Obama at concert: The dream of our founders will live on

Inauguration revelry began Sunday afternoon as thousands of people packed the National Mall in Washington for a free concert featuring big stars.

President-elect Barack Obama addressed a roaring crowd after 90 minutes of high-energy acts such as U2, Mary J. Blige, Usher and Beyonce.

"Welcome to this celebration of American renewal," he said.

"In the course of our history, only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now."

"I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure," Obama said. "That it will prevail; that the dream of our founders will live on in our time."

Obama spent the morning visiting Arlington National Cemetery and attending church before heading to the "We are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration" at the Lincoln Memorial. It was nothing but good vibes -- a brief respite for an incoming president who will face huge problems after he takes office Tuesday.

Bruce Springsteen opened the concert with his song "The Rising," singing, "How far I've gone/How high I've climbed/On my back's a 60 pound stone/On my shoulder a half mile line."

Along the National Mall, between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, people watched the concert on massive screens and sang along with "America the Beautiful" and "This Land is Your Land."

During U2's performance of "Pride (In the Name of Love)," a tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., frontman Bono referenced the civil rights leader's "I Have a Dream" speech, saying that it was also, "an Irish dream, a European dream, and African dream, an Israeli dream, and a Palestinian dream."

Obama mentioned the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and also referred to King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which took place in the same spot where he was standing.

"Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character's content," he said.

Obama said what gives him "the greatest hope of all is not the stone and marble that surrounds us, but what fills the spaces in between. It is you -- Americans of every race and region and station who came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there."

Vice President-elect Joe Biden also spoke, pointing to those "marble domes" and towers of Washington surrounding the crowd which represent the "majesty of a great nation -- all built stone by stone by American men and women."

Work is about "dignity" and "respect," he said, praising the ethic of hard-working Americans. "We owe them the chance to go to work each day knowing they have the thanks of a grateful nation."

Comedians and actors such as Steve Carell and Jamie Foxx brought some comic levity to the inauguration of a president who will face some serious problems in just a few days.

Foxx, always the showman, urged "Chi-town" to "stand up!"

Joined by his wife Michelle and their children, the President-elect stood up, laughing and clapping.

Foxx did an impression of Obama's speech election night, as Obama laughed.

Stevie Wonder belted out "Higher Ground" with Shakira and Usher. Herbie Hancock backed Sheryl Crow and will i. am. as they sang Bob Marley's "One Love."

Garth Brooks sang the 1971 folk rock classic "American Pie" followed by a choir-backed version of "We shall be free." Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Jack Black and Rosario Dawson also addressed the crowd.

The celebration caps Obama's shortened version of President Abraham Lincoln's 1861 rail trip to Washington. Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th president in Washington on Tuesday.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday morning suggests most Americans see Obama's inauguration as a chance for a divided America to unify.

"You know the country is in the middle of a honeymoon when 6 in 10 Republicans have a positive view of Obama," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

CNN's John King interviewed Obama this week in Ohio. King noted that Obama will take the oath of office on the steps of a Capitol built on the backs of slaves and live in a house built on the backs of slaves.

"This has to be incredibly overwhelming," King said.

Obama replied, "The notion that I will be standing there and sworn in as the 44th president, I think, is something that hopefully our children take for granted. But our grandparents are still stung by it and it's a remarkable moment."

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Boy George jailed for 15 months

Karma caught up with former Culture Club singer Boy George on Friday when a court sentenced the star to 15 months for falsely imprisoning a male escort, a court spokeswoman said.

Full details of the sentence weren't immediately clear.

A jury unanimously found the pop star and DJ, whose real name is George O'Dowd, guilty of the charge last month after a seven-day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in northeast London.

The jury determined O'Dowd, 47, had chained male escort Audun Carlsen to a wall at his apartment in London's hip Shoreditch neighborhood. Carlsen had also said the singer beat him with a metal chain.

O'Dowd, who maintained his innocence, came to court Friday sporting a multicolored tattoo on his bald head, none of his trademark makeup, and a black winter coat.

The star quit Culture Club in 1987 after a string of hits with the group, including "Karma Chameleon," "Do you really want to hurt me?" and "Church of the Poison Mind."

He has since become a DJ and revived his singing career, releasing a single last year called "Yes we can," inspired by Barack Obama and featuring clips of the U.S. president-elect.

O'Dowd is no stranger to the law. In August 2006, he spent five days cleaning the streets of Manhattan as part of a community service sentence for falsely reporting a break-in at his New York City home.

He has also publicly battled drug addiction.

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Photographs of Madonna could sell for $10,000 each

Two photographs of Madonna set to appear in a Christie's auction next month will probably sell for at least $10,000 each, according to estimates posted on the company's Web site.

One, a full-frontal nude black-and-white photograph of the singer, was taken in 1979 by celebrated American photographer Lee Friedlander for a series of nudes he was working on, said Milena Sales, a spokeswoman for the auction house.

Madonna was about 20 when the photograph, one of several, was taken.

A handful from the shoot appeared in Playboy magazine in 1985, Sales said. Christie's put price estimates for the photograph at $10,000 to $15,000.

The second photograph of Madonna was taken in the 1980s by Helmut Newton.

In the Newton photograph, which is in color, Madonna is wearing a short dress and black stockings with garters. The circumstances behind the photo shoot were not immediately clear.

The auction will take place in New York on February 12.

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Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" Defied The Odds

The casting director of "Slumdog Millionaire" credited the director's risky decision to have actors speak Hindi through much of the film for making it "real to the core."

Loveleen Tandan, who also served as co-director, called the movie's success "an amazing tsunami" that was completely unexpected.

The movie -- filmed on location in Mumbai, India, with a $15 million budget -- won Golden Globe awards Sunday for best drama, best director (Danny Boyle), best screenplay (Simon Beaufoy) and best original score (A.R. Rahman).

It's a story about a poverty-raised orphan in Mumbai who goes on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Tandan said casting was unusually challenging.

"I've never seen a script where the main character gets to comes alive in three age groups and all with equal screen time, almost -- and here there were three characters who were going to be portrayed in three age groups," she said.

She had to find nine people to play the three characters at ages 6, 12 and 18 years of age "who could feel each other, be like each other, look like each other at three different age groups," Tandan said.

"As we went along and as I was looking, especially the youngest ones to play slum kids, I started to get a sense very early on that it needed not be in English but to be in Hindi so that it could come alive in a way that's most authentic, most sort of real to the core," she said.

She suggested to director Danny Boyle that one-third of the movie be spoken in Hindi, she said.

"I thought it was an idea that was probably going to get turned down because it's a movie for an international audience and needs to play everywhere and therefore needs to be in English, but he was so open to it."

A day later, after he discussed the idea with the writer and investors, he agreed, she said.

Tandan, who did not make the trip to the United States for the awards, watched from Mumbai.

"I was completely exhilarated, but with disbelief because it's a small film with no expectations," she said. "We were working under very harsh conditions on real locations here in Mumbai and trying to bring out the best intensity."

"It kind of feels surreal, but at the same time it's very heartening and really, really fantastic," Tandan said.

With the film's victories at the Critics' Choice Awards last week, it must be considered the front-runner in the Academy Awards' best-picture race. The Academy Award nominations will be announced January 22.

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Seven Convicted of Global Child Porn Trafficking in Florida

A federal court jury in Florida convicted seven people of participating in a global child pornography trafficking enterprise, according to the Department of Justice.

Jurors convicted the seven Wednesday of multiple counts of child exploitation, pornography and obstruction of justice.

Members of the organization used Internet news groups to swap and share "illegal images and videos depicting prepubescent children, including toddlers, engaged in various sexual and sadistic acts," prosecutors said.

An indictment filed in the case detailed interactions between group members as they swapped and commented on images.

"My thanks to you and all the others that together make this the greatest group of pedos to ever gather in one place," Freeman wrote in response to one posting, according to the indictment. And a posting from Castleman, cited in the indictment, read, "Thanks to all for the wonderful material that has been posted."

An Australian constable who infiltrated the group in August 2006 was among 50 witnesses testifying at trial. He told the jury that the group traded more than 400,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse before being dismantled by law enforcement, according to the Justice Department statement.

Each defendant faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, fines and the possibility of supervised release for the rest of their lives, authorities said. The seven will be sentenced April 14.

During the six-day trial, evidence showed the seven participated in what prosecutors called a "well-organized criminal enterprise whose purpose was to proliferate child sex abuse images to its membership during a two-year period."

"This was a wide-scale, high-volume, international trafficking enterprise that used sophisticated computer encryption technology and file-sharing techniques," Matthew Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general, said in the statement.

The seven defendants were James Freeman of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida; Gary Lakey of Anderson, Indiana; Marvin Lambert of Indianapolis, Indiana; Neville McGarity of Medina, Texas; Warren Mumpower of Spokane, Washington; Daniel Castleman of Lubbock, Texas; and Ronald White of Burlington, North Carolina, according to the Department of Justice.

The charges included engaging in a child exploitation enterprise; conspiracy to advertise, transport, ship, receive and possess child pornography; advertising child pornography, transporting child pornography, receiving child pornography and obstruction of justice, prosecutors said.

Seven additional American defendants previously entered guilty pleas, prosecutors said.

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Third-ranking Hamas leader in Gaza killed

An Israeli artillery strike Thursday killed the third most senior Hamas leader in Gaza, Hamas television announced.

Saeed Siam was killed "in the latest shelling on a house" in Gaza City's Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, said Al-Aqsa TV, which showed images of a body it identified as Siam.

Siam served as interior minister in the Hamas-led government before it was dissolved in 2007. He ranked behind only former Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and former Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar in Hamas' Gaza hierarchy.

The Israeli military confirmed it targeted a house where Siam was believed to be present.

Hamas vowed to avenge Siam's death.

"His blood will be the fuel for the coming victory," according to a statement on Al-Aqsa TV.

Meanwhile, Israel ground forces -- backed by massive air power and heavy shelling -- pushed deep into Gaza City on Thursday.

Heavy battles with Hamas militants damaged the United Nations' main relief compound, a foreign media building and a Red Cross hospital.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in the region as part of the diplomatic effort to secure a truce. He met with Israeli officials on Thursday, and condemned the attack on the U.N. Relief and Works Agency's compound in Gaza City that destroyed relief supplies and wounded three people.

Speaking at a news conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Ban said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the shelling of the compound "was a grave mistake and he took it very seriously."

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said that Barak actually told the U.N. chief that "if it was Israel's fire, it was a grave mistake."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed sorrow over the incident, but maintained that Israeli forces were responding to militant fire near the compound.

UNRWA Director John Ging denied there were any militants at the compound, and also said that at the time there was no fighting in the area.

Ging said UNRWA's headquarters -- located in a densely populated neighborhood -- was hit repeatedly by shrapnel and artillery, including white phosphorus shells -- the use of which is restricted under international law.

"It looks like phosphorus, it smells like phosphorus and it's burning like phosphorus," Ging said. "That's why I'm calling it phosphorus."

Some 700 Palestinians were taking shelter in the compound at the time. Read an aid worker's diary

Ging said that Olmert apologized to Ban over the incident.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the allegation of the use of white phosphorous, but Israeli spokesman Regev said Hamas recently fired phosphorus shells at Israelis.

In addition, the Foreign Press Association said international news agency offices in Gaza City were hit by Israeli fire Thursday and demanded Israel stop shooting at the building that houses them.

Palestinian security sources said two employees for Abu Dhabi television were wounded in the incident.

As it stepped up its military campaign, Israel on Thursday also dispatched senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad to Cairo to discuss a cease-fire proposal.

A Hamas delegation is also in the Egyptian capital, talking with leaders there who are trying to hammer out a temporary truce.

Israel said it initiated the operation into Gaza -- which is controlled by Hamas -- to stop rocket fire on its southern cities and towns.

Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers, have died in the operation in Gaza and from rocket strikes on southern Israel, according to the Israeli military.

More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, including many civilians, Palestinian medics said.

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Patrick Swayze in hospital for pneumonia

Patrick Swayze was hospitalized and being treated for pneumonia Friday, days after he said in a prime-time special that he's "angry" and "going through hell" in his fight to beat inoperable pancreatic cancer.

The news was revealed during an event for television critics in Los Angeles, where Swayze, 56, had been scheduled to discuss his upcoming A&E series "The Beast." He "asked us specifically to go forward with today's panel," said A&E Television Networks president and chief executive Abbe Raven.

Last year, the actor revealed he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. His publicist said there would be "no statement at this time."

Bob DeBitetto, a top A&E executive, said at the critic's session that Swayze had decided to check himself into the hospital "for observation" after coming down with pneumonia. "Patrick did want me to tell you that he is very sorry he couldn't be at the panel this morning, but he plans to get back to promoting 'The Beast' as soon as he is back on his feet."

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Music and TV legend Dick Clark Still Rockin' New Year's Eve

Four years after a stroke, Dick Clark is relishing the prospect of another New Year's Eve celebration, determined to appear for his 36th year in Times Square. And he's hardly surprised by the current state of the music industry he helped build — he predicted this, after all.

Clark, who turned 79 last month and has been in front of the cameras for 61 years, said in a recent interview by e-mail that his involvement in "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2009," diminished though it may be, is a labor of love and "not really a job."

"Obviously, I'm not able to be as actively involved as I used to be out on the street, up on a platform and interacting with the crowds in Times Square" in New York, Clark wrote. "Thank goodness my friend Ryan Seacrest is able to handle that end of the activity on the show these days.

ABC-TV's 3 1/2-hour live extravaganza will include performances by Natasha Bedingfield, Fall Out Boy, Jesse McCartney, Ne-Yo, Pussycat Dolls, Solange and Robin Thicke. Fergie hosts the Hollywood segments.

Clark woke up with right-side paralysis on Dec. 6, 2004 — "Your life changes overnight," he said. (Regis Philbin filled in for Clark on the New Year's Eve show that year.) Clark still uses a walker or wheelchair, and speaking is difficult.

"I am one of the fortunate ones who survived and have been minimally impaired, so I'm just thankful I'm still able to enjoy this once-a-year treat of bringing in the New Year."

The "American Bandstand" icon and longtime producer of the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and Golden Globes has long considered them "my television kids."

He's also watched their ratings plummet in recent years.

"There was a time when they attracted a huge audience," Clark wrote. "The audiences have dropped off as the years have gone by because of increasing television competition.

"What we are seeing is more and more talent and less emphasis on people getting awards. Television's award shows have now become gigantic showcases for variety."

Clark was there at the birth of rock 'n' roll ("American Bandstand" kicked off July 9, 1956), and he's watched dramatic changes in the music industry. Not that those changes would come as much of a surprise.

"I can remember writing an article several years ago where I let my imagination run wild," Clark wrote. "I said we'd see the day when music is delivered directly to our homes, and delivered to us in some form of wireless communication.

"The fun of actually holding a record in our hands will disappear and we'll all have our own individual library of our favorite songs that we'll listen to at home, at work, in the car wherever we happen to go."

These days, Clark divides his time between his Malibu home and Burbank office. There's an hourlong therapy session each morning, then he answers mail and phone calls, attends meetings and reads.

The day ends with his devoted wife Kari.

"My wife and I may join friends for dinner at a restaurant, attend a movie or just grab a bite to eat by ourselves away from home," Clark wrote. "Occasionally, we'll attend a music concert. Recently we've seen Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Frankie Valli and Cher." - AP

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