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Harrelson axed from parade for taking part in peace rally

Harrelson axed from parade for taking part in peace rally

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Emmy award-winning actor Woody Harrelson of "Cheers"

was dumped Wednesday as grand marshal of one of the largest

Carnival parades in New Orleans because he took part in

a peace rally.

Harrelson, who plays bartender Woody Boyd on the NBC series,

was to head the Endymion parade Feb. 9, the weekend before

Mardi Gras.

Parade officials rescinded the invitation because they said

Harrelson had become politically involved in opposition

to America's role in the Persian Gulf war.

"While recognizing that Mr. Harrelson, like every American,

has the right of opinion and expression, the Board of Endymion

reminds all that New Orleans Mardi Gras is non-political,"

the organization said in a prepared statement.

As part of the parade, Endymion plans a patriotic salute

to U.S. troops serving in the Middle East.

Harrelson's ouster came after TV news reports this week

showed the actor applauding peace activist Ron Kovic during

a rally at the University of California, Los Angeles campus.

Parade officials also said their event would be marred by

any protests against Harrelson.

"Endymion is purely social, not political. We don't need

this kind of controversy," said Ed Muniz, Endymion Krewe


No word on a replacement was given.

Harrelson said he had no hard feelings against the group

but lamented the discord, saying it unfairly singled him


"The fact is that we've let our beliefs divide us," he

said in Los Angeles. "I never would consider myself an

activist, just a person who is kind of an everyman who got

caught up in this situation. Now I'm seeing my face all

over the news and I'm saying, `Wow, where did all this come


"To have people angry with me is a frightening thing. I'm

not angry at anyone because of their beliefs."

4 refugees land at Buffett's door

Four Cuban refugees found a slice of Margaritaville

along with probable freedom when they landed at singer Jimmy

Buffett's waterfront home in Key West, Fla., in an 18-foot

boat, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Buffett spotted the two men and two women Wednesday and

called police.

"They came up for the concert, who knows?" said Coast

Guard Lt. Jeff Karonis in Miami. "Just another day in Margaritaville."

Buffett, who sings of living on sponge cake and watching

the sun bake in the tune he popularized, offered the refugees

souvenirs and refreshments.

"He came out and gave them all tapes and gave them all

drinks," Coast Guard Lt. Tom Criman said in Key West, which

is 90 miles north of Cuba.

The refugees were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization

Service, which has granted political asylum to virtually

all Cubans who flee their country. Dozens flee every month.


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