Cleaning up for The Boss

Asbury Park, N.J. � Public works crews, a nightclub owner and even a fortune teller are busy making sure everything is just right when The Boss comes home.

Bruce Springsteen returns Tuesday to the shabby seaside city where he got his start. This time, he'll be belting out tunes to some 6.2 million fans as he headlines a three-hour remote broadcast of NBC's "Today" from the boardwalk with co-hosts Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.

The rocker is promoting the Tuesday release of his new CD, "The Rising," by performing four songs live at Convention Hall.

"We always try to make the city look good, but now it's especially important, with all the Springsteen fans coming in and the 'Today' show," said public works director Gary Giberson.

Singer jazzed about award

Beijing � MTV Asia honored 27 performers, including jazz singer Diana Krall, for their contributions to the music scene in the past year.

The annual ceremony, now in its fourth year, was Friday in the studios of China Central Television. Fans screamed and waved balloons as stars took the stage.

A beaming Krall, who won international female artist of the year, exclaimed: "My first MTV award!"

Selections were based on the stars' overall popularity and record sales.

Novel fetches record bid

London � A first edition of Jane Austen's classic novel "Pride and Prejudice," discovered by chance in a Scottish castle, sold for $62,500, setting what auctioneers say is a world record price for the author's work.

Auctioneers had estimated that the rare three-volume copy would fetch around $18,700, and were stunned when it sold Friday for more than three times that amount.

Philip Gregory, of the Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, said people flew to Edinburgh from as far away as the United States to bid for the set, which was published in 1813. The buyer was an anonymous private collector.

"There was a lot of competition, and it was very exciting. We're absolutely over the moon because we didn't think it would sell for quite so much," Gregory said.

The set was discovered in a castle in Ayrshire, southwest of Glasgow, as the owners, who also asked to remain anonymous, were packing to move.

Venice festival names jury

Venice, Italy � Actress Gong Li, known for graceful and sensitive performances in internationally acclaimed Chinese films, has been selected to head the Venice Film Festival jury.

Her films include "Red Sorghum," "Raise the Red Lantern" and "Farewell My Concubine." She won the best-actress award at the festival in 1992 for Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qiu Ju."

Festival officials also announced that Italian director Dino Risi would be awarded an honorary Golden Lion for his life's work. Risi, 85, is best known for films such as "Poor but Beautiful" (1957) and "The Easy Life" (1962).

This year's festival will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.


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