Brokaw pens book deal with Random

NEW YORK (AP) – Tom Brokaw has signed a two-book deal with Random House, the publisher announced Monday, although what the former NBC anchor will actually write and when the books will be published remain unknown.

Random House publicist Tom Perry said Brokaw, author of best sellers such as “The Greatest Generation” and “The Greatest Generation Speaks,” was considering “various projects,” but wouldn’t provide details. Financial terms weren’t disclosed and no publication dates have been set.

In any case, both Brokaw and his editor at Random House, Kate Medina, issued celebratory statements Monday.

“The response to “The Greatest Generation’ and the books that followed has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life,” Brokaw said.

“Tom Brokaw’s previous books struck a chord that reverberated across the nation,” Medina added. “I know that as Tom moves on to his next projects he will continue to define and expand upon our understanding of the American experience.”

Stevens visits Tsunami-devastated Aceh

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) – The singer once known as Cat Stevens visited Indonesia’s tsunami-devastated Aceh province, handing out money to orphaned children and praying at a mosque.

The 56-year-old peace activist now known as Yusuf Islam plans to open a branch of his charity, Small Kindness, in Aceh to aid children who lost their parents.

He traveled on a United Nations helicopter to the west Sumatran village of Lamno and then visited tent camps and a Muslim university Saturday in the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

In Lamno and at the camps, he handed money to children, giving them about $22 each.

“What do you need most right now?” he asked through a translator.

“Schools,” they said.

Later he spoke at the Islamic University of Ar-Raniry and prayed at Banda Aceh’s central mosque.

Islam has written “Indian Ocean,” which will be released this month for Small Kindness’ tsunami aid efforts. He said the song tells the story of a British family, vacationing in Asia when the tsunami hits, who help a young girl orphaned by the disaster.

The song includes the use of instruments, which the singer – whose folksy hits included “Peace Train” and “Wild World” – has avoided since embracing Islam in 1977.

“To come as close to perfection for a song, you have to use whatever instruments are necessary to fulfill the needs of that song,” he told The Associated Press. “My position on that issue has changed, especially when it’s for a very good cause.”

Former BYU student doing documentary on Moore’s visit

OREM, Utah (AP) – A former Brigham Young University film student has maxed out his credit cards to make a $10,000 documentary about “Fahrenheit 9/11” director Michael Moore’s controversial visit to Utah Valley State College.

“This Divided State” premieres Thursday at UVSC’s Ragan Theater. Steven Greenstreet, who cut the 102-minute production from 66 hours of interview and event footage, said he’s trying to find a distributor.

He’s entering the documentary in a dozen film festivals and plans are in the works with the Center for American Progress to fund a national college tour, the 25-year-old filmmaker said.

Greenstreet had been working on a documentary about political divisions when he heard in September that Moore was planning to come to UVSC.

“I immediately just grabbed my camera and ran to the school and filmed the whole day,” he said. “The halls were packed with students … it was just a huge crush of political debate and an overwhelming sense of activity and electricity.”

Moore arrived Oct. 20, applauding student leaders who took heat for inviting him and paying the $40,000 speaker fee with student money. Nine days earlier the college had invited Sean Hannity, a conservative Fox News commentator, to balance Moore’s criticism of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

As with the visit, Greenstreet’s film is stirring some emotions.

Kay Anderson, a real estate broker who offered student leaders $25,000 to rescind Moore’s invitation, has written a letter to Greenstreet’s lawyer asking that his interviews not appear in the film.

“We were cautious about who we granted interviews to,” Anderson said. “We didn’t want to end up in a Michael Moore-type documentary.”

Said Greenstreet: “Without the personal interview that I did with him, he doesn’t get a chance to explain his motivation. I think my main purpose for doing the interview was to humanize him and show him as just another member of the community who wants to do what’s right.”

Hewitt wins on marriage front

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) – First, Lleyton Hewitt lost. Then he won big.

The tennis star proposed to his girlfriend, actress Rebecca Cartwright, following his defeat in the Australian Open final Sunday. She said yes.

The couple met five years ago at a charity tennis event “and rekindled their relationship late last year,” they said Monday in a statement.

Hewitt gave Cartwright an engagement ring shortly after his loss to Marat Safin in Sunday’s final, the statement said.

Both Hewitt and Cartwright, who appears on the Australian soap opera “Home and Away,” recently ended long-term relationships.

Hewitt was engaged to Belgian tennis player Kim Clijsters before that four-year relationship ended last October. Cartwright split with actor Beau Brady late last year.

Jordan’s queen has a boy

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Jordan’s queen has given birth to a boy – her fourth child – on the same day as the 43rd birthday of the baby’s father, King Abdullah II.

Queen Rania, 34, and baby Prince Hashem were in good health, said a Royal Palace statement carried by the official Petra news agency Sunday.

The statement asked Jordanians to give money to charities rather than sending flowers or publishing expensive congratulation advertisements.

Sunday was a national holiday in Jordan to mark the king’s birthday. Abdullah ascended to the throne following the death of his father, King Hussein, in February 1999.

Abdullah and Palestinian-born Rania, who were married in 1993, have three other children: 10-year-old Hussein, and two girls, Iman, 8, and Salma, 4.

Hashem is the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandfather and the founder of the Hashemite dynasty to which the Jordanian monarch belongs.

Canada hosts its own tsunami relief party

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Concertgoers and performers alike sang and danced as Canadian artists such as Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan took the stage for a tsunami relief fund-raiser.

A capacity crowd of 18,000 happy revelers packed Vancouver’s GM Place Saturday night for a sold-out show, featuring Lavigne, McLachlan, Delerium, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida and Sum 41 and the Barenaked Ladies.

The show raised almost $3 million.

“This is an incredible, incredible cause,” said CBC-TV comedian Rick Mercer. “We’ve shown the world how generous Canadians are.”

Mercer hosted the event aimed at helping relief efforts in south Asia where the giant waves – triggered by a massive earthquake on Dec. 26 – claimed more than 178,000 lives in 11 countries.

Proceeds from the show will go to Oxfam, Care Canada, Doctors Without Borders and War Child.

“The artists were really given the opportunity to contribute the ideas for where the money would go,” Kreviazuk told The Canadian Press.


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