- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jacko dates delayed

Michael Jackson’s representatives announced Wednesday that the elusive King of Pop will postpone several of his London comeback shows scheduled this summer, Associated Press reports.

The opening night at the 02 arena had been set for July 8 but will be moved back to July 13, promoters said. In addition, shows scheduled for July 10, 12 and 14 will instead be held in March 2010.

The delays are likely to fuel speculation that Mr. Jackson is suffering from health ailments that may curtail his comeback bid. However, Kenny Ortega, Mr. Jackson’s collaborator, says the change is needed to deliver a flawless production.

“We apologize to all disappointed Michael Jackson fans and remain extremely dedicated and focused on creating an exceptional live music experience,” he said. Promoters said anyone who chooses not to attend the rescheduled shows will be entitled to a full refund.

Mr. Jackson’s 50 shows are scheduled to kick off in July and stretch into March. The troubled pop singer has said the series, titled “This is It,” will be his last in the British capital.

Promoters said the tickets sold out within hours of becoming available.

Mr. Jackson, who has sold more than 750 million albums and won 13 Grammys, hasn’t undertaken a major tour since 1997 or released an album of new material since 2001.

The 50-year-old singer has been seen in public infrequently since he was acquitted of child molestation in California in 2005. He has struggled to pay his debts, and was forced last year to give up the deed to Neverland, his 2,500-acre ranch and miniature amusement park in California.

‘Ashes’ author ill

A publicist for Frank McCourt confirms the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Angela’s Ashes” has cancer, Associated Press reports.

Brian Belfiglio, a spokesman for the 78-year-old writer, says Mr. McCourt is being treated for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Mr. McCourt’s brother Malachy says reports that his brother is gravely ill are “exaggerated” and that the cancer is in remission. He says his brother is “a hearty fellow, and he’s survived worse than this.”

Molly Friedrich, Mr. McCourt’s agent, says the New York-born author was in the hospital about a month ago but is back home. She says he is “doing pretty well” and undergoing chemotherapy.

Mr. McCourt’s other books include ” ‘Tis” and “Teacher Man.”

Divorce turns nasty

Nas, one of the biggest and richest rappers around, reportedly doesn’t want to pay his estranged pregnant wife, Kelis, a penny in spousal support, TMZ.com reports.

Kelis, who’s weeks away from giving birth and unable to work, filed for divorce April 30. Nas has since filed his response and has asked the judge to deny her the spousal support and attorney fees she’s seeking.

The two want joint custody of their unborn child. Kelis cites “irreconcilable differences” for the divorce, but TMZ reports she believes her husband was unfaithful.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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