HPV vaccination rate up, but not enough, CDC says

More teenage girls are receiving the vaccine that protects against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the government reported Thursday. However, the numbers still don’t meet targets set by public health officials.

Last year’s rise in HPV vaccine use follows a couple of years when vaccination rate was flat and health officials worried that it wouldn’t budge. For girls ages 13 to 17, about 57 percent received at least one dose in 2013, up from 54 percent in 2012. Just 38 percent received all three doses as recommended, up from 33 percent the year before.

“It was better than nothing. But we really need to do better moving forward,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vaccine protects against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted bug that can cause cervical cancer, genital warts and other illnesses.

A three-dose series of HPV shots was introduced in 2006. The government recommends the vaccine for girls ages 11 and 12 because it works best if given before they become sexually active.

Some have worried that taking a child for the vaccination implied green-lighting sexual activity. However, research is indicating that receiving the vaccine does not typically encourage sexual promiscuity. A survey of 300 girls between the ages of 13 to 21, published in February, found that it did not change their attitudes toward safe sex.

Health officials have tried to encourage doctors and parents to see it as just another disease-prevention measure for pre-adolescents, like the recommended shots against meningitis and whooping cough. It takes time for new vaccines to become widely used, but the HPV vaccine has lagged behind other shots.

Nationally, HPV vaccination rate increases were larger for boys. About 35 percent got at least one dose last year, up from 21 percent in 2012. The three-dose number doubled to 14 percent, from 7 percent.

The government only began recommending the vaccine for boys in 2011, and the increases mirror those seen in girls five years earlier. It’s not clear if the trend will flatten out after the early rush, like it did for girls.

There was some good news in the latest report: Vaccination campaigns in Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico and South Carolina paid off with increases last year of at least 12 percentage points for girls who got at least one dose, the CDC reported.

The CDC numbers come from a random phone survey of parents of about 18,000 adolescents, followed by a check of medical records. But many declined to be in the survey and it’s possible that those who agreed to participate were more likely to embrace HPV vaccinations. That could make the actual HPV rates lower than the CDC report suggests, Schuchat said.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsHealth/~3/OZX6NYtKYlk/

CRISIS IN GAZA Israel finds additional, sophisticated tunnels

  • tunnel2 copy.jpg

    The Israeli Defense Forces were surprised by the number of tunnels under the Gaza border. (Courtesy: IDF)

  • tunnel4 copy.jpg

    Some 60 shafts connect to at least 28 tunnels. (Courtesy: IDF)

  • tunnel3pic.jpg

    Shafts leading down to tunnels began in mosques, schools, houses and even fields. (Courtesy: IDF)

  • tunnel5 copy.jpg

    Israel plans to demolish all of the underground passageways with explosives. (Courtesy: IDF)

While rockets and mortar fly through the sky in Gaza and southern Israel, the focus of the Jewish state’s military is underground, on the warren of tunnels they say allow Hamas operatives to move freely in and out of the Palestinian territory committing acts of terror.

Pictures released by the Israel Defense Forces show tunnels, some primitive and others sophisticated enough to include walls and ladders, running under the border from the Hamas-controlled district before they were intentionally destroyed. More than 60 access shafts leading to 28 tunnels have been uncovered since Israel’s ground operation — dubbed Operation Protective Edge — began on July 8.

“An IDF force uncovered a terror access shaft in Gaza in which were weapons, maps and IDF uniforms, all intended for the execution of terror attacks against Israel,” said an IDF statement. “In addition, an IDF force attacked several militants emerging from a tunnel opening in the southern Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the ground operation more than 60 access shafts leading to some 28 tunnels have been uncovered.”

“This can be dealt with diplomatically or militarily – now it’s being done militarily with a lot of success.”

- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said shutting down the tunnels is critical to security in Israel.

“We’ve been busy with the tunnels for a long time — in the last year we have discovered four in our territory,” Ya’alon said. “This can be dealt with diplomatically or militarily — now it’s being done militarily with a lot of success.”

IDF officials initially expected that most of the tunnels would be destroyed within days, but once on the ground learned there were more than intelligence sources knew. And on Tuesday, a U.S. intelligence source revealed that American satellite imagery had suggested that as many as 60 tunnels might have been built underneath Gaza.

The maze of tunnels and access shafts appears to weave its way throughout much of the Gaza Strip. Access points are reportedly found in homes, mosques, public buildings, and more. In the last week, two discoveries of missile caches have been found in UNRWA schools that most likely arrived via tunnel.

“UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations” wrote Christopher Gunness, director of advocacy and strategic relations for UNRWA. Today, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon revealed his dismay at learning that at least one of the two caches has “disappeared” after being handed over by UNRWA to unidentified persons.

“The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas,” a senior Israeli official told the Times of Israel. “In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel.”

The tunnels vary in length, height and width, but some are well-constructed using concrete blocks. Some have electricity feeds and sewage channels, suggesting they are designed for terrorists to remain inside for long periods, possibly days at a time. The materials used to construct the tunnels appear most likely to have been diverted by Hamas from the building materials allowed into Gaza by Israel for civilian construction.

On Monday, an attempt by a force of terrorists dressed in mock Israeli Army uniforms was thwarted after they emerged into the night and were involved in a firefight with an IDF unit. Ten would-be attackers were killed, along with four Israeli soldiers.

Israelis close to the border are living in fear that at any moment a tunnel delivering well-trained and merciless terrorists could emerge within their community, or even within the very boundaries of their own house or garden. Should Hamas or Islamic Jihad succeed in emerging undiscovered from one of these tunnels, there could be carnage on a massive scale.

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist who can be followed on Twitter @paul_alster and at www.paulalster.com

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/24/israel-surprised-by-number-sophistication-gaza-tunnels/

Desperate for painkillers, man self-inflicted injuries

It’s been over a year since the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) starting tracking him, but on July 18, a man known as John Doe was finally taken into custody.

John Doe, who authorities say is addicted to pain killers, has allegedly been hitchhiking across the country for the past four years under different names and admitting himself to as many as five hospitals per week to receive prescription medication. He was arrested in Maine last Friday after Fort Kent police arrived at a hospital regarding a disturbance.

“He gave us two different names and had no identification on him,” said Fort Kent Police Chief Thomas Pelletier. “While doing a computer check on the name he had given us, there was a hit by the U.S. Postal Inspection on that name and date of birth.”

Police were able to verify that Doe had similar incidences at other hospitals and alerted postal inspectors, who picked him up on a federal warrant. Doe, whose true identity is unknown, would provide false names and addresses to avoid paying for his medical treatment at hospitals.

“The US Postal Service collected over 3,500 bills as undelivered from 490 different hospitals,” said USPIS spokesperson Donna Harris. “He owes over $800,000 worth of medical bills and it still could be anything up to $3 million.”

After complaining of pain, Doe would often receive X-Rays, MRIs, or even go into surgery to remove objects he intentionally placed in his body to cause pain, giving him the medical attention he wanted and the prescription painkillers to feed his addiction. According to the Center for Disease Control, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

The USPIS said Doe grew hostile if hospital workers didn’t give him painkillers or questioned his identity.

“Doe would often become combative and violent towards hospital staff and potentially dangerous,” Harris said. “This caused several hospitals to call the local police to remove Doe from the hospital and resulted in several local arrests.”

Hospitals from several states reaching from Maine to Texas are looking for payment from Doe, who appeared at the Southern District of New York court in White Plains this morning. He has been charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of theft in connection to healthcare.

In 2012, the USPIS arrested 1,400 people for mail fraud, resulting in 700 convictions.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsHealth/~3/6UVkI6BpX4c/

100,000-YEAR-OLD CASE? Skull may contain oldest evidence of brain damage

skull-fracture.jpg

A Paleolithic child that died 100,000 years ago may have suffered from brain damage after an injury. Researchers used a 3D reconstruction (shown here) to reveal the compound fracture and surface changes inside the skull.Coqueugniot H, Dutour O, Arensburg B, Duday H, Vandermeersch B, et al. (2014)

An ancient skeleton unearthed in Israel may contain the oldest evidence of brain damage in a modern human.

The child, who lived about 100,000 years ago, survived head trauma for several years, but suffered from permanent brain damage as a result, new 3D imaging reveals.

Given the brain damage, the child was likely unable to care for himself or herself, so people must have spent years looking after the little boy or girl, according to the researchers who analyzed the 3D images. People from the child’s group left funerary objects in the youngster’s burial pit as well, the study authors said.

Those signs of care for a disabled person suggest that the roots of human compassion go way back, said Hélène Coqueugniot, an anthropologist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at the University of Bordeaux in France, and lead author of the study.

“It is some of the most ancient evidence of compassion and altruism,” Coqueugniot said.

Young child

The child’s skeleton was first uncovered decades ago in a cave site known as Qafzeh in Galilee, Israel, which also contained 27 partial skeletons and bone fragments, as well as stone tools and hearths. [See Images of the Damaged Skull and Skeleton]

The child, whose sex couldn’t be determined, was found with a visible fracture in the skull and a pair of deer antlers placed across the chest.

The researchers wanted to know more about the damage to the child’s skull, so they created a cast of the interior of it and then used computed tomography (CT) scanning to create a 3D picture of the head.

The images revealed that the child suffered a blunt-force trauma at the front of the skull that created a compound fracture, with a piece of bone depressed in the skull. It wasn’t clear whether child abuse or an accident caused the injury, the researchers concluded.

In addition, tooth growth indicated that the youngster was 12 or 13 years old when he or she died, but the child’s brain volume was more akin to that of a 6- or 7-year-old — likely because the head trauma permanently halted brain growth, Coqueugniot told Live Science.

The brain injury would have led to difficulties in controlling movements and speaking, as well as caused personality changes and impaired the child’s social functioning, the researchers wrote in their study, which was published July 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Human compassion?

Yet despite the youngster’s severe disability, he or she was apparently cared for, in life and in death. Despite lacking the ability to survive on his or her own, the Paleolithic child lived for several years after the head injury. And when the child died, someone wanted to honor his or her memory by placing the deer antlers in his or her burial — a funerary marker that wasn’t found in any of the other burials at the site, Coqueugniot said.

“He was very, very special in this group, and he has a very, very special burial,” Coqueugniot said.

The findings are not the oldest example of compassion and care for the disabled in a hominid; a 500,000-year-old fossil human from Sima de los Huesos in Spain shows signs of severe brain deformity starting at birth, but that child still lived to age 5, which mean someone cared for the child despite his or her disorder.

But the Qafzeh child reveals a striking example of compassion and care for the disabled in early modern humans, who are anatomically similar to humans today, said Jean-Jacques Hublin, director of the department of human evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

It’s not clear that head trauma caused brain development to halt, said Hublin, who was not involved in the study. “There is a large variation in brain size among humans, and this is perceptible already in infancy and childhood,” Hublin told Live Science.

Therefore, the child may have simply have started out with a small brain, which would have remained relatively small as he or she grew, he said.

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/07/24/100000-year-old-case-brain-damage-discovered/

India Set for Major Box-Office Weekend at Home and Abroad

Two Indian films could well rewrite the box-office playbook at home and abroad this weekend.

Top star Salman Khan‘s action-packed Kick from Disney UTV opens Friday to cash in on the Eid ul Fitr holiday weekend, which tends to draw strong cinema attendance.

Meanwhile, in a first of sorts, an Indian film could become the biggest release ever in China. Last year’s blockbuster hit Dhoom 3 opens in China Friday, with its production firm, veteran Bollywood banner Yash Raj Films, stating that the Mandarin-dubbed version of the film is set to open in 2,000 screens, distributed by HGC Entertainment.


Khan has been dominating the Eid weekend in recent years, one of the major holiday release windows on the Indian calendar. The star – who also hosts the Indian version of Big Brother on TV – has delivered some of his biggest titles that have hit the coveted 1 billion rupee ($ 17 million) mark. Khan’s string of past hits over the holiday weekend that marks the end of Ramadan have included Wanted, Dabangg, Bodyguard and Ek Tha Tiger.


Kick will again attempt to cash in on Khan’s formula of packaging adrenalin pumping stunts with a dash of romance topped with colorful song-and-dance sequences as seen in his past blockbusters. Kick co-stars beauty queen-turned-actress Jacqueline Fernandez, a former Miss Sri Lanka.

The third installment of the blockbuster Dhoom franchise will offer a case study for Indian films trying to find a foothold in China, given the country’s limited quota for foreign titles.

So far, Reliance Entertainment’s 2009 comedy hit 3 Idiots is considered the most successful Indian film at the Chinese box office. It was released there in 2011. Starring top actor Aamir Khan, the film collected nearly $ 3 million in China. Dhoom 3 also stars Khan in the lead along with Katrina Kaif and Abhishek Bachchan and Grace of Monaco co-producer Uday Chopra.


Following its December worldwide release, Dhoom 3 went on to set new box-office records and becoming the first Indian film to cross the 5 billion rupee mark ($83 million).


Looking ahead, India’s next major holiday weekend release is slated for the country’s independence day, Aug. 15, when Reliance is scheduled to bow Singham Returns. The sequel to 2010′s action hit Singham – a remake of a South Indian film – again stars actor Ajay Devgn.


And what is considered one of the year’s most awaited releases in India, Fox Star Studios will bow Bang Bang! during the Oct. 2 holiday, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. Starring A-listers Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, Bang Bang! is a Bollywood reworking of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz film Knight and Day.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/EmcUsTRsfos/story01.htm

India Set for Major Box-Office Weekend at Home and Abroad

Two Indian films could well rewrite the box-office playbook at home and abroad this weekend.

Top star Salman Khan‘s action-packed Kick from Disney UTV opens Friday to cash in on the Eid ul Fitr holiday weekend, which tends to draw strong cinema attendance.

Meanwhile, in a first of sorts, an Indian film could become the biggest release ever in China. Last year’s blockbuster hit Dhoom 3 opens in China Friday, with its production firm, veteran Bollywood banner Yash Raj Films, stating that the Mandarin-dubbed version of the film is set to open in 2,000 screens, distributed by HGC Entertainment.


Khan has been dominating the Eid weekend in recent years, one of the major holiday release windows on the Indian calendar. The star – who also hosts the Indian version of Big Brother on TV – has delivered some of his biggest titles that have hit the coveted 1 billion rupee ($ 17 million) mark. Khan’s string of past hits over the holiday weekend that marks the end of Ramadan have included Wanted, Dabangg, Bodyguard and Ek Tha Tiger.


Kick will again attempt to cash in on Khan’s formula of packaging adrenalin pumping stunts with a dash of romance topped with colorful song-and-dance sequences as seen in his past blockbusters. Kick co-stars beauty queen-turned-actress Jacqueline Fernandez, a former Miss Sri Lanka.

The third installment of the blockbuster Dhoom franchise will offer a case study for Indian films trying to find a foothold in China, given the country’s limited quota for foreign titles.

So far, Reliance Entertainment’s 2009 comedy hit 3 Idiots is considered the most successful Indian film at the Chinese box office. It was released there in 2011. Starring top actor Aamir Khan, the film collected nearly $ 3 million in China. Dhoom 3 also stars Khan in the lead along with Katrina Kaif and Abhishek Bachchan and Grace of Monaco co-producer Uday Chopra.


Following its December worldwide release, Dhoom 3 went on to set new box-office records and becoming the first Indian film to cross the 5 billion rupee mark ($83 million).


Looking ahead, India’s next major holiday weekend release is slated for the country’s independence day, Aug. 15, when Reliance is scheduled to bow Singham Returns. The sequel to 2010′s action hit Singham – a remake of a South Indian film – again stars actor Ajay Devgn.


And what is considered one of the year’s most awaited releases in India, Fox Star Studios will bow Bang Bang! during the Oct. 2 holiday, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. Starring A-listers Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, Bang Bang! is a Bollywood reworking of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz film Knight and Day.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/EmcUsTRsfos/story01.htm

Box Office Preview: Female Action Pic ‘Lucy’ Looks to Slay ‘Hercules’

Dwayne Johnson‘s buff Hercules may be no match for Scarlett Johansson‘s Lucy, making for one of the most interesting action showdowns at the summer box office since action movies don’t traditionally feature a female star. Hercules marks Brett Ratner‘s first directorial outing since the ill-fated Tower Heist in 2011.

PHOTOS Exclusive Portraits of ‘Hercules’ Star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

The weekend’s other new nationwide offering is Rob Reiner‘s independent dramedy And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Clarius Entertainment opens the movie in roughly 1,800 locations, compared to more than 3,000 for Hercules and Lucy.

Pre-release tracking suggests Lucy will race past $30 million in its debut — many think it will cross $35 million — while Hercules is expected to earn in the mid-$20 million range, a disappointing start.

Lucy director Luc Besson is certainly no stranger to using female protagonists, having directed Zoe Saldana in Colombiana and made La Femme Nikita. There were also strong female characters in The Professional and The Fifth Element.

PHOTOS Titans of Comic-Con: Stars Re-Create Classic Characters

Besson’s EuropaCorp made Lucy for a reported $40 million. In promoting the action film, Universal is touting Johansson’s turn as Black Widow in Marvel’s superhero films, including The Avengers and, more recently, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Lucy, the actress plays a woman caught up in a deal gone bad who gains super-human brain capacity. Johansson stars opposite Morgan Freeman in the, one of the few R-rated action films this summer.

Paramount and MGM partnered in making Hercules, which cost $100 million to produce and hopes to accomplish the Herculean task of finally launching a franchise centered around the Greek hero. Earlier this year, The Legend of Hercules failed at this task, opening to an anemic $8.9 million.

Adapted from Radical Comics’ Hercules, Ratner’s grittier take on the mythical hero sees Hercules and a band of mercenaries help end a civil war in the land of Thrace. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a god, but feels the suffering of a human as he’s tested by unimaginable villains.

PHOTOS The Rock and 5 Other Wrestlers Turned Hollywood Stars

Johnson stars opposite Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt in the action epic.

Hercules could be a big player in some international markets, and rolls out in its first 19 territories this weekend, including Russia, the U.K. and Australia.

The specialty box office sees the debut of several high-profile titles, including Woody Allen‘s Magic in the Moonlight, from Sony Pictures Classics. With a cast led by Colin Firth and Emma Stone, Magic debuts in 17 theaters in select cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film.

Espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, starring the Rachel McAdams and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, makes a far more aggressive push, opening in 360 locations in 75 markets. Roadside Attractions is releasing the movie, directed by Anton Corbijn and based on the book by John le Carre.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/nz2YgEqNP_U/story01.htm

Box Office Preview: Female Action Pic ‘Lucy’ Looks to Slay ‘Hercules’

Dwayne Johnson‘s buff Hercules may be no match for Scarlett Johansson‘s Lucy, making for one of the most interesting action showdowns at the summer box office since action movies don’t traditionally feature a female star. Hercules marks Brett Ratner‘s first directorial outing since the ill-fated Tower Heist in 2011.

PHOTOS Exclusive Portraits of ‘Hercules’ Star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

The weekend’s other new nationwide offering is Rob Reiner‘s independent dramedy And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Clarius Entertainment opens the movie in roughly 1,800 locations, compared to more than 3,000 for Hercules and Lucy.

Pre-release tracking suggests Lucy will race past $30 million in its debut — many think it will cross $35 million — while Hercules is expected to earn in the mid-$20 million range, a disappointing start.

Lucy director Luc Besson is certainly no stranger to using female protagonists, having directed Zoe Saldana in Colombiana and made La Femme Nikita. There were also strong female characters in The Professional and The Fifth Element.

PHOTOS Titans of Comic-Con: Stars Re-Create Classic Characters

Besson’s EuropaCorp made Lucy for a reported $40 million. In promoting the action film, Universal is touting Johansson’s turn as Black Widow in Marvel’s superhero films, including The Avengers and, more recently, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Lucy, the actress plays a woman caught up in a deal gone bad who gains super-human brain capacity. Johansson stars opposite Morgan Freeman in the, one of the few R-rated action films this summer.

Paramount and MGM partnered in making Hercules, which cost $100 million to produce and hopes to accomplish the Herculean task of finally launching a franchise centered around the Greek hero. Earlier this year, The Legend of Hercules failed at this task, opening to an anemic $8.9 million.

Adapted from Radical Comics’ Hercules, Ratner’s grittier take on the mythical hero sees Hercules and a band of mercenaries help end a civil war in the land of Thrace. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a god, but feels the suffering of a human as he’s tested by unimaginable villains.

PHOTOS The Rock and 5 Other Wrestlers Turned Hollywood Stars

Johnson stars opposite Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt in the action epic.

Hercules could be a big player in some international markets, and rolls out in its first 19 territories this weekend, including Russia, the U.K. and Australia.

The specialty box office sees the debut of several high-profile titles, including Woody Allen‘s Magic in the Moonlight, from Sony Pictures Classics. With a cast led by Colin Firth and Emma Stone, Magic debuts in 17 theaters in select cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film.

Espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, starring the Rachel McAdams and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, makes a far more aggressive push, opening in 360 locations in 75 markets. Roadside Attractions is releasing the movie, directed by Anton Corbijn and based on the book by John le Carre.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/nz2YgEqNP_U/story01.htm

Japan Box Office: Disney Continues Record Run With ‘Maleficent’

TOKYO – Disney spent its 19th straight week atop the Japanese box office, with Maleficent holding on to first place ahead of the latest Pokemon movie after a three-day weekend with a crowded release schedule. When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie), the latest Studio Ghibli production, opened in a disappointing third despite being released at the start of school summer vacations, news that does not bode well for the anime powerhouse post- Hayao Miyazaki.

Maleficent took another $4.7 million (¥480 million) on Saturday and Sunday, with another $2.4 million on Monday raising its total in Japan to $32 million (¥3.28 billion) after three weekends in theaters. The combined 19 weeks for Frozen and Maleficent is a record for Disney. Historical data is not available for Titanic‘s run that began in December 1997 for Twentieth Century Fox, following its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Titanic grossed ¥26.2 billion in Japan, $258 million at today’s exchange rates, second only to Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, with ¥30.4 billion ($300 million). 

PHOTOS Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films

Disney stable-mate Frozen, which Maleficent unseated from the top of the rankings, dropped to eighth spot from fourth, but remains in theaters despite its record-breaking home entertainment release on July 16. Frozen added another $1.5 million over the long weekend to take its box office total to $248 million (¥25.1 billion) after 19 weeks of release.

STORY Why ‘Frozen’ Was Such a Big Box-Office Hit in Japan

Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, is the 17th theatrical release from the franchise, and pulled in $3.88 million (¥393 million) from 357 screens on Saturday and Sunday. Pokemon actually beat Maleficent in admissions 360,000 to 350,000, leading local rankings to place it top, but lost on takings due to the lower number of more expensive adult tickets sold.

When Marnie Was There, written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, took $3.74 million (¥379 million) in third place from 461 screens, close behind the Pocket Monsters. It was the first project announced by Studio Ghibli since co-founder Miyazaki confirmed his retirement last year, and will inevitably raise questions about the ongoing success of the studio without its Oscar-winning maestro.

PHOTOS 10 OSCAR DE LA RENTA DRESSES THAT WOWED

The latest installment of the Masked Rider (Kamen Rider), a live-action kids’ hero franchise, bowed in fourth with $1.67 million (¥170 million) from 309 screens. Tom Cruise-starrer Edge of Tomorrow, released in Japan as All You Need is Kill – the title of the Japanese novel it’s based on – fell to fifth on its third weekend in cinemas.

Planes: Fire & Rescue, another Disney release in what is becoming a bumper year for the studio in Japan, opened on 313 screens with $762,000 (¥77 million).

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/dNIw2GA2dD0/story01.htm

Japan Box Office: Disney Continues Record Run With ‘Maleficent’

TOKYO – Disney spent its 19th straight week atop the Japanese box office, with Maleficent holding on to first place ahead of the latest Pokemon movie after a three-day weekend with a crowded release schedule. When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie), the latest Studio Ghibli production, opened in a disappointing third despite being released at the start of school summer vacations, news that does not bode well for the anime powerhouse post- Hayao Miyazaki.

Maleficent took another $4.7 million (¥480 million) on Saturday and Sunday, with another $2.4 million on Monday raising its total in Japan to $32 million (¥3.28 billion) after three weekends in theaters. The combined 19 weeks for Frozen and Maleficent is a record for Disney. Historical data is not available for Titanic‘s run that began in December 1997 for Twentieth Century Fox, following its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Titanic grossed ¥26.2 billion in Japan, $258 million at today’s exchange rates, second only to Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, with ¥30.4 billion ($300 million). 

PHOTOS Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films

Disney stable-mate Frozen, which Maleficent unseated from the top of the rankings, dropped to eighth spot from fourth, but remains in theaters despite its record-breaking home entertainment release on July 16. Frozen added another $1.5 million over the long weekend to take its box office total to $248 million (¥25.1 billion) after 19 weeks of release.

STORY Why ‘Frozen’ Was Such a Big Box-Office Hit in Japan

Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, is the 17th theatrical release from the franchise, and pulled in $3.88 million (¥393 million) from 357 screens on Saturday and Sunday. Pokemon actually beat Maleficent in admissions 360,000 to 350,000, leading local rankings to place it top, but lost on takings due to the lower number of more expensive adult tickets sold.

When Marnie Was There, written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, took $3.74 million (¥379 million) in third place from 461 screens, close behind the Pocket Monsters. It was the first project announced by Studio Ghibli since co-founder Miyazaki confirmed his retirement last year, and will inevitably raise questions about the ongoing success of the studio without its Oscar-winning maestro.

PHOTOS 10 OSCAR DE LA RENTA DRESSES THAT WOWED

The latest installment of the Masked Rider (Kamen Rider), a live-action kids’ hero franchise, bowed in fourth with $1.67 million (¥170 million) from 309 screens. Tom Cruise-starrer Edge of Tomorrow, released in Japan as All You Need is Kill – the title of the Japanese novel it’s based on – fell to fifth on its third weekend in cinemas.

Planes: Fire & Rescue, another Disney release in what is becoming a bumper year for the studio in Japan, opened on 313 screens with $762,000 (¥77 million).

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/dNIw2GA2dD0/story01.htm

Why ‘Frozen’ Was Such a Big Box-Office Hit in Japan

TOKYO – Frozen is now nudging a quarter of a billion dollars at the Japanese box office, with not even the Bluray and VOD release here ending its record-breaking 19-week run in theaters.

Although the Academy Award winner was a global smash, no other foreign market has embraced Anna and Elsa quite like Japan.

Released locally on March 14 as Anna to Yuki no Jou (Anna and the Snow Queen), the title of the Hans Christian Andersen story on which the animated film is loosely based, it topped Japan’s box office for 16 straight weeks, until the beginning of July. It has remained in theaters, taking a total of $248 million (¥25.2 billion) to become the third-highest grossing film in Japan behind Titanic and Hayao Miyazaki‘s Spirited Away.

PHOTOS 25 Summer Movies for Grown-Ups

Japan’s love of both animation and Disney is no secret Tokyo Disney Resort has seen well over 550 million visitors since it opened in 1983, more than four times the population of Japan so Frozen was expected to do well, though nobody foresaw the social phenomenon it became. Walt Disney Studios Japan scheduled the home entertainment release for July 16, clearly expecting the film to have left cinemas by then.

One factor that helped contribute to the success of Frozen was the local voice and song casting. Anna and Elsa were voiced by Sayaka Kanda and Takako Matsu, two singers and actresses whose performances received almost universal acclaim. Two postings of Matsu’s Japanese version of Let It Go have more than 95 million hits on Youtube, and the song has been heard everywhere for months, while the bilingual soundtrack album has been in the top 10 since March, currently sitting at number two.

PHOTOS The Making of ‘Frozen’

Ari no Mama de, which translates roughly as “just as it is” and is the Japanese rendition of the Let It Go phrase, worked exceptionally well, and the independent-girl-power theme was a part of the film’s appeal in a conformist society that is beginning to deal with ingrained chauvinism. Disney’s marketing in Japan originally targeted young women and girls with the somewhat unconventional dual-female lead characters and the film’s musical-like qualities. Spreading from that core audience, Frozen began to attract a wide age range, getting occasional cinemagoers into theaters, and a large number of repeaters.

“I went to see it because everyone was talking about it, and the critics were all raving about it in the newspapers,” says 83-year-old Tamiko Mizune. “The themes were simple but strong, the animation was stunning and the songs came over well. The Ari no Mama de [Let It Go] phrase really captured people’s imagination. Nearly everyone I know has seen it.”

“I hadn’t been to the cinema for about three years until I saw Frozen in March. I’m not even sure what the last film I saw in a theater was,” says Yoshiho Muramatsu, a 19-year-old student of ecology in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo. “I went mainly because my girlfriend wanted to go, but everyone at university has seen it.”

Whether it was fortuitous timing or clever scheduling, the 3D Japanese version came into theaters in time for the Golden Week holidays in May, meaning audiences no longer had to choose between the 3D subtitled or dubbed 2D versions. This helped increase the number of repeaters like Keitaro Saito, a manager at a Tokyo advertising agency, who took his four-year-old son to see the English and Japanese 3D versions.

“My son didn’t understand the subtitles on the English version, so we went to see the Japanese one too,” he said. “Though we bought the CDs for him, and now he can sing the English and Japanese versions.”

VIDEO Kim Jong Un ‘Dancing’ Clip Draws North Korea Ire

Yosuke, a pharmacy student in Tokyo, went to see Frozen twice, both times to the English 2D version.

“I like Kristen Bell, and it’s like a musical, so I wanted to see it in the theater. I watched it at the TCX cinema in Nihonbashi, which has really good sound,” Yosuke said. “It was the fourth time for one of the women from my research lab that I went to see it with; she can sing all the songs.”

The success of Frozen comes against a backdrop of Hollywood fare struggling in Japan in recent years. In 2012, imports took only 34.3 percent of the annual box office, the lowest share since 1965. In 2013 that increased to 39.4 percent, but this year is looking far healthier, mainly thanks to Anna and Elsa.

Frozen‘s huge popularity may benefit Hollywood, and Disney in particular. Frozen was finally knocked off its lofty perch by Maleficent.  


Twitter: @GavinJBlair

 

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/CwUXwUow_zk/story01.htm

Why ‘Frozen’ Was Such a Big Box-Office Hit in Japan

TOKYO – Frozen is now nudging a quarter of a billion dollars at the Japanese box office, with not even the Bluray and VOD release here ending its record-breaking 19-week run in theaters.

Although the Academy Award winner was a global smash, no other foreign market has embraced Anna and Elsa quite like Japan.

Released locally on March 14 as Anna to Yuki no Jou (Anna and the Snow Queen), the title of the Hans Christian Andersen story on which the animated film is loosely based, it topped Japan’s box office for 16 straight weeks, until the beginning of July. It has remained in theaters, taking a total of $248 million (¥25.2 billion) to become the third-highest grossing film in Japan behind Titanic and Hayao Miyazaki‘s Spirited Away.

PHOTOS 25 Summer Movies for Grown-Ups

Japan’s love of both animation and Disney is no secret Tokyo Disney Resort has seen well over 550 million visitors since it opened in 1983, more than four times the population of Japan so Frozen was expected to do well, though nobody foresaw the social phenomenon it became. Walt Disney Studios Japan scheduled the home entertainment release for July 16, clearly expecting the film to have left cinemas by then.

One factor that helped contribute to the success of Frozen was the local voice and song casting. Anna and Elsa were voiced by Sayaka Kanda and Takako Matsu, two singers and actresses whose performances received almost universal acclaim. Two postings of Matsu’s Japanese version of Let It Go have more than 95 million hits on Youtube, and the song has been heard everywhere for months, while the bilingual soundtrack album has been in the top 10 since March, currently sitting at number two.

PHOTOS The Making of ‘Frozen’

Ari no Mama de, which translates roughly as “just as it is” and is the Japanese rendition of the Let It Go phrase, worked exceptionally well, and the independent-girl-power theme was a part of the film’s appeal in a conformist society that is beginning to deal with ingrained chauvinism. Disney’s marketing in Japan originally targeted young women and girls with the somewhat unconventional dual-female lead characters and the film’s musical-like qualities. Spreading from that core audience, Frozen began to attract a wide age range, getting occasional cinemagoers into theaters, and a large number of repeaters.

“I went to see it because everyone was talking about it, and the critics were all raving about it in the newspapers,” says 83-year-old Tamiko Mizune. “The themes were simple but strong, the animation was stunning and the songs came over well. The Ari no Mama de [Let It Go] phrase really captured people’s imagination. Nearly everyone I know has seen it.”

“I hadn’t been to the cinema for about three years until I saw Frozen in March. I’m not even sure what the last film I saw in a theater was,” says Yoshiho Muramatsu, a 19-year-old student of ecology in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo. “I went mainly because my girlfriend wanted to go, but everyone at university has seen it.”

Whether it was fortuitous timing or clever scheduling, the 3D Japanese version came into theaters in time for the Golden Week holidays in May, meaning audiences no longer had to choose between the 3D subtitled or dubbed 2D versions. This helped increase the number of repeaters like Keitaro Saito, a manager at a Tokyo advertising agency, who took his four-year-old son to see the English and Japanese 3D versions.

“My son didn’t understand the subtitles on the English version, so we went to see the Japanese one too,” he said. “Though we bought the CDs for him, and now he can sing the English and Japanese versions.”

VIDEO Kim Jong Un ‘Dancing’ Clip Draws North Korea Ire

Yosuke, a pharmacy student in Tokyo, went to see Frozen twice, both times to the English 2D version.

“I like Kristen Bell, and it’s like a musical, so I wanted to see it in the theater. I watched it at the TCX cinema in Nihonbashi, which has really good sound,” Yosuke said. “It was the fourth time for one of the women from my research lab that I went to see it with; she can sing all the songs.”

The success of Frozen comes against a backdrop of Hollywood fare struggling in Japan in recent years. In 2012, imports took only 34.3 percent of the annual box office, the lowest share since 1965. In 2013 that increased to 39.4 percent, but this year is looking far healthier, mainly thanks to Anna and Elsa.

Frozen‘s huge popularity may benefit Hollywood, and Disney in particular. Frozen was finally knocked off its lofty perch by Maleficent.  


Twitter: @GavinJBlair

 

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/CwUXwUow_zk/story01.htm

China Box Office: Local Sensation ‘Tiny Times 3.0′ Knocks ‘Transformers 4′ Off Top Spot

In a strong week for homegrown films in China after weeks of Hollywood dominance, Tiny Times 3.0 took in $50.12 million in its opening four days in the world’s second-largest movie market and led the box office ranking, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

The latest film in the tween franchise had 188,491 screenings and reached 9.76 million admissions, the data shows. The box-office revenue beat out Transformers: Age of Extinction, which continues to do well in China.

Based on Guo Jingming’s best-selling novels of the same name, Tiny Times 3.0 tells of the lives, loves and burgeoning careers of four girls from differing backgrounds, living in luxury dormitories and obsessing over branded products.

Guo has (presumably jokingly) promised to show nude pictures of stars Ko Chentung and Chen Xuedong if the movie makes more than $80 million, so the stars may need to get ready to bare all.

PHOTOS ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’: Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay Hit the Hong Kong Premiere

The movie is co-produced by Huace Film Corporation and Heli Chenguang International Cultural Media Corporation, as well as LeTV, Dragon TV, Ruyi Xinxin Culture Development Corp and others.

The series has been described by the Xinhua news agency as being “like Sex and the City, without the sex.”

Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction chalked up a healthy $26.08 million to bring its cume to $306.28 million after 24 days, with 133,806 screenings and 3.83 million admissions, making it far and away China’s highest-grossing movie ever.

Meanwhile, in third place is Raymond Yip’s The House That Never Dies, a 3D ghost story about a haunted house on Chaoyangmen Inner Street in downtown Beijing which has supposedly been haunted since the Communist Revolution in 1949.

PHOTOS ‘Transformers,’ ‘Battleship’ and ‘Barbie’: The Highs and Lows of Toy-Inspired Movies

The movie features Francis Ng, Ruby Lin, Tony Yang, Monica Mok, Amanda Qin and Li Jing, and it took $25.1 million in its opening weekend, clocking up 81,360 screenings and 4.37 million admissions.

Behind that in fourth place was Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, a sentimental tale of a hapless pair of amateur Chinese musicians called the Chopsticks Brothers, which began life as a 43-minute micro movie online in 2010 but after 75 million hits became a big-screen feature.

It took in $12.67 million in its first full week for a total gross of $29.59 million.

PHOTOS 25 Summer Movies for Grown-Ups

Internet firms are getting heavily involved in the movie business in China right now, and movies like Old Boys are seen as a promising future model for the development of the Chinese movie industry, although the strong performance of Tiny Times 3.0 and The House That Never Dies shows there is still life left in the traditional feature model.

In fifth place was the domestic romantic comedy The Breakup Guru, which took another $11.23 million for a cume of $103.9 million after 24 days. The movie is directed by Yu Baimei and Deng Chao and stars Deng and Yang Mi.

Seer V took another $2.82 million in its first full week for a gross of $9.18 million, while Happy Heroes 2 Qiyuan Planet Wars took $2.61 million in its first three days.

Roco Kingdom took another $2.10 million to bring its cume to $7.05 million, and Maleficent was only the second Hollywood movie still in the top 10, taking another $1.23 million to help its gross in China to $47.72 million.

The Chinese-Korean co-production Bunshinsaba 3 rounded out the top 10, adding another $850,000 to push its cume to $7.89 million after 17 days.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

 

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/bYLxMIU23YM/story01.htm

China Box Office: Local Sensation ‘Tiny Times 3.0′ Knocks ‘Transformers 4′ Off Top Spot

In a strong week for homegrown films in China after weeks of Hollywood dominance, Tiny Times 3.0 took in $50.12 million in its opening four days in the world’s second-largest movie market and led the box office ranking, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

The latest film in the tween franchise had 188,491 screenings and reached 9.76 million admissions, the data shows. The box-office revenue beat out Transformers: Age of Extinction, which continues to do well in China.

Based on Guo Jingming’s best-selling novels of the same name, Tiny Times 3.0 tells of the lives, loves and burgeoning careers of four girls from differing backgrounds, living in luxury dormitories and obsessing over branded products.

Guo has (presumably jokingly) promised to show nude pictures of stars Ko Chentung and Chen Xuedong if the movie makes more than $80 million, so the stars may need to get ready to bare all.

PHOTOS ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’: Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay Hit the Hong Kong Premiere

The movie is co-produced by Huace Film Corporation and Heli Chenguang International Cultural Media Corporation, as well as LeTV, Dragon TV, Ruyi Xinxin Culture Development Corp and others.

The series has been described by the Xinhua news agency as being “like Sex and the City, without the sex.”

Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction chalked up a healthy $26.08 million to bring its cume to $306.28 million after 24 days, with 133,806 screenings and 3.83 million admissions, making it far and away China’s highest-grossing movie ever.

Meanwhile, in third place is Raymond Yip’s The House That Never Dies, a 3D ghost story about a haunted house on Chaoyangmen Inner Street in downtown Beijing which has supposedly been haunted since the Communist Revolution in 1949.

PHOTOS ‘Transformers,’ ‘Battleship’ and ‘Barbie’: The Highs and Lows of Toy-Inspired Movies

The movie features Francis Ng, Ruby Lin, Tony Yang, Monica Mok, Amanda Qin and Li Jing, and it took $25.1 million in its opening weekend, clocking up 81,360 screenings and 4.37 million admissions.

Behind that in fourth place was Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, a sentimental tale of a hapless pair of amateur Chinese musicians called the Chopsticks Brothers, which began life as a 43-minute micro movie online in 2010 but after 75 million hits became a big-screen feature.

It took in $12.67 million in its first full week for a total gross of $29.59 million.

PHOTOS 25 Summer Movies for Grown-Ups

Internet firms are getting heavily involved in the movie business in China right now, and movies like Old Boys are seen as a promising future model for the development of the Chinese movie industry, although the strong performance of Tiny Times 3.0 and The House That Never Dies shows there is still life left in the traditional feature model.

In fifth place was the domestic romantic comedy The Breakup Guru, which took another $11.23 million for a cume of $103.9 million after 24 days. The movie is directed by Yu Baimei and Deng Chao and stars Deng and Yang Mi.

Seer V took another $2.82 million in its first full week for a gross of $9.18 million, while Happy Heroes 2 Qiyuan Planet Wars took $2.61 million in its first three days.

Roco Kingdom took another $2.10 million to bring its cume to $7.05 million, and Maleficent was only the second Hollywood movie still in the top 10, taking another $1.23 million to help its gross in China to $47.72 million.

The Chinese-Korean co-production Bunshinsaba 3 rounded out the top 10, adding another $850,000 to push its cume to $7.89 million after 17 days.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

 

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/bYLxMIU23YM/story01.htm

​FDA approves hard-to-abuse narcotic painkiller

A new formulation of a powerful narcotic painkiller that discourages potential abusers from snorting or injecting the drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Called Targiniq ER and made by Purdue Pharma, the pill is a combination of the narcotic oxycodone and naloxone, a drug that blocks the euphoric effects of oxycodone. The naloxone is only activated when the pill is crushed, snorted, dissolved or injected, according to the FDA.

While Targiniq has only been approved for patients who have chronic pain that has not responded to other medications, the FDA acknowledged the medication can still be abused simply by taking too many pills. Currently, that is the most common way oxycodone is misused.

Experts made the same point.

“When the pills are swallowed they are as addictive and dangerous as pure oxycodone,” Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer of the Phoenix House, an alcohol and drug abuse treatment provider, told CNN.

“In a sense it’s playing a game of ‘whack a mole,’ because if people are addicted to opiates, they will find an opiate,” Caleb Banta-Green, senior research scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, told the news service.

The FDA has come under intense pressure in recent years to restrict the use of narcotic painkillers following reports of escalating painkiller abuse in the United States.

In 2012 alone, 259 million prescriptions were written for powerful painkillers. That’s enough for every adult to have their own bottle of pills, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have said.

And deaths linked to overdoses of narcotic painkillers have quadrupled since 1990, reaching more than 17,000 deaths in 2011, according to the latest CDC estimates.

FDA officials noted Wednesday that approvals of painkillers that are formulated to deter potential abuse are part of a larger effort to curb abuse while still providing some avenue of relief for patients who suffer intense daily pain that does not respond to other medications. In 2010, Purdue Pharma introduced a hard-to-crush version of Oxycontin, and research has shown that abuse of Oxycontin has since decreased, according to CNN.

“The FDA is committed to combating the misuse and abuse of all opioids, and the development of opioids that are harder to abuse is needed in order to help address the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.,” Dr. Sharon Hertz, deputy director of the division of anesthesia, analgesia and addiction products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.

Targiniq’s approval was based on the results of a study that involved more than 600 patients struggling with lower back pain, the agency said. The medication proved to be both safe and effective, with the most common side effect being nausea and vomiting.

Still, the FDA will require Purdue Pharma to conduct further studies to monitor any abuse of the drug.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsHealth/~3/wgnns0778H0/

Box Office Preview: Female Action Pic ‘Lucy’ Looks to Slay ‘Hercules’

Dwayne Johnson‘s buff Hercules may be no match for Scarlett Johansson‘s Lucy, making for one of the most interesting action showdowns at the summer box office since action movies don’t traditionally feature a female star. Hercules marks Brett Ratner‘s first directorial outing since the ill-fated Tower Heist in 2011.

PHOTOS Exclusive Portraits of ‘Hercules’ Star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

The weekend’s other new nationwide offering is Rob Reiner‘s independent dramedy And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Clarius Entertainment opens the movie in roughly 1,800 locations, compared to more than 3,000 for Hercules and Lucy.

Pre-release tracking suggests Lucy will race past $30 million in its debut — many think it will cross $35 million — while Hercules is expected to earn in the mid-$20 million range, a disappointing start.

Lucy director Luc Besson is certainly no stranger to using female protagonists, having directed Zoe Saldana in Colombiana and made La Femme Nikita. There were also strong female characters in The Professional and The Fifth Element.

PHOTOS Titans of Comic-Con: Stars Re-Create Classic Characters

Besson’s EuropaCorp made Lucy for a reported $40 million. In promoting the action film, Universal is touting Johansson’s turn as Black Widow in Marvel’s superhero films, including The Avengers and, more recently, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In Lucy, the actress plays a woman caught up in a deal gone bad who gains super-human brain capacity. Johansson stars opposite Morgan Freeman in the, one of the few R-rated action films this summer.

Paramount and MGM partnered in making Hercules, which cost $100 million to produce and hopes to accomplish the Herculean task of finally launching a franchise centered around the Greek hero. Earlier this year, The Legend of Hercules failed at this task, opening to an anemic $8.9 million.

Adapted from Radical Comics’ Hercules, Ratner’s grittier take on the mythical hero sees Hercules and a band of mercenaries help end a civil war in the land of Thrace. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a god, but feels the suffering of a human as he’s tested by unimaginable villains.

PHOTOS The Rock and 5 Other Wrestlers Turned Hollywood Stars

Johnson stars opposite Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt in the action epic.

Hercules could be a big player in some international markets, and rolls out in its first 19 territories this weekend, including Russia, the U.K. and Australia.

The specialty box office sees the debut of several high-profile titles, including Woody Allen‘s Magic in the Moonlight, from Sony Pictures Classics. With a cast led by Colin Firth and Emma Stone, Magic debuts in 17 theaters in select cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film.

Espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, starring the Rachel McAdams and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, makes a far more aggressive push, opening in 360 locations in 75 markets. Roadside Attractions is releasing the movie, directed by Anton Corbijn and based on the book by John le Carre.

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/nz2YgEqNP_U/story01.htm

Japan Box Office: Disney Continues Record Run With ‘Maleficent’

TOKYO – Disney spent its 19th straight week atop the Japanese box office, with Maleficent holding on to first place ahead of the latest Pokemon movie after a three-day weekend with a crowded release schedule. When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie), the latest Studio Ghibli production, opened in a disappointing third despite being released at the start of school summer vacations, news that does not bode well for the anime powerhouse post- Hayao Miyazaki.

Maleficent took another $4.7 million (¥480 million) on Saturday and Sunday, with another $2.4 million on Monday raising its total in Japan to $32 million (¥3.28 billion) after three weekends in theaters. The combined 19 weeks for Frozen and Maleficent is a record for Disney. Historical data is not available for Titanic‘s run that began in December 1997 for Twentieth Century Fox, following its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Titanic grossed ¥26.2 billion in Japan, $258 million at today’s exchange rates, second only to Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, with ¥30.4 billion ($300 million). 

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Disney stable-mate Frozen, which Maleficent unseated from the top of the rankings, dropped to eighth spot from fourth, but remains in theaters despite its record-breaking home entertainment release on July 16. Frozen added another $1.5 million over the long weekend to take its box office total to $248 million (¥25.1 billion) after 19 weeks of release.

STORY Why ‘Frozen’ Was Such a Big Box-Office Hit in Japan

Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, is the 17th theatrical release from the franchise, and pulled in $3.88 million (¥393 million) from 357 screens on Saturday and Sunday. Pokemon actually beat Maleficent in admissions 360,000 to 350,000, leading local rankings to place it top, but lost on takings due to the lower number of more expensive adult tickets sold.

When Marnie Was There, written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, took $3.74 million (¥379 million) in third place from 461 screens, close behind the Pocket Monsters. It was the first project announced by Studio Ghibli since co-founder Miyazaki confirmed his retirement last year, and will inevitably raise questions about the ongoing success of the studio without its Oscar-winning maestro.

PHOTOS 10 OSCAR DE LA RENTA DRESSES THAT WOWED

The latest installment of the Masked Rider (Kamen Rider), a live-action kids’ hero franchise, bowed in fourth with $1.67 million (¥170 million) from 309 screens. Tom Cruise-starrer Edge of Tomorrow, released in Japan as All You Need is Kill – the title of the Japanese novel it’s based on – fell to fifth on its third weekend in cinemas.

Planes: Fire & Rescue, another Disney release in what is becoming a bumper year for the studio in Japan, opened on 313 screens with $762,000 (¥77 million).

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/dNIw2GA2dD0/story01.htm

Why ‘Frozen’ Was Such a Big Box-Office Hit in Japan

TOKYO – Frozen is now nudging a quarter of a billion dollars at the Japanese box office, with not even the Bluray and VOD release here ending its record-breaking 19-week run in theaters.

Although the Academy Award winner was a global smash, no other foreign market has embraced Anna and Elsa quite like Japan.

Released locally on March 14 as Anna to Yuki no Jou (Anna and the Snow Queen), the title of the Hans Christian Andersen story on which the animated film is loosely based, it topped Japan’s box office for 16 straight weeks, until the beginning of July. It has remained in theaters, taking a total of $248 million (¥25.2 billion) to become the third-highest grossing film in Japan behind Titanic and Hayao Miyazaki‘s Spirited Away.

PHOTOS 25 Summer Movies for Grown-Ups

Japan’s love of both animation and Disney is no secret Tokyo Disney Resort has seen well over 550 million visitors since it opened in 1983, more than four times the population of Japan so Frozen was expected to do well, though nobody foresaw the social phenomenon it became. Walt Disney Studios Japan scheduled the home entertainment release for July 16, clearly expecting the film to have left cinemas by then.

One factor that helped contribute to the success of Frozen was the local voice and song casting. Anna and Elsa were voiced by Sayaka Kanda and Takako Matsu, two singers and actresses whose performances received almost universal acclaim. Two postings of Matsu’s Japanese version of Let It Go have more than 95 million hits on Youtube, and the song has been heard everywhere for months, while the bilingual soundtrack album has been in the top 10 since March, currently sitting at number two.

PHOTOS The Making of ‘Frozen’

Ari no Mama de, which translates roughly as “just as it is” and is the Japanese rendition of the Let It Go phrase, worked exceptionally well, and the independent-girl-power theme was a part of the film’s appeal in a conformist society that is beginning to deal with ingrained chauvinism. Disney’s marketing in Japan originally targeted young women and girls with the somewhat unconventional dual-female lead characters and the film’s musical-like qualities. Spreading from that core audience, Frozen began to attract a wide age range, getting occasional cinemagoers into theaters, and a large number of repeaters.

“I went to see it because everyone was talking about it, and the critics were all raving about it in the newspapers,” says 83-year-old Tamiko Mizune. “The themes were simple but strong, the animation was stunning and the songs came over well. The Ari no Mama de [Let It Go] phrase really captured people’s imagination. Nearly everyone I know has seen it.”

“I hadn’t been to the cinema for about three years until I saw Frozen in March. I’m not even sure what the last film I saw in a theater was,” says Yoshiho Muramatsu, a 19-year-old student of ecology in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo. “I went mainly because my girlfriend wanted to go, but everyone at university has seen it.”

Whether it was fortuitous timing or clever scheduling, the 3D Japanese version came into theaters in time for the Golden Week holidays in May, meaning audiences no longer had to choose between the 3D subtitled or dubbed 2D versions. This helped increase the number of repeaters like Keitaro Saito, a manager at a Tokyo advertising agency, who took his four-year-old son to see the English and Japanese 3D versions.

“My son didn’t understand the subtitles on the English version, so we went to see the Japanese one too,” he said. “Though we bought the CDs for him, and now he can sing the English and Japanese versions.”

VIDEO Kim Jong Un ‘Dancing’ Clip Draws North Korea Ire

Yosuke, a pharmacy student in Tokyo, went to see Frozen twice, both times to the English 2D version.

“I like Kristen Bell, and it’s like a musical, so I wanted to see it in the theater. I watched it at the TCX cinema in Nihonbashi, which has really good sound,” Yosuke said. “It was the fourth time for one of the women from my research lab that I went to see it with; she can sing all the songs.”

The success of Frozen comes against a backdrop of Hollywood fare struggling in Japan in recent years. In 2012, imports took only 34.3 percent of the annual box office, the lowest share since 1965. In 2013 that increased to 39.4 percent, but this year is looking far healthier, mainly thanks to Anna and Elsa.

Frozen‘s huge popularity may benefit Hollywood, and Disney in particular. Frozen was finally knocked off its lofty perch by Maleficent.  


Twitter: @GavinJBlair

 

Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/boxoffice/~3/CwUXwUow_zk/story01.htm

China Box Office: Local Sensation ‘Tiny Times 3.0′ Knocks ‘Transformers 4′ Off Top Spot

In a strong week for homegrown films in China after weeks of Hollywood dominance, Tiny Times 3.0 took in $50.12 million in its opening four days in the world’s second-largest movie market and led the box office ranking, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

The latest film in the tween franchise had 188,491 screenings and reached 9.76 million admissions, the data shows. The box-office revenue beat out Transformers: Age of Extinction, which continues to do well in China.

Based on Guo Jingming’s best-selling novels of the same name, Tiny Times 3.0 tells of the lives, loves and burgeoning careers of four girls from differing backgrounds, living in luxury dormitories and obsessing over branded products.

Guo has (presumably jokingly) promised to show nude pictures of stars Ko Chentung and Chen Xuedong if the movie makes more than $80 million, so the stars may need to get ready to bare all.

PHOTOS ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’: Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay Hit the Hong Kong Premiere

The movie is co-produced by Huace Film Corporation and Heli Chenguang International Cultural Media Corporation, as well as LeTV, Dragon TV, Ruyi Xinxin Culture Development Corp and others.

The series has been described by the Xinhua news agency as being “like Sex and the City, without the sex.”

Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction chalked up a healthy $26.08 million to bring its cume to $306.28 million after 24 days, with 133,806 screenings and 3.83 million admissions, making it far and away China’s highest-grossing movie ever.

Meanwhile, in third place is Raymond Yip’s The House That Never Dies, a 3D ghost story about a haunted house on Chaoyangmen Inner Street in downtown Beijing which has supposedly been haunted since the Communist Revolution in 1949.

PHOTOS ‘Transformers,’ ‘Battleship’ and ‘Barbie’: The Highs and Lows of Toy-Inspired Movies

The movie features Francis Ng, Ruby Lin, Tony Yang, Monica Mok, Amanda Qin and Li Jing, and it took $25.1 million in its opening weekend, clocking up 81,360 screenings and 4.37 million admissions.

Behind that in fourth place was Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, a sentimental tale of a hapless pair of amateur Chinese musicians called the Chopsticks Brothers, which began life as a 43-minute micro movie online in 2010 but after 75 million hits became a big-screen feature.

It took in $12.67 million in its first full week for a total gross of $29.59 million.

PHOTOS 25 Summer Movies for Grown-Ups

Internet firms are getting heavily involved in the movie business in China right now, and movies like Old Boys are seen as a promising future model for the development of the Chinese movie industry, although the strong performance of Tiny Times 3.0 and The House That Never Dies shows there is still life left in the traditional feature model.

In fifth place was the domestic romantic comedy The Breakup Guru, which took another $11.23 million for a cume of $103.9 million after 24 days. The movie is directed by Yu Baimei and Deng Chao and stars Deng and Yang Mi.

Seer V took another $2.82 million in its first full week for a gross of $9.18 million, while Happy Heroes 2 Qiyuan Planet Wars took $2.61 million in its first three days.

Roco Kingdom took another $2.10 million to bring its cume to $7.05 million, and Maleficent was only the second Hollywood movie still in the top 10, taking another $1.23 million to help its gross in China to $47.72 million.

The Chinese-Korean co-production Bunshinsaba 3 rounded out the top 10, adding another $850,000 to push its cume to $7.89 million after 17 days.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

 

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Global Box Office: ‘Transformers 4′ Becomes First Film of 2014 to Near $1 Billion

Beginning its post-World Cup assault, sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes narrowly beat Transformers: Age of Extinction to win the global weekend race with $97 million for an early global cume of $242 million.

Age of Extinction still had plenty to brag about in its fourth weekend, becoming the first film of 2014 to cross the $800 million mark globally. The Paramount title is now all but assured of becoming a billion-dollar baby by the end of its run.

Over the weekend, the Paramount tentpole took in $91.2 million globally, pushing its total to $886.3 million, according to Rentrak. That’s more than the first Transformers ($709 million) and sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($836 million). Threequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon earned $1.12 billion in summer 2011.

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE ‘Apes 2′ Rules Soft Weekend With $36M; ‘Sex Tape’ Bombs

Age of Extinction opened to huge numbers in soccer-crazed markets where moviegoers were previously distracted by the now-completed World Cup, including Brazil, where it took in $16.5 million. And in Germany — winner of the soccer championship — the movie launched to $11.2 million, the biggest start of the year so far.

China continues to be the film’s biggest market, ponying up a massive $285.7 million to date and making Age of Extinction the No. 1 film of all time. However, two new Chinese movies, Tiny Times 3.0 and The House That Never Dies, beat it over the weekend, grossing $30 million and $21 million, respectively, compared to $9.6 million for Age of Extinction.

Elsewhere, Lionsgate opened dance film Step Up All In in a handful of foreign markets a week ahead of its U.S. debut, including Russia ($3.1 million) and France ($2.1 million).

Below are the top 10 films at the global box office for the weekend of July 18-20, according to Rentrak.

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Fox, 51 territories, week 2)

Global weekend: $97 million (total: $242 million)

International: $61 million ($103 million)

Domestic: $36 million ($139 million)

2. Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount, 59 territories, week 4)

Global weekend: $91.2 million (total: $886.3 million)

International: $81.2 million  ($659.1 million)

Domestic: $10 million ($227.2 million)

3. Tiny Times 3.0 (Le Vision Pictures, 1 territory, week 1)

Global weekend: $30 million (total: $48 million)

International: $30 million ($48 million)

4. The Purge: Anarchy (Universal, 15 territories, week 1)

Global weekend: $28.8 million

International: $420,000

Domestic: $28.4 million

5. Planes: Fire & Rescue (Disney, 25 territories, week 1)

Global weekend: $27 million

International: 9 million

Domestic: $18 million 

6. The House That Never Dies  (Multiple, 1 territory, week 1)

Global weekend: $21 million

International: $21 million

7. Sex Tape (Sony, 10 territories, week 1)

Global weekend: $18 million

International: $3 million

Domestic: $15 million

8. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Fox/DreamWorks Animation, 56 territories, week 6)

Global weekend: $17.8 million (total: $386.2 million)

International: $14 million ($225.5 million)

Domestic: $3.8 million ($160.7 million)

9. Step Up All In (Lionsgate, 27 territories, week 2)

Global weekend: $10.3 million (total: $11.8 million)

International: $10.3 million ($11.8 million)

10. 22 Jump Street (Sony, 43 territories, week 6)

Global weekend: $7.9 million (total: $268.8 million)

International: $3.2 million ($88.3 million)

Domestic: $4.7 million ($180.5 million)

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Putin’s winning the PR war over MH17 — at least in Russia

The international attempts to isolate Russia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine have not sheltered its citizens from the shock and anguish of last week’s horrific event.



The reactions of ordinary Russians to the tragedy range from resentment of the West’s incrimination of the pro-Russia separatists and Russia itself to feelings of guilt and responsibility.



But in the broad array of reactions, President Vladimir Putin’s popularity — his approval rating exceeds 80 per cent, according to recent surveys — and the controlled coverage of the MH17 disaster in state-owned media appear to have led large portions of the Russian population to support the Kremlin’s narrative.



“The West has been jumping to conclusions and accusing Russia of all kinds of things without knowing the outcome of the investigation,” said Tatyana Kalinina, a receptionist, reflecting the views presented on state-run media.



“The West always blames Russia for everything.”



Kalinina’s views echoed those of many Muscovites questioned on the street about the MH17 tragedy, and suggest that the slant presented on state media seems to be holding sway with most people here.



“My heart hurts for the innocent people who were killed by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry in this terrible plane crash,” said Vartan Olgodan, a 58-year old Muscovite.



“The Ukrainians have the weapon that was used to shoot down the plane, the folks in Eastern Ukraine don’t. There is no way they [pro-Russia separatists] could have done it.”



Other Muscovites also blamed Ukraine military for the tragedy, saying the downing of the plane was part of the West’s grand plan to turn Russia into a scapegoat.



Putin’s PR offensive



Putin, too, has been blaming Ukrainian authorities for the incident, arguing that the tragedy could have been avoided if Ukraine had not resumed its military operations against pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east.


UKRAINE-CRISIS/

An unidentified man places flowers outside the Dutch embassy in Moscow on Friday, the day after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 with 298 people on board, over half of them Dutch, was shot down over Eastern Ukraine. (Reuters)



Earlier this week, following a series of telephone exchanges with Western leaders, a sunken-eyed Putin reacted to the outcry and talk of Russia’s complicity on national television in the wee hours of Monday morning.



In what seemed like an amateur video — uncharacteristic of the Kremlin’s usually slick media productions — Putin said that the downing of MH17 should not be used to pursue self-interested “political goals.”



His seemingly spontaneous intervention seemed designed to show Russians that their president would not let Russia be slandered. And the unlikely hour of the broadcast, landing him on North American prime time news, suggested he was directly addressing the West.



Riding the patriotic wave of Crimea’s annexation in March and the hosting of the Sochi Winter Olympics a month earlier, Putin’s approval rating soared and currently stands at 83 per cent, according to U.S. pollster Gallup.



In June, the Levada Centre, a Moscow-based independent research organization, found this figure to be as high as 86 per cent. And state-controlled media has been instrumental in keeping Putin’s rating up, and dissenting views out.



The media message



Hours following the crash, Russian state-run television networks presented a series of theories that blamed Ukraine and the West for the tragedy, and vindicated the pro-Russian separatists of Eastern Ukraine.



Amid a whirlwind of conspiracy theories, Rossiya 1, a state-owned channel, extensively described the similarities between Putin’s presidential plane and the Malaysia Airlines flight, suggesting that Ukrainian forces could have inadvertently shot down the civilian aircraft in a failed attempt to assassinate Putin, who was flying back to Moscow from Brazil at the time.


UKRAINE-CRISIS/

An armed pro-Russia separatist gestures to reporters at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region on Monday. Most Western governments feel it was the rebels who shot down the unarmed passenger plane, presumably not deliberately. (Maxim Zmeyev / Reuters)



But their broadcast failed to mention that Putin has flown nowhere near Ukrainian airspace since the annexation of Crimea.



Channel One, the most watched channel in Russia, quoted an unidentified eyewitness who said she had seen a second plane in the area at the time of the crash, hinting that a Ukrainian fighter jet could have downed the Malaysian passenger jet from the sky.



State-owned networks have also recalled Ukraine’s shooting down of a Russian civilian aircraft over the Black Sea in October 2001 during a military exercise, adding fuel to the notion that Ukrainian forces could be behind the death of the 298 civilians.



The Levada Centre has found that 90 per cent of Russians get their news on the situation in Ukraine from state-run channels, and that nearly 70 per cent of the population believe the information presented is either completely or mostly objective.



“In general, it is safe to say that people trust almost everything that is said on television regarding the situation in Ukraine,” said Lev Gudkov, the head of the Levada Centre.



“This trust has only increased since February, when a massive propaganda initiative was launched.”



Sharing the grief



Despite the state’s crackdown on independent media, some Russians have managed to stand out from the majority view.



“I don’t know who could have done this,” said Nikita Yarovoy, a 23-year public administration student, after laying red camellias in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Moscow.



“Everybody is saying different things. I don’t know who I should believe. We just don’t know the truth.”



Handwritten notes asking for forgiveness have also been laid among the flowers, candles and plush toys that have adorned the pavement outside the Dutch Embassy in Moscow since the crash. “Forgive us,” one of the messages read.



Another asked for collective forgiveness for “all the bad people in Russia” among the many good.



“The United States and Europe can think whatever they want about Russia,” Yarovoy said. “But Russians are people too.”



Source Article from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ordinary-russians-back-putin-kremlin-s-view-of-malaysian-airlines-mh17-tragedy-1.2716002?cmp=rss

More MH17 victims repatriated at Netherlands ceremony

Dignitaries in the Netherlands gathered for another solemn moment of silence at Eindhoven airfield on Thursday as the remains of 51 more Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 victims were returned to Dutch soil.


Two military aircraft carried the victims’ bodies from Ukraine to the Netherlands on the second day of repatriations. All 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — most of them Dutch citizens — were killed when the plane was shot down on July 17. U.S. officials say the Boeing 777 was probably shot down by a missile, most likely by accident.  


Meanwhile, Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a UN team to secure the crash scene which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.


Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who says he fears some remains will never be recovered unless security is tightened, has proposed a multinational force mounted by countries such as Australia, the Netherlands and Malaysia that lost citizens in the disaster.


To that end, Abbott said Thursday he had dispatched 50 police officers to London to be ready to join any organization which may result.


Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Ukraine crisis

Dozens of containers holding the bodies and remains of victims of the Malaysia jet crash were loaded onto a Dutch military carrier in Kharkiv, Ukraine on the second day of the airlift operation. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was travelling with her Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans to Kyiv to seek an agreement with the Ukraine government to allow international police to secure the wreckage, Abbott said.



Details including which countries would contribute and whether officers would be armed and protected by international troops were yet to be agreed, Abbott said.



On Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Australia demanding that rebels cooperate with an independent investigation and allow all remaining bodies to be recovered.



The first bodies remains arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday and were met by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and hundreds of relatives.



Ukraine’s government said 51 containers of bodies and body parts had been cleared for Thursday’s flights. At least 200 bodies were aboard the train that brought them from the crash site to Kharkiv earlier this week.



Dutch police spokesman Ed Kraszewski told The Associated Press that a team of 25 forensic experts and dozens of support staff began working to identify remains Wednesday evening at a military barracks on the outskirts of the central city of Hilversum.



Staff will “examine the bodies, describe the bodies, take dental information, DNA and put all the information together in the computer and compare this information with the information they gathered from the families in the last days,” Kraszewski said in a telephone interview. “Then we have to see if there is a match.”



On Wednesday, the convoy of hearses passed through roads lined with thousands of members of the public, who applauded, threw flowers or stood in silence as the cars drove by.



The Dutch Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the number of Dutch victims had risen by one to 194, taking into account a woman with joint German and Dutch nationalities who earlier had been listed as German.



Source Article from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/mh17-victims-repatriated-at-netherlands-ceremony-1.2716445?cmp=rss

Air Algerie Flight AH5017 wreckage spotted in northeastern Mali, president says

The wreckage of an Air Algerie flight with 116 people on board that is presumed to have crashed over northern Mali has been spotted between the northeastern towns of Aguelhok and Kidal, according to Mali’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.


The plane was on its way from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, to the Algerian capital Algiers when it disappeared from radar and lost contact with air traffic controllers early morning local time on Thursday.


Prior to Keita’s announcement, Radio France internationale, the international service of Radio France, reported that the wreckage had been spotted north of the community of Aguelhok in the region of Kidal in northeastern Mali. 


RFI reported that residents in the region heard loud explosions early Thursday morning and alerted the armed forces present in the region.


According to the plane’s owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso, the plane  ”probably crashed,” 


Air navigation services lost track of the MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff, at 9:55 p.m. ET Wednesday, the official Algerian news agency APS said


French fighter jets were among the aircraft scouring the rugged northern Mali region for signs of the plane.


Earlier, an Algerian official told Reuters that “I can confirm that it has crashed,” but gave no further details. 


‘Loss of contact’


The flight was being operated by Spanish airline Swiftair, the company said in a statement. The Spanish pilots’ union said the plane belonged to Swiftair.


The plane sent its last message around 9:30 p.m. ET asking Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rains in the area, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said.


Lynne Yelich, Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted that the government is aware of the reports of Canadians on board and that they are seeking more information, but that consular officials are ready to provide assistance.


“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those on board Air Algerie Flight AAH 5017,” said one of the tweets.



French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said the Air Algerie flight vanished over northern Mali. He spoke Thursday from a crisis centre set up in the French Foreign Ministry. Cuvillier didn’t specify exactly where the plane disappeared over Mali, or whether it was in an area controlled by rebels.


But Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Algerian state television that 10 minutes before disappearing, it was in contact with air traffic controllers in Gao, a city essentially under the control of the Malian government, though it has seen lingering separatist violence.


The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots’ union, and the passengers aboard the jet include:


  • 51 French.
  • 27 Burkina Faso nationals,
  • Eight Lebanese.
  • Six Algerians.
  • Five Canadians.
  • Four Germans.
  • Two Luxemburg nationals.
  • One Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian.

Plane missing for hours


The plane had been missing for hours before the news was made public. It wasn’t immediately clear why airline or government officials didn’t make it public earlier.



ALGERIA PLANE MISSING

The flight path of the plane from Ouagadougou to Algiers wasn’t immediately clear. Ouagadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.


Northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaeda-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but the Tuaregs have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government.


A senior French official said it seems unlikely that fighters in Mali had the kind of weaponry that could shoot down a plane.


Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, said the plane was carrying 110 passengers and six crew, and left Burkina Faso for Algiers at 9:17 p.m. ET Wednesday, but had not arrived at the scheduled time of 1:10 a.m. ET Thursday.


Swiftair said it has not been possible to make contact with the plane and was trying to ascertain what had happened. It said the crew included two pilots and four cabin staff.


“In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan,” APS quoted the airline as saying.


The MD-83 is part of a series of jets built since the early 1980s by McDonnell Douglas, a U.S. plane maker now owned by Boeing Co. The MD-80s were the workhorse of domestic air travel in the U.S. and are used for a flights of a few hours over land elsewhere.


The report that five Canadians were on the Air Algerie flight comes a week after a Canadian – Andrei Anghel, 24, from Ajax, Ont. – was among the nearly 300 who perished when a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down over Eastern Ukraine in an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels.


Gathering at airport


Said Chitour, an Algiers-based freelance reporter, said some of the passengers’ loved ones have gathered at the airport there to await any news.



The search for the plane will be difficult, Chitour said, as it was set to cross a large swath of the desert.


“It’s a very tough area where there’s nothing … it’s the middle of nowhere, really,” Chitour told CBC News Network.


Source Article from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/air-algerie-flight-ah5017-wreckage-spotted-in-northeastern-mali-president-says-1.2716455?cmp=rss

Ukraine rebel leader backtracks on missile claim


A Ukrainian rebel leader backtracked Thursday from his claim that pro-Russian separatists had an anti-aircraft missile of the type Washington says was used to shoot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.


Alexander Khodakovsky, in an interview with Reuters, had said the rebels in Eastern Ukraine possessed a Buk missile system — also known as an SA-11 system — and rebels could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence.


But Khodakovsky, the commander of the Vostok Battalion, now says Reuters put out wrong information.


“I’m waiting for the evidence from the U.S.,” Khodakovsky said.


“Did the separatists have a Buk or not … I myself would like to know. I can guarantee that our unit did not possess a Buk missile.”


When asked by the CBC’s Susan Ormiston how Reuters could have gotten it wrong, Khodakovsky said the statements came from a conversation where he discussed “different versions of the information that’s out there.”


“I am satisfied only with the information I can get from official sources, nothing more. I know as much as the rest of the world,” Khodakovsky said.


The rebel leader also said that at no point during his hour-and-a-half long conversation, which he recorded, did he say rebels sent the Buk system back across the Russian border to conceal evidence.


“There are no excerpts where I would have said this,” he said.


Khodakovsky also denied knowing how flight MH17 was downed.


Rebels had boasted about weapons


Ukraine Crash Weaponry Missiles

There are several models of Buk Missile Systems used by multiple countries, including both the Russian and Ukrainian government military. (Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press)

Before the Malaysian plane was shot down, rebels had boasted of obtaining the Buk missiles, which can shoot down airliners at cruising height. But since the disaster the separatists’ main group, the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, has repeatedly denied ever having possessed such weapons.


Since the airliner crashed with the loss of all 298 on board, the most contentious issue has been who fired the missile that brought the jet down in an area where government forces are fighting pro-Russian rebels.


Khodakovsky, in his interview with Reuters, accused Kyiv authorities of possibly provoking the missile strike that destroyed the airliner, saying Kyiv had deliberately launched air strikes in the area, knowing missiles were in place.


“I knew that a Buk came from Luhansk. At the time I was told that a Buk from Luhansk was coming under the flag of the LNR,” he said, referring to the Luhansk People’s Republic, the main rebel group operating in Luhansk, one of two rebel provinces along with Donetsk, the province where the crash took place.


“That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence,” Khodakovsky told Reuters.


‘They knew this Buk existed’


“The question is this: Ukraine received timely evidence that the volunteers have this technology, through the fault of Russia. It not only did nothing to protect security, but provoked the use of this type of weapon against a plane that was flying with peaceful civilians,” he said.


“They knew that this Buk existed; that the Buk was heading for Snezhnoye,” he said, referring to a village 10 kilometres west of the crash site. “They knew that it would be deployed there, and provoked the use of this Buk by starting an air strike on a target they didn’t need, that their planes hadn’t touched for a week.


“And that day, they were intensively flying, and exactly at the moment of the shooting, at the moment the civilian plane flew overhead, they launched air strikes. Even if there was a Buk, and even if the Buk was used, Ukraine did everything to ensure that a civilian aircraft was shot down.”


Khodakovsky is a former head of the “Alpha” anti-terrorism unit of the security service in Donetsk, and one of the few major rebel commanders in Donetsk who actually hails from Ukraine rather than Russia. There has been friction in the past between him and rebel leaders from outside the region, such as Igor Strelkov, the Muscovite who has declared himself commander of all rebel forces in Donetsk province.


Tepid rebel alliance


Ukraine Plane

Independent military analysts said that the size, spread, shape and number of shrapnel impacts visible in this AP photograph of a piece of the wreckage all point to a missile system like the SA-11 Buk. (Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press)

Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said Khodakovsky’s remarks confirmed what U.S. officials had long been saying, that “Russian-backed separatists have received arms, training and support from Russia.”


But she dismissed the rebel leader’s efforts to blame the Kyiv government for the downing of the airliner, calling it “another attempt to try to muddy the water and move the focus from facts.”



Washington believes that pro-Russian separatists most likely shot down the airliner “by mistake,” not realizing it was a civilian passenger flight, U.S. intelligence officials said.


The officials said the “most plausible explanation” for the destruction of the plane was that the separatists fired a Russian-made SA-11 missile at it after mistaking it for another kind of aircraft.


“While we may not yet know who actually fired the missile, we have assessed that it was an SA-11 and that it came from a Russian-backed separatist-controlled area,” Lainez said.


Other separatist leaders have said they did not bring the Malaysian plane down, and Russia has denied involvement.



Source Article from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/malaysia-airlines-flight-mh17-rebel-leader-backtracks-on-buk-missile-claim-1.2716368?cmp=rss

Israeli fire hits compound housing UN school in Gaza, killing 15

Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a UN school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside.


Pools of blood soiled the school courtyard, amid scattered books and belongings. There was a large scorch mark in the courtyard marking the place where one of the tank shells hit.


The strike occurred during a day of heavy fighting throughout the coastal territory as Israel pressed ahead with its operation to halt rocket fire from Gaza and destroy a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels.


Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the dead and injured in the school compound were among hundreds of people seeking shelter from heavy fighting in the area. It was the fourth time a UN facility has been hit in fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, since the Israeli operation began July 8. UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee agency, has said it has found militant rockets inside two vacant schools.


MIDEAST-GAZA/

A Palestinian rescue worker reacts as he searches for victims under the rubble of a house which witnesses said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike during an Israeli ground offensive east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Thursday. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)


The strike came on a day of heavy fighting throughout the Gaza Strip as Hamas militants stuck to their demand for the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade amid international efforts to broker a ceasefire.


Six members of the same family and an 18-month-old infant boy were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit the Jebaliya refugee camp in the early morning hours, according to Gaza police and health officials. Twenty others were injured in the strike, they said, and rescuers were digging through the rubble of flattened homes, looking for survivors.


An airstrike on a home in the southern Gaza town of Abassan killed five members of another family, said Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. Abassan is near Khan Younis, in an area that saw intense fighting on Wednesday.


The 16-day conflict has claimed the lives of more than 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians, Palestinian health officials say. Israel has lost 32 soldiers, all since July 17, when it widened its air campaign into a full-scale ground operation it says is aimed at halting rocket fire from Gaza and destroying a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels.


Two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no reference to the ceasefire efforts in underscoring his determination to neutralize the rocket and tunnel threats.


More than 2,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza since July 8, and the Israeli military says it has uncovered more than 30 tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel, some of which have been used by Hamas to carry out attacks.


“We started this operation to return peace and quiet to Israel… And we shall return it,” Netanyahu said at a joint appearance with visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday that there was “a strong possibility” that Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza, where medical officials say most of those killed were civilians.


Pillay also condemned indiscriminate Islamist rocket fire out of Gaza, and the UN Human Rights Council said it would launch an international inquiry into alleged violations.


A furious Netanyahu denounced the inquiry as a “travesty.”


“The HRC should be launching an investigation into Hamas’s decision to turn hospitals into military command centres, use schools as weapons depots and place missile batteries next to playgrounds, private homes and mosques,” he said.




Source Article from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/gaza-conflict-israeli-fire-hits-compound-housing-un-school-killing-15-1.2716414?cmp=rss

‘Run, Rick, go — go!’ woman shouts as iceberg collapses near boat

A central Newfoundland woman who captured the sudden disintegration of an arched iceberg says she has learned a lesson about getting too close to the massive structures.



“I think my heart came up, and I swallowed it. I was petrified,” said Wanda Stead, who unexpectedly caught the collapse on video on Tuesday while she was enjoying a day on the Bay of Exploits with her husband. The couple, who live in Gander, have a cabin in Cottlesville.



Stead’s video shows how the arch in the iceberg suddenly began to crack, and within seconds, tonnes of ice had fallen to the bay below.



‘”I think my heart came up, and I swallowed it. I was petrified’- Wanda Stead


Stead’s voice is audible in the video, with a blood-curdling instruction to her husband: “Run, Rick, go — go!”



With her husband hitting their boat’s engine, the couple were able to move to a safer position, although Stead told CBC News on Thursday that her impression at the time was that their lives were in immediate peril. 



“All I could see was this tidal wave coming toward us,” she said.


Wanted to warn others



It may not have turned out to be a tidal wave, but the bay’s waters changed immediately, with a powerful wave discharged in moments. 


Stead said she shared the video to warn others of the dangers of approaching icebergs.



“We were too close,” she said, estimating that they had parked their boat between 100 and 150 feet — or 30 to 45 metres — away from the iceberg.



“Accidents are unplanned events,” she said. “You never know with something that big … and people need to know.”



Stead said that she felt rattled and drained by the end of the ordeal, but that, to her surprise, her video did not show much shaking. 





Source Article from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/iceberg-collapse-proves-risks-of-getting-too-close-videographer-1.2716929?cmp=rss

Opinion: It’s Time to Stop Thinking That All Non-Native Species Are Evil

What should be done with the wattle-necked softshell turtles on the Hawaiian island of Kauai?

The turtles came from China, starting in the 1850s, brought by sugarcane farmers who liked them as soup. Today, they’re endangered in China and considered invasive—the term for non-native species that cause undesirable effects—in Kauai. But conservationists don’t believe the animals are safe from hunting in their home range, so there’s little point in boxing them up and sending them back.

It’s a head scratcher: Should we remove the turtles from Kauai to preserve the native ecosystem there—the turtles could potentially eat native fish—and risk the extinction of their species, or should we keep them alive in Hawaii?

Those kinds of knotty questions are becoming more commonplace in ecology, as global change accelerates. And so a new attitude is emerging that’s less reflexively hostile toward invaders. It was much in evidence at a symposium held last week at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Missoula, Montana. I participated as a journalist but not a disinterested observer: I’ve argued in the past that it’s time for a more nuanced approach to the non-native plants and animals among us.

Invasive species are scary. It was ecologist Charles Elton, back in the 1950s, who introduced the militaristic “invasion” metaphor to describe exotic plants and animals—but there’s no question some can be extremely destructive.

The brown tree snake has eaten a dozen kinds of forest birds in Guam to extinction; zebra mussels clog pipes around the Great Lakes; the common house cat turns out to be, in Australia, a mercilessly effective killer of cute, fluffy marsupials like the bilby and the numbat.

As scientists have sounded the alarm about these pests, the public has gotten the message. Citizen groups rip out non-native plants. Native gardens have become increasingly popular, both as ways to celebrate the unique flora of each region and as tiny hot spots of diversity. Native trees provide food for native bugs, which feed native birds. Food chains developed over thousands of years of co-evolution unfold in our backyards. We’re even going native in the kitchen, with fine restaurants increasingly focused around locally hunted, foraged, and grown ingredients.

So we’ve learned, scientists and lay people alike, that native species are good and non-natives are bad.

Julian Olden, a biologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who co-organized the symposium, recently polled nearly 2,000 ecologists. Among his findings: A substantial number of them said they would immediately eradicate a hypothetical non-native forest plant, even if it were shown to have no effect on the forest. Olden calls this the “guilty even when proven innocent” approach.

That kind of approach is not very useful on a rapidly changing planet.

Exotics Are Everywhere

Climate change is making it harder even to decide who the invaders are.

How, scientists at the symposium wondered, do you define “native” on a warming planet, when plants and animals are already moving toward the poles or up mountainsides in search of climate conditions they can tolerate? Should we consider them “invasive” in their new homes? Regardless of what we label them, conservationists will be reluctant to remove them from their new environs—to do so would stymie their chances of adapting to the warmer future we’re creating.

And then there are the non-natives that we actually like. Most domestic crops are exotic in most of the places they’re grown, but there are even wild exotics that “do good,” forming useful relationships with native species.

Edwin Grosholz of the University of California, Davis, told the recent symposium about one such relationship. On beaches in his state, non-native spartina grass has become important habitat for the endangered California clapper rail, a plump shorebird with a downward curving bill more at home on land than in the air. A project to rip out and poison the spartina—which grows in dense swaths that exclude many other shorebirds—saw clapper rail numbers go tumbling downward.

There are other examples like that. The endangered southwestern willow flycatcher nests in “invasive” tamarisk shrubs. Many native (and beautiful) Hawaiian flowers are now pollinated by the Japanese white-eye bird—because the native pollinators have been driven extinct by other non-native species.

Should we impose further risk on already endangered natives by severing these relationships? Or should we admire the resilience of nature and let such “well-behaved” exotics stay?

Weirdest of all is the puzzle of the invasive species that are themselves endangered, like the wattle-necked turtle. Dov Sax, an ecologist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and symposium co-organizer, reported that 15 percent of mammals and 10 percent of birds that have been introduced in non-native habitats are under threat in their home ranges.

Hippos, vulnerable to extinction in sub-Saharan Africa, are multiplying in the lakes of Colombia, after being imported by drug lord Pablo Escobar. The red-crowned Amazon parrot is endangered in its home in northeast Mexico, but flourishes in noisy flocks in cities in California and Hawaii. What do we do with such cases?

Leave them alone, more and more conservationists are arguing, and stop focusing obsessively on categorizing species as native or non-native. Mark Davis, an ecologist at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, once considered himself an “invasion biologist”—but not anymore. “I am actively trying to get the field to retire the invader narrative,” he said in Missoula.

A Good Thing, Not the Only Thing

After all, nativeness is just one environmental value, and arguably not as important as preventing extinctions and preserving biodiversity. In some cases we can best serve biodiversity by leaving the non-natives alone or even—brace yourself, now—introducing them on purpose.

This is the thinking behind, for example, installing the Aldabra tortoise on the islands of Mauritius. The islands lost their own large tortoises, and the fruiting plants that formerly had their seeds moved around by these fruit-loving reptiles have been on the decline. A tortoise that’s related to the island’s large tortoises—a non-native from the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean that was intentionally introduced in 2004—is now handling some of that work.

Most of the time, for the time being, conserving species still means focusing on supporting them in their historical habitats, planting natives and removing non-natives. We can and should do that in places where it is feasible and important to us.

As native gardening guru Douglas Tallamy has shown us, nothing beats a native tree for supporting biodiversity. Keeping whole landscapes completely native will require more and more active management as time goes on—but for some special places, it will probably be worth it.

But the weirder, tougher cases will keep coming up. As climate changes, as the species we’ve already moved around establish themselves in their new homes, we’ll be called on more and more to choose between the needs of a threatened species and the historical continuity of an ecosystem.

Which matters most to you is a personal decision. For me, though I highly value the particular distribution of life that makes each place unique, species survival trumps historical fidelity. Ultimately, I care more that species exist than that they stay where they’re “supposed” to be. Let the turtles stay on Kauai.

I also believe that hating non-native species is counterproductive and unfair. Even the deadly tree snakes in Guam, responsible as a species for so many extinctions, are not evil as individuals. They have no idea they aren’t in the right place. They’re just snakes being snakes.

It makes more sense to be angry at the humans who moved a harmful species to a new place—but in general, harmful introductions were accidents or were undertaken by people who meant well.

And most of the extinctions and population declines that mar our beautiful Earth aren’t caused by exotic species. They’re due to development that is destroying habitat, often needlessly. That’s the real bad guy. If you must hate something, hate mindless development.

When my kids and I see Queen Anne’s lace by the roadside or the lemony yellow flowers of the common mullein—both very common non-native weeds in the United States—I don’t scowl. I don’t see those flowers as evil villains or even as a blemish on the landscape. They’re unlikely to drive any other species extinct. They don’t know they’re on the wrong continent. And no matter where they are, they’re still beautiful.

Emma Marris is the author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World.

Source Article from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140724-invasive-species-conservation-biology-extinction-climate-science/

Video: How (and Why) to Sail a 19th-Century Whaling Ship

The Charles W. Morgan, a 173-year-old square-rigger that was used to hunt whales around the globe, has been made seaworthy after almost a century in the docks.

This summer the whaleship is plying New England waters after an extensive five-year restoration at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. The ship is bringing a public exhibit on America’s whaling history to ports between New London, Connecticut, and Boston. The Morgan, a National Historic Landmark, is the second oldest ship in America after the U.S.S. Constitution, a warship built in 1797.

“No other ship like this exists,” says Matthew Lawrence, a maritime archaeologist with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. “While we can study shipwrecks of whaling ships on the seafloor … to really see the full fabric of the ship in operation is a tremendous experience.”

“People think that whaling is just a New England story and don’t realize that whaling products found their way into nearly every American home in the mid-1800s, and that whaling itself was also part of the American character,” says Elysa Engelman, exhibits researcher and developer at Mystic Seaport.

Whale oil was once the main source of illumination in lamps and candles, she says, noting it was also the universal lubricant for everything from watches to factories that powered the Industrial Revolution. Whalebone was fashioned into fishing poles, buggy whips, and other items.

During 80 years of service the Morgan completed 37 three- to five-year whaling voyages. It sailed throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans; into the Arctic; and around the treacherous tip of South America, according to Mystic Seaport. More than 1,500 sailors from at least 50 countries served as crew.

In 1921, with whale populations declining, petroleum replacing whale oil, and far more efficient mechanized whaling ships and weaponry coming into use, the Morgan was retired. It rested in the sand near a Massachusetts estate until 1941, when Mystic Seaport acquired it.

Rebecca Kessler is a freelance science writer based in Providence, Rhode Island.

Source Article from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140724-whaling-ship-new-england-boston-connecticut-sailing/

Dramatic Pictures of Recent Sinkholes Reveal Hazards Lurking Below

Last Saturday, a massive sinkhole swallowed part of a residential neighborhood in Spring Hill, Florida, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Tampa. No one was injured, but a pair of houses suffered damage, and four families had to evacuate.

The circular sinkhole is about 40 yards (37 meters) across and 30 feet (9 meters) deep, says Virginia Singer, a spokesperson for the local Hernando County government.

“No one thing in particular triggered the sinkhole that we are aware of,” she says. “It’s an occurrence that happens in this part of Florida.”

Nearly 300 sinkholes have opened up in the Sunshine State since 2010 and thousands over the past century.

Denise Moloney, a spokesperson with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, says her department advises residents to be on the lookout for signs of potential sinkholes, such as cracks or slumping.

But sometimes there are no warnings, she says, and sometimes what seem like signs aren’t. “Just because you have a crack in your house doesn’t mean your house is going to fall into a sinkhole,” she says. “That’s very rare.”

Coastal western Florida is especially prone to sinkholes because its soil doesn’t contain a lot of clay, which can help hold the layers together, says Jim Lamar, a geologist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Instead, the area tends to have sandy soil on top of limestone.

Subsidence Incidents in Florida Since 1909


Map of sinkholes in Florida

When groundwater dissolves some of the limestone, it creates caves. Eventually the overlying sandy layers may no longer be able to support their own weight, says Lamar, and they collapse, forming a sinkhole. (See “Why Sinkholes Open Up.”)

Hazardous Holes


A truck hangs over the edge of a sinkhole that opened up in the parking lot of Hughes Relocation Services, Monday, June 25, 2012, in Salt Springs, Fla.

The sinkhole above opened up in June 2012 in a parking lot in Salt Springs, Florida, which is also in the Tampa Bay region. Tropical Storm Debby had pelted the area with up to two feet of rain in a few days.

Jim Lamar says heavy rains tend to make sinkholes more likely, because they can destabilize soil, leading to its collapse.

He adds that sinkholes sometimes leave clues as they’re forming. “Look for dying patches of grass or shrubs that may suggest the water table has suddenly gone down,” he says. Tilting trees or fence posts, new cracks in sidewalks or foundations, and doors or windows that don’t shut properly can also be signs.

“It needs to be a collection of things, not just one thing,” says Lamar. “And if those things start to accelerate, then it’s time to think about calling your insurance.” Insurance companies can send inspectors who have experience with what are called subsidence events. Only a geologist can decide whether a particular subsidence is a true sinkhole.

Missing Lawn


A portion of a building rests in a sinkhole Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Clermont, Fla. The sinkhole, 40 to 50 feet in diameter, opened up overnight and damaged three buildings at the Summer Bay Resort.

A sinkhole that opened in Clermont, Florida, in August 2013 damaged three buildings at the Summer Bay Resort northeast of Tampa. The hole was 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters) in diameter.

According to Lamar, there are two types of sinkholes: cover-subsidence sinkholes and cover-collapse sinkholes. The former develop slowly over time, but the latter open up quickly and can take buildings, and occasionally people, with them.

U.K. Sinkhole


High Wycombe sinkhole. Phil Conran looks out of a window from his home, in Main Road, Walter's Ash, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, after a 30ft-deep sinkhole opened up in the driveway yesterday and swallowed his car.

Sinkholes are prevalent in Florida thanks to its sandy soil and underlying limestone, but they also occur in many other places around the world. Above, a 30-foot-deep (9-meter-deep) sinkhole opened up in a driveway in Buckinghamshire in the U.K. in February 2014. The hole swallowed a car. (See: “Guatemala Sinkhole Adds to World’s Famous Pits.”)

Like Toy Cars


One of eight Chevrolet Corvettes is removed from a sinkhole in the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum, Monday, March. 3, 2014, in Bowling Green, Ky.

In February 2014, a sinkhole in Bowling Green, Kentucky, swallowed eight Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum.

Photographer Alex Slitz described the cars as flung into the earth as if they were toys.

Huge Holes


A giant sinkhole that swallowed several homes is seen in Guatemala City February 23, 2007. At least three people have been confirmed missing, officials said.

In February 2007, a 330-foot-deep (100-meter-deep) sinkhole opened up in Guatemala City, killing three people and swallowing about a dozen homes. Deeper than the height of the Statue of Liberty, the hole was reportedly caused by torrential rains and a burst sewer line.

According to Lamar, burst pipes aren’t the only human activity that can lead to sinkholes. Overpumping of groundwater can also destabilize soil, as can earthmoving activities.

And paving over ground can cause runoff to concentrate in specific areas, where it can destabilize the surface. (See “2010 Guatemala Sinkholes Created by Humans, Not Nature.”)

South America


Tourist near sinkhole on Roraima Tepui, Canaima National Park, Venezuela

A tourist visits a picturesque sinkhole on Mount Roraima, in Venezuela’s Canaima National Park.

In time, sinkholes often become ponds. Eventually they may fill in with soil and debris.

Cenotes


Divers exploring an underwater cave in a cenote.

Sinkholes in bedrock limestone around the Yucatán Peninsula are often called cenotes. The Maya considered them sacred places, and several have become important archaeological sites. (See: photos of cenotes.)

Above, a diver explores a cenote near Akumal, Mexico, in 2009.

Dead Sea Sinkholes


An aerial view photo shows sinkholes created by the drying of the Dead Sea, near Kibbutz Ein Gedi, on November 10, 2011. The Dead Sea is one of the sites candidate of other 28 sits in a international online campaign votes to select the new Seven Wonders of World Heritage Sites.

As the Dead Sea in Israel and Jordan continues to recede, thanks to diversion of the Jordan River, the water table below is also dropping. This has caused numerous sinkholes to open up in the land, and much of the area is now off-limits to visitors.

China


The debris of houses devastated by a subsidence is seen next to and inside the massive sinkhole in Pingxi village, Guangyuan city, southwest Chinas Sichuan province, 12 December 2013.

China has extensive karst zones, where soluble rock below the surface has been dissolved by water, creating a network of fissures and caves. This massive sinkhole opened up in the village of Pingxi in southwest Sichuan Province in December 2013.

Within hours, the hole expanded into a crater measuring 200 feet by 130 feet (60 by 40 meters) and 100 feet (30 meters) deep that swallowed about a dozen buildings.

Giant Pothole


With over 9 inches of rain overnight and into Wednesday morning in Duluth Washouts, sinkholes and mudslides have taxed area roads.

In June 2012, a sinkhole opened up in Duluth, Minnesota, after a torrential rainstorm.

Source Article from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140724-sinkhole-pictures-photos-geology-science/

First look at Fifty Shades trailer

Showing skin...The first Fifty Shades of Grey trailer has given fans their first look at

Showing skin…The first Fifty Shades of Grey trailer has given fans their first look at the big screen version of the erotic bestseller. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied



THE trailer for the highly-anticipated film Fifty Shades of Grey film has been released, giving fans just a little taste of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele on the big screen.


The film, which is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, sees British hunk Jamie Dornan take on the role as billionaire Grey, with Dakota Johnson in the role of naive Steele.


The flick has been co-produced by Fifty Shades of Grey writer EL James (her errotic Grey trilogy has sold a staggering 100 million copies, making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series of all time).

Conflicted...Dakota Johnson stars as naive literature student Anastasia Steele, who is dr

Conflicted…Dakota Johnson stars as naive literature student Anastasia Steele, who is drawn into the enigmatic billionarie’s dark secrets. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied

The trailer begins with Steele being led into Grey’s stark office, where she’s later seduced by him.

Not surprisingly, the trailer also gives fans a hint of Grey’s substantial S&M collection (cue blindfolds, whips and chains).

The trailer also features a remix of Beyonce’s hit Crazy In Love, which the singer teased in crytpic an Instagram post last week.

Convincing...Dornan as the sedutive Mr Gery in a shot from the new trailer. Picture: Supp

Convincing…Dornan as the sedutive Mr Gery in a shot from the new trailer. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied

The cast also includes pop star Rita Ora as Grey’s sister Mia and Jennifer Ehle as Steele’s mother Carla.

The film will be released in time for Valentine’s Day 2015.

Source Article from http://news.com.au.feedsportal.com/c/34564/f/632581/s/3cd5b922/sc/17/l/0L0Snews0N0Bau0Centertainment0Cmovies0Ctrailer0Efor0Efifty0Eshades0Eof0Egrey0Ereleased0Egiving0Efans0Ea0Elook0Eat0Ejamie0Edornan0Eas0Ebillionaire0Echristian0Egrey0Cstory0Ee6frfmvr0E12270A0A0A8933480Dfrom0Fpublic0Irss/story01.htm