Thursday's intriguing people
December 16th, 2010
02:02 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Grace Mugabe

The first lady of Zimbabwe has filed a defamation suit demanding $15 million from a newspaper that quoted a 2008 diplomatic cable alleging she profited from the illegal diamond trade.

The Standard, a Harare-based Sunday newspaper, this week quoted WikiLeaks-released U.S. cables saying rumors that Mugabe and Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor, were profiting off of the diamonds are true.

In short, the paper alleged the cables show that Gono made thousands of dollars each month off diamond dealing and funneled money to Mugabe, her sister-in-law and members of Zimbabwe’s ruling party.

“The diamonds that are sold to regime members and elites are sold for freshly printed Zimbabwean notes issued by the (Reserve Bank),” The Standard quoted British mining executive Andrew Cranswick as saying in a 2008 document.

According to Britain’s The Guardian, the Marange district of Zimbabwe has been the “scene of a frenzied diamond rush in recent years.”

In court papers, Mugabe called the allegations printed in The Standard false and malicious and said they damaged her credibility, Al-Jazeera reported.

“Whatever it prints is regarded as gospel truth by those people in Zimbabwe and abroad,” the network quoted court documents as saying.

Mugabe, in the past, has been the subject of media reports questioning her lavish tastes as first lady of a country where inflation has soared and a majority of citizens live below the poverty line.

'Java' Joel Murphy

The Cleveland radio DJ has edited Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” to omit a word deemed highly offensive in the city.

No, it’s not one of the words the Federal Communications Commission deems inappropriate for radio. It’s not about drugs or sex. It’s not a racial epithet.

The word? LeBron.

In the song featuring Alicia Keys on piano and the hook, Hova makes reference to a Young Jeezy lyric, reportedly about the price of cocaine: “If Jeezy’s payin’ LeBron, I’m paying Dwyane Wade.” (Supposedly, the players’ jersey numbers correspond with the price of a kilo.)

Now, when the song is broadcast on WAKS 96.5 FM, the Cavaliers-turned-Heat forward’s name is indecipherable. Murphy explained his rationale to Waiting For Next Year, an Ohio sports blog.

“I was playing the song and realized that the word LeBron is as offensive to some people as the ‘Seven Words You Can’t Say On The Radio,’ ” he said. “Anytime one of those words shows up in a song, we either bleep it, cut it out completely or obscure it by flipping it backwards. So, I suggested to our programming (department) that we should treat the name LeBron similarly.”

The NBA blog at called the edit creative and said it would consider a similar policy. The sports blog, Deadspin, had fun as well, filing its post during Wednesday’s Heat-Cavaliers game.

“The Heat currently hold a slim lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Miami tonight. L***** has 21 points,” Deadspin joked.

John David Duty

The convicted murderer is scheduled to be executed Thursday using a drug typically reserved for animal euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, The Oklahoman reported.

The newspaper reported that a federal judge OK’d the use of the substitute drug, pentobarbital, after prison officials complained about a shortage of sodium thiopental, used in the first phase of Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal cocktail.

According to NPR, attorneys for Duty and death row inmate Jeffrey Matthews filed several complaints about the plan. Among them, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved pentobarbital, and it is not an “ultra-short-acting barbiturate as the new law requires.”

KRMG talk radio in Tulsa reported that Oklahoma would be the first to use the drug, barring a last-minute stay.

Duty’s last appeal was denied in October. He was first imprisoned in 1978 after convictions of rape, robbery and shooting with intent to kill, according to The Express-Star in Grady County, Oklahoma, where Duty is on death row.

In December 2001, Duty strangled his 22-year-old cellmate, the paper reported, adding that Duty subsequently wrote the district attorney requesting the death penalty.

In a letter to his mother written shortly after the strangulation, Duty boasted about the killing, saying, “I told him I wanted to use him as a hostage. … (H)e went right for it, thinking he was gonna get some smokes out of the deal,” according to The Express-Star.

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. banasy

    And how is the OK state doing that, wow? Please enlighten me.

    December 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wow

    Basany – Whether or not it's "legitimized" by government, murder is still murder

    December 16, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jimmy

    Clevland Is A Mess Snorille'h healub

    December 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cavs fan

    I actually laughed when I first heard Java Joel's editing. As an Ohioan and a Cavs fan, I was very offended not by L*****'s decision to leave us but by how he did it. He didn't even tell his own team or the managers face-to-face that he was leaving!! Instead he told the world in a big TV special. He also kept us hanging for months as to his future, which destroyed our chances for getting any good draft picks this season to replace him. The Cavs mgmt. left the entire season open-ended waiting on his lame a** and he didn't even give a hint that they might want to look for a replacement star forward. So it's not the fact that he left that made us mad, it's his complete disrespect for the city and the team who gave him everything for 7 years. He humiliated us on national TV and made them scramble to come up with a viable team this season.

    I am still a Cavs fan but I think we would have a better team if we had been given ample warning and time to properly rebuild our team. Go Cavs!

    December 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DanteX

    This just goes to show that people from Cleveland REALLY ARE just as DUMB and IMMATURE as I suspected them to be when I was living in Detroit and used to go to Cleveland to visit.

    LeBron James -just as ANY other person has the right to do so- decided to make a move based upon what he perceived in HIS BEST INTERESTS. The claims that LeBron James "....made the [City of Cleveland] and the [Cavaliers] 'scramble' to [come-up] with a 'viable' team this season...." sounds as ludicrous as it does STUPID and it speaks volumes as EXACTLY why LeBron James decided to leave that City – One person does NOT a TEAM make.

    This just goes to show that the so-called "sports fans" in the City of Cleveland are nothing but a bunch of PATHETIC SORE LOSERS.

    LeBron James has a life and has MOVED-ON IN LIFE – Perhaps the people in the City of Cleveland should learn to do the same.

    December 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    It's more than sports to Ohioans. With so many shrinking cities like Toledo, Dayton, Cincy, Lima, and Akron, we have nothing really to motivate us and keep us going. The Browns, Indians, and Cavs are what make Cleveland live and die. You can't really understand unless you are from the area.

    Regarding the DJ-who cares? This isn't news. Next..

    It is the manner in which he made "The Decision" that ticks people off. By doing that, he showed such arrogance, ignorance, and an ego the size of the globe. This isn't the norm, and he had to stab us in the heart with his announcement. Besides, he's from Akron. He was the NE Ohio boy that we all adored and nearly worshipped because he made Cleveland sports relevant again. He had AMAZINGLY STRONG ties to the area, and would have been a legend and god in Cleveland if he would have stayed. Instead, he will forever be remembered as the traitor, and the one who went to Dwayne Wade's city. Miami will never view LeBron like Cleveland would have if he would have stayed. He would never have regretted staying in Cleveland.

    December 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigGameJames

      Hmmmm. A legend or a god in sub-zero temperatures in a sports town that sucked waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before LeBron was even thought of or 75-degree avg temp in a city where bikinis are considered work uniforms and a REAL chance at a championship. Miami, please!!!

      December 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BigGameJames

    I bet Elway gets a kick out of this.

    December 16, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    It's funny how people hop the bandwagon. Good for you BigGameJames. My hopes of a Celtics-Lakers final again will come true again this year! Miami is a bust

    December 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. really?

    No one interesting here. Let's move on to Friday's Intriguing person.

    December 17, 2010 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
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