Lawyers for Michael Jackson have asked a California judge to conduct behind closed doors a key hearing into accusations of past sex offenses by the singer, along with all other proceedings involving evidence in the case. The unusual request, which came to light in court papers made public on Tuesday, is in keeping with the extraordinary secrecy imposed in the matter by Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville and sought by attorneys for both sides. \nA television benefit show for victims of the Asian tsunami featuring Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Elton John and a string of Hollywood celebrities has run into controversy in the US before a note has been played or a dollar pledged. Fox TV conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly started the furor by suggesting that not all the money raised would aid tsunami victims. \nFrom sad to sadder, patrons in the restaurant where Robert Blake dined with his wife right before she was murdered testified Tuesday that the actor seemed upset, behaved oddly, and threw up his dinner well before anything happened to his wife. A longtime patron of Vitello's restaurant, near the 71-year-old actor's home in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, said Blake "seemed different from other times" he had been seen at the popular eatery. \nRichard Avedon, who went from a US marine photographer to one of the giants of contemporary arts, spent time shortly before his death in September giving tips to a budding young Army photographer about the craft. Army specialist Rodney Foliente, who joined the military about five months ago to hone his skills as a photographer, and Major Matt Garner were the public-affairs troops who helped Avedon when he photographed US soldiers at Fort Hood for a New Yorker magazine essay. Reuters obtained the final photographs of Avedon taken by the two soldiers on Tuesday. \nArnie's busy, so Terminator 3 star Nick Stahl has signed on to play a private investigator in the big-screen adaptation of A Cool Breeze on the Underground, The Hollywood Reporter said. \nThe movie is based on the first of a five-book mystery series by Don Winslow and centers on a young man on the wrong side of the law who's inducted into a secret organization that keeps its wealthy clients happy and trouble-free. As his first mission, he must use his newly learned investigating skills to track down a senator's teenage daughter who has gone underground in London. \nSpeaking of underground, Osama Bin Laden protege Abdurachman Khadr, who was raised in the arch-terrorist's Afghanistan compound and later became an informant for the US, has sold the film rights to his upcoming biography for an undisclosed sum, the Hollywood Reporter said Monday. \nKhadr, 21, was groomed to become a terrorist because his father, a member of bin Laden's inner circle. As Khadr matured, he became disillusioned with bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, resulting in rebelliousness, attempts to run away and repeated refusals when his father attempted to get him to become a suicide bomber. \nKhadr escaped the compound after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, was captured by US forces in Afghanistan and recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an informant at Guantanamo Bay, where he was placed among prisoners in an attempt to gain al-Qaeda secrets. He was due to be sent to Iraq before deciding to blow his cover by contacting a relative in Canada.
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
I didn’t expect to spend more than three minutes out of my car, yet the sun was so brutal I put on my hat before approaching the seawall. Beimen (北門) is the flattest and most sun-baked part of Tainan. It lacks trees and people. In wintertime, the weather is often delightful. It wasn’t yet mid-morning in the hot season, however, and I felt like a leaf shriveling in the desert. Atop the seawall but facing inland, I could see dozens of the rectangular ponds which account for a significant percentage of Beimen’s “land” area. Some, no doubt, were dug to produce