News, Dec. 23: Jackson Ordered To Confirm Trip; Ozzy Leaves Intensive Care; “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” Comes to the Big Screen; More…

Top Story: Is Jackson Leaving the Country?

Michael Jackson, whose confiscated passport had been returned to him so he could fulfill contractual obligations to promote his new CD Number Ones overseas, has been ordered by Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon to provide “documented confirmation” that his upcoming promotional trip to Britain is still happening, The Associated Press reports. London’s Sun newspaper reported Sunday that Jackson, who is facing child molestation charges, had cancelled the planned Christmas tour, and if that’s the case, the singer must once again surrender his passport to authorities, according to the District Attorney’s office. But Jackson‘s spokesman, Stuart Backerman, told the AP Monday that he believed the trip was still on. Jackson was originally scheduled to travel to Britain on Dec. 20 and stay until Jan. 6. “I’m not aware of any cancellation,” Backerman said. “He still is planning to go as far as I know.”

Ozzy Released From Intensive Care

After fracturing his collarbone, eight ribs and a neck vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident Dec. 8, Ozzy Osbourne was finally moved out of intensive care Tuesday, AP reports. In a written statement, the Osbourne family said Ozzy had been moved from Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, west of London, to a private clinic. “The Osbourne family are very happy that Ozzy has been allowed out of the intensive care unit for Christmas and would like to thank everyone for their kind support, well wishes and prayers,” the statement said.

Horn Gets To Go Home

After spending two months at the University of California, Los Angeles, hospital recovering from a tiger attack, animal trainer and entertainer Roy Horn has returned to his home in Las Vegas, Reuters reports. Horn, 59, part of the duo Siegfried and Roy, was nearly killed Oct. 3 when a male white tiger grabbed him by the neck and dragged him offstage at the Mirage resort in Las Vegas. Horn is able to write notes, his spokesman told Reuters, but no other details of the extent of his recovery were available.

Rings Tops African American Film Critics List

The African American Film Critics Association has picked The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as the top movie for 2003, AP reports, followed by Lost in Translation and In America. Director F. Gary Gray, who helmed the hit film The Italian Job, will receive a special achievement award. The African American Film Critics Association, which consists of print, broadcast and online movie reviewers, aims to draw attention to works that appeal to black audiences, star black actors or are made by black filmmakers, AP reports.

Palm Springs Fetes Johansson

Golden Globe-nominated actress Scarlett Johansson, who received nods for her work in Lost in Translation and Girl With a Pearl Earring, will be honored at the 15th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, along with Oscar-winning writer Sidney Sheldon and Cold Mountain production designer Dante Ferretti, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The awards gala will be held Jan. 11.

Judge Grants Magazine Excerpt of Eminem Song

Manhattan federal Judge Gerald Lynch will allow the hip-hop magazine The Source to publish CDs containing limited excerpts of a previously unreleased track by rapper Eminem that includes lyrics such as “black girls are dumb,” AP reports, but the magazine can only print 20 seconds of material from the recording, rather than the entire song. The Source said it uncovered the recording while investigating the forces corrupting hip-hop, including racism, and had planned extensive coverage of it in their February issue, AP reports. Eminem has called the recording “foolishness,” something he made as a teen “out of anger, stupidity and frustration” after breaking up with a black girlfriend.”

White Stripes Singer Charged With Assault

Jack White, frontman to the Grammy-nominated band The White Stripes, was charged with aggravated assault Monday stemming from an unprovoked attack on another singer, Jason Stollsteimer, at a Detroit, Mich., club Dec. 13, Reuters reports. Witnesses say White approached Stollsteimer, 25, who sings for a local Detroit band the Von Bondies, spat on him and punched him in the face, continuing to hit Stollesteimer as he fell to the floor. White, 28, could face up to a year in prison if convicted.

Role Call: Lion Roars to the Big Screen

With the huge success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series, another classic fantasy epic, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is coming to the big screen, AP reports. New Zealander Andrew Adamson, best known for the Oscar-winning animated feature Shrek, will direct the film and shoot it entirely on location in New Zealand. The movie is expected to be the first of five films based on Lewis’ seven Chronicles of Narnia books. Lion, the second and most popular of the novels, centers on the tale of four British children who, to escape the blitz during World War II, are packed off to the rambling country mansion of an old professor. There they discover a wardrobe that is a gateway to the magical land of Narnia, with its fauns, centaurs, dwarves and giants, as well as a witch and a lion named Aslan.