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Scramble starts for Live 8 tickets


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LONDON, England -- A lottery for tickets to London's star-studded Live 8 charity concert has opened, with hundreds of thousands expected to apply for the chance to attend the July 2 event.

Performers expected at the Hyde Park show include Maria Carey, Coldplay, Elton John, Madonna, Paul McCartney, REM, Scissor Sisters, Sting, Robbie Williams and U2.

Four other concerts are being held on the same day across Europe and in the United States under plans announced last week by charity rocker Bob Geldof to pressure world leaders into eradicating African poverty.

Geldof has called for one million people to march through Edinburgh four days later, in what he calls "The Long Walk to Justice."

The walk will coincide with a meeting of the world's richest nations at the G8 summit at Gleneagles, some 40 miles (65 km) to the northwest.

To win tickets, UK entrants have to text the answer -- A, B or C -- to a simple question to telephone number 84599 by midnight on June 12.

The question is "What city is the forthcoming G8 summit being held near this July? A. Berlin B. Moscow C. Edinburgh."

A computer will randomly select 66,500 winners to receive a pair of tickets from among those who get the question right.

People can enter as many times as they like to increase their chances of winning tickets, at a cost of £1.50 ($2.70) plus standard texting charges for each entry.

As much as £19.5 million ($35.5m) could be raised through the texting scramble for tickets, spread betting firm Sporting Index told Reuters.

The quiz answer can also be submitted by post.

Geldof is masterminding five free concerts to take place simultaneously in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia

The plans to descend on Edinburgh have led the Queen to cancel her week-long holiday at the city's Holyroodhouse.

Buckingham Palace said the monarch would still be holidaying in Scotland but her usual week -- around the beginning of July -- would be split into parts instead.

She may still be present at the Gleneagles summit but this will be decided by the Government.

Geldof, speaking at the Hay Festival at the weekend, said: "If we can get the domestic heat to such a temperature, just possibly we can reach down that ladder and say, 'come on dudes, I'll give you a hand up'."

Police have been concerned by Geldof's call for one million protesters to descend on the city. But he told the festival: "I'm going to do it. I need you to be with me. Numbers make things political."

The singer said men like Martin Luther King had changed history with one million people and added that he was not talking in metaphor.

The Live 8 concert -- a repeat of 1985's Live Aid -- highlight the ongoing problem of global poverty and debt in the developing world.

Geldof described the original event as "beautiful" and said it had resonated down the ages. "It wasn't enough this time just to do a concert," he added.

"There had to be some political and intellectual bones behind it." He said Africa was the "greatest political problem at the beginning of our century".


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