Affleck raising funds for atrocities’ victims in eastern Congo

NAIROBI, Kenya – Ben Affleck launched a new initiative Monday to raise money and awareness over atrocities committed against women and children during years of conflict in eastern Congo, Affleck told The Associated Press.

The American actor and director spent five days in the country last week, where he met with former child sex slaves and prisoners convicted of rape in the hope of gaining a better understanding of Congo’s troubles.

The new foundation — the Eastern Congo Initiative — will support community-based, Congolese groups, said Affleck on the heels of his fifth trip to the country.

“It was folks in these communities that were addressing the humanitarian crisis who were doing the most, in my view, to solve it, because they understood the community, because they understood the problem, they were the most dedicated and the most committed because it was their lives,” Affleck told AP over the weekend at Nairobi’s international airport.

“Naturally they were best equipped to solve it. Their impediment was they didn’t have the means, the funding,” he said.

The new initiative is funded in part by founding member Howard G. Buffett, son of investor Warren Buffett, to whom Affleck pitched his vision of a new aid group by describing eastern Congo’s dire situation.

Bling ring loot out there


LOS ANGELES – Police suspect the alleged mastermind behind a rash of celebrity burglaries may have hidden a large amount of the stolen property with her father’s help, court records show.

A search warrant affidavit filed earlier this year in Los Angeles seeks phone and Internet records that police said might help recover items stolen from numerous celebrities.

An affidavit filed in support of the warrant states that police believe Rachel J. Lee, who has been charged with some of the break-ins, and her father, David Lee, hid the items before their Las Vegas home was searched last year.

Police have identified Rachel Lee as the suspected mastermind of a string of burglaries at the homes of several stars, including Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Megan Fox.

Los Angeles Police Officer Brett Goodkin said Monday that there is a substantial amount of property stolen from the stars’ homes that hasn’t yet been recovered. He said the value could be up to $2 million.

From ‘Dr. Phil’ to prison


SAN DIEGO – A Southern California couple who bragged on the “Dr. Phil” show about making $100,000 by selling shoplifted toys on eBay have been sentenced to federal prison.

The show aired a video of the couple’s three small children accompanying them on a three-day shoplifting binge.

Thirty-four-year-old Matthew Eaton of San Marcos got more than two years in prison on Monday. His wife, 27-year-old Laura Eaton, was sentenced to a year.

Roger Miller’s widow awarded rights to hits, royalties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The widow of country music legend Roger Miller has won a protracted legal battle over the rights to some of his biggest hits, including “King of the Road.”

A federal judge ruled last week that Mary Miller and Roger Miller Music Inc. own the copyrights to the songs the artist published in 1964. Those songs also include: “Dang Me,” “Chug-A-Lug and “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.”

U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes also in said in a written order Thursday that the widow and the company are entitled to about $900,000 for royalties.

Miller died from cancer in 1992 at the age of 56.


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