JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) – Annie Lennox, Brian May and India.arie will perform at Nelson Mandela’s next concert to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic.

The March 19 event in the Eastern Cape city of George, to be hosted by actor Will Smith, will highlight the plight of women and girls, who are six times more likely than men to become infected here, Mandela said Thursday.

May and Roger Taylor of Queen will collaborate with Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers.

“We do not treat our women with enough dignity and respect,” Mandela said. “We must mobilize to act, and act soon, before it is too late.”

Since stepping down as South Africa’s first black president in 1999, Mandela has championed the cause of AIDS victims, especially in Africa where about 25 million of the world’s 40 million HIV-infected people live.

While organizers are still recovering the cost of the first concert – held in Cape Town in November 2003 – through CD and DVD sales, they hope this year’s more modest event will raise funds for AIDS charities in South Africa.

Mandela’s eldest son recently died of an AIDS-related illness.

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NEW YORK (AP) – Christina Aguilera says she was shocked when a Valentine surprise turned into a marriage proposal.

The 24-year-old pop diva says music executive Jordan Bratman, her boyfriend of two years, popped the question at Big Sur, Calif., last Friday after recreating a romantic dinner the two had while touring India in the fall.

“It was unbelievable,” Aguilera told Us Weekly magazine. “Every cute thing he did, I totally thought was just a Valentine’s Day surprise – he got me!”

“He sent me on a scavenger hunt,” she said. “My mom used to do scavenger hunts for me when I was a kid, so it had sentimental value. Each clue was a poem – and in the final clue he proposed!”

The 26-year-old Bratman gave Aguilera a 5-carat diamond ring designed by jeweler Stephen Webster, who also made wedding bands for Madonna and Guy Richie.

“I’m finishing my album, so we haven’t set a date yet,” Aguilera said. “But it’s definitely given me inspiration to make my best record ever.”

Her hits include “What a Girl Wants,” “Genie in a Bottle” and “Beautiful.”



VIENNA, Austria (AP) – Donatella Versace will present a fashion show and appear at the annual Life Ball, a charity gala dedicated to raising funds to fight AIDS.

Organizers hope to raise awareness – as well as cash – with the May 21 event at City Hall. The Life Ball, regularly attended by singer Elton John, is known for the extravagant costumes of the thousands of guests.

“We want to give the event a new look, to create new excitement,” Versace said Thursday. “We can barely wait to reach our shared goal – $1.3 million – purely in proceeds for the Life Ball 2005.”

Other designers who have presented creations at the Life Ball include Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, Paco Rabanne, Vivienne Westwood, Moschino, Missoni and Gianfranco Ferre.



LOS ANGELES (AP) – Canadian Alanis Morissette is now an American citizen.

The 30-year-old singer was among some 4,500 people who took the citizenship oath during a ceremony last week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Morissette isn’t turning her back on Canada – she’s maintaining dual citizenship.

“I will never renounce my Canadian citizenship,” Morissette said in a statement Wednesday. “I consider myself a Canadian-American.

“There was a turning point during the ceremony where I felt connected to this country in a way that I didn’t quite expect,” she said. “America has been really great to me and I have felt welcomed since the day I came here.”

Morissette’s songs include “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know.”



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BERLIN (AP) – Daniel Day-Lewis says he’s become increasingly cautious about taking on new movies as he allows himself to be “distracted by life.”

The actor was at the Berlin International Film Festival Tuesday to present “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” directed by his wife, Rebecca Miller. Day-Lewis’ lead role is his first movie appearance since “Gangs of New York” three years ago.

“It’s not that my love for the work is diminished in any way,” said Day-Lewis, 47.

“I probably approach it with greater caution than I used to, and the test is a more severe one,” he told reporters. “I always had a feeling that it was a job that you had to feel compelled to do.”

“I’m distracted by life for periods of time,” the actor said.

In “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” Day-Lewis plays Jack Slavin – the last hippie living in a commune off the East Coast of the United States in the mid-1980s. Suffering from a degenerative illness, Jack struggles to cope with his only companion, 16-year-old daughter Rose (Camilla Belle).

Day-Lewis said Miller first sent him the story nine years ago, before the couple met.

The film “required something of me that I didn’t feel able to give at that time,” he said. Having children “probably helped me a lot” to play the part, he added. (Day-Lewis has three sons; two with Miller.)



NEW YORK (AP) – Could a book be called deadpan or button-down? It could, if Bob Newhart’s writing it.

The 75-year-old comedian has agreed to write a memoir, scheduled for publication in fall 2006. Hyperion describes the book, not yet titled, as a work of humor that will be “organized thematically and will include stories and anecdotes from throughout Bob Newhart’s life and career, as well as thoughts and observations on a multitude of topics.”

“He is a national treasure,” Hyperion Editor-in-Chief Will Schwalbe said in a statement Tuesday. “We are thrilled to be publishing his first-ever book, which promises to be every bit as funny and delightful as Bob Newhart himself.”

Newhart is best known as the star of the sitcoms “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Newhart.” He also has appeared in numerous films, including “Catch-22” and “In & Out.”



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