Jokes Prompt Mother-In-Law To Sue Comedian

A veteran comedian – who appears regularly on the Hollywood circuit – has been slapped with a defamation lawsuit filed by her mother-in-law, who is apparently tired of hearing ethnic-stereotype jokes about the family.

Sunda Croonquist – who is half-black and half Swedish and married into a Jewish family – has been ordered to appear in court over allegations she spread ‘false, defamatory and racist’ lies in jokes made about her mother-in-law, Ruth Zafrin.

In the lawsuit, filed in the state of New Jersey, Zafrin is asking for unspecified damages from her daughter-in-law, as well as a court ruling that would ban Croonquist from making her the subject of jokes in her on-stage routines.

One of the many jokes in question involve the initial meeting Croonquist had with Zafrin, and how her new relative reportedly made assumptions about her based on her background.

In one bit, Croonquist jokes, “I am a black woman with the Jewish mother-in-law. The only thing we have in common is that we don’t want to get our hair wet…”

Another joke refers to the time Zafrin found out Croonquist was pregnant: “Now we don’t want a name that’s difficult to pronounce like Shaniqua. We’re thinking a name short but delicious. Like Hadassah or Goldie.”

Zafrin filed the lawsuit after Croonquist reportedly posted information on her website to promote upcoming shows in New Jersey that contained information that could have put her in-laws identities in jeopardy.

Croonquist, who appears regularly on Comedy Central, has refused to pay any damages to her mother-in-law but did agree to drop the jokes from her routine. Her husband has agreed to stand behind her decision.

Her lawyers have filed a motion in court to have the lawsuit dismissed. It is scheduled to be heard by a judge early next month.


Forest fires lay siege to Greek capital

Thousands of Greeks are in a battle to save their homes from being consumed by forest fires raging to the northeast of Athens.

Greek authorities have declared a state of emergency and the army has been mobilised to help protect the ancient capital.

However, the hot gale-force winds that hampered firefighters and helped spread the flames have died down giving the exhausted and stretched emergency services a chance to halt the destruction.

But weather watchers say the winds may well whip up again compounding the problems faced by the fire service.

The wildfires reached the walls of the Saint Ephrem monastery forcing the Monks to remove the remains of the saint.

Environmentalists claim the damage to date is huge with an estimated 120,000 hectares of virgin fir and prime forest laid to waste.

Help from fellow EU member states has begun to arrive. Italian aircraft are at work and more are expected from France and Cyprus.

The blaze broke out on Friday in the village of Grammatiko 40 kilometers outside the Greek capital and quickly spread to neighbouring villages.

Police Officer Pretends to be Twin Brother in Sexual Assault

A New Jersey police officer has been charged with sexual assault after allegedly posing as his identical twin brother to have sex with a woman. The alleged victim told police Jared Rohrig, 25, posed as his twin during a sexual encounter on July 19.

The woman claims Rohrig restrained her and continued the alleged assault — even after she realized the switch. Rohrig has been charged with first-degree sexual assault and criminal impersonation.

He’s on administrative leave.

Gundam Unicorn to Be 6 50-Minute OVAs

The Gundam Big Expo event in Tokyo and the official website for the anime adaptation of the Gundam Unicorn novels have confirmed on Friday that the anime will launch in the spring of 2010 in the form of six original video anime volumes of 50 minutes each. The anime will be presented on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, shown at events, distributed through unspecified means, and exhibited overseas.

The original Gundam Unicorn novels are set in the same Universal Century (UC) timeline as Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise‘s first Mobile Suit Gundam science-fiction television anime series and its sequels. Fukui finished serializing the novel version in the August issue of Kadokawa Shoten‘s Monthly Shonen Ace magazine in June. The final two compiled book volumes, #9 and #10, will ship in Japan on Monday.

Novelist  Harutoshi Fukui had already confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that the firstanime episode will incorporate material from the first two novel volumes. Although Fukui said that the anime will be a “reconstruction” with new ideas developed between himself scriptwriter Yasuyuki Muto (Afro Samurai: ResurrectionLe Chevalier D’EonPersona -trinity soul-), he emphasizes that it is faithful to his original work.

The Sunrise anime studio had previously announced that the project will launch this winter.Sunrise had not specified the release format of the anime version until now, and Kadokawa Shoten had retracted two magazine articles which described the project as a television anime. The news website reported in April that Sunrise is planning to release the Gundam Unicorn anime around the world simultaneously.


Bandai Visual‘s press release confirms that the worldwide simultaneous release will launch next spring. Kadokawa Shoten has published over 1.8 million copies of the first eight novel volumes. The story is originally set in the year 0096 of the Universal Calendar timeline, or three years after the Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack film which marked the final joint story of the original two main characters, Amuro Ray and Char Aznable. English is confirmed as one of the several languages into which Gundam Unicorn will be translated.

Star Trek’s Karl Urban to Play Villain in Priest Film

The Hollywood Reporter newspaper writes that actor Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, The Bourne Supremacy) will play the villain in Screen Gems’ live-action film adaptation of Min-Woo Hyung‘s Priest horror manhwa. Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Da Vinci Code), Cam Gigandet (Twilight, The O.C.), and Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III, Live Free or Die Hard, King of Fighters) are also starring in the film. The manhwa tells the story of an expert in ancient languages who accidentally resurrects an angel from Hell, Temozareal. The man is forced to sell his soul to the Devil in a attempt to correct his mistake. Cory Goodman (The Brood) wrote the movie adaptation’s script.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film version “is set in a world ravaged by war between man and vampire.” Bettany stars as a priest hunting down vampires who have kidnapped his niece. Gigandet and Q play the sheriff and priestess, respectively, who help the title character on his quest. Urban plays Black Hat, a former priest and hunter who now proclaims himself “the god of vampires.” Scott Charles Stewart, a co-founder of the Orphanage special effects studio, already agreed to direct the project.

The North American publisher Tokyopop announced in 2001 that it had acquired the original Priest manhwa. Michael De Luca, Stars Road Entertainment’s Josh Donen, and Mitchell Peck are producing the live-action film version. Andrew Douglas was originally slated to direct the actors Gerard Butler and Steven Strait in the film, but that version never came together.

Cops: Father Beat 10-Week-Old Daughter To Death

A New Jersey father is under arrest after police said he brutally beat his 10-week-old daughter to death.

According to authorities, Nilesh Patel, 39, of Edison shook and struck his infant daughter Niral so badly it caused her brain to swell and extensive bleeding inside her head and eyes.

Officials said Patel shook and struck the child on more than one occasion.

The infant was brought to JFK Medical Center in Edison by Patel and his wife Tuesday night. Hospital staff called police after determining that the infant was close to death from apparent physical abuse. Niral, who was born on June 7, succumbed to her injuries Wednesday at 2:24 p.m., authorities said.

After an investigation by police, Patel was arrested and charged with the beating death of his own daughter.

It’s unclear where the infant’s mother, who was not immediately identified, was during the time of the fatal incident.

Patel, who is being held on $1million bail, is charged with aggravated manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a minor. A public defender entered a plea of not guilty at Patel’s arraignment Thursday in Superior Court in Middlesex County.

Family Of 1st NYC Swine Flu Victim to Sue City For $40M

Mitchell Weiner

Mitchell Weiner

The family of a Queens assistant principal who died after contracting the swine flu plans to launch a multi-million lawsuit against the city, PIX News has learned.

According to reports, Mitchell Weiner’s widow Bonnie and her three children claim the city failed to provide a safe work environment and did not respond in a timely fashion as the H1N1 virus spread throughout Intermediate School 238 in the Hollis section of Queens.

In a notice of claim, the family says the city didn’t release accurate information about the flu and took too long to tell Weiner he had come into contact with people who had contracted the potentially deadly virus. The 90-day deadline to file the claim is up next week.

55-year-old Mitchell Weiner died in May after complications related to the swine flu virus. His family plans on suing the city for $40-million in order to compensate for the loss of companionship, guidance and moral support for his three children.

Mayor Bloomberg at a news conference Tuesday said the city did all it could to ensure people’s safety as the swine flu spread.

“The city didn’t do anything wrong. We have to make decisions to keep the schools open and closed,” Bloomberg said. “Our obligation is to keep schools open. I’m sorry that somebody caught H1N1 and died from it. It’s tragic and our prayers are certainly with him.”