NEWS CLUES: It’s Like Adderall For Your Eyeballs

Supremes Say City Council Has NO Say Over Casino Built In, Um, The City

kangaroocourt.jpg SugarHouse has won a major victory in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in its fight to build a casino on Philadelphia’s waterfront. The high court has ruled in favor of SugarHouse Casino in its battle with city council over zoning and other necessary approvals. Councilman Frank DiCicco has led the casino fight in council. His spokesman is Brian Abernathy: “We were surprised – maybe not shocked, but certainly surprised. More than anything, I think we’re outraged by the court’s decision.” Abernathy, who says he interprets the high court’s decision as deeming that approval has been granted, says the ruling has effectively neutered council and its legislative authority, and has set a disturbing precedent. [via KYW]


THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF GAMES: Vivendi Merger To Create Gamer Colossus

warrior_1.jpgLOS ANGELES — Vivendi SA said Sunday that it plans to acquire a controlling stake in Activision Inc. and combine the company with Vivendi Games in a deal that would create a rival to Electronic Arts Inc. as the world’s largest video game publisher. The combination of Santa Monica-based Activision, whose titles include “Guitar Hero,” “Call of Duty” and the “Tony Hawk” series, and Vivendi Games, which publishes “Crash Bandicoot” and owns the online role-playing franchise “World of Warcraft,” would create the world’s largest pure-play online and console game publisher, the companies said. Vivendi Games will convert its equity into Activision shares valued at $8.1 billion, and Vivendi will buy an additional $1.7 billion of stock, for a total of $9.8 billion, giving Vivendi a 52 percent stake in a new company to be called Activision Blizzard. On that basis, Activision and Vivendi valued the combined company at $18.9 billion. [via THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]


THE POST-GRAD GRIFTERS: Identity-Thievin’ Crooked-Couple Story Goes National

artofcheating_1.jpgA pair of Philadelphia 20-somethings used high-tech identity theft methods to defraud businesses and neighbors of tens of thousands of dollars to support a jet-setter lifestyle that included travel to exotic international spots at the expense of their victims. Jocelyn Kirsch, a 22-year-old Drexel University student, and Edward Anderton, a 25-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate who was recently fired from his job as a real estate analyst, were arrested Friday afternoon at their $3,000-a-month apartment in one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods, Detective Terry Sweeney of the Philadelphia police department’s central detectives division, told ABC News. A search of their apartment over the weekend turned up evidence of a sophisticated identity theft operation, Sweeney said, including four computers, spyware software, two printers, a scanner and a professional-grade ID card machine. Police found $17,500 in cash, credit cards, fake driver’s licenses and keys that could unlock mailboxes and doors to other units inside their apartment building. They also found a copy of the book The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims. [via ABC NEWS]

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