Bits and Pieces


This week at the voodoo temple

NEW ORLEANS – A note found on the body of a suicide jumper led police to a French Quarter apartment where they found his girlfriend’s charred head in a pot on the stove, her arms and legs in the oven and her torso in the refrigerator, a law enforcement officer said Wednesday.

New Orleans police spokesmen confirmed that a 26-year-old woman was found dismembered Tuesday night in her apartment above a voodoo shop.

Details from the kitchen were released by a law enforcement officer close to the investigation who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity and unidentified officials who spoke to the Times-Picayune newspaper and WWL-TV.

A woman who identified herself as Priestess Miriam in the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Cultural Center below the apartment said Wednesday that the couple had recently moved in.

"You see people and never know what’s going on with them," the woman said.


AOL keeps on rockin’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – AOL announced Wednesday it will lay off 1,300 employees by closing call centers in New Mexico and Arizona as part of a previously announced restructuring plan.

AOL, the Time Warner Inc. online unit also plans to sell its call center in Ogden, Utah.

The cuts include 900 layoffs at the Albuquerque call center and 400 jobs at the center in Tucson, Ariz., AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said. The Arizona and New Mexico call centers each have operated for 10 years.

The closures are part of a restructuring plan that Dulles, Va.-based AOL announced in August. At the time, the company said as many as 5,000 employees would be laid off within six months – a quarter of its global work force.


Isn’t he lovely?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Stevie Wonder received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, then segued from his acceptance speech into a medley of his songs that included "My Cherie Amour" and "I Wish."


Madonna buys a new cell phone – err, child

LONDON – Madonna forcefully defended her adoption of a one-year-old Malawian boy after he arrived by plane in London on Tuesday, as the pop star rejected criticism of her decision to offer the infant a home and insisted she acted according to the law.

Responding for the first time to the protests, Madonna said she hopes to make the adoption of David Banda permanent following an 18-month evaluation period imposed by Malawi authorities.

"We have gone about the adoption procedure according to the law, like anyone else who adopts a child. Reports to the contrary are totally inaccurate," Madonna said in a statement, issued via e-mail after David joined her at her London mansion.

Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s New York-based publicist, said her client was referring to laws which applied in both Malawi and Britain.

Madonna said she and her husband began the adoption process "many months prior to our trip to Malawi," but she had not disclosed their intentions because she wished to keep the matter private.

"After learning that there were over one million orphans in Malawi, it was my wish to open up our home and help one child escape an extreme life of hardship, poverty and in many cases death, as well as expand our family," Madonna said.

"This was not a decision or commitment that my family or I take lightly," she added.

-Associated Press