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Officials: Singer refused for alleged terrorist ties

The singer formerly known as Cat Stevens is forbidden from flying into the United States because of his alleged association with possible terrorists, U.S. officials said Wednesday in explaining why a London-to-Washington flight carrying the peace activist was diverted.

The claim was disputed by the brother of the singer, who changed his name to Yusuf Islam more than 25 years ago. David Gordon said his brother has condemned terrorist acts and donates money to terrorism victims. "He just wants to be an ambassador for peace," said Gordon, who lives in Princeton, N.J., and is Islam's business manager.

United Airlines Flight 919 was en route to Dulles International Airport on Tuesday when U.S. officials reviewing the passenger list discovered Islam was aboard. The aircraft was diverted to Maine's Bangor International Airport, where federal agents met the plane and interviewed Islam.

He was placed on a plane back to London on Wednesday. Gordon said Islam's 21-year-old daughter, Maymanah, was allowed to stay in the country.

Patriarch of Marsalis family dies at 96

NEW ORLEANS _ Ellis L. Marsalis Sr., the patriarch of a family of world famous jazz musicians, including grandson Wynton Marsalis, has died. He was 96.

Mr. Marsalis' son, Ellis Jr., is a prominent New Orleans pianist and music professor who mentored crooner Harry Connick Jr. as well as four musician sons: Wynton, the trumpeter; saxophonist Branford; trombonist Delfeayo and drummer Jason.

Mr. Marsalis, who died Sunday (Sept. 19, 2004), was involved in the civil rights movement through ownership of a motel in suburban New Orleans whose guests included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., New York congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and musician Ray Charles.

Mr. Marsalis is survived by his son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

"Skin flick' director

Meyer dies at 82

LOS ANGELES _ Russ Meyer, the producer-director who helped spawn the "skin flick" with such films as Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and later gained a measure of critical respect, has died. He was 82.

Mr. Meyer died Saturday (Sept. 18, 2004) at his home in the Hollywood Hills, according to his company, RM Films International Inc. Spokeswoman Janice Cowart said Mr. Meyer had suffered from dementia and died of complications of pneumonia.

Mr. Meyer's films were considered pornographic in their time but are less shocking by today's standards, with their focus on violence and large-busted women but little graphic sex.

Altogether he produced, directed, financed, wrote, edited and shot at least 23 films.

He went on to direct the major studio release Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which was co-written by film critic Roger Ebert.

Mr. Meyer was married three times, including to actor Edy Williams. His studio said he left no survivors.

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