- - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Virginia reaches settlement with Salahi charity

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II’s office said officials have reached a settlement with a charity run by White House party crasher Tareq Salahi for allegedly making false statements, submitting inaccurate financial statements and soliciting donations without being registered with the state.

According to the Associated Press, the settlement with the Journey for the Cure Foundation and Mr. Salahi follows an investigation by the state Office of Consumer Affairs. Under the settlement, the charity must pay $32,500 in civil penalties and attorney fees. Mr. Salahi also must pay $2,500 in penalties.

Mr. Salahi and his wife, Michaele, gained notoriety in 2009 when they crashed a White House state dinner. Earlier this month, Mr. Salahi filed a $50 million lawsuit against his wife claiming she had an affair with Journey guitarist Neal Schon in an attempt to make money for herself and the band at his expense.

Streep donates to school on behalf of actress Davis

Meryl Streep has donated $10,000 to a charter school in the struggling Rhode Island city of Central Falls after a plug from fellow actress and hometown favorite Viola Davis.

Angelo Garcia, founder and director of the Segue Institute for Learning, said the check from Miss Streep’s Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts arrived Monday, the Associated Press reports. A note said it was on behalf of Miss Davis, who grew up in Central Falls.

Both Miss Davis and Miss Streep were nominated for the best actress Oscar this year, with Miss Streep winning the award Sunday night.

The Segue Institute has more than 200 students in grades six through eight. Mr. Garcia, who grew up with Miss Davis, said the school is trying to raise money to buy the building it’s in or find a new location.

Hudson on witness list in trial on family’s murders

Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is on the witness list for the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

The Chicago Tribune reports, however, that prosecutors haven’t yet disclosed whether Miss Hudson will actually testify at William Balfour’s trial, which is slated to begin April 9.

Mr. Balfour was the estranged husband of Miss Hudson’s sister, Julia. Miss Hudson’s mother and brother were found dead in the family’s home on Chicago’s South Side in 2008. Her nephew’s body was found days later in a vehicle on the city’s West Side.

Erykah Badu concert halted over Allah body art

Muslim-majority Malaysia on Tuesday banned a planned concert by Erykah Badu after a photograph appeared showing the Grammy-winning singer with the Arabic word for Allah written on her body.

The American R&B singer was scheduled to perform Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, but some Muslim groups said Miss Badu was an unsuitable role model for young Malaysians after seeing a publicity photo of her with what appeared to be temporary tattoos of the word Allah on her bare shoulders.

According to the Associated Press, a government committee that includes police and Islamic policy officials decided to forbid Miss Badu’s show because the body art was “an insult to Islam and a very serious offense,” Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement.

The photo of Miss Badu had “triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national security and cause a negative impact to the government’s image,” the statement added.

The 41-year-old Dallas-born singer had already arrived in Malaysia. She can stay as a tourist but will not be allowed to perform, an Information Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

Razman Razali, managing director of the show’s Malaysian organizer, Pineapple Concerts, said his company hopes the ban will be reversed.

It was the first concert by a Western performer to be banned in Malaysia in recent years. Several other stars, including Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne, were told to dress modestly while performing.

Lucas gets approval for compound expansion

Marin County officials Monday approved a controversial plan by filmmaker George Lucas to expand his digital empire on historic farmland north of San Francisco.

The six-member county planning commission unanimously voted in favor of the proposal to build a 270,000-square-foot digital media production compound in a quiet valley that has been home to Mr. Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch for three decades.

Opponents of the project have two weeks to appeal the commission’s decision.

The complex would be next to Mr. Lucas’ other filmmaking operations - Skywalker Ranch and Big Rock.

Neighbors say the giant complex with generate noise, traffic and environmental damage on pristine land about a half-hour drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Representatives for Mr. Lucas said the Grady Ranch facility will create hundreds of jobs in Marin County and won’t lead to the traffic and noise residents fear.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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