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Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

People in the news

June 25, 2008

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Imus says he made a 'sarcastic point'

New York - Don Imus, responding to criticism about racial remarks on his radio program, said on the air Tuesday he was trying to "make a sarcastic point" about unfair treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system but had been misunderstood.

Imus resurrected his radio career six months ago with a pledge to mend the wounds caused by a racist and sexist comment he made about a women's basketball team.

On Tuesday he said he was following the spirit of that promise by calling attention to the unfair treatment of blacks - in this case the arrests of suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones.

"What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason," Imus said Tuesday. "I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times. Maybe he did something once, but everyone does something once."

The latest comments by Imus to come under scrutiny were aired on Monday's broadcast. During a conversation about Jones' run-ins with the law, Imus asked, "What color is he?" Sports announcer Warner Wolf said Jones - formerly known as Pacman - is "African-American." Imus responded: "There you go. Now we know."

Spears, Federline appear in LA court

Los Angeles - Britney Spears and a parenting coach were questioned Tuesday by the court commissioner overseeing the singer's custody dispute, resulting in an unspecified change in visitation status.

Spears and ex-husband Kevin Federline appeared before Commissioner Scott Gordon, who took the one-hour proceeding behind closed doors.

Court spokesman Allan Parachini stressed afterward that the answers given by Spears and parenting coach Lisa Hacker were not considered testimony.

Spears' behavior was "very businesslike," Parachini said.

Months of bizarre behavior by Spears culminated early this year with two hospitalizations. Federline was given full custody of their two little boys, Sean Preston and Jayden James, and Spears' visitation rights were suspended.

But Spears has appeared stable recently, and her visitation rights have been gradually restored. She remains under the conservatorship of her father, James Spears, and her estate is under the conservatorship of her father and an attorney.

A status conference in the custody case is set for July 15.

Former Hathaway boyfriend charged

New York - An Italian businessman who once dated actress Anne Hathaway was arrested Tuesday on charges he posed as a representative of the Vatican to fleece wealthy investors in a real estate company that sought to buy and redevelop Roman Catholic Church property.

Bail was set at $21 million for Raffaello Follieri. Federal prosecutors said they have "overwhelming" evidence that he improperly spent up to $6 million from investors, much of it on a lavish lifestyle, including privately chartered jet travel with his girlfriend and others, expensive meals and a posh Manhattan apartment.

The girlfriend was not identified, but it has been widely reported that Hathaway, the star of films including "Get Smart" and "The Devil Wears Prada," had until recently dated Follieri, 29.

India.Arie to make Broadway debut

New York - India.Arie on Broadway - produced by Whoopi Goldberg.

The Grammy-winning singer will make her Broadway debut in a revival of Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf."

She will open in the play Sept. 8 at Circle in the Square.

Preview performances begin Aug. 19 in what will be a revised and updated version of the play, which was an off-Broadway hit for the Public Theater in 1976 before transferring to Broadway for a run of more than 700 performances.

The new production will be directed by Shirley Jo Finney and choreographed by Hinton Battle, a three-time Tony winner.

"For Colored Girls...," a prose-poem portrait of black women in America, originally featured Shange and Trazana Beverley, who won a Tony for her performance.

Boy George denied US visa, can't give concert

New York - Do they really want to hurt him?

That's the question Boy George's managers are asking U.S. authorities now that the 47-year-old singer has been denied a visa to enter the country.

The Culture Club frontman, whose real name is George O'Dowd, had planned a U.S. tour this summer, including a free concert at the New York City Department of Sanitation's Family Day in August. He worked for the department in 2006 while performing community service in a drug case.

His managers said in a statement this week that O'Dowd has been denied a visa because he's awaiting trial in London.

The singer, whose hits include "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" and "Karma Chameleon," has pleaded not guilty to imprisoning a man at his London home.

The U.S. Department of State said visa records are confidential so it couldn't comment.

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