DENVER – British rock star Sting said like everyone, he’s paying attention to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and wonders why such a deep well was approved to begin with.

Sting was preparing Thursday for a second night at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre as part of his tour with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. He stopped by the Denver Art Museum to look at a painting of southern Colorado’s Mount Blanca by his friend Stephen Hannock, whose work he collects.

“The problem in the first place is what were they doing drilling that deep without any safeguards? Who allowed that to happen?” Sting said of the widening spill.

The BP well has been spewing millions of gallons of oil since the rig exploded April 20.

“I’m not sure what the answer is. Nobody knows,” Sting said, who started the Rainforest Foundation.

Congress and the U.S. Justice Department are investigating how the spill happened as BP and the federal government struggle to stop the flowing oil and contain the damage.

Hannock, known for his large, luminous landscapes, said the disaster is a reminder that environmental concerns need to remain “on the front burner.” He has said he painted “Mt. Blanca with Ute Creek at Dawn” to remind Coloradans of the amazing landscapes “right in their backyard.”

The 14,345-foot-high mountain is on the 171,000-acre Trinchera Ranch, owned by billionaire hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon, who bought Hannock’s painting.


Anthony clears his calendar for Puerto Rican parade

NEW YORK – Marc Anthony will be the king of New York’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday.

The Creativelink agency quoted the singer Thursday as saying that he was very proud to receive the recognition from the parade organizers and the community.

The agency says Anthony had initially intended to make only a brief appearance but cleared his schedule for his new starring role.

Actor Osvaldo Rios dropped out this week as the parade’s international godfather after critics called for a boycott.

Rios was convicted on a domestic violence charge in 2003. Rio said he had learned his lesson and asked for forgiveness.Gymnast: ‘He scared me’


Gymnast: ‘He scared me’

LOS ANGELES – Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson voice cracked Thursday as a prosecutor showed her a knife found in the car of a man accused of stalking her.

Johnson’s 23 minutes on the witness stand was the first time she came face-to-face with Robert O’Ryan, who is accused of breaking onto a studio lot to meet the gold medalist as she competed on the ABC show “Dancing With the Stars.”

“I didn’t know him,” Johnson said. “He was a stranger to me. To see somebody had that much kind of obsession, it made me really scared.”

It was also the first time that Johnson was confronted with the weapons and other items that O’Ryan brought with him from Florida in his quest to meet the gymnast.

One at a time, prosecutor Wendy Segall showed the 18-year-old a handgun, shotgun, zip ties and a bulletproof vest found in O’Ryan’s car after his arrest last March.

Prosecutors said O’Ryan, 36, harbored a dangerous obsession for Johnson, then 17, and traveled from Florida to Los Angeles with the hope of meeting and marrying her.


Hurry-up drill for O.J. lawyer

LAS VEGAS – O.J. Simpson’s lawyer calls time a big hurdle he’ll face when he asks the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn the imprisoned former football star’s conviction and grant a new trial in a September 2007 hotel room heist.

Attorneys for Simpson and convicted co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart will each have 15 minutes Friday to make their cases and answer questions from a trio of justices in Las Vegas.

Simpson and Stewart won’t appear.


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