Paul McCartney appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to release 30 Greenpeace activists detained for staging a protest two months ago at an Arctic drilling platform, reminding the Kremlin leader of their friendly 2003 meeting and the Beatles’ 1968 ode “Back in the USSR.”
“Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for the White Album, back when it wasn’t fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country,” McCartney wrote in his letter to Putin, which was posted on his website.
“That song had one of my favorite Beatles lines in it: ‘Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it’s good to be back home,’ ” McCartney recalled. “Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?”
Twenty-eight Greenpeace activists and two journalists covering their protest Sept. 18 were arrested after sailing the ship Arctic Sunrise to an oil platform of the state-owned Gazprom energy conglomerate. Last week they were transferred to a jail in St. Petersburg, where they now face trial on charges of hooliganism.
There was no immediate response from the Kremlin.
‘Daily Show’s’ Oliver to get own show
HBO says that John Oliver is getting his own weekly show after his winning turn as substitute host for Jon Stewart. Next year, Oliver’s new Sunday-night program will take a satirical look at current events for the week, HBO said Thursday.
HBO President Michael Lombardo said the channel wasn’t in the hunt for another weekly talk show. But Lombardo said in a statement Oliver’s handling of “The Daily Show” in Stewart’s absence this summer convinced HBO his “distinct voice” belongs on the channel. Stewart was away directing a film.
The debut date and title for Oliver’s new show were not announced.
Baldwin stalker sentenced to jail
A Canadian actress who pined for Alec Baldwin was convicted Thursday of stalking the actor with yearning emails and phone calls that spiraled into unbidden appearances at his homes.
So voluble during her trial that she was held in contempt of court, Genevieve Sabourin was tearful but largely mum as a judge found her guilty of charges including stalking and harassment and sentenced her to six months in jail.
The “30 Rock” actor testified that Sabourin, 41, turned his life into a two-year-long horror film after they had dinner together. He said the evening was only a chat about her career prospects, not the romantic tryst she portrayed.
The birthday bunch
Actor Ed Asner is 84. Singer Petula Clark is 81. Actor Sam Waterston is 73. Pop singer Frida (ABBA) is 68. Actor Bob Gunton is 68. Actress Beverly D’Angelo is 62. Former “Jay Leno Show” bandleader Kevin Eubanks is 56. Actress Shailene Woodley is 22.