The Catholic Church has denounced ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell for promoting contraceptives in her role as a United Nations goodwill ambassador. The former Ginger Spice had chosen to visit the Philippines, a heavily Catholic country, on her first tour for the U.N. Population Fund specifically because of the church's opposition to artificial contraception. Church officials reacted with predictable outrage. Sending Halliwell to the Philippines--where 84 percent of the population is nominally Catholic--is like "sending Salman Rushdie as an ambassador of goodwill to a Muslim country," said the Rev. Pedro Quitorio, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. There was no immediate reaction from Halliwell, who was met by hundreds of cheering students when she visited a Manila suburb this week. Halliwell encouraged pioneering sex education programs in the Philippines and told cheering crowds that they deserved to have control of their lives, including "control over your fertility" . . .

Trauma Records has settled its lawsuit against the band Bush and signed the British group to a long-term recording deal. Bush, which has sold more than 13 million albums worldwide, had sought to extricate itself from its initial Trauma deal, saying it would refuse to record further for the label. The band's new album, "The Science of Things," is expected to be released in the fall. At a recent series of American club dates, Gavin Rossdale and company have debuted a number of the album's tracks, including "Warm Machine," "Jesus Online" and "The Chemicals Between Us" . . .

Bruce Springsteen, out touring with his recently reunited E Street Band, is in negotiations to play his first Las Vegas gig--on the campus of the University of Nevada. The show, at a 20,000-seat arena, would earn Springsteen nearly $1 million.