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newsmakers

Sunday, March 20, 2011

newsmakers

Beloved polar bear Knut dies at zoo

BERLIN

Berlin’s beloved polar bear Knut, an international star who as a cuddly, fluffy cub graced magazine covers, movies and merchandise, died Saturday. His death at the young age of 4 took zookeepers and animal experts by surprise.

The celebrity bear died suddenly in his compound at the Berlin Zoo on Saturday afternoon, bear keeper Heiner Kloes told The Associated Press. He waded into the water in his enclosure before having a short spasm and then dying in front of hundreds of zoo visitors.

Though the life expectancy of polar bears in the wild is between 15 and 20 years, animals in captivity can live even longer because they are not exposed to hunger, thirst or infections. A postmortem will be conducted Monday to try to pinpoint the cause of death, Kloes said.

His death was met by an immediate outpouring of sorrow. As the news of Knut’s death spread through the city, more Knut fans showed up at the zoo, assembling in front of the bear compound to mourn his loss.

Rejected by his mother at birth Dec. 5, 2006, along with his twin brother, who survived only a couple of days, Knut first attracted attention when his main caregiver, Thomas Doerflein, camped out at the zoo to give the button-eyed cub his bottle every two hours. Doerflein cuddled and played with him at daily public appearances to the delight of thousands of people who came to watch.

Fan clubs sprung up across the globe, including in Japan, the United States and Germany. Fans followed his every move, including his weight battle — he had a weakness for croissants — or plans to move to a different zoo.

“Knutmania” led to a 2007 Vanity Fair cover with actor Leonardo DiCaprio shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz, a film and plush likenesses.

Mich. high court sides with rapper Dr. Dre

DETROIT

Detroit officials who were backstage at a concert featuring hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Eminem had no right to privacy when they confronted organizers in a videotaped exchange that turned up in a DVD, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a decision released Saturday.

The ruling dismisses a lawsuit against Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, that was filed by City Councilman Gary Brown and other Detroit officials after the 2000 show.

Brown was a high-ranking police official at the time and warned concert organizers that power would be turned off if they showed a sexually explicit video at the Joe Louis Arena. The conversation was taped and later used in behind-the-scenes tracks on a popular DVD highlighting the “Up in Smoke“ national concert tour that also featured rappers Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube.

Associated Press