Monday, November 20, 2017

Why Gal Gadot's win over Brett Ratner feels good...

Why Gal Gadot's win over Brett Ratner feels good...

Gal Gadot attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures "Justice League" at Dolby Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (AFP - Neilson Barnard)
On Wednesday (EST), Gal Gadot confirmed the reports that embattled director-producer Brett Ratner will no longer be on the roster of Wonder Womansequel scheduled to release in November 2019. Ratner has been accused by at least half a dozen women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Ellen Page, of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.
Gadot started distancing herself from the events involving interactions with Ratner in October. It first started with her backing out from a dinner for the Jewish National Fund honouring Ratner with Tree of Life Award. Later LA Times broke the news of allegations on November 1, adding Ratner to the evergrowing list of disgraced Hollywood celebs including Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Roy Price, and others. Ratner's lawyer Marty Singer has adamantly denied all the charges.
Ratner's ouster as a producer from Wonder Woman sequel and from Warner Bros lot does not come as a surprise since Netflix and Ridley Scott took more drastic measures with
removing Kevin Spacey from the upcoming season of House of Cards and the movie All the Money in the World, respectively.
The X-Men: Last Stand director had inked a $450 million financing deal with Warner Bros under his RatPac Entertainment banner in collaboration with Steve Mnuchin's Dune Entertainment. The four-year deal was struck in 2013. It covers 75 titles and is set to expire in March 2018.
Their filmography with Warner Bros includes award-winning movies like Gravity, Interstellar, American Sniper, Mad Max: Fury Road. This year's award hopefuls like Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, James Franco's The Disaster Artist also have received money from RatPac Entertainment. Coming to DC Extended Universe, Ratner also financed DC tentpoles Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman is the only DC Superhero movie from the Extended Universe that has managed to outshine the Zack Snyder grimness and appeal to the comic book readers, movie buffs and regular Janes from all walks of life. Director Patty Jenkins' treatment of Gadot's Diana Prince boosted Wonder Woman's image as a feminist icon. To back up that claim, in the testosterone filled superhero genre, Wonder Woman had broken the glass ceiling by earning $821.8 million worldwide.
To be brutally honest, just leave the liberal facade of anything that is artistic is tended with care and respect. At the end of the day, movie making is a business. It involves money and to keep going it needs to lodge profit. Once a producer starts hitting the bull's eye with every release, it gives him/her a wider space on the next step of the success ladder. It also gets more slippery the higher you go. The power games begin in which that power is exerted on those who are just starting out or on the women who the patriarchal society readily slut shames and refuses to trust. It takes a New Yorker report for studios and bigwigs of Hollywood to start addressing the issues that are right under their noses and they conveniently ignored. In the follow-up purge, every major studio in Hollywood wants to steer clear of the controversies and subsequent legal hassles that may come their way.
Money plays a bigger role when it comes to granting power to someone. It is always assumed that the male lead of a movie brings in the moolah even when the female lead had an equal role and has a strong fan following. Are these box office numbers broken down based on who paid to watch the movie? Doubt it. Yet, men are paid more than women, because hey, look patriarchy told them to do so.
Sony hack in 2015 revealed the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Jennifer Lawrence, Patricia Arquette, Jessica Chastain talked about the issues and are still vocal. This year's Forbes list of highest paid actors and actresses reveals that Mark Wahlberg earned upwards of $68 million while Emma Stone earned $26 million. Women are not being paid enough in Hollywood and getting a job in that industry is harder because you might have to watch your director or producer wank in front of you (The least of inconveniences. I don't even want to think about the repetitive rape allegations. Just reading #MeToo accounts makes it harder to breathe triggering the memories of my own experiences).
So why is Gal Gadot's win over Brett Ratner feels good? Gadot played by the rules set by men and outsmarted them. Patty Jenkins and Gadot made a movie that earned critical
acclaim, ruled box office earning more than the deal Warner Bros had made with RatPac Entertainment, saved the studio's ambitious and expensive AF DC Extended Universe. If you read the early reviews of Justice League, 'Wonder Woman is awesome' can be identified as the common theme.
Patty Jenkins became the highest paid female director when she negotiated her contract with the studio to direct the Wonder Womansequel. By not signing the dotted line, Gadot showed the door to a sexual predator. It's actions like this may lead the wind of change.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Panama Papers case: Ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, family members may face travel restrictions

Panama Papers case: Ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, family members may face travel restrictions

Ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and four of his family members can soon be barred from leaving Pakistan in connection with the Panama Papers case as the country's anti-graft watchdog has initiated a process to place their names on the Exit Control List, a media report said on Saturday.
Sharif, 67, and some of his family members are facing charges relating to their ownership of properties in London.
He resigned as prime minister in July after the country's Supreme Court disqualified him over undeclared income.
Three cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against Sharif, his children and son-in-law in the Accountability Court Islamabad, following the July verdict by the Supreme Court.
Dawn reported that the NAB Lahore office on Friday initiated the process to place the names of Sharif, his sons Hussain and Hassan, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar on Exit Control List (ECL).
According to the NAB Islamabad spokesman the members of the family may face travel restriction if listed on the ECL.
An accountability court had earlier declared Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders for skipping court proceedings in connection with the case.
On Thursday, the NAB had requested the ministry of interior to put Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's name on the ECL after an accountability court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for him.
Dar, like Sharif's sons, has continuously been absent from court proceedings in a case against him for owning assets beyond known sources of income.
A senior official told the paper on condition of anonymity that the NAB Lahore had written to its Islamabad headquarters requesting that Hussain and Hassan's names be placed on the ECL.
The NAB spokesman in Islamabad confirmed the other three names Sharif, Maryam and Safdar that had been recommended by the anti-graft watchdog Lahore to be placed on the ECL.
The official in the NAB Lahore said according to the procedure, they would first place names of Hussain and Hassan, who live in the UK, on the ECL and if they still did not appear before the accountability court, then NAB would request cancellation of their passports.
Sharif's family has been shuttling between Islamabad and London in recent days due to his wife Kulsoom, who is battling throat cancer.
The three cases against the Sharifs are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.
The political future of Sharif, who leads the country's most powerful political family and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, has been hanging in balance since his disqualification. If convicted, Sharif could be jailed.
Sharif's family alleges that the cases are politically motivated.

Zimbabweans to march as Mugabe's future hangs in balance

Zimbabweans to march as Mugabe's future hangs in balance

Zimbabwe was set for more political turmoil on Saturday with protests planned as veterans of the independence war, activists and ruling party leaders called publicly for President Robert Mugabe to be forced from office.
The marches will cap an unprecedented week in which generals seized power and put Mugabe under house arrest in a stunning turnaround for the president who has ruled since 1980.
The 93-year-old autocrat did not resign in talks with the army chief on Thursday and sources suggested the veteran leader was "buying time" to negotiate an end to his 37 year reign.
Mugabe appeared publicly for the first time at a pre- planned graduation ceremony in Harare on Friday, further stoking questions over the status of his discussions with General Constantino Chiwenga, who led the military power grab.
Later in the day, eight of Mugabe's ruling party's 10 regional branches took to state television to call for him to go.
Cornelius Mupereri, a spokesman for ZANU-PF's Midlands region, was one of several party barons to appear on ZBC's nightly news to read almost identical statements calling on Mugabe to quit.
Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the independence war veterans' association, said "the game is up" for Mugabe and announced street protests against the president.
"It's done, it's finished... The generals have done a fantastic job," he said at a press conference in Harare.
"We want to restore our pride and (Saturday) is the day... we can finish the job which the army started." The veterans' association supports ousted vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa -- whose sacking sparked the army intervention on Tuesday.
They are organising a gathering at a large sports field in a working class suburb on the outskirts of Harare.
It was the location of Mugabe's first speech after returning from exile in Mozambique in 1979.
Demonstrators had begun to arrive in the area by midnight local time.
The US embassy in Harare warned its citizens to avoid another protest -- thought to be a pro-Mugabe counter- demonstration -- expected to take place in Robert Mugabe Square in the centre of the capital.
Other demonstrations are expected elsewhere in the country today.
PM before bond commission voluntarily

PM before bond commission voluntarily

The United National Party (UNP) stressed that its leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was to go before the bond commission (PCoI) today to give evidence was not a suspect in the case but would appear before the Commission voluntarily, UNP Senior Vice President Lakshman Kiriella said today.
Mr. Kiriella came out with this statement in response to continuous allegations made by the Opposition that the Government had become helpless as Prime Minister had been summoned before a Presidential Commission for the first time in the history.
The latest allegation came from Joint Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara.
Meanwhile, UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman also stressed that Mr. Wickremesinghe would be going before the commission voluntarily, at a separate media briefing on Saturday.
“An Opposition MP was appointed as Chairman of COPE following the Treasury Bond incident. During the former Government, all those appointed to the Committees were Government MPs. When MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was the COPE Chairman, the Government prorogued the Parliament and appointed D. E. W. Gunasekara as the COPE Chairman. It is only under the present government that probes are conducted independently,” he said.
However, the opposition is of the opinion that the Government had become helpless with the development of the probe on the bond issue.
Joint Opposition MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene came out with this notion at the Committee Stage debate on the budget, while MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the Prime Minister had been called upon to face the Commission on the bond scam.
JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa was of the opinion that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was directly responsible for the scam for several reasons, such as ordering that the bond issue should be done under direct placement method, as he was behind the appointment of a non-citizen of Sri Lanka as the Governor of Central Bank, taking Central Bank under its purview, appointing lawyers attached to UNP to probe the bond scam, removing UNP MP M. Velukumar from the COPE in the middle of the investigation and filling the vacancy with Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, who had already written a book titled Ettha Nettha on the issue and getting Venerable Thiniyawala Palitha Thera of the UNP’s Bhiikhu Front to file a petition before the Supreme Court against the COPE Report after the release of the report. 

(Source: Dailymirror – By Yohan Perera)
Mumbai Indians likely to release Malinga for IPL auction

Mumbai Indians likely to release Malinga for IPL auction

In what would have seemed an unthinkable move a few years ago, IPL side Mumbai Indians are set to release their premier fast bowler in history, Lasith Malinga, for the IPL auctions, the Indian media reported.
With the teams likely to be allowed to retain a maximum of three players, the IPL 2017 winners are unwilling to keep hold of Malinga, considering the fact that the Sri Lankan speedster has looked out of form and also faced issues regarding his fitness off late.
Mumbai Indians though will still have the option to pick the 34-year-old during the player auctions - a move the franchise is not ruling out.
"As per the rules, Every team can preserve maximum four to five players, Mumbai Indians team management is on the opinion to release the Slinga Malinga," a source, close to Mumbai Indians told Cricket Age.
"The Mumbai Indians can also buy him back, but as far as the auction is concerned, it looks like Lasith Malinga will find himself in the pool of players up for grabs" the source revealed further.
Malinga is the most successful bowler in IPL history with 154 wickets from 110 matches and played a key role in Mumbai Indians victorious campaigns in 2013 and 2015 picking up 20 and 24 wickets respectively.
However, Malinga was off-colour in the 2017 IPL campaign picking up just 11 wickets from 12 matches as well conceding runs at an expensive 8.84 runs an over.
While there is no doubt that Malinga is by far the most successful bowler in IPL history, be it with his wicket-taking abilities or his death-overs bowling, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and New Zealand's Mitchell McClenaghan has established themselves as the Mumbai franchise's first-choice bowlers ahead of the Sri Lankan.
Malinga may be head and shoulders above the rest with his enviable IPL record, but there is no denying that the Sri Lankan speedster has lost the pace and the ability to bowl yorkers consistently that had made him one of the toughest bowlers to face in the T20 format.
Age has caught up with the right-arm pacer and an unwillingness to look after his body has played a part in his downfall as a bowler while also leading to many run-ins with the Sri Lankan cricket administration.
It is hardly a surprise that Mumbai Indians has decided to let go off Malinga though they still have the option to pick him up at the auctions at a considerably lower price.

(Source: Dailymirror )
Gintota incident: PM says stern action against miscreants

Gintota incident: PM says stern action against miscreants

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who visited the Gintota in Galle today after the tense situation said that stern legal action would be taken against those who were responsible for the violence.
The Prime Minister said a few people could start an unrest or violence situation.
“A major disaster erupted because of people spreading rumours. We can’t station Police and military here forever. So everyone should live peacefully,” he said.
Earlier, a Police curfew had been imposed in Kurunduwatte, Mahahapugala, Welipitimodara, Ukwaththa, Gintota East, Gintota West and Piyandigama GN divisions following tense situation in the areas.
At least 19 individuals were arrested in connection with the incident and several houses and vehicles were also damaged.
The Prime Minister who met the victims in the area said the Government would look into and make arrangements to pay compensations.
Ministers Sagala Ratnayake, Vajira Abeywardane and IGP Pujith Jayasundara were also present. 

(Source: Dailymirror – By D.G. Sugathapala)
Jaffna violent incidents: 41 arrested

Jaffna violent incidents: 41 arrested

At least 41 suspects had been arrested during raids carried out in Jaffna following the recent sword attack incidents in the peninsula region, Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said.
He said that special search operations had been conducted in the Kopay, Manipay, Jaffna and the Chunnakam Police areas during the last two days.
He said three Police teams had been deployed in the area to arrest suspects over the sword attacks.
“Investigations are carried out by the Northern Senior DIG on the instructions of the IGP Pujith Jayasundera,” he said.
Last week the Police arrested six men in connection with the sword attacks in Jaffna. The recent arrests have been made following the information given by the arrested suspects.
Meanwhile, all leave has also been cancelled for Police personnel in the Jaffna Police Division.
The Police said several people had been injured in several attacks recently in Jaffna, where gangs wielding sharp weapons and swords attacked civilians. 
(Source: Dailymirror – By Darshana Sanjeewa)