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NEWS BRIEFS: Music Stars to Fete Sting

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HONORED: Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Elton John and Dave Matthews are among the artists who will pay tribute to Sting, 52, when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honors him Feb. 6 as the MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year, reports Billboard. The gala will be held at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif. Other acts paying tribute will include Black Eyed Peas, Dido, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, John Mayer, Rufus Wainwright and Wynonna. Proceeds from the evening will go to the MusiCares financial assistance program, which aids people in the music industry financially and medically.

WON: “American Splendor” took best picture honors at the National Society of Film Critics awards on Saturday, reports the Associated Press. Second place went to best director Clint Eastwood‘s “Mystic River”; third, to Sofia Coppola‘s “Lost in Translation,” starring the 55-member society’s best-actor choice, Bill Murray. Charlize Theron was named best actress for “Monster.” Meanwhile, Eastwood, 73, has been named a the lifetime achievement award winner by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

QUOTED: “Blacks still tend to regard him as a hero. Whites look at him as a weirdo.” — Los Angeles defense attorney Harland Braun, telling the Associated Press that there is no question Michael Jackson would have a better chance with a multiracial jury

ENTERED: Political newcomer Nick Clooney, 69, a former columnist for the Cincinnati Post and father of George Clooney, is so far the only Democrat in the race for the Congressional seat held by Kentucky’s lone Democratic congressman, Ken Lucas, who is retiring and recruited Clooney, reports AP. Clooney, who also was a host on American Movie Classics, calls himself a “common sense Democrat” and stresses health care, jobs, veterans issues and a proposed buyout of farmers’ federal tobacco-growing quotas.

WED: Singer Lou Rawls, 76, best known for his 1976 hit “You’ll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine),” married his girlfriend of two years, Nina Malek Inman (a 33-year-old flight attendant), on New Year’s Day in Memphis, reports AP. The two married at midnight after he performed shows at the Liberty Bowl and the Peabody Hotel. Rawls was married twice before.

ORDERED: Princess Anne, 53, will send her dog to an animal psychologist to avoid having it put to sleep after it attacked a royal maid and fatally mauled one of Queen Elizabeth II‘s beloved corgis, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Psychologist Roger Mugford said he expected to begin work with Florence the bull terrier this week. Mugford said that he believed the attacks were related to an underlying medical factor.