People talk 12/10

Monday, December 10, 2001

Agassi gets hugs at school he helps fund

LAS VEGAS -- Andre Agassi received hugs from grade school students and autographed their hands at an open house for the charter school bearing his name.

"It's been a long time in the making to be here today," the tennis star told a crowd of teachers, parents and administrators on Thursday. "It's a bit overwhelming."

Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, underwritten by the Las Vegas native, opened in August with three applicants for each of its 150 desks.

The academy is open to at-risk students in grades 3 through 5. A computer randomly selects eligible students, who do not pay tuition.

The school is designed to give disadvantaged youths the opportunity to increase their education opportunities, attend college and participate in community and cultural activities.

The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation provided $1.5 million to help build the West Las Vegas campus, which also received funding from the state and federal governments.

On Sept. 11, Agassi said he made a trip to the academy.

"I'm an optimistic person, but I lost a lot of hope that day," he said. "The looks on the children's faces, in their eyes, gave me back my hope."

Tolkien's son says he's not critical of film

LONDON -- Breaking his silence over the film "The Lord Of The Rings," the son of fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien says he is not critical of the way the film has interpreted his father's classic books.

Reports suggested that Christopher Tolkien was so unhappy about how the films of the trilogy had been made that he had fallen out with family members.

But in a statement issued Friday, Tolkien said while he had doubts about the viability of the projects, these were personal opinions.

Tolkien said his position is that "The Lord Of The Rings" is unsuitable for transformation into visual dramatic form.

"On the other hand, I recognize that this is a debatable and complex question of art, and the suggestions that have been made that I 'disapprove' of the films, whatever their cinematic quality, even to the extent of thinking ill of those with whom I may differ, are wholly without foundation," he said.

J.R.R. Tolkien sold the film rights to his fantasy books in 1969, leaving his family and those in charge of his estate with no control over the movies.

"The Fellowship of the Ring" is the first installment in the trilogy and will have its worldwide premiere today in London.

Map released citing magical sites in movie

LONDON -- Harry Potter movie fans may find a free map just the ticket for a tour of the film's locations.

The British Tourist Authority has released a new map -- '"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone -- Discovering the Magic of Britain," that includes sites associated with the country's magical and mythical heritage.

The huge popularity of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books and the just-released movie may attract fans to Britain to see some of the locations, such as Alnwick Castle, Gloucester Cathedral and the London Zoo.

A government report Friday revealed a 33 percent drop in overseas visitors in October, continuing the slump since Sept. 11.

The map is available in English, Dutch, Italian, German and Spanish editions from the British Tourist Authority's overseas offices or on its Web site.

-- From wire reports

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