Arnold out of favor in Austria: The City Council in Graz, Austria's second largest city, has voted to rename the town's soccer venue, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, after the Governator refused to grant a reprieve for Stanley Tookie Williams. The death penalty is highly unpopular in Austria, and some have even suggested that Schwarzenegger, who was born just outside of Graz, should be stripped of his citizenship. Vice Mayor Welter Ferk explains, "It's getting on our nerves that we're again and again being criticized for Schwarzenegger's actions in California." (The Globe and Mail, Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
Britney wins online: Britney Spears tops Yahoo's annual buzz index -- the end-of-year list of the most often searched names on the Internet -- for the third time in four years. Spears comes back to the top after losing to "American Idol" last year, proving that even when you're not producing new material, an ill-advised pregnancy and train-wreck marriage can make you a winner. Second on the list is 50 Cent, followed by the Cartoon Network, Mariah Carey, Green Day, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Eminem, Ciara and Lindsay Lohan. (Reuters)
Graceful correction: Yesterday, the Fix picked up the news from Rush & Molloy that Nancy Grace was suing her alleged stalker, Joseph Raymond Loegering, for emotional distress. Now Grace responds, telling R&M, "I have never approved seeking money from Loegering. Unfortunately, it was included in the petition without my knowledge. It is being corrected immediately." (Rush & Molloy)
Today is Howard Stern's last broadcast from WXRK Radio, and after the show, Martha Stewart is hosting a luncheon for Stern at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square -- all of which is being broadcast live on Yahoo. Stern moves to Sirius satellite radio on Jan. 9. (N.Y. Daily News) A&E is canceling "Growing Up Gotti"; Victoria Gotti tells (or threatens) the New York Daily News, "I don't think we'll be gone [from TV] more than two or three months." (N.Y. Daily News) George Smith, the man who went overboard on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this past July, apparently had a brush with Tara Reid hours before he died. According to Page Six, Smith's wife told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that after running into Reid on the island of Mykonos in Greece, "he finally worked up the courage and asked her for a picture. He was so proud of that picture." (Page Six) Jeff Zucker, the former "Today" show producer who's been steadily climbing through the ranks, has been named CEO of NBC. (Associated Press) Foxy Brown held a press conference yesterday, announcing that she has been suffering from severe sensorineural hearing loss, which has left her deaf for the last six months. The hip-hop diva, who's been on trial in New York for assaulting a nail salon worker, will undergo surgery to correct the condition in January. (MTV.com)
Jimmy Carter, in a recent interview with GQ, recounts some of his brushes with the paranormal while he was in the White House, including a time when a small plane went down in the Central African Republic and the satellites couldn't find it: "The director of the CIA came and told me that he had contacted a woman in California who claimed to have supernatural capabilities. And she went into a trance and she wrote down latitudes and longitudes, and we sent our satellite over that latitude and longitude, and there was the plane." (GQ via Lowdown)
Pick your favorite cartoon hero: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs tonight on ABC (8 p.m. EST), and "A Scooby-Doo Christmas" will be on WB (8:30 p.m. EST).
-- Priya Jain