Judge rules on Beverly gate
The multimillion-dollar battle between the haves and the have-even-mores over who gets to use access gates to enter their celebrity-studded enclave is over — for now. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled that “guests and invitees” of South Beverly Park can now use the gates at North Beverly Park, ending an almost three-year dispute. The quarrel erupted in 2006 when residents of 64-home North Beverly Park, who include Denzel Washington, Reba McEntire, Eddie Murphy and media moguls Haim Saban and Sumner Redstone, barred nannies, gardeners and others traveling to adjoining South Beverly Park from using the northern gates, citing security costs and concerns. That meant visitors had to detour 11km to get to the southern 16 homes. The southerners, including Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson and producer Richard Zanuck, sued, saying the policy was arbitrary, capricious and “downright unneighborly.”
Toronto hit by power outage
A utility company was working on Friday to restore power to a residential district near downtown Toronto after an outage left about 100,000 people without electricity during a bitter cold wave. Toronto Hydro spokesman Paul Reesor said on Friday afternoon that it had restored power to about half of the area after a broken water main flooded a power station on Thursday night. The outage left many scrambling for extra blankets to keep warm as overnight temperatures plummeted to minus 20ºC.
Governor goes barefoot
It’s tough, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says, to sound like a chief executive when you’re standing before a gaggle of reporters in your bare feet. At a news conference on Friday, he answered questions about the budget and other important matters — while standing in front of a pile of shoes with his feet au naturel. The point was to raise awareness of Samaritan’s Feet, a group that collects new shoes for needy people around the world. The group aims to collect 1 million pairs of shoes this year.
Man arrested over threat
A Wisconsin man was arrested on Friday in Mississippi after authorities said he threatened on the Internet to kill US president-elect Barack Obama. Steven Joseph Christopher, 42, was taken into custody by the Secret Service in Brookhaven, Mississippi, and charged with threatening to assassinate Obama for what he claimed was “the country’s own good,” federal prosecutors said. “Threats against the president-elect will be taken very seriously,” said Dunn Lampton, US attorney for the southern district of Mississippi. “Use of Internet chat rooms to express those threats is as much a crime as uttering the words. Threats of this nature will be pursued swiftly and vigorously.” An affidavit from Secret Service Special Agent Kelly Adcox quotes Christopher as saying he has nothing personal against Obama and that he’s not a racist.
Court acquits ex-president
The Supreme Court acquitted ex-president Arnoldo Aleman of embezzling US$8 million in public money, freeing him of a 20-year sentence he was serving under guard in his lavish hacienda. Judges overturned the 2003 ruling against Aleman, despite the ratification of his sentence by an appeals court in 2007. Judge Sergio Cuarezma said the court did not find proof of fraud, money laundering and embezzlement by Aleman, a right-wing leader, during his 1997 to 2002 term.