Working trip Down Under

Sydney, Australia -- Former "Superman" star Christopher Reeve arrived Wednesday in Sydney to speak at a conference on spinal injuries.

Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 1995 horse-riding accident, will be the key speaker at next week's conference and will speak at a fund-raising dinner.

Reeve was invited by New South Wales state premier Bob Carr after commenting last year on a heated debate in Australia about the federal government's decision to allow limited research on embryonic stem cells.

The 50-year-old actor is a strong supporter of such research, which some experts believe may unlock a way of reversing the often debilitating effects of spinal injuries.

TV Land honors Mayberry

Raleigh, N.C. -- A bronze statue of Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son, Opie, from "The Andy Griffith Show" will be installed at Raleigh's Pullen Park.

The statue commemorates the walk to a fishing hole that Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, and Opie, played by Ron Howard, took in the opening credits of the popular television show.

The cable network TV Land plans to install and maintain the statue.

It's the third statue the network has installed to depict fictional TV characters. It placed Ralph Kramden from "The Honeymooners" in New York in 2000 and Mary Richards from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in Minneapolis last May.

Sobering experience

Nashville, Tenn. -- Country singer Trace Adkins says he voluntarily entered and completed a 28-day alcohol rehabilitation program during the holidays.

In a statement released Tuesday, Adkins said he entered the inpatient program at the Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center after a year of extensive touring.

"This is something I needed to do for myself, my family and my career," the 41-year-old said. "I feel the best I've felt in years -- both physically and mentally."

Adkins pleaded guilty in November 2001 to drunken driving and was sentenced to two days in jail. He also lost his license for a year.

Duty fit for a queen

Stockholm, Sweden -- She's in the army now.

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria has been drafted, but just for three weeks, to serve in the Scandinavian country's army, part of her preparations as the future monarch of the nation of 8.9 million people.

"The princess will spend March 3-21 at Swedint, the Swedish armed forces' international arm," Royal Court spokeswoman Katrin Broms said.

Brig. Gen. Claes-Goeran Heden said the 25-year-old princess will be treated like any other recruit, living in a barrack and learning to handle weapons, protective masks and survival skills.

"This is part of her training to become a queen," Hede told The AP.


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