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Maria Shriver!
Shanghai Sinking, Elvis Guns,
The Last Maya King, Xena Found,
Abominable Snowman
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Maria Shriver!

Did CA Republicans Elect a Kennedy?
By FLAtRich

Los Angeles October 8, 2003 (eXoNews) - I woke up in Hollywood this morning and laughed.

It occurred to me that the Republican Party of California had just been hoodwinked into electing a Kennedy!

They say there is a woman behind every successful man in politics and Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife comes from the most powerful family of Democrats in American history. She is Schwarzenegger's strongest tie to the political world.

Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger is not just a reporter for Dateline NBC - she's the daughter of Eunice and Sargeant Shriver.

Eunice is a sister of President John Kennedy.

The press hasn't made much of this, but Maria's dad once ran for Vice-President of the United States on the Democratic ticket.

In the Kennedy era, Sargeant Shriver was the very first Director of the Peace Corps and, make no mistake about it, the Shriver family is 100% Democrat.

Sargeant Shriver graduated Yale Law School and was a business associate of Joseph Kennedy, father to John, Bobby, Edward and Eunice. After marrying Eunice, Shriver was business manager for John Kennedy's Presidential campaign.

Five years after his Peace Corps role, Shriver became director of the Office of Economic Opportunity under Lyndon Johnson. He was appointed US Ambassador to France in the late 60s.

Following the withdrawal of Senator Thomas Eagleton in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Sargeant Shriver ran as the Democratic candidate for Vice-President with George McGovern. McGovern and Shriver lost to Nixon and Agnew.

Maria's mom Eunice Shriver is known for her good works in the area of mental health and created the Special Olympics in 1968.

How will the Kennedy family bloodline affect the future of California?

Governor-elect Schwarzenegger ran on a beholding-to-nobody platform but was backed by the California Republican machine. He supports abortion and other crucial liberal issues that make most Republicans cringe. His Lt. Governor was his main opponent from the Democratic Party.

The California First Lady is usually not big news, but in the final televised debate of the recall campaign First Lady Sharon Davis stood in for her husband and got equal time answering questions.

Maybe the power of First Lady in California is about to change. Could Arnold's latest role be a beard for Camelot?

Tune in next week.

Shriver Played Key Role in Husband's Bid

LOS ANGELES October 8, 2003 (AP) - When Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped to the podium for his victory speech, the first person he thanked for helping him ascend to the governor's office was his wife, Maria Shriver.

"I know how many votes I got today because of you," Schwarzenegger said early Wednesday, turning to his wife and kissing her amid chants of "Maria, Maria."

Shriver, a member of America's most famous political family, appeared at several events on the campaign trail to help boost Schwarzenegger's standing among women. She also stood by him in the last week amid allegations that Schwarzenegger groped several women over the years.

"He's one of the most gracious, supportive, open-minded men I have ever met," the TV journalist said at an appearance in September. "I've known him since I was 21 years old, and I know I would not be where I am today in my career, as a woman, without his support."

Shriver, 47, a niece of President Kennedy, has been with NBC since 1986 as an anchor, correspondent and, most recently, as part of "Dateline NBC." She and Schwarzenegger have four children, ages 5 to 13.

NBC is expecting Shriver to return to work after the recall and will talk to her about how her assignments will change following Schwarzenegger's victory.

During the campaign, Shriver has been on an unpaid leave of absence from NBC, where she is a "Dateline NBC" correspondent and substitute anchor on news shows.

Shriver built her career as a hardworking journalist who preferred serious news over fluff.

"She likes to do stories that make a difference," "Dateline NBC" executive producer David Corvo said last month. He cited a report Shriver lobbied to do on women in Minnesota's welfare reform program, a story for which she won a Peabody Award.

Shriver's family may well have influenced Schwarzenegger's socially liberal brand of Republicanism.

Schwarzenegger, 56, has identified himself as a supporter of abortion rights, domestic partnerships for gays and environmental safeguards.

The political odd couple have a home in Los Angeles, a spacious lodge in Sun Valley, Idaho, and a Gulfstream jet to ferry them between the two.

Shriver was 21 and Schwarzenegger was 30 when they met at a 1977 Kennedy family charity tennis tournament, before the Austrian muscleman launched his movie career. The pair found common ground and married in 1986.

Like the Shriver family, Schwarzenegger loves a good prank, Bobby Shriver, Maria's brother, told People magazine.

"That's all you need to know about their relationship right there," he said. "Maria rammed a pie in his face and he fell in love."

Bush on Arnold

Washington October 7, 2003 (eXoNews) - Answering questions after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday before Schwarzenegger won, President Bush made the following remarks about the California recall election and Arnold. (Source: White House Press Office)

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Back in August, you said you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a good governor. We've learned some new things about him. There's an election today. Do you still feel that way?

THE PRESIDENT: I feel like the California people are going to make a wise decision, that they -- they are now in charge of the process. And it looks like there's a pretty active turnout in absentee ballots and people are taking it seriously, and I have no idea how the election is going to turn out.

Q Is he the kind of guy you could work with?

THE PRESIDENT: If he's the governor, I'll work with him, absolutely. He's obviously waged a spirited campaign, he's captured a lot of people's imagination. I haven't been paying that close attention to it, because I've got a job to do here in Washington. But the process is about over, the people of California are going to speak and I look forward to seeing what the results are. I may not stay up for it -- (laughter) -- all night long. I'll be reading your stories first thing in the morning.

Shanghai Sinking!

By Richard Spencer

Beijing October 7, 2003 (Telegraph UK) - Shanghai authorities are to limit the rate at which some of the world's tallest buildings are being built after the sheer weight of the skyscrapers was found to be causing the city to sink into the sea.

The newly revived city, the centre of China's booming economy, is already struggling to shrug off corruption scandals and power shortages associated with the pace of its development.

Now it has been found to have subsided more than an inch last year alone, according to geologists. The average in recent years has been three fifths of an inch. Although most of the blame rests with over-exploitation of underground water supplies, the added weight of too many high rises was also a significant factor, a report by the Shanghai Geological Research Institute found.

Two of the 10 tallest buildings in the world are in the city, which will now decide how to limit the height and number of new buildings, said Jiang Lan, a municipal spokesman.

In little over a decade, Shanghai has shed its image as a stronghold of stultifying communist ideology to become the fastest growing major city in the fastest growing economy in the world.

Its development was ordered by the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who wanted Shanghai to resume its place as the leading entrepot of the east, a position it occupied before the communist takeover, and symbolically to remove the last vestiges of hardline Maoism espoused by the Gang of Four, whose power base was in the city.

A new generation of Shanghai city bosses, many of whom have gone on to occupy the country's highest positions, enthusiastically carried out his orders.

As well as hyperactive manufacturing, shipping and real estate industries, the city now has 3,000 high rise buildings of more than 18 stories.

Among them are the Jin Mao, or Golden Trade, Tower at 1,377 feet and the startling balls-on-sticks of the Pearl TV Tower, which is 1,535 feet high, including its topmost spike.

EPA Favors Pesticide Makers
By John Heilprin
Associated Press

WASHINGTON October 07, 2003 (AP) — The Bush administration is siding with the pesticide industry to make it harder for farmers to sue manufacturers over product labels.

In a change of interpretation, Environmental Protection Agency officials said Monday they believe federal law bars lawsuits against pesticide manufacturers under state laws when a product fails to do what its federally approved label promises.

"Crop damage lawsuits that impose label requirements that are different from the federal label requirements are pre-empted," agency officials said in a statement Monday.

The approach reverses a 1999 position taken by the Clinton administration in a California case, when the EPA said federal law did not prevent walnut farmers with crop damage from suing pesticide makers over labeling that did not warn of the risks of mixing chemicals.

The new position was foreshadowed in a confidential memo from EPA general counsel Robert Fabricant to the agency's acting No. 2 official, Stephen Johnson. It said the agency believes Congress meant for states to help regulate pesticide use but not to prescribe labeling requirements.

Fabricant said the agency's latest approach "should not prove to be a hardship to farmers," partly because EPA has extensive authority to ensure pesticides are effective.

It also is echoed in court papers filed in a Supreme Court case this year by Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who argued federal law bars Texas peanut farmers from suing pesticide makers for crop damage after using a mix the manufacturer recommended.

"This is a total change in the government position, a 180-degree change," said Tom Buis, a vice president for the National Farmers Union, which represents about 300,000 farm families. Buis said, Iit could be troubling because ... the farmers' liability isn't just what they spend on that pesticide but their entire crop."

Douglas Nelson, a spokesman for CropLife America, said his pesticide trade group, which pushed for the position change, believes that "at best the EPA is doing a clarification, not a new policy" to prevent someone from second-guessing what should be on a label.

Erik Olson, a senior attorney with Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, said the policy change reflects "the pesticide industry getting its way with EPA."
Elvis Guns to UK?

By Gideon Long

Liverpool October 7, 2003 (Reuters) - A British museum is facing a battle with the government over its plan to import a collection of handguns once owned by Elvis Presley. The museum wants to display the guns but has to prove it is complying with Britain's tough firearm laws.

The home office says it wants to know more about how the guns will be transported from the United States and how they will be safeguarded at the museum.

The six guns include a World War 2 Colt pistol, one of a set of three owned by Elvis. The King of Rock 'n Roll presented one of the other two to United States President Richard Nixon on a visit to Washington in 1970.

They also include a Golden Beretta pistol which Elvis went to extraordinary lengths to buy.

"Elvis saw it, wanted it but could not persuade the owner to sell it to him," said Jerry Goldman, director of Liverpool's Fingerprints of Elvis museum - home to the largest collection of Elvis memorabilia outside the US.

"Eventually the guy decided to sell his house. So Elvis offered him a good price for the house but made it a condition that the handgun was part of the deal. As usual, Elvis got his way."

Also in the collection is a Derringer pistol which Elvis carried down the side of his boot when on stage, and a Smith & Wesson engraved with Elvis's motto, "taking care of business".

"He was a fanatic for collecting and using guns," Goldman told reporters.

"We've all heard the stories of Elvis sitting watching television and shooting the screen out if he didn't like the program. But he also used to shoot at his cars if they failed to start and he used to shoot at squirrels from the comfort of his toilet seat at his home in Graceland."

Goldman says the US owner of the guns has already agreed to loan them to the Liverpool museum.

"They'll be on the plane as soon as we can get permission from the home office...," he said.

The government has not said how long that will take...

Britain tightened its gun laws following the Dunblane massacre of 1996, when a man broke into a school in Scotland and opened fire on a class full of children, killing 16 of them, along with one teacher and himself.

"The government quite rightly felt the need to rush through legislation after Dunblane but I guess in that process no one took into account this type of usage," Goldman said.

If the museum were to try to import the collection now, he says, it would probably be stopped at customs and sent back to the US.

Presumably it would be marked with the title of one of Elvis's biggest hits - Return To Sender.

Judge Backs Student's Bush 'Terrorist' T-Shirt

DETROIT October 2, 2003 (Reuters) - A federal court judge ruled on Wednesday that a Detroit-area school acted improperly in barring a student anti-war protester from wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of President Bush and the words "International Terrorist."

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in March claiming that the constitutional rights of Bretton Barber were violated a month earlier by Dearborn High School when it ordered him to either wear the T-shirt inside out or go home.

In a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Court Judge Patrick Duggan in Detroit said the school had failed to back its claim that the T-shirt threatened to create a "disturbance or disruption" at Dearborn High.

He also rejected the school's argument that the schoolyard was an inappropriate place for political debate.

"In fact, as (the courts) have emphasized, students benefit when school officials provide an environment where they can openly express their diverging viewpoints and when they learn to tolerate the opinions of others," Duggan wrote in his decision.

Lawyers for the school could not be reached for immediate comment on Duggan's ruling.

But Andrew Nickelhoff, a lawyer who argued the case on behalf of the ACLU, hailed it as "an important civics lesson" for students across the United States.

"This case teaches that the First Amendment protects our right to express our opinions, and that sometimes we must have the courage -- as Brett Barber did -- to defend our rights," Nickelhoff said in a statement.

The Last Maya King

By Stefan Lovgren
National Geographic News

Guatemala October 6, 2003 (National Geographic) - An extensive archaeological excavation has unearthed a lost city that is believed to be one of the crowning jewels in the ancient civilization of the Maya.

For six years, researchers have deciphered hieroglyphics and scrutinized palaces in Guatemala's remote Piedras Negras, near the Mexican border.

The study shows a city that began as an agricultural center as early as 400 B.C. and disintegrated under royal power struggles around 1,400 years later, around the same time the entire Mayan civilization began to collapse.

"We were able to basically write the biography of a city," said Stephen Houston, an archaeologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and one of the lead researchers. "It's a persuasive narrative about how a city grew, how it thrived, and how it died."

Houston's research was partially funded with a grant from the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration.

The cause of the sudden demise of the great Maya society, which once ranged from Mexico's Yucatán peninsula to Honduras, is fiercely debated by Maya experts. This latest research suggests the culture collapsed not from drought, as some experts believe, but from the loss of the royal court.

"The city came to a catastrophic end in about 800 A.D. when the last known king of the site was taken captive by a neighboring kingdom," Houston said. "Once the king and his royal court are gone, the city's reason for existence no longer seems to be there."

Abandoned City

Loggers that came to harvest tropical hardwood discovered Piedras Negras in the 1880s. In the 1930s, archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia began studying the site, but World War II interrupted the research, and for almost 60 years no archaeologist went back.

Continuing the excavations took on added urgency after the Mexican government announced plans to build a dam that would flood part of the site, which is situated along the Usumacinta River.

But before Houston and his team could return to Piedras Negras, they first had to convince Marxist guerrillas, who used the site as a hideout in Guatemala's long-running civil war, to leave. They also had to decide how to reach the site: a five-hour hike through the bush from Mexico or a nine-hour boat ride down some hair-raising Guatemalan rapids—no easy feat for a team bringing in 120 workers.

When the archaeologists finally began their work in 1997, they were amazed at how well-preserved the site was. Still, to the untrained eye, it didn't look like much. While some architecture is still standing, most is in ruins.

"Walking around, a person may not realize he's on a major archaeological site," said Houston.

The Acropolis

The early settlers probably came to Piedras Negras around 400 B.C., before the start of the Maya period, and established farms in the fertile valley. The archaeologists have found ceramics dating back to that time.

The site exploded in size far later, around 400 A.D., when many of the temples were built and the kingship may have been introduced.

A visitor entering from the river would have first seen the red-painted royal palace rising several stories, partly obscured by a haze of burning incense. "You would have smelled the city before coming close to it," Houston said.

But unlike many Maya reconstructions, which depict the cities as shining, well-maintained settlements, Piedras Negras was probably in a constant state of disrepair. It went through two major construction phases. First, mortuary pyramids containing the tombs of early kings were built. Then, around 700 A.D., the city was almost covered in masonry.

Like in many ancient cities, the population remained small. Even at its peak, Piedras Negras probably never had more than 5,000 residents.

The Maya kings were not only executive rulers, but also considered sacred, responsible for rituals such as bloodlettings and incense burnings. In the late classic Maya period—from 550 to 800 A.D.—a clear pattern emerges where the rulers were succeeded by their sons. This is also when the palace, or "the Acropolis," a vast, sprawling set of patios and courtyards, becomes more inaccessible to the public.

"You get a feeling of social exclusivity in later dynasties," said Houston. "The very feeling of kingship changes, and it's expressed in the changing buildings of the site."

The dynasty is rocked when the line of succession breaks and several brothers seem to succeed one another as king. There are even hints of an abdication. Finally, the last known king is kidnapped by a neighboring kingdom.

"It looks like a great deal of violence took place in the royal palace," Houston said. "We're finding shattered buildings and shattered monuments."

Without the king, the royal palace soon begins to fill with squatters—debris and trash. Within a generation or two, most people abandon the city.

"Piedras Negras shows us how Mayan cities were built around their kings," said Houston. "When the kings thrive, so does the city. When the kings are taken out of commission, the cities also seem to wither and die."

The End of the Maya

The sudden demise of the Maya civilization is one of the greater archaeological mysteries of our time. There are several competing theories explaining the collapse, with some experts pointing to overpopulation, while others suggest environmental degradation and deforestation.

One of the most popular theories argues that a long period of dry climate, punctuated by three intense droughts, caused the end of the Maya.

Houston, however, doesn't agree with the drought theory.

"We do know that a lot of these cities had extreme difficulty around this time and maybe this had something to do with diminished rainfall," he said. "But the fact is that Piedras Negras runs along a river that was never dry. They would always have had water to maintain their agricultural base."

He says there is no evidence of widespread massacres or rampant disease. Instead, he believes, the collapse began when people lost faith in the hierarchy.

"We do have evidence that points to a lot of turbulence and difficulties among those who were organizing the city and helping to run it as a collective entity," said Houston. "In the end, people simply voted with their feet. They didn't find Piedras Negras such a good place to live, so they left."

Maya Redated
By Roger Croteau
San Antonio Express-News

Belize September 28, 2003 (San Antonio Express-News) - Findings by a Texas State University-San Marcos professor at an archaeological site in Belize have pushed back the date for the rise of the Maya civilization to 300 years earlier than previously believed.

Anthropology professor James J. Garber has worked at the site, known as Blackman Eddy, each summer since 1990. Although smaller than many other Maya ruins, it was a major cultural center in the Upper Belize Valley.

"I would say it's a very important finding," said Sandra Noble, executive director of the Florida-based Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies. "People in this field will take notice. We are realizing what we thought we knew is just scratching the surface."

The site was discovered by chance in the 1980s, when a bulldozer doing road work in the area hit a pyramid, destroying half of it.

It was a stroke of luck for Garber. Central American governments prohibit archaeologists from destroying pyramids' outer structures, so they are limited to trenching, coring and tunneling to see what's inside.

Because the Blackman Eddy pyramid was badly damaged and in danger of collapse, Belize authorities allowed Garber and his team of students from what was then Southwest Texas State University to excavate it to bedrock.

"It was an unfortunate incident, but from that we were able to acquire quite a bit of information," Garber said.

It was believed that the indigenous groups living in Central America before 800 B.C. were hunter-gatherers.

But Garber found that they had a much more complex society, with sophisticated agriculture, long-distance trade routes, and an established religious and political center.

The Maya erected new pyramids on top of older ones, concealing previous building phases. Garber and his students took the Blackman Eddy pyramid apart layer by layer, discovering 13 building phases over 2,000 years.

Maya civilization reached its peak around A.D. 600.

"As we dug through the layers of the pyramid, we hit 800 B.C. and kept on going down to about 1100 B.C., where we were finding settled agricultural peoples making sophisticated pottery. So we've pushed the dates for the Maya about 300 years," Garber said.

"It is a unique finding, but my guess is that if archaeologists had the opportunity to dismantle pyramids in other places, they would find the same thing," he added.

The high quality of the early ceramics indicates that a sophisticated society existed at 1100 B.C., he said. Exotic goods, greenstone, obsidian and marine shells also were found, showing long-distance trade was well established by that time.

"It is also interesting that the earliest inhabitants at Blackman Eddy don't seem to be Maya," Garber said.

"From the artifacts we've found, they look similar to groups from coastal Honduras and highland Guatemala that we know were not Maya speakers," he said. "These groups possibly influenced the Maya or made it possible for them to create their civilization before they were absorbed or replaced by Maya groups."

Noble said the Maya established the concept of zero and made other major advances in mathematics, astronomy, art and politics.

"Our schools are still very Eurocentric," Noble said. "People do not appreciate the significance of the Maya civilization. Instead of looking to Egypt, Greece and Rome, we can look to the extremely high ancient civilization in our own back yard."

Garber's findings are to be published by University Press in November. The book, "The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research," is expected to make a splash among archaeologists, Noble said.

"This is a big deal," she said.

Garber plans to return to Belize this month on a less pleasant trip, a court hearing in which he will try to have a manslaughter charge dismissed.

In July, on a return trip from the dig site, he was driving a van full of students that lost its brakes on a steep hill approaching the San Ignacio town plaza.

He attempted to slow the vehicle by rubbing its tires against a curb, but the van jumped the curb, hitting and killing a pedestrian.

Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies -

Xena Found in UK!

By Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News

Lincolnshire UK October 1, 2003 (Discovery) — The remains of a six-foot tall woman, buried with a shield and knife, were recently discovered in an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Lincolnshire, England.

The body and artifacts, which date to A.D. 500-600, suggest that more women than previously believed may have fought alongside men during the turbulent years following England's Roman period.

Archaeologists made the discovery while working on a program for Britain's Channel 4 "Time Team."

Ben Dempsey, assistant producer of the show, told Discovery News that the shield had been placed on top of the woman before burial. The knife rested alongside her unusually tall body. Even most men at the time measured several inches shorter.

Another unusual aspect of the burial was that the feminine jewelry and clothing accessories normally found in women's graves from this period were not present. Instead, her feet were bound with rope, and the only adornment was an amber necklace draped around her neck.

While some locals are calling the woman a "warrior queen," Dempsey doubts she had any royal connections, like the fictional character Xena, or the real life war hero Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, who led a successful rebellion against the Romans in A.D. 60.

"Nothing to suggest a high social rank was found at her gravesite," Dempsey said. "However, she may very well have fought in battle, since many people at the time served as warriors at some stage."

When the last Roman legion left Britain in A.D. 409-410, tribal warfare increased in England. The unstable political conditions, combined with invading forces from all directions, led to many individuals arming themselves for protection.

The Anglo-Saxon woman's shield, while not ornate, is of interest to British researchers.

Lincolnshire County Council archaeologist Adam Daubney told the Lincolnshire Echo newspaper, "The shield would have been originally made from wood but the boss — which held the handle in place — was made of iron and this has survived."

Daubney added, "One of the interesting things about this [site] is that a total of four shields have been found."

In addition to the shields, remains of two other individuals — a man and another woman — were unearthed. None of the individuals appears to have been related or otherwise connected to one another.

According to Dempsey, the second woman was of average height and wore the wrist clasps, girdle hangers, and little pieces of bronze jewelry more commonly found in female graves of the time.

The man was discovered in a fetal position with one hand wrapped around a pot, a form of burial that has never before been documented among Anglo-Saxons for this period. Archaeologists speculate that the pot could have contained wine or grain, and was meant to ease the individual's passage into the afterlife.

Next month, Wessex Archaeology will further analyze all of the remains and items found at the Lincolnshire site. The artifacts then will be housed in the City and County Museum of Lincoln.

Canada Court Makes Pot Illegal  - Again!
Ontario October 7, 2003 (Canada Press) - Canada's law against possessing small amounts of pot came back into effect today after the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down parts of Ottawa's medicinal marijuana program.

Federal regulations governing the program unfairly restrict qualified users in getting the drug, the court found. But it stopped short of the true goal for many marijuana advocates: striking down the law in its entirety.

Instead, the three-judge panel nimbly singled out as unconstitutional specific provisions of the federal Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, or MMARs, leaving users to celebrate only a partial victory.

"That little gap that we had in Ontario where the law did not exist and police could not arrest you for smoking is over," lawyer Alan Young said outside court.

"Ultimately, I would prefer just to get rid of the law and let people take care of themselves as they see fit. That didn't happen today, but at least the court has given sick people some greater tools to be self-sufficient."

The provisions in question restricted licensed growers from receiving compensation for their product, growing the drug for more than one qualified patient and pooling resources with other licensed producers.

The ruling also struck down a requirement that sick people get two doctors to validate their need to use marijuana as a drug.

"This narrow remedy would create a constitutionally valid medical exemption, making marijuana prohibition . . . immediately constitutionally valid and of full force and effect and removing any uncertainty concerning the validity of the prohibition," said a synopsis of the ruling issued by the court.

In other words, the ruling reinstates laws that were effectively suspended in Ontario earlier this year when a judge ruled that possessing less than 30 grams of pot was no longer against the law in the province.

The decision is encouraging because it will allow medicinal growers to produce a higher-quality drug in greater quantities, said Alison Myrden, a medicinal user and longtime marijuana crusader.

But Myrden, who is licensed to smoke marijuana to alleviate symptoms of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis and other severe ailments, admitted she was disappointed that the law survived.

"I'm pleased with it in one respect because sick people again collectively will have the opportunity to grow together; we have an opportunity there to make medicine en masse for sick and dying people in this country," Myrden said as she sat outside court in her wheelchair, smoking a joint.

"But my recreational friends are going to get burned in a way that I'm not happy with at all. So I don't think that's fair."

The ruling agreed with a lower court ruling in January that found the regulations were unconstitutional because they forced qualified users to either grow their own pot or buy it on the black market.

"Many of these individuals are not only seriously ill, they are also significantly physically handicapped and therefore cannot possibly grow their own marijuana," the synopsis said.

"A scheme that authorizes possession of marijuana by seriously ill individuals but which drives some of them to the black market . . . undermines the rule of law and fails to create a constitutionally valid medical exemption to the criminal prohibition against marijuana."

Officials from the federal government could not immediately be reached for comment on the ruling.

The decision in January by Ontario Court Justice Sidney Lederman left Canada's pot possession laws in tatters because it made it impossible to permit medicinal use while prohibiting possession for everyone else.

Lederman gave the government a July 9 deadline to either fix the regulations or supply the pot itself to users of medical marijuana.

Ottawa then instituted an interim policy that would see it sell pot at set prices to approved users, but also launched an appeal of the ruling, saying it shouldn't be forced to provide a legal source of marijuana.

The initial lawsuit was launched by seven Canadians with various medical conditions, along with their caregiver, who demanded the federal government provide a safe and reliable source of medical marijuana.
Himalayan Abominable Snowman Fight!

BRUSSELS October 7, 2003 (AFP) - An Italian mountaineer has challenged a Japanese alpinist who claims he was the first person to reveal that the infamous Himalayan Abominable Snowman is in fact a brown bear.

Reinhold Messner, who is also a member of the European parliament, reacted after the claim last month by Japanese mountaineer Makoto Nebuka, 56, a senior member of the Japanese Alpine Club.

Messner said that "after years of research," he proved the legendary ape-like monster to be nothing more than a bear in his book "My Quest for the Yeti" published five years ago.

"This discovery goes .. to (me)," he said.

Nebuka announced his discovery last month, saying that the yeti is really the endangered Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos).

His theory rests on a linguistic discovery: through a series of interviews with local people in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, he has found that "yeti" is a regional dialect word for "meti", meaning bear.

Messner, 58, originally from the southern Tyrol region of northern Italy, has been a member of the Green group in the European parliament since 1999.

Genre News: Tarzan, Beatles Naked, Keen Eddie, Rob Lowe, Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Beach Boys & More!
By FLAtRich

Hollywood October 6, 2003 (eXoNews) - Boy (no pun intended) when you need a good genre pilot, the man to call is David Nutter!

The director of the excellent first episode of The WB's Tarzan is also credited with directing the pilot episodes of Smallville, Dark Angel, Roswell, Millennium, and Space: Above and Beyond, not to mention the famous Clyde Bruckman and Tooms episodes of The X-Files.

Nutter is also a producer for this latest take on the fabled Edgar Rice Burroughs creation, as he was on X-Files, Millennium and Roswell, so it goes without saying that Tarzan is in good hands.

Any similarity between the new WB version and "Tarzan's New York Adventure" (1942), however, is strictly coincidental.

In the classic version, Boy (Johnny Sheffield) gets kidnapped by circus people in Africa and Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) and Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) follow him to New York where, among other things, Tarzan takes a dive off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Joe Lara also showed up as "Tarzan in Manhattan" in a 1980's TV movie (he was there to rescue his kidnapped chimp friend Cheetah - see how these things mutate?) but maybe that one is best forgotten.

The new Tarzan is set in the Big Apple, but Tarzan (Travis Fimmel) and Jane (Sarah Wayne Callies) meet there for the first time when NYPD detective Jane collides with the big hunk while investigating a case involving a pack of dogs that raid supermarkets. Sparks fly instantly for The Ape Man, but Jane remains demure as she is already involved with a fellow detective.

By the time the pilot is over, we know that Jane is just as hooked as Lois was on Superman, and that is probably a good comparison. Warner Brothers scored big with Lois and Clark for ABC in the mid-90s and Tarzan and Jane are primed to succeed for The WB in the same vein.

Without the aforementioned circus bad guys to chase in NYC, we also get a fuzzy plot to keep Tarzan a prisoner in a skyscraper belonging to Graystoke Industries.

Seems CEO Richard Clayton, Tarzan's billionaire uncle played by everybody's favorite X-Files sidekick Mitch Pileggi, did indeed find our hero in Africa twenty years after the boy and his parents crashed in the jungle.

Clayton doesn't want anybody to know Tarzan is alive, however, and has squads of black ops guys left over from X-Files to keep Tarzan and Jane apart.

No big. Next week Tarzan starts helping Jane fight crime (ala Kate and Angel in the first season of another WB show?) and AD Skinner, oops I mean CEO Richard Clayton will get Lucy Lawless as his sister Kathleen Clayton to fight with (and who can complain about that, eh Mitch?)

I'm not complaining either. Director Nutter's first episode of Tarzan was charming, the actors are winning, the action was satisfactory, and 9 PM on Sundays is a good time slot for Charmed or second-run Enterprise watchers to tune in.

I do have three questions poised for my first Tarzan chat.

Why did the producers change Jane's last name to Porter from the original Jane Parker? Where the hell is Cheetah? And when will we get to see Travis Fimmel dive off the Brooklyn Bridge?

[Travis might have to jump after all. The Tarzan premiere did not fare well in the ratings war with a lowly 3.2/5 overnight. Law and Order won the period with a 9.4/14, followed by baseball on Fox. Ed.]

WB's Tarzan Official site -,7353,||1474,00.html

Beatles Naked!

LONDON October 6, 2003 (CNN) - The Beatles' record company has unveiled the cover of a stripped-down version of the band's album, "Let It Be," which is due to be released next month.

"Let It Be ... Naked" features the original cover shot but as a negative in black-and-white mounted on a gray background, the idea being to strip the image back in the same way the music has been overhauled.

The new version of the album -- recorded amid acrimony mainly in 1969 and released the following year -- takes the music nearer their desire to return to basics, as expressed in the optimistic claim on the original sleeve, "This is a New Phase Beatles Album."

It strips away the orchestration and lavish production work of "Wall of Sound" producer Phil Spector, which had been criticized, not least by Sir Paul McCartney.

"Let It Be" was recorded before the acclaimed final album, "Abbey Road," but was released later due to disagreements that ultimately led to the band splitting in 1970.

The new version will be released November 17.

A statement from McCartney said:

"If we'd have had today's technology back then, it would sound like this because this is the noise we made in the studio. It's all exactly as it was in the room. You're right there now."

The only other surviving Beatle Ringo Starr added:

"When I first heard it, it was really uplifting. It took you back again to the times when we were this band, the Beatle band."

The track listing of "Let It Be ... Naked" differs from the 1970 release. Background dialogue, "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" have been removed and "Don't Let Me Down" has been added.

A bonus 20-minute CD will be released with the album featuring extracts from the original sessions together with a booklet of historic photographs of the sessions.

The release of the album coincides with a surge in interest in the Fab Four following the success of the greatest hits album "1" which was released three years ago.

A spokesman for the band said: "As the release of 'Let It Be ... Naked' is coinciding with an increase in demand for guitar-based rock and quality pop, it is hoped that this new appeal to the young will be enduring."

Keen Eddie Returns - To Bravo

LOS ANGELES October 6, 2003 ( - Fans of the short-lived FOX series "Keen Eddie" may get to see all 13 episodes of the show as soon as early 2004.

Bravo has picked up the rights to "Keen Eddie" in a deal with Paramount Network TV, which produced the series about a New York cop (Mark Valley) who goes to work in London after blowing a case at home.

"We had a very loyal audience who continued to this day to hound us wanting to see more episodes of the series. Thanks to Bravo, they will be able to," executive producer Warren Littlefield tells the trade journal TV Week. "This is a fabulous fit for our show."

Littlefield, a former NBC chief, also praised the NBC-owned cable network's recent marketing efforts, which helped make "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" a hit and raised awareness of the brand.

The deal for "Keen Eddie" includes all 13 episodes that were filmed, including six that never aired. Originally slated for midseason last year, "Eddie" was held back until this summer, where it drew only mediocre ratings for FOX.

The show averaged about 5.1 million viewers over its seven-week run.

Rob Lowe Says He Felt Slighted by Sorkin

RADNOR PA October 6, 2003 (AP) - Rob Lowe says he quit "The West Wing" because he felt slighted by the show's creator, Aaron Sorkin, over the size of his role and the money he was making.

Lowe was irked when his part as a White House staffer was cut back and he continued to take home $70,000 an episode, while co-star Martin Sheen, playing the president, got a raise to $300,000 a show.

"Why didn't (Sorkin) know how much I loved him, how much I loved that show?" the actor told TV Guide for its Oct. 11 issue. "Why didn't he love me like I loved him? It's weird, considering it's another man, but that's as close as I can put it."

Lowe also says the show would not accommodate requests for time off.

He recalls a meeting at which producers upbraided him for an attendance record that showed he'd been late a total of 17 hours.

"I was spied on. No other cast member had a meeting like that," Lowe said.

Though his decision to leave was seen as a bad career move, Lowe landed on his feet as star and executive producer of "The Lyon's Den," a new legal drama on NBC.

Jennifer Love Hewitt Cybertronic Stalker Sentenced

SAN DIEGO October 1, 2003 (AP) - A former county social worker has pleaded guilty to stalking actress Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Diana Napolis of La Mesa, Calif. was treated for mental illness after her arrest last November on charges of making death threats against the actress.

Napolis, 47, confronted Hewitt at a July 2000 appearance at a San Diego radio station. Court documents indicate that she also yelled "Murderer!" and "Killer!" at the actress outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood last year.

As part of her plea Monday in Superior Court, Napolis agreed to stay away from Hewitt for 10 years. She faced up to six years in prison, but was scheduled to be released at her sentencing Oct. 28.

"She was under some stress at the time the incident occurred," said defense lawyer Robert Ford.

Napolis told The San Diego Union-Tribune last year that the 24-year-old Hewitt and director Steven Spielberg were part of a satanic conspiracy capable of "remotely manipulating my body via cybertronic technology." She was arrested after she sent an e-mail to the Web master of a Hewitt fan site.

"I plan on firing a gun at her heart and not missing," she wrote, according to court documents.

A Los Angeles judge ordered Napolis last year to stay away from Spielberg at the director's request. She also was prevented from entering the Los Angeles premiere of Hewitt's movie "The Tuxedo," which Spielberg's studio released.

Beach Boys: Stop In The Name of Love

WASHINGTON October 6, 2003 (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from a founding member of the The Beach Boys, who fought a court order preventing him from using the famous name in his touring band.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco barred guitarist Alan Jardine from using the Beach Boys name in a Jan. 28 ruling.

The name belongs to Brother Records, a company jointly held by Jardine, Mike Love, Brian Wilson and the estate of Carl Wilson.

Love is sole licensee to perform under the name.

Brother Records has said Jardine "did not agree to abide by terms of a proposed license" so he was denied use of the name.

Brother Records filed a lawsuit in April claiming Jardine is touring under Beach Boys Family & Friends; Al Jardine, Beach Boy; and Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. Brother Records wants a court order preventing Jardine from using the name, $2 million in court costs, and unspecified damages from loss of earnings due to unfair competition pitting Jardine's concert appearances against Beach Boys lead singer Love's.

The issue has been in litigation since 1998. Jardine appealed a 2002 ruling in favor of Love, whom Jardine says excluded him from Beach Boys concerts in 2001. Jardine is seeking $4 million in damages.

Jimmy Smits Playing Private Eye for NBC
By Nellie Andreeva and Cynthia Littleton

LOS ANGELES October 2, 2003 (Hollywood Reporter) - Jimmy Smits, who has been highly sought after for series work since he departed ABC's "NYPD Blue" in 1998, is set to return to the beat.

Sources said he is attached to star in an untitled NBC drama about a Los Angeles private investigator who fixes problems for the rich and famous.

The project is from scribe David Mills, who is known for penning such hard-boiled crime dramas as NBC's "Kingpin" miniseries, HBO's miniseries "The Corner" and the acclaimed NBC drama "Homicide: Life on the Street." It is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer TV, home of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Without a Trace," and Warner Bros. TV.

At present, Smits is trodding the boards as the star of "Anna in the Tropics," the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Nilo Cruz that is playing at New Jersey's McCarter Theater Center before heading to Broadway in November.

Xena and Hercules Sue Universal

LOS ANGELES October 2, 2003 (AP) - Hercules and Xena are joining forces in a lawsuit against Universal Studios over pay.

"Xena: Warrior Princess" star Lucy Lawless and "Hercules" star Kevin Sorbo filed separate breach-of-contract lawsuits Tuesday accusing the company of denying them money from the adjusted gross receipts of their syndicated shows.

The two are represented by the same attorney, who filed the suits at the same time.

Sorbo and Lawless said they had agreements with Universal entitling them to a percentage of the receipts, but that Universal has improperly reduced the receipts and increased distribution expenses and production costs to deny them the money.

Lawless said she was entitled to 5 percent, and Sorbo said he was entitled to 8 percent.

Universal spokesman Jim Benson said the company hadn't seen the lawsuits and doesn't comment on pending litigation.

[Kevin Sorbo returned for a new season of Andromeda last week and Lucy shows up in Tarzan soon on the WB (see above.) Ed.]

UPN Sez Teen Wolf To Replace Buffy

LOS ANGELES October 2, 2003 ( - "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was a not-particularly-good movie that later became a very good TV series. UPN is hoping to work that same mojo with another teenage-monster flick from the recent past.

Get ready for "Teen Wolf," the series.

UPN has given a script commitment to a version of "Teen Wolf" from writers Terry Hughes ("That '70s Show," "Whoopi") and Ron Milbauer ("Idle Hands"), according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show would center on a college student who discovers he's a werewolf.

As with "Buffy," the producers are looking to move "Teen Wolf" away from the fairly broad comedy of its movie incarnations -- Michael J. Fox played the character in the first movie and Jason Bateman in the sequel -- and instead focus on how the lead character deals with his identity. It would emphasize dark humor and elements of werewolf mythology as well.

Hughes and Milbauer would serve as executive producers of the project along with Jennifer Gwartz and Danielle Stokdyk. The show is set up at Warner Bros. TV.

[Wait! Everybody knows the initial Buffy movie was a big bad but Joss Whedon was the guy who turned it into a hit series, not UPN. In fact, didn't UPN kill Buffy? Ed.]

Too Many Product Plugs!
By David Bauder
Associated Press

Washington October 2, 2003 (AP) - They're stealth commercials within a television show: a soft drink can in front of an "American Idol" judge, a bag of chips offered to a starving "Survivor" contestant.

A watchdog group says these embedded ads are getting out of control, and asked federal authorities Tuesday to enact stricter rules regarding their use.

"TV stations are turning programs into infomercials, but viewers are often not aware that these ads are ads. That's totally unfair," said Gary Ruskin of Commercial Alert, which filed separate complaints with the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission.

Product placements within television shows is a growing trend as networks become increasingly nervous about the impact of digital video recorders like TiVo, which allow viewers to skip commercials. TV networks depend on ad revenue to survive.

The FCC complaint cited a survey of 750 media planners from earlier this year that found 18 percent had negotiated a product placement over the previous six months, but 26 percent anticipated working on one during the next six months.

They can take many forms: cosmetics companies have had their products included in soap opera plot lines; Regis Philbin cited a phone company when a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" wanted to phone a friend; beer company signs appear on the set of "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" and a skit on the program mimicked a trousers ad.

There's nothing wrong with advertising, Ruskin said, "but they must not pretend their ads are something else."

When Congress first required radio broadcasters to identify their sponsors in 1927, lawmakers said listeners are entitled to know who is trying to persuade them, he said.

"Current practice in the broadcast industry violates this principle broadly and systematically," Ruskin said in his FCC complaint.

Susan Lyne, ABC entertainment president, said it's important to explore product placements because of the way the broadcast business and technology are evolving. But ABC is moving cautiously, she said.

"I think it can alienate viewers if they feel they've been hit over the head," Lyne said. "Also, it's still tough to assess what to charge for product placements. We want to take it one step at a time."

Other network executives were reluctant to even talk about it. CBS and Fox specifically declined to comment on Commercial Alert's complaint; NBC and the WB did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Ruskin said FCC rules require television stations to identify sponsors other than traditional advertisers once during a program's broadcast.

He's not sure whether all networks are abiding by this and, even if they do, if it makes much of an impact on viewers. He wants product placements to be identified as ads when they happen: the word "advertisement" should flash, for example, when a soft drink bottle appears on the screen if the beverage maker has paid for it to be there.

Commercial Alert asked the FTC to investigate the extent of product placements.

"Embedded advertising is the new reality of television, and it is time for the commission to address it," Ruskin said.

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