- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2006

Let’s do lunch

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hosted U2 frontman and social activist Bono for lunch Sunday at his presidential retreat, Reuters news agency reports.

Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, who became famous as a pop music star before joining the government, joined them.

Local media quoted Bono as saying he wanted to discuss fighting poverty with Mr. da Silva, whose best known social program is called Zero Hunger. According to Associated Press, the rock star will donate one of his guitars to benefit the campaign, the government’s official news agency said.

U2, which previously performed in Brazil in 1998, performed yesterday and takes the stage tonight for a second concert in Sao Paulo.

Aussies target Rollins

Rocker-turned-TV host Henry Rollinsis being investigated by the Australian government for reading Ahmed Rashid’s best-seller, “Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia,” on a recent flight to Brisbane.

The probe was triggered when a passenger seated next to the hulking, heavily-tattooed artist — host of an eponymously titled show on the Independent Film Channel — apparently got nervous when he saw Mr. Rollins reading a book about Islamic fundamentalists, and contacted authorities after the plane landed.

“Days later I received an e-mail from a woman who I guess figured out who I was and found me,” Mr. Rollins told the New York Post. “I had been named a ‘person of interest.’ Basically, they get calls like this every five minutes, and I’m probably on the ‘who cares’ list, in that they’ll probably let me into the country again.

“But the fact that this guy could be that ignorant and call me in on this for a book. … I was angry. Because of the fact that the guy wouldn’t confront me. I like confrontation. If I’ve offended you, let me know. Don’t call it in and not leave your name. I just think it’s pretty weak.”

In the past Mr. Rollins, a District native, has visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Northwest.

“I do a lot of work for the USO because soldiers are my heroes,” he said. “I’ve done six USO tours outside of America and a few hospital visits, and the soldiers are the best. I’ve been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Dubai, South Korea, Honduras, Japan, Egypt and Turkey.”

Heading to trial

British glam rocker Gary Glitter will go on trial March 2 on charges of committing obscene acts with two underaged girls in Vietnam, the presiding judge said yesterday.

The trial is expected to last two days, said Hoang Thanh Tung, who will oversee the trial in southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province.

Mr. Glitter, 61, who won fame in the 1970s with such hits as the anthemic “Rock & Roll, Part 2” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” is accused of kissing and fondling the two girls, aged 10 and 11, and “engaging in other physical acts” at his rental home in the port city of Vung Tau last year. The crime carries a prison sentence ranging from three to seven years.

Mr. Tung said the trial will be held in closed session at the request of the girls’ families because it involves minors. However, the verdict and possible sentencing will be open to the public, he said.

Mr. Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, has been in police custody at a jail near Vung Tau since Nov. 19, when he was seized in Ho Chi Minh City trying to board a flight out of the country. During the criminal investigation, police had considered whether to charge Mr. Glitter with child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death, but said prosecutors did not find enough evidence.

Mr. Glitter was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail term. He later went to Cambodia but was permanently expelled in 2002, although Cambodian officials did not specify any crime or file charges.

On the road again

Except for Broadway musicals and a few select appearances, Toni Braxton hasn’t done many live performances in the past decade. But that’s about to change.

The Bowie native and R&B; diva is embarking on her first tour in 10 years to support her latest album, “Libra.” The tour will kick off March 10 in Atlantic City, N.J., and end July 3 in Houston at the Essence Music Festival, AP reports.

The Grammy-winner, known for such hits as “Breathe Again,” “You’re Makin’ Me High” and “Love Shoulda Brought You Home,” has also starred on Broadway in “Aida” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

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

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