Filmmaker Blank dies at 77
Filmmaker Les Blank, whose documentaries on blues musicians and a range of other subjects won acclaim, has died at age 77. Harrod Blank says his father, whose 42 films earned him a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute, died of cancer on Sunday at his home in California. Les Blank’s early films focused on musicians, including 1960s portraits of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and blues guitarist Lightnin’ Hopkins. He shifted to food with documentaries like 1980’s Garlic is as Good as 10 Mothers and 2007’s All in This Tea. However, his best-known work was on fellow filmmaker Werner Herzog, including 1982’s Burden of Dreams, where his behind-the-scenes view of the making of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo became a classic chronicle of artistic obsession.
Seven die in brewery mishap
Mexico City authorities say seven workers died while cleaning a tank at a Grupo Modelo brewery. A spokeswoman for city prosecutors says the accident occurred early on Sunday and that investigators are looking into whether the workers died from inhaling toxic fumes. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the case. Plant manager Francisco Lopez Bravo told local media the workers were trapped inside the cistern while doing maintenance work.
FARC official arrives for talks
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) says high-ranking leader Pablo Catatumbo arrived in Havana on Saturday to join peace talks with the Colombian government. The FARC published a photograph on Sunday of Catatumbo with two guerrillas in Havana. The 60-year-old Catatumbo is leader of the FARC’s western front and he is said to be a key lieutenant of commander Alfonso Cano. FARC and Colombian government representatives have been in negotiations in Cuba since the fall.
Body of Dutch farmer found
Police say they have found the body of a missing Dutch farmer and have detained his wife as a suspect in the killing. Petrus Jacobus Gerardus Dekker had been missing for 10 days before he was found with four gunshot wounds in the Santa Cruz region. His hands and feet had been tied. His wife, Ruth Miriam Callau, had reported his disappearance on March 28 and an autopsy determined he died the same day. Anti-Crime Force Director Jhonny Requena on Sunday said Callau is suspected of paying a worker US$4,000 to find somebody to kill Dekker, though the motive was not clear. She has denied involvement in the crime.
Burmese immigrants protest
Members of one of the largest communities of Burmese immigrants in the country held a demonstration in Indiana on Sunday to call attention to sectarian violence targeting Muslims in Myanmar. About Burmese who resettled in the Fort Wayne area gathered outside the Allen County Courthouse to protest the violence in their homeland. AyeMin Zaphun told WANE-TV that the protest was called to spread awareness about the Myanmar government and extremist Buddhists who are targeting Muslims. “We want the world to know that in Burma, innocent people are dying. They’re burning children alive,” Zaphun said. He said some of the Fort Wayne immigrants will travel to New York City in the next couple of weeks to hold protests there.