Monday, February 24, 2003

Clinton sings Bono's praises

New York -- Bill Clinton thinks Bono is a leader "we should follow in the new millennium."

The former president praised the lead singer of U2 Friday at a celebrity-packed reception honoring Bono's charitable work, most notably his efforts at promoting awareness of the AIDS epidemic and famine in Africa.

In accepting the award from the recording industry charity MusiCares, Bono talked about possible U.S. military action against Iraq.

"We do not need to make a martyr out of Saddam Hussein," said Bono, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize last year. "It is not as simple as war or no war. These are complex problems, and we need complex solutions."

You say it's your birthday?

London -- Wendy Whitworth, executive producer of CNN's "Larry King Live" and a huge Paul McCartney fan, received an unforgettable 50th birthday present: a private concert from the former Beatle.

Whitworth's husband, financier Ralph Whitworth, came up with the unusual gift idea and offered McCartney $1 million to do the San Diego gig. McCartney agreed, saying he would donate the money to the anti-landmines charity Adopt-A-Minefield.

Near the end of Saturday's 90-minute set, McCartney called Wendy Whitworth on stage and presented her with 50 roses. The band then broke into the Beatles' song "Birthday."

Americans make French toast

Paris -- American winners at the Cesars -- France's version of the Oscars -- used their acceptance speeches to thank the French for their anti-war stance on Iraq.

Michael Moore, whose gun violence documentary "Bowling for Columbine" was honored as best foreign film, brought the audience to its feet Saturday when he applauded France for trying to slow the U.S. drive to war.

"Thanks for showing us the way, and for taking up a position on something very important," Moore said. "A real ally, a real friend, is someone who tells you when you're wrong."

Director Spike Lee and actress Meryl Streep also praised the French for their stand.