Oprah school employee charged with assault

Oprah school employee
charged with assault

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A former employee of Oprah Winfrey’s school for disadvantaged girls in South Africa has been arrested on charges of abuse and sexual assault, police said Friday. Police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said the 27-year-old woman, a dormitory matron at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, was arrested on Thursday by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit.

“Several charges including alleged assault, indecent assault, criminal injury and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts are being investigated against her,” Dlamini said. At least seven victims have submitted statements, he said. The woman was being held by police and was expected to appear in Sebokeng magistrate’s court, south of Johannesburg, on Monday, he said.

Local media recently reported that Winfrey made a tearful apology to parents and pupils in a recent meeting at the school.

Winfrey opened her Leadership Academy for Girls outside Johannesburg to great fanfare Jan. 2, with celebrities like Tina Turner and Spike Lee in attendance, as well as former President Nelson Mandela. The lavish $40 million school was the fulfillment of a promise she made to Mandela six years ago and aims to give 152 girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.

Jimmy Page’s injury
delays Led Zeppelin show

LONDON — Led Zeppelin fans awaiting the rockers’ reunion will have to wait a little longer. The band’s first concert in two decades, scheduled for Nov. 26, has been postponed until Dec. 10 after guitarist Jimmy Page fractured a finger, organizers said Friday.

“I am disappointed that we are forced to postpone the concert by two weeks,” Page said in a statement. “However, Led Zeppelin have always set very high standards for ourselves, and we feel that this postponement will enable my injury to properly heal, and permit us to perform at the level that both the band and our fans have always been accustomed to.”

Led Zeppelin, who split up in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham, announced in September they were reuniting for a one-off show. The lineup includes Page, singer Robert Plant and bass player John Paul Jones, along with Bonham’s son Jason. More than 1 million fans entered a draw for a chance to buy one of the 10,000 tickets to the concert at London’s O2 Arena, a tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who died last year. The lineup also includes former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, Foreigner and young Scottish singer Paolo Nutini. Organizers said tickets for the Nov. 26 gig will be honored at the rescheduled show.

Fla. governor thanks
Buffett for wildlife work

TAMPA, Fla. — The subject was manatees when Jimmy Buffett and Gov. Charlie Crist got together to talk about environmental issues. Crist met privately with the 60-year-old singer for about 10 minutes Thursday and then introduced him to nearly 20,000 fans at a concert, saying: “He has Florida in his heart and he loves her like I do.” The governor recently pushed state wildlife commissioners to delay a decision to downgrade protections for manatees. State experts have determined that the manatee is no longer endangered, a term that means a species is at imminent risk of extinction.

They say the manatee should be reclassified as threatened, which means it faces a high risk of extinction. Crist said Buffett thanked him for what he did for the sea cows. “And I said, ‘No, thank you,”’ the governor said. “Thank you for doing so much for our state and looking out for our wildlife and our natural estuaries and caring so much about Florida.”’

Crist also did a live interview on Radio Margaritaville, Buffett’s Sirius Satellite Radio station. Last spring, Crist appeared with Sheryl Crow to promote awareness of climate change.

Institute to lend paintings
to Kimbell Art Museum

CHICAGO — Chicago’s Art Institute is lending about 90 of its impressionist and postimpressionist works to the Kimbell Art Museum.

The Fort Worth, Texas, museum will show the pieces while the Art Institute’s galleries dedicated to 19th-century French paintings undergo renovations. The works include paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet. They will be on view at the Kimbell from June 29, 2008, to Nov. 2, 2008.

The Art Institute is undergoing the largest expansion project in its history. A new modern wing is scheduled to be completed in mid-2009.

Today’s birthdays

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller is 89. Actress Lois Smith is 77. Former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis is 74. Actor-dancer Ken Berry is 74. Movie composer John Barry is 74. Actor Shadoe Stevens is 61. Singer Lulu is 59. Comedian-actress Roseanne Barr is 55. Actress Kate Capshaw is 54. Comedian Dennis Miller is 54. Actress Kathy Kinney is 54. Singer Adam Ant is 53.

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