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Bynes pays victims of alleged hit-and-runs

Actress Amanda Bynes has escaped prosecution in two criminal cases involving alleged hit-and-runs after she paid civil settlements to the drivers.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge this week dismissed the misdemeanor counts related to two hit-and-run incidents, in April and in August, after her attorney reached deals with the drivers she was accused of hitting.

Under California law, a judge can allow the civil settlement to resolve the criminal charges in misdemeanor cases. The actress had faced a possible sentence of six months in jail for each count if convicted.

Bynes still faces a charge of driving under the influence stemming from an April 6 incident when she allegedly struck an L.A. County sheriff’s cruiser with her BMW. She was arrested about 3 a.m. in West Hollywood. Bynes is also charged with refusing a sobriety test.

Ingraham’s radio show returning

Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham will soon be back on the air after taking a short break.

Courtside Entertainment Group says it will distribute “The Laura Ingraham Show” starting Jan. 2. Meanwhile, she will boost her audience through a deal with Lauchpad Digital Media, which will stream the three-hour daily program and make it available for download on podcast.

Talkers magazine says the conservative Ingraham is the most-listened-to woman on radio, with an estimated 5.75 million listeners a week. Ingraham began a brief hiatus from her show last month after ending a deal with its former distributor.

Christie brushes off weight concerns

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he is “more than a little” overweight – but fit enough to be in the White House. The Republican governor was asked about his weight problem during an interview with Barbara Walters for her “10 Most Fascinating People” special Wednesday night on ABC.

Walters told the governor some people say he is too heavy to be president one day. Walters said worries about his health were the reason for the concern. The governor then pointed to his widely praised handling of Superstorm Sandy, which has sent his popularity soaring.

“I’ve done this job pretty well, and I think people watched me for the last number of weeks and Hurricane Sandy doing 18-hour days and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective in the job,” he said.

The birthday bunch

Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 79. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 70. Actor Don Johnson is 63. Movie director Julie Taymor is 60. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 57. Actress Helen Slater is 49.


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Zimbabwe leader calls assassination attempt ‘cowardly act’

UPDATED: 8:14 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president was unscathed Saturday by an explosion at a campaign rally that state media called an attempt to assassinate him, later visiting his two injured vice presidents and declaring the “cowardly act” will not disrupt next month’s historic elections.