News Roundup: March 15


Top Story

Yoko Ono unveiled a seven-foot bronze statue of John Lennon on Friday commemorating the renaming of Liverpool’s airport to “Liverpool John Lennon Airport,” Reuters reports. Under the statue of the late Beatle are the words “Above us only sky” from the song “Imagine.” Sculpted by local artist Tom Murphy, the statue overlooks the check-in hall in the newly remodeled terminal. Ono recently purchased Lennon‘s childhood home in Liverpool and donated it to the National Trust, which already owns Paul McCartney‘s childhood home.

In General

The case brought against 20th Century Fox accusing the studio of damaging a tropical island in Thailand while shooting The Beach will be re-opened in a Thai court in May. In order to create an idyllic tropical setting for the film, the studio planted dozens of coconut trees at Maya Beach on Phi Phi Lek island in 1999. According to, the Krabi Provincial Administration and island residents filed a lawsuit demanding that the ecosystem be restored, claiming the beach has since been destroyed by monsoon rains because the studio destroyed the natural vegetation that once protected the beach.

Fox’s Celebrity Boxing on Wednesday night scored some of the season’s highest ratings for an entertainment special. The hour-long show, which featured boxing matches between Tonya Harding and Paula Jones, Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams and Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges, won its 9 p.m. time slot with 15.48 million viewers, reports Variety. A second installment of Celebrity Boxing is under consideration but no decision has been made yet.

Rumor has it that Paul McCartney and Heather Mills will tie the knot in the Hamptons on June 6, Sky News reports. The two met in 1999 and announced last summer that they would get married some time next year, but gave no further details.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to revive two action franchises from Warner Bros., including a remake of Michael Crichton‘s Westworld and a third installment of the Conan the Barbarian series, reports Entertainment Weekly. Schwarzenegger is also starring in Warner Bros.’ Terminator 3, which is slated for release in July 2003.

The Screen Actors Guild has told its members not to sign non-union contracts for Russell Crowe‘s Master and Commander, which begins filming in Baja, California, this summer. According to Variety, SAG is enforcing its “Global Rule One” which disciplines members who work non-union outside the United States.

Ethiopian officials have complained that the film Beyond Borders starring Angelina Jolie only shows the country’s drought and starvation in 1984 and none of the progress made since, the Associated Press reports. A spokesman for the Ethiopian embassy in South Africa said that the media should “strive to include [a] positive image of our continent” and that “negative images about Ethiopia [do] not help the whole of Africa.”

Daryl Hannah has joined the ensemble cast of Quentin Tarantino‘s next project Kill Bill. The film stars Uma Thurman and Warren Beatty. Lucy Liu is also in final talks to come on board. Shooting is set to begin in June in California, China, Japan and Mexico, reports Variety.

Singer Lauren Hill and magician David Blaine will join performers at the live auction benefit People and Places With No Name on Tuesday at the Ace Gallery in Los Angeles. The auction will feature fine art, photography and jewelry, with proceeds going to providing awareness and aid in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Angola, reports.

U2 frontman Bono says he has a new name around the White House: “The Pest.” Bono met with President Bush on Thursday to discuss AIDS and the administration’s new initiative on U.S. aid to poor countries, AP reports. He told reporters, “I am a pest; I am a stone in the shoe of a lot of people living here in this town; a squeaky wheel.”