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June 23, 2008

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Brokaw to fill vacancy on 'Meet the Press'

New York - Veteran news anchor Tom Brokaw has agreed to moderate NBC's "Meet the Press" through the November election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Tim Russert.

Brokaw will start next week, the network announced Sunday. Anchor Brian Williams did the show this week and announced the decision at its end.

The decision gives NBC a well-known, authoritative presence at the helm of the broadcast in an election year. "Meet the Press" dominated the Sunday morning ratings under Russert, reportedly earning $60 million in revenue, and Brokaw's presence could blunt any effort by ABC's second-place "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos to cut into the edge.

Brokaw said he volunteered for the job in part as a tribute to Russert, who died of a heart attack on June 13. The two men were close friends who spoke almost daily, and Brokaw gave the opening speech at Russert's Kennedy Center memorial.

He intends to follow Russert's template of aggressive questioning based on research of a guest's public record.

Winehouse has lung damage, father says

London - Soul diva Amy Winehouse has damaged her lungs by smoking crack cocaine and cigarettes, her father said in an interview published Sunday.

The Sunday Mirror quoted Mitch Winehouse as saying that Amy has early-stage emphysema and an irregular heartbeat, and has been warned that she will have to wear an oxygen mask unless she stops smoking drugs.

"The doctors have told her if she goes back to smoking drugs, it won't just ruin her voice, it will kill her," Mitch Winehouse was quoted as saying. "There are nodules around the chest and dark marks. She has 70 percent lung capacity."

Winehouse collapsed at her north London home last Monday after signing autographs and was taken to a London hospital for tests. She remained there all week.

She is still scheduled to sing at a concert in London on Friday celebrating 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela, the South African Nobel Prize-winner, and plans to take part in the Glastonbury music festival the following day.

Mitch Winehouse said it would be good for his daughter to perform.

Calif. paparazzo says surfers attacked him

Malibu, Calif. - A paparazzo trying to photograph Matthew McConaughey at the beach told police he was attacked by a mob of surfers who threw his camera in the ocean.

The 29-year-old photojournalist told sheriff's deputies that a large group of surfers near Paradise Cove in Malibu approached him and other paparazzi about 2 p.m. Saturday and demanded the group stop taking pictures and filming.

"There was apparently a fight, and the photographer gave a statement that he received injuries," Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Sunday. Detectives are investigating, he said.

McConaughey was not involved in the attack, authorities said. A call to McConaughey's publicist was not immediately returned.

The celebrity Web site TMZ.com posted a video Sunday showing about a dozen young men in swimsuits approaching what appears to be a group of paparazzi and yelling and swearing at them.

A scuffle breaks out after one of the photographers exchanges insults with the group and at first refuses their orders to leave.

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