The NYT fronts a dispatch from Congo, where there has been a sharp increase in the number of men who have been raped in the last few months. Joint Congo-Rwanda military operations against rebels that started at the beginning of the year and were supposed to bring a semblance of normality to the area, which has been mired in conflict for more than a decade, instead have given rise to horrifying revenge attacks against civilians. Aid organizations don't quite know how to explain the increase in male rape, except to say it's "yet another way for armed groups to humiliate and demoralize Congolese communities into submission." Of course, the number of men raped is small when compared to the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered the fate. But aid workers say it's harder for men to recover because, assuming they do come forward in the first place, they're often ridiculed and ostracized in their villages and often have no one to turn to for support.
The LAT's Patrick Goldstein takes a look at how top actors and filmmakers aren't getting the same kind of money they used to from studios. Actors, writers, and filmmakers once had set quotes that went up with every hit and studios pretty much always met without asking too many questions. But that's yesterday. Today, for "basically everyone except Will Smith, salary quotes have evaporated" along with the cherished "first-dollar gross deals," which gave top talent a slice of revenue from a movie. Now it's all about "cash break zero," meaning they only get a share of the profits after all costs have been paid. Hollywood players are being forced to adapt to this new system, where the studios have all the power, and, suddenly, most stars aren't able to get whatever they want.
The LAT and WP report word that Paula Abdul announced on Twitter that she'll be leaving American Idol. Abdul had been in contract negotiations to increase her salary, which was reportedly between $2 million and $4 million a year.