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Simpson's ex charged with cruelty

Miami � O.J. Simpson's ex-girlfriend has been charged with animal cruelty in the starvation death of her cat, who stayed home alone while she was out of town for about a month.

Christie Prody was fined $500 on a civil cruelty charge after the cat's decomposed body was found in January in her Miami apartment. She was served with a summons Tuesday on a more serious misdemeanor criminal charge.

The criminal charge carries a maximum possible sentence of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Arraignment is set for July 26.

The Humane Society pressed prosecutors for a criminal charge after the case was widely publicized.

Police were called to the apartment by a neighbor who reported not seeing Prody in weeks and a foul odor coming from her unit. The smell came from the dead cat.

Police went to Simpson, who called her with police present.

Shaq attacks new career as cop

Los Angeles � First came his third-consecutive NBA championship, then plans to produce a TV drama. Now Shaquille O'Neal wants to be a police officer.

O'Neal has been designated a second-class reserve officer by the police department of the Port of Los Angeles, the Daily Breeze reported Thursday.

The 30-year-old Los Angeles Lakers center has said he may consider a career in law enforcement when he retires from basketball.

The basketball star has completed enough training to fight crime with senior officers and carry a gun.

Travolta flies Australia skies

Sydney, Australia � Proudly standing next to a Qantas jet he flew to Sydney, self-confessed aviation geek John Travolta on Friday brought his mission to get more people back in the air to Australia's largest city.

As a roving goodwill ambassador for the Australian flag carrier, Travolta, 48, is piloting a Boeing 707 around the world encouraging travelers to get back in planes.

"After Sept. 11 I think there was an apprehensive feeling about travel, and truly, travel is the global communication tool," he told a media conference in Sydney. "It keeps families going, it keeps corporations going, it keeps the world going round."

Blake asks appeals court to order hearing on bail

Los Angeles � Robert Blake's attorneys have asked a California appeals court to order a bail hearing for the actor and direct the trial judge to reduce the murder charge against him.

Blake, 68, has been held without bail in Men's Central Jail downtown since he was arrested April 18 in the fatal shooting of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, near a Studio City restaurant in May 2001.

Defense attorneys Paul L. Hoffman and Harland W. Braun argued in documents filed late Thursday with the 2nd District Court of Appeals that Blake was entitled to a prompt bail hearing.

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lloyd M. Nash said he would set a bail hearing for Blake after a preliminary hearing is held later this year.

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