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August 15, 2013

By Laura Olson

Associated Press

 

Actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner urged California lawmakers Tuesday to support legislation that they say would help them better protect their children from the paparazzi that follow them daily.

The stars testified before the Assembly Judiciary Committee regarding SB606, which would impose tougher penalties on photographers who harass celebrities and their children.

It was Berry’s second state Capitol appearance on the measure. The Academy Award-winning actress, who is pregnant, told lawmakers the constant presence of photographers yelling and snapping pictures has made her daughter scared to go to school.

“As mothers, as parents, we don't have the wherewithal or the law in place right now to protect them from this,” Berry said. “What this bill would do is give us our rights back so that we can protect our children.”

The bill from Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, would change the definition of harassment to include photographing or recording a child without the permission of a legal guardian by following the child or guardian’s activities or by lying in wait. It also increases the penalties for people convicted of such behavior.

The bill passed the panel without opposition and now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

Garner, who starred in the ABC series “Alias,” nearly cried describing how paparazzi aggressively follow her and her three young children as she takes them to school and to the pediatrician.

She told the committee that she understood she would make certain sacrifices when she chose a career in acting but that her children have not made the same decision to be in the public spotlight.

“I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing, law-breaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are, all day, every day, to continue to traumatize my kids,” Garner said.

Media organizations are concerned the bill will restrict journalists who are conducting legitimate newsgathering activities.

Joe Berry of the California Broadcasters Association said harassment is already illegal. The legislation “is overly broad and overly reaches in order to rein in these bad actors,” he testified.

De Leon told the committee he believes pending amendments will satisfy some concerns about the bill.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 15, 2013

 

ARIES

A surge in your personal power enables you to slay any dragons that you happen to meet this week. If you keep your attention on your own personal dragons, you’ll be advancing your own best self by knocking out some less than healthy habits. Use the force for good! Soul Affirmation: Shining brightly is something that I can do even in shadows.
Lucky Numbers: 20, 33, 51

 

TAURUS

Here’s a chance to get to the bottom of an issue that’s been bothering you for quite some time. This week you’ll feel objective enough to focus on the situation, and not the person who may unwittingly have caused the situation. Go for it! Soul Affirmation: The enjoyment of good food is high on my agenda this week.
Lucky Numbers: 15, 43, 55

 

GEMINI

Information flows smoothly to and from you this week. You are in your element as communications come and go. You’ll learn much as you listen and observe others. Be easy on yourself this week. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy flirting with new ideas.
Lucky Numbers: 7, 14, 32

 

CANCER

Someone may try to push your buttons this week. Don’t let it get on your nerves. You have the power to focus your attention on positive thoughts and ideas. They will prove much more worthwhile in the long run than a short-term blow-out with an unequal adversary. Soul Affirmation: When I am clear about who I am, the world becomes clearer.
Lucky Numbers: 2, 45, 50

 

LEO

Conclusions can be reached; but don’t jump to them. Things are working out in your best interests. Ignore any negative attitudes and stay focused on your goals and plans. You are winning! Soul Affirmation: My hunches pay all week this week.
Lucky Numbers: 6, 11, 13

 

VIRGO

This is a perfect week for some fun. You know how to have fun and it’s calling you out to play. Say what you need and the rest will follow in perfect order! Have a good time! Soul Affirmation: The search for fun occupies my time. Enjoy!
Lucky Numbers: 1, 19, 33

 

LIBRA

You may receive some news that trouble you, but recognize what you can and can’t do about the situation. As powerful as you are, you are still not required to do everything for everyone. Do what feels most loving. Soul Affirmation: I smile and trust in the powers beyond myself.
Lucky Numbers: 11, 29, 43

 

SCORPIO

Your leadership skills are shining this week, so get out there and glimmer with good vibrations. Others are looking to you for guidance and as a path to follow. Let your journey through the week provide a good model. Soul Affirmation: I let worry fly away.
Lucky Numbers: 15, 16, 39

 

SAGITTARIUS

You are brilliant this week as you gather materials and resources together for an important project. There’s a good probability for wonderful news late in the afternoon. Ride the vibes and be gentle with your own feelings. Soul Affirmation: There are plenty of fish in the sea waiting for me.
Lucky Numbers: 1, 42, 50

 

CAPRICORN

A date or meeting that is unexpectedly cancelled may make someone very unhappy. Recognize that all things work for good, and that a better solution is being provided in the space between what you think you want and what you are getting. Soul Affirmation: This week silence speaks loudest and truest.
Lucky Numbers: 20, 40, 41

 

AQUARIUS

Serenity is yours as you realize you can get what you need. It’s coming and you deserve it! Take a few quiet moments this week to listen to your inner voice. It will give you a powerful hint about what activities you should be pursuing right now. Soul Affirmation: I let positive emotions carry me through the week.
Lucky Numbers: 8, 17, 21

 

PISCES

In all of the hustle and bustle of the week this week, take some time to observe the Now. There’s a great deal to be thankful for! A great idea could come to you when you are out with friends. Soul Affirmation: I celebrate with those around me.
Lucky Numbers: 39, 51, 52

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 15, 2013

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY

Associated Press

 

Michael Jackson's ex-wife broke into tears on Wednesday when she took the witness stand in a civil case and described the singer's fear of pain and reliance on physicians.

Debbie Rowe said the pop star trusted doctors to prescribe pain medication to him, but they sometimes tried to outdo each other while losing sight of Jackson's care.

"Michael had a very low pain tolerance and his fear of pain was incredible," Rowe said. "I think the doctors took advantage of him that way."

She said she was with Jackson when he received treatments from his longtime dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein and from plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Hoefflin.

They would try to out-do each other, with each one prescribing different drugs while trying to persuade Jackson their recommendations were better to manage his pain, she said.

The doctors "were going back and forth the whole time, not caring about him," Rowe told jurors.

Rowe is the mother of the singer's two oldest children, Prince and Paris Jackson. She and the pop star were married from 1996 to 1999. Rowe also worked with Klein beginning in the late 1970s.

Rowe said she told another one of Jackson's doctors, Allan Metzger, that she was concerned that Klein and Hoefflin were giving the singer too many medications.

"The only physician who ever did anything, the only physician who cared for Michael was Allan Metzger," Rowe said, fighting back tears.

Rowe said Metzger arranged for two doctors to give Jackson the anesthetic propofol in Germany in 1997 when he complained that he couldn't sleep during his "HIStory" tour.

On two occasions, the doctors brought medical equipment to Jackson's hotel suite and monitored the singer while he was under the effect of the anesthetic for eight hours. The doctors warned Jackson about the dangers of using propofol, but Rowe said he disregarded the information.

"He was just more worried about not sleeping," she said. Rowe said she would not allow the singer to get similar propofol treatments for sleep issues after the use in Germany.

Jackson died from an overdose of propofol that was administered by another physician in 2009.

Rowe also described efforts to wean Jackson off the painkiller Demerol after he had surgery in 1993 to repair damage to his scalp sustained when he was burned while filming a Pepsi commercial years earlier.

She said Metzger devised a plan to treat Jackson's pain with different medications before he went on a leg of his "Dangerous" tour. Rowe lived with Jackson for three weeks to ensure he stayed on the regimen.

"At that point we were friends," Rowe said. "He wasn't a patient."

She said Jackson knew he couldn't take pain medications forever and needed a strong voice to get him off the drugs. "I'm probably one of the only people who said no to him," Rowe said.

Rowe said the plan to break Jackson's use of Demerol failed when a doctor who accompanied the singer on tour gave him the drug while overseas.

A phone message left at Klein's office was not immediately returned. An email sent to Hoefflin's former practice was returned, stating the plastic surgeon retired five years ago and no longer practiced medicine.

Rowe said Jackson respected doctors immensely because they went to school and vowed to do no harm to patients.

Katherine Jackson claims in her lawsuit that AEG Live failed to properly investigate the doctor later convicted of giving her son an overdose of propofol while he prepared for a series of comeback shows in 2009.

She sat in the front row of the courtroom and leaned forward in her seat during portions of Rowe's testimony.

AEG denies it hired Conrad Murray or bears any responsibility for the singer's death.

Marvin S. Putnam, the company's lead defense attorney, said in opening statements that the case was about Jackson's personal choices and his desire to use propofol as a sleep aid.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 15, 2013

Nicole Evatt

Associated Press

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oprah Winfrey says she’s “sorry” about the media coverage that emerged after she said she experienced racism during a trip to Switzerland.

“I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. I’m really sorry that it got blown up. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I’m sorry that I said it was Switzerland,” Winfrey said Monday night at the Los Angeles premiere of “Lee Daniels: The Butler.”

“I was just referencing it as an example of being in a place where people don’t expect that you would be able to be there,” she continued.

In a recent interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” Winfrey recalled a clerk at an upscale Zurich boutique refusing to show her a handbag. Winfrey said she was told she could not afford the $38,000 purse.

“I’m in a store, and the person doesn’t obviously know that I carry the black card, and so they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am,” said Winfrey, who earned $77 million in the year ending in June, according to Forbes magazine.

“I didn’t have anything that said, ‘I have money.’ I wasn’t wearing a diamond stud. I didn’t have a pocketbook. I didn’t wear Louboutin shoes. I didn’t have anything,” said Winfrey on the red carpet. “You should be able to go in a store looking like whatever you look like and say, ‘I’d like to see this.’ That didn’t happen.”

Swiss tourism officials and the boutique owner apologized for the incident last week, but Winfrey insists there’s no need.

“It’s not an indictment against the country or even that store,” she continued. “It was just one person who didn’t want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag. So no apologies necessary from the country of Switzerland. If somebody makes a mistake in the United States do we apologize in front of the whole country? No!”

“The Butler,” which opens Friday, documents the civil rights movement through the story of a butler who served in the White House for seven presidents.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

August 15, 2013

(AP) — A man who claims he was punched and kicked by a member of Chris Brown’s entourage during a fight at a recording studio sued the R&B singer on Tuesday for assault and battery.

Sha’keir Duarte sued Brown for unspecified damages in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming he suffered a concussion as well as humiliation and mental anguish as a result of the attack.

Brown’s attorney Mark Geragos called the case frivolous and said it amounted to an attempted shakedown.

“This is what gives lawyers and lawsuits a bad name is garbage like this,” Geragos said, adding that he will seek to have the lawsuit dismissed and will countersue Duarte.

Duarte claims he was beaten by a member of Brown’s entourage identified in the suit only as “Hood” during a fight over a parking spot.

The fight at Westlake Recording Studios erupted on Jan. 27 between the entourages of Brown and fellow singer Frank Ocean.

Brown taunted Duarte and threatened that the fight could escalate into a shooting, the lawsuit claims.

Charges were never pursued after Ocean, who said his finger was injured in the fight, stated online that he wouldn’t seek criminal or civil penalties.

The fight started after Brown parked in Ocean”s spot at the studio.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture