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A quick Thursday news roundup

From NBC's Mark Murray
The Kennedy funeral arrangements: At noon ET today, a private family Mass (closed to the public and press) will take place in Hyannis Port, MA. An hour later, the late senator and his family will head to Boston, where Kennedy's body will lie in repose today and tomorrow at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum (which is open to the public).

Tomorrow night, beginning at 7:00 pm, there will be a memorial service (closed to the public and press) at the Kennedy Library, where Vice President Biden and Sens. John Kerry and John McCain will speak.

On Saturday morning, a funeral Mass (closed to the press and public) will occur at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, and President Obama will speak there.

Finally, Sen. Kennedy's body will travel to Virginia, where he'll be buried alongside his brothers, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.

The New York Times front-pages the momentum that's growing in Massachusetts to appoint a temporary successor to Kennedy. The Legislature reconvenes after Labor Day.

The Boston Globe adds, "Some on Beacon Hill had been initially cool to the idea of allowing for an interim appointment, but Kennedy's death Tuesday, plus personal appeals from influential voices, appear to have shifted the dynamic."

In other news... The AP is reporting that "New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won't be criminally charged in a federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of his large political donors." 

Another Palin scheduling snafu? Organizers of an Alaska Family Council event were left scrambling after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's office said she wouldn't be speaking at the event -- after the group had been advertising her presence. "It would be at least the fourth time in recent months that an anticipated Palin speech has fallen through after Palin and her camp disputed they had ever confirmed it. That includes the brouhaha over whether she'd speak at the annual congressional Republican fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., this summer."

In Time magazine, Joe Klein asks: What is the right thing to do in Afghanistan? "It should be remembered that we invaded with cause: the Taliban government was providing safe havens for al-Qaeda, from which the Sept. 11 attacks were launched. Having routed the existing Afghan government, we had a responsibility to restore order. We have bungled that responsibility for eight years... Even if we help the Afghans establish a brilliant government in Kabul, that threat will remain — and it's legitimate to ask whether pouring our resources into Afghan nation-building is the best way to confront al-Qaeda. Unless the new Karzai government quickly changes course, the only reasonable answer is no. The question then becomes, What's Plan B? And is anyone working on that?"

In the Obama administration's effort to sell senior citizens on health-care reform, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius greets seniors, makes brief remarks, and releases a new report, "America's Seniors and Health Insurance Reform: Protecting Coverage and Strengthening Medicare."

Some of the most prominent conservative social groups -- including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America -- have formed a new organization, the Freedom Federation, to oppose health-care reform, USA Today writes. 

And it was a year ago today that Barack Obama was nominated as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. A day later, on Aug. 28, he formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination -- in front of 70,000-80,000 at Invesco Field in Denver.