Sanjaya: He’s Still Here

SANAYA: BESAME MUCHO

The questionably talented but clearly popular Sanjaya Malakar easily survived another elimination on the hit show American Idol on Wednesday after a performance that even the irascible judge Simon Cowell conceded “wasn’t horrible.”

Malakar, who has emerged as the show’s star, especially since radio jock Howard Stern exhorted his listeners to vote for the 17-year-old whose wacky hairdos on the show have been as nutty as some of his performances, again managed to escape being lumped among the bottom three.  His singing of “Besame Mucho” on this week’s Latin-themed edition, featuring a guest appearance by “superstar” Jennifer Lopez, was among his best-received in recent weeks.  The judges almost fawned over him, even saying that his singing was “really good,” smart and smooth, with Simon Cowell going so far as to say that it pained him to have to concede that Sanjaya’s crooning tonight actually “wasn’t horrible.”

American Idol‘s music director has said that he thinks Malakar could well win the whole thing.

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NBC News Cancels Imus’s MSNBC News Program

NBC News President Steve Capus Discusses The Decision

NBC Cancels Imus in The Morning

NBC News has dropped Don Imus’s talk show on its MSNBC cable news channel a week after Mr. Imus made racially degrading remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.  The move came after several days of heated calls for Mr. Imus to be relieved of his positions both at MSNBC, which simulcasts the Imus in the Morning show, and at CBS Radio, which originates the show.

CBS Radio, which is Mr. Imus’s main employer, issued a statement last night that stated it would stick by the two-week suspension of the program, which begins Monday, that it and NBC news announced earlier.  However, CBS said it that during those two weeks it would continue speaking with all concerned parties and monitor the situation closely.

The demands that Mr. Imus be fired had grown in intensity every day since last Wednesday when he made the comments, in which he labeled the women “nappy-headed hos.”  Numerous advertisers had also announced that they would refuse to sponsor the show in the future.  Among the advertisers were General Motors, American Express, Sprint Nextel, GlaxoSmithKline, TD Ameritrade and Ditech.com.

Imus Fired: NBC News President Tells Staff Members Why

NBC News President Steve Capus’ Internal Memo to Staff Members:

Over the course of the last week many of you have reached out to me and expressed your strong viewpoints on the Don Imus situation.  I’ve had countless conversations, e-mail exchanges and phone calls with people throughout this company.  I’ve heard you loud and clear.  Therefore, we are announcing tonight that MSNBC will no longer simulcast the Imus radio program…

My primary concern has been and always will be the integrity of this division.  We are the guardians of the good name of NBC News — each and every one of us.  There has been a trust placed in us. We must honor and respect this trust.  That, in short is why we have taken this action.

Senator Obama: Fire Imus!

In an interview with ABC News Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama called for the firing of talk radio host Don Imus. Presidential candidate Obama adamantly stated that he would never again appear on Imus’ show, which is broadcast on CBS Radio and MSNBC television.

Obama stated:

He didn’t just cross the line. He fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America. The notions that as young African-American women, who I hope will be athletes, that that somehow makes them less beautiful or less important. It was a degrading comment. It’s one that I’m not interested in supporting.

Although other major presidential candidates have condemned the racist remarks, Senator Obama is the first one coming forward to say that Imus really deserves to lose his job for them.

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Duke Lacrosse: “These Three Individuals Are Innocent”

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAKES THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

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The Announcement

The North Carolina Attorney General announced that all of the remaining charges were dropped today against three former Duke University lacrosse players who had been accused of rape more than a year ago, concluding a three-month investigation of a racially charged case that polarized and outraged many in the state and nation.

An independent investigation “showed clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed,” Roy A. Cooper, the state Attorney General, said at a televised news conference.  ” We believe these individuals are innocent.”  He said the accounts of the events given by the woman who made the accusations were so inconsistent that they were not credible.  “She contradicts herself,” Mr. Cooper said.  “In this case, the inconsistencies were so significant and so contrary to the evidence that we have no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house on that night,” he said.

The decision brought to an end a harrowing 13-month ordeal for the young men, two of whom were dismissed from Duke because of the charges.

News Conference: Duke University Lacrosse Players

The Players’ Reactions

The players and their families were greeted by prolonged applause at another news conference that was held later in the day.  “All of the men of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team have gone to hell and back, but I hope and all of us sincerely hope it was not in vain,” one of the players (David Evans) told the audience.  Evans went on to say,”A great disservice has been done to the sport of lacrosse in this whole thing.  A lot of stereotypes, and they’re just not true… I hope these allegations don’t come to define me.” Reade Seligmann, another player said, “This whole experience has opened my eyes to a world of injustice that I never knew existed.”

David Evans’ attorney, Joe Cheshire, admonished the media not to judge suspects before the legal system does,”Roy Cooper said a word today; the word is I-N-N-O-C-E-N-T. I wanted to make sure everybody got thatThis is not a great day to celebrate.  It is a great day for justice.”

Both the players and lawyers went on to urge legal reforms in North Carolina in order to place more checks and balances on district attorneys.

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All Charges Against Duke Lacrosse Players Thrown Out

N. C. ATTORNEY GENERAL DISMISSES ALL CHARGES AGAINST PLAYERS

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DUKE LACROSSE CHARGES DROPPED

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is announcing that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players at The North Carolina Attorney General’s office in Raleigh, N.C., at 2:30 p.m. today. “Cooper’s decision follows a thorough review of the case by attorneys in his Special Prosecutions Division,” according to the official press release from Cooper’s office.

The three players, Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty, had been facing charges of first degree kidnapping and first degree forcible sexual offense, charges stemming from an off-campus lacrosse team party that was held on the night of March 13, 2006. After the party, one of the two black dancers hired to perform for the players claimed she had been violently raped in a bathroom by members of the lacrosse team. The three players were ultimately indicted for first degree rape, a charge that was dismissed on Dec. 22, 2006.

Special prosecutors from the Attorney General’s office took over the case after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong recused himself in January amid charges of unethical conduct filed against him by the North Carolina Bar. The charges of the accuser and case brought forward by Nifong have been riddled with criticism since the early months after the party. The accuser changed key details of her story in the weeks and months after the alleged assault, there was a critically flawed photo identification lineup and no DNA evidence was found matching any lacrosse players.

ED BRADLEY INTERVIEWS THE ACCUSED

ED BRADLEY

On November 13, 2006, the three accused Duke lacrosse players spoke exclusively to the late Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes about the party, their trial, the successful DNA test and how the incident has changed their lives.

Watch the 60 Minutes video here: Ed Bradley: Duke Lacrosse Accused

For further background information on this case, go here.

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