Sarandon helps Peru reopen top tourist site

MACHU PICCHU, Peru — The famed Inca citadel of Machu Picchu reopened to tourists Thursday after a two-month closure due to floods that washed out the rail link to the mountaintop ruins.

Actress Susan Sarandon was on hand for an ancient ceremony asking for the blessing of mother Earth and other rituals, including the sounding of an Incan welcoming trumpet.

Sarandon posed for photos with young girls wearing traditional Andean dress, and sipped coca tea that many locals use to ward off the effects of altitude at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level.

Tourism Vice Minister Mara Seminario said hundreds of foreign visitors entered the ruins following the morning reopening, as an early downpour gave way to a brilliant sun.

Peru’s No. 1 tourist site had been shut down since late January, when heavy rains disrupted the rail link from the city of Cuzco and trapped some 4,000 tourists, many of whom had to be rescued with helicopters.

Workers have finished rehabilitating the last 17 miles of the tracks, though it’ll be June before service is restored all the way to Cuzco.

Trump tweeter a free bird for time being

NEW YORK — Prosecutors say a self-described celebrity stalker sent e-mail and Twitter messages threatening to kill himself in Ivanka Trump’s New York jewelry store and “commandeer” her husband’s newspaper, The New York Observer.

Justin Massler was released on $10,000 bond after his arraignment Thursday on stalking charges. The 27-year-old didn’t enter a plea.

Manhattan prosecutors say Massler dispatched alarming messages for about two years to Trump, the daughter of Donald and Ivana Trump.

She co-hosts “Celebrity Apprentice” and is a vice president at her father’s real estate company.

She declined to comment.

Defense lawyer George Vomvolakis (vahm-voh-LAH’-kihs) says Massler never intended to harm Trump or her husband, Jared Kushner. Kushner is the publisher of The New York Observer.

‘Dreamgirl’ at dream weight

NEW YORK — Jennifer Hudson didn’t gain a huge amount of weight when she was pregnant with her son, but it was enough to make her do a double-take when she saw a picture of herself.

“I didn’t realize it was me,” the singer and actress said Thursday. “I was like, ‘Who? Oh, my God, this is me.’ And now when I look back, wow, look at the difference from then to now.”

Hudson, a former “American Idol” finalist who won a best supporting actress Academy Award for “Dreamgirls,” has lost the baby weight and more, and she says it’s because of Weight Watchers — for which she is the new spokeswoman.

Jackson doc needs license 

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s doctor is “hanging on by a thread” and must be allowed to continue practicing medicine in order to pay for his defense on a manslaughter charge in the pop star’s death, the physician’s lawyers said in court papers.

Responding to a bid by the California attorney general to suspend Dr. Conrad Murray’s medical license pending trial, attorneys Ed Chernoff and Joseph Low said in papers due to be filed Thursday that the effect would be devastating to the doctor who faces a slew of financial problems.

“He is, without fear of overstatement, hanging on by a thread,” the attorneys wrote. “His ability to pay for his own defense depends almost entirely on his ability to continue to treat patients.”

Murray, who has pleaded not guilty is scheduled for a court appearance Monday.


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