Monday, March 29, 2010

Ricky Martin is livin' la vida open, says he's gay

NEW YORK — Ricky Martin is no longer denying the rumors: He's confirming that he is gay.

In a statement posted via Twitter in both Spanish and English, Martin said: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am."

For many, Monday's announcement will come as no surprise; the "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer's sexuality has been speculated about for years. But the Puerto Rican star, who got his start as a child in the teen group Menudo, never directly addressed it and was usually seen at events with beautiful women on his arm.

Martin, 38, said he decided to reveal the truth after working on his memoirs helped him realize that he had to be free with himself, and not keep any more secrets.

"From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside," he said. "Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And this is something worth celebrating."

Martin said one of the reasons why he kept his homosexuality hidden was because he was told by some that it would hurt his career. While his U.S. career peaked after the release of his 1999 self-titled English album, a multiplatinum success that included the hits "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "Shake Your Bon-Bon," he is still a hugely successful Latin artist.

"Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth," he said in his statement. "Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions."

Martin, who is the father of two boys born via surrogate in 2008, said he couldn't continue to hide his sexuality now that he is a father: "Enough is enough. This has to change."

Martin's book is still a work in progress.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Santonio Holmes sued for alleged assault

As if the Pittsburgh Steelers needed more problems right now, USA Today reports: Santonio Holmes gets slapped with a civil suit for assault. True, it isn’t a criminal case, which could mean there was a lack of evidence to proceed there, but it’s enough to get the blue collar fans of the Steel City upset. There’s already talk that star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss the team’s offseason workout program as a possible criminal sexual assault case against him is pending; star wide receiver Santonio Holmes throwing his drink at Anshonoe Mills may be minor by comparison, but the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t need these kinds of distractions.

Santonio Holmes: pass catcher, drink thrower?

Anshonoe Mills alleges that Santonio Holmes “ordered her to get up” off a couch in the VIP area of the Rain Night Club in Orlando, Fla., on March 7. Apparently the two had a musical chairs-style tussle, and according to Mills, Santonio Holmes then threw his full drink in her face and the broken glass cut her. Whether she needed instant cash loans to pay an ER bill is unclear, but Mills does claim that Holmes and the Orlando PD tried to get her not to press charges. Santonio Holmes allegedly even offered her an undisclosed sum of money for her silence, which could have alleviated the potential need to seek out the services of payday lenders.

From Super Bowl XLIII MVP to trouble man
This isn’t the first time Santonio Holmes has been involved with the law and caused the Pittsburgh Steelers embarrassment. The wide receiver has been charged with marijuana possession in the past, and the cherry on the sundae is the Santonio Holmes nude photos that made the rounds online in 2008. Of the latest alleged incident between Holmes and Anshonoe Mills, no comment has been released from the Holmes camp, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

How will these men be viewed in Steelers history?
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family have a long and storied history of success. The Rooney family is one of character, and while the on-the-field, take-no-prisoners war conducted by players like Jack Lambert was tolerated, it is off-the-field embarrassment that the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes have brought the team that is particularly galling.

Of course, the media spotlight is much brighter today than it was during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ heyday of the 1970s. If TMZ and Bleacher Report had existed then, Pittsburgh fans would likely have a very different view of their sports heroes today. Neither Ben Roethlisberger nor Santonio Holmes has been convicted of late, but the air of bad decision-making plainly stinks.

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NAACP: SunTrust Mortgage worker fired over e-mail


The NAACP says a 14-year employee was fired from SunTrust Mortgage Inc. in Richmond after she was accused of sending a chain e-mail she received at work that ultimately was forwarded to the NAACP.

The fired African-American employee said she found the e-mail offensive.

The e-mail contains pictures of 40 bumper stickers such as, "Clinton ruined a dress, Obama ruined a nation," "So I guess we're even on that slavery thing eh?" and, "Diversity -- It killed 13 at Fort Hood."

SunTrust issued a statement yesterday saying: "We do not endorse or condone the views expressed in the e-mail cited by the NAACP, and had already taken appropriate action to respond to the circulation of the e-mail."

A spokesman would not comment on whether others were reprimanded, citing personnel issues.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a copy of what it said was the e-mail sent by a SunTrust official to 13 office employees and one outside recipient under the subject line "FW: Bumper Stickers that Make Sense."

King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia State Conference NAACP, said several of the recipients were black and felt the subject matter was racially offensive.

One of the recipients forwarded it to Nicole Russ, a co-worker, writing, "I feel very offended. Look with (sic) this woman sent out to some of us!"

Russ, an accountant, said SunTrust conducted an internal investigation and then brought her into a meeting. There, she was told she was being terminated because her supervisor had "trust issues" with her and because of the e-mail, she said in a telephone interview.

She said SunTrust accused her of trying to go public with the e-mail by forwarding it to someone who would give it to the NAACP.

The official who sent the e-mail collected Russ' belongings and escorted Russ out of the building immediately after the Feb. 18 meeting, Russ said. She said she was paid through March 4.

"I always had good evaluations," she said. "He [her manager] said my performance was good. It definitely wasn't my performance."

Russ said she did send the e-mail to two people outside the company but only to see what they thought.

In its statement, SunTrust said: "We are committed to ensuring that our employees are treated consistently and fairly. And in that regard, this former employee can take advantage of our appeal process for another review of the facts that led to the decisions that were made."

Russ said she is in the process of filing a complaint with the Virginia Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"They're trying to give her due process after the fact," Khalfani said. "She wouldn't have known she could appeal if I didn't intervene."

SunTrust said it was "dedicated to diversity in all aspects of our operations."

US 'Christian militants' charged after FBI raids

"Captain Hutaree," his wife and two sons planned with other militia members to kill a law enforcement official to draw the officer's colleagues to the funeral, authorities say.

Feds: Philly man threatened Va. congressman

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia man charged with threatening the No. 2 Republican in the House was being held without bail Monday pending a psychiatric evaluation.

Norman Leboon, 38, is accused of trying to post a YouTube video in which he threatened to kill Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia. Leboon is wanted by city authorities in another threat case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Reed said.

The threat against Cantor does not appear to be connected to the health care reform bill, though it's not clear whether Leboon was upset with the House Republican whip about other issues, Reed said. Cantor is the only Jewish Republican in Congress, and Passover begins Monday at sundown.

Reed told a judge that Leboon appears to have major psychiatric issues.

Leboon calls himself the "son of the god of Enoch" in the video and calls Cantor "pure evil," according to court documents.

Leboon's public defender declined comment.

Cantor said through a spokesman that authorities had notified him of a threat over the weekend and had been keeping him posted on Leboon's arrest. He referred further questions to the FBI.

Last week, police in Richmond, Va., determined that a bullet that hit a window of Cantor's office there had been randomly fired skyward.

At a news conference Thursday, Cantor said he has received threats since he's assumed elected office not only because of his leadership position but because of his faith.

Rio Tinto terminates employment of convicted staff

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Rio Tinto /quotes/comstock/22x!e:rio (AU:RIO 78.39, +0.07, +0.09%) /quotes/comstock/13*!rtp/quotes/nls/rtp (RTP 231.11, +4.95, +2.19%) said Monday that in accordance with its company policies, it will terminate the employment of the four Shanghai-based employees convicted of bribery and spying charges, saying in a statement the evidence it had reviewed in relation to the bribery charges pointed to "deplorable" conduct that was "at odds" with its ethical culture. "We have been informed of the clear evidence presented in court that showed beyond doubt that the four convicted employees had accepted bribes," Sam Walsh, the miner's chief executive, said in the statement. Rio said it was unable to comment on charges of obtaining commercial secrets, as it had not had the opportunity to consider the evidence in this part of the case.
By Chris Oliver

Something for everyone at 2010 Final Four

There's a favorite in Duke, a little guy in Butler, a team returning to the big-time in West Virginia and a regular hardly anyone figured would get so far this season in Michigan State.

One of the most unpredictable NCAA tournaments in recent history served up four distinctly different stories for the Final Four.

Butler, enrollment 4,500, plays in the gym where they filmed the basketball classic "Hoosiers" and is making its first Final Four appearance. The Bulldogs play Michigan State on Saturday, which is making its sixth and perhaps most unexpected trip in the past 12 years.

The other game features West Virginia, making its first appearance since 1959, against the Duke Blue Devils, who hadn't made it since 2004 — a long time by their standards.

"It's not about the moments that I've been in, it's the moment that your players put you in right now," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, making his 11th Final Four appearance.

The Blue Devils (33-5), 78-71 winners over Baylor on Sunday, are the only No. 1 seed to make the Final Four, and as such, are the early 3-2 favorite to win it all.

Returning after a much longer time away are West Virginia and coach Bob Huggins, who made it in 1992 when he coached Cincinnati. Since then, he's been on a coaching odyssey that has included trouble with the NCAA, a heart attack and a one-year stop at Kansas State before he returned to his alma mater in Morgantown.

Through it all, he has done a lot of winning. The latest was Saturday's 73-66 upset over No. 1 Kentucky in the East Regional that put the Mountaineers (31-6) in the Final Four for the first time since guard Jerry West was their biggest star.

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Obama pays surprise visit to Afghanistan

President Obama flew into Afghanistan's capital Sunday night on an unannounced visit, his first trip as president to this war-battered country where tens of thousands of new US troops are being deployed.

Lawyer who found documents has long pursued church

Pope Benedict celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican. He did not refer directly to the scandal over the handling of sexual abuse by clergy members.

At least 3 arrests after FBI raids in Midwest

Michigan State Police stand guard on Tomer Street in Clayton, Mich. on Sunday March 28, 2010 after an FBI raid of a home of a suspected militia leader. The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and arrested at least three people. (AP Photo/Madalyn Ruggiero)

ADRIAN, Mich. — Some of the suspects from the FBI's weekend raids in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are expected in court.

It's not clear what prompted the raids, which the FBI says resulted in at least three arrests.

Federal warrants are sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects. Court appearances are expected Monday.

A militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one raid was a Christian militia group called Hutaree.

On its Web site, Hutaree states that it believes that Jesus wants people to be prepared to defend themselves against the Antichrist.

Female suicide bombers suspected in Moscow subway attacks

Moscow, Russia -- Explosions that rocked two subway stations in central Moscow during the Monday morning rush hour are being investigated as acts of terrorism, authorities said.