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Body found at Bond's Cottesloe mansion

Body found at Bond mansion

The body of a 57-year-old woman has been found at Alan Bond's Cottesloe home.
A police spokesman said officers were called to the two-storey house in Hawkestone Street at 11.35am.
The dead woman is believed to be Di Bliss, the wife of the former tycoon.
Neighbours report Mr Bond and Ms Bliss were living at the limestone mansion, owned by Fairoak Pty Ltd.
Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious.
A police spokeswoman would not confirm the identity of the dead woman and said her name would not be released until all next of kin had been notified.
She said police officers at the scene would conduct an inquiry for the coroner.
It is understood the woman's body was found in a swimming pool at the rear of the property.
A police spokeswoman said a person at the residence, believed to be Mr Bond, had called St John Ambulance.
Mr Bond married Ms Bliss in 1995 after divorcing his first wife Eileen Bond in 1992.
The couple returned to Perth in 2010 after living in London after the former high-flyer's release from jail in 2000.
Mr Bond's eldest daughter Susanne died in her Peppermint Grove home in 2000 after overdosing on morphine.
Alan Bond's Cottesloe house. Picture: Lee Griffith

Di Bliss and Alan Bond on their wedding day in 1995.

Police confirm Alan Bond's wife dead

Updated January 29, 2012 
WA police have confirmed they are investigating the death of the wife of high-profile businessman Alan Bond.
The body of 57-year-old Diana Gweneth Bond, more widely known as Diana Bliss, was found at her Cottesloe home in Perth late on Saturday morning.
It is understood Mr Bond found her body and called police.
Police have refused to release further details but say the circumstances surrounding her death are not suspicious.
Mr Bond married Ms Bliss, a theatre producer, in 1995 after divorcing his first wife Eileen Bond in 1992.
The 73-year-old, who is known for one of the biggest corporate collapses in Australian history, was declared bankrupt in 1992. In 1997 he served four years in prison for fraud.
After a 19-year absence from the nation's rich list, Mr Bond resurfaced in 2008 with a personal fortune estimated to be worth $265 million.
3AW entertainment reporter Peter Ford paid tribute to her on Twitter.
"Diana Bliss was a gifted woman and lover of the arts but sadly also a deeply troubled woman who did try to get help," he tweeted.
"Close friends had been seriously worried for some time.
"Even the best medical and psychological help here and overseas couldn't save her.
"Money doesn't buy happiness is the old cliche, and true, but also mental health issues know no boundaries of class, fame or beauty."
Ms Bliss stood by her husband during his jail sentence, making regular trips to prison to visit him.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Body at Bond mansion believed to be his wife, Diana Bliss

Alan Bond and Diana Bliss
Alan Bond and Diana Bliss on their wedding day in 1996. Picture: Michael Perini HWT Image Library
  • by:Nicole Cox 
  • From:PerthNow 
  • January 28, 2012
  • Alan Bonds house
    GOOGLE EARTH: The Cottesloe house. 
    THE body of a woman, believed to be the wife of former high-flying businessman Alan Bond, has been found at a home in the Perth beachside suburb of Cottesloe.
    It is understood the body of Diana Bliss, 57, was discovered at the luxury two-storey Hawkstone St property after a man telephoned St John Ambulance about 11.30am.
    It is unclear if it was Mr Bond who raised the alarm. Police have ruled out suspicious circumstances.
    Two police cars are currently at the scene along with two detectives.
    Mr Bond, 73, flagged a permanent return to WA from London when he attended the Fremantle Maritime Museum in 2008 to mark the 25th anniversary on Australia II's Americas Cup win, and since then the couple have been dividing their time between Perth and London.
    Mr Bond moved to the United Kingdom following his release from Karnet Prison Farm in March 2000.
    Bliss stood by the fallen magnate when he served time for fraud and they married in Sydney in 1995.
    Asked if he was home for good in January 2010, Mr Bond said from a window at the same property: "I'm not doing any interviews, thank you very much."
    Police are refusing to confirm whether or not the deceased woman was Ms Bliss because all her family has yet to be notified.
    The title for 4 Hawkstone St reveals the property is a 726 sq m block, and that it was last bought in 1992 for $425,000 by the Bond family trust, Fairoak Pty Ltd.
    No one from the Bond home was available to comment.
    Sue Parks, a publicist for the Bond family, said: "The family don't want to make any statement at this moment".
    Alan Bond could not immediately be reached for comment.
    It is understood Ms Bliss had been unwell for sometime, even before the couple returned to Australia in late December.
    If you want help with any personal problems, please contact one of these helplines:
    Lifeline (24 hours): 13 11 14
    Kids Helpline (under 18 years): 1800 55 1800
    Just Ask (rural mental health): 1300 13 11 14
    Mensline Australia (24 hours): 1300 78 99 78
    SANE Helpline: 1800 18 SANE (7263)
    Bond discovered body of his 'beautiful wife' in their home pool
    January 30, 2012 

    Alan Bond with his wife Diana Bliss.
    Alan Bond with his wife Diana Bliss. Photo: Sharon Smith

    THE body of Alan Bond's wife, Diana Bliss, was found by her husband in the swimming pool of their beachside mansion in the Perth suburb of Cottesloe, a source has confirmed.
    While there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the 57-year-old at the weekend, a police spokeswoman said the Coronial Investigation Unit would prepare a report on the death.
    A distressed-looking Mr Bond, who was married to his second wife for 17 years, spoke briefly yesterday after attending a church service. He was still struggling with the news. ''It's so new … I lost my beautiful wife.''

    Read more:
    Body at Bond mansion believed to be his wife, Diana Bliss

    Allan Bond's Super Pit‘The most amazing thing that happened in my lifetime is Alan Bond buying up all the leases that became the Super Pit.

    Bond saw open cut was needed, started it and it grew and grew. It was the inevitable finish of the single operations.

    I remember when it was scattered all over with small companies running their own mines and they were all battling.’
    (Charles (Digger) Daws, former president Boulder Shire Council, interviewed, aged 87, in the Kalgoorlie Miner, December 1994)

    ‘He (Bond) had almost pieced together the jigsaw of leases which were in separate hands for nearly a century. It was now possible to operate a gigantic and ever-descending super pit, in which massive equipment could tear out the old underground workings and the unmined gold in between.’
    (From The Rush That Never Ended by Geoffrey Blainey)

    This was the origin of the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s famous landmark that will eventually stretch 3.8 kilometres long, 1.5km wide and go down to a depth of more than 600m. What had once been the Golden Mile, was named the Fimiston Open Pit, which in turn has become commonly known as the Super Pit.

    Where small operations had once controlled the famous Golden Mile, WA businessman Alan Bond started buying up the individual leases to create one big company and one big pit, from which gold could be extracted at far less cost.

    Bond's company failed to complete the takeover but, in 1989, the entire area was combined. Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd (KCGM) was formed to manage the assets and operations of joint venture partners, Normandy Australia and Homestake Gold of Australia Limited.

    For the first time, all leases and infrastructure of the Golden Mile, Mt Charlotte (and Mt Percy to the north) had been brought together. Significant changes – the most since gold was first discovered in Kalgoorlie by Paddy Hannan in 1893 – occurred. It was now possible to mine far more economically for gold and continue the harvest of the Golden Mile, which has produced nearly 50 million ounces of gold since the days of Hannan.

    More recently, the joint venture partners have changed and KCGM manages the operation for Newmont Australia Limited and Barrick Gold of Australia Ltd. Their ownership includes the Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit), Mt Charlotte Underground Mine, Fimiston Mill and Gidji Roaster.

    KCGM produces up to 800,000 ounces of gold every year and its operation far outweighs any other mining centre in Australia. The Super Pit is the biggest gold open pit mine in the country.

    The company’s operations ensure Australia holds its place, behind South Africa and the USA, as the third biggest gold producer in the world.

    Where it is?
    KCGM’s operation is at the south-east corner of the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, which is about 600kms east of Perth, capital city of Western Australia.

    What it once was?
    The Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit) has swallowed up pits named: Judd, South, Paringa, Croesus/Eclipse, Central, Brownhill, Drysdale, Morrison, North and Horseshoe.

    Other shafts located within the current Super Pit included Main, Croesus, Chaffers, Lake View and Perseverance.

    Who owns it?
    KCGM Pty Ltd manages the assets for joint venture partners, Newmont Australia Limited and Barrick Gold of Australia Ltd.

    What’s produced?
    Up to 800,000 ounces of gold a year are produced from the Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit) and Mt Charlotte.

    Work hours?
    The Super Pit is mined 24 hours a day, every day of the year. 

    Bigger than Texas 1992 
    Click on the above link to see video clip

    Curator’s clip description

    Archival footage shows Perth’s celebrations when Perth businessman Alan Bond’s yacht wins the Americas Cup. In a speech at the launch of his book about Bond, journalist Paul Barry comments on the rise and fall of a national icon.

    Curator’s notes

    Western Australia’s need for a hero and the environment of corporate excess in the 1980s created Alan Bond. He became a national hero when his yacht won the Americas Cup. He bought the Nine Network and borrowed excessive money. His downfall was as spectacular as his rise. He was found guilty of fraud and fell from favour.

    John Curtin Foundation gathering Left to right, rear: Denis Cullity, John Horgan,Alan BondLaurie Connell, Ric Stowe, James McCusker, Rod Evans; Front: Kevin Parry, prime minister Bob Hawke, state premier Brian BurkeJohn Roberts and former Perth lord mayor Ernest Lee-Steere

    WA Inc

    WA Inc was a political scandal in Western Australia. In the 1980s, the state government, which was led for much of the period by premier Brian Burke, engaged in business dealings with several prominent businessmen, including Alan BondLaurie Connell and Warren Anderson. These dealings resulted in a loss of public money, estimated at a minimum of $600 million and the insolvency of several large corporations.
    Bond and Connell were major contributors to the party in government, the Australian Labor Party and its remarkable fundraising structure, the John Curtin Foundation.[1] A royal commission (the Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government and Other Matters) was established in 1990 by Labor premier Carmen Lawrence to examine the dealings.
    Connell alleged [in evidence to the Commission] that Hawke dropped a proposed gold tax after Connell and various Perth high-flyers donated $250,000 each to Labor during an infamous lunch in Brian Burke's office in 1987 -- a claim the former PM vigorously denied. Burke's loyalty to those who had donated their efforts (and money) to Labor was no less fervent. Taking the John Curtin Foundation axiom to the next level, Burke created the West Australian Development Corporation and installed fellow Catholic John Horgan (pictured second from left, top) on $800,000 a year, an extraordinary figure for a public servant not only then but now.
    —Journalist Tony Barrass, [1]
    In 1991, political scientist Paddy O'Brien identified the members of the government most associated with WA Inc deals as premier Burke and his successor Peter Dowding, deputy premier David Parker, industrial development minister Julian Grill and attorney-generalJoe Berinson.[2]:p132

    Corporate failures

    As an outcome of questionable business practices, precipitated by the 1987 stock market crash, several major businesses based in Perth found themselves in difficulties and ultimately went into bankruptcy. These included:
    • Rothwells. Described as a merchant bank owned by Connell, but more accurately known in business circles as a 'lender of last resort', Rothwells had built up a stable of businesses it had acquired during the 1980s through aggressive takeovers. In October 1987, investors made a run on the bank and it had to close its doors. Burke, on behalf of the government, provided a $150 million government guarantee. Connell had previously been the adviser to the 1983 government purchase of Northern Mining from Bond Corporation for between $7 and $12 million over value but, as Burke knew at the time and concealed from parliament, Connell was also acting for Bond Corporation.
    • Bell Group, Robert Holmes à Court's flagship company, encountered a cash crisis and Bond Corporation and the government, through the state Government Employees Superannuation Board (GESB), acquired major stakes in the business, allowing Holmes à Court to walk away with $350 million.
    A proposed petrochemical plant was to be built as a joint venture between Laurie Connell and Dallas Dempster, both being businessmen with close government connections. $100,000 was outlaid as a deposit on a block of land at Kwinana but otherwise the proposal did not proceed beyond designs and stood as a basis for extravagant fund-raising, loans, collateral transactions, development of proposed plant, management fees to Bond Corporation and, eventually, was sold for $400 million —$175 million being provided by a government agency, WA Government Holdings

    Losses incurred by the government

    The government had lent large sums of money, offered financial guarantees and acquired assets at inflated prices. Because of the connections between many of the deals and cross-ownership of businesses involved, it is difficult to say precisely where the government's fault started and ended. A minimum loss to the state of $600M has been reported.[1] 
    In 1991, barrister Bevan Lawrence published what he regarded as a conservative itemisation of the government's actual losses. The figures are summarised as follows:
    Rothwells and Petrochemicals Plant $408 million
    Purchase of Bell Group shares from Robert Holmes à Court $155 million
    Unlisted bonds purchased from Holmes à Court, later assessed as having no value $140 million
    Westralia Square (Perth Technical College site redevelopment)[3][4] $74 million
    Central Park property redevelopment $100 million
    Grand total[5]:p389 $877 million

    The royal commission

    On 19 November 1990, Carmen Lawrence, the then Labor premier, announced her government's intention to hold a royal commission to "inquire into certain matters". This decision followed more than a year of strong public advocacy by the activist group, People for Fair and Open Government[6] headed by the premier's brother, barrister Bevan Lawrence, Professor Emeritus Martyn Webb and prominent political scientist Paddy O'Brien. O'Brien edited The Burke Ambush, subtitled Corporatism and Society in Western Australia, which was the first substantial exposé of Burke's pro-corporate government—a collection of articles by himself and other Western Australian writers, including Hal Colebatch, Robert Bennett, Joseph Poprzeczny, John Hyde, Paul Nichols, Michael McKinley, Anthony Dale and Tom Herzfeld.[7]
    The commission of three was headed by Geoffrey Kennedy and joined by Sir Ronald Wilson and Peter Brinsden, with a brief "To inquire into and report" whether there had been "corruption, illegal conduct, improper conduct, or bribery" on the part of any person or corporation in the "affairs, investment decisions and business dealings of the Government of Western Australia or its agencies".

    Main findings

    After approximately 21 months of enquiries and hearings, the commission's final report began:
    1.1.1 The Commission has found conduct and practices on the part of certain persons involved in government in the period from 1983 to 1989 which were such as to place our governmental system at risk. Unfortunately, some of that conduct and some of those practices were peculiar to Western Australia; but there is no reason to believe that many of the fundamental questions raised by our inquiry were unique to this period or to this State. On the contrary, as detailed studies in other States and overseas clearly demonstrate, they have been raised elsewhere as a consequence of events similar to those which we have experienced.
    1.1.2 Some ministers elevated personal or party advantage over their constitutional obligation to act in the public interest. The decision to lend Government support to the rescue of Rothwells in October 1987 was principally that of Mr Burke as Premier. Mr Burke's motives in supporting the rescue were not related solely to proper governmental concerns. They derived in part from his well-established relationship with Mr Connell, the chairman and major shareholder of Rothwells, and from his desire to preserve the standing of the Australian Labor Party in the eyes of those sections of the business community from which it had secured much financial support.
    1.1.3 Subsequently, Mr Dowding, as Premier, presided over a disastrous series of decisions designed to support Rothwells when it was or should have been clear to him and to those ministers closely involved that Rothwells was no longer a viable financial institution. This culminated in the decision to involve the Government, through WAGH, in the Kwinana petrochemical project as a means of removing the Government's contingent liability for certain of the debts of Rothwells. Electoral advantage was preferred to the public interest.
    1.1.4 Personal associations and the manner in which electoral contributions were obtained could only create the public perception that favour could be bought, that favour would be done.[8]:p.22
    In an earlier finding, the commission had summarised:
    [The Government was not entitled] to risk the public resources of the State without its actions being subjected to critical scrutiny and review. Effective accountability was a casualty of its entrepreneurial zeal. Influence in the conduct of this State's public affairs was captured by a small group of self-interested businessmen.[9]:p.10

    Summary of main issues[10]

    Report Volume I
    The natural gas sales agreements entered into by the State Energy Commission of Western Australia for the purchase of natural gas from the North West Shelf Joint Venturers
    The contracts relating to the Dampier to Perth natural gas pipeline project
    Financial assistance by Government to Bunbury Foods Limited
    Government Employees Superannuation Board (formerly the Superannuation Board) involvement in the Halls Head development
    Report Volume II
    Government Employees Superannuation Board (formerly the Superannuation Board) involvement in the Fremantle Anchorage development
    The acquisition of Northern Mining Corporation NL in 1983
    The Burswood Island Casino
    The sale of the Midland Abattoir site in 1986
    Report Volume III
    Purchase of the Fremantle Gas and Coke Company by the State Energy Commission of Western Australia in 1986
    Swan Building Society
    Teachers' Credit Society
    Report Volume IV
    The rescue of Rothwells Limited; the immediate aftermath of the rescue and continuing liquidity problems
    SGIC's acquisition of shares in BHP Limited
    Rothwells from mid November 1987 to early April 1988
    SGIC's acquisition of shares in the Bell Group Limited and subsequent NCSC investigations
    The Kwinana petrochemical project to the signing of the memorandum of understanding
    Report Volume V
    The Kwinana petrochemical project to the settlement on 17 October 1988
    Events from the PICL settlements to the liquidation of Rothwells
    Conclusions on Rothwells-related matters
    Central City property transactions entered into from 1984 onwards by the Western Australian Development Corporation, the Government Employees Superannuation Board (formerly the Superannuation Board) and the State Government Insurance Commission]
    Report Volume VI
    Allegations of bribery with respect to planning decisions in the City of Stirling for Observation City
    Other allegations arising from the trial of Robert Mark Smith and Robert Paul Martin held in the District Court of Western Australia before His Honour Judge Keall and a jury in October 1990, including those with respect to surveillance activities
    The adequacy of the police investigation of the matters referred to in chapters 23 and 24
    Political donations

    Costs and outcomes

    The royal commission cost $30 million, including $12.5 million in witness costs. Of the latter, $3.6 million funded Burke's own legal fees ($1.71 million) and those of David Parker ($1.92 million).
    Burke and his predecessor, the Liberal premier Ray O'Connor ultimately served prison sentences as a result of convictions which arose from findings of the commission. The premier immediately after Burke, Peter Dowding, and public servant Len Brush were both found to have acted improperly.

Alan Bond (businessman)

Alan Bond, entrepreneur and businessman

Alan Bond was born in Hammersmith, London, on April 22 1938 and emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1950. In 1959 Alan formed the Bond Corporation, opening the way for a new style of international entrepreneur; acquiring companies and using his drive and innovation to build them into world class corporations.

Alan's natural flair for business soon became evident and the Bond portfolio grew steadily from property to mining into broadcasting and on into telecommunications. He was voted Australian of the year in 1978 and became a national hero in 1983 when he brought home the Americas Cup which had been held by the US since 1851.

Since then, Alan's drive and energy have resulted in a long list of some of the most prestigious business ventures around and he continues to lead the way in opening up new opportunities in mining and investment. 

Setting the record straight:

by Alan Bond 
$Buy Now 

 Americas Cup

One of the world's greatest sporting prizes brought home by Alan Bond...

Alan Bond was voted Australian of the year in 1983 when his team won the Americas Cup...

Alan Bond today

Business interests

Alan's extensive business interests include; Global Diamond Resources •Strategic Investments • World Gold Corporation • Madagascar Oil • Lucky Country Liquorice • Bond Energy • Bond Media • Chile Telco 

Lippo Centre in Hong Kong, 1987. Bought by Alan Bond.
Alan Bond (born 22 April 1938) is an Australian businessman noted for his criminal convictions and high-profile business dealings, including what was at the time the biggest corporate collapse in Australian history. Bond was born in the Hammersmith district ofLondonEngland, and emigrated to Australia with his parents and sister Geraldine in 1950. Beginning his career as a signwriter, he formed what was to be Bond Corporation in 1959. He became a public hero in his adopted country after bankrolling challenges for an international Yacht racing trophy, the America's Cup, which resulted in his selection in 1978 as Australian of the Year (awarded jointly with Galarrwuy Yunupingu). In 1983, hisAustralia II syndicate won the trophy, which had been held by the New York Yacht Clubsince 1851.
In 1992, Bond was declared bankrupt with personal debts totalling A$1.8 billion. He was subsequently convicted of fraud and served four years in prison. Following release, he became active in mining investment, and was included in Business Review Weekly's "Rich 200 List" in 2008. But this apparent success soon proved to be hollow and built on speculative investments by associates, one of whom, in December 2010, described Bond as "a master manipulator who should be stopped before he does any more damage to anyone."
The Perth-based Bond made his fortune initially in property development and at one time was one of Australia's most prominent businesspeople. In 1970 he bought three America's Cup bid yachts from Sir Frank Packer. He later extended his business interests into other fields including brewing (he controlled Castlemaine Tooheys and G. Heileman Brewing Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA), gold miningtelevision, and airships. Australia's first private university, Bond University, bears his name.
He purchased QTQ-9Brisbane and settled an outstanding defamation dispute the station had with the Queensland premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen by paying out A$400,000. He said in a television interview several years later that he paid because "Sir Joh left no doubt that if we were going to continue to do business successfully in Queensland then he expected the matter to be resolved".
In 1987, Bond purchased Vincent Van Gogh's renowned painting, Irises, for $54 million—the highest-ever price for a single painting. However the purchase was funded by a substantial loan from the auctioneer, Sotheby's, which Bond failed to repay. The transaction was criticised by art dealers as possibly a manipulated sale designed to artificially inflate values generally (which it seems to have done).[3] The painting was subsequently re-sold in 1990 to theJ. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.[4]
Also in 1987, he built and developed the Bond Center in Hong Kong. It was later bought by the Lippo group of Indonesia and is now known as the Lippo Centre, Hong Kong.

Purchasing the Nine Network

In 1987 he paid $1 billion for the Australia-wide Channel Nine television network from Kerry Packer's PBL. In a 2003 interview with Andrew Denton, Bond described the negotiations as follows:
"...when we first sat down, we said, 'We're either going to sell our stations to you for $400 million, or you're going to sell your stations to us.' And he said, 'Well, I don't really want to sell my stations.' And I said, 'Oh, is that right?' So, anyway, after much discussion, Kerry thumped the table and said, 'Listen, if you can pay me $1 billion, I'll sell them to you, otherwise bugger off...' then I rang the National Australia Bank. I said, 'Look, I'm in discussions here to buy these television stations. Kerry will sell to me, and what I want to do is put our stations together and then, with Sky Channel, I'm going to float it off as a separate entity and raise the capital to pay for it... [Packer] said $1 billion [was his asking price], but I think I'll get it for $800 million...' [The bank manager] duly rang back and said yes. I said, 'Thank God. I'll go and have some further negotiations with Kerry,' which I did. And true to his word, he never budged one penny off it. So I settled the deal with $800 million and a $200 million note. So he put his own $200 million in. So I had $1 billion. And we put our other two stations up as collateral, which were worth probably $400 million."[5]
Bond later ended up selling the network back to PBL in 1990 for $700 million in the midst of his business empire collapsing. Packer was quoted as saying "You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime, and I've had mine".[5]


In 1992 Bond was declared bankrupt with personal debts totalling A$1.8 billion. In 1995 Bond's family bought him out of bankruptcy, with creditors accepting a payment of A$12 million, a little over half a cent per dollar. In 1997 Bond was sentenced to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to using his controlling interest in Bell Resources to deceptively siphon off A$1.2 billion into the coffers of Bond Corporation. The funds were used to shore up the cash resources of the ailing Bond Corporation, which spectacularly collapsed, leaving Bell Resources in a precarious situation. Bond was released in 2000, having served four years in prison at Karnet Prison Farm.[6]

Return to investment activities

In 2003, Bond was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame. Since 2003, Bond has worked closely with his son Craig and long-time business partner Robert Quinn through Strategic Investments Ltd.[7][8] Since 2004, interests related to the Bond family have held a block of shares in Madagascar Oil, a business he co-founded with Sam Malin and Robert Nelson, of which the acting chief executive officer is Robert Quinn's son-in-law, J. Laurie Hunter. Interests related to the Bond family also control Global Diamond Resources plc (formerly Lesotho Diamond Corporation) which is developing the Kao diamond pipe in the Kingdom of Lesotho. In 2007, the Federal Court rejected an attempt by Bond to sue freelance journalist Paul Barry over an article Barry wrote about his dealings in Africa with the Lesotho Diamond Company.[9] Bond had claimed that the article had several false statements. In 2008 Bond appealed but this, too, was rejected by the same court which found Mr Bond's claims had no reasonable prospects of success.[10]
In 2008, Bond made a return to the Business Review Weekly's "Rich 200 List", in 157th spot, with an estimated wealth of $265 million—thanks primarily to his stakes in Madagascar Oil and Global Diamond Resources.[11]


Bond was born on 22 April 1938, the son of Frank and Kathleen Bond, both Protestants,[12] in the Hammersmith district of London, England. At the age of 12, he emigrated to Australia with his parents and his 18-month older sister Geraldine in 1950.[13]
In 1955 he married Eileen Hughes, a member of a prominent Catholic business family in Fremantle. She and Bond were both 17 and she was pregnant at the time. Bond converted to catholicism after the marriage.[12] The Bonds had four children: John, Craig, Susanne and Jody. Bond and Eileen divorced in 1992.[14] Susanne died in 2000 from a suspected accidental overdose of prescription medication. She was an equestrian showjumper who was a member of the Australian showjumping team for seven years.[15]
In 1995 Bond married Diana Bliss, a public relations consultant and theatre producer.[16] On 28 January 2012, Bliss was found dead in the couple's swimming pool.[17]

Robert Holmes à Court

Michael Robert Hamilton Holmes à Court (27 July 1937, JohannesburgSouth Africa – 2 September 1990, PerthWestern Australia) was an entrepreneur who became Australia's first businessman worth over a billion dollars before dying suddenly of a heart attack in 1990.
Holmes à Court was one of the world's most feared corporate raiders through the 1980s, having built his empire single-handedly from virtually nothing to a diversified resources and media group with an estimated worth prior to the 1987 stockmarket crash of about $2 billion. Shareholders in the company that became his flagship, 'Bell Resources', enjoyed enormous investment growth.
He died of a sudden heart attack in 1990 at the age of 53. As he had died intestate, Holmes à Court's estate was divided equally among his widow Janet (née Ranford), and their four children.

Early life and studies

Holmes à Court was born in Johannesburg but spent much of his early life in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He was educated atMichaelhouse, in what was then NatalSouth Africa. Holmes à Court began his tertiary studies in 1957, at Massey University in New Zealand. He graduated with a degree in agricultural science (forestry). He then moved to Perth, Western Australia in 1961, to study lawat the University of Western Australia. In 1966, he married science teacher Janet Ranford. Holmes à Court formed a law practice in Perth in 1967, in partnership with Nicholas Hasluck 

Business career

Holmes à Court entered the corporate stage by accident in 1970, when his law firm was asked to act as receiver of a small publicly listed company, Western Australian Worsted & Woollen Mills (later Albany Woollen Mills, also known as AWM or WA Wool). The company was the single largest employer in the regional city of Albany. In what he later described as his most challenging "takeover", probably because it was his first, he found a way to invest $500,000 in the ailing business, on the proviso that the state Minister for Industry, Sir Charles Court, would persuade the Government of Western Australia to forgive the $500,000 in loans they had made.
While at Michaelhouse School, Holmes à Court was reputed to be a contemporary of and apparently friendly with members of the Oppenheimer family, but in fact this is incorrect; none of the Oppenheimers attended Michaelhouse but went to school in the UK. Since Oppenheimer controlled the giant de Beers diamond and gold mining business they would have had ample funds to finance Holmes à Court should they have wished. In fact, after Holmes à Court's death it was suggested in various of his obituaries that the Oppenheimers did in fact provide sources of finance at various times, and this seems very possible. Alternatively, Holmes à Court's mother appears to have inherited a comfortable amount of money on her husband's and Holmes à Court's father's death, and so she may have provided some funding, although there is no evidence that she did.
After acquiring the company, Holmes à Court made it more competitive by reducing production costs, mainly by installing the latest wool milling and weaving machinery. This was acquired on favourable terms from a leading Belgian equipment manufacturer, which was keen to enter the Australian market at that time.
Holmes à Court now controlled a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, and from there he began to gain control of a string of small businesses, including Westate Electrical Industries.
Robert was also a prominent member of the Racing Community and owner of one of Western Australia's premier studs, Heytesbury Stud.
Together with Racing Manager, Valerie Gannon, he enjoyed great success with Thoroughbreds such as Black Knight, Haulpak, Pago Pago and Family of Man.

The Bell Group

In 1973, Holmes à Court's AWM acquired Bell Brothers, a well known West Australian transport and contracting group, for $9.6 million, through a reverse takeover. Bell brothers would ultimately become his flagship company as Bell Resources.
Bell acquired media interests including the Albany Advertiser, the Katanning weekly, the Great Southern Herald, the Collie Mail and radio station 6VA. It also made unsuccessful bids for companies such as Griffin CoalGreenbushes Tin and Emu Wines. These bids, while unsuccessful, earned significant profits mainly by aggressive defences from owners resulting in inflated share prices held by the bidder.
In 1977, Holmes à Court's brother Simon disappeared in mysterious circumstances in Africa[1]. His abandoned car was found more than 1000 km from his home and where he was last seen in Botswana. Author Geoff Elliott wrote a book about the disappearance.[2]
During 1979, Bell made an unsuccessful bid for Ansett Transport Industries but was defeated by Rupert Murdoch and roadfreight groupTNT. However, a profit of $11 million was made by Bell for future bids.
Bell Group made an unsuccessful bid for The Times in 1980, and at the same time launched a new Perth newspaper, the Western Mail, challenging the The Herald and Weekly Times (H&WT) which owned the West Australian. By the end of 1980, Bell Resources had accumulated cash reserves of $100 million.
In 1981, it made a bid for Elders Goldsborough Mort for $120 million bid and failed, but earned a profit of $16.5 million on the deal.
During 1982, Bell took stakes in Rolls Royce and Portland Cement and made an unsuccessful bid for the H&WT group. Later that year it acquired Perth television station TVW-7.
Bell subsequently acquired a television station in Adelaide and a handful of small regional radio stations.
Unsuccessful bids were made for Carlton & United Breweries and Elders IXL but as usual, Holmes à Court's strategic corporate planning let him walk away with a profit.
In 1983, Bell bought Perth mining equipment company Wigmores, and was renamed Bell Resources.
Through the ACC group, Bell gained control of Bass Strait oil and gas explorer, Weeks Petroleum which owned a 2.5% royalty share in the Esso-BHP consortium.
In 1985, Bell acquired 13% of U.S. mining company Asarco for $140 million and made an unsuccessful bid for Perth utility Fremantle Gas & Coke. In 1982 it acquired Lord Grade's UK-based Associated Communications Corporation (ACC),[3] and then sold off ACC's stake in Central Independent Television and ATV Music publishing interests, including Northern Songs, a company set up by The Beatles to control copyright of their music. ATV Music Publishing was bought by Michael Jackson, and as part of the deal, Holmes à Court persuaded Jackson to make a brief visit to Perth, in order to appear on Channel 7's annual Telethon[4][5]
Also in 1985, Bell Resources made its biggest and most daring bid to date for control of resources and steelmaking giant BHP, which was Australia's largest company. Before the deal was finalised the following year, Elders IXL took a 20% stake in BHP, for $2 billion. In turn, BHP purchased $1 billion of Elders preference shares. The deal later resulted in action against Elders executives, including chairman John Elliott by the corporate regulator.
Bell acted as a "white knight" in defeating a £1.9 billion hostile bid from Lloyds Bank for its competitor Standard Chartered Bank.
In 1987, Bell purchased a stake in Pioneer Concrete and made a second unsuccessful bid for the H&WT group. The bid went to takeover competitor Rupert Murdoch for $1.8 billion. Bell took ownership of The West Australian, Perth's main daily newspaper. Bell also spent US$800 million, to acquire 9.6% of Texaco stock.
By the time of the October 1987 international stockmarket crash, Bell Group — like many investment companies — had accumulated assets that were valuable but not generating revenue sufficient to cover debts. Holmes à Court's family company, Heytesbury Holdings, at the time owned 43% of Bell Group, which in turn owned 40% of the cash rich Bell Resources. However, Bell Resources was not able to buy its parent, due to share raids being made on Bell Resources by Kerry PackerAdelaide Steamship Company (under John Spalvins) and IEL (Ron Brierley). Merrill Lynch withdrew its $1 billion line of credit facility, meaning that the parent couldn't acquire its subsidiary and thereby access the money.

Holmes à Court initially disposed of some Perth properties before accepting a joint takeover by Bond Corporation and the State Government Insurance Commission (SGIC), in which both parties took a 19.9% stake in Bell Group. Holmes a Court retained 6% of Bell Group and received $340 million from the sale. Bond Corp was subsequently forced to bid for other shares in Bell with the result that it ended up with a majority shareholding of 68% of Bell Group. Bond Corp then proceeded to strip $500 million from Bell Resources in an effort to prop up its own debts. The asset stripping included transferring cash from Bell Resources for its own purposes (thus breaching the company code and ultimately sending its chairman Alan Bond to jail), transfer of ownership of newspaper holdings into Bond Media and disposal of certain assets including TVW-7.
During 1988, Holmes à Court concentrated on the rebuilding and expansion of his Heytesbury subsidiaries acquiring Stoll Moss Theatres in London, Sherwin Pastoral Co (owner of vast cattle stations in Northern Australia), and the Vasse Felix winery in Margaret River.
In 1989, Heytesbury bought the Victoria River Downs and major Sherwin Pastoral Co cattle and pastoral stations. Holmes à Court also traded in Jaguar stock, as well as Christies and New Zealand media group Wilson & Horton.
During 1990, Bond Corporation announced a record $980m loss and Elders IXL followed with an announcement of a $1.3 billion loss. Bond Corporation entered a scheme of arrangement in 1991, with receivers taking charge of Bell Group and Bell Resources.

Events after his death

Heytesbury Holdings continues as one of the largest private companies in Australia. Janet Holmes à Court ran Heytesbury from the time of her husband's death until 2005, when she retired. She was, at one time, Australia's richest woman. The couple's eldest son,Peter Holmes à Court, is now a major investor and entrepreneur in his own right, after divesting himself of his share of Heytesbury, reported as A$35 million.[6] Peter Holmes à Court along with Russell Crowe is the 75.8% owner of National Rugby League club South Sydney Rabbitohs. Another son, Paul Holmes à Court has since taken over as chief executive. Robert Holmes à Court's other children are Simon (married, with four children) and Catherine.
Robert and Janet Holmes à Court had 12 grandchildren by 2005, according to an interview with her.[7] The eldest son Peter (b. 1968) is currently heir presumptive to his distant cousin, the 7th Baron Heytesbury (b. 1967).


Katherine Jackson
© Charles Dharapak/AP
Katherine Jackson

More on Wonderwall: Photos of Jackson's final days

Judge backs Michael Jackson lawyer and friend>1=28102
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Jackson's longtime attorney and a family friend should take over the pop singer's estate, a judge said Monday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued his ruling after a court hearing Monday morning. Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain had been designated in Jackson's 2002 will as the people he wanted to administer his estate.

Jackson died June 25, deeply in debt. But a court filing estimates that his estate will be worth more than $500 million.

The singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, had applied to oversee her son's estate, but that was before the will surfaced. Her attorney, Burt Levitch, expressed concerns about McClain and Branca's financial leadership.

Levitch told Beckloff that Branca had previously been removed from financial positions of authority by Jackson. Branca's attorney says he was rehired by Jackson on June 17, days before Jackson's death.

Katherine Jackson did not appear at Monday's hearing. Branca did attend.

Related: Jackson and mother Katherine had unbreakable bond

Branca and McClain will have to post a $1 million bond on the estate, Beckloff ruled.

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

Sahel Kazemi.
 (The Tennessean / Associated Press)

Steve McNair played 13 NFL seasons.(Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Relative: Police suspect GF was McNair shooter

Updated: July 6, 2009, 5:30 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - As police continued to investigate the Steve McNair homicide case, a relative of the woman found shot to death next to McNair claims police have told him they are almost sure 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi was the shooter, and that Kazemi purchased a gun in the past week.

Farzin Abdi, Kazemi's nephew, didn't know what day of the week the gun was purchased or what type of gun it was.

Nashville police didn't immediately have a reaction to the Abdi's comments.

"There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this," Abdi said. "She was so happy. ... She just had it made, you know, (with) this guy taking care of everything."

Abdi said Kazemi believed McNair was divorcing his wife and she was preparing to sell her furniture to move in with him.

Shot twice in the head and two more times in the chest, McNair was the victim of a homicide, police declared Sunday. But authorities wouldn't say it was a murder-suicide — even with Kazemi dead at his feet from a single bullet.

McNair had been dating Saleh Kazemi for several months, and Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said Sunday that a semiautomatic pistol was found under her body. She was shot in the head.

McNair, who was married with four sons, had a permit to carry a handgun in Tennessee, and he was arrested once before with a 9mm weapon although charges in the case were dropped. Police said they had not yet determined who owned the gun found at the scene.

Investigators weren't looking for a suspect but were questioning friends of the couple as well as Kazemi's ex-boyfriend. They were also waiting for results of drug and other laboratory tests before deciding whether McNair was killed in a lovers' quarrel.

"That's a very important part of the investigation as we work to ultimately classify Miss Kazemi's death," Aaron said.

A public memorial and viewings are scheduled later this week for McNair.

The public will have a couple of opportunities to attend viewings in Nashville on Thursday and a memorial will be held later that evening at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

A funeral will be held Saturday in Mississippi but arrangements are not yet final.

Fans are asked to make donations to the Steve McNair Foundation.

The details surfacing after McNair's death stand in stark contrast to the public persona he enjoyed during his career.

McNair repeatedly played through serious injuries and pain to win, though he came up a yard short of forcing overtime on the Tennessee Titans' famous drive to lose the 2000 Super Bowl.

Generous, he frequently took part in charity work for both the Titans and later the Baltimore Ravens after a 2006 trade. McNair even helped load donated food, water and clothes onto tractor-trailers that he had arranged for Hurricane Katrina victims, and paid for three football camps for children himself this year.

McNair and Kazemi were found dead at a Nashville condominium — which overlooks the Titans stadium — that he rented with his friend Wayne Neeley. Police believe both died early Saturday. Neeley found the bodies hours later, and called a friend, Robert Gaddy, who played at Alcorn State with McNair. Gaddy dialed 911.

"People have certain things that they do in life," Gaddy said. "We don't need to look on the situation at this time (but) on the fact we just lost a great member of society."

The quarterback's agent, Bus Cook, said he had never heard Kazemi's name until news of the shooting broke Saturday. What McNair's wife knew wasn't clear Sunday. Cook said Mechelle McNair was "in and out of it." He said she had no comment after the police called his death a homicide.

"It doesn't make any sense. I don't know what to say," Cook said.

Mechelle was "very upset, very distraught" Sunday, Cook said. She was preparing to finish funeral arrangements Monday.

McNair split his time between Nashville and his farm in Mount Olive, Miss. He recently opened a restaurant near Tennessee State University that was aimed at serving healthy, affordable food to college students.

McNair was also seen so often at Kazemi's apartment that a neighbor thought he lived there.

McNair met Kazemi when his family ate often at the Dave & Buster's restaurant she worked at as a server, and the two began dating in a relationship that included a vacation with parasailing. Photos posted on showed McNair gazing and smiling at the young Kazemi.

"She pretty obviously got mixed up way over her head with folks," said Reagan Howard, a neighbor of Kazemi's.

A man who answered the door at a house in the Jacksonville, Fla., suburb of Orange Park said it was the home of Kazemi's family, but said her relatives did not want to comment.

"We don't have anything to say, please leave us alone," he said.

The victim's sister, Soheyla Kazemi, told the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville that the young woman had expected McNair to get a divorce. "She said they were planning to get married."

Kazemi often was dropped off by limousine in the early morning hours and recently went from driving a Kia to a 2007 Cadillac Escalade registered to both herself and McNair. Her niece told The Tennessean that Kazemi thought McNair was divorcing his wife of 12 years soon.

Nashville courts had no record of a McNair divorce case, but a home he owned in Nashville is on the market for $3 million.

The real estate agent declined to comment. Her online listing for property described it as a "gigantic house" of more than 14,000 square feet and photos showed a pool, home theater, baby grand piano and ornate furnishings throughout.

McNair and Kazemi were together Thursday night when she was pulled over driving that Escalade. She was arrested on a DUI charges, and he was allowed to leave in a taxi even though he was charged with drunken driving in 2007 when his brother-in-law was stopped for DUI while driving McNair's pickup truck.

McNair led the Titans to the 2000 Super Bowl, which they lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams despite his 87-yard drive in the final minute and 48 seconds. He was co-MVP of the NFL with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in 2003.

Manning said in a statement Sunday that he had some great battles with the quarterback.

"Sharing the NFL MVP honor with him in 2003 was special because of what a great football player he was," Manning said. "I had the opportunity to play in a couple of Pro Bowls with him, and the time spent with him in Hawaii I'll never forget. I'll truly miss him."

The Titans drafted Vince Young in 2006 to replace McNair, who had mentored him since he was a teenager. They never played together but did play against each other that year.

"He was like a father to me. I hear his advice in my head with everything I do. Life will be very different without him," Young said in a statement Sunday.

McNair grew up in Mount Olive, Miss., and became a football star at Alcorn State, the Division I-AA school in his home state as he dominated the Southwestern Athletic Conference. He became a Heisman Trophy contender as reporters flocked to little Lorman to watch the man known as "Air McNair.

He still holds the Division I-AA (now known as Football Championship Subdivision) records for career yards passing (14,496) and total offense (16,823). McNair was drafted in 1995 by the Houston Oilers, who eventually became the Titans.

Picked four times for the Pro Bowl, McNair finished with 31,304 yards passing and 174 touchdowns. He led both the Titans and Ravens to playoff berths, including two AFC championship game appearances with Tennessee. Injuries finally led to his retirement after the 2007 season

Besides his wife, McNair is survived his sons Junior, Steven, Tyler and Trenton.

Fox News Contributor Rips Into Palin: "The Woman Is Inarticulate, Undereducated" (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   |  Rachel Weiner 
First Posted: 07- 6-09 01:24 PM   |   Updated: 07- 6-09 01:42 PM

Even Fox News has started to turn on Sarah Palin. In the midst of a segment about the Alaska Governor's battle against "liberal" attacks, Liz Trotta went off-message.

Frankly, "the woman is inarticulate, undereducated," Trotta said, arguing that for once liberal criticism was "well-deserved."

"I think all the liberal stylists ... really have a case. She just begs for adjectives like flaky and wacky." When pressed, she added, "We're talking about somebody who, right from the get-go, has been a flashy person who gets into a lot of trouble and really has no credentials for any 

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Karen Dalton-Beninato Karen Dalton-Beninato: Pleading the Fifth: The Palin Constitution Revolution
I don't know what to call it but the Convolution Party aired its brand new platform on the steps of a Land of Lincoln courthouse, some in their Glenn Beck Live Free or Die shirts.


Read more from Huffington Post bloggers:


Lance Armstrong and his Astana team were fined for arriving late for the pre-strage registration this morning in Marseille, France. Rules state that riders must show up 20 minutes prior to the start or face a fine of 100 Swiss Francs ($92). Sneering contempt from the Tour de France competitions director is an added bonus.

Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:01 am EDT

Lance and Astana earn a $92 fine for showing up late

By Chris Chase

"Today, and as usual, the Astana team arrived late at the pre-stage registration, in contempt of the crowd, who has once again not seen Lance Armstrong," [Tour competitions director Jean-Francois] Pescheux told Reuters before the start of the third stage from Marseille to La Grande Motte.

"They don't care about the fine. We are going to ask the UCI to be tougher."

Of course they don't care about the fine. Ninety-two dollars? Lance drops more on that at breakfast. Has that amount changed since the first Tour in 1903? The last time I heard of a $92 fine I was watching The People's Court ... in 1987.  

And what's with the attitude, M. Pescheux? Let's not be perpetuating stereotypes about the French. It's bad enough that Lance is reinforcing notions that Americans show up late to everything. 

One of the excuses floated for that late arrival for Astana was that there was bad traffic in Marseille. The irony of showing up late to a bike race because your car was stuck in traffic is something even Pescheux should find amusing.

Update: Armstrong apologized for his tardiness on his Twitter account this afternoon, 

blaming it on a visit from actor Ben Stiller.
Police may have killed suspect in S.C. slayings

Similar vehicle links series of five deaths to man shot overnight in N.C.

Image: Possible suspect
This is an updated drawing of the suspected serial killer in Cherokee County, S.C., made available on Friday.

  Manhunt for S.C. serial killer
July 6: Residents of a South Carolina town were terrorized after five people were shot to death in about a week. NBC’s Ron Mott reports from Gaffney, S.C..

Today show

Video: Crime & courts  
Former DC mayor arrested on stalking charges
July 6: Former Washington D.C. Mayor, and current D.C. Councilman Marion Barry has been arrested for allegedly stalking a female acquaintance. WRC's Darcy Spencer reports.

On the run

The U.S. Marshals want your help finding their "15 Most Wanted" fugitives, a notorious list of suspects fleeing everything from murder and robbery to child sex charges. To date, about 200 of the fugitives profiled on the list have been found. Tips leading to an arrest are rewarded up to $25,000. Click here to see the fugitives. 

NBC, and news services
updated 2:41 p.m. ET July 6, 2009

Authorities were investigating whether a man who was shot and killed Monday morning by police in North Carolina may be linked to the slayings of five people in South Carolina in a week.

South Carolina law enforcement officers were in Gaston County, N.C., near Charlotte, after county police shot and killed the man, who they said opened fire on them Monday morning, NBC News’ Ron Mott reported.

Investigators told NBC station WCNC of Charlotte that a gray or champagne Ford Explorer was found outside the house in Gaston County, about 30 miles north of Cherokee County, S.C., where five people were found shot to death in three incidents over eight days bridging last week.

Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said Monday that a gray Ford Explorer was believed to link all five of the South Carolina killings.

“The physical evidence, the evidence that we have, the eyewitnesses that we have, puts the same person, we think the same vehicle, at all three locations,” Blanton said in an interview on NBC’s TODAY.

Questioning three people
Gaston County police were questioning three people who were reported to have entered a house about 2:40 a.m. when they discovered that one of them had an outstanding warrant. The man, whose identity was not released, fired a single shot when officers tried to serve the warrant, injuring one of the officers in the leg. Police fired four shots, killing the man at the scene, they said.

The killings began a week ago Saturday in Cherokee County, S.C., when the wife of Kline Cash, a 63-year-old peach farmer, found her husband shot to death in their rural home. Then, on Wednesday, relatives discovered the bodies of Gena Linder Parker, 50, and her mother, Hazel Linder, 83, bound and shot to death in a separate attack at Linder’s home.

Thursday, Stephen Tyler and his daughter Abby, 15, were shot as they were closing the Tyler Home Center near downtown Gaffney. He died Thursday, while Abby Tyler fought for her life for two days before dying Saturday at a hospital.

Blanton said deputies were searching for a man about 6 feet 2 inches tall with salt-and-pepper hair.

Hundreds of people thronged funeral services Sunday for the mother and daughter. Law enforcement officers provided security for the family and mourners. The crime spree terrorizing Cherokee County forced many people to curtail Fourth of July festivities.

Celebration turns to mourning
The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C., reported that the Tylers’ minister at Cherokee Avenue Baptist Church, Clyde Thomas, urged congregants to keep the faith in the face of tragedy. The newspaper said he had a pistol in his office Saturday.
“As Christians, we don’t live by explanations. We live by promises. We live by faith, not sight,” Thomas said.
Thomas said he had originally planned to deliver a sermon titled “Happy Birthday, America” for the Fourth of July service. But instead of upbeat patriotic music, Sunday’s program was changed to add hymns reflecting a time of mourning.

The killings alarmed many residents, and some talked of arming themselves.
“The irony is that the freedoms we have, we’re locked behind closed doors with firearms,” Thomas said. “We should be celebrating freedom, but we find ourselves very much restrained by fear.”
Blanton, the sheriff, said all the victims were shot. The shootings all occurred within about 10 miles of each other in Cherokee County, a community of 54,000 people set amid peach orchards and farms.

Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect, saying he was in his 40s and roughly 200 pounds.

More on South Carolina

The Savvy Networker

10 Boilerplate Phrases That Kill Resumes

The Savvy Networker

   by: Liz Ryan

The 2009 job market is very different from job markets of the past. If you haven't job-hunted in a while, the changes in the landscape can throw you for a loop.

One of the biggest changes is the shift in what constitutes a strong resume. Years ago, we could dig into the Resume Boilerplate grab-bag and pull out a phrase to fill out a sentence or bullet point on our resume. Everybody used the same boilerplate phrases, so we knew we couldn't go wrong choosing one of them -- or many -- to throw into your resume.

Things have changed. Stodgy boilerplate phrases in your resume today mark you as uncreative and "vocabulary challenged." You can make your resume more compelling and human-sounding by rooting out and replacing the boring corporate-speak phrases that litter it, and replacing them with human language -- things that people like you or me would actually say.

Here are the worst 10 boilerplate phrases -- the ones to seek out and destroy in your resume as soon as possible:

  • Results-oriented professional
  • Cross-functional teams
  • More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
  • Superior (or excellent) communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Met or exceeded expectations
  • Proven track record of success
  • Works well with all levels of staff
  • Team player
  • Bottom-line orientation

You can do better. What about adding a human voice to your resume? Here's an example:

"I'm a Marketing Researcher who's driven by curiosity about why people buy what they do. At XYZ Industries, I used consumer surveys and online-forum analysis to uncover the reasons why consumers chose our competitors over us; our sales grew twenty percent over the next six months as a result. I'm equally at home on sales calls or analyzing data in seclusion, and up to speed on traditional and new-millennium research tools and approaches. I'm fanatical about understanding our marketplace better every day, week and month -- and have helped my employers' brands grow dramatically as a result."

You don't have to write resumes that sound like robots wrote them. A human-voiced resume is the new black -- try it!

Liz Ryan is a 25-year HR veteran, former Fortune 500 VP and an internationally recognized expert on careers and the new millennium workplace. Contact Liz at or join the Ask Liz Ryan online community at www.asklizryan/group.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely the author's.

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    American Life League

    Seventh Grader Sues School Over Right to Wear Pro-Life T-Shirt

    A California mom says her public school administrators violated her daughter's First Amendment rights when they ordered the seventh-grader to take off her pro-life T-shirt.

    Anna Amador has gone to court on behalf of her daughter, who she says was ordered by her principal to
    change her shirt on "National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day." The shirt the girl was wearing displays two graphic pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.
    The incident occurred in April 2008 at McSwain Elementary School, a K-8 school in Merced, Calif. Amador alleges in her legal complaint that school Principal Terrie Rohrer, Assistant Principal C.W. Smith and office
    clerk Martha Hernandez mistreated her daughter and denied the girl her First Amendment rights when they ordered her to leave the cafeteria and change her shirt.
    "Before Plaintiff could eat [breakfast] she was ordered by a school staff member to throw her food out and report immediately to Defendant Smith's office, located in the main office of McSwain Elementary School," the complaint reads.
    "Upon arriving at the main office, Defendant Hernandez, intentionally and without Plaintiff's consent, grabbed Plaintiff's arm and forcibly escorted her toward Smith's office, at all times maintaining a vice-like grip on Plaintiff's arm. Hernandez only released Plaintiff's arm after physically locating her in front of Smith and Defendant Rohrer...

    "Smith and Rohrer ordered Plaintiff to remove her pro-life T-shirt and instructed Plaintiff to never wear her pro-life T-shirt at McSwain Elementary School ever again...
    "Completely humiliated and held out for ridicule, Plaintiff complied with Defendants' directives and removed her pro-life T-shirt, whereupon, Defendants seized and confiscated it. Defendants did not return Plaintiff's property until the end of the school day."
    The school administrators dispute some of the allegations, said Anthony N. DeMaria, attorney for the McSwain Union Elementary School District.
    "I think the school district has a very strong defense," DeMaria said. "The complaint does not properly characterize the events that happened. Certainly we dispute some of the events."
    He said he was unable to reach the administrators to determine which parts they say are incorrect, because school is out for the summer. Rohrer, the principal, told on Monday that she could not issue a statement without consulting with the school superintendent and their attorney. The other defendants and school district employees did not respond to calls and e-mails from
    The school district sought to get the case thrown out due to "failure to state a cognizable claim," but a U.S. Eastern District Court judge ruled last month that all but one of Amador's claims could go forward.
    The complaint quotes school district officials saying that they ordered Amador's daughter to remove the shirt because it constituted "inappropriate subject matter" in violation of the school's dress code, which bans clothing with "suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate subject matter."
    Amador claims in the legal complaint that other students at the school have been allowed to wear expressive shirts, and she blames the school for “inconsistently applying their Dress Code based upon subjective determinations as to which messages are acceptable and which messages are not.”
    One of the girl's lawyers, Mark A. Thiel, said that the images on her shirt of a fetus in the womb were same as those in her science textbooks. He said no student had complained about the shirt, and he said the girl's parents were not called when the incident took place.
    "This was a young girl, not even in high school. But they didn't call," he said.
    A spokeswoman for the local Planned Parenthood chapter declined to take sides in the case.
    "Even offensive speech is protected as long as it doesn’t impinge upon the rights of others," said Deborah Ortiz, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.
    "School administrators have a mission to educate, and the student’s right to political speech should be protected in balance with this education mission."
    UCLA law professor and First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh said Supreme Court precedent appears to support the girl's case.
    "During the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court ruled that wearing black arm bands [at school, to protest the war] was OK,” Volokh said. “If students can wear armbands in protest, why can't they wear a pro-life shirt?"
    He said the case would be different if there was evidence that the shirt could have led to disruption or fighting.
    "Schools have a lot more authority than the government does in regulating speech,” he said. “If someone is speaking on a street corner and it looks like other people are going to start a fight over it, the government's job is to protect the speaker. That is not the case in schools. We need to make sure students learn. So if speech is highly disruptive, well … in that case we can suppress it.
    "But the school's position that they can restrict speech just because they find it inappropriate is not correct."
    But the fact that it's a K-8 school with very young children could change things, said Brooklyn Law School professor William Araiza. He pointed to the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Morse v. Frederick, where the court allowed a high school to suspend students in Juneau, Alaska, who waved a banner that read “Bong hits 4 Jesus” from across the street during an Olympic torch relay, because it was seen as promoting illegal drug use.
    “[The school] could almost use a “bong hits” kind of rationale about protecting students from inappropriate messages,” Araiza said. “For instance, would you allow a 4th grader to wear a gruesome picture of a bomb scene? You probably wouldn't.”
    First Amendment attorney William Becker, who represents Amador, disagreed that the shirt could be seen as containing inappropriate messages.
    "The message of the T-shirt is that life is sacred," he said. "One would be very hard pressed to find anything wrong with that particular idea, except that some people do object to the political message.”


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      Murders leave S.C. town on edge
    July 4: Fourth of July celebrations in Gaffney, S.C., took on a somber tone amid a desperate search for a killer believed to be responsible for at least five murders. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

    Nightly News

    Image: Possible suspect
    This is an updated drawing of the suspected serial killer in Cherokee County, S.C., made available on Friday.

    S.C. town terrorized by 5 killings in past week AP

    15-year-old girl latest victim of suspected serial killer

    GAFFNEY, S.C. - A teenage girl shot while helping her father in their family's small furniture and appliance store died Saturday, becoming the fifth victim of a suspected serial killer terrorizing a small South Carolina community, authorities said.

    Abby Tyler, 15, died about 11:15 a.m. at a Spartanburg hospital after fighting for her life for two days, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said.
    Tyler was wounded and her father was killed Thursday as they worked to close the Tyler Home Center near downtown Gaffney.
    County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators believe the killings are linked and the search is on for a suspected male serial killer. An 83-year-old mother and her daughter were shot to death Wednesday, and a 63-year-old peach farmer was found dead at his home a week ago.
    Blanton said all the victims were shot, but he would not say how the deaths were linked. The shootings all occurred within about 10 miles of each other in Cherokee County, a rural community of 54,000 people set amid peach orchards and farms some 50 miles west of Charlotte, N.C.

    Killings have terrorized community
    The spree had alarmed residents canceling Independence Day holiday plans and arming themselves. The sheriff has warned door-to-door salesmen to stop knocking and anyone who breaks down on the county's rural roads to wait instead of walking to a house for help because he worries "people are going to start shooting at shadows."
    The killings began a week ago Saturday when the wife of 63-year-old peach farmer Kline Cash found him dead in their home. Then last Wednesday, relatives found 83-year-old Hazel Linder and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, bound and shot to death in a separate shooting at Linder's home.
    Dozens of local, state and federal investigators were assigned to the case when the killings were linked. But a day later, the killer struck again, less than a half-mile from the sheriff's office serving as the headquarters for the investigation, killing 48-year-old Stephen Tyler and his daughter.
    "We're knee-deep in the investigation," Blanton said Sunday. "There's fear and concern here and there should be concern."
    Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect, saying he is in his 40s, with salt and pepper hair, about 6-foot-2, and roughly 200 pounds. They think he is driving a silver 1991-1994 Ford Explorer. 

    The last time the town was this threatened like this was 1968, when the "Gaffney Strangler" killed four women over 10 days and vowed to kill more. The town banded together, despite racial prejudice, to find the man who was killing white and black women.
    The strangler, Lee Roy Martin, called the editor of a local newspaper on Feb. 8, 1968, and told him where to find the bodies of two women he'd dumped in the woods. He threatened to kill even more women until he was "shot down like the dog I am."
    People started to comb the community for clues, which led to Martin's arrest. He was convicted of four murders and sentenced to four life terms. In 1972, he was stabbed to death in his cell.

    More on South Carolina
    Crime & courts Section Front


      Police fight Florida pill mills 
    April 30: Florida police face drug addicts and dealers from other states seeking painkillers. Watch more of Mark Potter's report.

    Nightly News

      Prescription drugs 'killing our young'
    July 5: In their own words, parents, community leaders and advocates discuss the "epidemic" of prescription drug abuse.

    Nightly News

    Interactives and quizzes

    NBC News/Voince Genova
    Lynn and Sam Kissick discuss the tragic death of their Daughter as a result of a

    prescription drug overdose

    NBC News / Vince Genova
    Sarah Shay seen before her tragic drug overdose.

    Prescription drug abuse ravages state's youth

    Prescription drug abuse is  a fast-growing problem that exists across the country,
     but officials say the problem is particularly acute
     in the cities and rural areas of Eastern Kentucky. NBC News' Mark Potter reports.

    Kentucky officials see an ‘epidemic’; officials say drugs coming from Florida

    By Mark Potter


    NBC News

    updated 8:17 a.m. ET July 6, 2009

    MOREHEAD, Ky. — Late in the morning last New Year's Day, Sam and Lynn Kissick received a devastating phone call that would tear their lives apart.
    The caller informed them their 22-year-old daughter, Savannah, was being rushed by ambulance to the St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky. She had long battled drug addiction, but it looked like this time, Savannah had overdosed on a combination of painkillers and sedatives while celebrating New Year's Eve. 
    After racing to the emergency room to be by Savannah's side, her parents were met by a physician with grim
    news. "I'm sorry, Mr. And Mrs. Kissick, but she didn't make it," he said.
    Savannah had just become the latest fatality linked to prescription drug abuse, a fast-growing problem that killed more than 8,500 Americans in 2005, according to the latest available statistics from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says nearly 7 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, noting that is "more than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, ecstasy and inhalants combined." The DEA also reports that "opioid painkillers now cause more overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined."
    "Something needs to be done, because it's killing our kids every day." said Lynn Kissick.  "People need to stand up and take notice. Our kids are dying. They're dying because of these drugs."

     A regional ‘epidemic’ 
    While the problem exists in every state in the country, Kentucky led the nation in the use of
    prescription drugs for non-medical purposes during the last year, according to the state'sOffice of Drug Control Policy. Officials said prescription drug abuse is particularly acute in the cities and rural areas of Eastern Kentucky.
    Last year alone, at least 485 people died in Kentucky from prescription drug overdoses,
    according to the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Medical Examiners' records indicate the drugs most commonly found in those death cases were methadone, the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax), morphine, diazepam (Valium) and fentanyl.
    "It's an epidemic and I'm afraid we're losing a whole generation," said Beth Lewis Maze, the Chief Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit in Kentucky. "These pain medications are so highly addictive that these young people are digging themselves a very deep hole."
    In the region's newly formed drug court, Maze sees the ravages of prescription drug abuse at all levels of society. "I see good kids from good families, doctors, lawyers, teachers," she said.
    Greenup County Coroner Neil Wright calls prescription drug abuse "public enemy number one."  Half of the 50 deaths he logged last year were drug related, and "85 to 90 percent" of those calls involved prescription pill overdoses. "It affects everybody. I don't care, rich, poor, educated or non-educated, it affects everybody."
    Down the street, Greenup County Sheriff Keith Cooper dug through the many evidence bags his deputies have filled with prescription pill bottles and cash seized during drug arrests.
    "We are drowning in a sea of prescription medication," said Cooper, who complained about the skyrocketing number of crimes committed by addicts searching for money to buy painkillers.
    "It affects, quite literally, every kind, every type of crime that we have, the burglaries, the thefts, the accidents, the domestic disputes between families. It's breaking families up."
    In neighboring Rowan County, where Savannah Kissick died, Chief Deputy Sheriff Roger Holbrook was arrested recently on federal charges that he had conspired to distribute oxycodone. 

    Crowded rehabilitation clinics 
    Pastor Wayne Ross runs the Shepherd’s Shelter adult drug and alcohol treatment center in Mount Sterling, Ky. His 50 available beds are filled with residents struggling to recover from drug addiction, almost all of them from prescription pill habits. 

    Savannah Kissick was one of his clients, and she had graduated from the recovery program. Her return to drug abuse and her death from an overdose shook Ross and the clinic staff members who had worked hard for her success. 
    "I cried, it breaks my heart," said Ross, who officiated at Savannah's funeral. "She's not the only one. We've been directly involved with five different people who have OD'd. Three of the funerals I did, myself, as a minister. It just breaks my heart."
    Kay Fultz, 36, is also from Morehead, Ky. and is currently a resident of the Shepherd’s Shelter who said that at the height of her addiction, she was taking as many as 50 oxycodone pain pills a day and was dealing drugs to support her own habit.
    "It just starts out as a party drug, you know, every now and then," Fultz said.  "Once you start doing it every day, I mean it just takes compete control of your life."
    Finding a prescription drug supply was easy for Fultz. "It's very simple to get. It's everywhere," she said. But once addicted, the costs are severe. "I've lost everything. I've lost everything and it's so easy to do."

    Florida connection 
    During a recent classroom session at his clinic, Ross asked the residents where they bought their prescription drugs. Every person in the room had either traveled to Florida to obtain the medications, or had purchased drugs from someone else who had bought prescription painkillers there. 
    Florida has become notorious as a destination for addicts and drug dealers from around the southeastern United States.  They are drawn to the many pain clinics in Florida, some of which dispense hundreds of painkillers at a time after only a cursory medical exam.
    "You can go down there and within 24 hours have everything you need," said Fultz, who added that the medical exam she was given at a Florida pain clinic, where she pretended to suffer from pain, was not at all professional.
    "I mean, they look at your MRI, ask you how you are feeling — ‘I'm feeling pretty bad’ — and you leave there with pills."
    Sam Kissick, Savannah’s father, believes the drugs that killed his daughter came from Florida.
    "From where I'm sitting, it looks like they're handing it out like candy on Halloween," he said. "Anybody that goes down there can come back with carloads of pills, and then they're dumped out on our streets."
    To addicts in Kentucky, Florida is “like the promised land,” said Cooper, the Greenup County sheriff.
    Local police, federal agents and medical officials in Florida are targeting illicit prescription drug sales. The state legislature recently passed, and Gov. Charlie Crist signed, a law to regulate and monitor pain clinics, although the procedure won't be fully implemented until late next year. 
    Kentucky and most other states already have such monitoring laws in place, making it much more difficult for addicts and dealers to buy large amounts of prescription medication by going from clinic to clinic – a common practice in Florida.

    Families left behind 
    Karen Shay, a dentist in Morehead, Ky., also knows too well the cost and pain of prescription drug abuse. Two years ago, her 19-year-old daughter, Sarah, died from an overdose after partying with friends, who dropped her body off at a hospital and drove away. 
    Sarah Shay and Savannah Kissick had been childhood friends.
    "We have two young ladies that were beautiful, talented and intelligent, had the world by the tail, could have done anything and they're gone,” Shay said. “They're gone."
    In her work, Shay also sees the desperation of drug addicts, some of whom have visited her office seeking pain medication for fake dental problems. Because of Kentucky's prescription monitoring law, Shay is able to run computer checks on patients she suspects of doctor-shopping for painkillers and turns many of them away.
    "If [the painkillers are] taken the way they're supposed to be, it's a very powerful, helpful drug.  But when they're not taken the way they're supposed to, then it becomes a killer," she said. "It's amazing when you look in the paper, how many people have died from drug abuse. "

    During a recent visit to the cemetery where Sarah is interred, Shay cleared away the dying flower petals and placed a colorful pinwheel below her daughter's crypt. Looking upward to the plaque showing Sarah's name and picture, she quietly spoke the words, "Hi, Baby," then bowed her head. 
    "When you lose somebody like that, it puts a hole in your heart that nothing else will ever fill," she said.
    For the Kissicks, whose loss is more recent and raw, anger mingles with grief.
    "It's time that people were held accountable for what's happening. I think it's time that someone was held responsible,” Lynn Kissick said.
    The parents want to raise awareness about the problem so that others don’t have to endure their pain.
    "The drugs, they don't discriminate and it can happen to anybody," said Sam Kissick. "You may never have any idea that your child is exploring or fooling with prescription drugs at all, until they've already gone too far with it."

    Sitting at their dining room table recently, Savannah's parents sorted through colorful photographs of their daughter. 

    "She had a beautiful smile," said Lynn. In a quiet voice, Sam agreed, "That she did."
    Chantix, Zyban must carry depression warning

    More addiction stories








    Police say the murder scenes are linked and they are searching for a man resembling this sketch.

    Police say the murder scenes are linked and they are searching for a man resembling this sketch.

    N. Carolina shooting stirs interest in S. Carolina serial killings

    • Police say no confirmed link between N. Carolina crime, S. Carolina serial killings
    • But video of N. Carolina crime site shows car similar to one sought in serial killings
    • North Carolina authorities say "evidence" prompted call to South Carolina police
    • Killer has slain five people in Gaffney, South Carolina, area, police say

    DALLAS, North Carolina (CNN) -- Police in Gaston County, North Carolina, shot and killed a suspect during a possible robbery early Monday, then called in police from South Carolina who have been chasing a serial killer.

    There was "evidence in regard to the man that was shot," said Capt. Joe Ramey of the Gaston County Police Department.

    He did not give specifics, and he said he could not state for certain that the suspect had a link to the serial killer case.

    "We saw evidence they needed to know about," Ramey told CNN.

    Gaston County is about 33 miles northeast of Gaffney, South Carolina. Police say a serial killer in the Gaffney area has killed five people since late June.

    Police in Cherokee County, which includes Gaffney, had issued a basic description of the killer and said he may be driving a Ford Explorer from the early 1990s.

    Video from outside the home in North Carolina on Monday showed a vehicle that seemed to match that general description.

    Early Monday, in Dallas, which is part of Gaston County, police received a call about a possible burglary in progress, police said. When they entered the residence, they found two people who lived there and a third who "was an acquaintance," police said in a news release.


    "A second check on the suspect individual uncovered an outstanding warrant" from nearby Lincoln County, police said. "Officers attempted to serve the outstanding warrant when the suspect pulled a gun and fired at officers. Officers returned fire killing the suspect."

    One officer was shot in the leg and has been treated and released from a hospital, police said.

    Jennifer Timmons of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division told CNN there was no immediate confirmation of any link to the serial killer case. "Processing any crime scene is going to take a while," she noted.

    The killer's latest victim was 15-year-old Abby Tyler, who was shot last week and died Saturday. Her father, Stephen Tyler, 48, had been pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, in their family-run furniture and appliance store.

    As residents mourned the Tylers over the weekend, they also had words of warning for the man terrorizing the community.

    "If he comes to me, face to face, I'm ready, I'm loaded, and I'm aimed for him," said Sarah Banister, a neighbor of one of the killer's victims.

    "I'm afraid for my life," said Robby Banister, her husband. "It's gonna be kind of like a dogfight. I'm telling you: I'm going to win."

    In an interview Monday on CNN's "American Morning," Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators have determined "through evidence" that the five killings are linked. Authorities are not giving details about the evidence.

    "We don't have a current motive or connection between the murders," said Blanton. "With a community this small, it's very possible I knew all the victims, and it's possible that all the victims knew each other. But we don't have any information right now that links the killer to [them]."

    Police released a sketch that they say is their best guess about the killer's appearance, based on witness reports. He is identified as a white male, approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall, with salt-and-pepper hair.

    The vehicle he was driving may be a Ford Explorer, possibly "goldish-tan or champagne" in color, Blanton said.

    "We're focusing on anything that even looks like a Ford Explorer," he said. Witnesses have said the killer appears to weigh about 250 pounds, "so we're saying probably 230 to 250," he said.

    The killer apparently also "had a ball cap on," but his clothes have been different, Blanton added.

    The first shooting occurred June 27, when peach farmer Kline W. Cash, 63, was killed. His wife found him dead in their home, the sheriff's office said.

    Blanton said Cash's home may have been robbed.

    Four days later, the bound and shot bodies of Hazel Linder, 83, and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, were found in the Linders' home, where she lived alone.

    Blanton said authorities are still trying to determine if anything was taken from that home.

    Leave has been canceled for all members of the police department and the sheriff's department, their respective chiefs have said.

    About 100 investigators from North and South Carolina are working the case, Blanton said.


    Asked how the 50,000 Cherokee County residents can try to stay safe, Blanton said, "Generally it's the same information just a crime prevention officer would use. People need to check on their neighbors, especially family, loved ones that live alone or elderly that live together. Travel in at least groups of two or more. But I've noticed the community is concerned and have a right to be."

    People in Cherokee County are operating "on regular schedules," businesses are open, and some schools began Monday, Blanton said. "But people are using caution. And that's what we're asking them to do. Just be cautious until we do catch this murderer." 



    Sepide Salmani, left, 23, comforts Soheyla Kazemi Sunday, July 5, 2009 in Orange Park, Fla. as they talk about the death of Soheyla Kazemi's sister, Sahel Kazemi, 20, in Nashville, Tenn. Sahel Kazemi  and former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair(notes) were found dead Saturday at a Nashville condominium that he rented with a friend.

    Sepide Salmani, left, 23, comf… 
    AP - Jul 6, 1:09 pm EDT

    Relative: Police say woman with McNair bought gun

    By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Steve McNair’s(notes) 20-year-old girlfriend bought a gun a couple of days before she was found dead alongside the slain former NFL quarterback, her relative said Monday.

    Farzin Abdi said police told him about the gun purchase by his aunt Sahel Kazemi, who was raised with him like a sister. Kazemi and McNair were found dead on Saturday in a Nashville condominium leased by the former Titans star.

    Abdi said police told him they are almost sure Kazemi was the shooter, but the 27-year-old nephew said he doesn’t believe she would do it. Abdi didn’t know what day of the week the gun was purchased or what type of gun it was.

    “There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this,” he said. “She was so happy. … She just had it made, you know, (with) this guy taking care of everything.”

    Nashville police didn’t immediately have a response to Abdi’s comments.

    Abdi said Kazemi believed McNair was divorcing his wife and she was preparing to sell her furniture to move in with him.

    Nashville courts had no record of a McNair divorce case, but a 14,000-square-foot home he owned in Nashville is on the market for $3 million.

    Mechelle McNair has been described as very distraught about her husband’s death and has not commented on it.

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Steve McNair’s(notes) 20-year-old girlfriend bought a gun a couple of days before she was found dead alongside the slain former NFL quarterback, her relative said Monday.

    Farzin Abdi said police told him about the gun purchase by his aunt Sahel Kazemi, who was raised with him like a sister. Kazemi and McNair were found dead on Saturday in a Nashville condominium leased by the former Titans star.

    Abdi said police told him they are almost sure Kazemi was the shooter, but the 27-year-old nephew said he doesn’t believe she would do it. Abdi didn’t know what day of the week the gun was purchased or what type of gun it was.

    “There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this,” he said. “She was so happy. … She just had it made, you know, (with) this guy taking care of everything.”

    Nashville police didn’t immediately have a response to Abdi’s comments.

    Abdi said Kazemi believed McNair was divorcing his wife and she was preparing to sell her furniture to move in with him.

    Nashville courts had no record of a McNair divorce case, but a 14,000-square-foot home he owned in Nashville is on the market for $3 million.

    Mechelle McNair has been described as very distraught about her husband’s death and has not commented on it.

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Steve McNair’s(notes) 20-year-old girlfriend bought a gun a couple of days before she was found dead alongside the slain former NFL quarterback, her relative said Monday.

    Farzin Abdi said police told him about the gun purchase by his aunt Sahel Kazemi, who was raised with him like a sister. Kazemi and McNair were found dead on Saturday in a Nashville condominium leased by the former Titans star.

    Abdi said police told him they are almost sure Kazemi was the shooter, but the 27-year-old nephew said he doesn’t believe she would do it. Abdi didn’t know what day of the week the gun was purchased or what type of gun it was.

    “There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this,” he said. “She was so happy. … She just had it made, you know, (with) this guy taking care of everything.”

    Nashville police didn’t immediately have a response to Abdi’s comments.

    Abdi said Kazemi believed McNair was divorcing his wife and she was preparing to sell her furniture to move in with him.

    Nashville courts had no record of a McNair divorce case, but a 14,000-square-foot home he owned in Nashville is on the market for $3 million.

    Mechelle McNair has been described as very distraught about her husband’s death and has not commented on it.

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Steve McNair’s(notes) 20-year-old girlfriend bought a gun a couple of days before she was found dead alongside the slain former NFL quarterback, her relative said Monday.

    Farzin Abdi said police told him about the gun purchase by his aunt Sahel Kazemi, who was raised with him like a sister. Kazemi and McNair were found dead on Saturday in a Nashville condominium leased by the former Titans star.

    Abdi said police told him they are almost sure Kazemi was the shooter, but the 27-year-old nephew said he doesn’t believe she would do it. Abdi didn’t know what day of the week the gun was purchased or what type of gun it was.

    “There was no way she was depressed and wanting to do this,” he said. “She was so happy. … She just had it made, you know, (with) this guy taking care of everything.”

    Nashville police didn’t immediately have a response to Abdi’s comments.

    Abdi said Kazemi believed McNair was divorcing his wife and she was preparing to sell her furniture to move in with him.

    Nashville courts had no record of a McNair divorce case, but a 14,000-square-foot home he owned in Nashville is on the market for $3 million.

    Mechelle McNair has been described as very distraught about her husband’s death and has not commented on it.

    Before their deaths, the public knew nothing of Kazemi’s relationship with McNair, a star who had earned the respect of his fellow NFL players for shaking off defenders and injuries and the love of fans amazed at how the quarterback kept showing up for work—and winning.

    He endeared himself further with his charity work. Not just from the checks he handed out, but for throwing himself into the efforts, like he did when loading boxes onto tractor-trailers bound for Hurricane Katrina victims.

    Publicly, McNair was a happily married man and proud father of four sons who split his time between his Mississippi farm and a home in Music City, where celebrities are cherished, not hassled.

    His death, however, thrust a darker side of his private life into the spotlight.

    “People have certain things that they do in life,” said McNair’s longtime friend Robert Gaddy, who called 911. “We don’t need to look on the situation at this time (but) on the fact we just lost a great member of society.”

    Even McNair’s longtime agent said he didn’t know about the former quarterback’s relationship with Kazemi.

    “As good as he was on the football field, that couldn’t touch the person,” agent Bus Cook said Sunday, still shaken by McNair’s death. “I mean it just couldn’t.”

    Hints of a problem with alcohol surfaced in May 2003 when a Nashville police officer pulled McNair over on suspicion of drunk driving. Police said the quarterback’s blood alcohol content was 0.18 percent—well over Tennessee’s legal limit. He also was charged with having a 9mm weapon with him, but all the charges were later dropped.

    McNair was charged with drunken driving in 2007 because he let his brother-in-law drive his pickup truck. Those charges were later dropped when the DUI charge against the brother-in-law was reduced to reckless driving.

    And McNair could have been charged again Thursday night when the same officer who arrested him in 2003 stopped a 2007 Cadillac Escalade driven by Kazemi and registered to both her and McNair. Kazemi was arrested on a DUI charge, and he was allowed to leave in a taxi.

    Police labeled his death a homicide Sunday, revealing McNair had been shot four times—twice in the head, twice in the chest—when found in a rented condominium he shared with a longtime friend, Wayne Neeley. Police found a semiautomatic pistol under Kazemi’s body.

    But police spokesman Don Aaron said they were reviewing every possibility, interviewing friends of both and an ex-boyfriend before labeling Kazemi’s death.

    On the football field, he simply was “Air McNair,” a winner.

    McNair still holds the NCAA’s Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) records for career yards passing (14,496) and total offense (16,823) from his days at tiny Alcorn State in Mississippi.

    He played 13 NFL seasons, starting with the then-Houston Oilers, and led Tennessee to its famous last-second 2000 Super Bowl loss to the St. Louis Rams. He ended his career in Baltimore last season, after being traded away by the Titans after they drafted Vince Young(notes) as a replacement to the aching and expensive veteran.

    McNair’s friends want the quarterback to be remembered for his generosity. He gave away turkeys and checks in Tennessee, toys in Baltimore and paid for three football camps himself this year. Cook talked to someone Saturday who saw McNair cleaning up the field after one camp at Southern Mississippi.

    “That was Steve McNair. That’s who he is. And who he was,” an emotional Cook recalled.

    A viewing will be held Thursday at a Nashville funeral home, followed by another viewing at Mount Zion Baptist Church with a memorial service Thursday night. A funeral service will be held Saturday in Mississippi, but final details were not set.

    McNair met Kazemi at the Dave & Buster’s restaurant where she worked as a server and where his family ate often. The two began dating a few months ago in a relationship that included a vacation with parasailing. Photos posted on showed McNair gazing and smiling at the young Kazemi.

    Associated Press writers Travis Loller, Lucas L. Johnson II and Joe Edwards contributed to this story.

    Other Celebrity Updates

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    Harry Potter actor tells of swine flu fear

    by AFP  July 6, 2009

    Actor Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, spoke Monday of his fears after contracting swine flu, saying he initially thought he might die.

    Grint described contracting the A(H1N1) virus, which has spread around the world, as "quite scary" but he recovered after spending a few days in bed.

    "It was quite scary when I first found out I had swine flu," he said at a press conference with other Potter actors including Emma Watson in London.

    "I thought 'Am I going to die?' But it was just like any other flu really."

    "I had a sore throat and I went to bed for a few days."

    Grint was speaking ahead of the world premiere in London on Tuesday of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", the sixth instalment of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter films.

    The 20-year-old's publicist confirmed on Saturday that he had suffered from the virus, taking several days off filming the next movie in the blockbuster series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

    Four people have died in Britain of swine flu, and the country has Europe's highest number of reported cases with nearly 7,500.

    The government has warned that figure could rise to over 100,000 new cases a day by the end of August.

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    Jackson's mother loses control of son's estate AAP

    LOS ANGELES – A judge said Monday that Michael Jackson's longtime attorney and a family friend should take over the pop singer's estate for now, rejecting a request from Jackson's mother to be put in charge or share control.

    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff backed attorneyJohn Branca and music executive John McClain, who had been designated in Jackson's 2002 will as the people he wanted to administer his estate. Attorneys for the pop singer's mother repeatedly objected to their appointment at Monday's court hearing.

    "It's our desire to do everything we can to carry out Michael Jackson's wishes and to maximize the estate," said Howard Weitzman, who spoke after the hearing on behalf of Branca. Weitzman issued a statement later calling the judge's ruling "the correct decision."

    The singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, had applied to oversee her son's estate, but that was before the 2002 will surfaced. Her attorney, Burt Levitch, expressed concerns about McClain and Branca's financial leadership.

    Jackson died June 25, deeply in debt. But a court filing estimates that his estate will be worth more than $500 million. His assets are destined for a private trust.

    A public memorial has been scheduled for Jackson in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday. Dozens of police officers and a fire truck were parked outside Dodger Stadium on Monday, where ticket winners could start picking up their coveted passes to the Staples Centerceremony.

    More than 1.6 million people registered to win the coveted free tickets, and only 8,750 names were chosen. Los Angeles officials are concerned about other fans clogging city streets.

    One person who won't be at the memorial is Debbie Rowe, Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of Jackson's two oldest children. She had planned to attend, but backed out Monday.

    "The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael's legacy," Rowe attorney Marta Almli said. "Debbie will continue to celebrate Michael's memory privately."

    Lucky fans celebrated when they got an e-mail saying they had scored the hottest ticket in town. "Congratulations, your application was successful," said the message sent to Deka Motanya, 27, of San Francisco.

    She immediately Twittered: "OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the michael jackson memorial service!!!"

    On eBay, bids were reaching as high as $3,000, though it was impossible to verify the seriousness of those offers. Others on Monday were submitting bids more in the $100-$200 range.On Craigslist, asking prices also were in the thousands. Some unable to attend, though, simply wanted to give away their tickets — as one post read — "to only true fans."On the legal front, Katherine Jackson's attorneys had asked that she be appointed to serve as a co-administrator with Branca and McClain. Beckloff refused to grant that request.Branca and McClain will have to post a $1 million bond on the estate, Beckloff ruled. Their authority over the estate will expire Aug. 3, when another hearing on the estate will be held.
    "Mr. Branca and Mr. McClain for the next month are at the helm of the ship," Beckloff said.Attorneys also disclosed that another Jackson will from 1997 has been lodged with the court, but will only become a factor if the 2002 will is invalidated. Details of the older will were not disclosed.Levitch, an attorney for Katherine Jackson, told Beckloff that Branca had previously been removed from financial positions of authority by Jackson. Branca's attorney says he was rehired by Jackson on June 17, days before Jackson's death.Katherine Jackson did not appear at Monday's hearing. Branca did attend.

    Levitch said it was unclear whether McClain would serve as an administrator because he was of ailing health. Attorneys for McClain and Branca described him as having a physical disability but having a completely sound mind. They also noted a decades-long relationship with the Jackson family.

    The judge granted Branca and McClain several powers over the estate, including the rights to negotiate a settlement with concert promoter AEG Live over refunds for Jackson's canceled London shows. Beckloff stressed that Katherine Jackson should be given complete information about major transactions, but that he as the judge would grant final approval.

    John E. Schreiber, an attorney for Katherine Jackson, said, "Frankly, Mrs. Jackson has concerns about handing over the keys to the kingdom."

    Branca had a 5 percent interest in Sony/ATV Music Publishing in September 2005, according to Uniform Commercial Code filings in New York, but his interest was terminated in December 2007.

    Branca also was a trustee in MJ Publishing Trust, which held Jackson's 50-percent stake, but is not believed to be any longer, said John Schreiber, a lawyer for Katherine Jackson.

    Her lawyers had argued in court that Katherine Jackson needed to be special administrator of the estate to be able to determine if Branca and McClain had other dealings with Jackson or his partners.

    Paul Gordon Hoffman, an attorney for Branca and McClain, said some of Katherine Jackson's concerns were unfounded.

    "We're not aware of any real conflicts at all," he said in response to a claim that the men may have business dealings with parties such as concert promoter AEG Live.

    In contrast, Hoffman said Jackson's mother had more of a potential conflict administering the estate because she is a likely beneficiary.

    "If there are any conflicts by the parties, Katherine Jackson rather than Mr. McClain and Mr. Branca have them," Hoffman said.

    Beckloff noted the contentious relationship brewing between Katherine Jackson and Branca, who personally delivered the will to the family's home a week ago.

    "We're getting off to a bit of a rocky start here out of the gate," Beckloff said toward the end of Monday's hearing.

    L. Londell McMillan, Katherine Jackson's main attorney, said after the hearing that he did not expect a protracted fight.

    "We have no reason to believe this is going to turn into a nasty fight over millions and millions of dollars," McMillan said.

    He said he and other attorneys will be watching Branca's and McClain's actions closely.

    "We will be working to ensure that Mr. Jackson's legacy will be treated with dignity," McMillan said. "Mr. Jackson's life and legacy will be memorialized tomorrow and we will move forward."

    Associated Press Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch and Associated Press writers Daisy Nguyen and Ryan Nakashima contributed to this report




    A child passes a large poster at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , Sunday,

    AP – A child passes a large poster at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , Sunday, July 5, 2009.
    The venue 

    Debbie Rowe confirmed to attend Jackson memorial

    LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe will attend the pop superstar's memorial service.

    Former Jackson business associate Marc Schaffel said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that Rowe was confirmed for VIP seats
    . Rowe is the mother of Jackson's two oldest children.

    Meanwhile, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry said she'd "love it" if the Jacksons helped defray some of the city's expected costs associated
    with Tuesday's memorial, but that officials hadn't heard from the family.

    Perry said the city didn't immediately have an estimate of those costs. More than 1.6 million fans registered online for a chance to attend the
    Staples Center
     ceremony, and only 8,750 names were chosen. Los Angeles officials are concerned about other fans clogging city streets.

    "We're encouraging people to stay away," Perry said on CBS' "The Early Show" on Monday.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton, in an appearance Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," made no mention of whether the Jacksons would help the city
    with some of the expected costs.

    "The city is trying to do what it should do to secure people," said Sharpton, a family friend. "That's what cities do. Clearly, no one in the family
    are happy that the city is incurring any expense at all. You're talking about an historic figure that will have an historic celebration, probably one
    that we would not see similar in this generation."

    Meanwhile, lucky fans celebrated when they got an e-mail saying they had scored the hottest ticket in town. "Congratulations, your application
    was successful," said the message sent to Deka Motanya, 27, of San Francisco.

    She immediately Twittered: "OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the michael jackson memorial service!!!"

    It was a real-life version of Willy Wonka's golden tickets. Each selected person gets a pair of free tickets, with the odds of being chosen about 1 in 183.

    Dozens of police officers and a fire truck were parked outside Dodger Stadium on Monday, where ticket winners could start picking up their coveted passes.

    Nancy Kothari, 31, drove all night from Yuma, Arizona, to be at the stadium before the gates opened.

    "I grew up with Michael Jackson, with his music," Kothari said. "`Thriller' was the first album I ever had."

    Kothari said she expected the service to be "extremely sad."

    "I'm kind of nervous in a way, but also excited," she said.

    Tickets were handed out in a drive-through process. Voucher holders had to get past a police checkpoint outside the stadium, then drive into a parking
    lot where orange traffic cones marked about 20 lanes. A police officer and an event staffer stood at the end of each lane. Drivers pulled up, handed over
    their vouchers, had a band placed on their wrist and were given tickets and another wristband.

    Ticket winners were to show up with a unique code and instructions, and organizers were to check IDs to make sure those picking up wristbands were
    the same people who originally applied online, said Staples Center spokesman Michael Roth.

    Fans must have both the ticket and the wristband to enter Staples Center on Tuesday. Wristbands that have been ripped, taped or tampered with will
    be voided.

    But Roth acknowledged that high-priced scalping of the free passes was possible because winners were permitted to give anyone their second bracelet.

    "Theoretically, the second wrist band can be sold," Roth said.

    Organizers were considering how to distribute any unclaimed seats, but had not immediately decided on a plan, Roth said.

    The memorial service will be broadcast live on five television networks.

    David Gobaud, 25, who studies computer science at Stanford University, said he didn't believe his e-mail of acceptance was real at first.
     "It's Michael Jackson, one of the greatest musical stars of all time," he said.

    Zach Moss, a 21-year-old ticket winner from Chicago who is working as a DJ in Las Vegas this summer, said clubgoers have responded strongly
    to Jackson's music since his death.

    "You can play two, three Michael Jackson songs back to back and people are going to have this huge jubilation celebration," he said.
    "Everyone throws their drinks up and shouts, 'MJ!' It's extremely powerful."

    The tickets will admit 11,000 people to the Staples Center plus 6,500 in the Nokia Theater overflow section next door. The streets around
    Staples Center will be closed to prevent those without tickets from trying to attend, police said.

    Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell warned the ticketless to stay away. He would not say how many police would be on the job, but alluded
    to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the recent championship celebration for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

    "You'll be standing in the hot sun on a city street with a lot of other people," he said. "But not within eyeshot of Staples."

    The ceremony will not be shown on Staples' giant outdoor TV screen and there will be no funeral procession through the city.
    No details were available about the actual memorial events.

    The joyful anticipation among the chosen fans comes as the courts continue to untangle the future of Jackson's estate and police probe the
     circumstances of his death.

    Jackson died at age 50 on June 25 after going into cardiac arrest in the bedroom of his rented mansion.
    The cause of Jackson's death has not been determined. Autopsy results are not expected for several weeks.

    Jackson's family was planning a private ceremony at the Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills,
    McDonnell said. He did not provide further details.

    Associated Press Writers Jacob Adelman and Michael R. Blood, Television Writer David Bauder and
    National Writer Jesse Washington contributed to this report.

    Michael Jackson dies at 50
    Slideshow:Michael Jackson dies at 50