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‘Xena’ hails ruling in protest skirmish

“Xena: Warrior Princess” actor Lucy Lawless said she’s won a “great victory” after a New Zealand judge handed her a modest sentence but declined to order costs sought by oil company Shell for her role in a protest aboard an oil-drilling ship. Lawless and seven other Greenpeace activists were each ordered today to pay $547 costs to a port company and complete 120 hours of community service after earlier pleading guilty to trespass charges.

Last February, Lawless and six other activists climbed a drilling tower on the Arctic-bound vessel Noble Discoverer to protest oil exploration in the Arctic. Another protester helped from the ground. Lawless spent four days atop the 174-foot tower, camping and blogging about her experiences. The action briefly delayed the ship’s voyage.

Shell Todd Oil Services, which had chartered the ship, sought $545,000 in reparations from the protesters. Lawyers for the activists contended that amount was excessive. In his ruling, Judge Allan Roberts said the company could pursue its claim through the civil court system.

Brown still on probation amid doubts

A Los Angeles County judge kept Chris Brown on probation Wednesday and ordered more information regarding allegations by prosecutors that the singer did not complete his court-ordered community service in Virginia.

The progress report hearing came a day after prosecutors filed a motion raising serious questions about Brown’s community service. Judge James Brandlin ordered Brown to report to his probation officer within 48 hours and provide any documentation related to his community service, and scheduled another hearing for April 5.

Brown is on five years’ probation after pleading guilty to a felony count of assault in connection with a 2009 attack on his girlfriend Rihanna, who accompanied him to court Wednesday and sat in the front row.

Walters on ‘The View’ by phone

Barbara Walters isn’t “scratching too much” from chickenpox, but she says she won’t be back at “The View” for three more weeks. Walters phoned into the ABC talk show Wednesday. Calling from her home, she reported that she’s weak but not in any pain.

She was hospitalized Jan. 19 after fainting and cutting her head at a party in Washington. The 83-year-old has said she had the chickenpox and a temperature at the time, but didn’t realize it. She suffered a concussion and got six stitches. She was released 10 days later.

The birthday bunch

Author Gay Talese is 81. Actor Miguel Ferrer is 58. Reggae musician Brian Travers (UB40) is 54. Comedy writer Robert Smigel is 53. Actor James Spader is 53. Country singer Garth Brooks is 51. Actor-comedian Eddie Izzard is 51. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 48. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 35.


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