Great Britain is awhirl with birthday celebrations for the popular Queen Mother, who turns 90 today. Officially known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, she is credited with restoring the luster to the royal family after her brother-in-law King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936. With her husband, King George VI, she took morale-boosting walks through the East End of London during the Battle of Britain in World War II, walks that she duplicated this week amid cheers and fireworks. Her grandson Prince Charles presented her with a specially commissioned piece by composer Patrick Doyle, which had its premiere Thursday night performed by the English Chamber Orchestra. Also in London for the occasion were Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Former president Ronald Reagan sent his regards yesterday to David Opont, the 12-year-old Brooklyn boy who was attacked and set on fire on his way to school last March. Reagan, who had visited when Opont was in the hospital for skin graft operations, taped a message saying: "Please know that you're still in our thoughts and prayers." The tape was broadcast on "CBS This Morning," and Opont watched at home. The boy was thrilled, and said that Reagan's hospital visit had meant "everything" to him.
Sympathy for the Czechoslovaks
The Rolling Stones are going to help celebrate Czechoslovakia's revolution with a performance in Prague Aug. 18. The last stop on the band's "Urban Jungle" tour will coincide with festivities marking the country's liberation from Soviet dominance. President Vaclav Havel, who was a leader of last year's revolution, is a fan and is looking forward to meeting Mick Jagger and the rest of the band, according to an aide.
Police arrested the rap duo Kid 'n Play for "simulating sex" during a performance Thursday night at the Augusta-Richmond (Ga.) County Civic Center. Christopher L. "Play" Martin and Christopher P. "Kid" Reid were freed after each paid a $550 fine. Reid called the offending motions "a little extra gyration stuff -- nothing offensive, we thought."
Is Magic Johnson going into politics? The popular basketball star of the Los Angeles Lakers has been asked by the Michigan Democratic Party to run for a seat on the Board of Trustees of Michigan State University. Johnson, who led the Spartans to a college basketball title 11 years ago, is "very interested" in the idea, and is returning to his hometown of Lansing, Mich., to reestablish residency and register to vote.
Michael Moore's Largess
The filmmaker who made a hit documentary about his futile attempts to meet with General Motors Chairman Roger Smith has donated $1 million of the movie's profits to a variety of people and causes. Among the beneficiaries of Michael Moore's success are several displaced Flint, Mich., autoworkers shown in "Roger & Me" and the four performance artists who recently were denied grants by the National Endowment for the Arts because of the controversial nature of their work. The performance artists will receive $1,000 each as a contribution "against art censorship," according to Moore, as will Sen. Jesse Helms's Democratic opponent in North Carolina, Henry Gantt.
-- Compiled from staff and wire reports by Eric Brace