Red Hot Chili Peppers Sue Showtime

The cable network names a new series Californication, the title of the band's 1999 record.

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ROBERT SMITH, host:

Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're always available online at npr.org/bryantpark.

I'm Robert Smith, filling in for Luke Burbank, who took an early plane out of here for Thanksgiving.

ALISON STEWART, host:

I'm Alison Stewart. I'm still here.

You know, what does comedian Chris Elliott do in his spare time when he's not writing movies, (unintelligible)? Writing a book. It's called "In the Hot Air: Mounting Mount Everest." You see this map, apparently of Mount Everest, in the book? Apparently, there's an easy pass toll around base camp number three. Yeah.

SMITH: It's so good. It saves little time.

STEWART: It does. We'll talk to Chris about this, about mapping, and a whole lot more in just a few moments.

But first, let's go to Rachel Martin for today's headlines.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, good morning everyone.

The United Nations plans to issue a report today, acknowledging that it's overestimated the size of the AIDS epidemic by about 7 million cases. The study will reflect new data that says instead of the 40 million cases reported last year, there are about 33 million. U.N. officials say the biggest reason for the revision is because of new and more accurate data from India. Original estimates said that some 5.7 million people in India were infected with AIDS, but now the agency has cut that number in half. Despite those revisions, AIDS remains a critical global threat. This week's report predicts that 2.1 million people died of AIDS last year, and about 6,800 people were newly infected every day.

Now some disturbing health news: For decades, the rates of heart disease-related deaths was on the decline. But a new study has found that while the death rates for men has leveled off, more younger women are dying of the disease. The leading cause is blocked arteries, which is triggered by increasing rates of obesity and other risk factors in this age group.

The study was conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Britain's University of Liverpool. It found that in women age 35 to 44, the rate of death from heart disease has been increasing by an average of 1.3 percent annually between 1997 and 2002. In actual numbers, that's roughly an additional 100 deaths a year, which is small compared to the overall U.S. population. But researchers say the results are still cause for concern.

Finally, some real legal questions over a made-up word.

(Soundbite of song, "Californication")

Mr. ANTHONY KIEDIS (Vocalist, Red Hot Chili Peppers): (Singing) The sun may rise in the East, at least it settles in the final location. It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication…

MARTIN: "Californication." Remember that 1999 song and album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Well, now there's a TV show by the same name on Showtime. And the Chili Peppers say that's not really fair or legal.

Yesterday, the band sued the Showtime network over its television series "Californication," which stars David Duchovny as a writer in mid-life crisis. The suit alleges unfair competition and delusion of the name value, claiming that the word Californication is distinctively associated in the mind of consumers with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The suit also notes that the show features a character named Dani California, which is also the title of a Chili Peppers' song released just last year.

And a quick sports note to wrap up the news today: The Denver Broncos won a place in the AFC Playoffs on Monday Night Football last night with a 34 to 20 win over the Tennessee Titans.

That's the news, and it's always online at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

MARTIN: Alison and Robert, back to you.

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