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Sept. 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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Rev. Sun Myung Moon dies at age 92

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, died early Monday in South Korea. He was 92.

Moon died at 1:54 a.m. Monday a hospital at the Cheong Pyeong church complex outside of Seoul of complications arising from pneumonia that led to the shutdown of other organs including his kidneys, a church official said.

"I lament the passing of my father but I know that his spirit and legacy will live on," said Hyun Jin Moon, also known as Preston Moon, the the Rev. Moon and Mrs. Moon's oldest living son. "His vision has inspired so many forward-thinking people to see beyond the barriers that divide humanity -- be they national, racial, or, most of all, religious.

"Sadly, some people, including many of his followers, see him merely as the founder of yet another church. Yet to me and countless others whom he has touched, his vision is so much greater than that. I will continue to work to give meaning and substance to his legacy."

Sun Myung Moon was born Feb. 20, 1920, in what is now North Pyongan province, North Korea, and established his first church in 1954. His following grew to an estimated 7 million members and he led large gatherings in which he conducted mass weddings for as many as 2,000 couples.

Moon was also involved with a series of charitable and business interests. Those include the Universal Peace Federation and the Peace Cup soccer tournament. The Unification Church also became involved with a series of business interests, which included founding The Washington Times newspaper; the Tongil Group, a South Korean chaebol (a chaebol is a Korean global conglomerate); and, for a time, ownership of United Press International.

Sun Myung Moon is survived by his wife Hak Ja Han Moon and 11 children.

Preston Moon is chairman of the UCI Group, which currently owns UPI.

Obama to try his pitch to middle class

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The Democratic convention will be all about appealing to the middle class, former Obama aide Rahm Emanuel said.

Emanuel, who appeared Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," said the party would be able to present a clear contrast to the Republicans, whom he said came off at their convention in Tampa as an insular group more concerned with benefiting big business and the upper crust.

"They (voters) are frustrated that we have a society and an economy as well as a culture that has two sets of rule books and two sets of values," said Emanuel. "One set for those who are most fortunate, who operate by a different set of rules than everyone else."

Emanuel, the current mayor of Chicago, said his former boss ignored conservative calls to allow the auto industry to collapse and housing to "bottom out" when he took office. He said Obama instead took steps to save the car companies and keep people in their homes.

"General Motors is alive and well -- and Osama bin Laden is not," Emanuel summarized. "And that's what got done."

Republican stalwart New Gingrich countered that the steps Obama took four years ago had not paid off and that the future of the economy was what really mattered to U.S. voters.

"I think Obama has a hard sell over the next two months," the onetime Republican presidential candidate told NBC. "I think the biggest event next week won't be his speech Thursday; it will be the Friday morning jobs report. If that Friday morning jobs report is bad it will ground his speech."

Hundreds protest in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Hundreds of protesters marched through uptown Charlotte, N.C., Sunday in advance of the Democratic National Convention this week.

Police estimated the protesters at 800, many with gripes against the U.S. financial system, but many more people watched the march from the sidelines, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The protesters represented a coalition of more than 90 local and national groups. The newspaper said about 100 police officers lined the parade route, but there appeared to be few clashes.

Protesters said they were targeting Charlotte because it is the nation's second-largest financial center, after New York City, the Observer said.

Union activists are angry the Democrats have chosen right-to-work North Carolina for their convention, Hispanic groups are trying to highlight immigration issues and some environmental groups are targeting Duke Energy, which they say is a major polluter, the Observer said.

Ryan withdraws marathon time claim

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan clarified his time in a marathon he ran in the early 1990s, saying he was off by about an hour.

Earlier, Ryan had claimed a time of just under three hours, which would be remarkable.

Ryan, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate, issued a written statement to The New Yorker saying he was pretty sure his time in the Grandma's marathon in Minnesota was probably closer to four hours rather than three as he had said in a radio interview this weekend.

"The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin -- who ran Boston (Marathon) last year -- reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three," Ryan told the magazine. "If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three."

The New Yorker said Sunday Ryan's actual time wasn't a big deal; however, the magazine contended Ryan was given a chance to reconsider his stated "two fifty-something" time by the interviewer but didn't take the bait.

"Yeah," Ryan said in the interview. "I was fast when I was younger."

Ethiopia mourns longtime PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Thousands of Ethiopians paid their respects Sunday to longtime Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in a massive funeral in Addis Ababa.

Meles, 57, was due to step down in 2015 at the end of his fourth term as prime minister. He died in a Brussels hospital last month suffering from an infecton after receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

The Voice of America reported Ethiopian soldiers stood in formation as the flag-draped casket was carried into Meskel Square in Addis Ababa.

Many African leaders credited Meles for his dedication to development, the report said, but he was criticized in the West human rights abuses.

Meles' deputy Hailemariam Desalegn has taken Meles' powers, and was due to be sworn in after the funeral. VOA said he has pledged to continue his predecessor's policies.

The Times of India said at least 15 heads of state attended the funeral.

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