Michael Jackson’s Memorial Tickets Mayhem

July 5, 2009

Micheal performing on stage

Micheal performing on stage

 

THE 1.6 million Michael Jackson fans who entered the worldwide online lotto for a place at the dead superstar’s blockbuster memorial will learn today if they have won a ticket to the send-off.

The entertainer’s army of followers are already spoiling for a fight, accusing one another of making futile grabs for tickets.

“What a crazy situation. I have applied for tickets knowing full well I could not afford a flight,” wrote one fan on a global fan club website.

Another snapped back: “What is aggravating is so many people have registered knowing that they can’t go or may not be able to go. So now you’re registering and taking the chance away from fellow fans that can go.”

Only 8750 pairs of tickets will be handed out for the Wednesday event and officials have warned against scalping.

Organisers had limited tickets to US residents only, but yesterday opened the pool to fans worldwide.

Promoter AEG has been criticised for limiting access to memorial venue the Staples Centre in central LA during the show.

The event will be televised, but footage will not be shown on giant TV screens outside the centre.

“I don’t see why we can’t come down here and be part of it, it’s not fair,” said Jordi, 24, of Virginia.

Jennifer Hudson is expected to be among the performers at the event and Jackson’s friend Elizabeth Taylor has been tipped to read the eulogy.

Australian guitarist Orianthi Panagaris, 24, who had been part of his comeback tour show, will also play.

The Jackson family has yet to announce full details of the memorial.

Half a million mourners applied for a ticket to the event within seven hours of entries opening.

The memorial website attracted hits at a rate of 120,000 a second for the first 90 minutes.

Over the 32-hour window before registrations closed, 1.6 million people around the world entered the draw.

Winners will be selected at random by computer.

Organisers received 13,000 requests for media accreditation from news organisations around the world. Only 3000 will be allowed into the event.

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New replacement for Bongo

June 10, 2009
Senate Head, Rose Francine Rogombe, sworn in as interim President

Senate Head, Rose Francine Rogombe, sworn in as interim President

 

Rose Francine Rogombe was sworn in as Gabon’s interim president on today, the first step in the process of replacing President Omar Bongo, Africa’s longest-serving head of state, who died earlier this week.

Bongo’s death left a power vacuum at the head of the central African nation that he tightly controlled for over four decades and, with a well-developed oil industry and a Eurobond, investors are watching carefully for signs of trouble. After a series of coups elsewhere in Africa over the last year, some had feared Bongo’s death would spark instability.

But analysts have said that the president’s ruling party was likely to tightly manage the transition and doubted popular unrest. According to Gabon’s constitution, Rogombe, a lawyer by training who was head of the Senate when Bongo died, will have 45 days to hold elections to select a new head of state.

“I swear to devote all my efforts to looking after the Gabonese people … to respect and defend the constitution and the rule of law and to conscientiously carry out my job by being fair to all,” Rogombe said, one hand on Gabon’s constitution. Rogombe’s time in power as interim leader can be extended in case of force majeur, said Marie Madeleine Mborantsouo, who swore in the new president on Wednesday in her position as head of the Constitutional Court.

Bongo’s has been praised by some for maintaining stability in his own country and contributing to African peace efforts. But the last months of his life were equally overshadowed by investigations by a French judge into how much money he and his family allegedly stole from the state coffers during his time in power, which has left most ordinary people mired in poverty.


Gabon’s Bongo, confirmed dead

June 8, 2009

 

Late Gabon President, Omar Bongo

Late Gabon President, Omar Bongo

 Monday 8th June, 2009.

 

 

Gabon President Omar Bongo, the world’s longest-serving president whose 42-year rule was a throwback to an era when Africa was ruled by “Big Men,” has died of cardiac arrest in a Spanish hospital. He was 73.

Doctors at the Quiron Clinic in Barcelona announced Bongo’s death around 2:30 p.m. (1230 GMT, 8:30 a.m. EDT) Monday, Gabonese Prime Minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong said. Bongo was admitted to the hospital last month.

Only hours earlier, Ndong had said he saw the president and declared him “alive and well.” Gabonese officials have become increasingly belligerent with journalists, including calling a meeting with the French ambassador in Gabon in order to discuss the coverage of the president’s death by French media outlets.

Bongo, who was believed to be one of the world’s wealthiest leaders, became the longest-ruling head of government , a category that does not include the monarchs of Britain and Thailand , when Cuba’s Fidel Castro handed power to his brother last year.

The country’s constitution calls for the head of the Senate, Rose Francine Rogombe, to assume power and organize presidential elections within 90 days of Bongo’s death. But there has been speculation that one of Bongo’s sons would try to seize power upon his father’s death, as happened in nearby Togo.

Bongo had kept a tight grip on power in the oil-rich former French colony since he became president in 1967, and his ruling party has dominated the country’s parliament for decades. Opposition parties were only allowed in 1990, amid a wave of pro-democracy protests.

Elections since then have been marred by allegations of rigging and unrest.

While most Gabonese genuinely feared Bongo and there was little opposition, many accepted his rule because he had kept his country remarkably peaceful and governed without the sustained brutality characteristic of many dictators.

Bongo, meanwhile, amassed a fortune that made him one of the world’s richest men, according to Freedom House, a private Washington-based democracy watchdog organization, although nobody really knows how much he was worth.

Earlier this year, a French judge decided to investigate Bongo and two other African leaders on accusations of money laundering and other alleged crimes linked to their wealth in France.

The probe followed a complaint by Transparency International France, an association that tracks corruption. French media have reported that Bongo’s family owns abundant real estate in France, at one time owning more properties in Paris than any other foreign leader.

Born Albert Bernard Bongo on Dec. 30, 1935, the youngest of 12 children, Bongo served as a lieutenant in the French Air Force, then climbed quickly through the civil service, eventually becoming vice president. He assumed the presidency Dec. 2, 1967, after the death of Leon M’Ba, the country’s only other head of state since independence from France in 1960.


Air France plane crashes into Atlantic with 228

June 1, 2009

 

An Air France plane with 228 people on board was presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday after hitting heavy turbulence during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The airline offered its condolences to the families of the passengers, making clear it did not expect to find survivors.

At least 60 of those on board were French, roughly 60 were Brazilians and two were Slovaks, their countries said.

Air France (AIRF.PA) said the Airbus flew into stormy weather four hours after take-off from Brazil and soon afterwards sent an automatic message reporting electrical faults.

A company spokesman said several of the plane’s mechanisms had malfunctioned.

“It is probably a combination of circumstances that could have led to the crash,” he said, adding that the airliner might have been hit by lightning.

Aviation experts said lightning strikes on planes were common and were not enough alone to explain a disaster.

The Brazilian air force said the plane was far out over the the sea when it went missing.

Military planes took off from the island of Fernando de Noronha off Brazil’s northeast coast to look for it and the Brazilian navy sent three ships to help in the search.

France sent one of its air force planes from west Africa.

Flight AF 447 left Rio de Janeiro on Sunday at 7 p.m. (2200 GMT) and had been expected to land at Paris’s Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport on Monday at 11:15 a.m. (0915 GMT).
Sourced from Reuters