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Hootie lends helping hand

Pop-rock band Hootie and the Blowfish has donated $60,000 to benefit a family learning and a reading program.

South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges was at the Timmonsville Education Center on Friday when the band announced its commitment at the center, which holds the town's elementary, middle and high schools.

The band's foundation has worked to benefit South Carolina's children by supporting education and school music programs.

During the mid-1990s, Hootie and the Blowfish became one of the biggest pop acts in America, selling nearly 20 million copies of three CD releases.

The band's 1994 album, "Cracked Rear View," was the biggest-selling debut ever, selling close to 16 million before being dethroned by Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill."

Dead Man Walking' author makes death penalty prediction

The author of "Dead Man Walking" says she thinks America is on the verge of rethinking capital punishment.

Sister Helen Prejean was in Oregon on Friday to promote the Life for a Life Campaign, which seeks to get a measure on the statewide November 2002 ballot replacing the state's death penalty with a mandatory life sentence.

Convicts would have to work to pay restitution to victims.

Signature gatherers need 89,000 valid signatures to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.

"My coming to Oregon to help the Life for a Life Campaign is because this is one of the most hopeful things happening in the United States right now," Prejean told a Portland State University audience on Friday.

Prejean wrote the best-selling book � which became a movie starring Sean Penn as a repentant killer and Susan Sarandon as the nun who offers him compassion � based on her work with death row inmates.

She is at work on a new book about people who were executed but who allegedly were innocent.

Pop star puts out Marley tribute

Brazilian pop music star Gilberto Gil has recorded an album of Bob Marley songs in Jamaica that will be released as a tribute to the reggae legend.

A spokeswoman for the Tuff Gong record company said Friday that the record would come out in early 2002.

Gil, 59, has been at the Tuff Gong studios for the past two weeks recording 12 tracks with local musicians and the I-Three, Marley's former group, said Lorna Wainwright, studio manager for the record label created by Marley.

Gil put a Brazilian spin on several Marley staples such as "Could You Be Loved" and "Rastaman Vibration," Wainwright said.

Gil also covered "Lick Samba", originally recorded while Marley was a struggling musician in the late 1960s.

Bob Marley died 20 years ago of cancer at the age of 36.

Gil began recording in 1967 and has worked with leading pop figures including Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and Rod Stewart.

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