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In the news

'Office' star to sell subscriptions to new show

By wire services
Published February 22, 2006

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Ricky Gervais' podcast is going commercial.

A New Jersey-based company announced Tuesday it will begin selling subscriptions to The Ricky Gervais Show next week.

Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the team behind the BBC's acclaimed comedy series The Office, launched the podcast in December. Podcasts are audio recordings that are posted online; most are free.

The 30-minute show contains much scatological humor. It features the pair interviewing Karl Pilkington, a producer at their old radio show, about topics such as the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees and the existence of vampires and ghosts.

Wayne-based Audible said it will offer two seasons of the show - one starting Feb. 28 and one in the fall - each with at least four episodes. The podcasts will cost $1.95 per episode or $6.95 per season.

Spanish translation of sixth "Harry Potter' in stores Thursday

NEW YORK - The wait is almost over for Spanish-speaking Harry Potter fans.

The Spanish-language edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series, will be released worldwide on Thursday.

Millions of readers snapped up Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling when it was published last July, but fans hoping to read it in other languages besides English had to wait.

The Spanish edition, Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe, will be released worldwide in three slightly different translations - one in Spain, one in Argentina and one in Latin America. Spanish-language readers in the United States will get the non-Argentine Latin American version.

The publication of Misterio del Principe will be celebrated Thursday with a reception at Libreria Lectorum, a Spanish-language bookstore in Manhattan that is a distributor of Spanish titles and a division of Scholastic, Rowling's U.S. publisher.

Maid to the stars sentenced to prison for theft

NEW YORK - A maid whose clients included Robert DeNiro and Candice Bergen was sentenced Tuesday to one to three years in prison by a judge who said the defendant was "cleaning out" her celebrity employers' valuables while cleaning their homes.

State Supreme Court Justice Renee White ignored the pleas of a weeping Lucyna Turyk-Wawrynowicz to let her return immediately to Poland.

Turyk-Wawrynowicz pleaded guilty two weeks ago to grand larceny, forgery and identity theft.

"I would like the judge to allow me to go home," Turyk-Wawrynowicz, 35, said through tears and a Polish interpreter. She said her sister died recently, leaving several young children. "They have no one to take care of them," she told the judge.

White told the maid she had "shown no remorse for your actions, but only remorse for your predicament," and imposed the prison sentence.

"During your work as a housekeeper, a job that involves trust, you violated the trust of five individuals by stealing significant property from these individuals," the judge said. "You worked not just by cleaning and dusting, but by cleaning out the property of the various employers you worked for."

White added that Turyk-Wawrynowicz had received a generous plea deal, probably because prosecutors know immigration officials will deport her when her sentence expires.

Turyk-Wawrynowicz' lawyer, Mark T. Zawisny, said his client agreed to leave the country voluntarily so that she will be sent home and not held in an immigration jail.

When she pleaded guilty to grand larceny on Feb. 8, Turyk-Wawrynowicz admitted stealing a pair of diamond earrings from DeNiro's wife, Grace Hightower. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Anne Schwartz said the earrings were worth $95,500.

[Last modified February 22, 2006, 01:03:15]

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