BLANTYRE, Malawi — The Malawi government issued an angry attack Wednesday on the pop diva Madonna, alleging she used her fame and money to press for VIP treatment during her controversial tour to this southern African country last week.
“Granted, Madonna is a famed international musician. But that does not impose an injunction of obligation on any government under whose territory Madonna finds herself, including Malawi, to give her state treatment. Such treatment, even if she deserved it, is discretionary, not obligatory,” said a statement signed by State House Press Officer Tusekele Mwanyongo.
He apparently was referring to the singer’s annoyance at being stripped of her VIP status upon departure from Malawi last Saturday.
Madonna, who has had VIP treatment during her previous visits – including when she jetted into the country on April 1 – was apparently surprised when she and her traveling party had to line up with ordinary passengers and be frisked by airport security.
“There was a directive that Miss Louise Ciccone, traveling on an American passport, and her children Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, Rocco Ritchie, Mercy James, David Banda Ciccone Ritchie, should use the ordinary passenger terminal on their way to their jet,” said an aviation official who refused to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
President Joyce Banda was reportedly angered last week by Madonna’s claims that she has built 10 schools in Malawi.
“Where are the 10 schools she has built?” an angry Banda said in widely quoted remarks. “She is just building school blocks at already existing schools. In some cases she just renovated an already existing block. This is an insult to the people of Malawi. She can’t be lying to the world at our expense.”
Politician who fell from grace looks to return
NEW YORK — Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned over a sexting scandal in 2011, says he’s weighing a run for New York City mayor this year.
The Democrat told The New York Times Magazine in a story posted online Wednesday that “it’s now or maybe never for me,” while acknowledging that it’s a long shot because some people “just don’t have room for a second narrative about me.”
Weiner said he doesn’t know when he’ll decide on entering the race.
“It won’t be something as pedestrian as ‘Do I think I’ll win?’” he said. “It will be something more like ‘Does it feel like I should be involved in this debate? Someone should be out there saying A, B or C.’”
Weiner represented a Brooklyn-Queens district for more than a decade before resigning over his lewd interactions with several women on Twitter and elsewhere online.
Book to tell inside story of ‘Masterpiece’ series
NEW YORK — A longtime producer at PBS is ready to pull back the curtains on “Downton Abbey” and other “Masterpiece” favorites.
Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of the “Masterpiece” series for more than a quarter century, has a deal with Viking for “Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes of Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery!”
The publisher announced Wednesday that the book will come out Oct. 29. Patricia Mulcahy will co-write “Making Masterpiece.”
According to Viking, Eaton will share stories about Daniel Radcliffe, Maggie Smith and other performers and will write about such popular programs as “Downton Abbey” and “Prime Suspect.”
Productions from “Masterpiece” have won numerous Emmy, Peabody and Golden Globe awards.