LOS ANGELES – It was a caffeine-charged Hollywood whodunit: Just whose bright idea was the Dumb Starbucks coffee shop that popped up and started serving free drinks from the corner of an otherwise uncelebrated strip mall?
After several days of speculation, the big reveal came Monday: The buzz-generating shop was a comedian’s publicity stunt.
Keeping a straight face, Canadian comic Nathan Fielder told a crowd he was pursuing the American dream – before acknowledging that he planned to use the bit on his Comedy Central show Nathan For You.
At the front counter, a sheet of frequently asked questions said the store was shielded by parody law. But it was a moot point; Fielder said city health inspectors arrived Monday and told his staff that they had to stop serving drinks.
House GOP eyes debt deal
House Republican leaders Monday unveiled a plan to reverse a recently passed cut to military pensions as the price for increasing the government’s borrowing cap, but it received a rocky reception from skeptical conservatives.
The GOP bill would extend Treasury’s borrowing authority for at least another year, repeal the curb passed in December on pension inflation adjustments for military retirees under the age of 62, and extend automatic cuts to Medicare and other programs to 2024, another year than presently scheduled.
NYC mayor’s call to action
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used his first State of the City address Monday to press government to battle income inequality, a liberal call to action that will be closely watched around the nation.
By virtue of a campaign focused on income disparity and landslide win that installed him at the helm of the nation’s largest city, de Blasio has become a leading spokesman for a growing movement to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots.
He promises to help by hiking taxes on the rich to pay for prekindergarten, raising the minimum wage and providing ID cards for people in the country illegally.
James Dean fights Twitter
A company that owns the rights to Indiana native James Dean’s iconic image is suing Twitter for allowing accounts to use his name.
Attorneys for Twitter want the lawsuit filed in Hamilton County by James Dean Inc. to be moved to federal court in Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis Star reports the request was filed Friday, one day before the film star would have turned 83. The Fairmount native died at 24 in a 1955 car crash.
EU fed up with Ukraine
In a sharp rebuke to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the European Union on Monday called for the formation of a new, inclusive government and constitutional reforms that would pave the way to free and fair presidential elections.
Ukraine has been rocked by nearly three months of anti-government protests sparked by Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an agreement with the EU and accept a $15 billion loan package from Russia instead.
Syria cease-fire extended
Aid officials rushed to evacuate more women, children and elderly from rebel-held areas that have been blockaded by government troops for more than a year in Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, after a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in the city was renewed for three more days Monday.
The truce, which began Friday, has been shaken by continued shelling and shooting that prevented some residents from escaping and limited the amount of food aid officials have been able to deliver into the besieged neighborhoods.
Aussie pot-smuggler free
An Australian woman convicted of smuggling marijuana into Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali walked free from nine years in jail Monday after being given parole, the latest chapter in what has been a media sensation in Australia.
Schapelle Corby, 35, was convicted of smuggling 9 pounds of marijuana onto Bali in a boogie board bag and sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2012, Indonesia’s president cut her sentence by five years. Under the terms of her parole, Corby will have to stay in Bali until 2017.
Death threats over giraffe
Officials at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark say they received death threats after the zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions in front of visitors.
Zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said Monday that he and the zoo’s scientific director, Bengt Holst, received several threats over the telephone and in emails. They quoted one email as saying: The children of the staff of Copenhagen Zoo should all be killed or should get cancer.
The zoo said it killed Marius to prevent inbreeding, and it defended the public feeding as a display of scientific knowledge about animals.