The Baltimore Sun

Clintons to join Bloomberg in ringing in the new year

Tonight, Sen. Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton will be in Times Square, helping New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg lower the glittery New Year's Eve ball.

The Clintons will lead hundreds of thousands of revelers in the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button that lowers the ball.

Up to a million people are expected tonight to wait for the clock to strike midnight, with the forecast calling for snow and temperatures in the low 30s. Portions of the event will be televised live on ABC and other networks.

Five minutes before midnight, 1,000 balloons with the words "Joy," "Hope" and "2009" will drift down from rooftops in the area. More than a ton of confetti will be released at midnight.

The Waterford crystal ball - about 12 feet in diameter and weighing nearly 12,000 pounds - will remain on display atop One Times Square as a tourist attraction after the event.

Security will be tight, with a large police presence and additional counterterrorism units, said Paul Browne, the NYPD's deputy commissioner of public information. Streets will be closed to traffic, backpacks won't be allowed into Times Square and alcohol is forbidden.

TV's top 10

Sunday Night Football claimed the top spot in TV ratings for the week Dec. 22-28, according to Nielsen Media Research. About 14.9 million viewers tuned in to NBC to watch the San Diego Chargers defeat the Denver Broncos.

The remaining top 10, in millions: 60 Minutes, CBS, 14.1; Two and a Half Men, CBS, 11.8; The Mentalist, CBS, 10.7; NCIS, CBS, 10.6; Sunday Night Pre-Kickoff, NBC, 10.1; Million Dollar Password, CBS, 9.8; Cold Case, CBS, 9.7; CSI: Miami, CBS, 8.5; CSI, CBS, 8.0.

A deal for DMX

Rapper DMX has reached a plea deal on multiple drug possession, theft and animal cruelty charges in Phoenix.

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of animal cruelty, one count of theft and one count each of felony possession of marijuana and a narcotic drug.

A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner has set a sentencing hearing for Jan. 30.

Additional charges will be dismissed then.

The 38-year-old rapper has been arrested several times in Arizona in the past year and missed several court dates.

Sign of respect

The marquees of Broadway theaters were to be dimmed last night to honor playwright Harold Pinter, who died a week ago at age 78 after a long battle with cancer.

The Broadway League said the lights would be dimmed for about one minute at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Pinter, who wrote 32 plays, one novel and 22 screenplays, won a Tony Award for best play in 1967 for The Homecoming and the Nobel Prize in literature in 2005.

From Sun news services

today's birthdays

Actor Anthony Hopkins, 71

Actor Ben Kingsley, 65

Singer Donna Summer, 60

Actress Bebe Neuwirth, 50

Actor Val Kilmer, 49

Actress Gong Li, 43

Author Nicholas Sparks, 43

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