- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chan backlash rises

Outrage over comments by Jackie Chan that Chinese people “need to be controlled” escalated Tuesday, with everyone from academics to politicians censuring the Hong Kong film star.

One group on the social networking site Facebook even called for the martial-arts legend to be exiled to North Korea, Agence France-Presse reports.

Mr. Chan, known best for his comic action movies, told an annual meeting of government and business leaders on Saturday that China should be wary of allowing too many freedoms.

“I don’t know whether it is better to have freedom or to have no freedom,” Mr. Chan was quoted as saying.

“With too much freedom … it can get very chaotic, could end up like in Hong Kong or like in Taiwan … I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled.”

The Hong Kong Tourism Board, for whom Mr. Chan has been an ambassador since 1995, said it had received at least 17 complaints about his comments and was examining possible action.

In Taiwan, several angry members of a youth group protested outside Mr. Chan’s office in Taipei, calling for a boycott of his movies.

Meanwhile, a group of mainland Chinese academics and media professionals wrote an open letter calling Mr. Chan the “spoiled brat” of the Chinese.

Mr. Chan’s manager, Solon So, was not available for comment, AFP reports.

Fire guts Dean abode

Country music legend Jimmy Dean and his wife escaped a fire that heavily damaged their Virginia home, Associated Press reports.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze at the home overlooking the James River in Varina. The fire was reported at 8:05 p.m. Monday and was brought under control several hours later.

The house is valued at $1.3 million, according to county records.

Mr. Dean, 80, and his wife, Donna Meade Dean, weren’t injured. The couple were outside the home when firefighters arrived.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.

Mr. Dean is best known for his 1961 recording of “Big Bad John,” a Grammy-winning mining tale performed in his spoken-word style. Another popular ballad, “PT 109,” was an homage to President John F. Kennedy’s heroism in World War II.

From 1963 to 1966, Mr. Dean starred in “The Jimmy Dean Show,” a country music show on ABC.

The sausage company he founded in Texas in 1969 was sold to the Sara Lee Corp. in 1984.

Seger named in suit

Detroit rocker Bob Seger and a band mate are named in a negligence lawsuit filed by a man who says he suffered injuries in a crash involving a car registered to Mr. Seger.

Scott Martin of Oxford, Mich., claims in the lawsuit that he was injured Aug. 8 in Independence Township when his motorcycle was struck by the Seger-registered 2004 Lexus driven by Christopher Campbell. Mr. Campbell is Mr. Seger’s bass player.

Authorities say Mr. Campbell was ticketed for failure to stop after the accident, which happened about 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

Not going to the dogs

Trustees of real estate baroness Leona Helmsley’s estate say they’re giving $136 million to charity - with just $1 million going to the dogs.

Estate administrators announced the first round of charitable grants on Tuesday. The largest, $40 million, goes to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The majority goes to New York City hospitals and other health care systems across the country.

Mrs. Helmsley’s estate distributed $1 million to 10 animal rights groups, including $100,000 to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Animal rights groups rejoiced last year at reports that Mrs. Helmsley - who died in 2007 at age 87 - wanted her multibillion-dollar fortune to go exclusively to dog-related charities. A court ruled in February that the trustees had sole authority to decide which charities could benefit from her estate.

‘Peep’ courts Lohan

Will Lindsay Lohan be the next star to headline a Las Vegas act?

Possibly. The actress has approached the director of “Peepshow,” a new Sin City revue, about joining the act in several months, People.com reported Monday.

f “I think she would be great in the show,” “Peepshow” director Jerry Mitchell told People. “I would need to meet with her and dance a bit, as I would with anyone who would love to be a part of ‘Peepshow.’ ”

Miss Lohan was in Las Vegas on Saturday taking in the performance, which headlines former “Dancing With the Stars” contestants Melanie Brown and Kelly Monaco. If Miss Lohan were to join the show, she would take over in several months for Miss Monaco, who is required to strip down to almost nothing - something that won’t change if Miss Lohan stars.

Chen to be a mom

Julie Chen of CBS’ “The Early Show” has announced that she and her husband, Leslie Moonves, are expecting their first child together.

Miss Chen, 38, says her due date is Oct. 4, AP reports.

Miss Chen, who also hosts “Big Brother,” says she won’t be taking maternity leave from the CBS reality show.

Mr. Moonves is chief executive of CBS. The couple were married in 2004. He has three children from a previous marriage.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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