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. john gerwig

    Cleveland grow up and let it go, why don't you spend this much energy on job creation and make it a thriving economical city that good players of all sports will want to go to.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • davetharave

      The drama around this has been way out of proportion to it's actuall effect on people and their lives.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who cares

      The DJ's just trying to make a name for himself. Believe me, we're too busy shoveling snow to think about that jacka$$

      December 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Java Joel

      We did NOT expect this coverage. We did it as a sort of "in" joke. The listeners picked up on it, contacted and they, in turn, contacted US. K? From there, it spread quickly. Wasn't meant to be some crazy, wacky, zany radio stunt. We've NEVER even mentioned it on the air. Nor did we do it to take some "Serious Stand" against "norbeL". We just did it as a goof. We honestly can't believe it's gotten this much exposure. Lighten up & Happy Holidays!

      December 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDJ

      Ironically, most thriving cities are not "economical."

      Just sayin'.

      December 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    People of Zim.,
    If she is a crook.have her indicted if possible and put her on trial.Good luck with that!

    December 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      If they tried they would disappear like all honest Zimbabweans do.

      December 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. D

    Agreed. Cleveland needs to grow up. He did what he thought would be best for his career. He was with the cavs for seven seasons and did not win a championship, so if I were him I'd do the same thing. Cleveland feels betrayed.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • davetharave

      Betrayed by sports .. sad but true.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    John David Duty is an animal, and I don't see a problem with using the same drugs that they use in humane euthanasia of animals. It's the same drug Doctors use for Doctor-assisted suicides; this is just going to be a State-assisted execution. There's going to be a doctor there, correct? He asked for the death penalty, and he got his request granted. So where's the dilemma?

    December 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 2slick

    John, i completely agree with you.
    Cleveland...get a grip!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Cleveland. Go hard after 'Melo and move on from Lebron.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry


      December 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Julie

    People, calm down on making rude comments about Clevelanders. Just because the media is making a huge deal about LeBron, that does not mean the people of Cleveland care anymore. Most people around NE Ohio are over it. Don't blame them because the media won't let it go. And Java Joel's opinion of LeBron is not representative of all Clevelanders.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kraznodar

    Wait, Ms. Mugabe had credibility??? When? And why were they dumb enough to take Zimbabwe money instead of some currency worth more than toilet paper?

    December 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry

    It's ok to broadcast misogynistic, drug culture glorifying, poverty perpetuating, violence laden garbage across the airwaves, but heaven forbid you mention LeBron. That would be offensive.

    Jagma's are funny that way.

    December 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    What's a Jagma?

    December 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jayman419

    I can't help thinking of the countless times I've heard something reported in the media of my home country and found myself questioning it.

    Thankfully the Zimbabwe newspaper has been there with all the news the CIO deems fit to print.

    December 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dwighthuth

    There is no longer any Cleveland Ohio person named King James, Lebron James or any other combination thereof.

    The only simularity between Lebron James and Ohio is that he is too the Cavs what Art Model was to the Browns and Ohio.

    December 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ?????

    joe- I'm with you. What's a Jagma? Off-brand Jaguar?

    December 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. canuck

    LeBron is smart for leaving Cleveland.

    December 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. wow

    So now the state of Oklahoma is showing it is no better than the man it is about to murder

    December 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nostradufus

      Murder is what he committed. What the legal system is providing is called 'crime and punishment'. You should try and learn the difference...then you wouldn't be spouting off your stupidity on the internet. Personally I'd like to see them cut his balls off and let him bleed to death, but that's just me.

      December 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
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