BREAKING: Roman Polanski Arrested; Safire Is Dead

romanpolanskirs_1.jpgLOS ANGELES TIMES:Roman Polanski’s decision to attend Zurich’s film festival this weekend was a major win for a minor event, but it turned into a bigger coup for Los Angeles County authorities who seized the opportunity to arrange the arrest — three decades in the making — of a Hollywood fugitive. When the 76-year-old Academy Award-winning director of films such as “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Pianist” arrived at the Zurich, Switzerland, airport Saturday night for a well-publicized appearance, Swiss officials armed with a U.S. arrest warrant took him into custody. The arrest touches off extradition proceedings that could return the filmmaker to the United States to face the child sex case he fled in 1978. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which prosecuted Polanski 32 years ago for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl and has battled the director in the last year over his attempts to have the controversial case dismissed, initiated the arrest last week when it learned of his travel plans to Zurich. “It wasn’t any secret. It was on the Internet. They were selling tickets to it,” said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. She said prosecutors prepared a provisional warrant and sent it to U.S. Justice Department officials, who presented it to Swiss authorities. MORE

RELATED: Roman Polanski’s attorneys helped provoke his arrest by complaining to an appellate court this summer that Los Angeles County prosecutors had made no real effort to capture the filmmaker in his three decades as a fugitive, two law enforcement sources familiar with the case told The Times. The accusation that the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office was not serious about extraditing Polanski to facing sentencing in a child sex case he fled in 1978 was a minor point in two lengthy July court filings by the director’s attorneys. But the charge caught the attention of prosecutors, who had made several attempts to apprehend Polanski over the years. MORE

WASHINGTON POST: William Safire, 79, conservative political columnist and word maven, died today at a william-safire-706199.thumbnail.jpghospice in Rockville, Md., reportedly of pancreatic cancer. Mr. Safire, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1978, wrote a semi-weekly political column in the Times from 1973 to 2005, penning an erudite and opinionated series of articles, ultimately creating a body of work that he described as libertarian conservative. he said he “was hired to be a sore thumb” at the famously liberal newspaper. “It’s time to leave when you’re still hitting the long ball and have something else you want to do,” he told the Washington Post at the time, one of many baseball-related metaphors that popped up in his work. He was equally known for his On Language column, which he began writing in 1979, a delightful look at the origins of words and phrases and their proper usage that engaged readers from all over the U.S. He wrote it until two weeks ago. MORE

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