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Delay Sought in Trial of Michael Jackson's Doctor

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(Reuters) - Defense attorneys on Friday asked for a delay in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, saying they needed more time to review new reports from prosecution witnesses.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor scheduled a hearing on Monday to consider the request, which comes 10 days before the scheduled start of opening arguments on May 9.

Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of the pop star, who died in June 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol.

Prosecutors said on Friday they wanted to call an additional medical expert at the trial to counter what are expected to be suggestions by Murray's defense team that the "Thriller" singer swallowed propofol by himself.

Murray's lawyers argued they needed more time to prepare to cross examine the new witness.

Murray has admitted giving Jackson propofol as a sleep aid as he rehearsed for a comeback tour, but denies it was a fatal dose. The 50 year-old singer died at his rented Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant)

Nigeria's Femi Kuti Lauded as Best World Music Artist

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(Reuters) - Nigerian singer Femi Kuti was named Best Artist in Songlines magazine's annual world music awards, winning praise for dynamic songs that railed against corruption and repression in Africa.

Kuti had stepped out of the shadow of his father, the legendary Fela Kuti, with his album "Africa for Africa," Songlines said.

"Songs like "Politics in Africa," "Can't Buy Me" and "Bad Government" all serve to underline his utter disdain for the corrupt politicians of his native Nigeria and other African nations -- a theme that continues to be pertinent today with events happening across North Africa and Ivory Coast," it said.

English folk band Bellowhead was named as Best Group, AfroCubism as Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration, and Indian singer Raghu Dixit as Best Newcomer.

Bellowhead, whose current album is called "Hedonism," is known for rambunctious live shows in which the 11 members swap instruments and perform in various combinations.

"Their live shows have been sensational," Songlines publisher Simon Broughton told Reuters.

AfroCubism brought together musicians from Cuba and Mali in a long-delayed project. They had originally planned to record in Havana 14 years ago but the Malians didn't make it and the Cubans went on to record the enormously successful "Buena Vista Social Club."

The collaboration was finally realized when they met in Madrid in 2009 and they have been touring since then with their fusion of music from both sides of the Atlantic.

Raghu Dixit hails from the south Indian state of Karnataka. and is already a big star back home.

"The music is Indian folk-rock -- very accessible to a Western audience," Broughton said.

The nominees are selected Songlines readers, with the final decision made by the magazine's editors.

Broughton said the world music scene was thriving even though it faced problems common across the music industry such as the closing of independent record shops and the downloading of music for free.

"The live scene is driving it," he said. "Every week in London there are big name artists from all around the world playing. People have the opportunity to see the big names and the new names."

He also said the role of musicians in recent popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt showed their relevance beyond just entertainment.

Speaking of Femi Kuti, he said: "This album is very angry and it really sounds like Lagos -- quite rough at the edges. And the message is Africa has to look after itself."

Shirelles and Dionne Warwick Sue New Broadway Show

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(Reuters) - The producers of a new Broadway musical about the 1960s girl group The Shirelles have been hit with a lawsuit charging them of pilfering the names and likenesses of the original members.

Singer Dionne Warwick, who is also portrayed in the show "Baby It's You", joined the legal action which was filed in New York Supreme Court a day before Wednesday's opening night.

Three of the four women -- surviving member Beverly Lee, who owns the trademark to "The Shirelles" name and the estates of Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris McFadden -- filed their lawsuit on Tuesday.

"Baby It's You!" is the story of Florence Greenberg, a suburban housewife from New Jersey who discovered the all-girl group and created Scepter Records. It has been running in preview at New York's Broadhurst Theater for several weeks.

The Shirelles had hits in the 1960s with records like "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," "Dedicated to the One I Love" and "Soldier Boy." They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Oren Warshavsky, an attorney for the four, said that like many other recording artists in the 1960s, his clients were not treated well even as they were growing in popularity.

"It's unfortunate that they have to live through it again and watch their stories be told, again without their consent," he said.

The lawsuit accuses Warner Bros. Theater Ventures Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Broadway Baby LLC, of "cashing in on plaintiffs' stories and successes, while using plaintiffs' names, likenesses and biographical information without their consent and in violation of the law."

Paul McGuire, a Warner Bros. spokesman, declined comment.

Warshavsky said the timing of the suit on the eve of opening night was a coincidence. The plaintiffs had been in discussions with Warner Bros., but they could not resolve their differences and took legal action, he said.

(Reporting by Jennifer Golson; Editing by Howard Goller)

CAAM Presents 'Hattitude! With Tea On The Side'

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Featuring a special showing of Designer ALAKAZIA’s Couture Hat Collection

California African American Museum (CAAM) presents its annual spring celebration, “HATTITUDE! With Tea on the Side.” Actor Jeffrey Anderson Gunter cohosts with actress CCH Pounder on this special program where participants enjoyed a special showing of Parisian Couture Chapeau Designer, ALAKAZIA, “Le Chapeau by ALAKAZIA,” while sipping delicious African teas, courtesy of African Red Tea Rooibos.

NAACP ACT-SO pianist Arif Muhammad performed, along with vocalists from LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. A fashion show featuring dancers modeling ALAKAZIA’s line of artistic hats dazzled the audience with the most stylish, fashionable, creative, and elegant hats for men and women. More than 200 men, women and children joined in the celebration to showcase their own stylish hats and participate in the fun hat competition. “HATTITUDE is always one of the most enjoyable events that we feature at CAAM,” said CAAM Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson.

“This year’s presentation of hats by ALAKAZIA was amazing, but we equally enjoyed and appreciated our community guests of all ages, that modeled their hat wear and spring attire.”

Celebrity judges included actor Reginald Vel Johnson, best known for his role as Carl Winslow on the sitcom Family Matters and as LAPD Sgt. Al Powell in the films Die Hard and Die Hard 2 and actress Kendra C. Johnson, best known for her starring role in the independent feature Phat Girlz and, most recently, her recurring role on the hit comedy, The Game. Additional judges included renowned artist Betye Saar, Target representative Lauren Dorsey, Moreno BHLV, Premier Label Water Company’s Troy Marshall, and CAAM Friends Board of Director Renee Bizer.

Obamas Return to Oprah As Talk Show Winds Down

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(Reuters) - President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will appear together on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May, as the TV chat show queen nears the end of her 25-year reign.

The White House and publicists for the daily TV show said on Tuesday the Obamas would tape their appearance in Chicago on April 27, and the show will air on May 2.

Publicists said it would be the Obamas' first joint appearance on "Oprah" since 2006.

Winfrey, regarded as the most influential woman on U.S. television, campaigned publicly for Obama in his 2008 run for the White House and helped raise millions of dollars for his campaign.

She has interviewed Obama several times in the past, both before and after his election.

Winfrey announced last year that she would end her popular syndicated TV show, which airs in some 140 countries, in order to focus on her new cable TV channel OWN, which launched in January. The last original episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will air on May 25.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Dean Gooodman)

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BVN National News Wire