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A.J. returns to Backstreet Boys

Backstreet's back, all right � including A.J. McLean after he underwent treatment for depression and alcohol abuse.

The five-member Backstreet Boys resumed the "Black & Blue World Tour 2001" Friday night at Milwaukee's Bradley Center after putting it on hold July 9, when McLean entered an undisclosed treatment center.

Band member Kevin Richardson said at the time that McLean was entering rehab for 30 days for "depression, anxiety and his excessive consumption of alcohol."

"We actually went and saw A.J. during the time he was there," band member Brian Littrell said Friday. "And that was good for us and good for him, I'm sure, to see him in his environment."

The group still has 23 concert dates left on the tour.

Tucker rushing to Nigeria

Actor Chris Tucker, co-star of the hit movie "Rush Hour 2," is joining a congressional delegation during a visit next week to Africa.

Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., announced that Tucker would join six members of Congress and about 30 business leaders on Wednesday during a stop in Nigeria.

"Chris Tucker is known throughout the world as a big-name movie star," Watts said. "It is my hope he will be able to bring that same degree of awareness to the opportunities in Nigeria and all of Africa."

The delegation is visiting four west African nations next week to promote business, trade, improved health care and democracy, Watts said.

Gov. Jesse calls in sick

An injured back forced Gov. Jesse Ventura to call in sick and cancel a daylong appearance at the Minnesota State Fair on Friday.

The injury occurred Thursday afternoon. Spokesman John Wodele said he didn't know how Ventura hurt his back or the extent of the injury.

"He had great difficulty trying to move this morning," Wodele said.

Last summer, the 50-year-old Ventura hurt his back while playing golf.

Wodele wouldn't say whether Ventura played golf Thursday, but he said the governor concluded his official business around 3 p.m. and the injury occurred sometime later.

Bibliophile Gingrich in 'Top 500'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is making the most of his voracious reading habit and love of the Internet by writing personal reviews of books he likes and posting them on Amazon.com.

With 47 posted, Gingrich ranks 473rd among Amazon reviewers. As one of the "Top 500," he has his own page on Amazon.com, with a biography, photograph and a list of books he has critiqued.

"I do it for the fun of it," the former Republican congressman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for Friday's editions. "Friends were always asking me what I was reading, and so I thought it would be nice to write reviews.

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