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. Midnight Oil reunite for wildfires relief concert

by Staff Writers
Melbourne (AFP) Feb 24, 2009
Australian rocker turned politician Peter Garrett announced Tuesday his former band Midnight Oil will reunite next month to perform a benefit concert for wildfire victims.

Garrett, the environment minister in Australia's centre-left Labor government, will appear alongside US group Kings of Leon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 14.

Another concert, featuring British supergroup Coldplay, will be staged at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the same day.

The concerts, collectively known as Sound Relief, will raise money for victims of Australia's worst wildfire disaster, which has claimed at least 210 lives and devastated rural towns in the southern state of Victoria.

Garrett rose to fame as the frontman for Midnight Oil, known as much for his bald head and lanky frame as his distinctive vocals.

The band had worldwide hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s with "Beds are Burning" and "Blue Sky Mine" before disbanding in 2002.

Garrett turned to politics and became Labor's star recruit when he was elected to parliament in 2004, becoming environment minister when the party won office in 2007.

He said he was excited by the reunion and had rarely performed since Midnight Oil staged another reunion in 2005, to raise money for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

"I have hardly sung a note since the Oils last played at WaveAid but this event is so unique and important that it will be terrific to now catch up with my mates and put on a performance that gives all those people affected by the terrible events what they dearly need," he said.

International acts at the Melbourne concert include Kings of Leon and Jack Johnson, along with Australians Augie March, Gabriella Cilmi, Kasey Chambers Jet, Paul Kelly, and Wolfmother.

In Sydney, the lineup includes Coldplay, Josh Pyke, Eskimo Joe, Jet, The Presets and You Am I.

A number of other bands are reuniting for the event, including Hunters and Collectors, Icehouse and Split Enz.

Organisers hope to raise at least four million dollars (2.6 million US) for the Red Cross bushfire appeal, which has so far raised 194 million for victims of the disaster.

The Red Cross says the money will be used to provide immediate payments to support those bereaved, seriously injured or left homeless in the disaster, as well as longer-term rebuilding projects.

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Indonesian mud victims to receive compensation: company
Jakarta (AFP) Feb 24, 2009
Victims of Indonesia's devastating mud volcano will receive the first instalment of the remaining compensation owed by the company blamed for the disaster next week, a senior executive said Tuesday.

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