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Stevie Wonder to cover funeral expenses for kids



Published: Sat, June 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Stevie Wonder to coverfuneral expenses for kids

PHILADELPHIA -- Stevie Wonder has arranged to pay the funeral expenses for five children who were killed in a city row house fire, his publicist said.

Wonder was heartbroken after hearing about the blaze and wanted to do something to help the family, said his publicist, Ira Tucker.

"I don't think he's ever done anything like this before," Tucker said. "It's just good that something can be lifted from them."

Wonder, 55, also hopes to visit with the families while he is in Philadelphia for the Live 8 concert on July 2, Tucker was quoted Friday as saying.

"Stevie feels good about this," Tucker said. "It's been just a heart-wrenching thing."

The June 12 blaze in the city's Kensington neighborhood killed three sisters, Summer Cooke, 5; Samantha Bowers, 4; and Sabrina Dickson, 22 months; and two of their cousins who lived nearby, Amber Johnson, 3; and Reginald Ringgold, 1.

The three sisters' mother, Shannon Bowers, 21, and her boyfriend, Lester Cooke, 33, escaped by jumping from a second-floor window into a children's wading pool on the sidewalk.

Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the fire.

Versailles Palace to host Live 8 benefit concert

PARIS -- Versailles Palace will be the backdrop for the Live 8 concert in Paris, one of eight concerts scheduled July 2 worldwide to raise awareness of poverty in Africa.

"We need an iconic building to represent the wealth of our countries," organizer Bob Geldof told reporters Friday.

"There is a great, rich symbolism," Geldof said, referring to the ornate 17th-century palace west of Paris. "In a global event like this, you must talk symbols."

"Also, I wanted a nice place to stay for the night," he said, laughing.

The goal of the free concerts, also to be held in Berlin, London, Philadelphia, Rome, Tokyo, Toronto and Johannesburg, South Africa, is to push for a political solution for African poverty ahead of a summit of Group of Eight industrialized countries next month.

Geldof rejected complaints from some critics who insist the concerts don't include enough African artists, saying the idea was to "get eyeballs" of millions of people onto TV screens around the world.

"We need the biggest artists as defined by popularity and sales," he said.

Destiny's Child and Linkin Park have been added to the lineup for the Philadelphia concert. The additions were announced Thursday, one day after organizers said rapper 50 Cent wouldn't be able to perform because of a scheduling conflict involving his new movie.

Divorce terms OK'd forJerry Lee Lewis, 6th wife

HERNANDO, Miss. -- A Mississippi judge has approved a divorce settlement between Jerry Lee Lewis and his sixth wife, Kerrie Lynn McCarver Lewis.

The settlement was reached Wednesday, the same day the case was to go to trial. The judge promptly sealed the court records.

"It's been a long day and it's been an expensive day," Lewis said outside the courthouse.

Lawyers declined comment, citing the judge's order sealing the records.

Lewis, whose hits include "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," married McCarver in 1984. They have an 18-year-old son, Jerry Lee Lewis III.

The 69-year-old rocker will keep his 40-acre ranch near Nesbit in north Mississippi, where the couple lived.

"Sure, I plan to live there," Lewis told The Commercial Appeal. "It's been my home for about the past 40 years. That's where I'm going to be."

It was the second marriage for Kerrie McCarver Lewis, 42.

J.W. Whitten, Lewis' road manager, said the settlement clears the way for the singer to resume a regular concert schedule and complete work on an album set for release this fall.

"We leave for Europe June 24," he said. "We needed this to be over just so we could get back to making some money."

Today's birthdays

Actress Gena Rowlands is 69. Singer Al Wilson is 66. Singer Spanky MacFarlane (Spanky and Our Gang) is 63. Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is 60. Actress Phylicia Rashad is 57. Rock singer Ann Wilson (Heart) is 55. Musician Larry Dunn is 52. Actress Kathleen Turner is 51. Country singer Doug Stone is 49. Singer Mark DeBarge is 46. Singer-dancer Paula Abdul is 43. Rock singer-musician Brian Vander Ark (Verve Pipe) is 41. Actor Andy Lauer is 40. Actress Robin Tunney is 33. Actor Bumper Robinson is 31. Actress Poppy Montgomery is 30. Actress Zoe Saldana is 26.




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