last updated: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:46:58 -0500
Thai PM calls snap election, protesters press on
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Martin Petty BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament on Monday and called a snap election, but anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations in Bangkok seeking to install an unelected body to run the country. Police estimated that about 150,000 protesters were converging on Yingluck's office at Government House, extending a rally that had descended into violence before pausing late last week out of respect for the king's birthday. Blowing whistles, they said they would oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her self-exiled brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Declaring they were unable to work with Yingluck, the main opposition Democrat Party resigned en masse from parliament on Sunday, raising the question of whether it would boycott the election, driving Thailand deeper into crisis.
Everyone has a bad day at work now and then. But if you have one of these 15 Most Stressful Jobs in the World, even one bad day can get you or someone else killed. From EMT to Coal Miner to Ice Road Trucker, these are the jobs that will keep you up at nights!
last updated: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 08:45:22 GMT
Tasmanian mine workers' names released
TASMANIAN mining community Queenstown is in shock following the deaths of two locals at the Mt Lyell copper mine.
last updated: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 04:48:20 -0500
last updated: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:44:10 -0500
ISLAMABAD (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Pakistan Monday for meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the nation's new army chief, hoping to further repair a strained and sputtering relationship between Washington and Islamabad.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The "Piano Man" who became one of the world's best-selling artists of all time with such hits as "Just the Way You Are," ''Uptown Girl" and "Allentown" was awarded the nation's highest honor Sunday for influencing American culture through the arts.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate vote to renew an expiring ban on plastic firearms capable of evading metal detectors and X-ray machines is shaping up as a bittersweet moment for gun control supporters, days before the anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
BANGKOK (AP) — Desperate to defuse Thailand's deepening political crisis, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday said she is dissolving the lower house of Parliament and called for early elections. But the moves did nothing to stem a growing tide of more than 150,000 protesters vowing to overthrow her in one of the nation's largest demonstrations in years.
North Korea purges Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea announced Monday it had sacked leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, long considered the country's No. 2 power, saying corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing and generally leading a "dissolute and depraved life" had caused Pyongyang's highest-profile fall from grace since Kim took power two years ago.
Kiev: Riot police deployed near protest sites
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of riot police in full gear have moved into the center of the Ukrainan capital where opposition activists have been occupying a city administration building and a central square.
Ex-San Diego mayor to be sentenced for harassment
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Bob Filner has almost vanished from public view since a defiant resignation speech as San Diego mayor amid widespread allegations that he sexually harassed women. He returns to the spotlight at least once more.
Officials: Police buses head to Kiev amid protests
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A column of police buses headed toward the Ukrainian capital on Monday, and opposition activists have begun evacuating a government building they have been occupying for days.
NEW YORK (AP) — The High Line, a park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway on Manhattan's West Side into one of New York's newest tourist attractions, may have brought a different kind of visitor: a cockroach that can withstand harsh winter cold and never seen before in the U.S.
Foreign statesmen arrive for Mandela memorial
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Scores of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries are beginning to converge on South Africa as the final preparations for Tuesday's national memorial service for liberation struggle icon Nelson Mandela are put in place.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro's opponents gained a stronger foothold in Venezuela's largest cities in mayoral elections, though they failed to deliver the crushing victory they had sought in hopes of breaking a prolonged political stalemate.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's government said Monday it has proposed new elections be held Feb. 2, hours after the prime minister dissolved the lower house of parliament in a bid to calm the country's deepening political crisis.
last updated: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:27:29 -0500
last updated: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:47:00 GMT
School synagogue 'used for student rape'
EXCLUSIVE: THE former principal of a Melbourne Jewish school has been stood down amid allegations he repeatedly raped a student.
Thief claims ring 'starved' out of him
UPDATE: A man accused of swallowing two rings says he was willing to return the jewels but the cops wouldn't wait.
last updated: Sun, 08 Dec 2013 18:46:51 +0000
The Dark Side Of Cricket
Tradition has been deeply eroded in recent decades as cricket has become a global television draw, with multimillionaire players, sharp-edged gamesmanship and occasional doping and match-fixing scandals.
last updated: Sun, 08 Dec 2013 18:30:40 GMT
India's opposition aims to ride momentum for 2014 after big state wins
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - - India's Hindu nationalist opposition party vowed on Monday to seize the momentum from a string of big state poll victories and smooth the tough job of broadening its appeal beyond traditional northern strongholds in time for a national election next year.
last updated: Sun, 08 Dec 2013 21:30:06 -0500
Out of the Furnace , the new film that stars Christian Bale as a steel mill worker, tries to shine a light on the Rust Belt. But does it avoid pandering?
Director Scott Cooper grew up in the hills of Virginia, the grandson of a coal miner. It's a story he's telling often these days, making it the pillar of the campaign for his new film, Out of the Furnace, a drama that stars Christian Bale as Russell Baze, a steelworker who suffers loss after loss: he watches his father die, his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) drift away, and his Iraq veteran brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) fight opponents in both the shadowy world of bare knuckle brawling, and battle-induced PTSD in the dark recesses of his memory.
"I'm drawn to people who live on the margins, the dispossessed and disenfranchised, the blue collar milieu, people who are under-represented on screen, too often misrepresented on screen, and I wanted to tell their lives as honestly and authentically and as truthfully as possible," said Cooper, who previously wrote and directed Crazy Heart, helping Jeff Bridges win an Oscar. "And that can sometimes be painful because the people who live in America often aren't thought of too often by people who make films and the people who produce and finance them. I felt a real responsibility to do that."
In Out of the Furnace, Woody Harrelson plays Harlan DeGroat, a vicious meth-dealing, fight-fixing hillbilly, who is owed money by bar owner John Petty (Willem Dafoe); the local booze-slinger is subsequently waiting on payment from Rodney to settle gambling debts. This cash flow — or lack thereof — sets off a chain reaction of violence, treachery, and vengeance, some of which were inspired by Cooper's own life.
Though he is credited as a co-writer with Brad Ingelsby on the project, Cooper gave the script a near-total re-write after signing on for the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced project, adding personal details in what became a cathartic expulsion of memory.
"Woody's character, even though he wasn't from New Jersey, was based on someone who touched my immediate family in a tragic way," he said. "Having lost a sibling, I understand that. Dealing with the kind of loss that Christian's character deals with, people in my family have suffered in that way."
Even character-building scenes, like Russell's inability to shoot a deer while on a hunting trip, came from the filmmaker's memory.
It is not uncommon that a director, during a press tour, insists that s/he had to have a certain actor for a role or they wouldn't make the movie, a claim Cooper makes about both Bale and Affleck, who do both shine in their roles. But he also insists that the movie couldn't have been produced anywhere but Braddock, Penn., a burnt out former steel town outside Pittsburgh that has the weary, ramshackle exhaustion that typifies the corroded Rust Belt.
Cooper heard about the town when its new mayor, a bear of a Harvard grad named John Fetterman, started garnering a wave of publicity for his efforts to revive the sagging town, filled with shuttered storefronts and crumbling clapboard houses. Appearances on 60 Minutes and a big feature in The New York Times put Fetterman and Braddock on the map, leading Cooper to make a phone call to Fetterman (who was shopping at Costco at the time). He planted the idea of a collaboration in the mayor's head, and a subsequent trip out to Braddock while promoting Crazy Heart cemented the deal.
"I knew those people [in Braddock]. I knew their values," Cooper insisted. "The people who stayed behind, the human spirit and resilience and the sense of courage from these people — it spoke to me in ways that are difficult to quantify."
And the mayor was equally appreciative of the filming experience.
"The production just could not have been any smoother or nicer for the town, and people really just embraced it," Fetterman said, noting the "economic stimulus" that the shoot brought to his town of 2,700.
"They paid a lot of extras and people that owned the homes and the buildings where it was shot," he added. "They used the fire department's bingo hall in town and I know that helped them financially. And we had to upgrade all of our police radios with the new protocol from the county — that was I think $7,000 — and they said, 'Sure, we'll take care of that.'"
In total, the shoot took about three months, and as Cooper said, the setting — including the old steel mill where they shot scenes with Bale — inspired and "imbued the entire production and all of my cast with a sense of authenticity and realism that you can't find anywhere else, certainly not on the backlot of a studio."
At the same time, Cooper's decision to film an unflinching story on location ran the risk of leaning too hard on the misery of the town and antiquated behavior of its outlaws, turning his portrait into a sort of classist museum exhibit. If you linger too long on images of dilapidated houses and focus too intensely on the crime that festers in a place like Braddock, is it exploitative, or at least a snobby look at those people presentation?
All 159 WTO Members Have Agreed on Something, for the First Time Ever
A landmark agreement revives hopes for the future of free trade