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Balita Weekend, Sat., - Tues., April 03 - 06, 2010

BEIJING, March 30, 2010 (AFP) – A court in China has jailed nine journalists for taking bribes to cover up a deadly mining accident, state media said Tuesday, refer- ring to a disaster that occurred before the Beijing Olympics.

China jails nine reporters over pre-Olympic cover-up: media

The journalists from eight media orga- nizations took hush money from the owner of the coal mine in northern Hebei province in return for not reporting the explosion, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The July 14, 2008 accident killed 34 miners and was covered up for 85 days in an apparent bid to spare China embarrass- ment in the run-up to the Games, previous media reports have said.

The nine journalists received jail sen- tences ranging from 18 months to 16 years, Xinhua said, citing the General Adminis- tration of Press and Publication. A tenth journalist who also took bribes has been banned from working in the media industry, it added.

Li Junqi, head of the Hebei branch of

Farmer’s Daily, was sentenced to 16 years for taking 200,000 yuan (29,300 dollars) in bribes from the mine owner. The newspaper was fined 30,000 yuan and ordered to close its provincial branch. After a cabinet-level inquiry into the

cover-up state prosecutors charged 48 government and mining officials and 10 journalists, previous reports said. Li Hongxing, a county head in Hebei province, was jailed for 13 years for cov- ering up the deadly accident, state media reported in December. ■

ORLANDO, March 30, 2010 (AFP) – Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes denies injuring a female bar patron who says he threw a glass at her in a Florida club, ac- cording to a police report released Tuesday. Holmes told a Florida police officer that the alleged victim, Anshonae Mills, grabbed him and used a racial slur after he asked for his seat back at Club Rain in Orlando earlier this month. Both Mills and Holmes are black.

Super Bowl MVP Holmes denies hurting woman in bar

In a lawsuit, the 21-year-old Mills claims the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver hit her with the glass in the face cutting her near the eye after she refused to get up. Mills’ lawyers said Tuesday that they

hadn’t seen the police report and couldn’t comment on it.

“When she refused, Mr. Holmes began to get more belligerent and more aggres- sive in an attempt to get our client to move from the area, which he claimed was his,” Mills lawyer Jacques Cooper said. Steelers president Art Rooney said the National Football League club is “disap- pointed” by the allegations made in the lawsuit.

Holmes is just the latest NFL player to run into trouble. In the past three years, he has been charged with marijuana posses- sion in Pittsburgh, domestic violence in Ohio and disorderly conduct in Florida. The marijuana and domestic violence charges were dropped.

The disorderly conduct charge was dropped after Holmes donated 250 dollars to a police officers’ fund. ■

Arenas avoids jail time on gun charge

SPORTS

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2010 (AFP) – NBA star Gilbert Arenas won’t spend time behind bars for taking guns into the Wizards locker room, a judge instead sentencing him on Friday to 30 days in a halfway house.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin sentenced Are- nas, who had pleaded guilty on January 15 to a felony gun charge of carrying an unlicensed pistol – a violation of the U.S. capital’s strict gun laws.

Prosecutors had recommended that the player be sentenced to three months in jail. In addition to the time in a halfway

house, Arenas was sentenced to 400 hours of community service, which cannot be conducted at basketball clinics. He was fined 5,000 dollars and must register as a gun offender.

He is already suspended from the Na- tional Basketball Association through the remainder of the season.

Arenas, whose actions in the wake of the event irked NBA officials who felt he didn’t take the incident seriously, apolo- gized in court. “Every day, I wake up wishing it did not happen,” Arenas said. The charge against Arenas stemmed from a December 21 locker room incident between him and teammate Javaris Crit- tenton, in which Arenas brought several guns to the team’s facility.

Barely-used Crittenton, who is also suspended by the NBA, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge and had already been sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation.

The two had argued over debt from a poker game.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of at least three months in jail, saying Arenas lied about why his guns were in the locker room and that he knew bringing guns into the District of Columbia was illegal. He also had a prior conviction on an improp- erly registered gun. U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh wrote in papers filed with the court: “if any other individual - without the fame, power, and the wealth of this defendant - brought four firearms into Washington, DC, for the purpose of a similar confrontation,” the individual would go to jail. Arenas’ lawyers countered that he was pulling a misguided prank with no intent to hurt anyone.

Morin said he took several factors into account in determining the sentence, saying he believed Arenas was sincerely remorseful and noting that Crittenton re- ceived only probation.

Meanwhile, Cleveland Browns tackle Shaun Rogers was facing a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon on Friday, a day after he allegedly tried to take a handgun through airport security. The charge filed by a Cleveland city prosecutor alleges that Rogers carried a

.45-caliber Kimber semi-automatic with eight rounds of ammunition in his carry-on luggage at Cleveland Hopkins Interna- tional Airport.

Rogers paid 1,000 dollars’ bond and was released after spending the night in jail. Defense attorney Patrick D’Angelo said the player would plead “not guilty” in court on Saturday.

In the meantime, Rogers offered an abject apology saying the incident was an accident.

“By no means did I intend or will- ingly or knowingly take a firearm into the airport,” he said. “That’s not something I would do.”

Rogers had taken part in the Browns’

off-season training program, and was headed to Texas to spend Easter with his family when the incident occurred. Rogers told police that he had forgotten the gun was in his bag and that he carried it for personal safety during travel. Police said Rogers has a license in Michigan to carry a concealed weapon.

He has a house in Detroit, Michigan, that he is trying to sell.

“I’m truly remorseful, and I really can’t put into words how unfortunate the inci- dent is,” Rogers, 31, said.■

Lakers sign Kobe to three-year extension

LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2010 (AFP) – The Los Angeles Lakers have signed superstar Kobe Bryant to a three-year contract extension, the NBA team said Friday. General manager Mitch Kupchak said the reigning NBA champions have achieved two of their main goals in making sure Bryant and Pau Gasol will be with the team for some time to come. Spain’s Gasol signed his extension, which could be worth as much as 64.7 million dollars depending on 2011 salary cap terms, in December. ■

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