BC-NAMES:PH – national, world, people (670 words)

Names in the news

By Tirdad Derakhshani

Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT)

British singer Morrissey has caused a furor over reports he wished the death of President George W. Bush.

According to the Manchester Evening News, during a Saturday concert in Dublin, the former Smiths frontman informed the crowd he’d just heard the news that former President Ronald Reagan had died. He went on to say he wished the current president had died instead. The Evening News says the crowed cheered his comments.

A rep for the singer’s label, Sanctuary Records, told the newspaper the comments were simply Morrissey’s “own opinion. He is no stranger to controversy.”

The issue has spread like wildfire across the Internet, spurred on by a link to the Evening News story on the Web site run by conservative gossip writer Matt Drudge. In an update to its initial story, the Evening News says “record numbers of Internet users in America contacted our Web site to complain about the 45-year-old singer’s comments.” It also says the initial story has been viewed online nearly 500,000 times in 24 hours.



ACHILLES KNEE?

We spent a sleepless Wednesday night biting our nails, beside ourself that something might go wrong with Britney Spears’ surgery.

We’re still distraught: We know nothing beyond the fact that the fair-haired singer underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in New York on Wednesday, after having injured her resplendent self during a video shoot for her latest sensational single, “Outrageous,” which costars unlikely Spears collaborator Snoop Dogg.

It’s the same bum knee that caused Brit, 22, to cancel two shows in March. Docs called for the procedure after an MRI scan showed floating cartilage in her knee. Yikes!

Of the thousands of fans who suffered insomnia that night, Kevin Federline possibly has the most reason to fret. According to Rolling Stone mag, the manboy dancer and Brit really are in love. They proved it by getting matching tattoos when they were in Ireland last month: A pair of baby pink dice on her wrist and a matching baby blue pair on his.



EMINEM’S OLD SUIT

The tiresome battle between Eminem and The Source magazine seems finally over. A U.S. District judge has ordered the mag to pay Em’s legal fees for violating a December order not to publish the lyrics of a racially charged freestyle rap Em recorded a decade ago. The Source’s co-owners, David Mays and Raymond Scott, unearthed the recording in which Em says “black girls are dumb, and white girls are good chicks,” saying it proves the white rapper is racist. He’s apologized for the song, saying it was youthful folly.



TAYLOR SETTLES

In other lawsuit news, Elizabeth Taylor has settled a sexual harassment suit filed last year by her former landscaper, who had claimed he was fired when he refused sexual advances made – mind you not by Taylor, but by her butler. Willem Van Muyden, who sounds more like a monocle-wearing movie aristocrat than a gardener dude, says Liz owes him $294,000 for 10 years of work. Liz sure knows how to hire “em. If you like the gardener’s name, you’ll love the butler’s name: Jean-Luc Lacquement. Terms of the settlement were not released.



BAD HAIR DAY

Today’s gross-out report comes courtesy of the New York Daily News, which has done a public service by printing excerpts of e-mails exchanged by the roommates of Enza Sambataro, who has the unfortunate distinction of being Ben Affleck’s alleged new girlfriend. One unnamed roomie writes that Affleck’s “hairy stomach was all over my couch, and he has gross back hair.” She says she left the Boston pad to avoid having to witness young Ben make out with Enza. Another supposed bud writes, “He’s tall, not too attractive, has (the) world’s whitest and straightest teeth.” We almost feel sorry for Ben.



(Wire services contributed to this column.)



(c) 2004, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer’s World Wide Web site, at http://www.philly.com/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-06-10-04 1429EDT



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