April 20, 2007

LinkNews Digest [04/20/2007]

India Burns Richard Gere in Effigy

NEW DELHI - Angry crowds in several Indian cities burned effigies of Richard Gere on Monday after he swept a popular Bollywood actress into his arms and kissed her several times during an AIDS-awareness event.

Photographs of the 57-year-old actor embracing Shilpa Shetty and kissing her on the cheek at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Delhi were splashed across Monday's front pages in India-- a country where sex and public displays of affection are largely taboo.

In Mumbai, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks and set fire to glamorous shots of Shetty. Similar protests broke out in other cities, including Varanasi, Hinduism's holiest city, and in the northern town of Meerut, where crowds chanted "Down with Shilpa Shetty!"

The two appeared at a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday to highlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic among India's truck drivers. In front of a cheering crowd, Gere kissed the giggling Shetty on the hand, then kissed her on both cheeks before bending her in a full embrace to kiss her cheek again.

"This is a bit too much," Shetty said after the embrace.

On Monday, Shetty tried to stamp out the controversy: "I understand this is his culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such manner," she told the Press Trust of India news agency.(LINK )
I would have expected this reaction from "Runaway Bride" or "Chicago", but this?

Talk About A Bad First Day

A 17-year-old rookie plumber has begun his career by accidentally burning down a $12 million waterfront mansion. Initial indications are that the blowtorch he was using in the roof ignited expanded polystyrene foam.

The building was burned to the ground in minutes despite the attentions of 60 firefighters. A spokesperson for the owner, Andrew Brownsword, said he was unhappy about what had happened but did not believe the young plumber acted with malice.

"I heard it was started by a teenager on his first day. You have to feel sorry for the poor lad. He must feel terrible," a neighbor said. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

Bono, Edge Tapped for Spiderman Musical

Bono and The Edge from U2 have been recruited to write the music for Spider-Man The Musical, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The show will be directed by Julie Taymor, the mind behind The Lion King and the Shakespeare film adaptation Titus. Playbill says folks can get a taste of Spidey tunes at a ''rehearsed reading'' July 12 and 13 in New York.

In less happy Spidey news, Entertainment Weekly Online says director Sam Raimi might jump ship from Spider-Man 4 to do The Hobbit instead. This made Kirsten Dunst, who plays Spidey's girlfriend, blow a gasket: "It's disrespectful to the whole team...to do that," she said. "It'd be a big flop without me, Tobey [Maguire] or Sam."(LINK )

Dutch Call-Girl Task Force Deals With Geek Virgins

Sociology student Zoe Vialet, who set up Society Service last year, says she has had a lot of demand from virgins. She says most of them work in the IT sector and added: "They are very sweet but are afraid of seeking contact with other people. They mean it very well but are very scared.

Zoe and her colleague Marieke have specially trained five girls to look after the needs of virgins, reports De Telegraaf. She added: "You better practice before having a girlfriend. Woman expect men older than 30 having had some experience.(LINK )

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