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Taking Names: Smithsonian names new board chair

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Purdue University president to lead Smithsonian board

Purdue University president France Cordova was installed Monday as chairwoman of the Smithsonian Institution's governing board as the museum complex expands with the coming construction of a new black history museum and amid calls for another focused on Latino-American heritage.

As Ms. Cordova begins her three-year term, she will maintain her post at the Indiana university. She will lead oversight and support fundraising for the world's largest group of museums and research centers. Ms. Cordova is an astrophysicist and previously held posts in the University of California system and was chief scientist at NASA.

At a briefing Monday after the board met, Ms. Cordova said the Smithsonian regents would increasingly focus on fundraising and are excited about both the black history museum and the potential for a Latino museum.

"Those are clearly challenges," she said. "They're more well-defined challenges. It's the ones that aren't that really take a lot of thinking and strategizing."

While it builds new museums, the Smithsonian also must upgrade and maintain its existing facilities.

On Monday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden also addressed the Smithsonian board for the first time at one of its regular meetings to underscore the importance of building the black history museum, Smithsonian officials said. His remarks were not open to reporters.

In February, construction is set to begin on the museum, the first addition to the National Mall since the 2004 opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. A ceremonial groundbreaking has been set for Feb. 22 for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, while fundraising continues for the project.

Springsteen to play New Orleans Jazz Fest

"The Boss" has been added to this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival lineup.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will perform April 29. It'll be Mr. Springsteen's first Jazz Fest appearance since 2006, when he took the stage with his Seeger Sessions project less than a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

Eddie Vedder and rapper Mystikal also have been added to the lineup. They join a previously announced roster that includes the Eagles, a reunion of the Beach Boys, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band and John Mayer, the Neville Brothers, Al Green, and My Morning Jacket.

Hundreds of acts will perform on roughly a dozen stages over two weekends from April 27 through May 6.

John Levy, first major black jazz manager, dies at 99

John Levy, the first prominent black personal manager in the jazz or pop music field, whose clients included Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis, has died at age 99.

Devra Hall Levy posted on his website that her husband died Friday in his sleep at his home in Altadena, Calif., less than three months before his 100th birthday.

An accomplished bassist, the New Orleans-born Levy performed with such jazz greats as Stuff Smith, Billie Holiday, Erroll Garner and Billy Taylor in the 1940s before joining pianist George Shearing's original quintet. In the early 1950s, he became Shearing's full-time manager and later went on to form his own management agency, John Levy Enterprises Inc.

Levy's client roster over the years numbered more than 85 artists, including Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal and Abbey Lincoln as well as comedian Arsenio Hall.

In 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Levy as a Jazz Master, the nation's highest jazz honor.

Rushdie video address scrapped after threats

A video address by British author Salman Rushdie to a book festival in India was scrapped on Tuesday after police warned that Islamic hard-liners in the crowd posed a security threat to the event.

According to Agence France-Presse, some Muslim groups had opposed the speech by video link because of alleged blasphemy in Mr. Rushdie's 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses," which remains banned in India.

Organizers of the Jaipur Literature Festival said police had advised them that Muslim activists were planning to disrupt the address as thousands of festivalgoers gathered to listen to Mr. Rushdie.

The Indian-born author, speaking from London after the cancellation, raged against Muslim extremists for misrepresenting their religion and against the Indian government for failing to stand up to the campaign against him.

"If this is the face of Islam that is going to take root in India then it is a very bad state of affairs," he told the NDTV news channel. "The government, the buck stops there.

"I will come to India many times, as I choose, to do what I will, and I not allow these religious gangsters and their cronies in the government to prevent me," he said.

Mr. Rushdie last week withdrew from a scheduled personal appearance at the event when Indian intelligence officials told him assassins from Mumbai were heading to Jaipur, though he said he now believed the plot was a fake.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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