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. Russian Duma Rejects Madonna Space Holiday

US pop star Madonna performs in Moscow, 12 September 2006. Madonna presents her controversial show Confessions today at the grand sports arena of the city's major Luzhniki stadium where more than 50,000 spectators were expected to attend. Photo courtesy AFP
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Sep 13, 2006
Russia's parliament voted Wednesday against a motion to send the celebrated US singer, actress and children's book author Madonna to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2008. Alexei Mitrofanov, a member of the Duma (the lower house of parliament) for the ultra-nationalist LDPR party, had said the trip would be "a great event to organise in the same year as elections in the United States and Russia."

He said the star, who gave a concert in Moscow on Tuesday, had "expressed a desire to go into space and board the ISS."

Mitrofanov put the idea before a plenary session of parliament, asking it to vote on whether Russia's space agency should look into the feasibility of a Madonna space flight.

Forty two legislators backed the idea but 252 voted against, so the motion was not passed.

Some 50,000 fans attended Madonna's first ever concert in Russia on Tuesday amid angry protests from Orthodox Christians who accuse her of being "under the influence of the devil".

The star, whose latest tour is called "Confessions" and whose hits include "Like a Prayer" and "Like a Virgin", defied Church warnings against "exploiting Christian symbols" by singing from a cross at one point during the show, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Police said 10 Orthodox demonstrators were arrested near the stadium where the sell-out concert took place.

Russian Parliament Denies Proposal To Send Madonna Into Space

Moscow, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Madonna will not be sent into space, despite a motion by a Duma deputy that the pop diva, who performed in Moscow for the first time Tuesday night, have her wish to visit the International Space Station granted.

Alexei Mitrofanov, a flamboyant lawmaker from the ultra-nationalist LDPR party, proposed that Madonna's desire to make the trip, which she expressed during her two-day visit to Russia, be fulfilled - a proposal that met with rejection by Russian lawmakers.

Mitrofanov is a colorful figure in Russian politics. He gained particular notoriety for co-writing a screenplay for Yulia, a pornographic movie parodying Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

He also proposed last year that the singers from the world-famous Russian pop duo Tatu, whose performances evoke a lesbian theme, be awarded the Order of Friendship.

The deputy suggested that an official inquiry regarding a possible space trip by Madonna in 2008 be forwarded to the Russian Space Agency.

"It would be a serious event, considering the TV coverage and the fact that it will coincide with [presidential] elections in the United States and Russia," Mitrofanov said.

Madonna's world tour, which continues next week in Japan, has drawn widespread criticism from religious groups for its depiction of a mock crucifixion. In Moscow, Russian nationalists vowed to disrupt her concert, while in Germany the authorities briefly considered an investigation under the country's religious blasphemy laws.

Tuesday's Moscow performance at the Luzhniki stadium, which was guarded by up to 7,000 police, passed off without any serious problems.

Madonna Could Be Sent Into Space In 2009 - Russian Space Agency

Moscow, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Space Agency has no objections to Madonna's plans for a space flight, but the American pop diva could make a space trip no earlier than 2009, the agency's spokesperson said Wednesday.

Alexei Mitrofanov, a flamboyant lawmaker from the ultra-nationalist LDPR party, earlier proposed that Madonna's desire to make the trip, which she expressed during her two-day visit to Russia, be fulfilled - a proposal that met with rejection by Russian lawmakers.

"We are aware of today's debates in the State Duma [the lower house of the Russian parliament] as to the proposed flight by Madonna to the International Space Station," Igor Panin said.

"Although a precise schedule for the flights of the so-called 'space tourists' has been approved until the end of 2008, Madonna's request will not meet any objections, and her representatives can approach us even now," he said, adding that the pop star's physical fitness and finances guarantee that her space dreams might come true as early as 2009.

Madonna's world tour, which continues next week in Japan, has drawn widespread criticism from religious groups for its depiction of a mock crucifixion. In Moscow, Russian nationalists vowed to disrupt her concert, while in Germany the authorities briefly considered an investigation under the country's religious blasphemy laws.

Tuesday's Moscow performance at the Luzhniki stadium, which was guarded by up to 7,000 police, passed off without any serious problems.

Source: RIA Novosti

Source: Agence France-Presse

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