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Australian runaway faces court after serial killer charged with her murder

at 13:03 on June 13, 2006, EST.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - An Australian woman who hid for four years in her boyfriend's house and was thought to have been murdered by a notorious serial killer appeared in court Tuesday charged with prompting a false police investigation.

Natasha Ryan, 21, and her boyfriend Scott Black, 28, are facing trial before the Rockhampton Magistrates Court in Queensland state for failing to stop a massive police manhunt that began when Ryan ran away from home in 1998.

A series of investigations costing up to 500,000 Australian dollars ($410,250 Cdn) failed to uncover Ryan's whereabouts, and convicted serial killer Leonard Fraser was eventually charged with her murder.

Police discovered Ryan hiding in a cupboard in Black's home following an anonymous tip during Fraser's trial in 2003.

Black is now serving a 12-month jail sentence for perjury after lying to police about Ryan's whereabouts.

Lawyers for both Ryan and Black sought to have the charges dismissed in court on Tuesday.

"This charge does not cover people who merely know that police are wasting time and resources and fail to take steps to bring it to an end," Ryan's lawyer John McInnes told the court. "Some people run away. Now running away by itself is not enough to constitute an offence."

Black's lawyer, Anne Demack, also sought a dismissal of the charge, saying the police investigations were launched after Fraser allegedly told a fellow inmate that he had killed Ryan.

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Brain-dead Italian woman kept alive 78 days; gives birth to premature baby girl

at 9:06 on June 12, 2006, EST.

ROME (AP) - A brain-dead woman kept alive artificially for more than two months gave birth to a premature baby girl, doctors at a Milan hospital said.

A few hours after the Saturday birth, the machinery artificially keeping the 38-year-old woman alive was shut off, doctors at Milan's Niguard hospital said.

The baby girl, born two months early, was breathing on her own Sunday, doctors said.

The baby, named Cristina after her mother, was born by emergency caesarean section and weighed just over 1.5 pounds, doctors said. The woman's last name was not released to protect the family's privacy.

Doctors decided to deliver the baby after the woman's blood pressure plunged and the fetus experienced heart rhythm problems, the hospital said.

The woman was hospitalized in March after suffering the rupture of a cerebral aneurysm, and she was soon declared brain dead, the hospital said. She spent 78 days in a brain-dead state, it said.

The mother's kidneys and corneas were donated for transplant, the hospital said. Her liver was donated to another patient at Niguarda hospital, news reports said.

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Food writer's bag of honey, electronic gear shuts Tallahassee airport

at 23:45 on June 12, 2006, EST.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A food writer's bag containing recording equipment, honey, an oyster shell and seasoning rub was blamed for a three-hour shutdown and evacuation of Tallahassee's airport, authorities said.

The electronic gear and organic material looked suspicious to five Transportation Security Administration officers who examined X-ray images of the bag, Quinten Johnson, TSA's security director at the airport, said Monday.

The way that the honey, electronic gear and batteries were positioned looked like an improvised explosive device, he said.

Todd Coleman, food editor for New York-based Saveur magazine, was detained but later released after the bag was removed from the terminal and a robot opened it to disclose the contents.

"I was afraid they were going to blow my bag up," Coleman said. "It would have blown my story up."

Coleman said he was in Tallahassee to visit his parents, who live in the area, and to write about the food of nearby Apalachicola, Florida's oyster capital. The Apalachicola area also is famous for tupelo honey, which Coleman had in his bag.

The airport reopened at about 10 a.m.

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German director Boll challenges critics to join him in the boxing ring

at 19:12 on June 13, 2006, EST.


VANCOUVER (CP) - Are you an in-shape male weighing between 64 and 86 kilograms and hate the films of controversial German director Uwe Boll?

If so, he wants to fight you in Vancouver as part of one of his films.

The director of the recently released vampire flick BloodRayne starring Kristanna Loken and Ben Kingsley claims to be frustrated with critics trashing his films.

Some, he says, do so without even having seen the productions.

"Many journalists make value judgments on my films on the opinions of one or two thousand Internet voices," Boll said.

"On the message boards, you have, like, tons of people, they want to punish me kill me, grill me, shoot me, everything. The Internet threats are so full of hate in a lot of times that I think it goes way over the top of normal reviews and normal talk about a director.

Boll is due in Vancouver in July to begin production on the super-horror film Seed starring Canadians Will Sanderson and Andrew Jackson and New Yorker Michael Pare.

In Seed, the main character is subject to a failed electrocution and desperate officials bury him alive.

"He digs himself out of the grave and goes on a revenge trip," Boll said.

Once Seed is completed, Boll will go to work on Postal in late September.

The top five critics who sign up to fight him will be flown to Vancouver and will be extras in Postal.

Five, 10-round fights will be staged over the last two days of filming and scenes from the matches will become part of the film, Boll said.

To be eligible, critics must have written at least two negative articles about Boll in 2005.

Boll claimed in an interview Tuesday from Germany that reviews for BloodRayne - the tale of a woman who is half human, half vampire - were trashing the movie before it came out and that put the film in the bottom 50 on the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) prior to its January release.

"There are a lot of reviewers, they talk about the bad press I get and that is also because of the Internet geeks," he said.

"If they don't appreciate what I did, they should show also that they have balls," he said. "They have three or four months to train and get in shape for it."

Boll said he boxed "a long time ago" and fought as an amateur in Germany for about 10 years.

"Now, I have to reactivate my boxing gloves."

Boll said he has already received offers to fight him but not from those he feels are qualified as critics qualified for the punch-up.

But it's not just the critics Boll wants the chance to take a few punches at.

He's specifically targeted fellow filmmakers Roger Avary and Quentin Tarantino.

Both Avary and Boll have made films based on video games.

In an interview with Edge Online, Avary discussed his recent project, Silent Hill, and the comfort level game-makers have with filmmakers using their work as the basis for films.

"Will Silent Hill make game designers more comfortable?" he asked. "Guys like Uwe Boll have done a lot of damage and I don't know that one good game adaptation will undo it all."

Boll is upset with Tarantino because the gore-thriller Hostel - billed as "presented" by the American fillmaker - came out at the same time as BloodRayne and overshadowed the latter's release.

"This was very bad for me," he said.

Hostel was directed by Eli Roth, not Tarantino, although the latter is listed as executive producer on imdb.com.

Boll was also unimpressed with claims on the Internet that Tarantino could beat him up.

Boll readily acknowledged his boxing challenge is more for the humour than anything.

"This is more a gag," he said. "I'm not counting on Quentin Tarantino coming up to Vancouver."

Tarantino could not be contacted for comment through the William Morris Agency which represents him.

While he hasn't heard of directors challenging their critics to fisticuffs, Vancouver International Film Festival director Alan Franey said odd stunts are not unknown.

"Werner Hertzog challenged . . . some young filmmakers that if they actually got off their butt and made a film instead of complaining about how difficult it was he would eat his shoe - and did," Franey said.

Hertzog directed the legendary 1979 vampire film Nosferatu starring Klaus Kinski.

Boll has not done a lot to make himself popular with the Hollywood establishment.

When BloodRayne premiered at Graumann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in early January, Boll stood at the front of the theatre and said: "I hate Hollywood."

Boll's next picture due in theatres is In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

Like BloodRayne, it's also based on a video game. It features Loken again as well as John Rhys-Davies, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard, Leelee Sobieski, Claire Forlani and Burt Reynolds.

Much of the shooting for that film was also done in B.C.

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The other day, in the Canary Islands, policemen pulled over a motorbike because there were three people riding on it. However, when they took their helmets off they discovered, to their surprise, that one of the riders wasn't a person at all, but a goat. The human occupants didn't have insurance or a driving license, even though they obviously had the presence of mind to put a helmet on the goat when it was going to be riding with them.

Wouldn't want anything to happen to the goat.

(This is a true story, it was very popular on the radio for a day or two, but there is no Internet source to quote that I know of)

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ST. LOUIS(AP) - A woman accused of pummeling a dog breeder over the head with a dead Chihuahua has been charged with two misdemeanors and reimbursed the money she paid for the puppy.

Lisa Lynn Hopfer, 33, of Wentzville, was charged with trespassing and third-degree assault in the June 7 incident, authorities said.

No listed phone number for Hopfer was available. A man at her home who declined to identify himself told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Friday that "there's another side to the story," but declined to elaborate.

Hopfer told police she had taken the puppy to a veterinarian, who said it was only 4 weeks old and needed to be returned to its mother. But before she could return the puppy named Chloe, it died.

Authorities said Hopfer went to the breeder's home, pushed her way inside and began fighting with the breeder as she tried to make her way to the basement to get another puppy, police said.

Linda Hulsey, 33, of St. Peters, wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, police said.

Hulsey said she was hit with the dead puppy at least 30 times and went to a hospital for her bruises, but had no serious injuries. She said she was upset that Hopfer had accused her of selling the puppy too young and said the puppy was two days shy of 6 weeks old.

Hulsey said she later returned the $100 that Hopfer had paid for the dog.

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This might be interesting story for everyone to laugh at.

MILWAUKEE - More than a bell is needed to save Dustin Diamond this time around. Diamond, best known as geeky Screech Powers on the 1989-1993 teen comedy series "Saved by the Bell," is selling T-shirts with his photo on them to try to raise $250,000 so he doesn't lose his gray two-story house under a foreclosure order.


"If the public didn't care, I as an entertainer wouldn't have been a success," he said.

Diamond, 29, is trying to sell nearly 30,000 shirts — at $15 or $20 (autographed) each — to supplement the income he makes as a standup comic so he doesn't have to move from his Port Washington home, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee.

The T-shirt has a photo of Diamond holding a sign that says, "Save My House." The back of the shirt reads, "I paid $15.00 to save Screeech's house." The third "e" was added to get around copyright laws, he said.

He's selling the shirts on his Web site: http://www.getdshirts.com.

The foreclosure order was filed last month in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Diamond appeared on Howard Stern's satellite radio show Tuesday to plead his case. "I'm doing great with my comedy, but this is definitely a low point," he said. "Real life comes in and affects you."

Diamond doesn't have a listed phone number, and e-mails to the address on his Web site and at an alternative address were not immediately returned Thursday.

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