Thursday, February 24, 2011 Train Crashes In "Careericide": CBS Shuts Charlie Down

Charlie Sheen:

(Story reported by the staff of

TMZ has learned "Two and a Half Men" will immediately stop production for the rest of the season ... because of Charlie's escapades in the last few days ... most recently what he said to TMZ.

CBS and Warner Bros. say, "Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of 'Two and a Half Men' for the remainder of the season."

The decision comes several hours after TMZ posted a story in which Charlie Sheen challenged creator Chuck Lorre to a fight, calling him "a stupid, stupid little man and a pu**y punk that I never want to be like."

Sources connected with the production tell us ... Charlie's comments to TMZ were the final straw.

No word on whether production will resume next season.

(Click here to read the full story on the website)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reuters-Christians and Muslims Unite During Egyptian Revolution

Mubarak supporters outside of the Moustafa Mahmoud Mosque in Cairo, Egypt: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
(Story reported by Yasmine Saleh for Reuters)

(Reuters) - The surge of popular unity that toppled Hosni Mubarak last week has eased tension between Egypt's Muslims and the Coptic Christian minority and raised hopes for lasting harmony.

Muslims and Christians joined hands and formed human shields to protect each other from riot police as members of the different faiths prayed during the protests in Cairo.

Alongside banners demanding Mubarak's resignation and an end to emergency rule, protesters held aloft posters of the Christian cross and Islamic crescent together against the red white and black of Egypt's flag.

"Egypt has been victorious over what they called sectarian strife," respected Muslim preacher Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi told millions gathered in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Friday.

"Here in Tahrir, the Christian and Muslim stood side by side," said Qaradawi. "This cursed strife is no more."

(Click here to read the full story on Reuters)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NY Times-Madoff Claims Banks "Made-Off"; They Were Aware Of Fraud

Bernie Madoff in custody after 10 May 2009 federal court trial in NY: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images/Bloomberg Business Week
(Story reported by Daniel B. Henriques for the NY Times)

BUTNER, N.C. — Bernard L. Madoff said he never thought the collapse of his Ponzi scheme would cause the sort of destruction that has befallen his family.

In his first interview for publication since his arrest in December 2008, Mr. Madoff — looking noticeably thinner and rumpled in khaki prison garb — maintained that family members knew nothing about his crimes.

But during a private two-hour interview in a visitor room here on Tuesday, and in earlier e-mail exchanges, he asserted that unidentified banks and hedge funds were somehow “complicit” in his elaborate fraud, an about-face from earlier claims that he was the only person involved.

Mr. Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence, seemed frail and a bit agitated compared with the stoic calm he maintained before his incarceration in 2009, perhaps burdened by sadness over the suicide of his son Mark in December.

Besides that loss, his family also has faced stacks of lawsuits, the potential forfeiture of most of their assets, and relentless public suspicion and enmity that cut Mr. Madoff and his wife Ruth off from their children.

(Click here to read the full story on the NY Times website.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NY Times-Hollywood's Whiteout

Hattie McDaniel and Fay Bainter with McDaniel's 1940 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, Oscar winner in 2002: American Movie Classics, Doug Mills/Associated Press
(Story reported by Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott for the NY Times)

CRAMMED into this year’s field of 10 best picture Oscar nominees are British aristocrats, Volvo-driving Los Angeles lesbians, a flock of swans, a gaggle of Harvard computer geeks, clans of Massachusetts fighters and Missouri meth dealers, as well as 19th-century bounty hunters, dream detectives and animated toys. It’s a fairly diverse selection in terms of genre, topic, sensibility, style and ambition. But it’s also more racially homogenous — more white — than the 10 films that were up for best picture in 1940, when Hattie McDaniel became the first black American to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.” In view of recent history the whiteness of the 2011 Academy Awards is a little blinding.

Nine years ago, when Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won his and her Oscars — he was only the second African-American man to win best actor, and she was the first African-American woman to win best actress — each took a moment to look back at the performers from earlier generations who had struggled against prejudice and fought to claim the recognition too often denied them.

“This moment is so much bigger than me,” Ms. Berry said, before convulsing with sobs. “This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll.” When Mr. Washington took the stage, he praised God and then recognized another higher power, Sidney Poitier, who received an honorary Academy Award earlier that evening for helping to dismantle the color line in film.I’ll always be chasing you, Sidney,” Mr. Washington said, holding his Oscar toward Mr. Poitier, who had won his own best actor prize in 1964 for “The Lilies of the Field.” “I’ll always be following in your footsteps.”

Real change seemed to have come to movies or at least the Academy, which had given statuettes to a total of seven black actors in the previous 73 years. After Mr. Washington and Ms. Berry, there would be Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker (both best actors); Morgan Freeman (best supporting actor); Jennifer Hudson and Mo’Nique (best supporting actresses). The consolidation of a black presence in the movies and television did not signal the arrival of a postracial Hollywood any more than the election of Barack Obama in 2008 spelled the end of America’s 400-year-old racial drama. But it was possible, over much of the past decade, to believe that a few of the old demons of suspicion and exclusion might finally be laid to rest.

(Click here to read the full story on the NY Times website.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reuters-Eric Zemmour; The Rush Limbaugh of Paris

Controversial French Journalist Eric Zemmour in hot water over racist remarks: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters
(Story reported by Nick Vinocur for Reuters)

(Reuters) - An on-air racial quip that landed one of France's best-known political commentators in court has exposed raw differences about what can and cannot be said in public on ethnicity and its role in social problems.

The issue could undermine President Nicolas Sarkozy in a battle for re-election in 2012 against a far-right that has scored early points in the polls by exploiting mistrust of Islam by criticizing Muslim street prayers and halal-only restaurants.

Sarkozy has largely failed to lift the taboos on addressing the root causes of alienation and joblessness among France's immigrant youth as he promised to do when elected in 2007, leaving him open to accusations of inaction from all sides.

"He could be taken to task on results, which after all is the culture he promoted," said Francois Miquet-Marty, an analyst at the Viavoice polling agency. "In 2005, there were riots in the suburbs, and the situation has not changed much today. You could say that expectations have not been met."

At the center of the latest polemic is Eric Zemmour, a polarizing figure who has made a career of testing the limits of political correctness but had, until December, avoided prosecution for what he wrote and said on air.

That changed when Zemmour, a Frenchman of Algerian Jewish origin, said on a talk show panel that if black and Arab people were stopped by the police more often than other ethnic groups, it was because they were more likely to be "dealers".

"Eric Zemmour violated a French taboo. There are some questions, including that one, which one is simply not allowed to ask in France," said Frederic Micheau, a researcher at the IFOP polling institute.

The taboo is one of the founding principles of modern France, a secular country where equality before the law is official dogma and where it is forbidden to classify citizens according to race, gender or religion.

(Click here to read the full story on the Reuters website.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Telegraph-A Villain Who Won't Be Chillin'; Swiss Freeze Mubarak's $$$

National Bank of Switzerland: AP
(Story reported by Richard Spencer and Nick Meo in Cairo for the UK Telegraph)

Switzerland has announced it was freezing assets in the country owned by newly resigned President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. 

The announcement, which gave no details as to what assets Mr Mubarak or his family might have in the country, will send shock waves through the presidential palaces of other Middle Eastern countries.

"The government wants to avoid any risk of misappropriation of state-owned Egyptian assets," a statement by the foreign ministry said.

Stories of Mr Mubarak's personal wealth, ranging up to wild estimates of $70 billion (£44 billion), long suppressed by state media, began to circulate among the crowds from the beginning of protests.

His family is said to own property around the world, including London, Paris, Dubai, and the United States. He is understood to have money in bank accounts in Britain, the US, and France as well as other western countries.

(Click here to read the full story on the UK Telegraph website.)

BBC News-Mubarak Steps Down; Leaves Cairo

photo credit: AFP
(Story reported by BBC News)

Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt.

In an announcement on state TV, Vice-President Omar Suleiman said Mr Mubarak had handed power to the military.

It came as thousands massed in Cairo and other Egyptian cities for an 18th day of protest to demand Mr Mubarak's resignation.

Protesters responded by cheering, waving flags, embracing and sounding car horns. "The people have brought down the regime," they chanted.

Mr Suleiman said Mr Mubarak had handed power to the high command of the armed forces.

"In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country," he said.

(Click here to read the full story on the BBC News website)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

NY Times-An Unfortunate Family Feud Over Malcolm X's Estate

photo credit: Associated Press

(Story reported by John Eligon for the NY Times)

A feud over the estate of Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, has created divisions among the couple’s six daughters and has resulted in something none of them had intended: keeping part of their father’s legacy from the public.

The daughters have traded accusations of irresponsibility, mental incapacity and fiscal mismanagement of the estate, which is worth about $1.4 million. But the greater value may reside in a trove of unpublished works from Malcolm X and Dr. Shabazz.

As the dispute drags on in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, efforts to publish the works have been thwarted by the daughters’ bickering; all must sign off on any plan to sell and release the material, which includes four journals that Malcolm X kept during trips to Africa and the Middle East in 1964, a year before his assassination.

The battle represents the latest turn in the complex journey of a family that has come to define the struggle and pride of blacks in America. The clash also underscores the difficulty of preserving the legacy of a prominent figure, especially when it requires uniting competing personalities and visions.

(Click here to read the full story on the NY Times website)

Reuters-Mubarak Refuses To Step Down; Egypt On The Brink of Change

photo credit: Reuters
(Story reported by Samia Nakoul and Edmund Blair for Reuters)

(Reuters) - President Hosni Mubarak provoked rage on Egypt's streets on Thursday when he said he would hand over powers to his deputy but refused to step down after more than two weeks of protests demanding that he quit.

The armed forces high command had earlier issued "Communique No.1," declaring it was taking control of the nation in what some called a military coup seeking to end the turmoil under the 82-year-old former general, who has ruled for 30 years.

"Leave! Leave!" chanted hundreds of thousands who had gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square in anticipation that a televised address would be the moment their demands were met.

Instead, the former air force commander portrayed himself as a patriot and war hero overseeing an orderly transition until an election in September -- in which he said last week he would not stand. Mubarak praised young people who have stunned the Arab world with unprecedented rallies. He offered constitutional change and a bigger role for Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Waving shoes in the air in a dramatic Arab show of contempt, the crowds in central Cairo chanted: "Down, down Hosni Mubarak."

Asked if Mubarak would step down, an Egyptian official had told Reuters before the speech: "Most probably." But his information minister had said that would not be the case.

(Click here to read the full story on the Reuters website.)