People in the News


MEXICO CITY (AP) – Tom Cruise whipped off his sunglasses with flair and flashed a winning smile as he greeted a hotel ballroom packed with journalists in Mexico’s capital.

His mission: to promote his new film, “Mission: Impossible III,” which opens in theaters Friday.

“We really wanted a story that’s going to leave the audience feeling emboldened and empowered when they leave the theater,” the 43-year-old actor said Monday.

His fiancee, 27-year-old Katie Holmes, gave birth last month in Los Angeles to the couple’s first child, a daughter named Suri.

“The hours go by so quickly as I just stare at her,” Cruise said of spending time with his newborn.

When a reporter asked about a widely circulated comment Cruise made in an interview with GQ magazine about eating his child’s placenta, Cruise laughed and said, “That’s ridiculous.”

He later said he doesn’t pay attention to media reports that criticize his personal life.

When he was done fielding questions, Cruise came down from the stage and mingled with journalists. At one point he produced a small digital camera and snapped some pictures of those jockeying for position to photograph him.

Cruise starred in 1996’s “Mission: Impossible,” directed by Brian De Palma, and 2000’s “Mission: Impossible II,” directed by John Woo.

This latest installment was directed by J.J. Abrams, creator of the TV series “Lost” and “Alias.”

“He’s a sensational filmmaker. I wanted a J.J. Abrams’ “Mission: Impossible,”‘ Cruise said.

On the Net:

NEW YORK (AP) – It’s apparently over for Paris Hilton and Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos.

“So it would appear. Yes,” Hilton publicist Elliot Mintz told The Associated Press on Tuesday of the reported breakup.

“I’m not going to deny that there was a split,” he said.

Mintz would not provide further details.

Hilton, 25, and Niarchos, 21, began dating last year. The hotel heiress and “The Simple Life” actress announced in October that she was ending her engagement to Paris Latsis, another Greek shipping heir.

“The Simple Life,” which features Hilton and ex-friend Nicole Richie thrown into normal jobs and responsibilities, has been dropped by Fox. But the show was picked up this season by E! and renamed “Simple Life 4: Till Death Do Us Part.”

LONDON (AP) – Gary Glitter, who is jailed in Vietnam for child molestation, says he hopes to win his appeal and restore some honor and dignity to his family and supporters.

Glitter, 61, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison by a Vietnamese court March 3. He was charged with committing obscene acts with two girls, ages 10 and 11, at his rented seaside villa and at a hotel.

The People’s Supreme Court of Appeals in Ho Chi Minh City will hear his case May 19, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said Sunday.

“I haven’t done anything,” Glitter said Tuesday in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. television.

“It was only till recently that I found out that underage is 18 in this country … but I don’t believe that I slept with anybody under 18 in this country,” he said.

Glitter, who served four months in prison in Britain in 1999 for possessing child pornography, said he would not condone sexual relations with an 11-year-old.

Asked whether he envisioned his future in Britain, Glitter said, “I don’t think about the future, I’m in prison.”

“The only thing I think about is trying to win the appeal, and trying to put some honor and dignity back to my family, my friends and the fans who have supported me all this time,” he said.

Glitter’s crowd-pleasing “Rock and Roll” anthem is still played at sporting events.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) – Oprah Winfrey has made a rare public appearance to honor her “angel friend” – late teen poet and peace activist Mattie Stepanek.

“Mattie lived the biggest, greatest life of anyone I’ve ever known. He lived his life with the light of love, and each of us has the power to do that in our own way,” Winfrey told 200 people gathered Sunday at Borders books on State Street.

The event was a celebration of 13-year-old Stepanek of Maryland, who published several books and was a guest and friend of Winfrey’s before his death from muscular dystrophy in 2004.

The teen’s final publication is “Just Peace: A Message of Hope,” a posthumous book of essays and poetry.

“At the roll call of your life, at the end of your life, what really matters is who did you love and who did you offer love to,” Winfrey said.

Also on hand was Mattie’s mother, Jennifer Smith Stepanek, who lost all four of her children to muscular dystrophy and also suffers from the disease.

Stepanek, on a national book tour to support her son’s last book, told of being at a thrift store with then 6-year-old Mattie, who picked out a book titled, “Oprah Winfrey: A Self-Made Woman of Many Talents.”

The boy read the book and said, “Mommy, Oprah Winfrey is part of God’s plan for me,” Stepanek said.

Winfrey described Mattie as “a dear, sweet, angel friend of mine.”

“I’ve met a lot of people in my life, but I’ve never met anyone like this little boy, who seemed to come from another world,” Winfrey said.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Keith Richards has been released from a New Zealand hospital where the Rolling Stones guitarist was admitted with a head injury after he reportedly fell out of a palm tree.

Richards, 62, suffered a mild concussion while on vacation in Fiji on Thursday. Several Australian and New Zealand media outlets reported the fall from the tree.

New Zealand’s Sunday Star-Times also reported that Richards got on a Jet Ski after the fall and had another accident.

Richards was treated in a Fiji hospital before being airlifted to Auckland’s Ascot Hospital for observation. It was not immediately clear exactly when he was released or where he went afterward.

“I can categorically confirm Mr. Richards … is no longer a patient in this hospital,” hospital duty manager Geoff Sparks told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “He has been discharged.”

Band spokeswoman Fran Curtis has said only that Richards was injured and flown to New Zealand with his wife, Patti, for observation. Her statement Saturday did not comment on Richards’ condition or how he was injured.

Richards and his wife were staying at the exclusive Wakaya Club resort on a small Fijian island when he was injured.