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Beauty queen to pay Miss USA pageant $5m

A federal judge in New York has upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that a Pennsylvania beauty queen must pay the Miss USA pageant $5 million for defaming Donald Trump’s organization. Sheena Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania last year, saying the Miss USA contest was rigged. She claimed another contestant learned the names of the top five finishers hours before the show was broadcast. Monnin said she decided to turn in her crown as soon as those same contestants were named during the show. She posted a series of messages on Facebook and spoke publicly about her claims. Trump’s Miss Universe Organization sued Monnin for defamation and an arbitrator ruled against her in December. Last week, US District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken upheld the arbitrator’s decision. Pageant organizers claimed Monnin resigned because she disagreed with a decision to allow transgender contestants.

FBI: Extortion plot foiled

Federal authorities have arrested a New York man they say was trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen. The FBI said in a news release that Thomas George Paculis of Newfield, N.Y., was arrested Friday. A criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Savannah, Ga., charges him with extortion. The complaint says Paculis was threatening to go to the media with ‘‘true and damning’’ statements made by Deen unless the former Food Network star gave him $250,000. Special Agent Steve Emmett with the FBI in Atlanta says Paculis had an initial court appearance and was released on bond. Paculis did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Friday.

Prince passes copter test

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Britain’s defense ministry says Prince Harry has qualified to command an Apache attack helicopter — the culmination of his training over the last three years. Harry, known as Captain Wales in the army, earlier this year completed a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan as a copilot gunner on an Apache and since then has flown missions in the United Kingdom. His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, called the qualification a ‘‘tremendous achievement.’’ The military said Harry, 28, had undergone months of training to prepare for the test, which involved a six-hour flying assessment that took him all over Great Britain and required him to perform a variety of tasks including simulating a low-level attack.

‘Dark Knight’ auction

It is the comic book cover that captured the grim visage of an older, wiser — and meaner — Batman. Now, the 1986 pen and ink creation — drawn by writer/artist Frank Miller — that is the cover to ‘‘The Dark Knight Returns’’ No. 2 will be sold next month in Dallas by Heritage Auctions. It’s the first cover from DC Comics’ 1986 four-issue ‘‘Dark Knight’’ miniseries to be sold and is expected to go for more than $500,000. Miller’s story ‘‘radically altered the direction of comics,’’ said Todd Hignite, Heritage’s vice president. The record for a comic book remains ‘‘Action Comics’’ No. 1, which sold for $2.16 million in 2011.

Life’s lessons

“[W]hen I turned 30 I realized I was an idiot. I didn’t know [expletive] about anything.” — Diane Kruger, actress, in Marie Claire UK, on her decision to start therapy several years ago.

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