Movie critic Ebert dies
The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that its film critic Roger Ebert has died. He was 70. The paper says on its Web site that the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic died on Thursday. Ebert was known for his thumbs-up, thumbs-down TV reviews that influenced moviegoers across the US. Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and later had surgery for cancer of the salivary gland. He lost his chin and his ability to speak. However, he later resumed writing full-time and eventually even returned to television. Ebert started as a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. In 1975 he became the first movie reviewer to get the Pulitzer Prize for criticism.
Rembrandt van Rijn’s masterpiece The Night Watch is back in pride of place at the newly renovated national museum, along with works by artists Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and thousands of other Dutch cultural and artistic artifacts, as the museum prepares to reopen after a massive 10-year, 375 million euro (US$480 million) renovation. In a preview on Thursday ahead of the Rijksmuseum’s opening on Saturday next week, director Wim Pijbes said the improvements would justify the long wait. The 19th-century building’s red-brick exterior, which resembles a fairy-tale castle, has been left intact. Inside, a central courtyard has been crafted to let natural light pour in, creating a bright heart at the center of the museum. The museum expects annual visits to nearly double to 2 million after the renovation.
Government denies link
The government yesterday strenuously denied it had any link to an arms-laden ship that Egypt said its navy seized as it sailed from Eilat to Togo in West Africa. “Nobody in Israel knows anything about this ship. It’s clear that it did not come from Eilat or any other Israeli port,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told reporters. Egyptian security officials said on Thursday that the navy intercepted the vessel and detained its crew who had set off from the Red Sea port of Eilat en route to Togo. Officials said that the ship, “which was flying the flag of an African country,” was intercepted after it strayed into Egyptian territorial waters. The vessel with a crew of 14 and a cargo of 105 crates of unspecified weapons and ammunition, belonged to an African security company, the officials said.