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Web posted on:
Friday, November 27, 1998 4:27:46 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:


Coolio on trial for assault, robbery

BÖBLINGEN, Germany (CNN) -- American rap singer Coolio and four members of his band are on trial in Germany, accused of assault and robbery. Coolio, whose real name is Artis Ivey, and his bandmates allegedly assaulted a woman in a boutique after she tried to stop them from leaving the store with garments they had not paid for. Coolio has said the whole thing is a "big misunderstanding." A German court opened proceedings into the case on Thursday.

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Jimmy Smits' character has been killed off of "NYPD Blue"

Kim Delaney didn't need to act on last 'NYPD Blue'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It might just be a TV show, but the grieving was real. Kim Delaney says the taping of the "NYPD Blue" episode where the character of Det. Bobby Simone died had her and the rest of the cast crying between takes. Delaney, who plays Simone's wife on the show, tells USA Today that "nobody could look at each other without breaking down" during the filming. Jimmy Smits played Simone for four years. Now there's talk that Delaney's character could be written out. She says producers have hinted she'll have some "dark" experiences later this television season.

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Oprah sends $5,000 gift to California elementary school

EL CENTRO, California (CNN) -- The holiday season has just begun and already Oprah Winfrey is giving. The talk show host and actress sent a $5,000 check to a California elementary school teacher who had written her seeking assistance for the rural school's accelerated reading program.

The letter from Oprah to Debra Fjeldsted read in part, "I hope this helps in continuing these students on the path to a better education and a brighter future." The money will be used to buy books and computer-generated tests to accompany the reading lessons, school officials said.

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Hewitt, Danza dish out goodwill

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tony Danza were among the celebrities who turned out to serve meals to the hungry and homeless outside the Los Angeles Mission on Wednesday. About 4,500 meals were served at the annual Thanksgiving feast, which also offered free blood pressure tests, HIV counseling and testing, and toiletry kits to the poor.

"I'm just serving mashed potatoes, but for these people it's the greatest thing in the world," says Hewitt. "It makes me feel good." Danza said he was glad he could do something to help. "And it makes me wonder what the solution is (to hunger and homelessness)," Danza said. "I think everyone wants to help. We just don't know how."

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Dixie Chicks

Dixie Chicks refuse to be branded

(CNN) -- By country music standards, these girls are out there. And that's precisely what makes the Dixie Chicks tick, says bandmember Natalie Maines. "We're doing what we want to do, playing what we want to play, we're looking like we want to look, we're saying what we want to say," Maines told USA Weekend. "In rock that's done a lot, but in country it's not."

The Dixie Chicks have taken the tradition-laden country music industry by storm this year. Sporting a 1990s Gen-X look and sound, the Chicks -- Maines, Martie Seidel and Emily Erwin -- won two Country Music Association Awards this past September, including one for Vocal Group of the Year. Despite their success, Erwin says the Dixie Chicks shouldn't be lumped into the new "girl power" music movement. "We're hoping to do things by example, not by some sort of motto or big philosophical statement," says Erwin. "What we do ... hopefully inspires young girls to go out and do whatever they want to do."

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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