Monday, August 10, 2009
Taiwan’s Jay Chou goes to Hollywood: report
Beatles fans swarm Abbey Road on album anniversary Associated Press Writer
LONDON – Hundreds of Beatles fans swarmed Abbey Road on Saturday, singing songs and snarling traffic to mark 40 years since John, Paul, George and Ringo strode across the leafy north London street and into the history books on iconic pop photos. The famous photo graced the cover of the Fab Four’s “Abbey Road,” the last album recorded together, and shows the bandmates walking purposefully across the zebra-striped asphalt. It remains one of music’s best-known album covers, endlessly imitated and parodied. Although the shoot itself only took a few minutes, so carefully studied was the cover for signs and symbolism that some diehard fans came to the conclusion that Paul McCartney — who appears barefoot and out of step with the rest — had secretly died. McCartney himself made fun of the bizarre conspiracy in the title of his 1993 concert album, “Paul is Live.”
AP Photo/Sang Tan
A tribute band dressed as members of British band, the Beatles, walk across the famous pedestrian crossing on Abbey Road, in London, in a recreation of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover as hundreds of people gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the album, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009.
Hong Kong businessman behind plot to shoot democrats
Agence France Presse
TAIPEI – Taiwan’s pop singer Jay Chou will star alongside Nicolas Cage and Cameron Diaz in the movie remake of popular US television series “The Green Hornet,” reports here said Saturday. Chou, 30, has been cast as the superhero’s sidekick Kato, a role played by the late Chinese-American martial arts icon Bruce Lee about 40 years ago, said the United Daily News. “I am very happy to act in an international film. I will do my best,” the paper quoted Chou as saying in a statement issued by his company JVR Music. AFP/File/Kazuhiro Nogi Chou won the role after a videoJay Chou link audition a month ago with the movie’s director Michel Gondry and writer Seth Rogen, who will play the lead role Britt Reid, or The Green Hornet, the report said. Chou will start shooting for the film, scheduled to be released on July 9 2010, after wrapping up his directorial work for a television series and two concerts in China, it said. The Apple Daily said Chou replaced Hong Kong star Stephen Chow, who was originally set to direct and act in the film, but had pulled out due to differences with Columbia Pictures. Chou, also famous in China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia for his pop music, has expanded into filmmaking in recent years, starring in a number of box-office hits including “Initial D,” “The Curse of the Golden Flower” and “Secret.”
Monday, August 10, 2009
AP Photo/Zita Keeley AFP/Getty Images/File/Michael Buckner
Producer Peter Jackson, actor Sharlto Copley and writer/director Neill Blomkamp take part in a panel discussion on the movie “District 9” at Comic-Con 2009 in July in San Diego, California. Hollywood is buzzing with excitement about South African director Blomkamp’s debut film, a science-fiction thriller about aliens segregated in a Johannesburg township.
Hollywood abuzz at South African sci-fi film Agence France Presse
LOS ANGELES – Hollywood is buzzing with excitement about South African director Neill Blomkamp’s debut film “District 9,” a sciencefiction thriller about aliens segregated in a Johannesburg township. The movie — about the struggles of insect-like extra-terrestrial refugees as they try to settle on Earth amongst hostile humans — has garnered glowing reviews ahead of its North American release on August 14. Produced by Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, Blomkamp’s film arose from the ashes of plans to adapt smash hit video-game “Halo” for the big screen. Yet while the film’s setting is a futuristic parallel universe, the story is unmistakably rooted in South Africa’s recent bloody history of apartheid and anti-immigrant social unrest. Vancouver-based Blomkamp, 29, acknowledges said that despite the symbolism of “District 9,” he had not set out to make a “political” film. “I was aware that I didn’t want to make a film that sounded overly political and that the audience would find really draining,” Blomkamp told reporters at a press event in Los Angeles. “But I knew that I wanted the essence of South Africa to be captured and the essence of segregation and pure racism kind of hit it head on, because that was the environment where I grew up in.
“So there was a fine balance between these many analogies of apartheid and these many analogies of the white government and oppression.” Early reviews of “District 9” suggest Blomkamp has pulled off that balancing act — Internet film review aggregator Rottentomatoes.com has given the movie a perfect 100 percent rating. The Hollywood Reporter hailed the movie as a “genuinely original science fiction film that grabs you immediately, not letting go until the final shot.” The film’s central character, Wikus van der Merwe, played by South African Sharlto Copley, is an employee of a private security firm attempting to unravel the mysteries of the aliens’ weapons systems, which can only be unlocked with alien DNA. When Wikus is infected by an alien virus that begins to change his human DNA, the hunter becomes the hunted and he is forced to seek refuge among the extra-terrestrials in their Soweto-like ghetto, District 9. Blomkamp said Johannesburg was the logical setting for the film, doubting it could have been made anywhere else.
“I think it would be incredibly difficult to replicate what we have in Johannesburg,” he said. “There is so much visual detail here, the dirt or barbed wire or weeds, it’s incredibly rich visually. For the film to work, I think you need this level of reality and this level of pollution and realness.” New Zealand film-maker Jackson meanwhile said that Blomkamp’s South African identity had allowed him to “bring a unique perspective” to the story. Jackson and Blomkamp first worked together during planning for a possible film version of Microsoft’s XBox console hit “Halo.” Blomkamp had impressed Jackson with a short 2005 film “Alive in Joburg,” which first presented the concept on which District 9 is based. “I flew down to New Zealand to meet Pete and he signed off on me for ‘Halo’; we started to make ‘Halo’ and then ‘Halo’ collapsed,” Blomkamp recalled. “I was getting ready to move back to Vancouver and then he and Fran Walsh said ‘Why don’t you just stay here and we can try another film? Let’s use the momentum you created in Halo and just keep it going and start something new.’ “That sounded like a good idea to me. So they kind of allowed this new film to happen and let me make it, which was awesome for me.”
Authorities retrieve a body from the Hudson River after a mid-air collision, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009, in New York. A sightseeing helicopter carrying five Italian tourists collided with a small plane above the Hudson River on Saturday, sending debris into the water and forcing people on New Jersey’s waterfront to scamper for cover. Authorities believe all nine people aboard the two aircraft were killed.
Nine feared dead after New York mid-air collision Agence France-Presse
NEW YORK - Nine people were believed dead Sunday after a helicopter carrying Italian tourists crashed mid-air with a light airplane over New York’s Hudson River. “Three victims have been recovered,” said Debbie Hersman, head of the National Transportation Safety Board, at a late Saturday press conference, adding that search operations had been suspended for the night. Media reports said the bodies of two adults and one child had been pulled from the Hudson, hours after the helicopter carrying five tourists and a pilot collided with an airplane in full view of horrified residents. Hersman said she could not confirm the identities of the three bodies, or which aircraft they had been aboard. Earlier in the day, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a press conference that what had started as a rescue operation was
being converted into a recovery operation, saying the incident was “not survivable.” “This is not going to have a happy ending,” he said. Hersman said divers had located the wreckage of the helicopter and were using sonar equipment to search for the plane before they shut down operations overnight. “Once that wreckage is pulled up, they will try to do it tomorrow, depending on the current and the circumstances and the conditions... it will be pulled up and taken to a secure location for further examination,” she said. The search for the wreckage was made more difficult by the low visibility of only about one meter (three feet) at the bottom of the river, authorities pointed out.
The Eurocopter AS350 was carrying five Italian tourists and a pilot. Two passengers, including one child, plus a pilot were aboard the single-propeller Piper PA32 plane. The collision took place just after noon (1600 GMT) on a hot summer day when river-front streets were crowded with locals and tourists. Witnesses described the two aircraft plummeting into the river between Manhattan and New Jersey. “It hit the water like a stone,” a woman told NY1. “I saw a piece of metal, I saw a helicopter, the helicopter went down, and that was it. I heard no noise, and no smoke or fire.” Some witnesses said the accident had been almost noiseless, but others reported hearing either the collision or impact against the river. “We heard a really loud crash which sounded like lightning or thunder,” another woman said. “They were both falling from the sky.”
HONG KONG - A Hong Kong businessman living in Taiwan was behind a plot to shoot leading democrats Jimmy Lai and Martin Lee, a report said Sunday. The unidentified businessman put up one million US dollars to Chinese crime bosses to attack Lai, a media mogul, and Lee, a leading politician, the Sunday Morning Post reported citing police evidence from a trial in Shenzhen. Two of the suspects in the case pinpointed the businessman as the mastermind behind the plot which was foiled last summer, the English-language paper said. Tung Nga-man, who reports have said is a senior leader in the Triad crime group, told police that he had flown to Taiwan to meet the businessman. “(The businessman) said Lai was anti-government and anti-state, and so on, and that it should be OK
to spend some money to teach him a lesson,” Tung told police, according to the Post. Another defendant at the trial in Shenzhen, over the Chinese border from Hong Kong, was told the payment would be one million dollars for murdering Lai and 700,000 dollars for injuring him, the report said. The attack was planned for July 1, when both men were taking part in Hong Kong’s annual pro-democracy march, the paper said. A Hong Kong court last month jailed a mainland Chinese gunman to 16 years for possessing a firearm with the intention of causing harm. A second man was handed a three-year jail term after admitting possessing firearms in connection with the plot. The plot was foiled after a police officer stopped the gunman by chance at a Hong Kong police checkpoint in August last year, the court heard.
Feared toll from Tongan ferry tragedy rises to 95 Agence France-Presse
NUKU’ALOFA - The feared death toll from a ferry disaster in Tonga has risen to 95, police said Sunday as devastated Tongans packed churches across the tiny Pacific island kingdom in a day of mourning. Police commander Chris Kelley said it was now believed there were 149 people on board the Princess Ashika, which went down just before midnight on Wednesday. Two bodies and 54 survivors have been found, and 93 people are unaccounted for. Police said the final number could be higher and they were continuing to analyse information about unrecorded people on board the vessel, whose official manifest showed only 79 passengers and crew. “I think there is a complete
manifest that is held by a crew member on the boat when it sailed, but of course that would have been lost in the sinking,” Kelley said. “What we are faced is that people are telling us is they put people on the boat and they weren’t on the manifest that was supplied here.” Navy divers from Australia and New Zealand were to continue Sunday trying to locate the ferry, which was en route from Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa to outlying Ha’afeva when it sank moments after issuing a mayday call. Survivors said it went down quickly when cargo appeared to shift and people below decks had no time to escape. The ferry was initially located in about 35 metres (115 feet) of water but may have slipped further on the uneven seabed to a depth of about 100 metres.
Tanzania police arrest suspect over Irishman’s death Agence France-Presse
ZANZIBAR TOWN - Police on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar said they had arrested a suspect in the murder of a 27-year-old Irish tourist, whose body was found on a beach here Saturday. The body of the victim, who had
arrived in Zanzibar earlier this week, was found about 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of the capital, the police chief Mselem Masoud Mtulia told AFP. An initial examination of the body had revealed bruises to the neck, said Mtulia, the senior officer for the north of the island.
“We are going with investigation and also call upon people to help police by providing any information which will help us arrest the murderers,” he added. The Zanzibar archipelago is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania popular with tourists for its beaches and snorkelling.
Concerned citizens gather on the dock as survivors arrives in Pangai on Tonga’s Lifuka Island, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009, after a ferry carrying 117 passengers and crew sank around midnight Wednesday, northeast of the Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa.
Headline : Indonesia awaits DNA test to confirm terror leader's death