- Created on 02 December 2013
Photo by AP
Both the protesters on the streets of Bangkok and the Thai government pleading for them to go home say they're on the side of democracy, but that is not what their increasingly dangerous conflict is about. This is a fight about power, and who ought to have it.
The unrest that has brought the capital to the brink of catastrophe this week has laid bare a societal schism pitting the majority rural poor against an urban-based elite establishment. It is a divide that has led to upheaval several times in recent years, sometimes death, even though the man at the center of it, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has not set foot in Thailand since 2008.
Thaksin is despised by millions who consider him to be a corrupt threat to the traditional status quo, but supported by millions more who welcome the populist policies that benefit them.
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- Created on 02 December 2013
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom was an instant hit in South Africa.
According to sources, the biopic based on the autobiography of the anti-apartheid leader and former South African President opened at number one and set a new record.
Deadline repots moviegoers in Mandela's homeland reportedly took the day off work to attend screenings in cities and in the countryside. The Videovision Entertainment release landed at the top of the box office with "751,000 rands ($73,747) for a per-screen average of 8,620 rands ($858). That's about 23,000 admissions and is a record for a non-holiday Thursday according to Videovision."
During an interview at the Toronto International Film Festivallast month, star Idris Elba said playing Mandela was a "massive challenge."
"I didn't want to deface Mr Mandela in any way, but I didn't want to portray him in a way that wasn't honest... the challenges were massive, but we embraced them," he revealed.
"It was important we had both sides, the good and the bad," he added. "He had a very difficult life, so we weren't expected to make an easy film."
The movie has received stellar reviews from critics. Stephen Holden of the New York Times said, "Mr. Elba is completely convincing as a natural leader with a ferocious drive." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "In those moments when Elba shows the doubts, compromises and complications that make the man, we get glimpses of a life truly lived." And Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press agreed, stating, "Elba has so inhabited the character that you might be stunned to see photos of the real man, during credits, and realize the extensive physical differences."
Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom opened in U.S. theaters Friday, November, 29.
- Created on 02 December 2013
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) -- Amid the jerseys and baseball bats held in a secure room at SCP Auctions, there's a piece of sports memorabilia that speaks to much more than athletic prowess: an Olympic medal won by track star Jesse Owens at the 1936 Games in Berlin.
The medal - being auctioned online - recalls both the Nazi propaganda myths that Owens busted with his world record-setting 100-yard dash, and the American segregation that he came home to when he returned to the U.S. after the Games, which Adolf Hitler had orchestrated to showcase his ideas of Aryan supremacism.
"Almost singlehandedly, Owens obliterated Hitler's plans," SCP Auctions partner Dan Imler said. "You've got an African American, son of a sharecropper, grandson of slaves who overcame these incredible circumstances and delivered a performance for the ages."
Owens won gold in the 100- and 200-meters, the 400 relay and the long jump. But when he returned from the Berlin Games, he struggled to provide for his family.
His job options were limited by segregation and because he decided to return home instead of going on tour with the U.S. Olympic Team, he was stripped of his amateur athletic status.
"When they came back, the U.S. was just as it was when he left - segregated. Even though he came back an Olympic hero, he wasn't offered opportunities that Olympic heroes of today are offered," said his daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin, 74, of Chicago. "We lived well, a middle class life. We didn't want for much. But like many black men of that era, he struggled to provide for his family."
Owens gave one of his four Olympic gold medals to dancer and movie star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, another supremely talented African-American whose career was hemmed in by limited roles for black men, Imler said. Robinson befriended Owens after the athlete return from the Olympics.
"They formed a friendship and also a professional relationship. Bojangles helped Owens get work in the entertainment field," Imler said. "Owens gave him this medal out of gratitude and as a token of their friendship."
Owens worked for a short time as a band leader but eventually returned to his hometown of Cleveland where he worked for the parks department and eventually found his way into public speaking, his daughter said.
"The black community revered him for what he had accomplished," she said. "Had it been an even playing field, my father and Bojangles would have been super-stars."
The medal comes from the estate of Robinson's widow. The Robinson family declined to comment but Imler said they plan to use the proceeds to pay college tuition and contribute to charity.
SCP Auctions confirmed that the medal is genuine. The whereabouts of the other three original gold medals is unknown.
"We just hope that it's purchased by an institution where the public could have access to it, a museum or something like that," his daughter said.
The auction closes on Dec. 7.
- Created on 01 December 2013
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.