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People in the news, April 30, 2007

Staff Report • Apr 29, 2007 at 11:39 AM

TAMPA, Fla. - Former "American Idol" finalist Jessica Sierra was arrested early Sunday on felony battery charges for allegedly hitting a man on the head with a heavy glass at a cafe, police said. Sierra, 21, was booked in the Hillsborough County Jail on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. She was also charged with possession of cocaine and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility after officers found a small amount of the drug while searching her, police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said. Sierra was released Sunday afternoon on $11,500 bail. There was no immediate indication if she had a lawyer. The victim suffered a cut over his eye, but the spokeswoman gave no further information. Sierra, of Tampa, was one of the hit show's top 10 contestants in 2005.

WASHINGTON - Natalie Portman says that for many of the world's poorest women, a small loan can change their lives.

The actress said in an interview for ABC's "This Week" that aired Sunday that she has met mothers younger than she is who had to work in poor conditions for low pay because that was the only job available to them.

"And then they're able to get a loan and start their own business out of their own house and be with their children," Portman said. "It changes the whole system."

Portman, who starred in the last three "Star Wars" films, has been working with FINCA International, an organization that provides small loans to people in developing countries.

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. - Joey Buttafuoco, whose 17-year-old lover shot his wife in the face more than a decade ago, was released from jail after serving three months for illegally possessing ammunition, authorities said. Buttafuoco, 50, walked out of Los Angeles County Jail just before 9 a.m. Saturday, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site. His release was first reported by the syndicated television program "The Insider." Buttafuoco pleaded no contest in July to illegally possessing ammunition. The case stemmed from a search of his Chatsworth home in 2005 by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

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