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July 7, 2009

By United Press International   |   July 7, 2009 at 9:01 AM   |   Comments

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Michael Jackson memorial:

Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles where a memorial service for singer Michael Jackson was scheduled.

Many television networks planned to air the service and a special feed was set up to have the broadcast shown in movie theaters around the country. Pop singers from the last three decades are to perform at the service.

About 8,700 fans won ticket lotteries and will be inside the 20,000-seat Staples Center. The other 10,000 seats filled with invited guests, supposedly. LA police prepared for thousands of other people outside the arena.

Avoiding the crush will be actress Elizabeth Taylor, who Tweeted: "I just don't believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event."

In what promises to be a lengthy court battle, legal maneuvering continued after a judge granted temporary administration of Jackson's estate to an attorney and family friend, as outlined in Jackson's will. Jackson's mother had wanted to oversee the estate. Another hearing on that is set for Aug. 3.

Jackson's family planned a private burial service earlier Tuesday at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Jackson died June 25 of apparent heart problems. Results of autopsies to determine the exact cause of death are expected in a few weeks.


Obama in Russia:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama Monday signed an agreement to begin negotiations regarding a reduction in nuclear arms. The document is non-binding but the leaders seemed optimistic their subordinates could come up with a plan by the end of the year.

Obama spoke Tuesday at the New Economic School, saying the United States wanted a "strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia."

Next stop for Obama: the Group of Eight meeting in Italy.


Swine flu:

The count of confirmed H1N1 flu cases in the world is approaching 100,000 with 4,591 deaths attributed to the illness, the World Health Organization said.

The true infection rate is probably much higher. Health officials in the United States said recently 1 million Americans likely had the disease but since nearly all were mild cases, the illnesses weren't confirmed as H1N1.

Sixty of the deaths are in Argentina, which has seen a spike in the number of swine flu cases reported and the public is questioning the government's response to the outbreak. That is part of a growing unease with the leadership of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez.

In Britain, officials said there could be more than 100,000 cases of swine flu. Officially there are more than 7,500 confirmed diagnoses of the disease, with three deaths Monday attributed to it.

The government warned last week Britain could soon face more than 100,000 daily cases of swine flu if the current rate of infection is maintained.


July 7 in London:

Officials unveiled a memorial in London's Hyde Park dedicated to the 52 victims of the July 7, 2005, bombings on subway trains and a bus.

The memorial includes 11.5-foot-tall stainless steel pillars -- one for each victim. A victims' group representative said the memorial is a "fitting tribute."

"It represents the enormity of our loss, both on a personal and public level," the representative said.

Three bombs were set off by suicide attackers on three Underground trains and a bus. The bombers were four British Muslims who were apparently motivated to carry out the killings because of Britain's part in the Iraq War.


Violence in northwestern China:

Gangs of ethnic Han Chinese roamed the streets of Urumqi armed with clubs and machetes in retaliation for violence they said was carried out by Muslim Uighurs in the region.

The BBC said the mob smashed shops run by Uighurs.

Officially 156 people have died in the fighting. Uighur officials allege the toll is much higher.

State-run media quoted regional Communist Party leader Wang Lequan as saying the violence was "heart-breaking." He blamed "hostile forces both home and abroad" for the violence.

Other Chinese officials have said exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in the United States, is responsible. She denied the accusation.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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