Keith Richards ready to roll
Milan, Italy - On the eve of the relaunching of the Rolling Stones' European tour, Keith Richards said he's recovered completely from a head injury suffered in a fall - and shrugged off a question about whether he had worried about dying.
"I feel great. I can't wait to get back on the stage again. Basically everything is cool," Richards said Monday. The 62-year-old guitarist fell from a tree April 27 while vacationing in Fiji, forcing the Stones to postpone their European tour.
He later had surgery in New Zealand to relieve pressure on his brain.
The Stones were to resume their "A Bigger Bang" tour today at Milan's San Siro stadium. The 21-date tour wraps up Sept. 3 in Denmark.
Richards also confirmed his role in the third installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, saying he'd be filming for a week or so in September. Richards is to have a cameo role as the father of the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp.
Dan Rather, Ted Koppel announce new projects
New York - Less than a month after sharply breaking with CBS, former anchor Dan Rather has signed a deal to produce a weekly news program for HDNet, a high-definition channel co-founded by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
And for those who have missed their regular Ted Koppel fix since he signed off from ABC News on Nov. 23, he'll be host of a one-hour special interviewing Nobel-prize winners on the Discovery Times Channel, 9 p.m. July 17. It's the first thing to come on the air out of his new deal with Discovery.
When "Dan Rather Reports" debuts in October, the longtime newsman will have free rein to explore any topic that interests him, said Colette Carey, a spokeswoman for the network.
Last month, Rather left CBS before the end of his contract after the network declined to renew his position as a full-time correspondent for "60 Minutes."
Koppel's Discovery Times special, "Petra - A Quest for Hope," is an outgrowth of his participation in last month's conference in Jordan that drew together Nobel laureates to talk about world problems. Koppel said he had been invited by one of the organizers, Elie Wiesel, to moderate a seminar.
Koppel also is heading to the site of the American prison for terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to report a segment on his first full-fledged Discovery special, about the post-Sept. 11 tensions between the need for security and the protection of civil rights.
Angelina Jolie to lend voice to 'Kung Fu Panda'
New York - Angelina Jolie voiced a femme fatale fish in 2004's "Shark Tale." Now, she'll portray a martial-arts master in the computer-animated comedy "Kung Fu Panda."
The movie, which will reunite Jolie and Jack Black, her "Shark Tale" co-star, is slated for release in May 2008.
Jolie's high-kicking character, Tigress, helps train Po, a slacker panda voiced by Black, in the art of kung fu, DreamWorks Animation SKG said in a statement Monday.
Po, a waiter in a noodle restaurant, must get into shape when he is revealed to be the "Chosen One" to save ancient China from powerful foes.
"Kung Fu Panda" will also feature the voices of Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane.
Jolie, 31, stars opposite Matt Damon in "The Good Shepherd," which opens Dec. 22. She gave birth to boyfriend Brad Pitt's baby daughter, Shiloh, in May.
Nick Lachey hitting the road
New York - Now that Nick Lachey's new solo album is a hit, he's ready to go on the road. Lachey, 32, will tour this fall in support of "What's Left of Me," which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's album chart in May and has sold more than 500,000 copies, Jive Records announced Monday.
The 26-city tour opens Sept. 20 in Albany, N.Y., with stops including Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Indianapolis. The tour will end Oct. 26 in St. Louis.
"These shows will be performed in a series of smaller theaters, allowing intimate concerts with fans," the record label said in a statement.
In "What's Left of Me," Lachey sings about the pain of his breakup with Jessica Simpson. The couple, who starred in the MTV reality show "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica," recently divorced after three years of marriage.