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More Rolling Stones Concerts Postponed

The Rolling Stones have a message for China: Let's spend the night together--once you're feeling a little better.
For the second time this week, the Stones have deep-sixed Asian concerts due to the deadly, highly contagious virus plaguing the continent, announcing on Friday that they were scrapping their historic shows in Shanghai and Beijing. On Wednesday, the band said it was postponing its Hong Kong shows slated for this weekend due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a pneumonia-like bug that has killed more than 50 people and infected upwards of 1,500.

The Stones had been set to play Shanghai on April 1 and Beijing three days later--the dates would have been the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers first in mainland China. The dino-rockers had been seeking a permit to play China since 1978.

"We are very sad and disappointed not to be able to do these concerts," Stones frontman Mick Jagger said in a statement on the band's rollingstones.com. "We have been looking forward to the shows in China for so long and will reschedule them as soon as possible."

The band cites travel warnings issued by both the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and continued concerns expressed by local Chinese government officials, communities and individuals over large public gatherings as reason for the cancellations.

Earlier, when announcing the Hong Kong postponements, the band said the increased number of SARS cases "have created apprehension among fans and concern for their safety."

Currently on the Asian leg of their Licks world tour, the Stones most recently played a 22-song set of their greatest hits on Monday in Singapore (amid high security because of the war in Iraq). The remaining shows are still scheduled to go on, but in light of the China cancellations, the group has rejiggered its calendar, moving up dates in India by a week (Bangalore on April 4 and Mumbai on April 7) and pushing back their Bangkok show two days to April 10.

Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood and drummer Charlie Watts say they will reschedule all scrapped dates once the outbreak has been contained. In the meantime, refunds will also be available from local promoters. (AP)
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