Firm to sue movie producers
A company that operates a scenic landscape area which features in the latest Transformers movie says it will sue the producers for breach of contract. It is the second Chinese company to make public a dispute with Paramount Pictures over Transformers: Age of Extinction, which heavily courts the Chinese audience with Chinese locations, actors and products, and is on track to become China’s biggest-grossing movier. Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism Co Ltd said in a statement yesterday that the producers had failed to show its logo prominently in the movie as promised. As a result, it is not clear to viewers that the shots of the scenic spot are of Wulong, because they are interspersed with scenes from Hong Kong and other tourist spots are claiming the karst peaks are theirs, it added. It said it would file a suit at a court in Chongqing demanding unspecified damages against Paramount Pictures and Beijing-based 1905 Internet Technology Co, one of the movie’s Chinese partners. Wulong said it wanted measures taken to mitigate the damage, and compensation for direct and indirect economic losses. Last month, a Beijing property developer said it had filed a lawsuit alleging that Paramount and two of its Chinese associates had failed to deliver on pledges to hold the movie premiere at its hotel, and feature images of its property in trailers and posters. Soon after the developer and Paramount said they had smoothed out the dispute.
Dance troupe head jailed
A court sentenced the head of a traditional dance troupe to four years in prison yesterday after he was convicted of passing information to a North Korean spy. The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Jeon Shik-ryeol, 44, had violated the national security law which bans South Korean citizens from making unauthorized contact with North Koreans. Jeon, the head of the traditional dance company Chool, is a member of the left-wing Unified Progressive Party. Prosecutors said the dancer met a North Korean spy in Shanghai in March 2011 and sent an encoded oath of loyalty to Pyongyang a month later.
Mom admits killing children
A South African woman wept in court on Monday as she admitted killing her three young disabled children in London. Tania Clarence, 42, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of her three-year-old twin sons, Ben and Max, and four-year-old daughter Olivia, but she denied the more serious charge of murder sought by prosecutors and will face trial in February next year. She was remanded to a secure mental hospital. Her husband, Gary, was in court to watch the proceedings. At the time of the children’s deaths he was away in South Africa, the couple’s home country, with their eldest daughter. Clarence was detained after the three bodies were found at the family’s home in New Malden on April 22. All three suffered from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy.
Airport admits near miss
A passenger jet preparing to leave Barcelona’s El Prat airport taxied across a runway where another was about to land, forcing the arriving plane to abort its landing and climb sharply to avoid a possible disaster. Amateur video footage filmed on Saturday showed the Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus 340 crossing the runway just as the aircraft from Russian airline Utair was making its final approach. None of the passengers on either plane was hurt.
Violent cop movie sparks fury
Civil libertarians are calling on the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to conduct a full investigation into an officer who was videotaped repeatedly punching a woman he had pinned on the side of a Los Angeles freeway. The CHP said the woman was walking on Interstate 10 west of downtown Los Angeles, endangering herself and people in traffic, and the officer was trying to restrain her. The woman had begun walking off the freeway, but returned when the confrontation occurred. The video shows Marlene Pinnock, 51, struggling and trying to sit up, while the officer punches her in the face and head until an off-duty law enforcement officer appears and helps him handcuff her. American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California executive director Hector Villagra said officers can only use force when reasonably necessary to overcome force or danger posed by a subject. He called the video disturbing and said it raises serious questions about the officer’s actions. Attorney Caree Harper said she is preparing to file a lawsuit on Pinnock’s behalf in the coming days alleging federal civil rights violations. “The minute his fists repeatedly hit her face, the lawsuit virtually started writing itself,” Harper said. “Frankly, I think the officer was angry because he looked like an idiot chasing a grandmother and he wanted to make her pay.”
Phone returned from Japan
An Oklahoma farmer is celebrating the return of a cellphone lost in October last year and found nine months later in Japan after it took a trip in a grain shipment down the Mississippi River, through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific Ocean. Kevin Whitney of Chickasha said he lost his smartphone when he bent down and the device fell out of his pocket into grain that was heading to a grain elevator. “I thought I’ll never see that phone again,” he told Oklahoma City TV broadcaster KFOR. The smartphone was found by mill workers in Kashima, Japan, in a shipment of about 2 million bushels of sorghum. They sent it back to a company in Louisiana that shipped the grain, which then tracked it down to its owner. “It’s crazy. I can’t believe it,” Whitney told KFOR, adding he was able to retrieve digital images he never thought he would see again. “What really shocked me about it all was what a small world it is. There are a lot of meaningful pictures on it, so we are real glad to get the phone back.”
Baby abandoned on subway
New York City police say they are searching for a woman who abandoned a baby at a Manhattan subway station. According to WINS Radio, it happened at about noon on Monday. Police say the woman pushed the baby’s stroller onto the platform when the northbound No. 1 train arrived at the Columbus Circle station. Then she got back onto the train. Authorities say the baby is six or seven months old.
Search for miners suspended
The government says it is suspending the search for eight miners trapped for six days in a collapsed gold mine in the south of the country. Geologist Anibal Godoy, the head of the search, on Monday told reporters that “the chance that the miners are alive is close to nothing.” Godoy said the search was being suspended in order to not risk any more lives. Three miners were rescued from the unregulated San Juan Arriba mine, which is located in a mountainous municipality known as El Corpus, about 100km south of the capital, Tegucigalpa.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big