World Scene

Updated: 2014-02-16 08:35

(China Daily)

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Julia Roberts' half-sister found dead

Hollywood star Julia Roberts' younger, half-sister Nancy Motes was found dead in a bathtub last Sunday in Santa Monica, California. Authorities said she died of an apparent drug overdose. The 37-year-old spoke last year of her struggle in growing up as the "fat little sister" of the actress who starred in Pretty Woman. The relationship between the two was strained in recent years. Motes worked as a production assistant on the TV show Glee - a job Roberts helped her secure. Motes was set to marry her partner in May this year. Some media reports claimed that Roberts was not planning to attend. At the time of publication, Roberts, 46, had yet to make a comment on the death. Motes is the daughter of Roberts' mother Betty Lou and stepfather Michael Motes. She is also the half-sister of actors Eric Roberts, 57 and Lisa Roberts Gillan, 49.

World Scene

Axl Rose sticks neck out over giraffe

Snake-hipped enigmatic Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose has turned animal rights activist - sort of. The Welcome to the Jungle singer last week weighed in on the killing of a 2-year-old giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo so that it could be fed to lions in front of visitors, including children. In a series of sarcastic tweets, Rose slammed zookeepers. One read: "Just enjoying the lion's share of some tasty baby Giraffica sliders! Mmmmm! What'll them crazy Danes think of next!" He finished his commentary with a drive-through request: "Lemme get a Giraffica, a homemade cherry Danish, some o' them pre-fried Pepper's (sic) ... Oh! N' a liter of cola!" A post on Guns N' Roses' website in January revealed that the band will begin its 2014 tour in Mexico next month.

Two charged in theft of Stradivarius

Two Wisconsin men have been charged with stealing a rare Stradivarius violin worth $5 million from a concert violinist in the United States late January. The violin, which was made in 1715, was recovered last week from a Milwaukee residence, where it had been stored in a suitcase in the attic, police said. Salah Jones, 41, and Universal Knowledge Allah, 36, were charged with felony robbery and Allah was also charged with marijuana possession. The thieves had taken the violin earlier this month after incapacitating concert musician Frank Almond with a stun gun as he left a concert in suburban Milwaukee. The Lipinski Stradivarius had been on loan indefinitely to Almond from a private owner. It is one of roughly 600 violins, violas and cellos still in existence that were built by the famed Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari.

Outrage over student's selfie

The disturbing trend of coming up with the most outrageous selfies for Internet consumption took a dark turn last week. A student in Alabama provoked online fury by posing for a photo with a cadaver in a university biology department and posting the image online. The unnamed student is seen in the photo grinning broadly next to a sheet-covered corpse. The picture was taken during a school trip to the University of Alabama designed to teach pupils about an anatomical donor program. Authorities from the school said that mobile phones were explicitly banned for the visit. Undeterred by the edict, the student took out her smart phone for the tasteless snap. The offending image had been removed from Instagram but not before being spotted by a classmate and reported to the school. Clements High School principal Keith Hairrell refused to comment on whether the student has been suspended, but said the school is discussing an appropriate punishment.

Man stole cash from neighbor's roof

An Australian fruit shop owner has been ordered to repay the $467,500 he stole from a neighbor's house last year. The NSW Supreme Court last week heard that the man had taken the devout Muslim family's life savings from the roof cavity of their home in Sydney's southwest suburb of Bankstown. The family filed a civil case in the NSW Supreme Court after police declined to lay charges, citing insufficient evidence. The family claimed the accused had gone on a spending spree that included buying properties and renovating his house shortly after the cash went missing. The judge hearing the case was also told the suspect had been seen entering the house carrying a ladder. The family had chosen to keep their $467,500 in cash along with the family jewelry in the roof to avoid breaching the proscriptions in the Quran against earning or charging interest.

Winter storm lashes southeastern US

The southeastern United States was struck by a deadly winter storm on Thursday that crippled travel, grounded flights, and knocked out power to 363,000 homes. The weather was blamed for at least 13 deaths in the region. Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from Arkansas east to much of the Atlantic coast, the National Weather Service said. The storm was expected to hit the northeastern US at the end of the week with up to 15 inches of snow. Governors declared states of emergencies from Louisiana to New Jersey, and hundreds of schools, colleges and offices throughout the region shut down. About 6,700 US flights were canceled or delayed on Wednesday, and another 3,700 were scrubbed for Thursday. About half of the Thursday flights to and from Washington and New York were called off.


(China Daily 02/16/2014 page4)