Antiwar hockey fans update Wayne Gretzky statue

Edmonton, Alberta -- A statue of Wayne Gretzky was adorned with a sign that read "U$ Lackey" in protest of the hockey star's recent comments supporting President Bush in the war against Iraq.

Employees of Skyreach Centre quickly removed the cardboard sign Tuesday from the statue at the entrance to the home arena of Gretzky's former team, the Edmonton Oilers.

Earlier this week, Gretzky praised Bush as a great leader and said he backed him 100 percent. However, he also shied away from criticizing Canada's decision to stay out of the conflict.

"The reality is, you know, the people we should be concerned about are the people fighting in Iraq, the people who are there on the missions," Gretzky said Tuesday.

"We shouldn't be worried about what entertainers or athletes or Wayne Gretzky or Don Cherry says. It's immaterial."

R.E.M. offers newest antiwar song

Following the example set earlier this month by the Beastie Boys, John Mellencamp and Lenny Kravitz, R.E.M. has recorded antiwar songs and released them for free on the Web, reports Entertainment Weekly.

R.E.M.'s tune is called "The Final Straw," and is available on the band's Web site, Singer Michael Stipe writes on the site: "This is the strongest voice I could think of to send out there. We had to send something out there now. We are praying and hoping for the lives of all people involved -- the troops, the Iraqi civilians, refugees, POWs, families of troops, the innocents -- that they are safe and OK. Safe home, all."

Flu scare won't stop Stones tour

Singapore -- The Rolling Stones were going ahead with a concert in Singapore Wednesday despite an outbreak of deadly flu in the city state that has claimed one life and pushed more than 700 people into quarantine.

"It's not canceled," said Ben Munroe, head of Cazbaa, the promoter of the Stones' Licks World Tour in Singapore.

Earlier Wednesday, Singapore's Health Ministry reported the first death here as a result of the mystery illness known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

According to the band's Web site, the Stones, with frontman Mick Jagger, also will perform Friday and Saturday in Hong Kong, where many have been wearing surgical masks in public hoping to avoid the disease.

Maybe the Stones will fill in

Los Angeles -- Andy Williams has postponed an April concert in Hong Kong because of a flu-like disease that's spreading through the Asian city.

Williams, along with a troupe of 20 musicians, singers and dancers, had been scheduled to perform April 12 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

But he postponed the show until June 6 because of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, that has sickened hundreds of people.

"In deference to my band and the others traveling with us, I just didn't want to take any health risks," Williams said.


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