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Friday, May 27, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Geldof confirms plans for benefit

LONDON — Live Aid founders Bob Geldof and Midge Ure confirmed Thursday they are planning a star-studded concert to fight poverty in Africa — but insisted it wouldn't be Live Aid II.

Rumors have swirled for weeks that a Live Aid sequel featuring megastars such as Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney and a reunited Spice Girls would be held in Hyde Park in early July, days before leaders of the world's richest nations meet for a G8 summit in Scotland.

"There's never going to be a Live Aid II," Geldof said Thursday in London, "but there's something brewing."

"It's big. And it's as petrifying as the buildup to Live Aid, if not more so," he said.

"We'll have all the biggest names we can find. But it's not just about big names, it's about making a point."

Geldof and Ure raised millions for Ethiopian famine victims with the legendary 1985 Live Aid show. Geldof has continued to campaign against poverty in Africa, and Prime Minister Tony Blair has made aid to the continent one of the key themes for Britain's leadership of the G8 this year.

"Once more into the breach," Geldof said. "What started 20 years ago is coming to a political point in a few weeks.

While details remain under wraps, one star confirmed he would be participating.

"Bob called me up and said I was doing it," Sting said. "He doesn't ask you, he tells you."

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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