Bear's 'less-than-perfect' digs updated thanks to TV star

Rostov-on-Don, Russia -- A brown bear named Stepan has moved from a cramped cage to spacious zoo digs, thanks to actor Eric Roberts.

The star of ABC's "Less Than Perfect" and his wife, Eliza, noticed the bear last fall when they were in southern Russian town of Sochi for a film festival, Rostov-on-Don Zoo spokesman Alexander Lipkovich said. Stepan was behind bars, often swilling beer patrons of a nearby restaurant gave him.

After the couple tried unsuccessfully to take Stepan back to the United States, they and animal rights activist Kim Basinger helped arrange Stepan's transfer to the zoo, about 600 miles south of Moscow.

Stepan's more spacious home includes a pool, and zoo officials are trying to find him a female companion.

Singer, prosecutors meet about arson fire

Pontiac, Mich. -- Singer Aretha Franklin has met with prosecutors investigating an arson fire that destroyed her $1.8 million mansion in suburban Detroit.

Franklin appeared Friday with her attorney, Saul Green, and answered every question asked of her during the 2 1/2-hour meeting, prosecutor Deborah Carley said.

"She was fully cooperative," Carley said. "She gave us quite a bit of information that we will be following up on, so the investigation is definitely ongoing."

Prosecutors have stressed that Franklin is not a suspect in the Oct. 25 fire that destroyed the 10,000-square-foot home in Bloomfield Township, about 20 miles northwest of Detroit.

Springsteen concert tickets to help suburb raise funds

Somerville, Mass. -- Just how much will somebody pay to see the Boss?

This working-class suburb of Boston is going to find out Tuesday -- and officials hope it's a lot.

Two tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert are going to be auctioned by radio station WZLX-FM, with the money going to Somerville's youth programs.

The tickets -- valued at $500 and donated by the Winter Hill Bank -- are for a Wednesday-night gig at the Somerville Theater.

The city is trying to make up for $3 million in state aid cuts. Recreation services for children were particularly hard hit.

Winfrey boosts fund drive

Atlanta -- Oprah Winfrey will donate $5 million to Morehouse College, the school announced.

The talk show host's pledge came as Morehouse launched its largest-ever fund-raising campaign, hoping to receive at least $105 million by 2006.

Winfrey, who had previously donated $1 million to the historically black college, is the school's top donor.

President Walter Massey said Morehouse would use the money to offer more scholarships, upgrade the campus and make the college more competitive.


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