Betty on The News: Laura Ling, Susan Boyle, David Carradine and more

Top news and celebrity stories from around the world and the web for Monday June 8, 2009.

Betty on The News

Betty on The News: Top Stories

-The Betty Editors

Laura Ling and Euna Lee1. Want to see the difference between freedom and no freedom? In a devastating turn of events, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists imprisoned in North Korea, have reportedly been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. The nightmare continues for the women and their families, who had been hoping for a symbolic, short sentence.

“She’s really scared,” Nightline contributor Lisa Ling said of her sister in a recent ABC News interview. “I mean, she’s terrified. My sister is a wife, with a medical condition. And Euna Lee is the mother of a 4-year-old girl, who has been without her mother for almost three months.” (

Hillary Clinton has sent a letter apologizing for the journalists’ mistake (they, reportedly, crossed from China into North Korea accidentally), and Al Gore has been rumored to be involved behind the scenes in trying to set the women free. With this awful news, surely efforts to gain their freedom will be redoubled – we certainly hope so, not just for their sakes, but for that motherless little girl. In the meantime, we are especially grateful today to live in a country where we can write and say just about any darn thing.

2. Susan Boyle is on the loose! The Scottish singing sensation says she’s feeling “fantastic’ after leaving a London rehab clinic – sounds like a little R&R was just what the doctor ordered. Of course – what’s not to feel fantastic about? Coming in second to some soon-to-be obscure break-dancing group was merely a minor setback. Boyle just signed with the manager / financial wizard who turned U2 into gazillionaires … now does that sounds like the move of someone with a learning disability? She’ll be headed off soon to join the Britain’s Got Talent tour, as well as into the studio to start work on her hotly-anticipated debut album (ch-ching goes Simon Cowell’s bank account!).

But, of course, first things first — upon her release from the hospital, Susan Boyle did what any self-respecting woman would do as a newly-minted celebrity … she indulged in a little retail therapy! Boyle stepped into in North London for a mini-shopping spree. “She was absolutely thrilled and happy,” Frederic Benisty, co-owner of Lulu & Fred, told London’s Daily Mail. “She was joking around and having a laugh.”

Good on ya, Susie! We hope you have a blast now that the pressure of BGT is over. (,

The Obamas in France3. Au revoir France. The First Family is back in the United States after a whirlwind weekend in the country of love that seemed to love them … for the most part. Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Michelle’s mother joined the president after he spent a few days in Europe on official business, including commemorating D Day.

It was a tres joyeux anniversaire for Sasha who celebrated her 8th birthday yesterday. While Barack headed back to the United States, Michelle and the girls stayed to celebrate with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his family, who sang happy birthday to Sasha over lunch at the Elysee palace. There are many murmurs that Sarkozy is miffed that the president didn’t spend much time with him.

When asked by reporters about snubbing Sarkozy, the President Obama said, “I think it’s very important to understand that good friends do not worry about the symbols and the conventions and the protocols.”

In other words, c’est la vie!

The rest of the weekend included everything from dinner in the Eifel Tower to an afternoon river cruise on the Seine and a private tour of Notre Dame Cathedral and The Louvre. They even got in some shopping, picking up three ensembles as gifts for Sasha from Left Bank’s Bonpoint flagship store. Saturday night the president and first lady (and their official food taster, of course) stepped out on the town for date night – dinner at “no-star” bistro La Fontaine de Mars. Amour! (People)

Neal Wanless4. Saddle up, ladies! We’d like to introduce you to America’s newest most eligible bachelor, 23-year-old cutie-pie rancher Neal Wanless. Just a few days ago, this modest cowboy was scratching a living out of the small struggling ranch, where he resides in a camper with his parents; now he’s a multimillionaire (to the tune of $88.5 million after taxes), thanks to a Powerball Lotto ticket he bought at the local convenience store for five bucks.

Times have been tough for Wanless and his family. Last fall, their mobile home was repossessed and the family was forced to move into a camper, pals said. Their ranch — tiny by Western standards — also was too small to support them in the current market, and they were forced to gather hay from ditches on the side of the highway to feed their animals. (New York Post)

We sure do love us a good rags-to-riches story, especially when it involves a handsome young fella like Wanless. Cougars, start your engines! Yeehaw!

5. Mystery continues to mount around the death of actor David Carradine, who was found dead, hanging naked from a nylon rope in the closet of his Thailand hotel room last week. The FBI and a private forensics investigator have been asked by his family to look into his death after what they claim are conflicting reports from Thailand officials. Beyond a straight-up suicide, other theories to explain his death include accidental suffocation or heart failure as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation – a very dangerous sexual practice.

His family was understandably upset after a Bankok paper reportedly published pictures of Carradine’s body at the scene. They have threatened to sue any media outlet that publishes such pictures. And no, we wouldn’t publish them regardless.

Carradine will appear on Fox’s Mental Tuesday in what was one of his final performances. (USA Today)

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0 thoughts on “Betty on The News: Laura Ling, Susan Boyle, David Carradine and more

  1. So, so devastating about Laura and Euna. I am terrified for them and really hope we send an envoy and North Korea doesn’t use this in their game of brinksmanship

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