'The Greatest' gets ready to meet the Dalai Lama

Friday, July 25, 2003

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Muhammad Ali will meet the Dalai Lama when the exiled Tibetan leader visits Bloomington in September.

"It will be the first time the two have met," said the Dalai Lama's nephew, Jigme Norbu of Bloomington. "We're honored that he is taking the time and making the effort to be with us."

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Bloomington Sept. 7 to dedicate a new, 10,000-square-foot interfaith temple, the Chamtse Ling. It will be his fourth visit to Indiana University's hometown, about 50 miles south of Indianapolis.

Ali plans to attend the ceremony to show support for the temple's mission of promoting world peace, and for the people of Tibet, The Herald-Times reported Thursday. The Chinese government has occupied Tibet for decades.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 with thousands of supporters after a failed uprising against China.

Ali, the 61-year-old retired heavyweight champion who referred to himself as "the greatest fighter who ever will be," will be a guest in the temple, which also includes quarters for the Dalai Lama.

Cher takes pottery break before Ohio concert

TROY, Ohio -- Ever wonder what pop divas do before they perform? In Cher's case, she designs pottery.

The cultural icon visited WaterStone Fired Arts and Crafts Sunday night before a Monday performance at the Nutter Center at Wright State University in Fairborn.

She also visited Michaels Arts and Crafts at a Beavercreek mall where she was spotted by fans and signed autographs.

"I turned around and there she was," said shopper Arundi Venkayya Cox. "She was wearing big 70s-type sunglasses. I thought 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe how thin she is."'

At WaterStone, the 57-year-old chose a large mug, which she designed in a two-toned jade wave pattern that will appear after firing. The mug, which the singer signed on the bottom, will be shipped to her Malibu, Calif., home after it's fired and cooled. Other pieces, created by Cher's band, back-up singers and dancers, will be shipped as far as Belgium and London.

Ballet based on film in China goes abroad

BEIJING -- Director Zhang Yimou is taking the ballet based on his film "Raise the Red Lantern" to Europe.

The China Central Ballet Troupe will perform it on a tour that begins Oct. 8, said Wang Quanxing, a spokesman for the troupe. He said it will perform in London, Paris and one Italian city, though dates and other details haven't been worked out.

"Raise the Red Lantern" tells the story of a young woman who becomes one of four wives of a wealthy Chinese man in the 1920s and faces violent family intrigue.

The 1991 film, based on Su Tong's novel, helped make Zhang and actress Gong Li stars abroad and attracted world attention to China's film industry. It was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign-language film.

Tennis star Serena plays role of ex-gang member

LOS ANGELES -- Serena Williams will play a reformed gang member on parole in an Oct. 1 episode of the Showtime series "Street Time."

"As a fan of 'Street Time,' I told myself that if given the opportunity, I'd love to be on the show," Williams said Wednesday. "I am taking this role very seriously, because I want to excel and because I have respect for the series."

The role was created for the world's top-ranked women's tennis player, said Richard Stratton, the cable show's co-executive producer.

"Anyone that has seen Serena perform on the tennis court understands her commitment to being the best," he said. "We are confident that she will bring that same type of energy and devotion to 'Street Time."'

Vegetarian McCartney isn't chicken with KFC

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has got Paul McCartney in its campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken.

An open letter from McCartney to David Novak, chairman and chief executive officer of KFC's Louisville-based parent company, Yum! Brands Inc., appeared in a full-page advertisement in Thursday's editions of The Courier-Journal.

The 61-year-old McCartney, who's a vegetarian for ethical reasons, insists in the ad that Novak should improve the treatment of 750 million chickens raised annually in "factory farms" and killed in "frightening ways" for KFC restaurants, PETA states.

-- From wire reports

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