News Roundup: Dec. 31

Top Story

Amidst protestation, a church in Alamogordo, New Mexico burned Harry Potter and other books Sunday. Jack Brock, pastor and founder of the Christ Community Church, called the book burning a “blessing” and called the literary works “masterpieces of satanic deception,” teaching children witchcraft, according to The Associated Press. Across the street from the church, protesters held signs saying, “Book burning? Shame on our town.”

In General

Britain honored some of their best when the Queen’s New Year Honors List for 2002 was announced Monday. Actor Ben Kingsley, boxer Lennox Lewis and pop sensations The Bee Gees were among some of the lucky Brits to make the cut.

American Music Awards producer Dick Clark is mad at the King of Pop. Michael Jackson has backed out of appearing on the awards show Jan. 9, due to a conflict with the Grammy Awards, where Jackson is also scheduled to perform. Clark has filed suit against the Grammy organizers for what he calls “blacklisting” where the Grammys stipulate an artist cannot perform on the show if they also perform on the American Music Awards.

Rosie O’Donnell held a $250 per person private fund-raiser Sunday for Janet Reno, the former U.S. attorney general and current Democratic candidate for Florida state governor. “When I heard that she was running I called her office and told her I would do any and everything I can,” O’Donnell told the AP.

Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson, has escaped jail time when a U.S. judge dropped the sexual misconduct charges against the rocker. Manson now faces fines of $2,000 for an assault and battery charge.

Who says the 1970s Bill Cosby cartoon Fat Albert isn’t still the bomb? First, UPN’s Christmas Eve special The Fat Albert Christmas Special won its 8 p.m. time slot and now a big screen version will be released in 2003, directed by Forest Whitaker. Hey, hey, hey!

One of the main roads in Austin, Texas was shut down Friday, but lined with fans, when the 68-year-old country singer Willie Nelson rode a horse down the street while filming a music video. The video is for a duet Nelson did with Lee Ann Womack.

The Clintons got into the holiday spirit in New York Thursday night, at the Brassiere 81/2, according to The Post. Dad Bill, mom Hillary and daughter Chelsea partied on, especially Bill and Chelsea who reportedly were hitting the vodka pretty hard. Reportedly ex-pres Bill lost his cell phone between the restaurant and his limo.

Crooner Barry Manilow isn’t talking–quite literally. Manilow has been ordered to be completely silent for a few days due to severe bronchitis and had to postpone three weekend concert appearances. His New Year’s Eve show, however, will go on as scheduled. Thank God.