Aguilera says yes to proposal

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Christina Aguilera may be getting what a girl wants.

The Grammy-winning singer is engaged to her boyfriend of two years, music executive Jordan Bratman, Aguilera’s representative, Meghan Prophet, told The Associated Press on Saturday night.

Bratman, 26, proposed to the 23-year-old pop diva on Friday night while the two were vacationing at an undisclosed location, Prophet said.

“No wedding plans have been set yet,” she said.

Bratman presented Aguilera with a diamond ring designed by jeweler Stephen Webster, according to Prophet.

The engagement initially was confirmed to the magazines People and US Weekly.

Aguilera, whose hits include “What a Girl Wants” and “Genie in a Bottle,” won a Grammy as best new artist in 2000, another in 2002 for best pop collaboration with vocals for her cover of “Lady Marmalade” with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink, and a third award last year for female pop vocal performance on “Beautiful.”

Ride the Strummer train

LONDON (AP) – Joe Strummer, lead singer of British punk band The Clash, has been honored with a train named for him.

Strummer, who died in 2002 at age 50, was remembered at a naming ceremony Saturday at a railway station in Bristol, southwest England.

The Strummer train, a diesel locomotive built in 1965, follows a 200-year-old tradition of British trains being named after famous people. It will be operated in England by Cotswold Rail company.

Strummer’s influential punk band rose to fame in the 1970s with hits including “London Calling” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Originally born John Graham Mellor, Strummer died of a heart attack at his home in Somerset, southwest England, in December 2002.

Richie tying herself down

All of a sudden, life’s less simple for Nicole Richie. The costar of Fox’s “The Simple Life” has become engaged to her main squeeze of one year, disc jockey Adam Goldstein, her publicist, Cindy Guagenti, announced Tuesday.

It’ll be the first time to the altar for 23-year-old Richie and Goldstein, whose professional name is all initials: DJ AM. A date for the nuptials wasn’t announced.

Richie, daughter of R&B star Lionel Richie, shares top billing with – what’s that name again? – Paris Hilton on the show’s third season.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

O’Connor’s gospel of punk

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor says that after two years of retirement, she is returning to music – but not the pop scene.

“I want to at least aim my records at a more spiritualized market,” she told Irish music magazine Hotpress.

O’Connor, best known for her song “Nothing Compares 2 U” and for shredding a picture of Pope John Paul II on “Saturday Night Live,” announced her retirement two years ago. She said she wanted to concentrate on raising her children. She also disclosed she was battling a fatigue illness called fibromyalgia.

In 1999, O’Connor was ordained as a priest in the Latin Tridentine Church by a rebel bishop. She then adopted the name Mother Bernadette Mary.

Now, she says her music would have religious qualities.

“Religious songs with bad words, that’s the best way I could describe it,” she said. “I’ve been thinking for years the religious area of music has a huge gap in it. Needs a bit of punky filling.”

The 38-year-old singer said she was already working on material for three different records and would perform in the next few months at a special appearance in Belfast, Ireland.

O’Connor’s third son, Shane, was born last March.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Simmons joins KFC fight

NEW YORK (AP) – Hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons has joined other celebrities and activists who have criticized Kentucky Fried Chicken, saying he will call for a boycott if the company doesn’t reform its slaughter practices.

Simmons called slaughter practices used by the fast-food chain’s suppliers “grossly inhumane” and has filmed a commercial “showing some of the very worst abuses chickens undergo” before they are served to customers, the Daily News reported Sunday.

Simmons, who is chairman of Def Jam Records and is a vegan, said he has talked to officials of Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, and said he will release the ad and start a boycott if the company does not reform its practices.

“When a company targets our community, disrespects us as consumers and sells us products ridden with negative energy and laced with toxins, that is our business,” said Simmons.

Other celebrities and activists who have raised their voices against KFC include the Rev. Al Sharpton, comedian and social activist Dick Gregory, actress Pamela Anderson and musician Paul McCartney.

Yum! Brands Vice President Jonathan Blum disputed Simmons’ claim.

“We have an independent panel of outside experts who set our high standards,” said Blum. “They are the same standards that all our competitors use to insure humane treatment around the country.”


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