- - Sunday, June 26, 2011

BRITAIN

Leader’s friend found dead at British music festival

LONDON — A close friend of Britain’s prime minister was found dead in a portable toilet at one of the country’s leading music festivals Sunday, authorities said.

Christopher Shale died in unexplained circumstances in the VIP area of the Glastonbury Festival, an entertainment extravaganza that is one of the fixtures of Britain’s music calendar.

Mr. Shale, who was in his 50s, chaired the Conservative Association in Prime Minister David Cameron’s West Oxfordshire constituency, and in a statement, Mr. Cameron said he and his wife, Samantha, were devastated by the news.

“He was a great friend and has been a huge support over the last decade,” Mr. Cameron said. “A big rock in my life has suddenly been rolled away. … Like so many others, Sam and I have lost a close and valued friend.”

Mr. Shale was staying in a restricted, celebrity-packed area of the festival, which is held on a farm in southwestern England and has drawn some 170,000 people. He was discovered by police shortly after 9 a.m.

Festival organizer Michael Eavis said he was told the incident was a “suicide situation” but police have yet to confirm that.

RUSSIA

Khodorkovsky supporters detained at Moscow rally

MOSCOW — Moscow police detained about 10 activists who took part in a demonstration in support of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky on his 48th birthday.

About 50 young activists wearing red T-shirts with Khodorkovsky’s portrait on them marched down the Old Arbat pedestrian street handing out shirts and balloons.

Suddenly, from the rooftop of a building along their route, a large plastic banner was unfurled wishing Khodorkovsky a happy birthday and freedom.

The detained activists were driven away in police vehicles.

Demonstrations also were planned Sunday in St. Petersburg and London.

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