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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 16:48 GMT
Jimmy Young backs Gareth Gates
Former singer Sir Jimmy Young, the first artist to have a hit with Unchained Melody, has given his blessing to Pop Idol star Gareth Gates, who is about to release a version of the song as his debut single.

"He obviously knows a good song when he sees one," said Young, who went on to become a radio presenter and has been a linchpin of the BBC Radio 2 schedule for almost 30 years.

Young took the song to the top spot in the UK chart in 1955, while versions by The Righteous Brothers and Robson and Jerome have also gone to number one.

Gates sang the tune on Pop Idol and will hope to make up some ground on rival Will Young, whose debut single has just sold more than one million copies in its first week.


Will Smith house-hunting in Africa

Will Smith is looking for a house in southern Africa after falling in love with the region while filming his latest blockbuster, Ali.

The actor and singer met former South African President Nelson Mandela at the country's première of the film in Johannesburg on Sunday and part of the film was shot in neighbouring Mozambique.

"I just love it here, been looking for a house [to] spend a couple months a year," he said.

He also urged black Americans to focus their efforts on helping the continent and revealed he had taken political advice from former United States President Bill Clinton.


Chinese customs make record pirate CD haul

Four million pirated CDs have been recovered by Chinese customs officers after a boat chase, according to reports in the country.

The haul is the biggest number of counterfeit discs ever found in China, the Legal Daily newspaper said.

The cargo was found on a fishing boat on Saturday, but the smugglers escaped in a high speed boat, the paper said.

The Chinese government has recently pledged to crack down on piracy as a condition of joining the World Trade Organisation.


Business leaders brainstorm the value of arts

Leading figures from the arts world are getting together with business executives to explore how the creative and commercial sectors can help each other.

Royal Opera House director Tony Hall, Sir Terence Conran and actress Joanna Lumley are among those getting behind Arts and Business Week, which started on Monday.

A series of events is aimed at stimulating creativity in offices and boardrooms and helping companies build relationships with communities.

It is hoped that the events will convince a business leaders of the "intrinsic value" of creative pursuits - which could lead to more sponsorship for the arts.


INXS to tour with new frontman

Australian rock band INXS are set to go on a tour of the US with a new vocalist to replace the late Michael Hutchence.

Jon Stevens, former frontman of the Australian band Noiseworks, will perform with the band on the 40-city tour which begins in Anaheim on 30 May.

"No-one will ever replace Michael, but we still have a passion to perform," said band member Andrew Farriss.

INXS had a string of hits, including Need You Tonight and Devil Inside, before Hutchence's death in 1997.

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