Friday, April 17, 2009

Michael Prozer Xchangeagent Millionaire Matchmaker!

VIDEO! Watch video of Michael Prozer of Xchangeagent confront the wrath of Patti Stanger on Millionaire Matchmaker! Michael Prozer gets the evil eye of Patti to start tonight’s Millionaire episode … like virtually every tv client.

A. She hates Michael’s Hair

“What’s with the hairdo?”

B. She hates Michael’s Jewelry

“He’s so retro with all that jewelry”

Michael is co founder of a paypal like company Xchangeagent Inc. located in West Palm Beach. Who does he pick? Elana who he meets in a crazy outfit.

It’s Millionaire Mess-making at its best. Watch the video below.

Susan Boyle Cry Me a River YouTube!

AUDIO! Listen to Susan Boyle’s Cry Me a River. The Daily Record found Susan Boyle’s Cry Me a River recording by Simon Cowell’s Scotland sensation today.

Susan’s voice sounds a bit different (younger), but it is the real thing. It is amazing. Put on a cup of coffee, put your feet up, because like LALATE you will be listening to this song several times today, tomorrow, probably all week long.

The 1999 recording of now “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant Susan Boyle’s song was pressed on only 1000 copies. Says an insider:

“People will be scrambling to get their hands on this CD. They will be like gold dust soon”

The song was recorded on The Millennium Celebration CD in 1999 under Eddie Anderson’s supervision. Anderson says her reaction to Boyle’s voice was shock - just as everyone is reacting this week.

Earlier today LALATE broke to you that Boyle is scheduled to perform on Oprah. That will be historic television.

American Idol Judge Paula Abdul: "We Couldn't Let Matt Go"

American Idol judge Paula Abdul has no regrets about saving contestant Matt Giraud on Wednesday's shocking show.

When he sang an encore of Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," "Simon was pulling my dress to make me sit down," Abdul said on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM radio show Thursday. "I said, 'No way! What's your problem?'"

Abdul said Cowell had "trepidation" about using the judges one-time power to save Giraud from elimination after viewers voted him off.

"For a minute there, I thought we were going to have to duke it out," she said. "We couldn't let Matt go."
"It was so frustrating and nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time," she added.

When Cowell told Giraud he was safe, the 23-year-old piano player from Kalamazoo, Mich. cried in relief as the other contestants hugged him.

"Wasn't it amazing?" Abdul recalled of the moment. "The entire sound stage started clapping and changing 'Save, save!' It was almost like a finale, a sporting event. It was so exciting."
Despite the excitement, Cowell didn't seem to think Giraud should celebrate too much. "I don't see that you have really any chance of winning," he told him.

"That's such a great thing to say?" Abdul sarcastically quipped.

Asked if Cowell's remarks could actually help Giraud in the end (because viewers may feel sorry for him), Abdul said, "It can work either way."
During the interview, Abdul also revealed that Cowell recently made a request to have better lighting on him during the show.

"It's absolutely true," she said.
To show how vain Cowell can he, she then brought up Susan Boyle, the YouTube Scottish singing sensation from Britain's Got Talent TV show.

"He's not speaking about the woman," Abdul said. "He's saying, 'Didn't I look good in [the video]?'"

Josh Hartnett: Sick From "Drinking Water in Third World Countries"

Josh Hartnett says his stomach scare -- which sent him to the hospital last month -- wasn't a big deal.

"I'm fine, I had a stomach bug -- it was literally, like, a 24 hour thing," the actor, 30, said at the Sixth Annual New Yorkers for Children Spring Dinner Dance Wednesday night.

"I was so dehydrated that I needed to be on a couple of IVs. I'm good," he continued.

Hartnett was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. at 1:45 a.m. from celebrity hot spot Cheateau Marmont, but his rep told Us then it was a "flare up" of an ongoing gastrointestinal problem that also plagued him while starring in the London stage version of Rain Man.

"[Media] made a huge deal about it because I left the Chateau Marmont -- you know," he said, naming the same hotel Lindsay Lohan got into her famous feud with Samantha Ronson's family. "That's where I always stay in know, they wanna' come up with whatever they want to come up with."

Hartnett says his stomach has been bothering him "for months. It's been recurring because I've spent a lot of time in third world countries and I drink the water occasionally when I shouldn't, I shower and -- [it's] nothing to worry about!

"I'll be around for awhile," he joked.

Since his brief hospitalization, the actor has been spotted partying at Miami club Florida Room and Lit in NYC.

U.S. Representative: Tea Parties "Despicable" And "Shameful"

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky labeled yesterday's nationwide "tea party" protests as "despicable" and "shameful." The Democratic lawmaker from Illinois said the tea parties held by right-wing activists were fueled by FOX News Channel and were an effort to, quote, "mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates three-point-five million jobs." Schakowsky told "The Hill" newspaper it's despicable that Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant and honorable moment in American history with a shameful political stunt.

She emphasized not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year.

Schakowsky said the protests were made to look like a grassroots uprising but were really an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests as well as Republicans lobbyists and politicians.

Google 1Q Net Up 8.9% On Higher Rev, U.S. Paid Clicks


Google Inc.'s (GOOG) first-quarter net income rose 8.9% on higher revenue and U.S. paid clicks for Internet searches.

Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said the results underline the "resilience of our business model and the ongoing potential of the Web as users and advertisers shift online."

Shares rose 5% after-hours to $408.22 as earnings results topped Wall Street's estimates.

The search-engine giant has been more resilient to the economic downturn than many other technology companies. Still, Google has pared down hiring recently, eliminated nearly 300 jobs in two rounds of its first-ever job cuts and trimmed other company perks to cut costs.

Google reported net income of $1.42 billion, or $4.49 a share, up from $1.31 billion, or $4.12 a share, a year ago.

In the quarter, Google recorded stock compensation charges of $277 million, which was slightly offset by a $64 million tax benefit related to stock-based compensation. Earlier this year, the company warned it would record stock compensation charges throughout 2009 as it repriced previously issued options.

Excluding the items, earnings were $5.16 a share.

Revenue rose 6.2% to $5.51 billion from a year earlier and fell 3% from the fourth quarter. Traffic-acquisition costs, or commissions paid to marketing partners, totaled $1.44 billion, or 27% of advertising revenue.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of $4.93 on revenue of $4.09 billion, excluding traffic-acquisition costs.

Google's U.S. paid clicks - a measure of how frequently consumers clicked on its ads - grew 17% in the first quarter from a year earlier and rose 3% from the fourth quarter.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Julissa Brisman - PHOTOS!

PHOTOS! Here are pictures in the Julissa Brisman Craigslist murder. Julissa Brisman is the Craigslist victim says Boston Police investigators.

Julissa Brisman is identified as 26 from New York, shot dead Tuesday night in her hotel. The above white male is a person of interest that investigators need your help to identify.

Brisman had a hotel room on the 20th floor of the Marriott Copley Place. It is there that police say she fought off her attacker only to be shot multiple times to the torso.

Police found Julissa Brisman at 10 pm Tuesday evening in her hotel room. CPR and EMS declared her dead on the scene. Police believe Julissa Brisman had placed masseuse services on Craigslist.

Under investigation - motive. Was this an attempted robbery? An initial struggle happened before the shooting says detectives.

A spokeswoman for the Marriott Copley Place says the shooting is an “isolated incident”.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Blasts 'Fox News-Fueled' Tea Parties as 'Despicable'

Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky came out swinging yesterday against the so-called tea parties, which she described as "despicable" and as "Obama bashing" parties. Anti-tax activists rallied yesterday in "tea parties," protests that gain their name from the revolutionary-era Boston Tea Party. The rallies, said Schakowsky, besmirch the American spirit. And, for its promotion of the events, Fox News apparently deserves some blame.

Via The Hill:

The ‘tea parties’ being held today by groups of right-wing activists, and fueled by FOX News Channel, are an effort to mislead the public about the Obama economic plan that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Americans and creates 3.5 million jobs.

It’s despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt. Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama-bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians.

So, we suppose Schakowsky won’t be attending any of the parties planned for Independence day.

Ryan Seacrest’s New Lady: Jasmine Waltz

Ryan Seacrest has been a busy man, but lately he has been happily enjoying the company of L.A. bartender Jasmine Waltz.

The cute couple has been dining and going out all over town together after meeting at Guy’s, a West Hollywood lounge.

Meanwhile, Waltz has worked at hot spots all over LA, including Les Deux and Italian restaurant Bell, as she tries to reach her goal of becoming an actress.

Of the new couple, a source says, “They’ve been together for a few months.”

After hosting “American Idol” last week, Seacrest took Waltz to Paris for a weekend and the two looked quite comfortable together.

And it appears that Seacrest’s mom will be happy very now that Ryan has a girl, as she recently said that she wishes her son had more time to date. “That would be wonderful for him and we’d stand a better chance for him to have a relationship.”

John Madden announces retirement

Legendary football coach and broadcaster John Madden is retiring, he announced Thursday.

"It's been such a great ride ... the NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion -- it still is," he said in a statement released by NBC Sports.

Madden, 73, was a Hall of Fame coach for the Oakland Raiders, but is best known to millions as an ebullient football commentator.

He won 16 Emmy awards for outstanding sports analyst/personality, NBC said.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adam Lambert Born to be Wild WATCH!

VIDEO! Watch video of Adam Lambert’s Born to Be Wild that will heat up YouTube tomorrow. Lambert’s Born to be Wild rocked American Idol. But some websites say it was exceptional, while others say it disappointed. LALATE thinks it was incredible.


“You dare to dance in the path of greatness”


“[Like the] Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

The delivery is over the top. The vocal range wins. And as LALATE has said before, Adam IS your next American Idol. Lambert will sell concert tickets, lots of them.

Watch video of it from tonight below.

Jamie Foxx Apologized to Miley Tonight

About that whole "make a sex tape" thing...

Jamie Foxx, knowing he was fighting a losing battle in the court of public opinion, apologized on camera to Miley Cyrus tonight for some random off-color remarks he made about the teen queen on his satellite radio show over the weekend.

"Did you say something inappropriate?" Jay Leno innocently queried of the Oscar winner on Tuesday's Tonight Show.

"Yeah," Foxx admitted, taking a few breaths before launching into a full-blown apology.

"I so apologize to [Cyrus], and this is sincere," he began. "I am a comedian, and you guys know that whatever I say, I don't mean any of it. [Big laugh from the audience]. And sometimes, as comedians, as we do, we go a little bit too far.

"I have a radio show...We're really the black Howard Stern. We go at everybody. There was a situation with Miley Cyrus, and I just want to say, I apologize for what I said. I didn't mean it maliciously. You know I'm a comedian. You know my heart," he added, turning to Leno.

Then, looking at the camera, "Miley, I apologize, so I'll call you. I got a daughter too, so I completely understand."

He didn't address the matter right away, although we suspected the mea culpa was coming after Leno, in introducing The Soloist star, said that Foxx "does one of the best portrayals of mental illness in this movie I have ever seen—I don't mean that in a bad way!"

Added band leader Kevin Eubanks: "Jamie's catchin' it these days! Jamie can't do nothing right these days."

Jamie Foxx Tells Miley Cyrus to 'Make a Sex Tape' and 'Do Some Heroin'

Jamie Foxx has, on a recent broadcast of his Sirius radio show "The Foxxhole", told Miley Cyrus to "make a sex tape" and "do some heroin". The actor-singer did that to show his disagreement over Cyrus' act in threatening to ruin Radiohead's career after the band refused to meet her at the 51st annual Grammy Awards back on February 8.

"She's going to ruin Radiohead's career?" Foxx stated. "The same Radiohead that gets paid a million dollars just to sample their song? That Radiohead?"

"At first I wasn't sure who Miley Cyrus was, wondering out loud, 'Is she the one with all them gums?'" Foxx continued. He went on telling Miley to "grow up, ..... get like Britney Spears, ...... do like Lindsay Lohan and start seeing a lesbian and get some crack in your pipe ..... And catch chlamydia on a bicycle seat."

Foxx and his other anchors laughed the joke off before then poking fun at Cyrus' smile saying, she needs a "gum transplant." He, moreover, also said, "Let me get an order of mouth, light on teeth heavy on the gums."

Video: Bow Wow Will Record Studio Album No More

Bow Wow may not be seen making a follow up to his sixth studio album "New Jack City Part 2". Sharing on the possibility of not making any studio album in the future, the 22-year-old rapper reveals to RealTalkNY about his hopes to try something different.

"This my last album because for me, there's no more that needs to be done on the music side. I've done everything," Bow Wow opens up. "I've done everything from ... the scary thing is that I'm 22 years old. I'm young, I'm still a baby. On the music side, I've been doing this since five, 17 years of just non-stop music."

"There's nothing more that I wanna accomplish that I haven't seen yet. It's very repetitive," Bow Wow continues. "I've done seven arena tours, sold out tours. I've been to Europe, I've been everywhere. I've rocked every arena, every theater, every skating rink, everything. I visited every radio station, shook every hand, every autograph. It's kinda like, for me, I just feel like now, it's time for me to endure a new challenge. I feel like now it's time for me to go do something else."

"The acting career is taking off," he shares more. "The new movie I have is called 'Hurricane Season', starring myself and Forest Whitaker. Aside from that, I'm back on 'Entourage' ... The acting side of things is crazy. ... I'm so excited about focusing on that aspect of my career. I'm blessed that music has opened up all these different avenues, so I can choose."

Though saying that he will not record any new album, Bow Wow admits he will still make music. He says, "I'm gonna still make music. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't gonna make music. It's like a hobby. The studio and music for me is no different than Xbox ... Even if I wanna just go in there and just sit, it's just in me. I don't think I'll ever stop doing that. I'll never stop making music, but as far as albums, I'm cool. I'm good. Seven albums at 22 years old? That's crazy."

Bow Wow has dropped "New Jack City Part 2" in U.S. market on March 31. He teams up with T-Pain, T.I., Trey Songz, Swizz Beatz, Nelly, Johnta Austin and Ron Browz for the record, which is currently at number 16 on Billboard Hot 200 and at number 2 on Billboard Top Rap Albums chart.

Harry Potter's Summer Starts Early

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will come to life a bit sooner than expected.

Warner Bros. has decided to make a long weekend of it, bumping the long-awaited film's release date up two days to July 15, a Wednesday.

Well, every little bit helps after they postponed the big day by eight months.

The studio rationalized that opening the sixth installment of the mega-hit franchise on a Wednesday is like giving it two consecutive debut weekends.

"Every day the kids are out of school in summer is just like an extra Saturday," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' head of distribution.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will greet the world alone on July 15 and have little to no major competition come Friday-through-Sunday.

American Idol Goes to the Movies; Simon Deems Allison the Girls' "Only Hope"

Due to time constraints—which caused many a peeved DVR user to miss Adam Lambert's much hailed closing number last week—American Idol's Top Seven were only subject to two judges' critiques tonight.

Meaning, not all were privy to Simon Cowell's thoughts.

But everyone got to meet with guest mentor and longtime Idol fan Quentin Tarantino, who in his second featured appearance on the show helped the contestants rehearse for movie-song night.

Tonight's tunes spanned 30 years of cinemagic, from the 1969 classic Easy Rider to the 2007 indie romance Once. Interesting choices, all—some in a good way, some not so much.

At least one wunderkind managed to get Simon to utter the magic words: "You've got a chance of winning."

Allison Iraheta: The opening arrangement was kinda funky, but Allison (who, incidentally, was 6 when Armageddon was in theaters) ripped the chorus of Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" a new one. According to Simon, she vocally stopped a proverbial asteroid from obliterating a girl's hopes of winning the competition. "We could see you all the way through to the end now," the Brit said, while Paula Abdul told the 16-year-old that she possesses "the same special sauce" that Adam Lambert has. Anyway…

Anoop Desai: The 21-year-old charmer assigned himself another tough task—the Bryan Adams hit "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," both from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack and every high school dance since 1991. Energy wasn't exactly pouring from Anoop tonight, but he actually managed to add a wee bit of his own vocal flair. "You have definitely found your zone, dude," an enthused Randy Jackson said, while Kara DioGuardi appreciated that the changes he made to the melody were "coming from the heart."

Adam Lambert: The 26-year-old frontrunner sounded great and he had his Easy Rider leather jacket on, but… Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild"? Really? It was still kinda awesome, in that Adam sorta way. But we already knew he could do the howling glam-rocker thing. We like it when he slows down and lets the power of his stage presence sink in. "Fortune rewards the brave—and you're one of the bravest contestants I've ever witnessed," prophesied Paula, while Simon quipped, "I think you've got to learn how to express yourself a bit more." The more discerning of the two judges predicted that this week's go-round wouldn't be as popular as last week's.

Matt Giraud: More Bryan Adams, this time "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"—a far more memorable tune than the so-so film it came from, 1995's Don Juan DeMarco. Matt's rendering could be split into halves—the first being a by-rote imitation of Adams, the second a more soulful, falsetto-utilizing denouement to bring the ballad to a close. Unfortunately, the first half was better. "You fell down more places tonight than you won," Randy concluded.

Danny Gokey: Another reliably pleasant ballad from Danny, who definitely has the soulful timbre to pull off tunes like Lionel Richie's title song from Endless Love—which also made a great cameo in Happy Gilmore. It wasn't a standout performance, though. Paula spoke of Danny grabbing them at the beginning, wowing them in the middle and slaying them at the end, but Simon was disappointed by the unimaginative arrangement.

Kris Allen: Ballsy—Kris tackled the 2008 Oscar winner for Best Song, "Falling Slowly" from the indie Irish romance Once. And he made the slow, sensitive guitar ballad into all kinds of hot. Well, not for Randy, who didn't quite get it. But for Kara, "it was one of [his] best moments." That sentiment earned a supportive shoulder squeeze from Paula, who must have been just dying to tell Kris where his magic lies.

Lil Rounds: Another safe, boring choice for Lil, who showed such diva potential early on. She couldn't do anything but turn in a perfectly fine rendition of "The Rose" by Bette Midler. Paula made no point whatsoever when she spoke of the road being long but worth taking, but Simon said he was "getting frustrated." And he wasn't the only one—after yet another lecture about being a singer and not an artist, Lil returned the favor, arguing that she had injected that beautiful song with an R&B feel and her own beat.

So, Tuesday's show ended with tempers flaring. Will Lil get another chance to prove she's finals material, or will she reach the end of the road tomorrow night, following performances by Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson? Did the Top Seven make the most of movie night?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Video Premiere: Gorilla Zoe's 'What It Is'

A music video for Gorilla Zoe's single "What It Is" has just made its debut. The video, which was shot in Atlanta earlier last month, captures the rapper sitting behind the wheels and performing the song with his collaborator Rick Ross.

"What It Is" also features Kollosus in addition to having Rick Ross as a guest star. Coming from the production hands of Zaytoven, the track is the second single lifted from Gorilla Zoe's second studio album "Don't Feed Da Animals".

"Don't Feed Da Animals" lines up Gucci Mane, Roxy Reynolds and Yung Chris as featured guests. It has made its way out in U.S. market on March 17. It peaked at number 8 on billboard Hot 200 and at number 1 on Billboard Top Rap Albums chart, receiving an astounding 14% market share with more than 31,000 selling point.

Eminem Recruited as Musical Guest at 2009 MTV Movie Awards

Hot on the heels of the controversy of "We Made You" music video, which arrived last week, Eminem is booked as one of the performers at this year's MTV Movie Awards. He becomes the first musician to be signed up to sing at the event.

There is no clue on what song the Slim Shady will be delivering at the annual event. Words are, he is expected to sing "We Made You" off upcoming sixth studio album "Relapse". As for other musical guests, announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

2009 MTV Movie Awards will be held at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California on Sunday, May 31, at 9 P.M. ET. The ceremony will be hosted by "Saturday Night Live" regular Andy Samberg.

For the first time, MTV is letting fans participate in the nominee process. Beginning Monday, April 13, voting will be opened and viewers will be able to select the nominees for the awards from an eligibility list of over 200 movies, which include "Hannah Montana: The Movie" among Best Movie pre-nominees. Fans can log on to before April 20 to vote for the nominees.

The nominees of 2009 MTV Movie Awards will officially be announced on May 4. Voting to determine the winners from each category will run off on May 18, with the exception of Best Movie which will remain open through the show.

How I Met Your Mother - Mosbius Designs

Everyone is laughing about a Barney joke but Ted thinks Lily won't like it because it is boy funny. Here is the joke : What is the difference between peanut butter and jam? Future Ted tells us it's the dirtiest joke ever and won't tell us the punchline. He then tells us that Lily didn't see them for four weeks. (Way to write in the pregnancy!)

Robin encourages Ted to stop procrastinating. A little later, we find that Ted hired an assistant. Ted is accused of procrastinating even more. Barney defends the assistant until he finds out that the assistant is a woman. Later still, the assistant calls, apparently from the Empire State Building, to say that he is late. Ted realizes that the call is coming from inside the house. He then walks in on Robin and the assistant making out. Oops.

Ted tells Robin that they can't sleep together. She explains how it happened. Apparently he tried to stop her from going to the toilet. Ted then explains why he hasn't called the clients yet.

Barney asks Marshall if he is worried about layouts. He apparently knows some secrets that will make him fire-proof and encourages Marshall to have his own thing like "food guy", the guy who always brings food to meetings. They then mention Toy guy and Youtube Clip guy, but avoiding the peril of being like Creepy Back Rub Guy. Marshall thinks of some ideas but most of them are shot down until he comes up with the idea of introducing Fantasy Baseball.

Things work out a little too well for Marshall until he realizes that he has to carry around a lot of cash. They go to the bar where Ted complains about Robin sleeping with the assistant. Barney gets irritated and he and Marshall storms off. They talk about the joke and how Marshall wishes it had never been told.

Ted fires the assistant who then starts slacking off in Ted's apartment. He makes out with Robin until Ted asks him to stop. He goes to the toilet and Robin complains about how the guy isn't sexy anymore. Robin then breaks up with him.

Marshall decides that he doesn't want to be Sports guy anymore. Later, Barney tells Marshall that he is in love with Robin. Marshall thinks that she's good for him. Barney says that they have to get the assistant away from Robin. The solution is in hiring the assistant to be Marshall's paralegal.

Robin finds Ted worrying about how to even start his firm. She tells him that he can do it and he starts to make a phone call - of course, it's a call he makes to Robin. She tells him to call an actual client.

Chris Brown Goes to Tattoo Parlor With New Woman

Just one week after pleading not guilty to allegedly assaulting Rihanna, Chris Brown showed up to a L.A. tattoo parlor with a new woman.

Natalie Mejia, who starred in the CW's Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious reality show, tells that Brown is a "gentleman."

"It's true we did visit a tattoo parlor together, but I can't say if we got anything done because that is personal," adds the dancer, who was photographed with Brown by

(Rihanna got a gun tattoo in March because "it's powerful, it's protection," her tattoo artist BangBang told Us then.)

Mejia wouldn't get into specifics on her relationship with Brown, but said, "Things are going well between us.

"[Brown] has treated me like a [sic] gentleman at all times actually and there are no complaints," she continued.

On her MySpace page, Mejia went on: "Love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't and believe everything happens for a reason."

Brown is due in court next on April 29.

Verdict Reached in Phil Spector Trial

A jury has reportedly reached a verdict in the case against music producer Phil Spector, who was on trial for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.

Spector, 69, was found guilty of second degree murder by the Los Angeles Superior Court jury. The jury returned the verdict Monday afternoon after deliberating for about 30 hours, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators found that Clarkson, 40, died of a gunshot fired in her mouth while visiting Spector's mansion in 2003. The defense had argued that she killed herself.

It was the second trial for Spector who was known for pioneering the Wall of Sound production technique in the 1960s. During the first trial, the jury deadlocked 10-2, favoring conviction in 2007.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Adult film star Marilyn Chambers dies at 56

A friend of adult film star Marilyn Chambers says the actress has been found dead at her home in northern Los Angeles County.

Peggy McGinn says the 56-year-old Chambers was found by her 17-year-old daughter Sunday night and the cause of death has not been determined.

Chambers starred in the 1972 film "Behind the Green Door," which was more widely distributed and attracted a more mainstream audience than the usual adult fare.

Chambers, whose given name was Marilyn Briggs, was once a model for Ivory Snow. She was among the first porn superstars when the stag films of the 1940s through 1960s gave way to the more polished sex films of the 1970s.

Phillies Broadcaster Harry Kalas Dies at 73

Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed out in a press box at Nationals Park today and was pronounced dead at GW Hospital. He was 73.

"We lost our voice today," team president David Montgomery said, his voice cracking. "He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization."

Nats acting GM Mike Rizzo talked to Montgomery after Kalas' collapse but there was never really a thought of canceling the game; Montgomery told Rizzo that Kalas would have wanted them to play. There will be a moment for silence for both Nick Adenhart of Hagerstown and for Kalas.

"Major League Baseball has lost one of the great voices of our generation," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "Baseball announcers have a special bond with their audience, and Harry represented the best of baseball not only to the fans of the Phillies, but to fans everywhere."

Montgomery said that Kalas was found unconscious in a broadcast booth, where he was preparing to work Monday's game against the Nationals. He was found by the Phillies director of broadcasting at about 12:30 p.m.

Montgomery called his condition serious at that time, and the Phillies closed the visitors' clubhouse to the media.

Kalas missed most of spring training after undergoing surgery in February. The team declined to reveal details of the surgery, saying it was a "minor medical procedure."

Kalas, who has broadcast Phillies games since 1971, was known for his distinctive "Outta here!" home run call. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving the Ford C. Frick Award in 2002. He was in the final year of a three-year contract with the Phillies. Kalas also narrated for NFL Films, broadcast Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl and did the voice-overs for the Chunky Soup commercials.

Mel Gibson's Wife of 28 Years Files for Divorce

The passion of the wife has run dry.

Mel Gibson's wife of 28 years, Robyn Gibson, filed for divorce from the Oscar-winning director-actor, citing the ever-popular "irreconcilable differences."

"Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strived to maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so," the estranged couple said in a joint statement issued through their publicist, Alan Nierob.

While the divorce petition doesn't specify when the duo separated, the Gibsons have reportedly been living apart for some time.

They married in June 1980 and have seven children together, though only one—son Tom, who turns 10 tomorrow—is a minor. Robyn is seeking joint physical and legal custody of the boy, as well as spousal support.

Gibson's net worth has been estimated at upward of $900 million.

'Bourne 4' Eyes Summer 2011 Release

An update to another installment of "Bourne" films, "Untitled Bourne 4 Project", has been brought forth by producer Frank Marshall. Posting a message on his Twitter page, the five-time Academy Award-nominated producer revealed that the fourth sequel of "Bourne" series is in the work for a possible summer 2011 release.

In his announcement, he first wrote, "Bourne4 is in the works for Summer 2111." Quickly realizing the mistyping he did, he then added another post which read, "Yes, alittle too fast on the typing, it's 2011. And I wonder if anyone knows who else was born in Nixa, Missouri?" He furthermore confirmed that "Ocean's Twelve" writer George Nolfi will indeed pen the script and is expected to finish the draft by June.

"Bourne 4" will be the latest "Bourne" movie made after "The Bourne Ultimatum". While earlier it was suggested that the story may be based on Robert Ludlum's "The Parsifal Mosaic", it has been noted that the latter could be developed into another movie by Universal Pictures. Matt Damon is expected to reprise his role as Jason Bourne, though he has stated earlier he is still working on his return.

Checking the Conficker Eye Chart

The Conficker worm is back, said Tony Bradley in Two weeks ago, computer security experts warned that the evil malware known as Conficker was going to cripple the Internet on April 1, but “nothing really happened.” Now it appears that Conficker is delivering a new component to infected PCs—and there are millions of them—that will allow hackers to steal “sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and more.”

So, Conficker is no longer simply sitting quietly on infected computers hunting for more vulnerable computers to attack, said Erika Smith in the Indianapolis Star. But don’t panic. The worm exploits a hole in the Windows operating system that was patched in October, so you can download the fix to protect yourself. But the first step is checking out the Conficker Eye Chart, which can tell you if you’re computer is already infected.

Security companies have reported that computers sick with Conficker are being updated with a “scareware” program, said Brian Krebs in The Washington Post, which uses phony security alerts to frighten people into buying “bogus computer security software.” So the mystery about Conficker’s purpose is gone—it’s just another attempt by hackers to make money, and its authors are apparently starting to put it to work.

Kara Young AJ Benza!

That infamous Kara Young AJ Benza Howard Stern broadcast is back in the press today. AJ Benza’s Donald Trump Kara Young on air fight was explained by Benza back in 2001.

Kara Young was the stunning Revlon Model who went from dating Benza, to Trump, to marrying neither.

After the Stern interview, Benza opened up to MediaWeek at LALATE’s favorite Nate N Al’s deli here in Los Angeles about what happened.

“I got very Brooklyn on him, and I hadn’t talked to Kara since then. I cried, she cried.”

Trump reportedly said during the broadcast:

“She told me you were losing your hair, A.J., and you’ve done the transplant.”

Benza’s response:

“Donald, shut up. You got plugs”.

Benza explained how he was left after his breakup with Young:

“Long story short, I loved the girl very much, and I thought she’d be my wife. She did date him for a while, but I’m willing to move past that. It looks stupid when you get in a fight over a girl, especially when neither one of you are any longer with the girl.”

YouTube riddled with drug cartel videos, messages

The violence among Mexican drug cartels is not filling just the streets of Mexican border towns: It's also spilling into gruesome online videos and chat rooms.

The videos on YouTube and Mexican-based sites are polished — professional singers croon about cartel leaders while images of murdered victims fade one into the next. In the comment area, those loyal to the opposing cartels trade insults and threats.

Such videos are used to intimidate enemies and recruit members by touting "virtues" of cartel leaders, says Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence for Stratfor, a Texas-based global-intelligence company.

Howard Campbell, an anthropologist at the University of Texas-El Paso who studies border issues, says the videos also signal how the cartels have evolved from pure moneymaking ventures to sophisticated groups with political agendas.

One YouTube video sympathetic to the Sinaloa Cartel opens with white lettering: "This is what happens to all my enemies." A singer launches into an up-tempo song against a montage of images: slain police officers, bullet-ridden police cruisers, shell casings, crumpled bodies.

Victoria Grand, head of policy for YouTube, says company officials have seen the cartel videos on their website but would not comment on specific videos.

She says YouTube does remove graphic, violent video if other users flag it as offensive and it lacks documentary or educational purposes. "If the video is clearly violent and the purpose is to shock or disgust, we will remove it," she says. YouTube officials have alerted law enforcement agencies to criminal activity posted on the site, she says.

The cartel videos emerged in 2005, soon after videos of foreigners being beheaded in Iraq appeared on insurgent websites, says Kent Paterson, editor of Frontera NorteSur, a New Mexico-based online news service, who follows the videos.

Early efforts showed prisoners bound and blindfolded, surrounded by armed guards. A declaration was read and the prisoner was executed, often by beheading — mirroring the jihadist videos emerging from Iraq, Paterson says.

These were removed from sites such as YouTube. The cartels gradually replaced them with more sophisticated, better-produced efforts, Paterson says.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration monitors the videos for clues about the cartels and potential use as evidence in prosecutions, says Garrison Courtney, a DEA spokesman. "It's really changed … how we target the cartels," he says. The cartels "absolutely" post videos and have an online presence, he says, though some followers or imposters also post on their behalf.

President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have pledged to help stop the violence. Mexico's government says cartel violence killed 6,290 people across Mexico last year and more than 1,000 in the first eight weeks of 2009.

Mexican officials study the videos and chats for hints about future killings, says Sergio Belmonte Almeida, a spokesman for Ciudad Juarez, on the border at the center of the violence.

In December, a member of the powerful Juarez Cartel entered a Mexican-based chat room and sparred with someone defending a rival cartel, Almeida says.

"Wait for the little gift we're going to leave for you tomorrow morning," the Juarez Cartel chatter warned, Almeida says.

The next day, he says, two decapitated heads were found in a large cooking pot outside Juarez.

Portuguese water dog 'Bo' joins first family

Never have so many gotten so excited about so little. The White House puppy has been appointed, at last, and Washington is in a barking frenzy.

And, of course, it was leaked. Shocking.

The puppy, a Portuguese water dog, as anticipated, is 6 months old and black and white. It was named Bo by Obama's daughters, Malia and Sasha, apparently in honor of their maternal grandfather, who went by the nickname Diddley.

The Washington Post claimed credit for the name scoop in its Sunday editions while also reporting that it had been itself scooped, upsetting a deal the newspaper worked out with the White House to get "the puppy exclusive."

Naturally, for this day and age, two websites got there first: the celebrity news site and a heretofore unknown site called, which posted a picture Saturday of Bo wearing a colorful Hawaiian lei around his neck.

The White House at first denied that the picture was legit, then released its own picture of the dog, which was taken several weeks ago during a secret White House meeting between the Obamas and Bo. Both pictures appeared to be of the same dog, including the lei.

On Friday, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, press secretary to first lady Michelle Obama, denied there would be any puppy news over the weekend. After the leaks, she released few other details except that Bo will be introduced formally on Tuesday.

Where is Bo now? Was he a gift from U.S. Sen. (and Portie promoter) Ted Kennedy, who has three of the bushy-haired dogs? Lelyveld wouldn't say, but Kennedy released a statement. "We couldn't be happier to see the joy that Bo is bringing to Malia and Sasha," Kennedy said.

Meanwhile, TMZ said it had lots of detail about the dog by late Friday, but Lelyveld declined to confirm or deny any of it on Sunday. It was not known who is behind or where its information came from.

If Washington is fixated on the White House puppy, it's fair to say the obsession was stoked by President Obama, who has repeatedly teased the media with tidbits. As recently as Friday, after Obama made a statement on the economy, a reporter asked about the puppy, again.

"Oh, man, now, that's top-secret," Obama said with a laugh.

A secret not so tightly held, as it turned out.

Pay attention: '24' is ticking again, and this one's a blast

A great day is about to get better.

Indeed, anyone with any affection for 24 is likely to love tonight's outing, which finds the series hitting one of its periodic reset buttons. But it's more than just a pivotal episode; it's a nearly ideal one, with some longed-for resolution, an emotional reconciliation, an exciting central sequence, and at least one surprise that's sure to leave you gasping.

And yes, Kim returns. But before you scream "cougar" (poor Elisha Cuthbert, who was really more wronged than wrong), let it be said it's a well-handled, sufficiently well-explained return. And for those who are invested in the series, a necessary one, as there were open questions between Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) and his daughter that needed to be answered.

The hour is built around the showdown between the president (the wonderful Cherry Jones) and Jonas Hodges (Jon Voight, who has created one of the show's more entertaining villains). Jonas is willing to put down his bioweapon, but he wants something in return, and you're about to find out what. (Those who accuse 24 of being a right-wing fascist fantasy haven't been watching; if anything, its view of power-mad executives and duplicitous officials borders on the anarchic.)

Meanwhile, back at the FBI, a bio-infected, office-bound Jack is down but not out. He's still capable of saving the day, even from a distance.

Telling more would be unfair. What matters is that, unlike last season, the dodges and disasters all feel fairly earned and are, for 24, reasonably restrained.

What that leaves you with is a fabulous outing that makes terrific use of all the tricks the medium has to offer, from the score to the editing, and terrific use of some fine actors, Sutherland chief among them. But it pays to remember what you're getting. 24 is a great TV show, but it's not a great drama, nor does it claim to be.

This isn't The Wire; you don't come to 24 for probing insights into the human condition. You come for the ride, the way it brings Jack, the world or the bad guys to the brink of disaster, makes escape seem impossible, and then arranges an escape. Ratchet up the stakes, repeat.

Its skill is in keeping you interested in the game and fooled by its variations on a theme. And this season, it has once again succeeded in making you want to stick around to see the bad guy punished.

Happily, there's more fun to come, as you'll see from tonight's final twist. And who knows, maybe Jack can even kick that lethal virus.

After all, why can't Jack come back from near death? His show sure has.

'The Celebrity Apprentice' Week 7 Recap: Brian McKnight Tossed Out

Tensions were in the air as "The Apprentice" entered its seventh episode on Sunday, April 12. Following the kicking out of Khloe Kardashian and Tionne Watkins from the boardroom last week, Joan Rivers clearly expressed her unhappy felling that Clint Black is still around and Brian McKnight was told to join Athena after his no-show in the last episode.

In the two hour-long episode, the two celebrity teams were first given the task to design a package and store display for identity-theft-protection company LifeLock. After being told that they will be judged on brand message, originality, and overall design, the two teams selected their project manager. Athena appointed Brian, while Natalie Gulbis stepped up for KOTU.

Athena was the first team to meet with the LifeLock executives, who gave them three keywords to focus on: protection, confidence, and security, and Annie Duke stole the spotlights as she was the one asking all of the questions, rather than project manager Brian. In the KOTU camp, the head butt between Joan and Clint continued when Clint suggested a safe for a logo but Joan suggested a bodyguard.

Amidst the drama, Natalie kept the team's pace as well as peace among her team members. KOTU finally decided to use the safe logo despite Joan's disagreement, and they moved on with the building of the display. Over at Athena, the building team had no idea what the team wants and with time running out, Annie got hands-on and told McKnight she was performing a task that wasn't her job, leading Melissa Rivers to fell that her teammate is absolving herself of responsibility.

Troubles kept on coming to Athena when Jesse James, who took the lead in the design aspect, fell sick. On the other side, Joan was informing Clint and Herschel Walker that there will be a change on the design. But when Clint saw Athena's Brande Roderick, he panicked and dragged along Herschel, frustrating the Heisman Trophy winner. In the end, they managed to toldell their the builders about the change and they rework the graphic.

While Athena was criticized for the lack of creativity in the room and how relaxed they are acting, KOTU were back together and tried to pull their point of sale display and ad together. Still, not everything went smoothly for KOTU as they discovered at the last minutes that they needed to make the graphic bigger. The two teams then went ahead to present their design to the LifeLock execs before facing Donald Trump in the boardroom.

With the two teams being confidence of doing a great job, their observers, Ivanka and George, gave the feedback. Ivanka said that the execs like KOTU's ideas and presentation, but not their display, while George stated that Athena impressed the execs, but were not creative on the design. With that said, Donald announced that KOTU won and $20,000 went to Boys and Girls Club of America.

While Brian McKnight, Melissa Rivers and Brande Roderick went back to the boardroom, Joan went berserk. She told NBC cameras that Annie has said to her earlier that "Brande has to go. Brande's stupid." As she watched the boardroom unfold, she exploded at Annie, saying that the poker champion "is a troublemaker" and has been "such a conniver". However, in the end, Brian was sent packing for his lack of attention to deadlines.

"The Apprentice" then continued showing the teams called back into the boardroom where Trump announced that their next task would begin immediately. This time, they were told to do a money-raising task featured teams selling pieces from Ivanka Trump's jewelry line for charity in an auction. Annie took the role of a project manager for Athena, and Joan for KOTU.

Rock of Love Bus Reunion Taya and Bret Michaels!

REUNION! Winner Taya and Bret Michaels will appear in Rock of Love Bus (aka Rock of Love 3) Reunion Episode. Will the Bus accident be mentioned?

Rock of Love Bus’ reunion will aire on VH-1 April 19. Tonight, LALATE delivered the spoiler, that the winner of Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels is Taya Laurie Parker!

What exactly happened again with the bus crash? 51 Minds Entertainment is LALATE’s fav production company behind the Rock Of series. In September, the VH-1 website said of the accident the following:

A crew member from the 51 Minds Entertainment production of the upcoming Rock Of Love Bus series on VH1 was involved in an auto accident on Interstate 57 in southern Illinois on Friday afternoon. The crew member, who is not an associate of Bret Michaels or part of his tour staff, was traveling alone to the next location stop for the series. The accident resulted in two fatalities in one car and injuries to two passengers in another vehicle. The crew member survived and has been released from the hospital. Local authorities continue to investigate.

Bret Michaels has requested that his participation in the production of the series be temporarily suspended in deepest sympathy as he attempts to reach out to the families of the victims. Traveling separately, Mr. Michaels had left Illinois early Friday morning and was not near the scene of the accident.

Michaels, 51 Minds Entertainment and VH1 extend their deepest sympathies to everyone involved in this terrible accident.

Michaels’ statement was the following:

“As a father of two, I cannot even imagine what the families must be going through at this time. I will make every attempt to reach out to them to let them know that my heart and prayers are with them during their time of grief.

“I definitely felt love at the end of all three seasons. Or, I felt lust and a lot of like. It was the same feeling I had at the end of the first two seasons. I go into these relationships with the same intention, but whether or not they last is a whole different ball game.”

As LALATE told you earlier tonight, Taya Parker should expect a huge press week, on top of a great resume, a former Penthouse Pet Of The Year, a 2007’s Exotic Dancer of the Year, and countless appearances in Playboy.

Ashley, Brittanya O’Campo , Brittaney Starr, Natasha, Marcia, Gia, Beverly Palmer , and Farrah Sinclair are going to Charm School with Ricki Lake.

In Phillips' hometown, 'elation' over his release

In Capt. Richard Phillips' hometown, they'll never forget this Easter Sunday.

Five days after he was taken hostage by Somali pirates in an aborted hijacking, Phillips was freed in equally dramatic fashion, thrilling a community where yellow ribbons had sprung up like spring flowers in hopes that such symbols counted for something.

Perhaps they did, especially on a day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and reflect on symbols of new life.

"Elation," said Steve Barton, 51, summing up the mood as he looked out his front door at a yellow tissue-paper bouquet he'd fastened to a tree in his yard. "Our prayers were answered."

Phillips, a 53-year-old father of two known in his rural Vermont community as a dedicated family man, avid sportsman and serious skipper, won his freedom in a daring U.S. Navy Seals rescue in which three of his captors were killed but he escaped unharmed.

The good news traveled fast in Underhill, about 35 miles northwest of Montpelier, the state capital.

A lawn sign on Route 15 that earlier read "Pray for Captain Phillips' release and safe return home" was revised in the afternoon to read, "Capt. Phillips rescued and safe."

Even before Maersk spokeswoman Alison McColl stepped out into bitter 22-degree cold to read a Phillips family statement in front of a horde of news reporters, camera people and microphones, everyone seemed to express a palpable sense of relief.

"It's a celebration, instead of the reverse," said Melissa Akey, 42, of Williston, who heard the news when she stopped into a convenience store.

And the timing of it didn't escape notice.

"It couldn't happen on a better day — Easter," said Nickie Tinker, 36, a clerk at the Jolley's convenience store.

"It's great, news, especially on Easter," said Kim Jennings, 43, of Williston. "How terrific is that? It could've ended completely differently. It's a world away. Who knows what they're thinking, and why they're holding someone hostage?"

Neighbors Terry and Sheila Aiken, who live across the street from the Phillips', fought back tears as they talked about him.

"I'm just so excited," said Mrs. Aiken, 62. "It's like it just changed the world back to the world."

Andreas Nolte, 48, of Jericho, was out for a run when he heard.

"I'm really happy," said Nolte, who learned from a reporter after running past the Phillips' white farmhouse. "It's a happy day, especially since it's Easter."

Filling his vehicle with gas, Jeff St. John, 31, of Richford, said he didn't understand why it took so long for the U.S. military to free Phillips from the drifting lifeboat where four Somali pirates held him captive.

"They've got a whole ship full of people. I would've just taken the pirates out, right off," St. John said.

There was no second-guessing by the family, though.

Phillips' wife, Andrea Phillips, remained behind closed doors in the family's home after the news had broken.

McColl choked up as she stood in the street outside, reading the family's statement off a clipboard.

"The Phillips family wants to thank you all for your support and prayers. They have felt the caring and concern extended by the nation to their family. This is truly a very happy Easter for the Phillips family.

"Andrea and Richard have spoken. I think you can all imagine their joy, and what a happy moment that was for them. They're all just so happy and relieved.

"Andrea wanted me to tell the nation that all of your prayers and good wishes have paid off because Captain Phillips is safe," she said.

Barton, 51, who once coached the Phillips' daughter, Mariah Phillips, on a youth league baseball team, said he was relieved the ordeal was over and said there may be a silver lining to it — waking Americans up to the fact that such kidnappings occur frequently abroad.

"It took an American getting kidnapped for all of us to feel everybody else's worldly anguish," he said.

But he said he wouldn't be taking his yellow ribbon down — not yet, anyway.

"I'll leave it there for a few days. I'm in no rush," he said.

Phillips was hailed as a hero by many, including Capt. Joseph Murphy, the father of second-in-command Shane Murphy, a former Phillips classmate at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne, Mass.

"I have made it clear throughout this terrible ordeal that my son and our family will forever be indebted to Capt. Phillips for his bravery," said the elder Murphy, in a statement released there. "If not for his incredible personal sacrifice, this kidnapping and act of terror could have turned out much worse."

The whistle also sounded aboard the maritime academy's training ship in celebration of Phillips' release. The academy's president, Merchant Marine Rear Adm. Rick Gurnon, said Phillips' actions "showed unbelievable courage and professionalism."

"He was the good shepherd," Gurnon said. "He willingly exchanged his life for the lives of his flock — his crew. In doing that, he was able to stack the cards in his favor, and ultimately resulted in his safe return."

Town rocked by arrest of Sunday school teacher

Police and residents were shocked when the suspect in the killing of an 8-year-old girl found stuffed into a suitcase turned out to be a woman, the mother of the slain girl's best friend.

The motive in the killing had not been determined.

Melissa Huckaby, a Sunday school teacher and granddaughter of a minister, was on suicide watch at the San Joaquin County Jail, where she remained in custody Sunday without bail on suspicion of kidnapping and killing Sandra Cantu.

Huckaby was a "pretty normal kid" who has had difficulties in recent years, an uncle said.

Sandra's body was found in Huckaby's suitcase in an irrigation pond nearly a week ago, police said.

"This was an anomaly in the murder of a child," police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said at a news conference Saturday in this northern California town. "Finding out that it is a woman who is responsible for Sandra's kidnapping and murder, and then finding out it is a member of the community is another blow."

FBI statistics show women are involved in just 7% of murders of any sort. Solo killings of children by women are even more unusual.

"It's very unusual for women to be involved in an abduction and murder of a child," said Candice DeLong, a retired FBI profiler based in San Francisco. "Sometimes we see this when the woman is working with a male partner. It does not appear to be the case this time. But this was not a sexually motivated crime."

Sandra disappeared on March 27 and hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials turned out to search for her. Pictures of the girl with dark brown eyes and light brown hair were posted all over Tracy, a city of 78,000 people about 60 miles east of San Francisco. Police said they received 1,500 tips.

Huckaby, 28, had attended the second of several vigils for the slain girl, Sheneman said.

Sheneman said investigators had not determined the motive for the slaying. Police would not say where or how the girl was killed, though investigators said they believed she died very soon after she was last seen.

Police said autopsy results are not yet available, and they declined to say whether investigators believe the slaying was accidental or deliberate.

Inconsistencies in Huckaby's story led to her arrest, Sheneman said. There are no other suspects and no other arrests are expected, he said. Her arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

Huckaby is a granddaughter of Pastor Clifford Lawless, whose Clover Road Baptist Church was the subject of a police search. Huckaby taught Sunday school at the church and lived with Lawless in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park that also was Sandra's home.

Huckaby's uncle, John Hughes Jr. of Whittier, told the Associated Press his niece was from a good home, but had hit a rough patch in her life and had moved in with her grandparents in Tracy to get past her troubles.

"They opened their home up to her to try to get her life back on track. I think a lot of families have problems like that," Hughes said.

Huckaby grew up in Orange County and was a "pretty normal kid," he said. As the eldest of nine grandchildren, she played "mother hen" to the younger children when the family got together for the holidays.

After graduating from high school, Huckaby's path appears to have become rockier. She married, had a daughter and was divorced in a few short years. She had difficulty finding and keeping a job, partly owing to the challenges of single motherhood, Hughes said.

"She's had her struggles," he said. "But there's no way (her grandparents) or anybody would be fearful that anything this horrifying could possibly come from that."

Huckaby had been scheduled to appear in court on April 17 to check in with a county mental health program as part of a three-year probation sentence for a petty theft charge to which she pleaded no contest.

She was arrested late Friday, about five hours after she drove herself to the local police station at the request of officers.

"She was calm, cool and collected, then she became very emotional," Sheneman said.

It was not immediately clear if Huckaby had hired an attorney to speak for her.

She had worked as a checker at a Food for Less grocery store in a strip mall just east of the mobile park for nearly four years, until she was fired sometime in 2004, said Matt Duncan, an assistant manager at the store now known as FoodMaxx.

"I wouldn't have anything bad to say about her, until now," said Duncan, who has worked at the store off and on for about 10 years. "I would've never suspected her to do something like this."

Obama celebrates Easter in Episcopal church

President Obama picked the self-described Church of the Presidents, a history-drenched Episcopal church across from the White House, for his first venture to services since he was inaugurated Jan. 20.

The Obamas' Easter visit to St. John's Church doesn't mean they have found a permanent place of worship in the capital.

"The first family has not made a decision yet on which church they will formally join in Washington," spokesman Joshua Dubois said Sunday.

The Obamas have not belonged to a church since about a year ago, when they left Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The departure followed their break with Jeremiah Wright, longtime pastor of the black, socially active church. His controversial statements about AIDS, the 9/11 attacks and Obama himself had threatened to derail Obama's campaign.

FAITH & REASON: Is this welcoming church Obama's new faith home?

St. John's has been part of the U.S. political establishment from its first service in 1816. Since then, the church's website says, "every person who has held the office of president of the United States has attended a regular or occasional service at St. John's."

Pew 54 is the President's Pew, reserved for chief executives. The 1,000-pound bell in the church steeple was cast in 1822 by Paul Revere's son, Joseph.

For Obama, "it's a very safe and traditional choice. It makes perfect sense on Easter Sunday for him to follow in the steps of his predecessors," says Mark Rozell, a George Mason University political scientist who studies presidents and religion.

Two days before Obama was sworn in, he attended a service at the Nineteenth St. Baptist Church, founded in 1839 as the first black church in Washington. Last week, Obama hosted a Passover Seder at the White House.

"This is exactly what a president should be doing — showcasing a broad, open, interdenominational approach. He is ultimately president of all the people," Rozell said.

Shortly before he left Trinity, Obama said his attendance there had become a spectacle, and "I certainly don't want to provide a distraction for those who are worshiping at Trinity."

Last year, he skipped Christmas services while visiting friends and family in Hawaii; spokesman Ben LaBolt said Obama didn't want to "disrupt a church community on Christmas with the burdens that come with a presidential visit."

Sunday at St. John's, the Obama family took communion and heard a sermon about the challenges of faith.

"I can't explain Easter to you — it just can't be done," the Rev. Luis Leon said.

"Do not be alarmed if you don't have 100% faith," he said. "Do not be alarmed if you don't understand everything. It takes time to be a believer."

Obama's name came up once, during a prayer led by Robert Black: "Guide and bless us in our work and play and shape the patterns of our political and economic life; we pray for Barack, our president, the leaders of Congress and the Supreme Court and all who are in authority; for Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and the Middle East, that all people may be filled through the bounty of your creation."

Protests injure in Bangkok, state of emergency called

Thai soldiers unleashed hundreds of rounds of automatic weapons fire to clear rock-throwing anti-government protesters from a major intersection in the capital in the pre-dawn darkness Monday.

Forty-nine people were reported hurt in the first serious clash between the two sides in ongoing protests that have roiled this southeast Asian nation and came a day after the country's ousted prime minister called for a revolution.

While the government has declared a state of emergency, protesters controlled many streets in the capital Bangkok. They had earlier commandeered public buses and swarmed triumphantly over military vehicles in defiance.

In the starkest example of the chaos, a mob of the red-shirted protesters smashed cars carrying Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his aides.

The clash began between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday, as troops in full combat gear lined up and advanced to disperse the protesters, according to witnesses and television footage.

The soldiers fired hundreds of rounds from their M-16 automatic rifles as they advanced, though it was unclear whether they were firing at or over the protesters. Some witnesses said tear gas was also fired.

The official Erawan emergency coordination center said 49 people were injured on both sides and taken to hospitals.

Protesters set fires that were still burning 1- 1/2 hours later and retreated into side streets near the Din Daeng intersection, where there is an on-ramp to the main expressway leading north from the capital.

The clash appeared to be an isolated one, taking place several miles away from the main encampment of thousands of protesters outside the prime minister's offices.

Police Gen. Vichai Sangparpai said up to 30,000 demonstrators were scattered around the city. Police vans at some intersections were abandoned and looted. Protesters used buses to barricade several major roads.

Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, regarded by most of the protesters as their leader, called for a revolution and said he might return from exile to lead it.

Thaksin fled the country last year, before a court convicted him in absentia of violating a conflict of interest law.

"Now that they have tanks on the streets, it is time for the people to come out in revolution. And when it is necessary, I will come back to the country," he said in a telephoned message to followers outside Abhisit's office.

The message was broadcast over a video link projected on giant screens and relayed on supporters' Internet sites.

Political tensions have simmered since Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006 for alleged corruption and abuse of power. He remains popular in the impoverished countryside for his populist policies.

His opponents — many in urban areas — took to the streets last year to help bring down two pro-Thaksin governments, seizing Bangkok's two airports in November for about a week.

The emergency decree bans gatherings of more than five people, forbids news reports that threaten public order and allows the government to call up military troops to quell unrest.

Army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said soldiers and police were being moved to more than 50 key points in the city, including bus and railway stations.

He said the military presence was not a sign of an imminent coup — a common feature of Thai political history.

Abhisit, speaking in a nationally televised address just before midnight, called on the public not to panic and to cooperate to end the crisis.

"In the next three to four days, the government will keep working to return peace and order to the country," he said.

Protests were also reported in several provinces of northern and northeastern Thailand. The protests could prompt the military to intervene — a high possibility in a country that has experienced 18 military coups since the 1930s.

In an apparent attempt to dispel speculation of a breakdown in the security chain of command, Abhisit was flanked by Cabinet members and top military and police officers during the address.

"They have tried to spread the rumor that there is no unity in the operation of (security) officials," he said. "We will try to continuously communicate correct information to the public."

His government suffered a major humiliation Saturday when it failed to stop hundreds of demonstrators from storming the venue of a 16-nation Asian summit, forcing its cancellation and the evacuation of the leaders by helicopter and boat.

There were signs Sunday that the government might again not be able to contain the protesters.

Demonstrators swarmed over two armored personnel carriers outside a luxury shopping mall, waving flags in celebration. An old lady atop one of the vehicles screamed "Democracy!"

Outside the Interior Ministry, a mob attacked Abhisit's car with poles, a ladder and flower pots as it slowly made its escape. At least six people were injured, including two security guards for Abhisit. Police in riot gear did nothing.

"The government can't do anything," said Lada Yingmanee, a 37-year-old protester. "We will show them what tens of thousands of unarmed civilians can do. The people will finally rule our beloved Thailand."

Demonstrators from the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship say Abhisit's four-month-old government took power illegitimately and want new elections. They also accuse the country's elite — the military, judiciary and other unelected officials — of undermining democracy by interfering in politics.

Parliament appointed Abhisit in December after a court ordered the removal of the previous pro-Thaksin government for election fraud, sparking Thaksin supporters to take to the streets. Their numbers grew to 100,000 in Bangkok last week.

Cabrera takes home Masters title with playoff victory

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods brought back the roars on a Sunday at Augusta National. But it wasn't enough to win another green jacket for golf's two biggest stars.

Instead, it was Angel Cabrera grabbing the headlines as the winner of the The Masters in a three-man playoff with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.

The sudden-death format started at the 18th hole with Perry and Cabrera making par. Campbell was eliminated when he missed a short par putt that lipped the cup.

The remaining two men headed to No. 10 with one destined to win their first green jacket. Perry's second shot went left and missed the green. He was unable to make par, leaving Cabrera two putts for his second major title. He won the U.S. Open in 2007.

Perry, who would have become the oldest winner in Masters history at age 48, and Cabrera went into Sunday tied for the lead at 11-under 205, seven strokes ahead of a group including Woods and Mickelson.

Mickelson didn't take long to cut into the deficit, posting birdies on six of his first eight holes to move within one shot of the lead. His front nine of 30 tied the tournament record set by three others in Masters history.

His charge was briefly halted when his tee shot on the 12th hole found the water and he made double bogey. Birdies on No. 13 and No. 15 righted him before a bogey on the final hole put him in the clubhouse with a 5-under 67 and four shots off the lead.

Woods had a start that was less spectacular, but he still kept pace with eagle on No. 8 to go with four birdies. But he slumped at the end with consecutive bogeys to finish one behind Mickelson with a 68.

While patrons followed the star-studded grouping, Perry methodically earned a two-shot lead with three birdies and 13 pars through 16 holes. But like Woods, he made consecutive bogeys on the final two holes and ended knotted with Campbell and Cabrera at 12 under.

This was the fourth straight round played in warm, sunny conditions. The course could be there for the taking, especially with the greens still a bit soft after severe overnight storms swept through Georgia following the second round.

The atmosphere was electric, the roars returning to Augusta after some lackluster finishes in recent years.

Mickelson, playing with Woods in front of a gallery that was 10-deep in places, provided many of the thrills with his dazzling play on the front side. He was trying to pull off one of the greatest final-day comebacks in major championship history and add another Masters title to the ones he captured in 2004 and '06.

Mickelson pulled off a brilliant hook around the trees for a tap-in birdie at No. 7, his best shot of many, and his par at the ninth was nearly as good. He drove deep into the pines right of the fairway, and his escape wound up in the deep bunker fronting the left side of the green. He blasted out to about 5 feet above the flag and sank the slippery putt for a brilliant 4.

Needing only 30 strokes to cover the first nine holes, Mickelson tied the front-nine mark set by Johnny Miller in 1975 and equaled by Greg Norman in 1988 and K.J. Choi in 2004.

Teeing off about an hour ahead of the leaders, Mickelson and Woods were both hoping to win a major for the first time coming from behind on the final round.

Mickelson was the first to arrive at the No. 1 tee. Woods strolled up next, the two rivals greeting each other with a firm handshake and a bit of a staredown.

Perhaps a little too pumped up, they badly hooked their opening tee shots — Mickelson's going right, Woods' sailing left — but each managed to escape with a par. Woods' ball actually ended up between the eighth and ninth fairways, ricocheting off a pine tree. Lefty wound up in the trees right of the fairway.

Mickelson somehow reached the green with his second shot, badly misread a birdie putt and had to make a testy 3-footer to save par. Woods' blocked his second shot, winding up short and right of the green, but a deft touch with the wedge left him a tap-in for par.

More early fireworks were provided by Steve Flesch, who started the day eight strokes back and needing the greatest final-round comeback in Masters history to win.

The left-hander holed out from the fairway for an eagle at par-5 second, then rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the third hole, the shortest of the par-4s, to quickly slice three strokes off his deficit. But he couldn't keep it going, making the turn five strokes back.

Woods and Mickelson were playing together in the final round at Augusta for the second time. In 2001, Woods went to the final round with a one-stroke lead over Lefty and wrapped up an unprecedented fourth straight major title — the Tiger Slam — with a 68. Mickelson shot 70 and settled for third, three strokes behind.

Their other final-round pairing in a major came at the 1997 PGA Championship, where they closed with 75 in a tournament won by Davis Love III.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

U.S. Captain Held by Pirates Is Rescued

The captain of an American cargo ship held hostage by armed Somali pirates was rescued on Sunday by United States Navy personnel, who killed three his captors, government and shipping officials said.

Richard Phillips, 53, had been held for more than four days by the pirates.

“This is truly a very happy Easter for the Phillips family,” said Alison McColl, an official with the ship’s owner, Maersk Line, Limited, who has been representing Captain Phillips’ family. “They are all just so happy and relieved.”

Maersk was told at 1:30 p.m. Sunday that Captain Phillips had been rescued, the company said in a statement. “John Reinhart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maersk Line, Limited, called Captain Phillips’ wife, Andrea, to tell her the good news,” the statement continued. “The crew of the Maersk Alabama was jubilant when they received word.”

Captain Phillips was rescued and placed aboard the United States Navy destroyer Bainbridge, CNN reported. He was then flown by helicopter to another Navy ship, and has contacted his family and received a routine medical examination.

“Maersk Line, Limited is deeply grateful to the Navy, the F.B.I. and so many others for their tireless efforts to secure Richard’s freedom,” the company said.”

Only three pirates were in the motorized lifeboat where Mr. Phillips was being held because one had surrendered early this morning, according to a Kenyan maritime official who had been monitoring the situation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Phillips was being held in a covered part at the back of the lifeboat, the official said, and one pirate typically stayed with him under cover. The lifeboat had gotten as close as 20 miles to shore, drifting after running out of fuel, off Gara’ad, Somalia.

On Saturday night, the Navy fired warning shots at the lifeboat, followed by a brief exchange of fire, the official said. Hours afterward, one pirate who was either injured or scared jumped off the boat and surrendered to Navy personnel, the Kenyan official said.

Around 7 p.m. Somali time, just after dark, U.S. Navy personnel opened fire, killing all three pirates, the official said.

The Justice Department will be reviewing evidence to decide whether charges will be brought against the surviving pirate, a Justice Department official told CNN.

In Underhill, Vt., Captain Phillips’ hometown, Ms. McColl said that Andrea Phillips had talked on the phone with her husband since his rescue.

Minutes before Ms. McColl made her statement, a car pulled up to the house and three youngsters jumped out and ran into the house in jubilation.

Mr. Reinhart, Maersk’s president, will hold a media briefing in Norfolk, Va., later on Sunday.

The pirates — demanding $2 million in ransom — seized Mr. Phillips on Wednesday and escaped the cargo ship in a motorized lifeboat.

A standoff between the pirates and the United States Navy then ensued until Saturday when negotiations between American officials and the pirates broke down, according to Somali officials, after the Americans insisted that the pirates be arrested and a group of elders representing the pirates refused.

The negotiations broke down hours after the pirates fired on a small United States Navy vessel that had tried to approach the lifeboat not long after sunrise Saturday in the Indian Ocean.

The cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, a 17,000-ton cargo vessel, pulled into port at 8:30 Saturday evening in Mombasa, Kenya, with its 19 remaining American crew members.

When the crew members heard that their captain had been freed, they placed an American flag over the rail of the top of the ship. They whistled and pumped their fists in the air, The Associated Press reported.

In Somalia, Abdirahman Muhammad Faroole, president of the Puntland region, where some of the pirates were thought to be from, said that on Sunday afternoon, American officials whom he’d been talking to throughout the crisis abruptly told him to stop pursuing negotiations with tribal elders affiliated with the pirates. Mr. Faroole was told the Americans “had another action,” and said it was no longer necessary for him to work with the elders, he said.

More than 250 hostages are being held by various Somalian pirate groups, including the 16 crew members of an Italian tugboat captured on Saturday.

One pirate named Ali, in Galkaiyo, Somalia, said the American Navy rescue won’t discourage other Somali pirate groups at all.

“As long as there is no just government in Somalia, we will still be the coast guard,” he said, adding: “If we get an American, we will take revenge.”

Reporting was contributed by Serge F. Kovaleski from Underhill, Vt.; Mark Mazzetti from Washington; and employees of The New York Times from Somalia.

Miley and Hannah team up for $34M opening weekend

Miley Cyrus and alter-ego Hannah Montana have double-teamed their way to another No. 1 box office debut.

Walt Disney's "Hannah Montana: The Movie" opened with $34 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. That followed Cyrus' first-place premiere last year with her 3-D concert film.

The movie is a big-screen installment of the Disney Channel series about an ordinary teen living a double life as pop star Hannah.

"Hannah Montana" drew $17.3 million on Friday for the biggest opening day ever for a G-rated live-action movie.

While girls 12 and younger and their moms made up most of the audience, "Hannah Montana" also attracted a solid crowd of teenage girls, fans reaching the age when they might be outgrowing the show, said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney's motion-picture group.

"Miley's audience stayed with her," Zoradi said. "Those that enjoyed the show on TV and maybe have become young teens themselves came back for the movie."

The previous weekend's box office champ, "Fast & Furious," fell to second place with $28.8 million. The street-racing thriller raised its domestic take to $118 million, and distributor Universal said its worldwide total has topped $200 million.

Seth Rogen's "Observe and Report" opened at No. 4 with $11.1 million, a fair but unremarkable debut for the Warner Bros. comedy about an emotionally unstable mall cop trying to catch a flasher and gain entry to the police academy.

It was a slightly better opening for Rogen than last fall's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" ($10.1 million) but far below the $20 million and $30 million debuts of his previous comedies "Knocked Up" and "Pineapple Express."

"Observe and Report" was a tougher sell, with Rogen dropping his lovable teddy-bear persona to take on an unsympathetic character.

"This was a little bit darker," said Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager for Warner Bros. "A little older, and a little bit more big city."

The weekend's other new wide release, 20th Century Fox's fantasy adventure "Dragonball: Evolution," debuted at No. 8 with $4.7 million.

Hollywood extended its box office hot streak as overall receipts totaled about $142 million, up 50 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Prom Night" led with $20.8 million.

Revenues this year are at $2.76 billion, up 16.7 percent from 2008's, according to box office tracker Media By Numbers. Accounting for 2009's higher ticket prices, movie attendance is running 15 percent ahead of last year's.

At just 16, Cyrus already has an enviable box office history as she moves from TV to the big screen. "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" put in a $31.1 million debut, while her animated comedy "Bolt" opened with $26.2 million last fall and became a $100 million hit.

"Her average opening weekend is around $30 million," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. "That's a pretty good track record for a 16-year-old. Her opening-weekend average rivals stars twice her age."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Hannah Montana: The Movie," $34 million.

2. "Fast & Furious," $28.8 million.

3. "Monsters vs. Aliens," $22.6 million.

4. "Observe and Report," $11.1 million.

5. "Knowing," $6.7 million.

6. "I Love You, Man," $6.4 million.

7. "The Haunting in Connecticut," $5.7 million.

8. "Dragonball: Evolution," $4.7 million.

9. "Adventureland," $3.4 million.

10. "Duplicity," $3 million.