Tuesday, October 27, 2009

'Michael Jackson's This Is It' to open worldwide

When Michael Jackson died in June, he was just days away from launching a 50-show run of comeback concerts in London.

Now, video footage of preparations for those performances have become "Michael Jackson's This Is It," a documentary opening worldwide Tuesday.

The simultaneous showings around the globe will be anchored by a star-studded premiere at the Nokia Theatre, a 7,100-seat concert venue across the street from Staples Center, where many of Jackson's rehearsals — and his high-profile public memorial — were held.

Longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, who directed and produced "This Is It," is expected to attend, as are members of Jackson's band and the executors of his will. Entertainers including Snoop Dogg, Smokey Robinson and Zac Efron are also on the guest list.

Fans are likely to swarm the area, too: Many waited in line for days to buy tickets for advance screenings of "This Is It" at the new Regal Cinemas on site, which will show the film to sold-out audiences Tuesday on all 14 of its screens.

The film, culled from more than 100 hours of rehearsal footage, shows an enthusiastic King of Pop meticulously crafting his moves and performing some of his most beloved hits. No critics have seen it, but Sony — which paid $60 million for the film rights — showed a 12-minute clip to entertainment journalists last week.

Some of Jackson's family members and friends have seen "This Is It" in its entirety. Elizabeth Taylor, a longtime friend of the pop star, posted her thoughts Monday on Twitter.

"It is the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen," she wrote on the micro-blogging site. "It cements forever Michael's genius in every aspect of creativity."

The 77-year-old actress added that she "wept from pure joy at his God-given gift" and urged her fans to see the film "again and again."

"This Is It" opens in theaters Wednesday for a limited run, lending it some of the exclusivity of Jackson's aborted concert stand in London.

"We think the 16 days is right. It's sort of a special event that you want to frame in a special way," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony.

Jackson died June 25 at age 50. The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled the death a homicide, caused primarily by the powerful anesthetic propofol and another sedative. Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, has not been charged with a crime but is the focus of the police investigation.

Jackson's 50 comeback concerts at London's O2 arena were to have begun in July.

Girl Gang Raped and Beaten at Richmond High School, Ca

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According to CNN, a 15-year-old girl left her homecoming dance at Richmond High School with someone she knew and was later gang raped and brutally beaten for over 2 hours on school grounds by at least 4 individuals as people watched, walked by or even participated.

Reportedly, no one called the police until someone overheard talk of the incident. It has been said that when the police arrived, they witnessed 5-6 males fleeing from the scene.

19-year-old Manual Ortega and a 15-year-old was arrested in this case.

The victim was life-flighted, unconscious and in critical condition to a local area hospital.

As of yesterday (Monday, October 27, 2009), she was in stable condition and doesn’t seem to have any life-threatening injuries.

Those involved will face charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping.

Boston cops: Psych patient stabs doc, is shot dead

BOSTON — Police say a man stabbed a doctor while being treated at a psychiatric ward at a Boston medical building and was fatally shot by security guard who saw the attack.

The attack took place Tuesday afternooon at a high-rise building affiliated with Massachusetts General hospital.

The doctor, whose name was not released, was in stable condition. Police say the suspect died of gunshot wounds.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BOSTON (AP) — An attack outside a psychiatric office in a high-rise medical building Tuesday ended with one person shot and one stabbed, police said. Authorities did not immediately have information on the condition of the victims but said a suspect was under arrest.

The attack occurred in the afternoon at 50 Staniford St., a building affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital. It wasn't clear whether the attacker might have been among the injured.

Security guards locked down the building, notifying employees and patients inside they could not immediately leave. Nearby streets were shut down.

A hospital spokeswoman, Heather Clucas, said officials knew of the attack but did not have information on the exact circumstances or who was involved.

The building is in a largely commercial area. It contains businesses with various treatment specialties and several medical groups associated with nearby Massachusetts General.

Iran, Brazil want nuclear energy 'for everyone'

With the Iranian president scheduled to set out on a state visit to Brazil next month, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Tehran and Brasilia share the same stance on peaceful nuclear activities.

"The two countries have a common position in relation to peaceful nuclear activities and insist on [defending their] rights," Mottaki was quoted as saying by the Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo in a conference in Tehran.

Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed at the civilian applications of the technology and has called for the removal of weapons of mass destruction from around the globe. Western countries, however, accuse it of seeking nuclear weaponry.

Meanwhile, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has defended Iran's right to a peaceful nuclear program.

Referring to the Brazilian president's stance, Mottaki described the joint position of Iran and Brazil as "peaceful nuclear energy for everyone, and nuclear weapons for no one."

Iran's ambassador to Brasilia Mohsen Shaterzadeh said on Tuesday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Brazil on November 23.

Addressing university students in Brasilia, Shaterzadeh said Brazilians will be pleased to hear what President Ahmadinejad has in store for them.

"I am sure that people of Brazil will hear good news from President Ahmadinejad," the Iranian envoy said.

Eight more US troops dead in Afghan war's blackest month

KABUL — Bomb attacks killed another eight American soldiers Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, making October the deadliest month for US forces in their eight-year war against the Taliban.

The latest attacks, which were claimed by the Taliban, came the day after 14 US soldiers and narcotics agents died in helicopter crashes, piling pressure on US President Barack Obama as he mulls sending tens of thousands more troops.

Seven of the soldiers were killed along with an Afghan civilian in one attack in the south of the country, said NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The eighth died in a separate attack in another part of the south, said ISAF without giving further details about the locations.

The deaths occurred in what a statement referred to as "multiple complex IED attacks," referring to improvised explosive devices that have become the scourge of troops fighting a resurgent Taliban.

"Additionally, several service members were wounded in these incidents and were transported to a regional medical facility for treatment," it added.

A Pentagon official confirmed the deaths made October the deadliest month for American forces since the war began in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York by Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.

The deaths brought the number of Americans killed to at least 53 for the month, compared with 51 killed in August, the next deadliest month for the US.

Tuesday's deaths bring the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year to 445, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the independent website icasualties.org. Of those, 277 are Americans.

Southern Afghanistan is the most violent region in the country, the traditional stronghold of the Taliban and where foreign forces, backed by their Afghan counterparts, are concentrated.

In a separate statement, ISAF said it had recovered the remains of three civilian crew and the wreckage of a plane that went down in rugged terrain in Nuristan province on October 13.

The Army C-12 Huron failed to return to Bagram airfield, near Kabul, after a routine mission, it said.

"Upon visible inspection of the site, the mission changed from search and rescue to search and recovery," it said, adding that the cause of the crash was still being investigated but "hostile action is not believed to be the cause."

Commanders in the country have requested significant reinforcements, saying that the more boots on the ground the greater the chance they have against a Taliban-led insurgency that has intensified in recent months.

Obama on Monday promised US troops a clear mission before pitching them into the worsening battle, after conducting the latest meeting of his war council, which is mounting an exhaustive review of Afghan and Pakistan strategy.

"I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this -- and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan," Obama told military personnel in Florida.

"I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way.

"I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary, and if it is necessary, we will back you up.

"Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, the defined goals and the equipment and support you need to get the job done."

Obama critics, some senior Republicans among them, have complained that Obama's weeks-long security review is dragging on too long. Former vice president Dick Cheney last week accused the president of "dithering."