OUTRAGED: The Vatican is not amused by a Nativity scene at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in London that features soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham as Mary and Joseph, with Tony Blair, Prince Philip and George W. Bush as the Magi. Hugh Grant and Samuel L. Jackson are two of the shepherds. “This is worse than bad taste,” a Vatican rep, noting the “questionable moral standing” of some of the figures, tells Reuters. “It is cheap.” British press reports say that the Beckhams were unaware of their casting by Tussaud’s.
RETIRED: Women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm, 32, who officially retired after this year’s Athens Olympics, took to the field for the final time Wednesday to help the U.S. win 5-0 over Mexico. She ends her career as the game’s highest scorer (of either sex), with 158 goals in 276 games. She was twice named FIFA women’s player of the year and won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999 and two Olympic gold medals. On her retirement, Hamm, who is married to Chicago Cubs shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, said: “There are mixed emotions. There are things in your life that you have had to put on the back-burner and you can focus more time and energy on that now.”
SENTENCED: DMX (real name: Earl Simmons), 33, plea-bargained on Wednesday to charges of driving under the influence of Valium, admitting his guilt in a Queens, N.Y., courtroom, the New York Post reports. He will pay a $1,000 fine and surrender his customized Ford Expedition. Afterwards, in the courthouse lobby, the rapper was also served with legal papers while waiting – asking him to appear in family court on Jan. 19, to answer charges that he fathered a boy, now 4, with a Buffalo, N.Y., woman, the paper says.
CAST: Cate Blanchett, who plays real-life legend Katharine Hepburn opposite Leonardo DiCaprio’s Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, will soon be playing a fictional legend at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music. The actress will headline Hedda Gabler in the Sydney Theater Company’s production of the Henrik Ibsen classic, to open March 1, 2006, for a four-week engagement, reports AP. Annie Byron, Justine Clarke, Julie Hamilton, Hugo Weaving, Anthony Weigh and Aden Young are due to costar.
SCHEDULED: Closing arguments in the three-month-long murder trial of Daniel Pelosi, accused of killing his late wife Generosa Ammon’s first husband, Wall Street mogul Ted Ammon, have been set for Thursday in Suffolk County, N.Y., New York’s Daily News reports. On Wednesday, Pelosi, who had been an electrician in the Ammon’s Hamptons home at the time of the killing, testified: “Generosa wanted to know if I knew of anyone who could murder her husband, or if I could do it myself.” Asked his attorney: “Did you do anything?” Said Pelosi: “Not at all.”
ORDERED: A New York judge says former Congressman Gary Condit has to answer questions about his sexual history as part of his slander case against Vanity Fair magazine columnist Dominick Dunne, the Associated Press reports. Condit, who is suing Dunne for suggesting that the politician knew more than he admitted about the death of his intern Chandra Levy, refused to answer such questions at a September deposition. The jurist in the case says the law doesn’t allow Condit to file suit, then refuse to answer questions that may help Dunne.