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US$4m bill for Memorial

NO major security problems were reported at Michael Jackson’s public memorial service on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California, according to police.

The only controversy concerned the issue of who ultimately would pay for the city’s efforts to heighten security as thousands of people from around the world flooded the city to say farewell to the pop icon, who died of unknown causes on June 25.

A budget crisis pushed the city to ask the public for help in paying for security at the memorial. It set up a Web site where fans can donate. The city is hoping to recoup some of the estimated US$2 million to US$4 million it cost to have thousands of police and fire-fighters on hand in case of an emergency. Matt Sabot, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said providing security at the event was the city’s “obligation” and its “No 1 priority”.
But the city does need help, he said. “Nothing could tarnish this event more than having a public safety disturbance of any kind,” he said. “We’re working to make sure that doesn’t happen. And we’re asking Michael Jackson fans to help contribute. Left: Fans cheer after picking up tickets for Michael Jackson’s memorial in Los Angeles on Monday. — Reuters/CNN.

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