Britney Spears to open MTV show

LAS VEGAS - With skin, snakes and smooches in her past MTV repertoire, there's no telling what's in store Sunday when Britney Spears opens this year's Video Music Awards.

The 25-year-old tabloid magnet will perform 'Gimme More,' the first single from her upcoming album, MTV announced Thursday.

French actress has operation

PARIS - Charlotte Gainsbourg was doing well after undergoing an operation Thursday for an injury she sustained while jet skiing.

Her agent, Dominique Segall, said the surgery was aimed at treating a hematoma (a mass of usually clotted blood that forms as a result of a broken blood vessel) but did not specify where she was injured.

Malawian child welfare official visits Madonna

LONDON - Malawi's chief social welfare official has paid a visit to Madonna's London home, part of a long-delayed assessment into whether the pop idol can adopt a little boy from the African country.

Simon Chisale was spotted leaving the singer's home Wednesday afternoon clutching a blue binder, but he refused to comment and attempted to hide his face when approached by The Associated Press.

Spector's lawyer says prosecution only speculated

LOS ANGELES - Prosecutors in the murder trial against Phil Spector presented only 'speculation instead of certainty' as to who pulled the trigger when actress Lana Clarkson died, the music producer's attorney told jurors Thursday in closing arguments.

Spector's attorney Linda Kenney-Baden counterattacked the prosecutor's hours-long closing argument the previous day, contending that Spector was too far away to have fired the gun inside Clarkson's mouth and instead that Clarkson killed herself.

'Finally after four years of investigation, five months of trial and approximately 70 witnesses, we now have a variety of the government's speculations as to how this could have happened,' Kenney-Baden said.