Stepping out after a sumptuous dinner, Madonna looks every inch the groomed superstar.
Dressed in an elegant beige safari suit with her glossy hair tied back, the singer turned heads as she left Claridge's in London on Saturday night.
One onlooker said, "She looked very smart as she left the hotel, and seemed cheerful."
The businesslike attire was a far cry from the laid-back look the 48-yearold adopted a fortnight ago on a controversial visit to Malawi with son David Banda.
There she was happy to dress down in a T-shirt and sarong and let her wavy hair hang loose.
With husband Guy Ritchie out in the West End, Madonna cut a some-what lonely figure as she left the hotel after dining at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant.
The couple have spent a lot of time apart in recent weeks, sparking speculation that they may be feeling the strain of the intense media circus surrounding her Malawi trip.
Friends say Madonna is looking for a little girl to be a 'sister' to 18-month-old David, although her publicist has denied this.
But it has emerged she will be unable to adopt another child until legal difficulties with David are resolved.
Campaigners are already trying to block his adoption in court on the grounds it is illegal.
The TV show American Idol broadcasted the Madonna's message which was pre-recorded during her trip to Malawi.
As part of the Idol Gives Back charity event, Madonna will deliver a pre-taped message during Wednesday night's special two-hour results show of American Idol, a representative for the singer confirmed to Access Hollywood on Tuesday.
The event is designed to raise both awareness and funds for organizations that provide relief to children and young people living in poverty in Africa and America.
"I'm gonna blow [a secret] now: Madonna came on board yesterday," Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said as a guest on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM morning radio program on Wednesday, according to Access Hollywood. "And that is just fantastic."
While the 48-year-old is most recognizable for her work as a singer-songwriter, record producer, film producer, fashion designer, dancer, author, and actress, she is also a well-known humanitarian, having worked with numerous philanthropic organizations over the years.
Madonna will join numerous other artists and celebrities, including Celine Dion, Bono, Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban with the African Children's Choir, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts, Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox, and many more, who are all involved with the two-hour Idol Gives Back special.
Pop icon Madonna is reportedly to follow in her husband's footsteps by directing a film.
The performer is to take on the role of director in the low-budget comedy Filth and Wisdom.
Filming for the upcoming movie begins in London later this month.
A source at The Sun told how Guy Ritchie was pleased with his wife's new endeavour: "Madonna has Guy's full support.
"She told him, 'Anything you can do, I can do better, honey.'"
Liz Rosenberg posted an article on Madonna.com remembering Madonna's very first single that started it all:
It may seem like only yesterday but 25 years ago on April 24, 1982, Sire Records honcho Seymour Stein released a single called Everybody on Warner Bros. Records by an unknown singer from Rochester, Michigan by the name of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. To say the world would never be the same is an understatement.
The song went on to become a huge dancefloor hit and was heard all over the radio in the Summer of 1982. That little girl from Michigan would go on to become one of the most famous entertainers and cultural icons in history - selling close to 200 million records and remaining a star of enormous magnitude and influence for the next 25 years. She's just getting started.
Long Live the Queen and Happy Anniversary to Madonna.
Madonna and Sir Elton John have two nominations each for this year's Ivor Novello songwriting awards.
Madonna's track, Sorry, which appeared on her album Confessions on a Dance Floor is up for international hit of the year and most performed work.
I Don't Feel Like Dancing, written by Sir Elton and performed by the Scissor Sisters, has also been nominated in the same categories.
This year's Ivors will be held at Grosvenor House in London on 24 May. The awards honour British songwriters, composers and music publishers.
Other nominees this year include the Arctic Monkeys, with their track When the Sun Goes Down, for best song musically and lyrically.
Amy Winehouse, Hot Chip and the Bodyrox are competing in the best contemporary song category.
Robbie Willliams is up against Madonna and Sir Elton in the international hit of the year category for his single Rudebox. The album, also called Rudebox received lukewarm reviews when it was released last year.
Nominees in six categories, including best TV soundtrack and best original film score, have been announced ahead of the event.
Another nine other awards - which include prizes for best album, international achievement and songwriters of the year - will be presented on the day.
Last year singer-songwriter KT Tunstall won best song for her 2005 hit Suddenly I See. James Blunt picked up two awards for most performed song and international hit of the year for You're Beautiful.
Madonna and the Malawian baby boy she is trying to adopt flew out of Lilongwe on Sunday bound for London after a six-day visit which saw her tour orphanages that she is helping fund.
The US pop star's private jet, parked far away from the main terminal of Kamuzu International Airport, took off at 2.25 pm (1225 GMT).
Holding one-year-old David Banda and accompanied by her biological daughter, Lourdes, Madonna arrived at the airport with her entourage in two vehicles before getting in the plane.
She gave no comment to reporters who had gathered at the airport on the outskirts of the Malawian capital.
The singer is in the process of adopting David and was awarded interim custody in October. It was the first time that she and the youngster had been back to Malawi.
During her trip, Madonna took David back to the orphanage where he had been living until she began the adoption process last year and also met with street children and prostitutes at a government-run rehabilitation centre.
The singer attracted large crowds and widespread media attention during her trip to Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa.
While her move to adopt David has prompted widespread criticism outside Malawi, locals have been overwhelmingly positive about her visit, seeing it as a chance to put their country on the map.
"I am quite sure many people outside the country started to know about Malawi because of her," said Mest Sinati, a gardener who lives close to the luxury lodge where Madonna stayed during her visit.
"People who have money to spare should emulate her example of helping poor people like us," he added.
Although David's mother died shortly after giving birth, the visit saw an emotional reunion between David and his father Yohane.
There had been speculation that Madonna, whose British film director husband Guy Ritchie was not on the trip, was planning to adopt a Malawian girl but the reports were later denied by her spokeswoman.
Madonna, the one-time backing dancer who grafted her way to becoming the "Queen of Pop", on Thursday urged Malawian youths to work hard to realise their potential.
"Keep working hard. I hope you realise how much power you have to make a good future for yourselves," the US singer told scores of cheering and dancing villagers when she inspected a modern-day care centre her charity Raising Malawi Organisation has built at Mphandula village, 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of the capital Lilongwe.
Making her first public speech since she landed here on Monday to continue her charity work in this impoverished African nation, Madonna, wearing a maroon T-shirt with the word Love, said: "It is exciting to be here at the centre.
"It was a bush before and there was nothing, now there are these beautiful buildings."
With toddler David Banda, the Malawian boy she intends to adopt, Madonna said inside a hall built as part of the centre: "It is not the buildings that matter, but your kind heart for giving this land freely."
"Remember, this is a partnership. I have heard people say please come back, this is a partnership and also help yourself and do your part."
Alfred Chapomba, founder of the Consol Homes orphans charity, which has partnered Madonna's group, gave the star a half-hour tour of the campus as women danced and sang praises to their important visitor.
Traditional chief Kalolo thanked Madonna for the infrastructure, saying: "We are now proud villagers who are seeing this type of development for the first time in our lives."
The chief told Madonna to continue developing the village, home to about 2,500 people, but with neither running water nor electricity. "Thank you for everything."
A local band equipped with home-made instruments entertained Madonna for 10 minutes, with the "Material Girl" and David throwing a step and dancing to the amusement of the villagers, most of whom did not wear shoes.
Madonna kept urging David to dance and clap hands, and he responded as the villagers cheered on.
Aida Kapondera, 62, vigourosly danced with Madonna for 10 minutes to the sounds of the band.
"I enjoyed dancing with her," Kapondera told AFP, wiping sweat from her forehead.
Photographers were kept away by Madonna's bodyguards from the hall where the singer and her adopted son mixed freely with the villagers.
In the new issue of US Weekly magazine, an article of Madonna & Justin Timberlake is featuring. It is said that they recorded 3 or 4 dance tracks together. The album won't be hip-hop exclusive, it will feature "lot of different sounds and styles". One of the tracks is reportedly "Britney sounding".
Madonna is assisted for her Raising Malawi project by the Belgian Philip Van den Bossche. Jan Ruysbergh from Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad interviewed Van den Bossche, giving some very interesting insights on this projects.
Since superstar Madonna has adopted baby David, everybody knows where Malawi is. For the project Raising Malawi, the Belgian Philip Van den Bossche is the popstar's right hand. "If everybody helps, we can give the orphans over there some hope again."
In October last year, the whether or not fraudulent adoption of the African totler David by Madonna caused a media storm. But Madonna didn't let the protest distract her. "I only want to give a child a chance of a future and at the same time I want to show the world how bad the situation in Malawi really is." she said. This week Madonna is again in Malawi with David to supervise the construction of an orphanage. At her side is the Flemish Philip Van den Bossche, who is leading the entire Malawi project.
How does a Flemish person gets to Madonna?
Philip VDB: "It's my passion to help people. Whether I'm Belgian or Flemish doesn't really matter. Let's just say I at the right place at the right time when the opportunity occurred."
How long have you been living in the US?
"I've been living in LA for 2 years now but I grew up in New York. My parents moved here to realise their American Dream. I used to travel backand forth between Belgium and the US a lot. My family still lives in Belgium, mostly in Antwerp. My mother's family lives in Hasselt. Unfortunately, I don't see them often. However, Belgium is in my heart. It's a special country with very special people."
You work closely with Madonna for her Raising Malawi project. So you've visited the country quite a few times.
"Yes I keep an eye for all the projects of Raising Malawi, the funds of Kabbalah leader Michael Berg and Madonna. In January 2005 I travelled to Malawi to start the project. Since then I've been there 7 times. The goal of my last visit was to have Madonna get to know the programs of the different regions. Madonna had the chance to meet a lot of people, among which many political leaders. It's a totally different thing to experience everything on the spot instead of reading about it or watch TV reports on it. I've known Madonna for a few years but I knew that because of this journey she'd get involved in the project even more actively. Meanwhile she's been busy raising funds for the children in Malawi."
Was it easy to convince her to go to a poor country?
"No need to convince her. Madonna wanted to go herself from the beginning, it was just a matter of timing. Someone like her always has a full agenda."
Which were the most emotional moments for her and for you in Malawi?
"It is always very touching. There are children that urgently need food and medical care, love, attention,... Malawi has 13 million inhabitants, of which 2 million orphans and vulnerable children. Then you immediately know something is wrong."
"Of course I can't speak for Madonna but one of her most touching moments was when she visited the 'peri', an area between the city and the countryside. In this part the people are very poor and it's a dangerous place to live. We have also visited a home for help needing children; the oldest child there was 10 years old."
"It's heart breaking to see that children grow up without relatives to take care of them. But I don't want to paint an image of Malawi as a depressing country because the people are always smiling and they are really friendly. Malawi is a country that can change. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people, but there are problems that need to be faced. When we visited different orphanages, Madonna too started hoping we could make a difference."
Is there already a significant difference because of your projects?
"If we can raise more funds, more support of volunteers and donors all over the world, we can get there. There's already a slight progress and in many cases children that didn't use to have food before, get food now. We're building medical facilities with drinkable water and lots more. There are many projects set up that will start giving progress within two years."
The past few months there was a lot of commotion about the adoption of baby David by Madonna and her husband.
"The adoption was a personal matter and I believe it should remain that way. It is nobody's business that they've decided to include another member to their family. Knowing Madonna and Guy, they had nothing but good intentions, they're very loving and caring parents. I think they wanted to offer the child chances that it wouldn't have had otherwise. I just know that David will come back to Malawi and share his experiences with the children and people of Malawi."
Madonna's involvement apparently didn't just include the adoption?
"Madonna will always be part of Raising Malawi, because she is one of the co-founders, it's her initiative, together with Kabbalah leader Michael Berg. Kabbalah believes in the ending of pain and suffering in the world. One of the ways Michael Berg does this, is by providing aid in different parts of the world, such as Africa. We hope that many people will support our project, not just with money, but also by becoming a volunteer. That's why we set up the new Volunteer Malawi project, which will allow people to go to Malawi and work as a volunteer for a short or a longer while."
Finally: Madonna is known as a demanding woman, a control freak. What are your experiences in working with her?
"She is not the diva many think she is. She is focused to help, to make the life of many children better and she does it as driven as she does with her career. She always puts herself high standards and she expects the same from the people she works with, but she does it in an atmosphere of love and friendlyness. If you call that demanding, then she is. But so was Gandhi."
On both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Top 75 Singles charts, Timbaland's lead-off single of the album 'Shock Value' is sitting at the #1 spot. The track 'Give It To Me', which features both Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake, is the latest in a string of big hits of Timbaland-produced songs of the past year.
While Timbaland has been in the music industry for several years and he has worked with many people already (most notably Aaliyah & Missy Elliott), he became the biggest name in 2006 with producing several big hits for Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake.
Currently, he's working with Madonna, together with Justin Timberlake. Could it be that Madonna's next single is meant to be another transatlantic hit? While Madonna has 12 #1s in both the US & UK, 'only' 5 of them became chart toppers on both sides of the pond: Papa Don't Preach, Who's That Girl, Like A Prayer, Vogue & Music.
The one-year-old boy Madonna is hoping to adopt was given a hero's welcome Tuesday as he returned for the first with his new mother to the Malawian orphanage which had been his home.
Little David Banda, whose adoption has still to be finalised by authorities in the impoverished southern African nation, smiled and waved to a group of his old friends as he arrived at the "Home of Hope."
Around 200 villagers had converged at the entrance to the orphanage, based some 110 kilometres (70 miles) from the capital Lilongwe, for the arrival of David and the pop star who was also accompanied by her biological daughter Lourdes.
The villagers competed for space with a team of around a dozen international news photographers who were trying to get snaps of the singer who is in on a three-day visit to Malawi.
The villagers cheered and clapped as the entourage entered a hall at the orphanage where around 500 orphans had assembled to meet her.
Ahead of the arrival, some of the orphans had hurled stones at the photographers who were later brushed aside by the singer's team of bodyguards.
Madonna said little to a group of assembled reporters, merely saying: "It's great to be here".
She had been expected to talks with David's biological father Yohane in a private get-together at the orphanage but asked whether the meeting would take place, she answered: "I don't know."
In an interview with AFP last week, Yohanage said he would be "be very happy to meet my son" as well as Madonna whom he had only previously briefly encountered at court during the adoption process.
Local rights groups have accused Madonna of using her wealth and status to fast-track the adoption process and take David out of the country whom she first set eyes on in October.
Many of those assembled outside the orphanage however said they were delighted that the youngster, whose mother died shortly after childbirth, was to enjoy a lifestyle they could only dream about.
Frank Tembo, who lives in the village of Mchinji, said he had come to the orphanage very early in the morning to get a glimpse of David and Madonna.
"I feel so happy to have seen David and Madonna," he said.
"I am going home to tell my wife that our son, David, is fine and doing well."
The orphanage, which lies at the foot of the Mchinji mountain, has undergone a makeover in advance of the visit with staff painting billboards and sprucing up the garden and the lawns.
Madonna's spokeswoman has denied reports that she is also on the lookout in Malawi for a little sister for David and her biological children Rocco and Lourdes.
While in Malawi, Madonna is expected to film scenes for a film about saving Malawian orphans, called "Raising Malawi" in which she is also tipped to interview South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela.
On Monday evening, she was given a tour of a village which is without running water and electricity by Jeffrey Sachs, head of the United Nations Millenium Development Project, in a bid to underline the problems facing residents of one of Africa's poorest countries.
Madonna flew to Malawi on a silver jet Monday to continue her charity work in the impoverished southern African country, bringing along the Malawian boy she is in the process of adopting.
The 48-year-old pop star, wearing a baseball cap, carried a small boy down the steps of the jet, and a child's seat was fixed into a waiting sport utility vehicle. Her three-vehicle motorcade then drove off at top speed to a luxury lodge, followed by journalists.
Madonna visited Malawi last fall to pick up 1-year-old David Banda, who was in an orphanage after the death of his mother.That visit set off a controversy over concerns that regulations were being swept aside to benefit a pop star who has been generous to the country.
Madonna and her 38-year-old filmmaker-husband, Guy Ritchie, were granted an interim court order Oct. 12 allowing them to take initial custody of David. Under Malawi regulations, prospective parents must undergo an 18- to 24-month assessment period, but Madonna was allowed to take the boy to her London home soon after the court order.
Malawian child welfare officials are expected to file a report on the suitability of the couple as adoptive parents after two trips to their London residence in May and December. Madonna says she has followed the law.
After a rest in Lilongwe, Madonna toured U.N.-backed development projects in the small village of Mtanga, where farmers are being helped to grow maize and start fish farming.
The singer, dressed in combat trousers, khaki T-shirt and black boots, was greeted by singing women and children as she inspected the maize crop and storage facilities and stood by the fish pond.
Her 9-year-old daughter, Lourdes, accompanied Madonna on her trip to Mtanga.
Madonna's New York-based publicist Liz Rosenberg said the singer was visiting to continue her work with her Raising Malawi organization and denied speculation of another adoption.
"She is overseeing the building of a children's health care center. She is absolutely not adopting another baby," Rosenberg said in a statement.
There has also been much activity at the Home of Hope orphanage where David was cared for. The road to the village of Mchinji have been graded, new flowers planted and the children have received new uniforms. Three local police officers have been posted at the orphanage.
David's father, Yohane Banda, surrendered his son to the orphanage after his wife died of childbirth complications. The couple's two other sons died in infancy from malaria.
The road to Banda's village on the Zambian border has also been cleared, but it was unclear whether Madonna would visit him.
Beat master Timbaland has revealed that the Queen of Pop really cracks the whip.
The producer, who's masterminding Madge's new album with Justin Timberlake, has been working flat out.
But taking a rare break at London club Funky Buddha, the 36-year-old told us: "We are working round the clock. Justin was meant to be out but he's too tired. Madonna's a funky lady, she's up for everything."
And he joked: "I was hoping to come out tomorrow because I hear William and Harry party in the week and they love my songs!"
Timbers also revealed that there'll be no 80s disco tracks on the album and no purple leotard. "It's kinda like Holiday with an R&B groove." Sexy's back!
Madonna is determined to get all she can out of her new collaborators Justin Timberlake and Timbaland - she's working them around the clock.
The pair are working on several tracks on the Material Girl's forthcoming album in a London studio - and admit they thought they would have more free time to check out the sights in the British capital.
Timbaland sighs, "We are working around the clock. Justin was meant to be out tonight but he's too tired."
A spokeswoman for pop star Madonna confirmed that the pop star was going to Malawi over the weekend, but denied a newspaper report that it was to adopt another child from the impoverished African nation.
Citing unnamed sources, the Sun tabloid in London said Madonna was intent on adopting three-year-old girl Grace after watching a documentary about a child care home for orphans in the country, despite a storm of controversy over her efforts to adopt a Malawian boy last year.
"Madonna is going to Africa to continue her work with the Raising Malawi organisation," the star's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said.
"She is overseeing the building of a children's healthcare centre. She is absolutely not adopting another baby."
The pop star, 48, sparked a furore late last year when she and her husband Guy Ritchie, secured a temporary 18-month custody order from the Malawi courts for baby boy David Banda.
The couple hope to formally adopt him. They have two other children -- 10-year-old Lourdes and Rocco, six.
But the granting of the order, which enabled Madonna to take Banda out of Malawi last year, sparked heated debate about adoption laws in a country where the number of orphans is surging as a result of AIDS.
A legal challenge is now underway from rights groups who claim that existing legislation in Malawi does not allow for international adoption.
"Madonna saw a film of children at a place called The Consol Home," The Sun quoted an unidentified source said to be close to the star as saying.
"She spotted a beautiful girl called Grace who lit the room with her smile, and fell head over heels for her. Madonna kept saying, 'That girl has so much love in her. I want to help her achieve her potential'," the source said.
"But adoption officials are being very strict after uproar when Madonna adopted David. They know Grace is her first choice, but have insisted she looks at other girls first -- and that the final decision is theirs."
David's father, Yohane Banda, was initially quoted as saying he did not realise his son would be taken out of the country for good, but later said he supported the adoption.
"It was always Madonna's intention to adopt two orphans from Malawi -- a boy and a girl.
Grace is healthy, stunning, and has no living relatives. It was the fact David's dad Yohane was alive and well that caused most of the problems last time," the source told The Sun.
Madonna and Justin Timberlake are working together on her new album, her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, confirmed to The ShowBuzz onWednesday.
Rosenberg said that the singers have been in the studio in London along with rapper-producer Timbaland. She said there was no firm release date for the album yet. According to reports, its due to be released in November.
Madonna has collaborated with other stars in the past, including Britney Spears (Timberlake's ex-girlfriend) and Grammy-winning DJ Stuart Price (aka Jacques Lu Cont).
Timbaland recently told Entertainment Weekly that he'd like to help Spears with her comeback album. He has collaborated with Timberlake and Nelly Furtado.
It was announced Tuesday that Madonna, along with the Beastie Boys and Black Eyed Peas, will headline the Live Earth concerts taking place at London's Wembley stadium this summer.
Madonna's last album was 2005's Confessions On A Dance Floor.
Madonna reportedly flew back to Africa with her adopted son David to meet with the boy's biological father last night (11APR07), according to US news reports. The pop star hopes to spend a few days with Yohane Banda in Malawi and open discussions concerning her plans to adopt another child, according to American publication Life + Style.
An insider tells the magazine, "She wants David to have a relationship with his biological father. "She's going under the guise of a vacation, but she's not on vacation - she's on a mission."
Madonna, who also runs a foundation for abandoned children in Malawi, was harshly criticised when she adopted Banda last October (06); critics accused her of using her wealth and fame to fast-track the adoption process. The source tells Life + Style that Madonna hopes her trip back to Malawi will help show her critics that the adoption was "an unselfish act of love."
The insider adds, "She plans on having David's father be part of the extended family. She wants to show that her adoption was not what it was portrayed as in the media." Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, has confirmed the trip, stating, "She's going to continue her work with the Raising Malawi Orphan Care Initiative, including the building of a children's care centre."
Justin Timberlake is busy writing songs for Madonna.
The former 'N Sync star is collaborating with the Queen Of Pop on her forthcoming album, which is due out in November.
Justin confirmed: "I have been working on some new music. But it's not for myself — I'm writing for other people. I'm working on some stuff for Madonna."
Justin headed into a West London studio yesterday with Madge.
He is in the country for a few weeks as he prepares to kick off the UK leg of his current world tour.
Madonna is famous for reinventing herself and this time her album will have a real hip-hop feel.
She has lined up a Who's Who of the genre's megastars, including Timberlake’s producer pal Timbaland to help her achieve R&B credibility.
Hip-hop legend Pharrell Williams is already working on at least four tracks and his fingerprints look set to be all over the new release.
Madge's last offering, Confessions On A Dance Floor, was a massive success, with Brit DJ and producer Stuart Price the main influence on the 2005 album.
There will also be some dancy Price-produced tracks on the new offering and she has also been joined by Chicago house DJ and producer Felix Da Housecat in the studio. A source told me: "Confessions was a worldwide smash — but this will be different once again."
"The last album was a credible disco record and Madonna wants to give hip-hop the same treatment this time. It's not all hip-hop though, there are a lot of producers from a lot of genres in there. It could be her most ambitious project yet."
Madonna, Genesis, James Blunt and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be among the headliners at the London show of the global series of Live Earth concerts.
They will be joined at Wembley Stadium by groups including Foo Fighters, Duran Duran, Snow Patrol and Razorlight.
Live Earth will take place on 7 July across seven continents, as a way of highlighting climate change.
Some of the acts had already endorsed the project but Wembley's full line-up had not previously been confirmed.
A total of 17 acts have been announced for Wembley, with the promise of more to follow.
The diverse line-up include rap group The Beastie Boys, singer-songwriters David Gray and Damien Rice, and R&B pianist John Legend.
Black Eyed Peas, Bloc Party, Corinne Bailey Rae, Keane and Paolo Nutini complete the bill so far.
The organisers said that tickets would be allocated by a ballot, and fans would be able to register their interest online for 72 hours from 1200 BST on Friday.
Tickets, priced at £55 each, would be limited to two per applicant and could then be purchased from Wednesday 18 April.
Further details were to be released on Tuesday regarding the US leg of Live Earth, the organisers promised.
There will also be concerts in Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo.
The concerts aim to set a "green example" for other music events by using measures such as eco-friendly electricity, sustainable lighting and carbon-neutral travel.
Former US Vice-President Al Gore, who is one of those involved in organising the series of events, said he expected Live Earth to attract "an audience of billions".
"We hope Live Earth will launch a global campaign, giving a critical mass of people around the world the tools they need to help solve the climate crisis."
All profits will go to organisations including the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Climate Group and Stop Climate Chaos.
As much as we'd have wanted to, the Mad-Eyes team didn't buy anything from the M by Madonna collection, because... well, let's face it, we're men (though we're sure that hasn't kept many other fans from buying it ;-)
However, webmaster Bartie's mum treated herself to a fancy white striped suit from the popular new H&M collection. Check out the pix!
She's dominant, distant, almost manly. He's adoringly subservient. So does this new, far from flattering picture of Madonna and Guy paint them in a more accurate light than they care to admit?
For a woman who is notoriously sensitive about her advancing years, it is the cruellest of images.
A bloated blonde reclines naked on a green drape, her strangely masculine yet heavily made-up features gazing straight at the artist in a grotesque parody of seductiveness, while a shaven-headed, thuggish admirer paws at her pasty flesh.
A vile cartoon designed to shock and disgust the people portrayed? Not quite.
In fact the image in question is the latest portrait of Madonna and Guy Ritchie by the renowned artist Peter Howson, which went on public display for the first time this week and is on sale for £15,000.
The artist's agent Matthew Flowers said: "Peter is a bit obsessed with Madonna. There are strong rumours that Guy was very jealous of the earlier pictures he'd painted of her and wanted to knock Peter's block off."
Howson himself admits "I've never actually fancied her but I admit I've got a thing about her."
Howson, who came to prominece as Britain's official war artist in Bosnia in the 1990s has painted the singer a number of occasions in the past.
A body-building fantatic, he nearly always portrays people in his pictures as highly muscled - almost grotesque.
He admits that in the latest picture, he superimposed his own face on the body of the singer and says of the Shrek-like figure looming over her: "It's probably a subconscious thing that I've got with Ritchie and yes, I've heard that he may not have liked my other portraits."
This hasn't however, put Madonna off. She has been collecting his art for 17 years and owns four of his paintings.
However, it is doubtful she will be collecting this one.
For as she fast approaches her 49th birthday, friends say the superstar is suffering something of a "sense of humour failure" about her appearance.
Worse still, relations with her husband are "more strained than ever".
"It's awful. She looks like an ageing transvestite and Guy looks like a cross between a football hooligan and a pervert," says one source close to the couple.
"Worst of all it portrays Guy as a clinging subservient type and Madonna as the alpha female. Guy's hyper-sensitive that everybody thinks that about him - his mates wind him up by calling him 'Mr M' - and he will not see the funny side."
Yet while the image of Madonna undeniably does a huge disservice to a woman in phenomenal shape for her age, friends have waspishly commented that Guy is looking more like his cartoon every day.
A karate enthusiast, the film director has grown noticeably more musclebound in the past year, while his freshly shaven head has lent an unkind hardness to his appearance.
Worryingly, friends say Madonna is "not a huge fan" of his individual take on football hooligan chic.
"This seeming image gulf between the two is reflected in the way they have started to lead quite separate lives with Guy doing his thing and Madonna hers," the source says.
"He has a very close band of his friends and she has a tight group of her own.
"She likes to be in the house or out to dinner with a few chosen couples but Guy wants to be at his karate classes, in the pub or hanging out with his mates."
Amid all this, friends say Madonna has hit on the notion of moving - lock, stock and two (smoking) barrels - back to New York, the city she's always called her home.
"This is a massive step she’s taking and she knows it. It’s absolutely critical to her and Guy's future. That’s all she cares about."
This drastic course of action, revealed by the Mail in January, comes at a time when Madonna's confidence has hit a new low.
Over the past few months the singer has already suffered a number of knocks, leading her to joke grimly with friends that she is suffering her own 'annus horribilis'.
First there was the fallout from her decision to adopt the Malawian baby David Banda.
Madonna has been left deeply wounded by what she perceives as the public's hostility to her decision.
Far more damaging, however, is the looming threat of a tell-all book by former nanny Melissa Dumas.
Provisionally titled Live to Tell, after one of Madonna's early hits, someone who has seen the synopsis describes it as, a 'laundry list' of allegations of savage rows behind closed doors between Guy and Madonna, their children's behaviour, the family's participation in Kabbalah and the controversial adoption of baby David (or Davey, as Madonna calls him).
Hence, as confirmed by Guy's father, John Ritchie, the mooted move to the USA.
"They are moving to New York," he admits. "They have been looking for somewhere to live for a bit. I think Madonna just wants to be there. And the children can all go to the bi-lingual French Lycee school (Madonna is insistent that her offspring are educated in French), so it will work for them."
Head over to our video blog to see RJ Durell talking about how he was asked to create a disco choreography for Madonna's Confessions Tour.
Originally it was meant for Deeper And Deeper (as seen in his submission sent in) but Madonna replaced that song with Erotica (You Thrill Me).
For the record, the choreography of La Isla Bonita was done for Everybody (as seen on promo tour).
Producer Timbaland gave an interview to French newspaper Metro saying that "I have a track for which I would need Madonna, so I perhaps will give it to her for her next album... she is dying to work with me and me with her. I wanted this track for my album but I don't have time. I will have time for her!" So it seems he will not be the main producer of the new album by any means... (translation from DrownedMadonna)
A celebrity such as Madonna can't work out in any old tee. This week the Hung Up singer attended the gym wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt.
Madonna is often applauded for her youthful looks and great sense of style. This week the pop queen wore an Ed Hardy t-shirt to her London gym.
The mum of three (if you include adopted son David) joins celebrities including singer Chris Brown, model Abbey Clancy and Vinnie Jones in sporting trendy Ed Hardy clothing.
Ed Hardy's Love Kills Slowly T-Shirt is great for casual wear. Do a Madonna and work up a sweat in style with this must have designer tee or team it with skinny jeans and heels for a sophisticated day time look.
Ed Hardy is the clothing brand of the spring season. Make sure you pick up the latest celeb style!
Gossip site Perezhilton posted an article about Madonna's recent successes and hints at a November release of her new album:
Her Madgesty's new M by Madonna clothing line for H&M has sold more than $15 million since going on sale just over a week ago.
The debut has been so successful that the retail chain have just offered Lady M a multi-million dollar deal to do a second and third collection for the chain, beginning in late 2007.
This year has been quite lucrative for Madonna. In addition to the $8 million she collected from H&M, the Queen of Pop was also paid $15 Million for her recent Japanese commercial.
Madge has spent the last three weeks in a recording studio and has promised her label a new album by November!
~ Keep in mind that no official confirmation was made about a new album this year so far.
Madonna is dedicating her new children's book to her adopted son. The pop superstar - who has written a number of children's stories - is said to be drawing on her experiences with Malawian tot David Banda, who she was granted custody of last October, for her next tale.
A source said: "She adores David and wants to honour him by writing a boys' adventure with a moral lesson."
Madonna, 48, is believed to be keen to make sure the book has a Kabbalahist moral message in line with her beliefs. The faith is an offshoot of Judaism, and the singer and her husband Guy Ritchie are both devout followers.
It is not the first time Madonna has written a book inspired by one of her children. The star's first story, 'The English Roses', dealt with peer pressure among girls, and was based on her experiences with her daughter Lourdes.
Pop superstar Madonna is set to star in the last ever episode of Ricky Gervais' hit TV comedy Extras.
Gervais and writing partner Stephen Merchant will end the program's two-season run with a star-studded Christmas special this year.
A host of A-list stars have appeared in the series, including David Bowie, Robert De Niro, and Chris Martin.
Gervais and Merchant want the show to bow out in style with a guest appearance from Madonna.
According to reports, Gervais has been in contact with the Material Girl since they met backstage at the LIVE8 concert in London in 2005, and a deal is almost complete.↑ Back to top of page