UNDER PENDING NEW MANAGEMENT -- NORTHWEST:
Popular dance and dinner venue The Phantasm
in Northwest DC, has changed hands unexpectedly. Former club owner Sean
just weeks after a dramatic sort of swan song closing number with a
cousin of his at Web of Night's Charity Concert event, has taken an
open-ended hiatus, and transferred ownership of the club to an as of yet
unnamed source. Everything lately seemed to be pointing subtly to
Brennan taking a sabbatical.
The Phantasm was closed for most of March as
it underwent some minor changes in relation to the switch, and is now
reopening this weekend under new management. From the look of the
marquee, the style and entertainment of the club remain as they were,
simply guided by new hands to be announced soon. Regular headliners
Louis Delacourt and Aki Oshii were unavailable for comment at presstime.
TORQUEMADA TAKES ON NASCAR ONCE MORE -- ATLANTA, GA:
Local lady NASCAR® Elite Division
driver Francesca Torquemada has been jumping right back into the
proverbial saddle again this racing season, as evidenced by her showing
at the Golden
500 qualifiers for the Nextel series, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Torquemada finished sixth in the race, which was won by Dale Earnhardt,
In between races, she has also been picking
up some offers from film companies to do stunt work for such actresses
as Catherine Zeta-Jones, whom she somewhat resembles when not covered in
Additionally, the Winter 2004 issue of
Corvette Quarterly features Torquemada on its cover, with a seven-page
article detailing her adventures driving a new Corvette C6 through
Torquemada, or "Torque" to her close friends, whose ultimate goal is to
race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, plans to compete in the NASCAR
AutoZone Elite Division and the ROMCO Super Late Model Series in 2005.
She is the first NASCAR driver — male or
female — to be featured on the cover of CQ.
DEN REOPENS YET AGAIN -
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM? --
scarcely a month after the second major inexplicable
structural collapse not even a
after opening, The Foxxx's Den adult
entertainment and dance club, in the same
U Street corridor as Bound and the Black Cat,
managed to swiftly effect repairs to code and secure
permits to reopen for a third attempt at staying in
The DC Zoning Board,
taken by surprise at the pace at which the Den got
back on its feet, completed inspections Monday and
will allow it to reopen to the public this weekend.
Interviews with neighboring businesses and numerous
investigations and inspections were inconclusive, as
to the source of the mysterious collapses the
building has twice now experienced.
New owner and star
performer Andrea Cardelle had no comment to the
press on the strange events surrounding the club,
nor how she acquired the club from namesake founder
Chastity Foxxx (aka Selena Fox).
DCPD OFFICER CRACKS IN LOCAL EATERY ALTERCATION; SHOTS
FIRED, OFFICER FATALLY WOUNDED -- NORTHEAST --
Street Officers Carter Billups and
Smith were on routine car patrol in the Northeast section of Washington,
when they stopped for a dinner break at Ben's Chili Bowl, a local
landmark near Howard University. They were approached by a non-descript
white male who struck up a casual conversation with the officers. They
soon departed the diner to return to patrol.
About an hour later, Smith and Billups made
a quick stop back at the diner to grab a drink to take on patrol.
Billups waited with the patrol car while Smith went back into Ben's
accounts vary, but they are agreed that with no provocation that anyone
present was aware of, Officer Smith opened fire on Tanika Wentworth, 20,
a Howard University college student waitressing at the diner. Smith
wounded Wentworth, who crawled under the counter to save herself. Upon
hearing shots, Billups rushed inside, thinking that perhaps the diner
was being robbed.
he entered, Smith started taking shots at his partner, who hid behind an
overturned table to avoid gunfire. He extracted his handgun and upon
seeing Smith inexplicably out of control, fired to wound/stop action on
his partner, to no avail.
Smith then turned on 10 year old Tywaine
Ward, who had been eating with his sisters at the diner and had gotten
to use the restroom when the gunfire first broke out. Smith shot Ward in
cold blood as he was running back into the restroom, killing him in
front of his family.
Billups, unable to overpower his
out-of-control partner without likely getting killed himself, elected to
fire his weapon again, trying to disable Smith. As Smith shot Ward in
the head by the bathrooms, Billups fired several shots into Smith,
finally bringing him down.
In the exchange, Smith shot Billups as well,
wounding him in the arm and shoulder. With Smith finally disarmed and
unconscious, Billups called for backup and EMT's. Both Officers were
taken by responding medics to DC General Hospital for treatment. Billups
was released a few days later and put on Administrative Leave following
the routine inquiry since his weapon was fired on a fellow officer.
Smith was tested for drugs or other
extenuating influences, but nothing conclusive was ever discovered. He
never did regain consciousness, and later died of injuries and
complications directly relating to the gunshot wounds received by his
DCPD held a formal inquiry into the matter
and exonerated Billups of wrongdoing in the shooting death of his
partner. His actions remain a mystery to the Department, and to Billups,
who is now back on patrol.
Bermuda Triangle Glows
MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — Satellite imagery, airplane
over-flights and eye witnesses all agree that the
Bermuda Triangle has been visibly glowing for the last
week. This portion of the
North Atlantic, defined by the southern tip of the state
of Florida, the Bahamas and the Greater Antilles, has
long been a region of strange phenomena, and
oceanographers are at a loss to explain the yellow light
now bathing the area. Reports of ships being pulled
under the waves by huge tentacles, and of mythical
mermaids swimming through the phosphorescent water, are
only adding to the mania surrounding the phenomenon.
not scare me, says Malawi leader --
Blantyre - Malawian President
Bingu wa Mutharika says he refuses to forgive two journalists who wrote
that he was afraid of ghosts and that they will have to defend
themselves in court, state television reported on Friday.
was a total lie designed to destroy my character ... that's why I will
not forgive them," Mutharika told a rally in the administrative capital
Lilongwe on Thursday.
"The journalists have said they will stand by their story," he said. "So
let the courts decide and the law take its course."
Raphael Tenthani, who works for the BBC, and Mabvuto Banda, a journalist
for the Nation newspaper who also reports for the Reuters news agency,
were arrested and charged with publishing false information on March 15
for reporting that Mutharika had moved out of a newly-built palace
because he believed it was haunted.
The journalists, who face charges of "causing ridicule to the president"
have been released on bail.
This is the first time that journalists have been arrested since the
71-year-old-economist-turned-president controversially won elections in
Human rights groups and the local media have criticised Mutharika for
The journalists quoted an aide to Mutharika last month as saying that
the president had abandoned the $100-million palace in Lilongwe because
he had been hearing "strange noises that keep him awake or feels rodents
crawling all over his body but when he turns on the lights, he sees
"It's true that the president is no longer staying there and we have
asked clerics from several Christian churches including the Roman
Catholic to pray for the new state house to exorcise evil spirits," said
Reverend Malani Mtonga, who is the president's adviser on religious
Mutharika angrily denied the reports, saying: "I have never feared
ghosts in my life."
The palace, containing 300 air-conditioned rooms and set in 555 hectares
of land outside the capital, is widely seen as a folly of the country's
founding president Kamuzu Banda.
Study Warns of Junk-News Diet
By James Ramey, Times Staff Writer
American consumers confront an ever-broader river of news from
myriad sources, but the standard for gathering and presenting the
information tends to be "faster, looser and cheaper" than in the
past, according to a survey of the news business to be released
today by a media watchdog group.
blogs and cable TV programs have led the trend toward a "journalism
of assertion" that relies less on reporting than personal opinion,
reported the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which is
affiliated with Columbia University. That trend makes it more
important for journalists "to document the reporting process more
openly so that audiences can decide for themselves whether to trust
it," the organization concluded in its annual report.
The second annual report by the Project for Excellence in
Journalism, which is based in
focused more on trends and prospects than on content. The
considerable change facing the industry is revealed in a few facts:
Online advertising has increased 30% to almost $10 billion in one
year and estimated readership of blogs has increased 58% in six
months. About 32 million Americans say they have obtained
information from the Web logs, or journals, known as blogs.
Tom Rosenstiel, director of the research project, said that with the
growth in Internet commentary, the culture of opinion journalism has
expanded exponentially. Blogging has its value — exposing, the
report said, hasty reporting by CBS News on memos that referred to
Bush's military service during the Vietnam War. But it can also lead
the public astray, the report found, such as when it fomented the
"unfounded conspiracy theory" that Republicans stole the
presidential election in Ohio.
Although the traditional media continue to have struggles of their
own, the public's view of the believability of news organizations
has stabilized somewhat in the last two years, according to the
study, which relied on research by the Pew Research Center for the
People & the Press. About 35% of Americans said the media get the
Only better reporting and increased transparency about its tactics
will help the media regain credibility, the study concluded.
"Since citizens have a deeper range of information at their
fingertips, the level of proof in the press must rise accordingly,"
it said. "In effect, the era of trust-me journalism has passed and
the era of show-me journalism has begun."
The study recommended that news consumers, like dieters, become more
discerning. "The real crisis may be news obesity," the study said,
"consuming too little that can nourish citizens and too much that
can bloat them."
Island of Hawaii Destroyed by Volcanoes
HONOLULU, HAWAII — The island of
destroyed today in a massive explosion, as the
volcanoes Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea erupted with more
force than even the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. The
eruptions are the latest in a series of freak
volcanic eruptions, as active, dormant and even
presumed extinct volcanoes across the globe erupt in
SHINZUI INDUSTRIES QUIETLY
ACQUIRES SEVERAL DIVISIONS OF PENTEX, INC.
After several months of patient, step-by-step acquisitions, starting
with the Tokyo Office of Pentex (NYSE: PTX), Shinzui
Corporation has now emerged as the majority shareholder of the
company, moving them from The New York Stock Exchange to the NIKKEI.
a rather clever ad campaign last year launched against rival
subsidiaries, Shinzui found several of them in weakened positions in
and moved in for takeover bids. In a matter of weeks,
Pentex’s entire Japanese holdings were quietly bought out.
The latest wave of
deals include the recent acquisitions of investment firm Consolidex
Worldwide; petroleum company Endron International; Herculean
Firearms Incorporated, known for its heavy handed lobbying for gun
ownership; DOD Military contractor Nastrum Enterprises; health and
corporation Magadon Incorporated; and PC game designer Tellus
This leaves, for the
moment at least: environmental cleanup company Ardus Enterprises;
private health and eldercare group Autumn Health Management Systems;
toy maker Avalon Incorporated, famous for its “Action Bill” figure;
a specialized role-playing game company called Black Dog Games;
tobacco company Circinus Brands; paper goods manufacturer Good House
International; Hallahan Fishing Corporation; Harold and Harold
Mining, Incorporated; retailer and grocer Herrick’s; King Breweries
and Distilleries; cable channel Omni Television; fast food
O’Tolley’s; publishing house Vesuvius Incorporated; and household
products manufacturer Young and Smith, Incorporated.
Shinzui may have
bitten off an awful lot to chew, however. Aside from the obvious
furor striking the business world after the November Board of
Directors meeting from which every executive save Finance Director
Franklin Rubin mysteriously disappeared; there have been since
revealed countless scams, cases of mismanagement and internal
scandal eating the company away from the inside. Several anti-trust
lawsuits have been filed, and there have been persistent rumors of
indictments involving several key political figures and kickbacks
from Pentex executives.