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Janelle Vreeland

Baron Davis to sign with New York Knicks

Baron Davis still dealing with back injury

Baron Davis has agreed to sign with the New York Knicks.

ESPN reports that Davis flew into New York on Sunday night ahead of finalizing his contract on Monday. Davis cleared waivers Friday after he was released through the amnesty clause in the new labor agreement by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Davis has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worht $2.5 million. 

Davis, however, is still dealing with a back injury that the Cavaliers originally believed would sideline him for eight to 10 weeks. 

Read more about Baron Davis’ deal withthe Knicks here.

Vaclav Havel dies

Vaclav Havel, Czech playwright and former president, dead at 75

Vaclav Havel has died at the age of 75, MSNBC reports.

Havel led the Velvet Revolution in 1989 which toppled communism in the former Czechoslovakia. Havel was a playwright who later became president of the Czech republic. Havel was the first democratically elected president following the Velvet Revolution.

Havel is being remembered in the Czech Republic today as citizens place notes of condolence at the revolution monument in downtown Prague. One note read, “Mr. President, thank you for democracy.”

“Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred” was Havel’s revolutionary motto.

Read more about the life and legacy of Vaclav Havel here.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal invests in Twitter

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal invests $300 million in Twitter

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment company announced Monday that they are investing $300 million in Twitter.

AP reports that the deal follows months of negotiations between the social media site and Alwaleed’s investment company, Kingdom Holding Co. The investment represents a “strategic stake” in Twitter, but it is not clear how much of the site Alwaleed bin Talal will control.

Alwaleed ranks 26th on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people. Alwaleed says that the deal represents an interest “in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact.”

“We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend,” Ahmed Halawani, Kingdom Holding Co.’s executive director of private equity and international investments, said in a statement.

Read more about Prince Alwaleed bin Talal here.

Jason Trawick and Britney Spears are engaged

Jason Trawick reportedly popped the question to Spears Thursday night

Jason Trawick and Britney Spears are now engaged!

Zap2It reports that Trawick proposed to Spears Thursday night over dinner. Trawick and Spears were celebrating his 40th birthday. A source says they plan to celebrate the engagement Friday in Las Vegas.

“OMG. Last night Jason surprised me with the one gift I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to show you! SO SO SO excited!!!! Xxo,” Spears tweeted Friday morning.

Trawick and Spears met in 2006 when he began representing her. They became romantically involved in 2009.

“This is something they’ve both wanted for a long time,” says the source. “It’s a way to cement their family. They’re both extremely happy and can’t wait to become man and wife.”

Read more about Jason Trawick and Britney Spears here.

Amanda Knox: Italian court releases statement

Amanda Knox’s appeals court reveals why Knox was acquitted

Amanda Knox’s appeals court has released a statement revealing why Knox was acquitted.

AP reports that the court released a 143-page statement detailing its ruling. At the heart of the matter, the court believes that the evidence did not hold up.

Among the evidence and allegations criticized, the appeals court states that the lower court that had originally convicted Knox did not even prove that Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were in the house when Meredith Kercher was murdered. The appeals court went on to criticize the “building blocks” of the conviction and the failure to identify a motive.

Knox and Sollecito’s guilty verdict “was not corroborated by any objective element of evidence and in itself was not, in fact, probable: the sudden choice of two young people, good and open to other people, to do evil for evil’s sake, just like that, without another reason,” wrote presiding Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann.

Knox’s family released a statement saying that the court’s findings “reiterate and reaffirm what we have known all along, that Amanda had absolutely nothing to do with the tragic and terrible murder of Meredith Kercher.”

You can read more about Amanda Knox here. Read our coverage of the Amanda Knox appeals trial here, and read about the aftermath of the verdict here.

Joe Arpaio defended by Rick Perry

Joe Arpaio is accused of committing civil rights violations

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be in hot water, but Rick Perry is defending him.

CBS News reports that Arpaio is the subject of a report by the Justice Department which accuses him of commmitting civil rights violations. The department’s Civil Rights Division alleges that Arpaio has committed a wide range of violations, including following a pattern of racial profiling and discrimination, and carrying out heavy-handed immigration patrols based on racially charged citizen complaint.

Perry defended Arpaio but also used the opportunity to push his presidential campaign, saying, “I would suggest to you that these people are out after Sheriff Joe. He is tough. And again, when I’m the president of the United States, you’re not going to see me going after states like Arizona or Alabama, suing sovereign states for making decisions.”

Read more about the allegations against Joe Arpaio here.

Barry Bonds to be sentenced

Barry Bonds will have 14 days to file his intention to appeal his conviction

Barry Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced today.

AP reports that Bonds will be sentenced for his felony conviction of obstruction of justice. Reportedly, federal probation officers are recommending that Bonds be sentenced to house arrest and community service rather than prison.

Bonds was convicted in April of purposely answering questions about steroids with rambling non sequiturs in an attempt to mislead a grand jury investigating sports doping in December 2003. Bonds’ trial jury deadlocked on three other charges of perjury, but the charges were eventually dropped in September.

Prosecutors are asking for Bonds to receive 15 months in prison, citing that Bonds hasn’t accepted responsibility for his actions.

“Bonds’ pervasive efforts to testify falsely, to mislead the grand jury, to dodge questions, and to simply refuse to answer questions in the grand jury makes his conduct worthy of a significant jail sentence,” prosecutors said.

After the sentencing, Bonds will have 14 days to file his intention to appeal his conviction.

Read more about Barry Bonds here.

Christopher Hitchens dies

Christopher Hitchens, prolific essayist, dies at 62

Chistopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62. The Christian Science Monitor reports that Hitchens died from complications from esophageal cancer on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Hitchens was a prolific essayist and journalist known for his often controversial views on religion and politics. In 2007, he penned a manifesto for atheists entitled “God is Not Great.” Following his diagnosis, Hitchens was not shy to show his intolerance of those who said they were praying for him.

“Even the nicest and most caring religious people are often unaware of quite how rude they are being,” Hitchens wrote in September 2010. “The deity whose intercession is being implored is claimed to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. It is fully aware of the situation. It can make me a believer if it chooses, or wave away my carcinoma. Why should it be swayed by the entreaties of other sinners? My provisional conclusion is that those who practice incantations are doing so as much for their sake as mine: no harm in that to be sure and likely to produce just as much of a result.”

As the Christian Science Monitor eulogizes, “Eloquent and intemperate, bawdy and urbane, Hitchens was an acknowledged contrarian and contradiction — half-Christian, half-Jewish and fully non-believing; a native of England who settled in America; a former Trotskyite who backed the Iraq war and supported George W. Bush. But his passions remained constant and targets of his youth, from Henry Kissinger to Mother Teresa, remained hated.”

Salman Rushdie tweeted about Hitchens’ death, saying, “Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. Christopher Hitchens, April 13, 1949-December 15, 2011.”

Read more about Christopher Hitchens here. You can read Hitchens’ entire article entitle “Pray for Me? Christopher Hitchens?” here.

Joe Simon dies

Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America, dies at 98

Joe Simon, the co-creator of Captain America, has died at the age of 98.

Comics Beat reports that Simon’s death was announced by his son on Facebook. Simon co-created hundreds of legendary comic book characters, including Captain America, the Sandman and the Fly.

As Comics Beat eulogizes, Simon, with his partner Jack Kirby, revolutionized the superhero, horror and romance genres, and are responsible for comic books as we know them today.

Simon told Graphic NYC in 2009, “What happened is that it depended on the times. There were a lot of times when artists were unemployed in this business, and we had to make our own jobs by creating something off the beaten track, a new type of hero or something entirely different like Young Romance. We were the guys that were up to the task. We were good friends and we enjoyed working together. Jack was married about two years before he got out, and I had just gotten married after I had got out, so we decided we’d make it easy on commuting so we bought houses across the street from one another.” 

Read more about Joe Simon here.

Sam Hurd arrested

Sam Hurd arrested on drug charges

Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd was arrested on Wednesday night.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Hurd was arrested on drug charges. Reportedly, Hurd’s case is being investigated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Dallas.

A Bears spokesman has confirmed that the team is aware of the investigation and are looking into it.

Hurd signed a three-year contract with the Bears after playing the previous five season with the Dallas Cowboys.

You can read more about Sam Hurd’s arrest here.