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Autumn has arrived with a vengance in this part of Western Sweden where I am for the FKG Annual Suppliers Forum tomorrow (10 October), a fact made very obvious out of my train window en route from Gothenburg to Saab's hometown of Trollha...
Autumn has arrived with a vengance in this part of Western Sweden where I am for the FKG Annual Suppliers Forum tomorrow (10 October), a fact made very obvious out of my train window en route from Gothenburg to Saab's hometown of Trollhattan. The trees are currently a riot of gold and orange and that striking mood was continued as I visited Saab at its enormous factory and the contrast with when I previously came to Trollhattan around 18 months ago, could not be greater. Then, the facility was empty and soulless and while it's not exactly a hive of activity now, at least there are genuine signs of life as the factory goes through its validation processes ahead of an imminent restart date. Ah, that production date. Try as I might, Saab isn't having any of me attempting to get as much as a squeak of when assembly lines will hum to the tune of copious 9-3s being put together. All they will say is "this autumn" - well it's 9 October already and those Swedish trees are testament to a rapidly advancing calendar that will soon see winter on us. Perhaps the avalanche of negative publicity surrounding Saab's previous incarnation - and which is clearly nothing to do with the current owners - has made them coy about raising expectations so it's very much a softly softly approach. I was allowed to go so far into the factory - but not further - although I could tantalisingly see a model in the distance being assembled. But by complete chance I also bumped into Hakan Scott on the site, who was heavily involved in the IF Metall union negotiations as Saab went through its previous travails and who is still clearly part of the labour body furniture. It was back in the afternoon to meet Volvo in Gothenburg and ahead of the Scandinavian suppliers association, FKG, dinner this evening, where Sweden's main automaker's SVP purchasing & manufacturing, Lars Wrebo, will give the keynote speech. As it's currently pouring with rain as I look out of the window writing this - I got a right soaking last night getting lost from the airport - Gothenburg's taxi drivers and I will probably have a lively discussion on their fare levels. Trains, taxis, food, I'm constantly raising eyebrows at it all but it seems Sweden escaped the worst the recession threw at us in the UK and from what I saw of the city meeting Volvo today, shops are rammed and business brisk. I watched an ice hockey game on TV last night, but Swedish eyes are now very much turning to their country's crucial football World Cup qualifying game against Austria on Friday evening. One more win will secure a playoff berth and with Zlatan Ibrahimovich in their side - remember that goal against England this year? - anything can happen. And a propos of nothing, as I was waiting for my airport bus last night, I looked at an enormous poster, it must have been 100m wide, advertising a skiing company. Among the usual list of France, Austria and Switzerland, right at the end, was, er, Iran. Skiing holidays for Swedes in Iran? I hadn't thought of that one, but it turns out a fair number of Iranians settled in Sweden after the 1979 revolution in their homeland. The situation appears to have thawed to allow travel and as someone pointed out to me today, if you can ski in Lebanon, why not Iran?
about 2 hours ago
As the Syrian refugee influx into Lebanon swells, the backlash is burdened by historical baggage stemming from a fraught relationship between the two countries.
As the Syrian refugee influx into Lebanon swells, the backlash is burdened by historical baggage stemming from a fraught relationship between the two countries.
about 7 hours ago
A record number of 76 films were submitted this year for the 2014 Foreign Language Film Oscar. Last year, 71 films were submitted. Moldova, Saudi Arabia and Montenegro submitted films for the first time and Pakistan submitted a film for ...
A record number of 76 films were submitted this year for the 2014 Foreign Language Film Oscar. Last year, 71 films were submitted. Moldova, Saudi Arabia and Montenegro submitted films for the first time and Pakistan submitted a film for the first time in 50 years. 16 of the 76 films submitted are directed or co-directed by women. The Czech Republic submitted Agnieszka Holland's Burning Bush, but it was disqualified since it first aired as a three part miniseries on HBO Europe before being released in theaters. Below, you'll find all the women directed films submitted. You can find a full list of all 76 films here. Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucia Puenzo, director Canada, "Gabrielle," Louise Archambault, director Finland, "Disciple," Ulrika Bengts, director Georgia, "In Bloom," Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, directors Lebanon, "Blind Intersections," Lara Saba, director Lithuania, "Conversations on Serious Topics," Giedre Beinoriute, director New Zealand, "White Lies," Dana Rotberg, director Norway, "I Am Yours," Iram Haq, director Pakistan, "Zinda Bhaag," Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, directors Philippines, "Transit," Hannah Espia, director Portugal, "Lines of Wellington," Valeria Sarmiento, director Saudi Arabia, "Wadjda," Haifaa Al Mansour, director Slovak Republic, "My Dog Killer," Mira Fornay, director Spain, "15 Years Plus a Day," Gracia Querejeta, director Sweden, "Eat Sleep Die," Gabriela Pichler, director Ukraine, "Paradjanov," Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, directors
about 24 hours ago
If the conflict between the Syrian government of Bashar Assad and the Islamist opposition continues to escalate, almost a quarter of Syrian will be forced to flee their country by the end of 2014, the United Nations warned. According to...
If the conflict between the Syrian government of Bashar Assad and the Islamist opposition continues to escalate, almost a quarter of Syrian will be forced to flee their country by the end of 2014, the United Nations warned. According to UN statistics, around 3.2 million Syrians are expected to be registered as refugees by the end of 2013, with that figure rising to more than 5.2 million next year. Some 6.5 million people could also be displaced within the country by the end of 2014. Feeding the Syrian refugees is “increasingly difficult” as the number of humanitarian aid they receive is insufficient, Maurer said. “They lack food, water and elementary household items to survive each and every day. In particularly, they have difficulties to get health care and to get to doctors, to hospitals,” he said. Maurer said it was not insufficient funds, but “lack access for the humanitarian actors…  to the civilian population,” which prevents the displaced Syrians from getting the help they require. “We certainly don’t have unimpeded access in Syria. And, in particular, it’s very difficult to have access into the combat zones in Syria,” he said. “Negotiating such access with the representatives of the Syrian governments, but also the armed opposition, is a daily challenge for our delegates on the ground. Sometimes they are successful and they manage to cross the line and get into contested areas. Other times we remain frustrated – as many Syrian are – that access is so difficult to negotiate at the present moment.”   Maurer urged the international community “to exert maximum influence on all parties in the Syrian conflict to allow independent [humanitarian] actors to do their work in Syria.”   “We don’t do enough at the present moment because of the security situation; because of the blockages between the Syrian government and the armed opposition,” he said. “So, we definitely need to expand our operation in Syria – so that not more Syrians become refugees and become destabilizing factor in the neighboring countries.”    Lebanon currently hosts the largest number of refugees from Syria, with some 780,000, followed by Jordan (535,000) and Turkey (500,000).  Thousands of Syrians also fled to Egypt and Iraq, with the UN expecting to see more refugees in Europe and North Africa next year. “I think the neighboring countries [around Syria] need badly to be supported in their efforts to cope with those arriving from Syria; access within Syria has to be improved and this is the best way not to have a major and further migration move into Europe and other parts of the world,” Maurer said. Chemical weapons disarmament in Syria, which began Monday, has been the focus of the international diplomatic effort in recent weeks. The US and its allies blamed Assad forces for using sarin gas against peaceful civilians in an alleged chemical attack near Syrian capital, Damascus, on August 21. Assad has denied this accusation, saying that the gas was used by rebels instead. But the US “limited military action” against Assad was put on hold after a Russian proposal to hand the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal to international inspectors for destruction was fully backed by the Syrian authorities. The civil war, in which the government is fighting the Western-backed Islamist militants, has been raging in Syria since March 2011, claiming over 100,000 lives, according to UN estimates.
1 day ago
Channels in Egypt, Dubai and Lebanon commission an Arab version of the entertainment format developed by “The Voice” producer Talpa.read more
Channels in Egypt, Dubai and Lebanon commission an Arab version of the entertainment format developed by “The Voice” producer Talpa.read more
1 day ago
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just released the list of a record-setting 76 contenders for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film category  and members start viewing them in a two-month process that begins Friday night. ...
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just released the list of a record-setting 76 contenders for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film category  and members start viewing them in a two-month process that begins Friday night. But in a year that has produced any number of eye opening choices and omissions, there may be changes in store for next time that could significantly alter the process as it has been played for decades. One change could involve eligibility dates. Rules now state a country can’t enter a film unless it has opened in that country by September 30th of the qualifying year. That rule eliminated the high profile Cannes Festival Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color which doesn’t open in France until Wednesday, nine days after the cutoff date. It’s a rule that doesn’t really reflect the realities of international distribution these days as some American distributors have recently complained. The Academy has maintained it is necessary just so all the films can be screened in time before nominations have to be announced in January. Also controversies that arose this year, as well as in the past, due to the increasing politicization of the selection process of Foreign Language film entries in their individual countries could lead to what returning Foreign Language Committee Chairman Mark Johnson termed “radical” changes in the process and rules leading to the choice of the final five nominees. Johnson, who returned to the Academy’s Board Of Governors recently and was tapped by new President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to come back to the job he had previously held for 12 years (last year producer Ron Yerxa and former Academy CEO Bruce Davis filled in), has always been fairly quick to react to controversial problems in the Foreign Language selection process. He created  an opportunity for the smaller Executive Committee to make three choices of finalists that might have international renown but somehow were overlooked by the larger committee after movies like City Of God and Four Months, Three Weeks And Two Days were passed by. He also then created the rule of nine finalists and the uber committee of 30  higher profile members (including the likes of Meryl Streep who has served the past two years) who choose the ultimate five nominees after viewing the finalists over the course of a long weekend. Now he may be willing to go further after such high profile contenders and award winners were overlooked like Japan’s Cannes Jury Prize winner and IFC pickup, Like Father, Like Son (which Jury President Steven Spielberg admired so much he bought it for a Dreamworks English-Language remake) and India’s The Lunchbox (which opened Critics Week in Cannes and was considered a shoe-in for selection by India) being distributed in the U.S by Sony Pictures Classics. These were  both strong contenders to actually take the Oscar but were instead passed over by their local selection committees for more obscure films.  Japan selected young director Yuya Ishii’s The Great Passage, while India surprised with the largely unknown Gujarat multi-storyline film The Good Road causing much controversy among factions in the country . Neither has a U.S. distrib at this point. And Lebanon’s widely praised film, The Attack from director  Ziad Doueiri which Cohen Media has already opened in the U.S. couldn’t even get to first base since Lebanon banned it from local theaters due to a 1955 law that prohibits all contact with Israelis – it was partly shot in Tel Aviv with Israeli actors in some roles. Lebanon instead chose Ghadi, a social comedy set in a coastal town but even that didn’t make today’s final list and they ended up submitting Lara Saba’s Blind Intersections to meet Academy requirements. The Academy committee which met Friday morning also rejected the Czech Republic’s submission of Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush, a fi
2 days ago
The Syrian disarmament of Assad’s chemical weapons are reportedly proceeding well, but some are worried Syria’s chemical weapons and WMDs may end up hidden in Iraq. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, there are allegatio...
The Syrian disarmament of Assad’s chemical weapons are reportedly proceeding well, but some are worried Syria’s chemical weapons and WMDs may end up hidden in Iraq. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, there are allegations that Syria’s chemical weapons originally came from Iraq in the first place. The United States and Russia have given Assad until July 1, 2014 to complete the Syrian disarmament. Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is believed to include 1,000 tons of the nerve agent sarin and mustard gas. There’s also other banned WMDs at dozens of sites. Syria’s chemical weapons are second only to Iraq to be forcibly removed. The job of cataloging Assad’s chemical weapons is supposed to be completed by November 1. Unfortunately, some of Syria’s chemical weapons are in the hands of Syrian rebels who do not want to give them up. So far, both the United States and Russia say the Syrian disarmament is going well due to Assad cooperating. US Secretary of State John Kerry says they’re “very pleased with the pace of what has happened with respect to chemical weapons.” They cite the Syrian disarmament as having a “good beginning” but they also point out things could change months down the road. Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Iraq The Source And Hiding Place? Former Pentagon official John Shaw claims the Syrian disarmament could be a ruse by the Russians, who first suggested it in the first place: “The Russians were the principal — if not the sole — supplier of chemical weapons to both Iraq and Syria…. Now we have the Russians ostensibly about to certify quantities of weaponry that until a few weeks ago no one admitted existed in Syria, much less that part of it had been moved from Iraq, or that all of it is Russian. Do we have some more Russian speznaz troops in civilian garb moving them back, or do we have the even more interesting spectacle of Syrian troops ferrying nerve gas over the border into Iraq? But the real question is who [the weapons] are going to and their real destination. We have made the poacher into the gamekeeper, so expect the usual avalanche of denials, distractions and dissimulation from the Russians.” Shaw’s reference to “Russian speznaz troops” is referring to how Iraq’s WMDs were allegedly hidden in Syria in an agreement between Saddam Hussein and the Assad government. Even Syrian rebels freely talk about Syria’s Scud missiles coming from Iraq. Unfortunately, some people are already claiming the same is happening in reverse for the Syrian disarmament. Brigadier General Zaher al-Sakat was a chemical-weapons specialist for the Syrian army until he defected to the Syrian rebels. al-Sakat claims he once was ordered to use chemical weapons on civilians but refused and secretly buried the WMDs instead. More alarmingly, al-Sakat also claims the Assad regime began moving chemical weapons into Iraq and Lebanon after the Syrian disarmament was suggested by Russia. Other Syrian army defectors have claimed the same. These allegations are joined by reports from Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal that claimed the equipment used to manufacture Syria’s chemical weapons was being moved into Iraq. Leader of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Idriss, also claims Assad is secretly defying the Syrian disarmament agreements by hiding chemical weapons within Syria. Leaked documents also claim to show that roughly one metric ton of VX nerve gas was successfully sent to Hezbollah. US officials are reportedly skeptical of some of these claims and Israeli military intelligence believes instead that the Assad regime is moving some of its chemical weapons further into Syria in order to hide them. Unfortunately, with US forces now pulled out of Iraq by President Obama, it may be difficult to verify claims that the Syrian disarmament is a ruse to hide WMDs. After all, it took years of occupation before American force
2 days ago
Happin wasn't created to fight terrorism or crime, but it was created to navigate it. It's a smartphone application for iPhone and Android that lets users flag obstacles for other drivers, but across a set of categories that clearly were...
Happin wasn't created to fight terrorism or crime, but it was created to navigate it. It's a smartphone application for iPhone and Android that lets users flag obstacles for other drivers, but across a set of categories that clearly weren't created for small town USA. Road and traffic is just one of six, while others include "burning tires" and "demonstration." It's the work of Lebanese app developer Mohammad Taha, created so that he wouldn't have to tell visitors to check news sites before trying to drive anywhere. He also uses the app himself. "Of course I do," he says. "I recently used it to go around some of the checkpoints that are causing lots of traffic in one of Beirut's areas after one of the recent explosions."Read Full Story
2 days ago
World Series & NLCS action, Chuck Tanner Canned, More...1902 - Sam Leever and the NL champ Pirates beat a team of AL all-stars in an exhibition at Exposition Park by a 4-3 score, with the AL pushing across three runs in the ninth to give...
World Series & NLCS action, Chuck Tanner Canned, More...1902 - Sam Leever and the NL champ Pirates beat a team of AL all-stars in an exhibition at Exposition Park by a 4-3 score, with the AL pushing across three runs in the ninth to give the Bucs a scare. Ginger Beaumont led the Pirates with three hits. Cy Young took the loss, giving up eight hits and striking out seven. There was no World Series yet; the NL and AL were still merrily raiding one another’s rosters in a bid for baseball supremacy.1903 - Game Five of the WS at Exposition Park was a scoreless pitcher's duel for the first five innings between Boston's Cy Young and Pittsburgh's Brickyard Kennedy. But in the top of the sixth, the Americans scored a then-record six runs and added four more in the seventh on the way to an 11-2 romp. Young went the distance and struck out four for his first World Series win.1925 - Walter Johnson of the Senators struck out 10 Pirates during a 4-1 Washington victory in the opening game of the World Series at Forbes Field. Pie Traynor’s homer was the only dent against the Big Train, who surrendered just five hits. Lee Meadows took the loss.1927 - Herb Pennock took a perfect game into the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium before Pie Traynor broke it up with a one out single, followed by Clyde Barnhart double to bring him home. That was about all the local drama as the NY Yankees claimed an 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates to give the Yanks a 3-0 bulge in the World Series. It was actually a close game until NY scored six runs in the seventh, capped by Babe Ruth’s three run bomb.1972 - The Pirates scored three times in the first and and never looked back as they beat the Reds 5-1 in the NLCS opener at TRS. Al Oliver had a homer, triple, two runs scored and three RBI to give Steve Blass all the offense he’d need. 1975 - John Candelaria fanned 14 Reds at TRS, but Pittsburgh lost the NLCS finale 5-3 as Cincy swept the series three games to none. The Bucs got a two run homer from Al Oliver, but Ramon Hernandez was touched up for a pair of runs in the 10th inning to ice the game for Cincinnati. The Reds went on to beat the Boston red Sox in seven games to win the World Series.1985 - Chuck Tanner was fired by the Pirates. He was hired to manage the Braves three days later. Jim Leyland would later be named as his replacement.1992 - The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the NLCS with a 13-5 pounding of the Pirates at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The Bucs threw seven pitchers at Atlanta, which banged out 14 hits, including a Ron Gant grand slam.2001 - Pirate prospect Chad Hermanson showed a brief flash when his three run homer in the eighth inning off Carlos Zambrano scored the Wilson boys, Craig and Jack, and gave Pittsburgh a season-closing 4-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Joe Beimel got the win with a save from Mike Fetters.The image is from the Pittsburgh Baseball Hero Decks, available at:- Heinz History Center- Sportzburgh, Pittsburgh Airport & Settlers Ridge Shopping Center- Hall of Cards, 300 Mt Lebanon Blvd- Allegheny General Hospital Gift Shop- Morini, The Mall at Robinson- Do It Best Hardware, Ambridge, PA- Washington Hospital Gift Shop - Synders Gateway Travel Plaza, Breezwood, PA
2 days ago
The high death toll in Sunday's clashes between security forces and Islamist protesters came as crowds from Egypt's two rival camps — supporters of the ousted Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, and backers of the military that deposed h...
The high death toll in Sunday's clashes between security forces and Islamist protesters came as crowds from Egypt's two rival camps — supporters of the ousted Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, and backers of the military that deposed him — poured into the streets and turned on each other. Morsi's supporters fired birdshot and threw firebombs at police who responded with gunshots and tear gas. On Sunday evening, a concert was aired live on state TV from a military-run Cairo stadium where pop stars from Egypt, Lebanon and the Gulf sang anthems to the army and dancers twirled on stage before a cheering crowd. The new violence is certain to set back efforts by the interim, military-backed government to revive the economy, especially the vital tourism sector, and bring order to the streets of Cairo, where crime and lawlessness have been rife. The military is now back as the real source of power in Egypt, and state and independent media have been depicting it as the country's savior — with growing calls for el-Sissi to run in the presidential election due early next year. "[...] when festivities are arranged for one section of the population, they call on Egyptians to dance on the dead bodies of their compatriots who oppose the coup," a coalition grouping the Brotherhood and its allies said in a statement. Soldiers barricaded entrances to Tahrir with barbed wire and armored personnel vehicles to guard it against possible attempts by Morsi's supporters to enter the square — the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak uprising nearly three years ago.
3 days ago