Update: How you can help struggling family
Deborah Walker, center, shares a home with her son, David, 16, and mother, Katherine Woodruff, 82.
October 6th, 2011
03:34 PM ET

Update: How you can help struggling family

Editor's note: After this item first appeared in late August, many readers offered to assist the Walker family in various ways. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Diego is now connecting the family with sources of assistance. If you would like to contribute, please send checks, gift cards (Albertsons, Target, Walmart) or goods to: Case Management Services, Catholic Charities of San Diego, 349 Cedar St. Room 101, San Diego, CA 92101; include Deborah Walker's name in a note or on the check's memo line. Secure online donations also may be made through the Catholic Charities website. Clothing donations: David wears 38/34 pants, XL shirts and size 13 shoes.

[Original post, published August 24, 2011] Widowed mother Deborah Anne Walker was struggling financially when the economy turned sour in the fall of 2008. She is disabled and couldn't afford school clothes for her 13-year-old son, so she ended up having him wear her jeans, and other children teased him.

"You just have to keep thinking, 'OK, what is the one thing we have left that we can live without the most?' " she told CNN in September 2008. " ... I don't understand why, every time there is a crisis, it's the poor, disabled, children and seniors who end up having to pay for it."

Some kindhearted CNN.com users and members of her church came through with help for the family that fall, but the underlying economic conditions didn't improve, and Walker's situation may be even more dire now than it was then.

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Ex-NBA bad boy Ron Artest wants to be known as Metta World Peace
If a Los Angeles County court approves a name-change request, the back of this jersey will read "World Peace" next year.
June 24th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

Ex-NBA bad boy Ron Artest wants to be known as Metta World Peace

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Ahmad Rashad did it for religious reasons. Chad Ochocinco did it because he's funny, loves attention and doesn't know Spanish too well. Baseball cards companies in the '80s co-opted Rock Raines' and Doc Gooden's nicknames because, we have to assume, Rock and Doc are way cooler names than Tim and Dwight.

Then, there's World B. Free, who once prompted Herb Smith - the cat who correctly thought Dr. J was a better name than Julius Erving - to call out "All-World!" after the Brooklyn baller pulled off a 360-degree dunk ... in junior high. Free would later say he also thought highly of world liberation.

But why would NBA-bad-boy-turned-rapper-model-citizen Ron Artest want to change his name? The answer: Why does Artest do anything?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers forward has filed paperwork in Los Angeles County Superior Court to dispense with his given name, Ronald William Artest Jr., and adopt the name Metta World Peace. The back of his jersey, then, would read, "World Peace."

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Thursday's intriguing people
Petra Ecclestone, 22, has reportedly bought a 123-room mansion, raising a question among observers: Why?
June 23rd, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Petra Ecclestone

Perhaps The Daily Beast's source put it best: "Why would a 22-year-old want this?" The heiress is rumored to have purchased the California mansion of the late Aaron Spelling, which was listed for $150 million. Ecclestone - known as the “Paris Hilton of Britain” - is the youngest daughter of Formula One racing CEO Bernie Ecclestone, who has a net worth of $4.2 billion. The sale of the Spelling home reportedly went for $85 million in cash, raising questions as to why the young Ecclestone would want a 123-room house that design experts say needs updated interiors, according to The Daily Beast. One theory is that the house is for one of her father’s wealthy friends. A real-estate source told The Daily Beast, “It doesn’t make sense. It will take years of painstaking construction, designing, and decorating to get the house right.” FULL POST

Monday's intriguing people
June 20th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Rory McIlroy

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland became the U.S. Open's second youngest champion since World War II when he ran away from the competition over the weekend, posting the lowest four-day total in U.S. Open history, besting Tiger Woods' record set in 2000.

McIlroy's feat is even more impressive after he had a well-documented collapse on the final day of the Masters, costing him the coveted green jacket, which is given to the winner of the famed golf tournament. As one of the games biggest tweeters, McIlroy was noticeably absent the week leading up to the U.S. Open. However, on Sunday, he tweeted a photo of the U.S. Open trophy as well as two words that sum up the weekend: #winning #bounceback.

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Friday's intriguing people
Lupe Fiasco will appear on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" after host Bill O'Reilly called the rapper a "pinhead."
June 17th, 2011
11:40 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Lupe Fiasco

The Chicago rapper is reportedly appearing on an episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" to discuss his assertion that President Barack Obama is "the biggest terrorist." Fiasco was widely panned for making the remark during a CBS interview and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly joined the choir of critics this week.

He called the rapper a "pinhead" for the Obama remark and for denouncing the "foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists." O'Reilly further claimed that Fiasco could not defend the remark and that he had refused an invitation to appear on the show. Fiasco quickly set the record straight via Twitter: "Whoa! I got invited to the O'reilly factor and turned it down??? Thats news to me ... would NEVER turn down the opp to push billys buttons!"

Now come reports from BET and others that the rapper will appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" next week. Should be a fascinating chat.

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Thursday's intriguing people
Tim Thomas, 37, says winning the Stanley Cup is "a dream come true."
June 16th, 2011
01:01 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Tim Thomas

The 37-year-old Boston Bruins goal-tender is regarded as a key the component in helping his team achieve last night’s historic Stanley Cup win against the Vancouver Canucks. It has been a long ride for Thomas, who started his first NHL game at 28 and became a regular goalie at 31. At one point, his parents sold their wedding rings to raise money for his hockey career, and a young Tim sold apples door-to-door, according to the Boston Globe.

"Every night, all season long, he always gave us a chance," Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Globe.

The Stanley Cup win is the first for the Bruins in 39 years.

“This is literally a dream come true, just like it is for everyone on this team,’’ Thomas said. “At 37, this might be my only shot to win it.’’

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Wednesday's intriguing people
Two men were arrested with swords and a body bag outside singer Joss Stone's home in England, police told BBC.
June 15th, 2011
11:32 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Joss Stone

Two men have been arrested on suspicion to conspiracy to murder and rob after being arrested near the singer's home in Devon, England, BBC reported. The men were arrested after residents reported a suspicious vehicle in the area, and police told BBC the men had swords, a body bag and plans of Stone's home in their Fiat Punto. It wasn't clear if the singer was home at the time, but Stone said she is "absolutely fine," according to BBC. The 24-year-old Stone is one of the country's wealthiest pop stars. Her first album, 2003's "The Soul Sessions," went multi-platinum when she was a teenager.

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Tuesday's intriguing people
University of Central Florida football player Ereck Plancher died in 2008 after a workout. His parents have sued the school.
June 14th, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Ereck Plancher

The University of Central Florida football player's death is in the spotlight this week in an Orlando courtroom, just 11 floors below where the Casey Anthony trial is under way. Plancher's family filed a wrongful death suit against the school, and jury selection for the trial began Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Plancher, 19, died in March 2008 following an off-season workout that head coach George O'Leary conducted. An autopsy confirmed that Plancher died from complications of a sickle cell trait, and his parents allege the school and its football medical support staff did not properly treat their son, according to the newspaper.

The Sentinel's Mike Bianchi reports the trial's outcome could affect college football programs in the future. He also notes the case is unique because it's going to trial rather than being settled out of court.

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Monday's intriguing people
Dallas Maverick's star Dirk Nowitzki hoists the MVP trophy after his team beat the Miami Heat.
June 13th, 2011
10:04 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Dirk Nowitzki

The Dallas Mavericks star overcame illness and injury during the NBA championship series against the Miami Heat and was named MVP of the series after the Mavs beat the Heat in six games.

The 7-foot German has been the face of the franchise for 13 years, but the championship has always eluded him and the Mavs.

Nowitzki and the Mavs lost to the Heat in the 2006 championship series, and as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote Monday, "He's been the most awkwardly graceful star the sport's ever seen, a testament to a game played far below the rim, and deep within the mind."

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Thursday's intriguing people
Braylon Edwards is reportedly spending about $1 million to put 100 high school graduates through college.
June 9th, 2011
11:09 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Braylon Edwards

The New York Jets wide receiver is picking up the college tuition tabs of 100 Cleveland high school students, according to The Washington Post. Edwards is keeping a promise he made to the students in the “Advance 100” program in 2008, when they were in the eighth grade. The former Cleveland Brown, in an apparent reference to LeBron James, tweeted over the weekend, "As the 2nd most hated man in Clev & a man of my word, today I will honor a promise made to 100 students in Cleveland years ago." Edwards’ arrangement with the students required each to complete 15 hours of community service and maintain a 3.5 GPA, in addition to demonstrating good conduct and avoiding unexcused absences. The students' tuitions are estimated to cost about $1 million.

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Wednesday's intriguing people
The relaunch of Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” will premier June 20 on the Al Gore co-founded Current TV cable network.
June 8th, 2011
11:54 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Keith Olbermann

The former MSNBC anchor has done interviews in anticipation of the relaunch of his news broadcast “Countdown,” which will premier June 20 on the Al Gore co-founded Current TV cable network. The program will broadcast at 8 p.m. ET from Olbermann’s new — and rather Spartan — offices near New York’s Chelsea district.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Olbermann said MSNBC did not decide until halfway through the now infamous, final January 21 broadcast that the anchor would be cut loose from his contract. His staff found out at that time as well.

On Tuesday, Olbermann told Terry Gross of NPR’s “Fresh Air” that he is an opinion journalist. As a result, he said, it was fine for him to make political contributions to three Democratic candidates in 2010. However, he said, he did not make the donations to support their politics, per se, because he doesn’t even vote.

Instead, the money was meant to help the three officials obtain personal security after they’d faced numerous death threats, Olbermann said. Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was one of the recipients. In January, she was shot in the head while making an appearance at a grocery store parking lot.

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Tuesday's intriguing people
Rep. Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, assists Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, during congressional testimony.
June 7th, 2011
11:51 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Huma Abedin

The wife of Rep. Anthony Weiner is a central, and silent, figure since her husband's sexting admission Monday. Many have asked: Will their 11-month-old marriage survive?

The Washington Post column The Reliable Source praised Abedin for not appearing alongside Weiner on Monday as the suffering wife.

Abedin, 34, was born in Michigan, grew up in Saudi Arabia and returned to the United States to attend college, according to the New York Daily News. Her late father, a college professor, was from India and her mother, also a professor, was born in Pakistan.

A headline Tuesday on the ethnic news site New America Media asked, "Will Huma Abedin Remain Weiner's Good South Asian Wife?"

Abedin is a longtime senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, starting out as an intern to the first lady in 1996, according to a 2007 Vogue magazine profile. Abedin and Weiner met during Clinton's 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Daily News said.

Not only did Clinton throw Abedin and Weiner an engagement party, but former President Bill Clinton officiated at their wedding. Abedin is Muslim and Weiner is Jewish.

"Abedin has the energy of a woman in her 20s," Clinton said in the Vogue article, "the confidence of a woman in her 30s, the experience of a woman in her 40s and the grace of a woman in her 50s."

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Thursday's intriguing people
Tareke Brhane, once a refugee, is an international humanitarian worker.
June 2nd, 2011
01:03 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Tareke Brhane

Six years ago, the native of Eritrea survived 10 days crossing the Sahara Desert, a failed trip to Italy by sea, and months in Libyan jails — including time in the notorious Kufra prison — before he finally found refuge in Italy. Today, he works for Save the Children on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, where he and other humanitarian workers have greeted an estimated 30,000 African refugees in the past three months. Brhane recalled his journey from refugee to humanitarian worker to CNN's Ivan Watson.

Richard Covino

The Boston paramedic is a lieutenant with Boston Emergency Medical Services and a full-time firefighter for the Massachusetts Port Authority, a double duty that caused his suspension from his positions. Now, he will head back to work after both agencies reinstated him. Before his April suspensions, Covino was working up to 100 hours a week and earning about $200,000 a year, according to the The Boston Globe. Last year, there were at least five occasions where he was paid for working both jobs at the same time. State officials say that although he has been reinstated to both roles now, Covino is no longer allowed to swap shifts, which made it possible for him to work so many hours.

Joshua Kaufman

An enterprising crime victim from Oakland, California, says he got his stolen laptop back with the help of Tumblr, Twitter and a photo-taking app. The day that his computer was stolen in March, Kaufman says, he told the Oakland Police Department and started tracking his laptop using Hidden, a program that identifies a computer's location and allows owners to secretly take pictures of users. Weeks passed, and Kaufman wasn't satisfied with the slow pace of the police investigation, so to get some attention, he set up an account on the blogging service Tumblr titled "This Guy Has My MacBook." There, he posted pictures of a man using his laptop. Kaufman also began to tweet about his predicament, which attracted media attention. Finally, on Tuesday, Oakland police reportedly told Kaufman they were on their way to apprehend a suspect. Kaufman used Twitter to give a play-by-play of his detective work, at one point tweeting, "ARRESTED! An Oakland police officer just called me to let me know that they arrested the guy in my photos! BOOYA!" Kaufman says he got his laptop back Wednesday.

Monday's intriguing people
FIFA's president Sepp Blatter was cleared of corruption allegations.
May 30th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Sepp Blatter, Jack Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam

The three men are at the center of a corruption scandal involving FIFA, the federation responsible for organizing soccer's World Cup. While at least eight FIFA executives are being investigated for corruption, these three are important because they have roles in the election of FIFA's next president, which is scheduled for Wednesday. Also, they have ties to the controversial 2022 World Cup bid, awarded earlier this year to Qatar.

Bin Hammam, the world soccer governing body official, was suspended Sunday over allegations of corruption. Blatter, 75, has been FIFA's president for the past three terms. Blatter has been cleared of any wrongdoing and is seeking a fourth term. A longtime FIFA power broker from Trinidad and Tobago, Warner was placed on suspension. Click here for more on the scandal.

Jacob Zuma

South Africa's president will meet again with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi on Monday as part of his continued effort to stop the war in Libya. Zuma arrived today and first met with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al Mahmoudi. This is Zuma’s second trip to Libya.

 

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann

Is there room enough for two powerful conservative women to seek the Republican nomination in 2012? Politico's Ben Smith has argued that while the two women are allies, Palin must be pushing Bachmann's buttons. This past week, Bachmann suddenly announced that she will decide whether to seek the GOP nomination in June. Smith suggested that the decision may have been triggered by Palin's roaring entry into Washington this weekend on a Harley Davidson.

Palin has also announced a bus tour through various U.S. cities. During a conference call last week, Bachmann expressed admiration for Palin, but said, "I don't believe that any two candidates are interchangeable. I believe each one of us brings our own unique skill set into this race."

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Friday's intriguing people
Sir Alex Ferguson could become the first coach to win three Champions League titles.
May 27th, 2011
04:09 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Sir Alex Ferguson

The coach of Manchester United leads his team into the biggest soccer match of the year seeking a title of his own greatest coach ever.

In his 25 years in charge of the club, Ferguson has won 12 league titles and countless other domestic trophies. If he leads United to victory Saturday, he will become the first manager to win three Champions League titles, reports CNN's Greg Duke.

The matchup Saturday between Manchester United and favored Barcelona will be played at one of the most famous stadiums in the world, Wembley in London, so the English side may have a edge in fans, but most experts favor the Spanish side on the field.

Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Wilson says Ferguson will have an interesting decision to make with his tactical formation: Does he play the same lineup or opt for the addition of a defensive-minded player?

Not everyone thinks Barcelona is certain to win. Gabriele Marcotti says Manchester United has an advantage at the end of this very long season.

Nathan Bootz

The Ithaca Public Schools superintendent reportedly wants Michigan's governor to put more money into schools.

Maybe the state should make them into prisons, he says in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, originally published in the Gratiot County Herald on May 11.

In part the letter reads: "The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding."

Bootz goes on to write that by providing more funding the state can help keep students out of prison.

The letter apparently was cheered but also booed by some in the state.

State Rep. Tom McMillin, a Republican from Rochester Hills, called the letter “inflammatory rhetoric,” according to the Michigan Capitol Confidential, a news service that "reports on the public officials who seek to limit government, those who do not, and those whose votes are at odds with what they say."

The Michigan Capitol Confidential looked at the budgeting issue a different way, saying that prisoners are in state care 24 hours a day while students spend only eight hours.

"Students cost roughly $6.46 per hour to educate. Prisoners cost $5.92 per hour to house," Tom Gantert wrote.

Jack Scott

The mayor of Cordova, Alabama, has plenty of mad residents. Scott says a city ordinance passed in the 1950s doesn't allow for single-wide trailers as residences, reports say. But many people were displaced after a tornado hit the town April 27, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the trailers as temporary housing.

So while some city bureaus are using trailers for offices, the mayor won't allow FEMA to give out the single wides, according to reports.

ABC 33/30 in Birmingham said it called the mayor to ask why, and he hung up on the reporter.

CNN affiliate WIAT-TV in Birmingham reports that some people have resorted to living in tents.

Luke Smith

The 8-year-old was upset the U.S. flag flying on a pier in Oceanside, California, was damaged, according to CNN affiliate KSWB-TV in San Diego.

"I was actually standing right under this pier at the starting line (of a 5-kilometer race). I looked up at the flag and noticed it was all ripped up and tattered," he told KSWB.

So he wrote the man in charge, according to the station.

"Dear Mr. Mayor,

"During my last visit to the pier, while I was looking around, I saw the American flag at the top of the pole waving in the breeze. I felt proud, then I was sad. The flag was all ripped up and tattered. I think it was disrespectful to our country and the people who fight for it. I would be pleased if you would replace it.

"Thank you, sir, for your attention.

" Your friend, Luke Smith, 8 years old."

Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood said budget cutbacks made it harder for officials in the military town to spot such problems, according to KSWB.

Wood sent Smith a letter of proclamation and had the flag replaced, the TV station reported.


Filed under: Alabama • California • Education • Michigan • Most Intriguing People • Natural Disasters • Soccer • Spain • Sports • United Kingdom
Thursday's intriguing people
Laura Deming, Faheem Zaman and John Burnham put their college graduation on hold to use a grant to start a tech company.
May 26th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Laura Deming, Faheem Zaman and John Burnham

These three students dropped out of college to receive a $100,000 grant and mentorship to start a tech company. They are part of the first group of Thiel Fellows - 24 people under age 20 who have agreed to put their formal education on hold for two years for this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Deming, 17, is developing anti-aging therapies; Zaman, 18, is building mobile payment systems for developing countries; and Burnham, 18, is working on extracting minerals from asteroids and comets. Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor, announced the first group of Thiel Fellows on Wednesday through his Thiel Foundation. He says the fellowship addresses two of the country's most pressing problems: a bubble in higher education and a dearth of Americans developing breakthrough technologies.

"We're not saying that everybody should drop out of college," Thiel told The New York Times.

The fellows can always go back to school. The problem, he said, is that "in our society, the default assumption is that everybody has to go to college."

"I believe you have a bubble whenever you have something that's overvalued and intensely believed," Thiel said. "In education, you have this clear price escalation without incredible improvement in the product. At the same time, you have this incredible intensity of belief that this is what people have to do. In that way, it seems very similar in some ways to the housing bubble and the tech bubble."

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Wednesday's intriguing people
May 25th, 2011
10:31 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Dr. Lawrence Egbert

Egbert, an 83-year-old anesthesiologist, is being called "The New Doctor Death" by Newsweek. Egbert told The Baltimore Sun he's helped in the deaths of over 300 patients with illnesses ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's.

Egbert, who runs a right-to-die nonprofit called Final Exit Network, faces charges in Georgia, according to The Daily Beast, and was just acquitted in Phoenix in a case involving the death of a woman.

"I never thought of myself as having done anything that I should feel guilty of," he told the Sun. "I don't feel any conflict about helping someone stop suffering."

The group says it will help those who "have an incurable condition which causes intolerable suffering," according to its website . The group says there is a full and rigorous evaluation to decide whether to approve an applicant.  When a person is accepted, FEN assigns “exit guides” who offer advice on how to "hasten death," though physically they will not do anything to help.

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Tuesday's intriguing people
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has received a lot of praise as well as criticism for his controversial plan to overhaul Medicare.
May 24th, 2011
01:04 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Paul Ryan

It's a big week for the House Budget Committee chairman, who is proposing a massive overhaul of the Medicare program. On one hand, he's getting such support among the GOP that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has suggested the Wisconsinite make a run in the 2012 presidential campaign. But Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is raining on his fellow Republican's parade. Brown authored a column on Politico this week called "Why I Don't Back Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan."

The House GOP budget, authored by Ryan, includes a plan to change Medicare from a program that directly pays for senior citizens' health care to one that would provide subsidies for people to purchase coverage from private plans.

Sharon Duncan

The grandmother of two graduating seniors from Joplin High School saw the front of the Joplin, Missouri, Walmart store destroyed as she and her granddaughters rode out the storm in her car in the parking lot, according to The Joplin Globe. After attending Sunday's graduation of sisters Melinda and Sabrina Duncan, Sharon Duncan was hoping to buy a cake at Walmart for the celebration, but the tornado struck, the paper said.

“There was hail, tree limbs and glass,” Sharon told the Globe. “Then we were buried among the other cars, and we had to crawl out through a window.”

The Joplin tornado was the single deadliest twister to hit American soil since the National Weather Service began keeping records 61 years ago. At least 118 people have died, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday.

Victor Whitmill

The tattoo artist sued Warner Bros for copyright infringement but failed to hold up this week's release of  "The Hangover Part II" over a replica of the tattoo he designed for Mike Tyson's face,  Entertainment Weekly reported.

In a scene from the expected summer blockbuster, Ed Helms' character wakes up with a replica of the famous ink job done for the boxer.

“Plaintiff’s failed attempt to enjoin 'H2' in order to try and extract a massive settlement payment from Warner Bros. was highly inappropriate and unwarranted,”  a studio statement said, according to the magazine.

Monday's intriguing people
Mary Hart retired last week after 29 years as the host of the syndicated "Entertainment Tonight."
May 23rd, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Departing TV anchors and hosts

The end of Oprah Winfrey's run as the queen of talk isn't television's only iconic departure. Last week, Mary Hart left  "Entertainment Tonight" after 29 years, and Katie Couric hosted her final broadcast as anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

The week was punctuated by the news that Jim Lehrer, the longtime host of "PBS NewsHour," would leave as well. Next up will be Meredith Vieira's final day on the "Today" show in June. And later this year, Regis Philbin is set to leave "Live," which he has hosted in syndication for nearly 30 years.

The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal noted the best farewells are usually the shortest ones. However, Winfrey's two-day extravaganza, which begins Monday, is an exception because it is a graduation of sorts, he said. Winfrey moves on to her network OWN. Whether her viewers will follow remains to be seen.

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Friday's intriguing people
NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame with the 2006 class.
May 20th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Dick Ebersol

Along with ABC's Roone Arledge, Ebersol has defined the art of network sports coverage. Ebersol transformed the Olympic Games from a distant event into must-see TV that had an impact on all of broadcast journalism.

Thus, Ebersol's abrupt resignation as chairman of NBC Sports is a blow to the modern Olympic movement, said Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times. Ebersol is to the Olympic Games  and athletes "as butter is to bread," Dwyre said.

"What he has done has been a service to athletes globally," Peter Ueberroth, the former U.S. Olympic Committee chairman and head of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, told the Los Angeles paper.

For NBC, the timing is horrible. Ebersol's resignation comes a few weeks before the International Olympic Committee holds a meeting with U.S. networks to decide on broadcast rights for the 2014 and 2016 Games.

Neither Ebersol nor NBC revealed what prompted his resignation, although The New York Times, which first reported the story, said Ebersol, 63, could not agree on a new contract with Comcast, which merged with NBC in January.

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