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Archive for the ‘Hot News’ Category

Autopsy planned after Jackson’s sudden death

g cvr 090525 mJackson 524p.h2 Autopsy planned after Jackson’s sudden death

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson, defined in equal parts as the world’s greatest entertainer and perhaps its most enigmatic figure, was about to attempt one of the greatest comebacks of all time. Then his life was cut shockingly — and so far, mysteriously — short.

The 50-year-old musical superstar died Thursday, just as he was preparing for what would be a series of 50 concerts starting July 13 at London’s famed 02 arena. Jackson had been spending hours and hours toiling with a team of dancers for a performance he and his fans hoped would restore his tarnished legacy to its proper place in pop.

An autopsy was planned for Friday, though results were not likely to be final until toxicology tests could be completed, a process that could take several days and sometimes weeks. However, if a cause can be determined by the autopsy, they will announce the results, said Los Angeles County Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben.

Police said they were investigating, standard procedure in high-profile cases.

Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented home in the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him at his home for nearly three-quarters of an hour, then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued to work on him.

“It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known,” his brother Jermaine said.

Cardiac arrest is an abnormal heart rhythm that stops the heart from pumping blood to the body. It can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems.

Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

His 1982 album “Thriller” — which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.

As word of his death spread, MTV switched its programming to play videos from Jackson’s heyday. Radio stations began playing marathons of his hits. Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital. In New York’s Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

“No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow,” Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend had sent him. “It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died.”

The public first knew him as a boy in the late 1960s, when he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the singing group he formed with his four older brothers out of Gary, Ind. Among their No. 1 hits were “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There.”

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his backward-gliding moonwalk, his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched singing, punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks, as was his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

“For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words,” said Quincy Jones, who produced “Thriller.” “He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”

Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. He united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie. Jackson’s sudden death immediately evoked comparisons to that of Presley himself, who died at age 42 in 1977.

“I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible,” Lisa Marie Presley said in a statement. “I am heartbroken for his children who I know were everything to him and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me.”

As years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He often wore a germ mask while traveling, kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions and surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, a storybook playland filled with toys, rides and animals. The tabloids dubbed him “Wacko Jacko.”

“It seemed to me that his internal essence was at war with the norms of the world. It’s as if he was trying to defy gravity,” said Michael Levine, a Hollywood publicist who represented Jackson in the early 1990s. He called Jackson a “disciple of P.T. Barnum” and said the star appeared fragile at the time but was “much more cunning and shrewd about the industry than anyone knew.”

Jackson caused a furor in 2002 when he playfully dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel balcony in Berlin while a throng of fans watched from below.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. He had been accused of plying the boy with alcohol and groping him, and of engaging in strange and inappropriate behavior with other children.

The case followed years of rumors about Jackson and young boys. In a TV documentary, he acknowledged sharing his bed with children, a practice he described as sweet and not at all sexual.

Despite the acquittal, the lurid allegations that came out in court took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary. He was 4 years old when he began singing with his brothers — Marlon, Jermaine, Jackie and Tito — in the Jackson 5. After his early success with bubblegum soul, he struck out on his own, generating innovative, explosive, unstoppable music.

The album “Thriller” alone mixed the dark, serpentine bass and drums and synthesizer approach of “Billie Jean,” the grinding Eddie Van Halen guitar solo on “Beat It,” and the hiccups and falsettos on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

The peak may have come in 1983, when Motown celebrated its 25th anniversary with an all-star televised concert and Jackson moonwalked off with the show, joining his brothers for a medley of old hits and then leaving them behind with a pointing, crouching, high-kicking, splay-footed, crotch-grabbing run through “Billie Jean.”

The audience stood and roared. Jackson raised his fist.

During production of a 1984 Pepsi commercial, Jackson’s scalp sustains burns when an explosion sets his hair on fire.

He had strong follow-up albums with 1987’s “Bad” and 1991’s “Dangerous,” but his career began to collapse in 1993 after he was accused of molesting a boy who often stayed at his home. The singer denied any wrongdoing, reached a settlement with the boy’s family, reported to be $20 million, and criminal charges were never filed.

Jackson’s expressed anger over the allegations on the 1995 album “HIStory,” which sold more than 2.4 million copies, but by then, the popularity of Jackson’s music was clearly waning even as public fascination with his increasingly erratic behavior was growing.

Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, and they divorced in 1996. Later that year, Jackson married Deborah Rowe, a former nurse for his dermatologist. They had two children together: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., known as Prince Michael, now 12; and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11. Rowe filed for divorce in 1999.

Jackson also had a third child, Prince Michael II. Now 7, Jackson said the boy nicknamed Blanket as a baby was his biological child born from a surrogate mother.

Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde said Jackson’s star power was unmatched. “The world just lost the biggest pop star in history, no matter how you cut it,” Werde said. “He’s literally the king of pop.”

Jackson’s 13 No. 1 one hits on the Billboard charts put him behind only Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey, Werde said.

“He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit,” he said. “People might have started to think of him again in a different light.”


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Michael Jackson dies

Michael Jackson 001 Michael Jackson dies

Michael Jackson, the American pop legend, died of a heart attack in a Los Angeles hospital tonight, just weeks before he hoped to resurrect his four-decade long career with a series of sold-out shows in London.

Jackson was taken to the University of California at Los Angeles medical centre, and paramedics administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the ambulance. He did not regain consciousness and was reported dead about three hours later.

Earlier his father, Joe Jackson, had told the website: “He is not doing well.”

The site reported that a 911 call came in to emergency services at 12.21pm local time from his Holmby Hills home in Los Angeles. Once at the hospital, staff tried to resuscitate him but Jackson did not respond, the website said.

The website said his sister, La Toya, was seen running into the hospital sobbing.

Jackson’s close friend Uri Geller told Sky News he was hoping desperately that the reports of Jackson’s death were not true: “I must hear it from a doctor. I cannot believe everything I see and read and hear at the moment. I hope its not true, I’m waiting like you are, like the whole planet is waiting to hear it from the mouth of the doctor taking car of him.

“I’m absolutely devestated and shocked. He was a young man terribly fit and basically in good shape.”

Fans paid tribute to Jackson. El Toro Diablo posted on TMZ: “God bless you Michael, heaven just got another beautiful angel.”

Kimbers wrote: “What a sad day. I hope Michael Jackson finds the peace that eluded him in life.”

Another fan, Sineen, wrote on website “I never thought that one day would come and i’ll have to write this down, Michael Jackson is no longer with us. May your warm soul rest in peace. I’ll always love you Michael.”

Rulintheroost posted on political website The Huffington Post: “RIP Michael. Your music was a joy to many people around the world.”

The world famous entertainer had planned a series of 50 concerts in the O2 arena beginning 12 July. Although in the last two decades his reputation was sullied by accusations of child molestation and his bizarre public behaviour, 1m tickets were sold within hours, proving the King of Pop had enduring appeal, even among fans who were not yet born when he released the Thriller album in 1982.

Jackson’s impact on American pop music cannot be overstated. His signature vocal style, dance moves and military-inspired fashion sense also influenced pop culture worldwide. He earned worldwide acclaim for his 1982 Thriller album, produced by Quincy Jones. His subsequent efforts, including his Bad album of 1987 and a collaboration with sister Janet, were also well received. His Thriller video, with its occult imagery and choreographed ensemble dance, helped launch the music video genre.

He ultimately sold more than 750m albums worldwide and won 13 Grammy awards. But he had withdrawn from the public eye, taking his last tour in 1997 and releasing his last album of new material in 2001. Raised in the Motown tradition, Jackson’s worldwide popularity broke racial barriers.

For a time Jackson was the best-selling and most famous pop star in the world. But his increasingly odd public behaviour and two accusations of child molestation led the public to sour on him. The cost of his lavish lifestyle took a tremendous toll on his earnings. In 2008 he was forced to give up the deed to the Neverland Ranch in order to pay down what he owed. In April he stopped a public auction of his belongings including jewel encrusted concert tickets, stage-wear and music memorabilia. He was, at the time, thought to be as much as $24m in debt.

Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, a gritty industrial city near Chicago. He became renowned in the 1970s as the lead singer of the Jackson 5, astonishing audiences with his charming looks, his crisp playful voice and his smooth dance moves. He broke through as a solo artist in 1979 with Off the Wall, produced by Quincy Jones. The two had a long and fruitful collaboration, producing the albums Thriller and Bad.

In 1993 Jackson was first accused of child molestation by a 13-year-old boy and his father. Authorities searched his ranch and Jackson agreed to a strip search. The case was eventually settled out of court and Jackson was never charged.

In 2003 he was the subject of a documentary by British filmmaker Martin Bashir, in which he admitted to sleeping in the same room as children at his Neverland Ranch. Prosecutors had been investigating him for years, and soon after, he faced new charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor. In 2005 a jury acquitted him of the charge.

Jackson married twice, the first time to Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, in an unusual union of pop music dynasties. He later married an Australian nurse and fathered two children with her. The mother of his third child is not known.

In recent years he has frequently been seen in public wearing a mask, as have his children. In 2002 he was seen dangling his infant from the balcony of a hotel room, as legions of photographers watched in horror below.

Jackson suffered from vitiligo, a condition that causes the skin to lose its pigment. In May the Sun reported he had been diagnosed with skin cancer, a rumour his camp denied.

Jackson had been engineering a comeback tour, an effort to rehabilitate his public image and bolster his tottering finances. The warp-speed sales of the tickets to his O2 shows indicated he is still beloved among his fans. A staggering 1m tickets sold out within a matter of hours after going on sale in March.


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Gore pushes for U.S. climate law this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Global warming activist Al Gore on Friday urged passage this year of a U.S. law to slash greenhouse emissions, saying failure to pass legislation could cause the collapse of world climate negotiations.

ulreuterscom Gore pushes for U.S. climate law this year

Gore, the former U.S. vice president and star of the Oscar-winning documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth,” told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that passing a climate law is a “moral imperative” that will affect U.S. standing in the world community.



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Final Four is a sports term that is commonly applied to the last four teams remaining in a playoff tournament, most notably the NCAA Division I college basketball tournament. Typically it refers to a tournament format where four teams play two rounds of single-elimination games, resulting in a single champion. The term is most often used in the United States and in sports heavily influenced by that country; elsewhere the stage is called the “semi-finals” (which is also used in the U.S.). The term is a registered trademark of the NCAA, so no other US organizations can use the phrase to refer to their tournaments. The oldest and most common use of the term is in reference to the final four teams in the annual NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship and the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship. Each Final Four team is also the regional champion from either the East, South, Midwest or West regions of the tournament.



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