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Telethons planned to aid Hurricane Sandy victims

There’s a single message across the television spectrum since Hurricane Sandy: Please give.

In announcements reminiscent of the media industry’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the flooding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, NBCUniversal said Thursday that it would show a one-hour telethon and concert on its flagship NBC network and its cable channels Friday night to benefit relief efforts for victims of the storm.

The ABC television network said it would turn Monday into a “Day of Giving,” starting with “Good Morning America” and ending with “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Many local television stations are also running public service announcements to encourage donations to the American Red Cross and other relief organizations. CBS said it had already started to run Red Cross ads on TV and on radio; its stations in Philadelphia will operate a phone bank for donations all day Friday.

NBC’s telethon, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” will be held at one of NBC’s studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Matt Lauer, the co-host of “Today,” will be master of ceremonies. Among the artists scheduled to perform are Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, Christina Aguilera and Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC’s “Late Night.” Brian Williams, anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” will also appear.

—Brian Stelter and Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times

Scheduling changes prompt questions about Putin’s health

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin’s press secretary spent much of Thursday denying a new round of rumors about Putin’s health, explaining that he has been working from home lately rather than commuting to the Kremlin to avoid causing traffic congestion.

Vedomosti, a daily newspaper, reported Thursday that Putin has postponed a series of foreign trips — to Turkey, Bulgaria, India and Turkmenistan — until late November at the earliest, meaning that his December travel schedule will be jam-packed.

Last week, Reuters noted the postponed trips, and quoted unidentified government officials who said Putin was suffering from back problems that might require surgery. On Wednesday came the news that Putin was postponing his trademark marathon televised question-and-answer session, an event that usually takes place in December, until the spring or summer.

Dmitri S. Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said the president pulled a muscle in his back while exercising in early September, and suffered from a “painful reaction for a couple of days” during the Asia-Pacific economic summit meeting in the eastern city of Vladivostok. He said the president was not suffering from any continuing ill effects from what he said was “not an injury, it’s just a mismovement.”

—Ellen Barry, The New York Times

NYC schools, some relocated, are to reopen Monday

NEW YORK — City public school students will return to classes Monday morning, but some of them will not go to the buildings they left last week.

Forty-four buildings housing 79 schools were severely damaged by the storm, Dennis M. Walcott, chancellor of the city’s Education Department, said Thursday in a news briefing. Students whose classes were held in severely damaged buildings will be relocated to other schools, Walcott said, and some classes may have to be broken up.

Among the schools hardest hit were John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, which had a transformer fire, and Beach Channel High School in Queens, where there was severe flooding.

—Jenny Anderson, The New York Times