kumpulblogger network

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New York festival showcases films on Muslim world

from http://reuters.com

NY festival showcases films on Muslim world

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven years after New York's Tribeca neighbourhood was shaken by the attacks on the city's World Trade Centre, the area has become a bazaar for movies about and from the Muslim world.

The Tribeca Film Festival, started after the September 11 attacks in 2001 to try to rejuvenate lower Manhattan, has become the key destination in North America for films from Muslim countries or about the Islamic faith seeking distribution deals, says artistic director Peter Scarlet.

This year, 19 films related to Islam, making up 10 percent of the program, will be shown at the seventh annual festival.

Scarlet, who has been working with the festival since 2003, said he was shocked when in his second year he was asked by a journalist if Tribeca would continue to show films "from the people who brought us 9/11."

"Even in as wealthy and as big a country as the United States people know very little about the rest of the world," he said. "Films are the last chance we have to understand what we as human beings have in common.

"The real function of a film festival is to open our windows, open our eyes and open our minds," he said. "Films might be our only chance to understand people who may look different, whether they live on the other end of the world or maybe they moved in across the street or across the hall."

The films at this year's festival, which began on Wednesday, include "Football Under Cover," the story of a German women's soccer team that heads to Iran after hearing their counterparts there had never been allowed to play a game, and "Headwind," which shows efforts by Iranians to stymie government censorship of media and information.

Director Faramarz K-Rahber, from Australia, has documented the love story between an Australian puppeteer and a young Muslim woman from a highly traditional Pakistani family in the film "Donkey in Lahore."

"This is done from a love point of view," said the Iranian-born director. "This is not about terrorism, this is not about the extremists, it is purely about love and how a religion can bring them together."

Jane Rosenthal, who founded the festival with actor Robert De Niro and her husband Craig Hatkoff, said the stronger showings of films from Islamic countries could be because advances in technology had made filmmaking more accessible.

"We had one picture last year done by a soldier in Iraq that he made on his cell phone and the power of it when it was blown up was really quite unnerving," she said.

"As technology becomes more accessible, people are making movies and telling their stories and getting cameras into places that in a million years you wouldn't expect it."

(Editing by Mark Egan and John O'Callaghan)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

join the My Opera Community


opera community is my favourite site

Sign up here, http://my.opera.com/community/signup/?referrer=1f2f177dbfbc3c3f26867f3a25eecdaf

This is the place to be for Opera browser users
* Free membership with access to all our services
* Blogs - Keep an online journal and share your thoughts and experiences
* Photo albums - Share pictures with your friends
* Groups - Meet other people with similar interests
* Forums - The official Opera forums
* Customize - Enhance your Opera browser
* Choose Opera - Spread the word about Opera


Monday, April 21, 2008

Australian republic and Aborigines summit

This articles from reuters.com

Australian republic and Aborigines top mind summit

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 By Rob Taylor and James Grubel

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A "Healing Fund" and constitutional recognition of Aborigines, and a push for Australia to sever ties with Britain's monarchy, led ideas on Sunday from a summit of the country's top 1,000 minds.

Sustained applause met calls for a vote on making Australia a republic before 2020, while economic heavyweights, including BHP-Billiton mining chief Marius Kloppers, demanded Australians be fifth on the list of the world's richest citizens in a decade.

"This has been a very Australian gathering," said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to a standing ovation at the close of a two-day brainstorming meeting charged with finding "big ideas" to improve the country's future by 2020.

"It's been characterised by a whole lot of good humour, a whole lot of mutual respect, and a whole lot of very classical, undeniable Australian directness," Rudd said.

Hollywood actors including Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett, who brought her week-old newborn son, and Hugh Jackman joined scientists, artists, central bankers, industrialists and environmentalists for the power summit at parliament.

Priority ideas, which Rudd's centre-left government will take up or reject by the end of the year, included speeding infrastructure construction to support the country's China-led resource boom and keep economic growth humming at 3.9 percent.

Other ideas included levies on junk food to make the country healthier, designing a bionic eye, and having corporate-backed schools with mandatory arts and creativity classes.

"By 2020, we want to be celebrating the fact that creativity is central to sustaining and defining the nation," said a black-clad Blanchett, handing Rudd a folder of "homework" ideas.

Following a recent Rudd apology for decades of past injustices, Aboriginal leaders called for a formal treaty with white Australians and closure of a 17-year life expectancy divide between indigenous people and the rest of the nation.

"We want to close the gap in all the areas that keep us back and hold us back in terms of our human dignity," said indigenous rights activist Jackie Huggins, calling for a "Healing Fund" paid for from an expected A$20 billion (9.4 billion pound) budget surplus.

Foreign affairs experts called for more engagement with Asia and Pacific nations, while environmentalists suggested carbon-neutral buildings and a national climate plan.

But it was the suggestion for a republic which drew most cheers, although Rudd has called it a second-tier priority for his government. A national vote in 1999 was rejected amid republican infighting over the style of presidency.

"A plebiscite to decide whether to sever ties and secondly a referendum to decide on the model," said Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspaper chief John Hartigan, who chaired one of 10 summit groups.

Rudd, who is Australia's most popular leader for 20 years, said Australian should try harder to be "a force for good in the world" and the summit was just a start point.

"I don't want to have to explain to my kids and perhaps their kids too that we failed to act, that we avoided the tough decisions, that we failed to prepare Australia for its future challenges," Rudd said.

(Editing by Bill Tarrant)

FACTBOX of Salman Rushdie

FACTBOX-British writer Salman Rushdie

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 <(Reuters) - British author Salman Rushdie, 60, says that time is running out, and with only a handful of books left in him he is choosing his subjects carefully.

His 10th novel, "The Enchantress of Florence", was published earlier this month.

Rushdie is best known for his novel "The Satanic Verses," which outraged many Muslims and prompted death threats that forced him to live in hiding for nine years.

Here are some facts about Rushdie:


-- Salman Rushdie was born to Muslim parents in Mumbai (Bombay) in June 1947, two months before Indian independence led to the creation of Pakistan as a separate Muslim state.

-- At 13 he was sent to Rugby, a private school in England. There he says he first encountered racism and was rejected by his peers despite his academic prowess. His essays were torn up and slogans were daubed on walls.

-- In 1965 he went to King's College, Cambridge to read history. After graduating, he went to Pakistan and lived with his family who had moved there in 1964. He worked briefly in television there before returning to Britain and working as a copywriter for an advertising agency. His first novel, "Grimus", was published in 1975.


-- Rushdie shot to fame in 1981 when his second novel, "Midnight's Children," a magical-realist exploration of Indian history, won the Booker Prize for Fiction. In 1993 the novel was judged to have been the "Booker of Bookers", the best novel to have won the prize in the award's 25-year history.

-- "The Satanic Verses", which won him worldwide notoriety when it appeared in 1988, is an allegorical fantasy about the struggle between good and evil, a surrealist journey by an Asian immigrant into an alien Western environment which questions the tenets of Islam.

-- Book burnings, riots across the Muslim world and calls for the novel to be banned culminated on February 14, 1989 in a death edict, or fatwa, proclaimed against Rushdie by Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who deemed the book blasphemous to Islam.

-- Rushdie went into hiding for nine years. In 1998 the Iranian government formally distanced itself from the death edict, but hardline groups in Iran regularly renew the call for his murder, saying Khomeini's fatwa is irrevocable.


-- In 2007 Britain awarded Rushdie a knighthood, defending its decision when some Muslims complained that honouring the author of "The Satanic Verses" was offensive to Islam.

-- The knighthood, for services to literature, prompted diplomatic protests from Pakistan and Iran and demonstrations in Pakistan and Malaysia.


-- His new novel, "The Enchantress of Florence", is an historical novel set in Renaissance Florence and the court of the Mughal Empire in India. It follows a woman trying to command her own destiny in a man's world. Rushdie's previous novel "Shalimar the Clown" was published in 2005.

Sources: Reuters/www.contemporarywriters.com

(Writing by David Cutler)

With clock ticking, Rushdie makes careful choices

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Author Salman Rushdie says time is running out, so with only a handful of books left in him he is choosing his subjects carefully.

Having just published his 10th novel, "The Enchantress of Florence", the 60-year-old plans to write a children's story next to keep a promise he made to his younger son Milan.

"I promised my younger son, who is just coming up to 11, that I would write another book for younger readers, because he read 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' not so long ago and was very fond it," Rushdie told Reuters in a recent interview.

"But he's also well aware of the fact that it's written for his older brother, so he's now begun to say 'Where's my book?' and there's no answer to that except to write it. I had to do a deal with him to be allowed to write this book (Enchantress)."

Rushdie typically takes three to five years to write a book.

"You think 'How many more have I got?' And so the question of which ones ... becomes unusually important when you are no longer immortal.

"When you are 25 you think you can do anything, loads of time, and now there isn't loads of time. Fortunately, I think one of the things you get better at as a writer as you get older is subject selection."

Another advantage of advancing years and a focussed mind, Rushdie believes, is that criticism becomes easier to bear.

"It's always nicer when people get it and like it than when they don't get it and don't like it. But you reach a point ... when you realise how many good working years you've got left?

"When you are asking yourself those questions, which are life and death questions, what a given critic says of you is a very minor thing compared to that.

"I think when you're younger you can actually be deflected by criticism. It can actually get in your way."


What did upset Rushdie was attacks from the "non-Muslim" community in Britain after he was awarded a knighthood last year, which he described as "a carnival of hate".

Politicians in Iran, Pakistan and other Muslim countries criticised Britain's decision to honour the writer who, 20 years ago, sparked fury with his novel "The Satanic Verses" which was deemed to have blasphemed against Islam.

While Rushdie expected such a reaction, which soon petered out, he added: "I did get surprised by the extent to which non-Muslim criticism in this country seemed to use it as a moment to really have a go at me.

"Suddenly it seemed like everybody who had ever had something against me was able to get acres of space in the newspapers to say what a bastard I was, and that my books were lousy and why didn't you give the knighthood to the postman because he wrote better than I did."

The Indian-born writer feels he is judged for what people think he is, not what he writes, the result of fame bordering on celebrity due to nine years in hiding after a death sentence was issued in 1989 by the then supreme religious leader of Iran.

"My general plan at the moment is to simplify my life," he said. "Again that is a sense of the clock ticking. You want to get done things you want to get done and in my mind that's mostly family, work, friends."

(Editing by Giles Elgood)