Museum of the Future unveils bold vision for the Dubai of tomorrow during event in Paris

A view of the Museum of the Future in Dubai. (Giuseppe Cacace / AFP)
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Updated 01 July 2022

Museum of the Future unveils bold vision for the Dubai of tomorrow during event in Paris

  • Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, described the new museum as the latest addition to the list of world’s most celebrated cultural landmarks
  • He was speaking during the 26th International Trade Show for Museums, a prestigious three-day event that took place at the Louvre Museum this week

PARIS: The UAE’s Museum of the Future has unveiled its bold vision for the Dubai of tomorrow. It presented its ideas during the 26th International Trade Show for Museums, a three-day event at the Louvre Museum in Paris that attracted many of the world’s leading cultural institutions.

The delegation at the event, which concluded on Thursday, was led by Khalfan Belhoul, the CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, and also included Lath Carlson, the executive director of the Museum of the Future, and Majed Al-Mansoori, its deputy executive director.

The museum, which is located in Dubai’s Financial District and opened in February, was invited to attend the trade show to share its ideas for incubating a new generation of talent and helping to build a better future for humanity.

By embracing the latest breakthroughs in advanced technology, its team also aims to offer unparalleled visitor experiences and help to stimulate the cultural economy of Dubai.

“Our presence here in Paris represents a golden opportunity to engage with like-minded peers and establish deeper ties as we create pioneering experiences in a museum focused on making history by perceiving the future,” Belhoul said.

He described the Museum of the Future as the latest addition to the list of the world’s most celebrated cultural landmarks and added that it has set new benchmarks in the design and development of cultural landmarks.

“Today, it serves as an incubator for bright minds to accelerate big ideas that can strengthen Dubai’s position as a place to address some of the world’s most complex challenges,” he said.

By embracing cutting-edge technology and the pursuit of innovation to drive social, economic and environmental growth, Dubai is helping to unify global efforts to build a better future for humankind, added Belhoul.


Olivia Newton-John, ‘Grease’ star and singer, dies aged 73

Updated 08 August 2022

Olivia Newton-John, ‘Grease’ star and singer, dies aged 73

  • Olivia Newton-John gained worldwide fame as high-school sweetheart Sandy in the hit musical movie ‘Grease’

LOS ANGELES: Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, who gained worldwide fame as high-school sweetheart Sandy in the hit musical movie “Grease,” died Monday, her family said. She was 73.
The entertainer, whose career spanned more than five decades, devoted much of her time and celebrity to charities after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992.
Newton-John “passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” said a statement from her husband John Easterling posted on her official social media accounts.


Hindu nationalists push boycott of Bollywood ‘Forrest Gump’ remake

Updated 05 August 2022

Hindu nationalists push boycott of Bollywood ‘Forrest Gump’ remake

  • Latest example of Bollywood actors, particularly minority Muslims, feeling increased pressure under Hindu nationalist PM Modi
  • “Laal Singh Chaddha,” Indian spin on 1994 Hollywood hit with Tom Hanks, expected to be one of India’s biggest films of 2022

NEW DELHI: According to Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates because “you never know what you’re going to get.” Now, an Indian remake of the movie has been hit by boycott calls over years-old comments by its Muslim star Aamir Khan.
It is the latest example of how Bollywood actors, particularly minority Muslims like Khan, are feeling increased pressure under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Modi.
“Laal Singh Chaddha,” an Indian spin on the 1994 Hollywood hit with Tom Hanks, is expected to be one of India’s biggest films of 2022.
This is due in large part to its main star, 57-year-old Khan, one of the Indian industry’s most bankable actors with past blockbusters like “3 Idiots” (2009) and “Dangal” (2016).
But ahead of the August 11 release, the Internet is awash with clips from a 2015 interview when Khan expressed a growing “sense of fear” and that he and his then-wife discussed leaving India.
“She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day,” he said.
More than 200,000 tweets, many from supporters of Modi’s BJP party, have been shared since last month calling for people to spurn the movie with the hashtag #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha.
“Aamir Khan married two Hindu Women, yet named his kids Junaid, Azad & Ira. (Hindu co-star) Kareena (Kapoor) married a Muslim & promptly named her kids Taimur & Jehangir,” said one tweet, referring to the children’s typical Muslim names.
“That’s enough reasons to boycott Lal Singh Chaddha, basically a production from Bollywood’s Love Jihad club. #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha,” it added, using a derogatory term coined by Hindu nationalists who accuse Muslim men of marrying Hindu women and forcing them to convert.
Nicknamed “Mr Perfectionist,” Khan has been credited with pushing films beyond Bollywood’s traditional fare of song and dance into social and cultural issues.
He also hosted a TV chat show — “Satyamev Jayate” — that discussed touchy themes like rape, domestic violence and corruption.
The furor over his new film — which adapts Hanks’ famous line to say that “life is like a golgappa,” an Indian snack — is such that this week Khan stressed his patriotism, a key tenet of the Modi government.
“I feel sad that some of the people... believe that I am someone who doesn’t like India,” he told local media.
“That’s not the case. Please don’t boycott my film. Please watch my film.”
Films have long sparked controversy — as well as violence — in the movie-mad country of 1.4 billion people.
But the heat being felt by Khan, one of a clutch of Muslim megastars in the industry along with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, mirrors growing intolerance, marginalization and vilification of the minority, commentators say.
“There is no doubt that Aamir is being targeted by those spreading hatred toward Muslims,” one commentator, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of becoming a target himself, told AFP.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) owes its origins to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militaristic group espousing “Hindutva,” or making India an exclusively Hindu state.
Lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs over so-called cow protection — a sacred animal for many Hindus — and other hate crimes have sown fear in the 200- million-strong Muslim population.
Social media is full of misinformation claiming that Muslims will soon outnumber Hindus — due to inter-religious marriages — or that the minority is a treasonous fifth column backed by Pakistan.
Critics say that the world’s most prolific film industry and its stars have been gradually changing their output to fit the government narrative since Modi came to power in 2014.
In 2019, the hagiographic “PM Narendra Modi” was too much even for the Election Commission, which delayed its release until after a vote that year.
There has been a recent string of military-themed movies that have been nationalistic, all-guns-blazing stories of heroics by soldiers and police — usually Hindus — against enemies outside and within India.
This year’s “The Kashmir Files,” about the fleeing of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir in 1989-90, saw incidents of people in cinemas calling for revenge killings of Muslims.
Film critic and author Anna MM Vetticad said the methods to “subordinate India’s Muslims and Christians to the majority community... include demonizing these minorities, and constantly demanding proof of their patriotism.”
But little is expected to change.
“India’s tragedy is that a majority in Bollywood... are apathetic, opportunistic or afraid,” Vetticad told AFP.
 


Lady Gaga appears to confirm casting in ‘Joker’ sequel

Updated 04 August 2022

Lady Gaga appears to confirm casting in ‘Joker’ sequel

  • The musical clip depicts silhouettes dancing together to the tune of the song "Cheek to Cheek"
  • If confirmed, Lady Gaga will be the newest in a long line of actresses who have played or voiced the iconic character of Harley Quinn

DUBAI: Pop star and actress Lady Gaga appeared to confirm her casting in the upcoming motion picture sequel to the Oscar-winning psychological thriller “Joker” on Thursday by posting a musical teaser on Twitter.
The musical clip depicts silhouettes dancing together to the tune of the song “Cheek to Cheek,” originally written by Irving Berlin in 1935 for the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat, with the names Phoenix and Gaga flashing on the screen.
“Joker: Folie a Deux,” which will see Joaquin Phoenix reprise his role as the titular character, is set for release in theaters on Oct. 4, 2024.
Phoenix had first played the role in the 2019 film “Joker,” which earned him the Academy Award for best actor, depicted an origin story for the arch enemy of DC Comics’ superhero Batman.
No further details about the sequel have been immediately made available by Warner Bros. But Hollywood trade publication Variety has reported the new production will be a musical with Lady Gaga expected to play Joker’s co-conspirator, Harley Quinn.
If confirmed, Lady Gaga will be the newest in a long line of actresses who have played or voiced the iconic character of Harley Quinn. Most recently, Margot Robbie played the role of the ‘Crime Queen of Gotham City’ in the 2020 film “Birds of Prey” and in “The Suicide Squad” the following year.
It is unclear if Robbie will continue as Harley Quinn. However, the Joker movies featuring Phoenix are set in a separate cinematic universe, which would likely mean Robbie can still reprise her role as the iconic villain in any future movies.
Folie à deux is a rare psychiatric syndrome also known as shared psychosis, likely hinting at the traditionally co-dependent relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn.

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Will Smith posts an apology video for slapping Chris Rock

Updated 29 July 2022

Will Smith posts an apology video for slapping Chris Rock

  • Smith had reached out to the comedian to discuss the incident but was told Rock wasn't ready
  • “There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith said in the under-six minute video

NEW YORK: Will Smith has again apologized to Chris Rock for slapping him during the Oscar telecast in a new video, saying that his behavior was “unacceptable”.
He said he had reached out to the comedian to discuss the incident but was told Rock wasn’t ready.
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith said in the under-six minute video posted online Friday. “I am deeply remorseful and I’m trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.” To Rock, he said: “I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Smith, seated in a polo shirt and white ball cap, spoke directly to a camera, answering pre-selected questions about his behavior at the March 27 Academy Awards, when he slapped presenter Rock after the comedian made a reference about the hairstyle of Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife.
Smith also apologized to Rock’s family and especially his mother, Rosalie, who was horrified to see her son hurt and told US Weekly that, “When he slapped Chris, he slapped all of us. He really slapped me.” Smith also apologized to Tony Rock, Chris’ younger brother.
“I didn’t realize how many people got hurt in that moment,” Smith said.
Smith also apologized to his family “for the heat that I brought on all of us” and his fellow Oscar nominees to have “stolen and tarnished your moment.” He mentioned Questlove by name; it was the musician-director’s documentary win for “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” that was interrupted by the slap. Rock was on stage to present the documentary award.
Smith also said his wife did nothing to encourage his slap. “Jada had nothing to do with it,” he said. “I made a choice on my own.” Pinkett Smith has said that she has alopecia areata, a hair-loss disorder.
Following the altercation, the motion picture academy banned Smith from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years. Smith apologized to Rock in a statement after the Oscars, saying he was “out of line and I was wrong.”
“I’m sorry really isn’t sufficient,” Smith said in the video, adding that he is hurting because he hasn’t lived up to fans’ impressions. “Disappointing people is my central trauma.”
Many had speculated that Smith would appear on camera to discuss the slap first on Pinkett Smith’s online series “Red Table Talk,” but he chose to do it in a social media video post without any follow-up questions or surprise queries.

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UK to host 2023 Eurovision instead of Ukraine

Updated 25 July 2022

UK to host 2023 Eurovision instead of Ukraine

LONDON: Britain said Monday it had reluctantly agreed to take Ukraine’s place as hosts of next year’s Eurovision song contest after organizers said there was no prospect of the event going ahead in the war-torn country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said it was his “strong wish” for Ukraine, this year’s winner, to host the 2023 edition and found it “deeply regrettable” that was no longer possible, with the BBC stepping in to host.