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    Las Vegas Gears Up for Jackson Fan Fest; Sugarland Faces Lawsuit

    Las Vegas Gears Up for Jackson Fan Fest; Sugarland Faces Lawsuit
    Las Vegas Gears Up for Jackson Fan Fest; Sugarland Faces Lawsuit
    Mary Morningstar

    Las Vegas Gears Up for Jackson Fan Fest

    The first Estate-authorized Michael Jackson Fan Fest will take place December 3-14 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  Visitors will be given the opportunity to walk through Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and view many of his personal items.  They include his 1999 Rolls Royce limousine, tour memorabilia, 1980s Fantasy glove collection, costumes, recreated video sets, and more.  Three of Michael’s brothers, Marlon, Jackie and Tito, will appear at the event on December 4 to hold a Q & Asession with fans.

    Stage Collapse Survivors Sue Sugarland

    Jennifer Nettles, left, and Kristian Bush from the band Sugarland pose backstage with the award for vocal duo of the year at the 45th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 9, 2011.
    Jennifer Nettles, left, and Kristian Bush from the band Sugarland pose backstage with the award for vocal duo of the year at the 45th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 9, 2011.

    Country duo Sugarland is being sued by 44 survivors and family members of four people killed when a storm blew through the Indiana State Fair on August 13 causing the stage to collapse.  According to one of the victims’ attorneys, Mario Massillamany, Sugarland’s contract stated that the band had the final word on whether to cancel the concert due to bad weather.  He says, “Unfortunately, this tragedy could have been prevented if the responsible parties had been concerned about the concertgoers that night.”  Sugarland returned to Indiana on October 28 to perform a free concert.  Donations were accepted for the State Fair Remembrance Fund, which is aiding those who have suffered financial hardship due to their injuries.

    Hendrix Tops Rolling Stone's Greatest Guitarists List

    Jimi Hendrix performs on the Isle of Wight in England (1970 file photo)
    Jimi Hendrix performs on the Isle of Wight in England (1970 file photo)

    Rolling Stone magazine has released its list of the greatest guitar players of all time.  Topping the list is the late Jimi Hendrix.  Rounding out the top 10 in descending order are Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Eddie Van Halen, Duane Allman and Pete Townshend.  The list was compiled by music experts and guitar players.


    Springsteen Working on New Album


    Bruce Springsteen (file photo)
    Bruce Springsteen (file photo)

    Bruce Springsteen recently posted on his website that he plans to release a new album with the E Street Band in 2012.  The collection will mark their first since the June 18, 2011 death of the group’s saxophonist Clarence Clemons.  Springsteen also announced that the band will support the album with a world concert tour, which is set to begin in Europe in May.

    Drake Tops Billboard 200


    Drake's "Take Care" CD
    Drake's "Take Care" CD

    Canadian hip-hop artist Drake debuts at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart this week.  His sophomore album, Take Care, sold 631,000 copies its first week to become the third-largest-selling debut of 2011.  The two biggest first-week sellers of the year were Lady Gaga, whose Born This Way album sold 1.1-million copies, and Lil Wayne, who moved 964,000 copies of Tha Carter IV its opening week.

    Robin Gibb Battles Cancer

    Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees
    Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees

    The Bee Gees Robin Gibb is reportedly battling liver cancer.  Although the 61-year-old singer hasn’t spoken  about the diagnosis, he issued a statement on his website that says, ”I wish to thank my family, friends and fans and the many thousands of people who do not know me but have enjoyed Bee Gees music and have wished me well. I am very touched by your love, kindness and support.  This concern from people all over the world has demonstrated the depth of feeling and love that the Bee Gees have achieved over the years.  It is humbling and I take your prayers and good wishes for my health very seriously.  I have been very unwell and am now on the road to recovery, and your prayers and wishes are a great tonic to me.  I believe because of you I will get well and my deepest love goes out to you all.”

    Gaynor's 'I Will Survive' Among Grammy Hall of Fame Inductees

    Gloria Gaynor
    Gloria Gaynor

    The Recording Academy has announced its 2012 Grammy Hall of Fame inductees.  The 25 new titles include Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A. album, the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street album, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech, Bill Cosby’s I Started Out As A Child comedy album and Gloria Gaynor’s 1979 Number One hit, I Will Survive.  A total of 906 recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  The complete list can be viewed at www.grammy.or/recording-academy/awards/hall-of-fame.

    On November 30, the “Grammy Nominations Concert Live - Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night” television special will air on CBS.  The show takes place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.  During the one-hour special, Grammy nominees in some of the major categories will be announced.  Performers include Rihanna, Usher, Lady Gaga, Sugarland, The Band Perry, Jason Aldean, Ludacris and Lupe Fiasco.  The 54th annual Grammy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles on February 12, 2012.

    New Album Releases / November 29:
    “Inevitable” by Trey Songz
    “Addicted” by Smoov-E
    “Aphrodite: Les Folies” by Kylie Minogue
    “Bestival Live 2011” by The Cure
    “Follies” Broadway Cast Recording

    Look Who's Going On Tour!

    On November 28, Country/bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs will kick off a holiday tour in Clemson, South Carolina.  His wife Sharon, their children Luke and Molly, and extended family members will join him on the eight-city tour.  Sharon says, “We started singing these songs in our living room all those years ago, with no idea that we would ever take “A Skaggs Family Christmas” to so many places.  It has been such a blessing to share all of this as a family.”

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    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
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    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
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    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
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    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
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    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
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    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
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    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
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    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
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    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
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    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
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    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

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    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
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    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
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    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.

    New in Music Alley

    Soul Lounge: Sweet Honey in the Rocki
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    February 10, 2016 1:48 PM
    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B. The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.

    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B.   The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.