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    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Reuters - Pop star Michael Jackson dead: report

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    Pop star Michael Jackson dead: report

    Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 10:30PM UTC

    By Bob Tourtellotte

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to exuberant rhythms for decades, died on Thursday, TMZ website reported. He was 50.

    There was no official confirmation of the reported death and spokespersons for Jackson could not be reached for comment.

    "We've just learned Michael Jackson has died," TMZ said.

    "Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back," the entertainment site said.

    It added, "A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived."

    Earlier, the Los Angeles Times said the singer had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived at the singer's home.

    The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital.

    Jackson had been due to start a series of comeback concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010. The singer, whose hits included "Thriller" and "Billie Jean," had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months.

    The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.

    His lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, makes him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.

    He lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation.

    There were concerns about Jackson's health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.

    CHILD STAR TO MEGASTAR

    Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael -- first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.

    Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released "Thriller" in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.

    The next year, he unveiled his signature "moonwalk" dance move while performing "Billie Jean" during an NBC special.

    In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley's only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.

    Jackson has three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism.

    (Additional Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Writing by Frances Kerry, Editing by Jackie Frank)

    Michael Jackson Dies

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    Reuters - Michael Jackson rushed to hospital: report

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Michael Jackson rushed to hospital: report

    Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 9:29PM UTC

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop star Michael Jackson has been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived at the singer's home, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.

    The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital.

    No further details were immediately available, and spokespersons for Jackson could not be reached for comment.

    Jackson, 50, is due to start a series of comeback concerts in London on July 13 running until March 2010. The singer, whose hits include "Thriller" and "Billy Jean," has been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months.

    The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within hours of going on sale in March.

    Jackson, who started out as a child star in the band "The Jackson 5" more than 40 years ago, has lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation.

    There have been concerns about Jackson's health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.

    (Additional Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Jackie Frank)

    CNN - Farrah Fawcett, sex symbol and actress, dies

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    Farrah Fawcett, sex symbol and actress, dies


    Farrah Fawcett, the blonde-maned actress whose best-selling poster and "Charlie's Angels" stardom made her one of the most famous faces in the world, died Thursday. She was 62.

    Fawcett's death was confirmed by Paul Bloch, one of her representatives at Rogers and Cowan, an entertainment public relations firm.

    Fawcett, who checked into a hospital in early April, had been battling anal cancer on and off for three years.

    Bloch told CNN that Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's romantic partner since the mid-1980s, and her friend Alana Stewart were with Fawcett at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, when she died.

    "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world," O'Neal said in a written statement. Read more tributes to Fawcett

    O'Neal is the father of Fawcett's son, Redmond O'Neal, born in 1985. Redmond O'Neal is in an intense rehabilitation program conducted in the Los Angeles county jail, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told CNN on Thursday.

    Fawcett's son was informed on Wednesday night by a grief counselor and a chaplain that his mother's death was imminent, and a grief counselor and chaplain also told him when she died, Whitmore said.

    The young man, who is currently with a chaplain, has spoken with his father, Whitmore said.

    Ryan O'Neal had recently told People magazine that the sex symbol was declining.

    "She stays in bed now. The doctors see that she is comfortable. Farrah is on IVs, but some of that is for nourishment. The treatment has pretty much ended," he said in a story posted May 7.

    Fawcett's cancer journey has been documented in a television special partly shot by the actress. Fawcett began shooting "Farrah's Story," by taking a camera to a doctor's appointment. Eventually, the film expanded to include trips overseas in hopes of treating the cancer.

    The documentary aired on NBC on May 15.

    Fawcett's beauty -- her gleaming smile was printed on millions of posters -- initially made her famous. But she later established herself as a serious actress. She starred as a battered wife in the 1984 TV movie "The Burning Bed." She appeared on stage as a woman who extracts vengeance from a would-be rapist in William Mastrosimone's play "Extremities."

    She reprised the "Extremities" role on film in 1986. Other Fawcett films include "Logan's Run" (1976), "Saturn 3" (1980), "The Cannonball Run" (1981), "The Apostle" (1997) and the Robert Altman-directed "Dr. T and the Women" (2000).

    To many, Fawcett will always be best known for her red-swimsuited image on the pinup poster, which sold a reputed 12 million copies after its release in 1976. iReport: Share your memories of Farrah Fawcett

    Fawcett was a model best known for bit parts, commercials and as "Six Million Dollar Man" actor Lee Majors' wife when she shot the poster in early 1976 at the behest of Pro Arts, a Cleveland, Ohio, company.

    Photographer Bruce McBroom placed Fawcett -- then known as Farrah Fawcett-Majors -- in the Indian blanket-draped front seat of his 1937 Chevy and snapped away. Fawcett did her own hair -- a long, tousled cascade of blonde locks -- picked out the red bathing suit and chose the frame later used for the poster, according to a story in the Toronto Star.

    The poster, with Fawcett's million-dollar smile front and center, became a sensation.

    Soon after the photo shoot, Fawcett was asked to join the cast of a new Aaron Spelling TV show, "Charlie's Angels," about a trio of female detectives who work for a mysterious man named Charlie, whose only appearance in the show was through his voice (supplied by John Forsythe).

    Fawcett, who played Jill Munroe, was the last to be cast. Co-star Kate Jackson was the known name at the time, but thanks to her poster, Fawcett became the breakout star.

    The highly rated TV series kicked off what came to be known as "jiggle TV," series full of pretty actresses who appeared in bikinis at the drop of a hat.

    "Denunciations of 'massage parlor television' and 'voyeurism' only brought more viewers to the screen, to see what the controversy was about," wrote Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh about "Charlie's Angels" in their indispensable reference, "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows."

    ABC's "Three's Company" and CBS's "The American Girls" were among the shows that immediately followed, and shows such as "Baywatch" owe "Charlie's Angels" a debt.

    But Fawcett didn't stay with "Angels" long. At the end of the first season, unhappy with her contract, she left the show and was replaced by Cheryl Ladd.

    Fawcett's career stagnated for a time after "Charlie's Angels." She appeared in a handful of forgettable films and divorced Majors.

    But her career received a major boost with her starring role in "The Burning Bed," a 1984 TV movie co-starring Paul Le Mat. Fawcett played an abused wife who sets fire to her husband's bed as he lies sleeping. Fawcett received an Emmy nomination for her performance.

    Fawcett also became romantically involved with O'Neal around this time. The pair had a son, Redmond, in 1985.

    In recent years, Fawcett has appeared sporadically in the public eye. She posed nude for Playboy in 1995. In 1997, she appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman," an interview that became notorious for Fawcett's apparent incoherence. She later said she was just having fun with Letterman.

    She reunited with her "Charlie's Angels" co-stars, Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, for an awards show in 2006.

    Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1947. She married Majors in 1973; they divorced nine years later.

    She was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

    Reuters - Mobile money seen as chance for world's poorest

    This article was sent to you from bombastic@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Mobile money seen as chance for world's poorest

    Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009 4:6PM UTC

    By Georgina Prodhan

    BARCELONA (Reuters) - Being able to use a mobile phone for money transfers, bill payments and even savings would give some of the world's poorest people the chance to become part of the financial system, telecom providers and bankers have said.

    While microfinance is estimated to have reached about 100 million people through institutions such as Grameenbank and small-scale community projects, telecoms industry group the GSM Association (GSMA) reckons that almost four times that number, who currently have no bank account, could benefit from mobile financial services.

    "The Grameenbank model works, but the scalability is limited," said Hannes van Rensburg, chief executive of mobile financial services provider Fundamo said on Wednesday.

    "The problem is about the inertia of money. It's very difficult to move very small amounts of money fast," he said in an interview with Reuters at the GSMA's Mobile Money summit in Barcelona.

    South Africa-based Fundamo is the world's leading provider of software and services for mobile money to network operators and banks, with about a quarter of the global market. More than 100 million transactions were made using its platforms last year.

    These transactions can be as small as 30 cents at a time, as mobile financial services providers aim to reach more of those living on less than $2 per day.

    EASIER BY PHONE

    Currently, about 3.5 billion people, more than half the world's population, have no access to banking services. However, 1 billion of those people do have mobile phones and the GSMA sees that figure rising to 1.7 billion by 2012.

    Access to financial services could not only remove the need for long, costly and risky journeys to move money around, but also reduce the burden of constant, active money management endured by those living on tiny amounts and in constant danger of financial crisis.

    "Poor people are doing a tremendous amount of financial transactions just to survive," says Stephen Rasmussen, who runs a mobile banking program for CGAP, an association of non-profit organizations under the auspices of the World Bank that seeks to help to increase financial access for the poor.

    "People at the very bottom spend far more energy and mental time on managing these systems than we do," Rasmussen told Reuters.

    Mobile money deployments have huge momentum, with the number expected to double to 120 by the end of the year, according to the GSMA.

    High-profile initiatives announced in recent months include South African operator MTN's plans to roll out mobile money using Fundamo's technology in 23 countries across Africa and the Middle East and Kuwaiti operator Zain's plan to extend its Zap money service from Kenya across its network, which spans 24 countries.

    Eventually, these services could provide some of the world's poorest people the chance to save money safely and to obtain credit, although the bulk of transactions currently taking place are simple money transfers.

    "We haven't even cracked step one correctly yet," said Fundamo's van Rensburg.

    Rasmussen agreed.

    "The prepaid phone has completely changed the world in the last five years," Rasmussen said. "But we're still talking potential."

    "It's not going to instantly bring people out of poverty, but it's one more thing in the tool kit," he said.

    (Editing by Karen Foster)

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