personality in America, based on a Gallup poll released yesterday. Unfortunately, newly hired "View"-er Rosie O'Donnell didn't fare much better, nearly matching Star's negative rating.
· Leno grills Landis; he offers new theory. Jay Leno didn't let Floyd Landis off easy, and the embattled Tour de France champion responded with yet another theory as to why he flunked a drug test. Questioned by the "Tonight Show" host Tuesday, Landis said he may have unknowingly ingested something that made him test positive for a high testosterone ratio.
· AP Beirut photo faces questions. A woman has made two appearances in photographs used by the Associated Press and Reuters, allegedly wailing over the destruction of her Beirut home. US bloggers have however noticed that photographs were taken two weeks apart from each other, according to time stamps on the images, and that the photographs were taken in different locations. "Either this woman is the unluckiest multiple home owner in Beirut, or something isn't quite right."
· Former NBA Star Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 8-Year-Old. Former NBA All-Star Eddie Johnson was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl, according to authorities. Police said Johnson walked into the girl's apartment uninvited. The girl told detectives Johnson ordered her into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted her.
· Sen. Lieberman is set on independent bid. Voters in Connecticut rejected three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman for a political newcomer in the nation's first major test of the depth of anger over the Iraq war. But Lieberman, undaunted, vowed to run as an independent against fellow Democrat Ned Lamont. "For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand," he said of Tuesday's Democratic primary results.
· Analysis of another AOL "screw up." Buried in a list of 20 million Web search queries collected by AOL and recently released on the Internet is user No. 4417749. The number was assigned by the company to protect the searcher’s anonymity, but it was not much of a shield. No. 4417749 conducted hundreds of searches over a three-month period on topics ranging from “numb fingers” to “60 single men” to “dog that urinates on everything.”
· Georgia Rep. McKinney Loses Re-Election Bid. Cynthia McKinney, the fiery Georgia congresswoman known for her conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks and the scuffle she had earlier this year with a U.S. Capitol police officer, lost a runoff election Tuesday for her district's Democratic nomination.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
· Val Kilmer goes from Batman to fat man. He is perhaps best known for playing comic book superhero Batman on screen - while off-screen he has dated the likes of Cindy Crawford. But where a six pack once rippled on Val Kilmer's chest, now stands what looks more like a beer keg belly.
· New Orleans phone books lighter this year. The latest New Orleans area telephone books are arriving on doorsteps with a lighter thud this year, with fewer residential and business listings reflecting the area's reduced post-Katrina population. There are 100,000 fewer people listed in the New Orleans area residential listings, which this year are combined with the business listings.
· Lohan Wants to Visit U.S. Troops in Iraq. Lindsay Lohan says she wants to go to Iraq with Sen. Hillary Clinton and entertain American troops there. "I've been trying to go to Iraq with Hillary Clinton for so long. Hillary was trying to work it out, but it seemed too dangerous," the 20-year-old actress says in an Elle magazine interview. Lohan says she hoped to emulate Marilyn Monroe.
· Sex while driving punishable in Norway. A Norwegian man had his license revoked after police finally stopped his swerving car and learned he was having sex while driving. The driver admitted he and his female companion were "unable to contain their lust."
· Lieberman Campaign Says Web Site Hacked. Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was locked in a battle with an anti-war challenger in the nation's most closely watched primary race Tuesday, accused his opponent's supporters of hacking his campaign Web site and e-mail system. Ned Lamont, the millionaire owner of a cable television company, held a slight lead of 51 percent to 45 percent over Lieberman among likely Democratic voters.
· Defense lawyer to judge: "cheers." After a lawyer due to defend a man against a kidnapping charge showed up to court late and smelling of booze last week, a Clark County District Court judge ordered the attorney to take a Breathalyzer test in open court, then declared a mistrial when the test confirmed her suspicions.
· When is Anti-Semitism a Big Story? Two anti-Semitic incidents occurred on July 28. Both took place on the West Coast; both involved an American venting his hostility to Jews. But only one of them became a big national story about anti-Semitism. The other was treated as a serious, local matter and drew only modest media coverage. Incident A involved nothing more dangerous than a guy spewing crude anti-Semitic slurs when he was arrested for drunk driving; once sober, he publicly and profusely apologized. Incident B involved a Muslim gunman's premeditated assault on a prominent Jewish institution; his attack left one woman dead and sent five to the hospital, three of them in critical condition. Which would you say was the bigger story?
· Wife locked out of McCartney home. Heather Mills McCartney laughed off being locked out of estranged husband Paul McCartney's London home, her spokesman said on Tuesday, but her divorce battle with the former Beatle appears to be turning sour. On Monday, police were called to McCartney's London residence when Mills' security guard climbed over the wall of his premises wall to let her in. The locks on the gates had been changed.
· Sleeping Husband Killed With Hot Oil. The FBI has joined the search for a Gulf Coast woman charged with murder for allegedly dumping a pot of heated cooking oil on her sleeping husband last month. Investigators said 45-year-old Edna May Sanders fled the couple's home with their two children on July 28 after allegedly dumping a pot of hot grease on her husband, leaving him with third-degree burns on more than half of his body. Sherman Sanders spent a week in the burn center at the University of South Alabama. After his death this past Friday, county investigators intensified the search for his wife.
· Hatin’ on Hillary: N.H. Dems lambaste Clinton. Dick Bennett has been polling New Hampshire voters for 30 years. And he’s never seen anything like it. “Lying b**** ... shrew ... Machiavellian ... evil, power-mad witch ... the ultimate self-serving politician.” No prizes for guessing which presidential front-runner drew these remarks in focus groups. But these weren’t Republicans talking about Hillary Clinton. They weren’t even independents. These were ordinary, grass-roots Democrats. People who identified themselves as “likely” voters in the pivotal state’s Democratic primary. And, behind closed doors, this is what nearly half of them are saying.
· Cops Quickly Find Stolen Doughnut Truck. A stolen truck full of doughnuts? Moments after the theft of the Viera's Bakery van was reported early Friday in Kennewick, Washington, police issued an all-points bulletin. Sheriff's deputies quickly spotted the truck. After a brief chase reaching speeds of between 30 and 35 mph, they had their
· Anchorage pervert priest case settled for $1.4 million. A former Anchorage, Alaska, Catholic priest who now runs a guest ranch in Cuba, N.M., will pay part of a $1.4 million settlement in a sex abuse case. Five men had claimed Frank Murphy sexually abused them as minors more than two decades ago. Murphy has admitted publicly to inappropriate acts with young men in Anchorage and has expressed regret.
· Ferrell's NASCAR Movie Called Anti-Christian, Racist. The Movieguide.org publisher said Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is "a racist, bigoted work that ridicules the Bible Belt, Southern white men, Christianity, Jesus Christ, the family, and American masculinity." Christian film reviewer Ted Baehr said the lead character's mocking prayer to baby Jesus shows anti-Christian bigotry and wonders why Hollywood isn't treating Will Ferrell like it's treated Mel Gibson.
· Ex-radio host Torain defends comments. Troi Torain, former radio host of New York's "Star & Buc Wild Morning Show," is unapologetic for comments he made about a rival radio personality's family. Torain has been under public scrutiny and dodged child endangerment charges after he said on-air he wanted to defile radio rival Rashawn Casey's 4-year-old daughter and made ethnic slurs about the host's half-Asian wife.
· Law Rubs Massage Therapist The Wrong Way. LaRae Lundeen Fjellman could lose her Minnesota state license as a massage therapist for having sexual relations with her husband. Her husband, Kirk Fjellman, is a former client. He saw her professionally from October 2000 to May 2002, and the two say they started dating in July 2002. But when they consumated the relationship a few months later, they ran afoul of a Minnesota law that bans massage therapists from having sexual relations with former clients for two years.
· Dixie Chicks Cancel 14 Shows on Tour. Several concerts on the Dixie Chicks'"Accidents & Accusations" tour have been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has replaced them with other dates. Group spokeswoman Kathy Allmand said Monday that the total number of North American dates remains the same, with several Canadian cities added in place of the U.S. shows.
· Wisconsin Cheese Factory Workers Claim Winning $208.6 Million Powerball Ticket. Dozens of cheese company workers returned to their jobs after they reported being among about 100 workers who won a Powerball jackpot worth $208.6 million. They estimate each person will receive between $500,000 and $700,000, after taxes, if they choose to take a lump sum.
· Illinois prison program a model for state. In just two years, the recidivism rate among parolees from the Sheridan Correctional Center has been slashed by half. Illinois is succeeding, many experts say, because it is attacking the roots of addiction, spending far more per inmate and ensuring that when men like David Perry leave prison, they are enveloped in an extensive web of support. He and the others are taught skills that no one ever thought to provide them before: how to read a restaurant menu, order a meal and tip the server, how to ride a bus, how to take a cab, how to dress for a job interview and what to say.
· Pellicano scandal triggers two civil suits. A pair of potentially major new civil suits have been filed in the wake of revelations involving Anthony Pellicano, the disgraced private investigator accused of wiretapping and obtaining the confidential records of movie stars, journalists and business executives. Film producer Aaron Russo ("Wise Guys," "Trading Places") is suing the city of Beverly Hills and former Beverly Hills detective Craig Stevens, accusing the defendants of illegally sharing private police files with Pellicano. And Monika Zsibrita, a professional model once involved in a flap with actor-comedian Chris Rock, is among the plaintiffs filing suit against the city of Los Angeles and former police officer Mark Arneson, alleging similar behavior.
Monday, August 7, 2006
· L.A. Mayor Apologizes to Muslim Leaders. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has apologized to Muslim leaders who accused him of taking Israel's side in the violence in Lebanon by going to a pro-Israel rally and ignoring their invitations to interfaith peace vigils.
· Target follows Wal-Mart's lead in pulling out of Chicago. A Chicago City Council bill that forces big-box retailers to pay at least $10 per hour to workers has prompted Target to cancel expansion plans. Target says it is pulling out of a 32-acre shopping mall in Chicago, which follows Wal-Mart's decision to stay on the outskirts of the city. Alderwoman Carrie Austin, of Chicago's 34th district - the site of the proposed Target store - was angry. "My colleagues are saying, 'Don't worry. They'll come.' Well, mine just left," Austin told the Sun-Times. "I'm depressed. I need sales tax revenue and jobs. How do I pull my community out of the slump that it's in?
· 9 illegal immigrants die in Arizona crash. Nine illegal immigrants were killed in a highway crash Monday while trying to elude Border Patrol agents, and at least 12 others were injured, officials said. The large sport utility vehicle carrying 22 people swerved to avoid a spike strip put out by Border Patrol agents, Sheriff's Maj. Leon Wilmot said.
· Bill Gates, Oprah interviews were faked by reporter. A Norwegian journalist has admitted he fabricated interviews with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and talk show host Oprah Winfrey, media reports said Monday. In the bogus interview entitled "Big Bill," Gates was quoted as saying in the article that he never carries more than a "dime" in his pocket and that he makes $1 bets with his wife.
· You know anybody who needs an "anti-stupid" pill? A German scientist has been testing an "anti-stupidity" pill with encouraging results on mice and fruit flies. It said Hans-Hilger Ropers, director at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, has tested a pill thwarting hyperactivity in certain brain nerve cells, which has dubbed it the "world's first anti-stupidity pill."
· Colorado voters to decide whether to legalize pot. Although Denver voters had legalized pot for personal use, people were still being arrested and prosecuted under state law. Now many residents want that to stop.
· Martha Stewart settles with SEC. Martha Stewart agreed to limit her role at her lifestyle media empire Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. for five years under a settlement resolving civil insider trading charges, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said. She will also pay $195,000 and be banned for five years from serving as a director of a public company.
· Reuters admits to more image manipulation. Reuters has withdrawn a second photograph and admitted that the image was doctored, following the emergence of new suspicions against images provided by the news organization.
· AOL draws fire after releasing search data. AOL on Monday said it released about 20 million keyword searches for about 658,000 anonymous AOL users in a move that ignited a firestorm of criticism. "This was a screw up, and we're angry and upset about it," Andrew Weinstein, an AOL spokesman said.
· Author of Clay Aiken Book Sues Singer. The author of an "unauthorized tribute" to Clay Aiken is suing the "American Idol" singer, claiming he defamed her and conspired to stifle sales of her book. The lawsuit seeks at least $260,000 in damages and asks the court to order Aiken to retract the critical comments or endorse the book on his official Web site, to write a positive introduction for the book and to sell the book at his concerts for at least five years.
· N.J. teen hits, kills mom during driving lesson. A 15-year-old girl accidentally struck and killed her mother while being taught how to parallel park, police said. Tina Rowe, 39, died Saturday after being pinned under a 1997 Chevy Cavalier driven by her daughter.
· Reuters drops Lebanese photographer over doctored image. Reuters, the global news and information agency, told a freelance Lebanese photographer on Sunday it would not use any more of his pictures after he doctored an image of the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on Beirut.
· Astronaut Glenn, wife leave hospital. Former senator and astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie, were discharged Sunday from a hospital where they had been recovering from what he called a "very serious" car accident. "I do not recommend you go test your air bags the way we did the other night," Glenn said.
· BP shuts down major Alaskan oil field. Oil giant BP has indefinitely shut down the nation's biggest oilfield after finding a pipeline leak, removing about 8 percent of U.S. oil production and stoking fears that already high gas prices will shoot up further.
· Brothers die same night in separate accidents. Two brothers died Saturday night in separate motorcycle accidents within two hours and 100 yards apart. State police said Steven Kerr left the road and struck a speed limit sign just before 9 p.m. He died as a result of the crash. Then, shortly before 11 p.m., Jeremy Kerr died in a two-vehicle accident a short distance from where his brother was killed, authorities said.
· New Registration Rules Stir Voter Debate in Ohio. Under the law, passed by the Republican-led state legislature in January 2006, paid voter registration workers must personally submit the voter registration cards to the state, rather than allow the organizations overseeing the drives to vet and submit them in bulk. By requiring paid canvassers to sign and put their addresses on the voter registration cards they collect, and by making them criminally liable for any irregularities on the cards, the rules have made it more difficult to use such workers, who most often work in lower-income and Democratic-leaning neighborhoods, where volunteers are scarce.
· Welfare changes a burden to states. A decade after the government set out to transform the nation's welfare system, a controversial second phase of welfare reform is beginning to ripple across the country. The new rules require states to focus intensely on making more poor people work, while discouraging other activities that might help untangle their lives. By Oct. 1, state and local welfare offices must figure out how to steer hundreds of thousands of low-income adults into jobs.
· You order grouper; what do you get? "You can probably go into any restaurant in most any state and not get what you ordered, particularly for grouper and red snapper," Bob Jones, who represents domestic fish suppliers said. In May, a federal grand jury indicted a Panama City seafood wholesaler on charges of importing 1-million pounds of frozen Asian catfish for as little as $1.52 a pound, then passing it off as grouper, which can wholesale for four times as much.
· American Airlines to sue pesky caller. American Airlines has filed a lawsuit in New York against Wilfredo Torres, claiming the man incessantly called the company's chief executive officer. The suit, filed last week in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges that Torres called repeatedly to complain to American Airlines chief Gerard Arpey - once placing up to 200 calls in a half-hour period.
· Prisoners back in jail within hours. An amnesty that freed more than 5,000 inmates from Italian jails backfired when dozens of the former prisoners reoffended and were back behind bars within hours.
· Hot plane violated no rules, FAA says. The FAA investigation said the jet sat on the ramp at O'Hare for three to four hours with no air conditioning - "getting heat-soaked." When the United captain arrived to fly to Denver, he found it was nearly 130 degrees in the cabin, the report found.
· Madonna 'crucified' despite storm. Madonna has staged a mock-crucifixion in the Italian capital, ignoring a storm of protest and accusations of blasphemy from the Roman Catholic Church. In a sold-out stadium just a mile from Vatican City, the lapsed-Catholic diva wore a fake crown of thorns as she was raised on a glittery cross during the Rome stop of her worldwide "Confessions Tour". The Vatican had accused her of blasphemy and provocation for even considering staging the sham crucifixion on its doorstep, and Madonna further enflamed prior to the show by inviting Pope Benedict to come and watch.
· Hollywood Trio Endorses Governor. Some of Hollywood's most reliable and generous donors to the Democratic Party — Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and media mogul Haim Saban — are endorsing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid for reelection.
· 4-Time Iditarod Champ Susan Butcher Dies. Four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher, who in 1986 became the race's second female winner and brought increased national attention to its grueling competition, has died. She was 51. Butcher died Saturday in a Seattle hospital of a reoccurrence of leukemia after a recent stem-cell transplant, her doctor said.
· One Phoenix suspect denies wrongdoing. One of two men arrested in a string of serial shootings in the Phoenix area has denied any wrongdoing. “I am not a monster,” said Dale S. Hausner in a jailhouse interview Sunday.
· Another Powerball win on 'Miracle Mile'. The single winning ticket for the $208.6 million (€163.1 million) prize in the multistate Powerball lottery was sold to someone in Fond du Lac, a city with a history of big jackpot winners, the Wisconsin Lottery said.
Sunday, August 6, 2006
· Elian Gonzalez wishes 'grandpa Fidel' well. Elian Gonzalez sent a note Sunday wishing a speedy recovery to "my dear grandpa Fidel," and Cuba's vice president said the world's longest-serving leader is recuperating well after surgery.
· Studio blows 'overpaid' Cruise off the screen. Tom Cruise has joined the ranks of the unemployed. The Hollywood studio that bankrolls his films is not backing any more Cruise movies until he agrees to a significant paycut. The 44-year-old actor is eager to get back to work to put behind him disappointments such as Mission Impossible: III, but last week his 13-year deal with the Paramount studio was allowed to lapse.
· Reuters admits altering Beirut photo. Reuters photograph of smoke rising from buildings in Beirut has been withdrawn after coming under attack by American web logs. The blogs accused Reuters of distorting the photograph to include more smoke and damage. The photograph showed two very heavy plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings in Beirut after an Air Force attack on the Lebanese capital. Reuters has since withdrawn the photograph from its website, along a message admitting that the image was distorted.
· Tenn. gov. pushes for 'Wal-Mart degrees.' Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen wants the state to do a better job at preparing students for careers at Wal-Mart. Bredesen pitched his proposal on how to address a management shortage at big-box retail stores on a recent trip to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
· New book claims big differences between male and female brains. A few neurological differences between women and men according to Louann Brizendine's "The Female Brain": Thoughts about sex enter women's brains once every couple of days; for men, thoughts about sex occur every minute. Women use 20,000 words per day; men use 7,000 per day. Women excel at knowing what people are feeling; men have difficulty spotting an emotion unless someone cries or threatens bodily harm.
· Smart Moms Admit: Kids Are Boring. The latest skirmish in the Mommy Wars is taking place in Britain, where American ex-pat journalist and mother of two Helen Kirwan-Taylor has confessed her dirty secret — she's bored by her kids.
· Lawyers Say Jury Made Quick Decision Because They Couldn't Smoke. Attorneys for a man who has been sentenced to death said some members of the jury rushed to judgment because they needed a nicotine fix. Tuesday the Ohio Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in the appeal of Phillip Elmore, convicted three years ago in the strangling of his ex-girlfriend in Newark.
· Founder of In-N-Out Burger dies at 86. Esther L. Snyder, who with her husband founded the iconic West Coast restaurant chain In-N-Out Burger, died Friday. Esther and Harry Snyder opened the first In-N-Out drive-through stand in Baldwin Park in 1948. In-N-Out now has 202 restaurants in California, Arizona and Nevada.
· Even dead people can't escape AOL. For the past nine months, Maxine Gauthier has been fighting one of the most persistent and some say irritating institutions in cyberspace: AOL, formerly known as America Online. The problem? An AOL account once held by Gauthier's late father still showed billing charges accumulating against it. The account had been dormant for months; the credit card he used for it was inactive at least as long. Gauthier even offered to send a copy of her father's obituary as proof he truly was dead. AOL was unmoved. "An AOL service guy told me to stop complaining and learn to use a computer," she said. "Then he hung up."
· Microsoft Piracy Check Draws Complaints. Microsoft introduced the piracy check in mid-2005 as a condition for downloading security fixes and other software, such as anti-spyware technology, from its Web site. Now the anti-piracy check is also being sent to customers whose computers receive security updates automatically.
· Dixie Chicks take to the stage to the tune “Hail to the Chief.” With the Dixie Chicks feeling the heat since their anti-President Bush remarks, sweltering three-digit temps seemed appropriate for Tuesday’s show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. And how’s this for adding fuel to the fire: the Chicks took the stage to the tune “Hail to the Chief.”
· 'Talladega' Races to Top of Box Office. Will Ferrell's NASCAR spoof "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" enjoyed life in the fast lane with a No. 1 finish in the weekend box office race, taking in $47 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
· Only for racing fans. F1 driver Michael Schumacher is drinking coffee and reading a newspaper while a FIAT, and later a Ferrari Modena drive away. After finishing his newspaper, Schumacher finally gets in his car and joins the race. Guess who wins [video].
· Rabies shots urged for nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts. Officials are recommending that nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts who may have been exposed to rabies at a Northern Virginia camp consider getting protective vaccinations.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Obtuse [ob·tuse] adj. 1. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect. 2. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity: "An obtuse remark." 3. Not distinctly felt: "An obtuse pain."
· Two Teens Accused in Theft of Computer Containing Data of Veterans. Two teenagers were arrested Saturday in the theft of a laptop and hard drive containing sensitive data on up to 26.5 million veterans and military personnel, authorities said. Jesus Alex Pineda, 19, and Christian Brian Montano, 19, both of Rockville, Md., were arrested early Saturday, Montgomery County police said.
· D.C. cop, coach charged in sex case. A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been charged with sexual abuse after he allegedly made videotapes of himself having sex with a 15-year-old girl who said she was working as a prostitute for a Maryland high school football coach.
· John Glenn Hospitalized After Car Crash. Former senator and astronaut John Glenn and his wife were taken to a hospital with minor injures after being involved in a car accident. Glenn, 85, and his wife, Annie, 86, were in fair condition early Saturday at Grant Medical Center, a nursing supervisor said.
· Carter: Bush Israel's 'worst ally' in D.C. Former President Carter said President Bush has pursued an "erroneous policy" that has fostered violence in the Middle East. Carter said the United States should work for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah and the world community should concentrate on a long-term solution, but he is uncertain whether Bush can accomplish a cease-fire.
· Suicide Bomber Dies in Pakistan When Belt Explodes Prematurely. A suicide bomber was killed early Sunday in southwestern Pakistan when the explosives belt he was wearing exploded prematurely, police said. "This man was riding a cycle. He had strapped explosives to his body for a suicide attack and they exploded," police said of the blast in Hub's Zehri Street neighborhood.
· Kiss Fans Protest Rock Hall of Fame Snub. About 200 Kiss fans protested Saturday in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to demand that the band be inducted into the hall. Fans, some from as far away as California, carried signs and had painted their faces in black-and-white to resemble Kiss band members. Those participating in the half-hour demonstration were upset that the band, formed more than 30 years ago, has not been admitted, even though it has been eligible since the late 1990s.
· Jack Nicholson to demolish his friend Brando's house. It was dark, cramped and run-down, but for nearly half a century it was Marlon Brando’s home. Now his neighbour Jack Nicholson, who bought the house after Brando died two years ago, is planning to demolish it and plant frangipani flowers over the plot.
· Governors object to Bush's Guard plan. The nation's governors are closing ranks in opposition to a proposal in Congress that would let the president take control of the National Guard in emergencies without consent of governors. The idea, spurred by the destruction and chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina's landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, is part of a House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
· Paris Hilton to Magazine: I'm Celibate. Paris Hilton says she is sick of boyfriends and is celibate. The 25-year-old who gained international fame when a former boyfriend posted a videotape of the couple having sex on the Internet denied leading a promiscuous lifestyle in an interview with the British edition of GQ magazine. "I'm not having sex for a year. ... I'll kiss, but nothing else," says Hilton, who told the magazine she has had sex with only two men during her lifetime.
Saturday, August 5, 2006
· Woman Seeking 'Cute Cop' Gets Probation. A woman who called 911 in hopes of getting another look at "the cutest cop I've seen in God knows how long" won't go to jail for misusing the emergency system, a judge decided. Instead, Lorna Dudash was sentenced to serve two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and pay $693 in fines and fees. "People who are, oh, say, older than 7 know not to use 911 except when where is an emergency," Judge Marco Hernandez told the woman.
· John Madden finally gets on a plane. After 26 years of seeing his name come up for consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only to watch it tossed away in rejection, John Madden had grown a little frustrated. But he never gave up hope. When that patience was finally rewarded, he made certain his closest family and friends wouldn't miss his induction today. "I don't know how many there are actually. I know I got a planeload of 'em,'' Madden bragged Friday. The last time the former Oakland Raiders coach and legendary broadcaster stepped foot on an airplane - "I think it was 1979,'' the famous non-flyer confessed.
· Texas School District Bans Cleavage. With a new school year about to begin, some female students in one Texas school district may have to rethink their wardrobes. The new dress code reads, in part, “The display of cleavage is unacceptable. Low cut blouses, tops, sweaters, etc. with plunging necklines are not allowed."
· California teacher may have molested dozens. A substitute elementary school teacher was charged Friday with lewd and lascivious acts involving a 10-year-old girl, and police said he claimed to have molested more than 100 students. Eric Norman Olsen, 28, of Ontario, told detectives that he molested between 100 and 200 elementary school students since becoming a teacher three years ago.
· Newman plans 9th 'Hole-in-Wall' camp. Paul Newman's idea in the 1980s to start a camp in Connecticut for critically ill children has grown into an international phenomenon with a ninth "Hole in the Wall" camp opening soon. The camps will host thousands of children, for free, well after the 81-year-old actor speaks his last line before a camera.
· Lawyers say many left out of tax refund. Millions of small businesses and low-income taxpayers will be shortchanged or excluded altogether from a Bush administration tax refund program, lawyers who have filed a class-action lawsuit in the controversy said Friday. The criticism comes amid a Treasury Department plan in which the public stopped paying a 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance phone calls. Many senior citizens and other phone customers will get no refund because their income is so low that they don't have to file tax returns.
· ConEd offers a whopping $3 credit to suffering Queens residents. Disgusted Queens residents - who endured up to 10 days without power last month - responded with rage yesterday to Con Ed's offer of a measly $3 for their suffering. Small business owners will receive a whopping $6.
· Driver Charged With Killing Alleged Robber. An alleged teenage robber is dead after being shot and killed on a downtown Philadelphia street. A 70-year-old man, victim of a chain necklace snatching, is being charged with the teen's murder.
· Proof positive: Landis' No. 2 urine sample confirms doping. Tour de France champion Floyd Landis' backup urine sample confirmed high levels of testosterone, cycling's governing body said Saturday, raising the prospect that he could lose his title.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Systemic [sys·tem·ic] adj. A systemic problem or change is a basic one, experienced by the whole of an organization or a country and not just particular parts of it: "The recession was the result of a systemic change within the structure of the country's economy."
· Proposals Abound for Mel Gibson "Healing." A Yom Kippur appearance at a synagogue. A trip to Washington's Holocaust museum. A circumcision? Ever since Mel Gibson said he wanted the Jewish community to help him make amends for his anti-Semitic comments, suggestions have been pouring in, some in jest and some quite serious.
· Mel Gibson Has Israeli Bodyguard. Mel Gibson may have a problem with Jews — they’re responsible for all the wars, they’ve inflated the number of dead in the Holocaust, etc. But Gibson likes one Jewish person a lot. His personal bodyguard for more than a decade turns out to be an Israeli.
· State Senate leader labels foes of illegal immigration 'crackers.' The state Senate leader ridiculed some San Diego-area opponents of illegal immigration yesterday by describing them as “crackers,” often used as a disparaging term for poor, white people in the South.
· Iran: We supplied long-range Zelzal-2 missiles to Hizbullah. Iran admitted for the first time on Friday that it did indeed supply long-range Zelzal-2 missiles to Hizbullah. Secretary-general of the "Intifada conference" Mohtashami Pur told an Iranian newspaper that Iran transferred the missiles so that they could be used to defend Lebanon.
· Iowa Supreme Court upholds HIV-spreading conviction. A man convicted of having unprotected sex with four people while knowing he carried the virus that causes AIDS was denied appeals Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court.
· Police Find Map Marking Phoenix Slayings. One of the two suspects in a series of apparently random late-night killings discarded a trash bag in which police found a map with red and blue dots representing the locations of the attacks, court documents said. The men, accused of shooting two dozen people, including six fatally, were arrested late Thursday after police tailed them for a week.
· Killer broke rules with M&M art. A convicted killer who sold postcard-size paintings he created with dye from M&Ms and brushes fashioned from his hair broke prison rules by running an unauthorized business out of his cell, officials said.
· Pistons' Davis Gets Tasered, Arrested. Detroit Pistons center Dale Davis was shocked with a stun gun and charged with assault and disorderly conduct in an altercation with Miami Beach police. According to the police report, officers were called to a hotel by security workers on Tuesday after Davis was repeatedly asked to leave and refused to do so. After giving the officers his identification, Davis and the officers went outside, where they say he accused them of targeting him because he is black.
Friday, August 4, 2006
· Woman gets stuck on toilet, suffers burns. A woman who became stuck to a toilet seat in a shopping mall restroom was treated at a local hospital after paramedics used fingernail polish remover to free her, officials said. The 53-year-old Council Bluffs woman suffered burns to her skin in the incident.
· Lieberman rival blasts Wal-Mart, but owns their stock. Connecticut millionaire businessman Ned Lamont, who sharply criticized the employment practices of Wal-Mart this week in his campaign to unseat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democrat primary, owns $31,000 worth of stock in the company, Senate records reveal.
· Your cell phone is filthier than your toilet seat. Believe it or not, Maxwell Smart's shoe phone could have been cleaner than your cell phone. When people in New York City were asked which they thought was dirtier — the sole of your shoe, a toilet seat or a cell phone — the answer was overwhelmingly the toilet seat. But they were wrong — your cell phone is filthier.
· Mystery Man Who Saved Woman Is Identified. A man who acted as a Good Samaritan, using CPR to save the life of a woman who had collapsed in a Redondo Beach convenience store last month, came forward. The Carson cabinet maker had stopped in at the store for a snack and found Mary Miller on the floor, with no paramedics on the scene.
· Big Break In Phoenix Shootings. Authorities arrested two men Friday in their investigation of a series of shootings that have terrorized people throughout the Phoenix area, according to police. The so-called "Serial Shooter" has held Phoenix in a grip of fear for months, with six people killed and 18 wounded.
· Gamblers cash in on Caesars casino error. The Caesars Indiana casino lost nearly half a million dollars over two-days last month on one slot machine that had been incorrectly set to give players credit for 10 times the amount of money they put into it. Caesars and Indiana Gaming Commission officials say the machine — named Extra Money — paid out $487,000 over the July 21 weekend before an honest gambler from Louisville brought the problem to their attention.
· Holloway suspect's father awarded damages. A court in Aruba has awarded damages to the father of a suspect in the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway. Paul van der Sloot of the Netherlands was detained for four days last year. A court agreed with his claim for false arrest, and ruled that he should receive $27,900.
· Polygamist gets 45 days for sex with teen bride. An Arizona judge has sentenced a polygamist to 45 days in county jail for having sex with a teenager he took as his third wife. The sentence disappointed authorities in Kingman, Arizona, who had hoped a harsher punishment for defendant Kelly Fischer would discourage others in the church from taking teenage wives.
· Catholics, Muslims and Jews Blast Madonna's Plans for Stage Crucifixion in Rome. Madonna's plans to stage a mock crucifixion during a Sunday concert in Rome have drawn fire from religious leaders, who have condemned the stunt as "an act of open hostility" toward the Roman Catholic Church.
· Couric's news program to feature editorial. "CBS Evening News" will include a regular commentary segment called "Free Speech" after Katie Couric debuts as anchor on Sept. 5, the network said Thursday. Anyone from an average viewer to current anchor Bob Schieffer will participate in the segment, which CBS is keeping open-ended in terms of topics that will be covered.
· Champ Car driver airlifted to hospital after collision with deer. Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta needed surgery to remove a ruptured blood vessel in his head after his race car collided with a deer that wandered onto the track during a test session at Road America on Thursday.
· N.Y. Police Arrest Malcolm X's Grandson. Malcolm X's grandson was arrested Thursday after punching a doughnut shop window, sending shattered glass onto two patrons, police said. Malcolm Shabazz, 21, was picked up in Mount Vernon, Yonkers police said. He was charged with reckless endangerment, assault and criminal mischief. The two patrons, a 19-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, suffered cuts and were taken to a hospital, police said. Shabazz was released from prison this year after serving time for a 2002 attempted robbery conviction. He also was blamed for the death of his grandmother and X's widow, Betty Shabazz, in 1997 after he set fire to her apartment.
· Playboy Goes to Next-Best Paris. you can't get to Paris, where do you turn? Playboy, for one, is opting for Natalie Reid, a Canadian Paris Hilton look-alike who's set to bare all this month in the guise of her famous counterpart.
· Prosecutors Face Pre-Election Dilemma. With election season kicking into high gear, federal prosecutors investigating a handful of lawmakers may face a tough call on whether to secure indictments that could throw their congressional races into disarray. While several lawmakers face continued scrutiny, two have publicly confirmed they are targets of criminal investigations: Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney, who has been mentioned in guilty pleas by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff; and Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who is being investigated for taking bribes.
· Senate nixes minimum-wage hike. Republican election-year effort to fuse a cut in inheritance taxes on multimilllion-dollar estates with the first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade was rejected by the Senate late Thursday. Republicans needed 60 votes to advance their bill, which links a $2.10 increase in the $5.15 federal minimum wage over three years to reductions on estate taxes next decade. Passed by the House last Saturday, the bill got a 56-42 vote, four votes short of succeeding.
· Rob Schneider buys some media attention. Rob Schneider's adamant: Mel Gibson has been rubbed out of Deuce Bigalow's black book. "I, Rob Schneider, a 1/2 Jew, pledge from this day forward to never work with Mel Gibson, actor-director-producer and anti-Semite," vowed an open letter baring the comic actor's signature. The declaration was published as a full-page ad in Variety on Thursday, an otherwise quiet day on the Gibson nuclear-meltdown watch.
· Gibson Tirade Tapes May Not Be Released. The movie that could be the most important of Mel Gibson's career is one the actor likely will fight to never have released. The video and audio recording of Gibson's drunken driving arrest could add fuel to the controversy over his anti-Semitic tirade at a deputy who pulled him over and his self-described belligerent behavior when he was brought to a sheriff's station early on July 28. Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said the tapes would not be made public unless they were introduced as evidence at a trial.
· Teacher in court on 229 sex charges. A female teacher on 229 charges of sexually assaulting a female pupil over two years has appeared briefly in court. The 25-year-old woman was arrested in March by police and charged with 92 counts of unlawful and indecent dealing with a child under 16, while in her care.
· Miami seen as highest disaster risk city. A group that measures natural disaster risk for U.S. cities ranks Miami with the greatest risk while Mesa, Ariz., and Milwaukee tied for the lowest. SustainLane.com, based in San Francisco, annually measures disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, and how they can affect the largest 50 U.S. cities.
· Cell phones banned in banks. Cell phones have been banned inside the five branches of the First National Bank in the Chicago area, to enhance security. Even using a cell phone in the bank's lobby may result in the person being asked to leave the premises. "We ban cell phone use in the lobby because you don't know what people are doing," Ralph Oster, a senior vice president, told the Chicago Tribune. Cell phone cameras are also a worry.
Thursday, August 3, 2006
· Thai restaurant owner found not guilty. A Jury has found restaurant owner Lawrence Storer not guilty. Storer was on trial for manslaughter in the 2003 death of 24-year-old Shantavious Wilson. Storer was rennovating his restaurant one night, when Wilson robbed him at gunpoint. Storer then ran down Wilson in his Ford Explorer SUV, killing him.
· Jenna Jameson’s husband accused of assault. The husband of Babe’s Cabaret owner and adult-film mogul Jenna Jameson is being investigated by Scottsdale police after a stripper accused him of assaulting her by pulling her hair during a table dance. "I’ve heard of customers pulling on things in these clubs, but never somebody’s hair,” attorney Dick Hertzberg said.
· Door at Baltimore Hebrew University firebombed. Baltimore police are investigating a firebombing at Baltimore Hebrew University after an employee reported a loud noise and then a fire at the base of a side door of a building.
· Court: DeLay must remain on the ballot. A federal appeals court panel on Thursday refused to let Texas Republicans replace Tom DeLay's name on the November congressional ballot. Democrats sued to keep DeLay on the ballot. Keeping him on the ballot gives them the opportunity to make the indicted former House majority leader their symbol for claims that the Republicans are corrupt.
· Paris Hilton: 'Who's Tony Blair?' Celebrity rich girl Paris Hilton has demonstrated her grasp of world affairs by asking: "Who's Tony Blair?" The hotel heiress said she would not recognise the British Prime Minister. Asked by GQ magazine if she fancied Tony Blair, a confused Hilton replied: "Who?"
· Double Amputee Marine Mugged Outside Restaurant. An Iraq war veteran who lost an arm and leg in a roadside bombing was mugged during a night out from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, according to an Associated Press report. Lance Cpl. Mark Beyers, 27, and his wife were attacked and robbed as they left a restaurant in Bethesda, Md.
· Bill Murray Makes `Caddyshack' Motorcycle. Try to imagine the motorcycle that Bill Murray's classic "Caddyshack" character Carl Spackler would ride. The result includes a pitchfork over the rear tire, grass clippers where wheel spinners might be and a painting of a gopher that's square in a rifle's sights.
· Orlando Bank Teller Refuses Suspected Robber's Demands. Police in Orlando, Fla., are searching for a Hispanic man who allegedly attempted to rob a bank Thursday but left without money when the teller did not comply with his demands, and kept the note. He then walked out of the bank.
· Microsoft to hackers: Take your best shot. After suffering embarrassing security exploits over the past several years, Microsoft Corp. is trying a new tactic: inviting some of the world's best-known computer experts to try to poke holes in Vista, the next generation of its Windows operating system.
· Got money to burn? Buy a Hummer golf cart. It’s a toy you can brag on that other people are envious of,” Sam Goodrich, a 59-year-old retired Delta Air Lines pilot, said of his $21,000 customized golf cart, which looks like a mini-Hummer.
· AOL: "You've got unemployment." AOL said Thursday it expects to drop as many as 5,000 employees, or a quarter of its global work force, within six months as the company restructures its business to draw more online advertising dollars.
· Report says judge drove son to break-in. Manatee County Judge George K. Brown Jr. drove his son to a house that authorities say the son then broke into, according to sheriff's reports released Wednesday. Brown's son, Paul R. Brown, 33, was arrested this week on 11 charges that include burglary and theft tied to a string of home break-ins.
· The federal deficit: Somewhere between $318 billion and $3.5 trillion. The federal government keeps two sets of books. The set the government promotes to the public has a healthier bottom line: a $318 billion deficit in 2005. The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement, which shows a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion. If Social Security and Medicare were included, the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion.
· Senate votes to fund the fence. The Senate did an abrupt about-face yesterday, voting overwhelmingly to begin paying for 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, just three weeks after voting against the same spending. The amendment, which provides nearly $2 billion for the project, passed 94-3, with 66 senators switching from "no" to "yes" votes since last month.
· Another pervert priest faces 61 counts of sexual abuse. Charles Sylvestre, 83, a retired Roman Catholic priest, faces 61 charges involving 47 alleged victims. The counts include indecent assault, sexual assault and sexual intercourse with a female under 14 years of age. All of the alleged incidents occurred during a 31-year period, beginning in 1954.
· New minimum wage bill would slash the salaries of thousands of workers. Tip money earned by waitresses in Las Vegas, manicurists in Hollywood and bartenders in Seattle is on the table in the nation's capital as lawmakers scrap over an election-year minimum wage bill. "Everything that has been achieved in seven states to support low-wage workers who earn tips is destroyed by this bill," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This bill would slash the salaries of thousands of workers."
· Air America going to be harder to hear in New York. The liberal Air America radio network is going to be harder to hear in New York after it moves up the dial to a weaker AM station, WWRL (1600 AM). Al Franken and the ratings-challenged liberal network are leaving WLIB (1190 AM) apparently because they couldn't come up with enough cash.
· Rare snowfall across South Africa. Snow fell on South Africa's biggest city Johannesburg for the first time in 25 years as icy temperatures gripped vast swathes of the country, the weather office said.
· Rock star wife Kim McLagan killed in Texas crash. Former British model Kim McLagan, who endured a violent marriage to late Who drummer Keith Moon and then enjoyed a more stable union with ex-Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, was killed in a car crash near Austin, Texas on Wednesday.
· Ohio Man Claims Right To Have Sex With Boys. A suburban Cleveland man accused of sexually assaulting nine disabled boys told a judge Wednesday that his apartment was a religious sanctuary where smoking marijuana and having sex with children are sacred rituals protected by civil rights laws. The admitted pedophile offered a surprising defense Wednesday to 74 charges of rape, drugs and pandering obscenity to minors.
· Freddy Fender Has Incurable Cancer. Musician Freddy Fender has incurable cancer, discovered after tumors were found on his lungs, and his wife said they are "hoping for a miracle." "I feel very comfortable in my life," Fender said. "I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run. I really believe I'm OK. In my mind and in my heart, I feel OK. I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."
· Protesters choking Mexican commerce. President Vicente Fox urged Mexico City authorities Wednesday to remove sprawling camps of leftist protesters who want a complete recount of last month's presidential election, saying they are choking off commerce and tourism in the capital. Losses for area hotels, restaurants and stores are costing businesses $23 million a day. "There is less tourism, less work, and there are some places we can't even get to," complained taxi driver Ramon Sandoval. "These people should find a way to protest without affecting the rights of others," he said.
· Wine lake spawns 'Arrogant Frog.' What do Arrogant Frog and Elephant on a Tightrope have in common? Faced with a slump in consumption and increasing competition from abroad, the French are suffering the indignity of having to pick funny names for their wine to sell it abroad.
· Feds Bust Illegal Immigrant Prostitution Ring in Austin. Brothels in the Austin area and Oklahoma City that used immigrant women and catered mostly to undocumented workers were part of a multistate prostitution ring federal agents have partially broken up, court documents say.
· Good Samaritan drowns off Asbury Park beach. A 40-year-old Queens man drowned while trying to save a boy struggling in a New Jersey shore rip tide, authorities said. The 13-year-old eventually was able to swim to shore by himself, but Christopher Lyons was swept under by the tide Monday night. His body was found along an embankment.
· Update: One day suspension for jockey. Jockey Paul O'Neill, who head-butted a horse during a meeting at Stratford, has been given a one-day ban by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority. The jockey got to his feet and grabbed the reins, pulling his horse to him, before nodding the front of his helmet onto the horse's head.
· Man Accused of Tapping Power for 14 Years. A former Ansonia man has been charged with stealing more than $36,000 worth of electricity over a period of 14 years. Michael Dellarocco, 49, who now lives in East Haven, was charged Tuesday with first-degree larceny. Tracing the power line from the utility pole, authorities found a breaker panel on the side of the house, where Dellarocco had allegedly tapped in ahead of the electric meter, Al Carbone, the UI spokesman said. The electricity from the breaker panel supplied power for heat and air conditioning in the house, as well as a detached garage with many power tools, according to police.
· Dog Destroys Elvis' Teddy Bear at Museum. A guard dog has ripped apart a collection of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley, during a rampage at a children's museum. "He just went berserk," said Daniel Medley, general manager of the Wookey Hole Caves near Wells, England, where hundreds of bears were chewed up Tuesday night by the 6-year-old Doberman pinscher named Barney.
· Real-Life Werewolves. For Danny Ramos Gomez, 23, genetics is the reason people call him "the wolf man." Danny has a condition called hypertrichosis, which causes his body to produce an abnormal amount of hair everywhere. Danny's 26-year-old brother, Larry, also has hypertrichosis. The brothers are known for their daredevil feats in a Mexican circus.
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
· AOL finally giving away what most people have been getting free for a decade. AOL just gave its customers more reasons to stop paying. In a strategy shift likely to accelerate the decline in its core Internet access business, AOL said Wednesday it would give away e-mail accounts and software previously available only to customers who paid as much as $26 a month.
· On Capitol Hill, the French Is Put Back in the Fries. It happened without fanfare or publicity — but french fries have once again become french fries on Capitol Hill. The fried potatoes were renamed "freedom fries" in the House dining rooms three years ago after France scolded the U.S. for its planned invasion of Iraq.
· Arizona county to spend $525,000 on "small-flow" toilets. Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday said it will pay $525,000 for a pilot program to replace 1,000 toilets in an entire neighborhood, in a move aimed at saving water.
· Judge dismisses lawsuit over Christian rock band's ban. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against a suburban school district filed by a Christian rock band banned from playing at a school assembly. U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary said Tuesday that the school was within its rights to cancel the performance because the district could have been perceived as endorsing a particular religion. Members of the band, Pawn, said in the lawsuit that they were discriminated against and that their free speech rights were violated. Rossford High School officials in December 2004 canceled the band's performance at an anti-drug assembly.
· Mom Who Cut Part Of Son's Tongue Avoids Prison. A Georgia mother accused of cutting off part of her son's tongue with hot scissors avoided a five-year prison sentence and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
· In Philly, they don't lock up the murderers, they lock up the witnesses. Korvel Odd was in the Twilight Zone. For two months, Odd languished in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, trying to figure out why he was there, and desperately trying to convince somebody - anybody - to set him free. Odd, 42, was jailed at the request of Philadelphia assistant district attorney Tom Malone - not as punishment for a crime, but to ensure his testimony as a witness in a murder case. Yet, even after the murder charges were dismissed, no one bothered to release Odd from prison.
· Again, lawyers to drop Michael Jackson case. For the second time in a year, a law firm representing Michael Jackson has parted company with the pop star, saying it hasn't been paid and can't get Jackson on the phone. For his part, Jackson claims he fired the firm. In any event, a federal judge in Manhattan on Monday gave attorneys at Wachtel & Masyr permission to withdraw from a case in which a financial company claims the singer owes it $48 million.
· Costner to return to Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner has been pretty much a ghost in Dyersville since starring in "Field of Dreams" in 1989. The star will appear Aug. 11 at the baseball field in Dyersville as part of a "Rolling Roadshow" tour, in which 10 classic movies are being shown at the sites of their filming.
· City limits Web access of police. When Detective Eric Hill got a tip a Web site might be advertising local prostitution, he sat down at his police department computer and began his research. But the sexually explicit information on the popular Web site Craigslist prompted the city's security settings to block the site - a scenario that plays out frequently in the Venice Police Department.
· Update: Woman Strapped Device To Body In Hold-Up Hoax. A woman in Daytona Beach, Fla., who said a knife-wielding man ambushed her and strapped an explosive device to her body was taken into custody Wednesday after investigators determined she made up the story, according to Local 6 News. Investigators said Marie Gonzalez told them she was approached by a man with a knife Wednesday morning outside of Steve's Pharmacy located at 636 Mason Ave. in Daytona Beach. She said the man put the knife to her throat and demanded drugs.
· Women like tech toys more than shoes. Is a plasma TV a girl's new best friend? An Oxygen Network survey released Tuesday found that more than three out of four women said they'd choose the TV over a diamond solitaire necklace. Women preferred a top-of-the-line cellphone to designer shoes by a similar margin. And a little white iPod narrowly trumped a little black dress.
· Florida looking for richer tourists. Florida hotels, restaurants and attractions want tourists to spend twice the money by 2015 that they do now, according to a consultant hired to help set the course for future spending for tourism promotions and amenities. Tourism operators also want to lure visitors who make more money - $85,000 per year on average, compared with tourists' current average household income of $61,000.
· Christie, without a wedding ring, back in the Hamptons. Looking rested and radiant, supermodel Christie Brinkley was back in the Hamptons minus her wedding ring yesterday - and came face to face with cheating husband Peter Cook. "I'd rather not comment," the iconic Cosmo Girl said with a laugh after her hasty meeting with Cook and his elderly parents. "I just don't want to fuel this anymore."
· Senators outraged that their private elevator is packed with public interlopers. In addition to lofty issues of war and peace, the Senate is grappling with another urgent matter: the senators-only elevators at the Capitol are being overrun by the unelected interlopers. At times, senators even find themselves on public elevators, an ordeal fraught with the possibility of having to push their own buttons (the senators-only elevators have attendants).
Word of The Day by WordThink
Ambivalence [am·biv·a·lence] n. 1. Uncertainty or indecisiveness as to which course to follow. 2. The coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings, such as love and hate, toward a person, object, or idea.
· Man looking at his gun accidentally shoots himself in the head. A 73-year-old man was looking at his .25 caliber handgun Tuesday night when it went off, shooting him in the forehead, Pasco County Sheriff's Deputies said.
· Cher sheds the Gothic in auction to 'rewrite her environment.' Most people would call it a clear out. But for Cher, it is "rewriting her personal environment" as she yesterday revealed plans for a two-day auction of her paintings, furniture, jewellery and costumes. Sotheby's and Julien's Auctions will jointly offer property from the actor's collection at a sale in October at the Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. She hopes to raise $1 million.
· Immigrants sue U.S. for citizenship. Ten Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants sued the government Tuesday for allegedly letting their U.S. citizenship applications linger indefinitely by delaying background checks. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Muslims and immigrants from the Middle East and Asia have often complained of unexplained delays in the processing of immigration applications.
· Pilot who flew Tommy Lee to concert charged. A pilot faced reckless flying and other charges for landing a helicopter on a public street to pick up rocker Tommy Lee and take him to a concert, prosecutors said. David Keith Martz, 49, landed the helicopter July 7 outside a home in the Hollywood Hills to give the former Motley Crue drummer a 50-mile flight to a Nine Inch Nails concert in Irvine.
· Congresswoman Sues 'Atlanta Journal-Constitution' for Libel. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney filed charges against the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's editor Cynthia Tucker and publisher John Mellott for an editorial column that ran in the Sunday July 30 paper about McKinney’s alleged altercation with police.
» Update: 'Atlanta Journal-Constitution' Not Sued by Congresswoman - yet. A Democratic congresswoman from Georgia is not suing The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for libel, contrary to a report in E&P yesterday. McKinney's lawyer, J.M. Raffauf, sent a letter to the newspaper on July 31 saying that the July 30 column by AJC Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker contained material that Raffauf says was "untrue, defamatory and libelous." Raffauf and McKinney have also demanded a retraction, as well as an editorial in which the attorney says the paper should "repudiate its libelous statements."
· 75 percent of obese people say they eat healthy. More than three-quarters of obese Americans say they have healthy eating habits, according to a survey of more than 11,000 people. About 40 percent of obese people also said they do “vigorous” exercise at least three times a week. Roughly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or heavier, and nearly one-third qualify as obese.
· Toyota overtakes Ford in monthly US vehicle sales. Toyota has accelerated past another road marker on its way to becoming the second largest automaker in the US vehicle market, as its July sales overtook rival Ford's for the first time.
· DJ Star filing defame claim. Foul-mouthed DJ Star isn't satisfied that he got off with a slap on the wrist for spewing sick threats against a rival's 4-year-old daughter. The hip-hop shock jock keeps whining that he's the real victim.
· Football Player, 15, Dies From Heat. A 15-year-old Atlanta high school football player died Tuesday from heat stroke after collapsing one day earlier following an offseason workout. The heat index hovered between 100 and 105 degrees.
· Rodman says Electra never got over him. Why did Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro split? Her ex-husband thinks he knows. Dennis Rodman, who was married to Electra for all of 10 days, says that it’s because she never got over him. “Carmen called me six months ago,” the former Chicago Bulls star told Star magazine. “She told me I was the love of her life and she wished we’d stuck together.”
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
· Foster child beaten for eating mom's candy bar. A foster mother who allegedly beat a 6-year-old boy in her care for eating her chocolate bar has been charged with felony injury to a child. Five children were removed from the home of Joyce D. Hibshman and her husband, Ted, on Friday and placed in the state's care.
A few photos of the 'Gibson girls' just prior to his arrest.
· Mel's Moonshadows Madness. An allegedly inebriated Mel Gibson left Malibu's Moonshadows restaurant in the wee hours of Friday morning. Gibson, who had not valeted, then crossed the street to his car, pulled out, made a u-turn and proceeded to step on the gas, driving past Moonshadows at a fast speed.
· Investigation: U.S. borders perilously porous. Along the northern and southern borders, undercover federal investigators tried to enter the United States using fake driver’s licenses and fake birth certificates. The results? Staggering. At all nine border crossings tested, investigators got in easily. Not a single border agent detected the phony IDs. In fact, at two crossings, agents didn't even check any IDs at all. "Well, this is totally unacceptable,” says Thomas Kean, former chairman of the 9/11 commission.
· Lindsay To Be Questioned in Mom's Fraud Lawsuit. Lindsay's mom Dina Lohan is being sued for fraud after signing her daughter to a record deal with producers Antonio Almeida and Mitchell Chait. Almeida and Chait claim that in 2002 and 2003 they helped Lindsay cut half of the tracks of her album "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen." The suit alleges tens of thousands of dollars were given to Lohan, but the star jumped ship and recorded the album with music mogul Tommy Mottola instead, leaving them high and dry.
· Dad Helps Solve Series Of Car Break-Ins. A curious father who investigators said wanted to do the right thing helped solve a series of car break-ins on Merritt Island by turning in his own teenage son to police.
· Company that built Hitler's bunker working on home for Holocaust survivors. The construction company that built Hitler's bunker in Berlin is now working on a retirement home serving mainly Holocaust survivors. The former head of Prague's once-thriving Jewish community said Wednesday the choice of the firm was unfortunate.
· TV lawyer describes finding wife killed in bloodbath. Attorney Daniel Horowitz, who has spent his life defending accused criminals, took the witness stand Tuesday and testified against a teenage neighbor charged with the brutal murder of Horowitz's wife of 11 years.
· Alice Cooper to build Christian teen center. For all the envelope-pushing Alice Cooper has done as a shock rocker, he also knows the value of boundaries, especially for children. “We’re not going to beat them over the head with a Bible,” Cooper said. “But we’re certainly going to be available to tell them that that’s available to them.”
· Powerful hug. Police said a gun fired after a church service Sunday when the owner hugged his granddaughter. Danny Newton was carrying his handgun in a holster at Trinity Baptist Church Sunday when the gun went off. When his 7-year-old granddaughter gave him a hug, she touched the butt of the gun, causing the gun to go off.
· Restaurant owner charged with first-degree assault against burglar. A Denver businessman who said he shot a burglar in self-defense inside his restaurant won a victory when a judge threw out attempted murder charges. Unfortunately, he must still stand trial for first-degree assault. The burglar, who was shot in the abdomen and hospitablized, had been arrested more than 50 times in four states and used seven different names and three different Social Security numbers. The restaurant owner's attorney said that if the burglar approached any Denver police officer the way he did his client, the police would have shot him five times in the chest.
· Faulty Toilet Seat Reason For Borders Lawsuit. A woman claims an unsecured toilet seat in a Borders Bookstore caused her to fall and become “permanently disfigured.” According to the suit, Linda Mason touched the toilet seat on June 20, 2003, in the Gurnee Mills Shopping Mall store while attempting to sit down, and the seat “shifted to the side,” causing her to be thrown onto the tile floor.
· Sermon cut short when pastor's wife pulls gun on him. A preacher's wife was arrested after police say she pulled a gun on her husband because she allegedly was upset over text messages he had sent to a member of a church youth group.
· Boy Found Slain On Golf Course; Pedophile Charged. An 11-year-old boy missing since Friday was found slain early Monday on the grounds of a Baltimore golf course near his home, and a twice-convicted child sex offender was arrested in his death.
· Elderly women charged with hit-and-run murders to collect millions. Two 70-something women were charged Monday with killing homeless men in hit-and-run car crashes in order to collect million of dollars on their life insurance policies. Olga Rutterschmidt, 73, and Helen Golay, 75, were each charged with two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder for financial gain.
· Talent Agency Sues Snipes. While Wesley Snipes was busy protecting mankind, he may have forgotten to pay a few bills. United Talent Agency, Inc. sued the Blade star for almost $1.5 million Monday, alleging that Snipes failed to pay the full commissions he owes the company for securing him parts in the third Blade movie and in three other films.
· Blair, Schwarzenegger bypass Bush on warming pact. Britain and California formed a trans-Atlantic partnership to address global warming, bypassing the Bush administration to explore ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean-burning fuels. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday announced the pact against the backdrop of an oil tanker at a BP terminal in the port of Long Beach.
· School Officials: Bread, Cheese For Kids Who Don't Pay Fees. Hillsborough school officials in Tampa said Monday that students who owe schools lunch money will have to dine on cheese sandwiches until their parents pay up. Under the new debt collection plan, hundreds of students whose parents owe the school system money from last year's lunches will get a cheese sandwich, milk and fruit instead of more popular choices such as corn dogs, lasagna roll-up or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The district estimates it is still owed more than $63,000.
· Man lifts car off pinned cyclist. When Tom Boyle saw a young man being dragged underneath a car in Tucson, his fatherly instincts kicked in. I didn't believe what I saw," Boyle said. Boyle and his wife got out of their car and ran over to the Camaro where he said he saw the front tires lifted off the ground. Kyle Holtrust was pinned underneath his bike, which was pinned underneath the car, said Boyle, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds.
· Waitress gets own ID when carding patron. A bar waitress checking to see if a woman was legally old enough to drink was handed her own stolen driver's license, which was reported missing weeks earlier, police said. "The odds of this waitress recovering her own license defy calculation," police Capt. Guy Turner said.
· Gibson enters rehab, mug shot released. Academy Award winning actor-director Mel Gibson entered a rehab program after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, his publicist said Monday.
· Gibson offered ride home. The bleary-eyed star was spotted at celeb-studded Moonshadows restaurant with a babe on each arm and a beer bottle in his right hand late Thursday and into the wee hours Friday. He then readily chatted with fans about everything from his movies to religion to his seven kids - and even called his wife of 26 years, Robyn, "a saint." "We all offered him rides, and he shrugged it off," said one man at the restaurant.
· ABC pulls Mel Gibson Holocaust miniseries. ABC Television Network pulled a miniseries about the Holocaust it was developing with Mel Gibson's production company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, quoting an unidentified representative for the network.
· Will Disney Desert Mel Gibson? Mel Gibson's alleged horrendous tirade on Friday morning may have reverberations far worse than he could imagine. For one thing, Gibson is set to release a hugely expensive and largely questionable film with family-friendly Disney on Dec. 8. "Apocalypto," which has no stars in it, cost at least $50 million. It was a gamble of a vanity project to begin with, set 600 years in the past and with dialogue only from the Mayan dialect of Yucatec.
· Talk Your Way Out of a Ticket. There are many alternative ways to get out of a ticket. Mastering these skills is bound to prove financially rewarding. Speeding tickets can set you back $200 — and result in painful hikes in your insurance premiums to boot.
· Sex Offender At Medical Clinic Prompts Concern. A news investigation uncovered a convicted sex offender who has access to the private medical records of children working at a pediatric office and it is perfectly legal.
· Monks plead not guilty to child assault charges. Four monks pleaded not guilty to charges alleging a boy was sexually assaulted at a Texas monastery that draws thousands of visitors every year, officials said Monday. Authorities raided the Christ of the Hills Monastery last week in search of “instruments of child abuse,” Blanco County District Attorney Sam Oatman said.
· McCartney's first guitar sold for $614,000. An American collector has bought Paul McCartney's first acoustic guitar for $614,000 at auction. The guitar used by the former Beatle was bought by Craig Jackson at an auction at the Abbey Road Studios late Friday.
· Castro Temporarily Cedes Power To His Brother. An operation forced Fidel Castro to temporarily cede power to his brother for the first time in 47 years, abruptly ushering in a period of uncertainty in the communist island as the severity of his illness remained unknown.
· Court posts 9/11 trial exhibits online. Exhibits from the trial of convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, including photographs of September 11 carnage and tape-recorded final phone calls from World Trade Center victims, were posted Monday by a federal court. The U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, said it is the first criminal case for which a federal court has provided access to all exhibits online. The videos, photographs and taped phone calls on the court's Web site were graphic in some cases, leading the court to mark 18 of the 1,202 exhibits "discretion advised."