News Roundup: Broadcasters screen terrorist speeches

Major television stations around the globe continue to broadcast statements from Osama bin Laden despite White House warnings that they may contain encoded messages, Reuters reported. The U.S. administration has pointed out that bin Laden’s message, which was channeled through the Arab satellite news station Al Jazeera, might be trying to tell his followers to launch new attacks in America. For now, stations such as ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC will make editorial judgments if more material comes their way, and will not broadcast them live.

A man sprayed a substance that police later said was a cleaning agent in a suburban Washington subway station Wednesday–this four days after ABC’s Nightline aired a report on biological terrorism, The Associated Press reported. The report, which aired on Oct. 5, examined what might happen if terrorists released anthrax spores into a subway system. Since the show aired, viewers have sent in varied feedback: some are glad the issue was brought up, others worry that the show could provide a blueprint for terrorists.

Fox will run a special edition of I>America’s Most Wanted: A Special Edition: Terrorists on Friday night, at President Bush’s request. The White House and the FBI hope that the show will expose alleged global terrorists, Reuters reported. Fox’s Television Entertainment Group chairman, Sandy Gurshow, was handed the daunting task of producing the episode within 48 hours. The show will feature a list of 22 “most wanted terrorists”; among them is Osama bin Laden.


Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been diagnosed with auto-immune inner ear disease (AIED), which causes less than one percent of all cases of hearing loss, Reuters reported. He is being treated with medication and might undergo surgical treatment if needed. Physicians at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles believe the ailment is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the inner ear and damaging the hearing nerve, but they are confident that with proper treatment Limbaugh will be able to retain some of his hearing.

In Courts

After months of haggling over child support payments, rapper Eminem is now officially divorced. In the divorce decree issued on Friday, Macomb County Circuit Judge Donald G. Miller ordered Eminem to pay $1,000 a week in child support to his ex-wife Kim Mathers, the Detroit Free Press reported. Eminem, 28, and Mathers, 26, will share custody of their 5-year-old daughter Hailie.

In General

British Star Wars devotees have claimed the fictional faith Jedi as their religion and forced it onto the 2002 national census, London’s Daily Express reported. More than 10,000 fans sent out an e-mail campaign convincing the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to give Jedi its own code. In the films, the Jedi Knights are a noble order of protectors unified by their ability to tap into a universal power called “The Force.”

Film directors Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, Raising Arizona), are in negotiations to bring George Clooney and Julia Roberts together in the brothers’ next black comedy, Intolerable Cruelty, Reuters reported. Clooney is in talks to play a Hollywood divorce lawyer who finds himself falling in love with his client’s ex-wife. The Coen brothers are were brought into the project to rewrite the original script by Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone; Ron Howard is attached to direct.

A federal judge has deferred a request made by record giants for a summary judgement regarding their lawsuit against Napster’s copyright infringement, Reuters reported. Some of the issues addressed were the song-swapping service’s ownership, misuse and misconduct under copyright law. In addition, the Recording Industry Association of America has urged companies similar to Napster, such as Music City’s Morpheus, Kazaa and Aimster, to shut down.

A letter written from John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney about the breakup of the Beatles fell short of its $95,700 reserve asking price at Christie’s, the British auction house. The six-page draft, filled with spelling mistakes, deletions and expletives, was finally sold for $88,330 on Oct. 10 after it failed to sell last week. “There was a lot of interest in the letter but you can never guarantee it will sell,” a spokeswoman for the auction house told Reuters.

Christopher Reeve has accepted $2 million in federal funds to establish The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center in Short Hills, N.J., according to AP. The center will include a library, a Web site and referral services for the more than 2 million Americans who are paralyzed.

The Walt Disney Company said Wednesday that its new Platinum Collection DVD of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sold 1 million units in its first day on retail shelves, Reuters reported. Disney has decided to keep its most 10 lucrative movies, including Snow White, Cinderella and The Lion King, off video shelves, saving them for limited-time re-release as special DVDs.