- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TV engagement

About 10 million viewers in Germany were spending part of Saturday night watching “You Bet …,” a TV game show originating in Dusseldorf, when they were startled with the announcement of an engagement.

Tennis champion Boris Becker told viewers that he and Dutch model Lilly Kerssenberg would marry in June. He is 41; she is 32. Mr. Becker, who won more than $25 million during his tennis career, was, at age 17, the youngest man to win the Wimbledon tournament.

No stars, please

Cedric Bechade, 32, says he asked Michelin’s reviewers to leave his Auberge Basque restaurant in Saint Pee sur Nivelle in the foothills of the Pyrenees out of its 2009 guide for France but that they “did not respect my wishes as a businessman.”

Now holding a star, Mr. Bechade said the need to hold on to the make-or-break ranking — or be seen as losing his edge — was an unwelcome diversion from the business of making good food, Agence France-Presse reports.

“The question of whether we will keep a star, or earn another, distracts us for two whole months from our core mission — the happiness of our guests,” he said. “This star will not change my plans for the Auberge Basque or our attitude toward our guests — and in any case, we will not put our prices up.”

New life for ‘Brian’

Thirty years ago, Aberystwyth, in western Wales, banned the classic Monty Python film “Life of Brian.” Sue Jones-Davies played Brian’s girlfriend Judith in the movie, but now she is mayor of Aberystwyth and has invited Michael Palin and Terry Jones, two of the original Pythons, to her town for a screening of “Brian” on March 28.

Graham Chapman, who played Brian in the film, died in 1989.

Critics said the movie was blasphemous for telling the story of a Jewish man who is mistaken for Jesus and crucified, and it was banned by a committee of Aberystwyth church leaders, AFP reports. Last year, locals realized the ban had not been revoked.

“It will be a great evening, and it is about time the film was shown anyway,” the mayor said.

Life and taxes

Veteran French rock star Johnny Hallyday has no plans to stop being a tax exile from France, even if Switzerland moves to abolish its lucrative tax breaks for rich foreigners.

“I don’t mind paying taxes, but there is a limit,” Mr. Hallyday, 65, told Le Matin, a French-language Swiss newspaper based in Lausanne, revealing that he paid about $755,000 to Swiss tax authorities per year.

Before settling in Switzerland in 2007, he said, “I was paying more than 70 percent [of my income]. With what I’ve paid over my lifetime, I would have been able to support several families for generations.”

Compiled by Richard Slusser from wire and Web reports

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