Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rihanna Wins Lawsuit Over a Head Scarf T-Shirt

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

High Court Justice Colin Birss ruled in favor of the singer on Wednesday, saying buyers were likely deceived by believing Rihanna had authorized its sale. sold as being the "Headscarf Girl Tank"

The shirts were first sold as the "Rihanna Tank." After her complaints, they were sold as being the "Headscarf Girl Tank" and the "Icon Tank."

Topshop said it was surprised and disappointed by the ruling and was considering an appeal.

"There was no intention by Topshop to create the appearance of an endorsement or promotion," it said in a statement. "We do not believe it conveyed any false message to our customers."

The judge did not make an assessment of damages in his ruling.

Read More....

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“Islamist jihadist” threatens Morman and Catholic Churches

 Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Police also said this could be ANY Church.

 Several churches in the Fort Collins area were on guard Sunday after a self-proclaimed “Islamist jihadist” threatened that they would be “destroyed,” Fort Collins police said.

“Specific threats” were made against both Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic church, Sgt. Paul Wood said. The suspect, a white male in his early 30s with brown hair and green eyes, has had previous run-ins with police, including one incident in which he claimed to be an arch angel from the Bible.

The man has been known to wear t-shirts around his face to hide his appearance, police said. He has also been seen driving a white Honda coupe spray painted with anti-government and anti-religion slogans.

Police asked anyone who sees the suspect to contact law enforcement.

See Video....

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Hasbro Being Sued Over Transformers Toy Exclusively from Comic-Con

 Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

It's the clash of titans that nerds from the 1980s dreamed of, only the reality of Robotech vs. The Transformers is far less exciting, and just a little bit sadder, than the fanboy crossover mentality might originally have hoped.

The real-life conflict stems from the exclusive GI Joe vs. Transformers toy package Hasbro sold at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, and specifically, the "Jetfire" Transformer it contained. The problem is that that Jetfire was a re-creation of Hasbro's original Jetfire release back in 1984, which itself was licensed from the Macross VF-1 Valkyrie toy manufactured by Japanese toy company Tatsunako -- and that Hasbro may no longer hold the license for that particular form.

The overall Macross license for the United States (as well as other markets outside of Japan) is owned by another company called Harmony Gold, which has launched legal action against Hasbro over the Comic-Con toy, claiming that it has caused -- and continues to cause -- damage to the company. In its lawsuit, Harmony Gold asks for an injunction against any further sale, as well as all remaining inventory, the recall of any Jetfire toys in the marketplace and any profits Hasbro made from the sale of the toy in addition to other, unspecified damages.

Read More....

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China Owes Hollywood Tens of Millions and Not Paid in Months

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Going by the 25% Rule:
Warner Bros. would be owed north of $31 million for Man of Steel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Jack the Giant Slayer; Sony would be due $23 million for Skyfall
After Earth (White House Down is still in the midst of its China run)
Paramount would be owed roughly $30 million for Into Darkness, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Jack Reacher
Disney's Iron Man 3 made north of $121 million in China, which would mean a return of more than $30 million for the studio.
Oz the Great and Powerful would mean about $5 million in payments
Monsters University is headed to China later this month

The delay in payments -- totaling in the tens of millions of dollars for some studios -- revolves around a 2 percent luxury tax that the China Film Group is trying to pass on to the movie companies.

Since late 2012, Hollywood studios haven't seen a dime returned from a slew of movies generating big grosses at the Chinese box office, including blockbusters Skyfall, Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness.

 China Film Group stopped payments pending resolution of a fight over a new 2 percent value-added tax. The China Film Group wants the studios to pay the tax but the studios say that the additional payment would violate a landmark World Trade Organization agreement reached last year between U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In almost any other circumstance, Hollywood studios would balk at allowing their movies to continue to be released in the country. But with China on track to become the largest moviegoing market in the world within the next five years, studios are reluctant to hold back product as they establish a long-term foothold.

Insiders say MPAA chairman/CEO Chris Dodd is working on resolving the issue, although neither the MPAA nor any of the studios would officially comment because of the sensitive nature of the situation. One source says there's internal disagreement within the Chinese government about who should cover the tax. THR has reached out to the China Film Group for comment.

The MPAA can ask the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to officially investigate whether China is violating the WTO agreement, but that would be a dramatic step. It's not known whether such a request has been made, although the USTR is working with the MPAA in addressing the issue via conversations with Chinese officials.

Hollywood studios and Dodd hailed last year's WTO deal for loosening key restrictions. According to the new arrangement, foreign studios get back 25 percent of box-office revenue (previously 13 to 17 percent). Chinese authorities agreed that additional payments, including any taxes, would not come out of the 25 percent split. But late last fall, the China Film Group informed studios that it intended to pass along the tax after all.

The Wall Street Journal reported on a standoff with Fox in April. Sources now say the dispute is more widespread and that all six major studios are involved.

One insider says a resolution could be reached by the end of the summer; others aren't so sure.

Read More....

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A Court Win for "J.K. Rowling" - Pseudonym Leak

 Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

J.K. Rowling, who recently hit the headlines after it was revealed she was writing under a pseudonym, has accepted a substantial charity donation from the law firm behind the revelation.

The Harry Potter creator sparked global headlines after it emerged that Robert Galbraith, author of murder-mystery The Cuckoo's Calling, was, in fact, her.

The Sunday Times newspaper first reported Rowling as Galbraith earlier in July after being tipped off by a tweet from account @JudeCallegari, which was quickly deleted.

Rowling brought proceedings in London's High Court against Chris Gossage, a partner at law firm, Russells, and his friend Judith Callegari, identified as the owner of the Twitter account.

Russells contacted Rowling's agent disclosing that it was Gossage who had divulged the confidential information to Callegari, who then passed it on during the course of a Twitter exchange with a journalist.

The multi-million selling author's solicitor Jenny Afia told Justice Tugendhat in London's High Court on Wednesday that the author had been left dismayed and distressed by such a fundamental betrayal of trust.

Read More....

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Fitness Centers - 5 Hidden Risks

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

A majority of fitness center owners are underinsured and exposed to hidden risks that could ruin their business. With this in mind, Wood Gutmann & Bogart Insurance Brokers today announced five key risks that fitness center owners can address to protect their business.

"Even the best run fitness centers are vulnerable, because of the nature of their business," according to Kevin S. Bogart, CPA, CPCU, president and partner at Wood Gutmann & Bogart. "Fitness centers exist to help people stay healthy, but ironically they also expose members to potential injury. Personal trainers add to liability exposure, and member data can make the business a target for cyber theft."

Fortunately, owners can better protect their business by understanding the following hidden risks and working with their agent to close any gaps in coverage:

1. Disaster-related losses. A lawsuit or a natural disaster can put you out of business, unless you have the right insurance coverage. Most businesses do not. Studies show that 60% of businesses are underinsured. It's no coincidence that the same percentage of businesses never reopen after a disaster.

A business continuity plan is essential to ensure your business can withstand even the most cataclysmic event. Disasters strike without warning, so it's important to be prepared before a disaster takes place.

2. Injuries on treadmills. Treadmills are the number one injury risk in fitness centers. The average cost for a treadmill-related accident is $250,000.

Members who use them typically do other things at the same time; such as texting, talking, reading, or watching television. Make certain all members are properly trained to use the equipment and that the training is documented. Monitor treadmill use regularly and take action when risky behavior takes place.

Whenever an incident involving equipment takes place, investigate it immediately, document it, and take corrective action.

3. Breach of member data. Nearly half of all companies have experienced a data breach, yet only one business in 10 has cyber-liability coverage. Cyber-liability risk is especially high at fitness centers, because they typically have a large amount of personal and financial data on file.

To reduce the risk of cyber liability, physically secure all electronic devices with access to member data, lock file drawers containing hard copies of member data, and shred sensitive documents,
Require passwords and set systems to log out after 15 minutes of inactivity. Use data encryption software to encrypt member data, and keep anti-virus and anti-malware protection up-to-date. Employees should be trained to understand the importance of information security.

4. Liability from personal trainers and members. Personal trainers have been involved in liability suits for issues such as sexual harassment, and physical injuries. A trainer was even found responsible for a member's death because of inappropriate dietary advice.

When trainers are sued, so are the clubs they work at, as owners can be held liable for their trainers' behavior. Contracted fitness instructors are not automatically covered under the owner's liability policy, Owners should ensure that their insurance policy automatically includes "additional insureds," such as instructors, trainers and members.

5. Losses from emergencies. Explosions, acts of violence, shootings, sexual abuse and outbreaks of diseases have taken place at fitness centers. Such incidents can have a major financial impact and damage the reputation of the business.

Emergency event management insurance typically covers loss of business income, public relations expenses to restore your reputation, and expenses such as medical care, counseling and funeral expenses.

Steps should also be taken to ensure that the fitness center is as safe as possible, such as installing surveillance cameras and making certain the parking lot is well lit.

Source.... PRNewswire

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Master Chef Finalist "Josh Marks" Claims He's God in a Violent Arrest

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

A top contender on "MasterChef" had a bizarre, violent encounter with cops in Chicago ... telling them Gordon Ramsay is an "asshole" who possessed his body and then transformed him into God.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... a University of Chicago cop spotted Josh Marks on the campus on Monday  He was trying to use a University emergency phone and had obvious cuts on his face.  We're told the cop asked Marks if anything was wrong, and Marks then lunged at him, striking him with a closed fist and then tried to grab his gun.

Our sources say the cop and two other officers tried to subdue the 26-year-old, 7'2" tall culinary runner-up ... to no avail.  They batoned and pepper sprayed him but it had no effect.  Marks broke free and started running.  Five cops subdued him in a resident's backyard.

Marks was taken to the hospital to treat his injuries.  We're told once in custody an officer asked him why he went off the rails, and he blamed it all on Gordon Ramsay.  Shockingly, we're told there was no evidence of drug use.

Marks remains in the hospital, chained to a bed.  He's been booked on various charges, including assaulting a cop and resisting arrest.

Read More....

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Apple - Child Labor Assembles Your i-Phones and i-Pads in China

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

A US based non-profit advocacy group has accused Apple's Chinese suppliers of using child labor and working them long hours.

Three Chinese factories making Apple products run by Pegatron Group violated standards set by Apple, AFP quotes China Labor Watch.

The organisation said the 70,000 employees at the three Pegatron plants averaged  up to 69 hours per week, and that "many workers" were under 18.

Overtime was mandatory during busy periods according to Labor Watch. The report also describes dormitory rooms housing up to 12 people, insufficient fire escape routes and fines for behavior such as "failing to tuck in one's chair after eating" and "absence from unpaid meetings".

China Labor Watch says it sent undercover investigators to the three Pegatron factories and conducted nearly 200 worker interviews between March and July this year, AFP reports.

Pegatron's chief executive, Jason Cheng, is reported as saying that the company took the allegations "very seriously".

"We will investigate them fully and take immediate action to correct any violations to Chinese labour laws and our own code of conduct”, he said.

Pegatron, a Taiwanese company, came under the spotlight and was pressured to better oversee often-poor manufacturing conditions in China after 13 workers for one of its suppliers committed suicide in 2010.

Read More....

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USDA - USA Government Paid Dead Farmers $36.6 Millions

 Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Federal auditors who poured through the USDA’s crop insurance, disaster assistance and conservation programs have found that $36.6 million were disbursed to deceased recipients, according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO report points to the biggest offender as the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, which disburses crop insurance, as having issued $22 million in subsidies one or two years after a recipient’s death.

The report has been released ahead of meetings in the House and Senate to hammer out a farm bill that may expand subsidies like crop insurance, and casts doubts on the Agriculture Department’s ability to weed out waste, fraud and abuse.

The GAO itself states that findings "may call into question whether these farm safety net programs are benefiting the agricultural sector as intended."

Though the funds improperly doled out to the deceased farmers represent a fraction of the $20 billion in annual federal subsidies for farm incomes, as the Los Angeles Times reports, the report also comes at a critical juncture for Congress as both parties spar over the total cost of a pending $1 trillion farm bill. And if segments such as crop insurance do increase as expected, then the USDA’s inability to detect waste or fraud may only increase accordingly.

For its part, the department of agriculture is not disputing the GAO’s findings, though it has taken exception to claims that it did not have sufficient controls in place to detect improper payments, according to the New York Times.

Environmental activists, who oppose federal subsidies that, for example, encourage an artificially inflated production of corn - with implications into the popularity of GMO crops and the widespread use of high-fructose corn syrup - point to government waste as indicating a need for reforms.

“Not only are unlimited crop insurance subsidies flowing to the largest and most successful farm businesses, they are now going to deceased policyholders,” said Scott Faber, vice president of the Environmental Working Group in a statement issued Monday.

“At a time when some lawmakers want to cut off funding for the hungriest children, we find out today the federal government has spent $22 million over four years to lavish insurance subsidies to individuals who are no longer alive,” added Faber.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) opposes what it deems “bloated” farm subsidies that produce ultimately harmful incentives to plow up wetlands, grasslands and marginal lands, or place any emphasis on soil health. As RT recently reported, corn subsidies combined with a growing deficiency in GMO corn has resulted in greater use of pesticides.

According to a recent report published by the journal Food Policy cited by EWG US farm subsidies ultimately “have negligible impact on the prices paid by consumers for food. EWG cites other evidence that even the total elimination of US farm programs “would have a very modest effect on farm prices and production” of subsidized crops such as corn and wheat. 

Though the debate over whether the currently gargantuan sum doled out by the federal government in the form of the farm bill is fair is ongoing, this latest disclosure of funds making their way to deceased individuals only provides more ammunition to critics of government waste.

Both EWG and a slew of advocacy organizations that are concerned over everything from GMOs to pesticide use argue that crop insurance programs in particular have been transformed from their original intent, which was to compensate farmers from weather-caused crop losses, to a virtual guarantee of farm income.

GAO auditors are now suggesting that the USDA implement use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to identify payments made to dead individuals.


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Snowden’s Father: My Son Won’t get a Fair Trial in USA

 Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Mr. Snowden may soon travel to Moscow to see his son.

Lon Snowden backs Edward’s decision to seek political asylum in Russia, he told Rossiya 24 news channel on Wednesday. The live interview taken in the US was most likely viewed by the NSA whistleblower from his temporary refuge at a Moscow airport transit zone, as he was warned beforehand by his legal representative in Russia Anatoly Kucherena.

If Edward returned to the US for prosecution, he would not be granted the constitutional right of due process, the elder Snowden fears.

“The fact is no assurances have been made that he will be given a fair trial, that he deserves, or any citizen of this nation is given by our Constitution,” he said.

Edward Snowden’s case has taken on all the characteristics of a witch hunt, argues Lon Snowden’s attorney, Bruce Fein, who was interviewed by the channel along with his client. A number of Obama administration officials and lawmakers openly branded the former NSA contractor a traitor although he has yet to be tried on espionage charges.

There is also concern that should a trial be conducted, Snowden’s defense team would find it difficult to call witnesses and present evidence due to the secrecy surrounding the NSA’s surveillance programs.

In the run up to the trial, Lon Snowden fears his son would be maltreated in US custody, citing the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was recently found guilty on 20 offences linked to the leaking of classified US information to WikiLeaks.

"He was subjected to inhumane conditions. He was stripped of his clothes, kept for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, his glasses were removed. That was unacceptable,” the elder Snowden said. “I just don’t have a high level of trust in our justice system, not only because of what has happened to my son.”

When asked whether it would be better for Edward Snowden to seek asylum in one of the countries that have already voiced their readiness to provide shelter like Venezuela, Lon Snowden said he thought Russia would be better for his son and would himself seek refuge there if he were in a similar position.

“I would certainly have appreciated the offers by Venezuela and Ecuador and Bolivia,” he said. “But considering actions that were taken, particularly the grounding of Evo Morales’ aircraft, where my son was thought to be, I feel Russia has the strength and resolve and convictions to protect my son.”

He said he hopes he will be able to soon visit Russia and reunite with his son. The FBI tried to organize such a meeting, but the effort was stalled after Lon Snowden found the agency would not guarantee that their conversation could be conducted in private. 

“I said, ‘I want to be able to speak with my son...Can you set up communications?’ And it was, ‘Well, we’re not sure,’ ” Snowden’s father told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “I said, ‘Wait a minute, folks, I’m not going to sit on the tarmac to be an emotional tool for you.’ ”

Now Kucherena is working on bringing over Lon Snowden and arranging for him to meet his son.

“We haven’t set a time for such e visit yet, but we will do it very soon. I hope that I will be able to deliver an invitation as soon as today,” he told Vesti FM radio station on Wednesday. “Edward needs moral support.”


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Civilian Use of Drones Approved in the U.S.A.

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certificates for two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use. The move is expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operation later this summer.

The two unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are the Scan Eagle X200 and Aero Vironment’s PUMA. They both measure around 4 ½ feet long, weighing less than 55 pounds, and have a wing span of ten and nine feet respectively.

Both the Scan Eagle and the PUMA received “restricted category type certificates”which permit aerial surveillance. Prior to the FAA’s decision, the only way the private sector could operate UAS in US airspace was by obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate which specifically restricts commercial operations.

The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for wildlife surveillance and oil spill monitoring over the Beaufort Sea to the north of Canada and Alaska. The Scan Eagle will be used by a major energy company off the Alaskan Coast to survey ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas.

The issuing of the certificates is seen as an important step to integrating UAS into US airspace. Both drone operations will meet the requirements of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which includes a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations.

Most non-military use of drones in the US has so far been limited to the police and other government agencies. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in March that drones will soon be used by the NYPD and will become as ubiquitous as security cameras.

Documents released by the American civil Liberties Union (ACLU) via the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that the US Marshals Service has also experimented with the use of drones for domestic surveillance.

Read More....

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FBI Announce Insider Trading Charges Against Former Equity Research Analyst, Sandeep Aggarwal

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), today announced conspiracy charges against Sandeep Aggarwal, a former equity research analyst for a financial services firm located in San Francisco, California (“the firm”), for his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme. As alleged, Aggarwal provided material, non-public information (“inside information”) concerning a strategic partnership in Internet search and advertising between Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) and Yahoo! Inc. (“Yahoo”) (the “partnership”) to at least two different hedge funds. Aggarwal was arrested yesterday in San Jose, California, and will be presented today in federal district court in the Northern District of California.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged, Sandeep Aggarwal leveraged his contacts in the technology industry to obtain an illegal edge in the form of inside information about a highly anticipated development, and then lied about his criminal conduct. With his arrest today, we continue our work to investigate and prosecute privileged professionals who think the laws requiring honesty and fair play do not apply to them.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said, “Like many others before him, Sandeep Aggarwal allegedly broke the law and provided material, non-public information on a Microsoft-Yahoo deal. When questioned by his employer about the source of the information, he lied. Yesterday’s arrest is the latest step in the FBI’s long-running investigation into insider trading in the hedge fund industry.”

In a separate action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced civil charges against Aggarwal.

According to the complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

On the evening of July 9, 2009, Aggarwal learned from a friend who was an employee of Microsoft that discussions about the partnership had recommenced and that a transaction was likely within the next few weeks. The next day, Aggarwal provided information about the partnership to at least two different hedge funds, including to Richard Lee, then a portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors LP. On July 10, 2009, Aggarwal told Lee, in substance, that he had heard from a source—whom Aggarwal described as “a senior guy at Microsoft”—that (a) senior Yahoo executives had been meeting with senior Microsoft executives at Microsoft’s offices; (b) senior Microsoft executives were making requests for information that suggested to the sources that a deal was likely to be completed soon; (c) the success of Microsoft’s Bing search engine had caused Yahoo to move closer to Microsoft’s offer; and (d) it was likely that the deal could be announced within the next two weeks. Thereafter, Lee’s hedge fund purchased several hundred thousand shares of Yahoo stock, and Lee purchased 25,000 shares of Yahoo stock in his personal account.

The complaint further alleges that, when the firm’s management questioned Aggarwal on July 10, 2009, about the information he was providing to hedge funds concerning the partnership, Aggarwal falsely denied having any inside information and claimed that his source was a person who had been retired from Microsoft for two years.

* * *

Aggarwal, 40, of Gurgon, India, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The conspiracy to commit securities fraud count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The conspiracy to commit wire fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Richard Lee pled guilty on July 23, 2013, to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy and one count of securities fraud in connection with insider trading between April 2009 through 2010, while he was employed by SAC Capital Advisors LP.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI. He also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He also noted that the investigation is continuing.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which U.S. Attorney Bharara serves as a co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit

The case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John J. O’Donnell and Arlo Devlin-Brown are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source..... FBI

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First the "Lincoln Memorial", Now the "National Cathedral Organ" in D.C. A String of Green Paint Vandalism

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

A wave of vandalism continued to mar some of Washington’s more popular landmarks Monday with at least three more attractions spattered with green paint, and authorities announced the arrest of a woman near one of the incidents at Washington National Cathedral.

The latest crimes occurred three days after the Lincoln Memorial was hit in similar fashion. On Monday, the light-green paint was discovered on an organ in the cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel, in the cathedral’s Children’s Chapel and on the granite base of a statue next to the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall.

D.C. police said Monday evening that they had charged Jiamei Tian, 58, whom they believe to be homeless, with one count of defacing property.

See Video....

The mysterious markings on the statue of Abraham Lincoln blemished one of the country’s most visited attractions and an iconic symbol of freedom. In the cathedral, they tarnished what is widely known as the nation’s house of worship — and a building still under repair after an earthquake two years ago caused such severe damage that it closed for three months.

A church spokesman called the destruction “heartbreaking” but said it could be repaired. The cathedral was closed for several hours Monday afternoon — the first time since the earthquake — but it reopened in time for an evening concert with its choir and the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“It’s just disappointing,” said Nick Schwei, 25, from Milwaukee, who tried to tour the cathedral but was turned away by police. “First the Lincoln Memorial, now this. It’s just very sad. Two different incidents of beautiful things damaged.”

Authorities were still trying to determine late Monday whether any of the destruction is connected. They said they would test paint samples to determine whether the same material was used at each of the locations.

By evening, investigators with the U.S. Park Police, who are probing the spatters on the Mall, had arrived at the D.C. police department’s 2nd District station, where Tian was being questioned. According to two police officials with knowledge of the investigation, the Park Police, in their investigation of the Lincoln Memorial incident, had been looking for an Asian woman who possibly was homeless.

She had been arrested in the Children’s Chapel as D.C. police searched the church after paint was found about 2 p.m. on an organ in the Bethlehem Chapel. The basement chapel, built in 1912, is one of the oldest parts of the building. It was the site of President Woodrow Wilson’s funeral in 1924 and his entombment for several decades.

Authorities said the paint was still wet, and the fresh crime scene prompted a quick response and frantic search through a labyrinth of chapels and alcoves. Authorities then found more paint — and the woman— in the Children’s Chapel, just off the nave. The small prayer room is built to the scale of a 6-year-old child, with a baptismal font and small kneelers.

Pictures of the damage released by the cathedral show paint sprayed or thrown onto an organ’s pipes in the Bethlehem Chapel. Paint is also visible on the floor and on a large card identifying the organ, which was built in the 1950s. In the Children’s Chapel, the paint is evident on the floor and on the sides of church pews. The paint also damaged a mural.


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Appeals Court Rules NYC ban on Large Sugary Drinks is Unconstitutional

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Dealing yet another blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to reduce obesity in New York City, a state appeals court upheld an March decision by a lower court that Bloomberg's sugary drink ban is unconstitutional.

The court wrote that the city's Board of Health "failed to act within the bounds of its lawfully delegated authority," and as a result, the so-called soda ban is unlawful.

Bloomberg issued his edict in May 2012. The porous ban would have restricted the size of fountain drinks to 16 ounces, but contained many exceptions.

The size restrictions would have applied at restaurants, theaters and food carts. But retailers such as 7-Eleven would still have been allowed to sell super-sized drinks, like the 64-ounce Big Gulp.

The ruling Tuesday upholds a March decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, who called the law "arbitrary and capricious."

The First Department of the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division took particular issue with the soda ban's various exceptions.

A four-member panel wrote in its decision that "the selective restrictions enacted by the Board of Health reveal that the health of the residents of New York City was not its sole concern. If it were, the 'soda ban' would apply to all public and private enterprises in New York City."

Bloomberg said in a statement he intended to appeal Tuesday's ruling.


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"To Kill a Mockingbird" Lawsuit for Stealing Copyright

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

In May, Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, filed a blockbuster lawsuit alleging that her former literary agent Samuel Pinkus had “engaged in a scheme to dupe" her into assigning the valuable copyright to her book. According to Lee's lawsuit, Pinkus created shell companies and bank accounts to route the book's royalties before he was eventually pressured into assigning the copyright back to Lee.

Pinkus still hasn't directly answered that lawsuit, which was filed in a New York federal court. But the agent is also fighting a second, related lawsuit. On Friday, in that other dispute, Pinkus addressed the charge that he took advantage of an 80-year-old author's declining hearing and eyesight to grab hold of one of the literary world's most lucrative properties.

According to a motion that was filed on behalf of Pinkus and his companies:
"Ms. Lee's assignment of the Mockingbird copyright specifically retained to her 'all rights to any revenue, financial benefit, royalties, or any benefit whatsoever derived from the exploitation of the Property, now or in the future.' The inconvenient real facts make for a much less interesting story."

The above passage comes as footnote within a motion to dismiss.
Read it here in full....

Pinkus is looking to swat away a lawsuit brought by the literary agency of McIntosh & Otis, which is demanding almost $780,000 in owed money plus being appointed as a receiver of his company's assets.

Pinkus once worked at M&O. There, he followed in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Eugene Winick, to handle representation of Lee, mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark, the Joy of Cooking trusts and others. In the middle part of the last decade, Pinkus split from M&O to set up his own agency, Veritas Media Inc., setting off several rounds of mediations and arbitration over entitlements to commissions.

In the midst of this came Pinkus' alleged scheme to defraud Lee.

In the author's lawsuit, Lee identified a motive for what had happened. Lee's lawsuit said:
             "Pinkus's motive for engaging in this conduct appears related to his efforts to avoid M&O's efforts to collect on a judgment that it had recovered against VMI in a New York arbitration over entitlement to commissions on the works and authors (including Harper Lee) that Pinkus had diverted from M&O during Eugene Winick's illness. To avoid that judgment against VMI, Pinkus created several different companies to handle the receipt of royalties and commissions and directed the payment of royalties to a continually changing series of bank accounts. Pinkus also assigned Harper Lee's copyright, yet again, from VMI to another company that he controlled and signed foreign licenses on Harper Lee's behalf granting rights at times when Pinkus knew that he owned the copyright in TKAM and that Harper Lee could not validly transfer the licensed rights."

One month after Lee filed her lawsuit against Pinkus and his companies, M&O followed up with its own complaint in New York state court. In that latter litigation, Pinkus was alleged to have made many moves -- including on To Kill a Mockingbird -- that had the effect of frustrating M&O's attempt to collect money it was due.
Read the full complaint....

Who is not involved, but should be?
According to Pinkus' attorney, Harper Lee should have been named as a defendant in this lawsuit, because the author is also making a claim to Mockingbird money: "In other words, both M&O and Ms. Lee assert an entitlement to any commissions relating to Mockingbird, including the escrow funds held by the Publisher. Because any judgment entitling M&O to the escrowed funds would necessarily prejudice the rights of Ms. Lee, she is an indispensable party to this action."

Read More....

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Bradley Manning Found "Not Guilty"

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy as court-martial judge reads verdict.

The planned announcement of the verdict follows an eight-week trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, where military prosecutors argued that Manning, 25, betrayed his oath and his country, and assisted al-Qaeda because the terrorist group was able to access secret material once WikiLeaks posted it.

Hours before the verdict, about two dozen Manning supporters demonstrated outside Fort Meade wearing “truth” T-shirts and waving signs proclaiming their admiration for the former intelligence analyst, the Associated Press reported.

“He wasn’t trying to aid the enemy,” said Barbara Bridges, 43, of Baltimore. “He was trying to give people the information they need so they can hold their government accountable.”

As dozens of journalists were admitted to the installation amid tight security, dogs trained to sniff out explosives searched their vehicles before they were escorted to a media room where the court proceedings were to be broadcast live on a screen.

The government’s pursuit of the charge of aiding the enemy under a theory that had not been used since the Civil War troubled civil libertarians and press-freedom advocates. They said the publication of secret defense information online could expose any leaker to life in prison and will chill press scrutiny of the military.

The government relied on a case from the Civil War to bring the charge: In that trial, a Union Army private, Henry Vanderwater, was found guilty of aiding the enemy when he leaked a Union roster to an Alexandria newspaper. Vanderwater received a sentence of three months hard labor and was dishonorably discharged.

Manning has pleaded guilty to a number of lesser charges, including unauthorized possession of information relating to the national defense.

The sentencing phase of the trial at Fort Meade outside Baltimore would begin Wednesday, if Manning is convicted. If there is a conviction, the prosecution is expected to press the judge, Col. Denise Lind, to impose the maximum sentence. The government would present in a closed session of the court the classified damage assessments conducted by government agencies after the disclosures by WikiLeaks.

Defense attorney David Coombs would also be able to offer mitigating evidence about Manning’s motives and his state of mind when he turned the material over to the group.

Manning would be likely to serve any sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Manning, of Crescent, Okla., enlisted in the Army in October 2007, hoping to fund his college education through the G.I. Bill. He trained as an all-source intelligence analyst at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y.


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To Lobby Schools Around the World to Adopt the Peters Projection Map in Classrooms.

Newsflash from your Hollywood Attorney:

We Have Been Misled By An Erroneous Map Of The World For 500 Years?

This clip was featured in "The West Wing," but map dishonesty is ANYTHING BUT FICTIONAL. Check out the video to get an accurate look at the size of Africa.
See Video...

The map shows how Africa (30,3 million km²) is larger than the combination of China (9,6 million km²), the US (9,4 million km²), Western Europe (4,9 million km²), India (3,2 million km²) and Argentina (2,8 million km²), three Scandinavian countries and the British Isles (map gives no surface for these last two areas). Map Source

The Peters Projection World Map is one of the most stimulating, and controversial, images of the world. When this map was first introduced by historian and cartographer Dr. Arno Peters at a Press Conference in Germany in 1974 it generated a firestorm of debate. The first English-version of the map was published in 1983, and it continues to have passionate fans as well as staunch detractors.

The earth is round. The challenge of any world map is to represent a round earth on a flat surface. There are literally thousands of map projections. Each has certain strengths and corresponding weaknesses. Choosing among them is an exercise in values clarification: you have to decide what's important to you. That is generally determined by the way you intend to use the map. The Peters Projection is an area accurate map.

Because the only totally correct representation of the earth is a globe, cartographers have to distort the sphere in order to print it on flat paper to produce world maps. In the process scale, distance, area, or a combination of these, are rendered imperfect.

Traditional world maps such as the Mercator often exaggerate the scale towards the poles, giving an erroneous picture of the relative sizes of different countries. For example, Mercator maps show Greenland to be roughly the same size as Africa, when, in reality, Africa is actually fourteen times larger. Africa also looks considerably smaller than Russia on a Mercator map, even though Africa is actually 33% larger. However, generations of navigators weren't bothered much by Mercator's misrepresentations, since they cared most about longitude and latitude, which the Mercator projection handles rather well.

In 1973, Arno Peters published the Peters Projection map. This map preserves equal area and retains a rectangular grid of latitude and longitude. Thus all countries are the correct size in relation to one another. On this projection it becomes much easier to understand the relationships between countries. However, a price is paid in the distortion of shape - countries are progressively squashed towards the poles and stretched across the equator. For those who grew up with the Mercator map, the Peters projection map appears to be stretched vertically, and Africa suddenly looks huge.

A variety of social and religious groups argue that since the Mercator map makes many countries appear smaller than they really are, people seeing them may infer that certain countries are innately more important than others. This rhetoric has often escalated to the point where the Mercator map is openly described as being "racist". Many of these groups are working to address this perceived problem by lobbying schools around the world to adopt the Peters projection map in classrooms. This movement is not without controversy, however, since educators, well-aware of the Mercator map's deficiencies, were already adopting maps based on other projections, some of which are even more accurate than Peters's. Others argue that Peters wasn't even the first person to devise such a projection, since James Gall came up with the same idea in 1855 (which is why some refer to it as the Gall-Peters projection).

See More Maps and Source....    AND

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