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High-wire walk wows Sarasota, Fla., crowd

Wed., Jan. 30, 2013

Nik Wallenda walks the high wire 200 feet over U.S. Highway 41 in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday. (Associated Press)
Nik Wallenda walks the high wire 200 feet over U.S. Highway 41 in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Famed daredevil Nik Wallenda glided 500 feet across a wire suspended 200 feet above the ground on Tuesday, wowing several thousand people below in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla.

Without a tether or safety net, Wallenda was the lone figure against a blue sky, aided only by a balancing pole. He made the death-defying stunt look easy, but the performance was anything but simple: It took dozens of circus workers to pull and release the thick black cables that controlled Wallenda’s wire as he walked. The morning was windier than expected, and at one point near the end, Wallenda dipped down to one knee on the wire, which led to loud gasps among the crowd.

Wallenda is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and is part of the famous Flying Wallendas circus family.

Broadening the gun control debate

Singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte is urging leaders in the black community to get more involved in the national debate on guns.

Belafonte told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the current discussion arising out of the Connecticut school massacre in December often ignores decades of urban gun violence. He said it’s important that African-American leaders participate in the debate over gun control.

Belafonte, 85, made his comments during a visit to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he delivered an address on his life as an artist and activist. Belafonte was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for bringing Caribbean music to a global audience in the 1950s. He also was a key figure in the civil rights movement.

Walters recovering from chickenpox

ABC says Barbara Walters is out of the hospital and recovering from chickenpox at home. ABC said Tuesday that the host on “The View” is resting comfortably and “getting stronger.” There was no indication of when she might return to work.

Walters, 83, was hospitalized after falling and cutting her head at a pre-inaugural party in Washington on Jan. 19. The news veteran later was diagnosed with chickenpox.

The birthday bunch

Actor Gene Hackman is 83. Actress Tammy Grimes is 79. Actress Vanessa Redgrave is 76. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is 72. Rock singer Marty Balin is 71. Singer Phil Collins is 62. Singer Jody Watley is 54. Actor Christian Bale is 39. Actor Wilmer Valderrama is 33.


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