BANGKOK, August 23 -- It was an encouraging talk with the Prime Minister of Thailand about the case of the Dutch coffee shop owner Johan van Laarhoven.
Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus said after the consultation. "Thailand is open to a solution in the case," said the minister. Grapperhaus spoke for 45 minutes with the Prime Minister of Thailand about the Van Laarhoven case. In Thailand, he was sentenced to decades in prison for money laundering. The minister says that the justice ministries of both countries are going to work on a solution. "That solution must fit within the framework of the Thai legal system," says Grapperhaus. "A solution will not last for years and hopefully not even a matter of months." Next Tuesday there will be the final decision in the appeal case.
One hundred imprisonment
Dutch prosecution department asked Thailand in 2014 for help with a criminal investigation into the coffee shop owner, which he had established in the Netherlands. The Thai public prosecutor then prosecuted Van Laarhoven and his wife Mingkwan Kaenin. Van Laarhoven was sentenced for hundred year imprisonment and his wife for twelve years. In April, the House of Representatives urged Grapperhaus to work to get Van Laarhoven back to the Netherlands, following a firm judgment from the National Dutch Ombudsman.
LOS ANGELES, August 22 -- Action movie hero Dwayne Johnson, star of the "Jumanji" and "Fast and Furious" franchises, topped the annual list of the world's highest-paid actors, Forbes magazine reported.
Johnson, the former wrestler once known as The Rock, pulled in US$89.4 million (S$123 million) from June 2018 to June 2019, the magazine said. That includes his salary and a share of profits from films, US$700,000 per episode of HBO series Ballers, and seven figures in royalties from his line of clothing, shoes and headphones with Under Armour. Last year, Johnson was second behind George Clooney, who reaped a windfall from the sale of his tequila company. Next on this year's list were two stars of Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing movie of all time. Chris Hemsworth, who played Thor, took in US$76.4 million, while Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr earned US$66 million, Forbes said. Other "Endgame" stars - Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans and Paul Rudd - also landed in the top 10. Most of Cooper's earnings, however, came from A Star Is Born, the musical drama he directed, produced, co-wrote and starred in with Lady Gaga. Cooper collected US$40 million of his US$57 million total from that film, Forbes said. The fourth-biggest earner was Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, with US$65 million, and Hong Kong-born actor and martial artist Jackie Chan with US$58 million. The figures are pre-tax and do not include deductions for fees given to agents, managers and lawyers, Forbes said.
BANGKOK, August 20 -- In July, at the Bangkok Asean Film Festival, Vietnamese movie The Third Wife was honored with a Special Mention prize, with the jury noting its meticulous craftsmanship, strong acting and confident directing.
In the movie set in rural Vietnam in the late 19th century, a young girl becomes the third wife of a wealthy land-owner. There are sex scenes and sequences showing child-birth. But while the film has been well-received overseas, including winning a prize at Toronto International Film Festival 2018, it has been yanked out of cinemas in Vietnam. Audiences, reported Vietnam News, are shocked that the character is played by Nguyen Phuong Tra My, who was then only 13 years old. Citizens have blasted Vietnamese film-maker Ash Mayfair over her casting decision. My's mother was also slammed for allowing her daughter to be involved, with some detractors wondering if she was blinded by the pursuit of fame and money. The VnExpress portal cited child protection experts as saying that the sex scenes could have a psychological effect on a young actress. Mayfair told the Hollywood Reporter: "We didn't do anything wrong and we broke no law. They can't attack us on those grounds so there have been attempts to smear the ethics of the actress' mother, publishing her personal details online and saying she had sold her daughter for money."
Defending the subject matter in her film, she said: "These questions are open for debate and I have no problem with that. We talk about women's rights and we are very critical about patriarchal traditions that have been in the country for centuries." My was reportedly selected after the director auditioned more than 900 candidates. My, who is now 15 and was said to have convinced her parents that she could perform the role, is upset that the movie cannot be seen by Vietnamese, even as it has drawn applause elsewhere. Hollywood trade publication Variety, in its review of the film, said: "In May (portrayed by My) and in Ha and Xuan (the other two wives), there are all the women and girls of the past who've been ignored, abused, forced into competition with one another, made to endure a degradation of spirit and a commodification of body so complete it should have resulted in their annihilation, like silkworms steaming alive inside their cocoons". "But with The Third Wife, new talent Mayfair reclaims just a few of those silvery strands from the neglect of history and weaves them into a film so sensuous we can lose ourselves in it, but so vividly real we might also be able to find ourselves there." Vietnam's censors have reportedly asked Mayfair to submit an edited version of the movie for screening clearance.
NEW YORK, August 18 -- Jeffrey Epstein had an oil painting of Bill Clinton in a blue dress, lounging on a chair in the Oval Office, hanging up in his Manhattan townhouse, according to law enforcement sources.
“It was hanging up there prominently — as soon as you walked in — in a room to the right,” a source told The Post. “Everybody who saw it laughed and smirked.” But the bizarre home decor didn’t stop there. Epstein, 66, also kept a mannequin hanging from the ceiling — dressed up in a wedding gown, the source said, noting how the doll was situated above a staircase. A woman who visited Epstein’s $56 million home confirmed the existence of the Clinton painting to the Daily Mail, but didn’t mention the mannequin. She was able to snap a picture of the painting, which was posted online Wednesday. In it, the former president can be seen lounging on a chair in the Oval Office, pointing toward the viewer, while wearing red heels and a blue dress similar to the one Monica Lewinsky famously donned during their White House hookup. A piece dubbed “Parsing Bill” was painted and sold by a New York-based artist named Petrina Ryan-Kleid. Saatchi Art, an online art gallery, describes it as an “oil on canvas” with dimensions of 40 W x 40 H x 2 in. The painting inside Epstein’s home appears to be the same size, and sources told The Post it was also done with oil. Attempts to reach Ryan-Kleid were unsuccessful on Wednesday night. A relative, when reached by telephone, said he knew of the painting’s existence but was unaware of a connection to Epstein. The Clinton camp did not immediately respond to requests for comment. What's new?
With that much power, it’s unsurprising that La Voiture Noire rockets from 0 to 60 mph in a face-reshaping 2.5-seconds, and keeps on surging to a top speed of 261 mph. As I said, nothing makes the eyes water or the lips dry faster than reading the fine print of a Bugatti vehicle. But the La Voiture Noire isn’t the solo limited-edition Bugatti coming out at the Molsheim factory right now. Echoing the historic EB110 super sports car of the 1990s is the Bugatti Centodieci, making its debut this week.
“With the EB110, Bugatti catapulted itself to the top of the automotive world once again after 1956 with a new model,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “With the Centodieci we pay homage to the EB110 super sports car which was built in the 1990s and is very much a part of our tradition-steeped history.” Centodieci is Italian for 110, which also means the car inherited some DNA of the original EB110 sports car. From a styling perspective, this is quite a challenge. The EB110 has a glorious wedge-shaped design, and Bugatti needed to integrate this philosophy into what is essentially a Chiron. “We faced a number of technical challenges in terms of the development and design of the Centodieci,” Achim Anscheid, Head Designer at Bugatti, explains. “Transporting this classic look into the new millennium without copying it was technically complex.” “The challenge was not to allow oneself be captivated too much by the design of the historic EB110 – we had to create a new way of combining the complex aerothermal requirements of the underlying Chiron technology with a completely different aesthetic appearance,” Anscheid concludes. The end result is a sportier, more aggressive, and undoubtedly more extreme version of the Bugatti Chiron and Divo, borrowing a little of the timeless appeal of the La Voiture Noire. Unlike the aforementioned hyper sports cars, though, the Centodieci takes a different route with its grille design. Bucking the trend of oversized radiator grilles, the Centodieci makes do with a smaller and less pronounced horseshoe grille, more reminiscent of the nose of the classic EB110. The Macaron Bugatti logo is now relocated to the hood, while the deep-seated front spoiler and three-section air intakes are a direct nod to the Centodieci’s 90s inspiration. The front section is dropped close to the ground to give the car a prowling stance, further accentuated by narrow LED headlamps and daytime running lights. “Thanks to the newly developed lighting elements, we were stylistically free in the front and rear sections to pay respectful homage to the EB110 while at the same time transposing this appealing visual reminiscence into modern technology,” says Anscheidt. The thing that stands out in terms of body design, though, is the missing C-line on the B pillar, which happens to be the most iconic styling element of the Bugatti Veyron, Chiron, Divo, and even the La Voiture Noire. You can think of the Centodieci as the black sheep in the family. The longer you look, though, the easier it is to understand the Centodieci’s design. It’s totally familiar yet entirely different at the same time. It looks serious and quite playful, although it can undoubtedly bite your hand if you’re not careful.
Instead of having a dominant and sweeping C-line in the B pillar, the Centodieci has five round air inserts that are positioned in the form of a diamond. More than just a design flourish, however, those air inserts feed vast amounts of air to the hungry W16 engine underneath. Yes, the Bugatti Centodieci has an 8.0-liter W16 motor producing 1,600 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, allowing the car to reach 60 mph from a dead stop in 2.4-seconds, 124 mph (200 kph) in 6-seconds, and 186 mph (300 kph) in 13.1-seconds. They’re not just impressive numbers, they’re positively mind-boggling.
HONG KONG, August 17 -- A collection of rare Japanese whiskies fetched 7.19 million Hong Kong dollars ($917,000) at an auction Friday in Hong Kong, a record high for whisky produced in Japan.
Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Full Cards Series consisting of 54 bottles, sold to an Asian female collector, was made in 1985 through 2014 at a distillery in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo. Each bottle of whisky was matured in different barrels and is featured with labels of playing cards. The price nearly doubled from 3.80 million Hong Kong dollars fetched in 2015 at an auction held by Bonhams. "I was shocked" to hear the price, said Ichiro Akuto, president of the distillery, Venture Whisky. "I appreciate the high evaluation, but I'm anxious if they would be consumed with satisfaction after being sold at such an extraordinary price. I will be glad if they are consumed," he said.
LOS ANGELES, August 17 -- Actor and counterculture hero Peter Fonda has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79.
His family said in a statement that Fonda died Friday morning at his home in Los Angeles. The official cause of death was respiratory failure due to lung cancer. Peter Fonda was the son of Hollywood leading man, Henry Fonda, and brother to actress, Jane Fonda. He earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing the psychedelic road trip movie, 'Easy Rider', which also starred Denis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. He would never win that golden statuette, but would later be nominated for his leading performance as a Vietnam veteran and widowed beekeeper in 'Ulee's Gold'. Fonda had an estranged relationship with his father throughout most of his life, but said that they grew closer over the years before Henry Fonda died in 1982. Fonda collaborated with another struggling young actor, Dennis Hopper, on the script about two weed-smoking, drug-slinging bikers on a trip through the southwest as they make their way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
He remained prolific for the rest of his life with notable performances performances as the heel in Steven Soderbergh's 'The Limey', from 1999, and in James Mangold's 2007 update of 3:10 to Yuma. Fonda is survived by his third wife, Margaret DeVogelaere, his daughter, actress Bridget Fonda and son, Justin, both from his first marriage to Susan Brewer. Following her brother's death, Jane Fonda said: "He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing."
HONG KONG, August 16 -- Liu Yifei, the actress starring in Disney's upcoming live-action "Mulan" remake, waded into the Hong Kong protest controversy on Thursday by expressing support for the city's police, who anti-government demonstrators accuse of using excessive force to quell unrest.
"I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong," she posted on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media platform.Immediately, people began posting #BoycottMulan on Twitter -- which is banned in China. Twitter users accused the actress of supporting police brutality, and called out the fact that she's an American citizen. "Liu is a naturalized American citizen. It must be nice. Meanwhile she pisses on people fighting for democracy," one person tweeted. Other public figures, actors and singers like Tony Leung Ka-fai and Daniel Chan have spoken out against protester violence and vandalism. Pop star Denise Ho came out in strong support of the protesters -- she even gave a speech about the protests at a United Nations meeting last month.
Celebrities outside of Hong Kong and China have also chimed in. Kim Eui Sung, a South Korean actor who starred in the cult 2016 zombie apocalypse film "Train to Busan," expressed support for the protesters on Instagram, writing, "We are watching you, praying for you. #freehongkong." After being bombarded with critical and pro-Beijing comments, he posted another photo -- the infamous Tank Man shot from the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Sports drinks brand Pocari Sweat was also cheered by protesters and boycotted by the opposition after the company pulled ads from a local broadcaster perceived as pro-Beijing. Even bubble tea has been caught in the mix, with a Taiwanese chain urging solidarity with protesters. And with the unrest showing no end in sight, both sides are settling in for the long haul."So disappointed," said one Twitter user of Liu's Weibo post. "Was so excited for Mulan too."
LONDON, August 15 -- Jeremy Clarkson has revealed that his co-host James May had to be rescued by crew from monsoon waves during filming of The Grand Tour in Vietnam.
The 59-year-old told The Sun that the team were attempting to cross part of the South China Sea in monsoon season, when they were hit by treacherous weather conditions. Clarkson, May and Richard Hammond have recently filmed the first of the new, special episodes of The Grand Tour in Cambodia and Vietnam, but things didn’t exactly go to plan. The team rowed out into the Mekong Delta river, but suffered serious problems when they entered the sea. Clarkson said: “It transpired four people were killed an inch away from us. “It’s about the only time health and safety has made the correct decision. “I, of course, was fine, but May had to abandon ship as crew boats were filling with water.” Responding to fan questions on DriveTribe, Clarkson promised that the special will prove to be an “astonishing show”, despite the fact filming went very wrong. He said: “It was an incredibly dramatic ending which was entirely accidental.
Hammond also narrowly escaped death when he crashed a high-performance electric car during filming in 2017. The Grand Tour is set to return on Amazon Prime later this year. All three presenters have signed a two-year deal with Amazon that is expected to yield as many as four stand alone shows a year, with the presenters travelling to far flung parts of the world in scenes not dissimilar to their globe-trotting adventures on Top Gear. And fans can expect no-holds barred excitement when the specials do eventually air, with Jeremy claiming they have been given a huge budget to rival the Marvel film franchise. Top Gear, which suffered a ratings drop following Jeremy's departure, is now hosted by Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff.
NEW YORK, August 13 -- Accused sex child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was discovered Saturday inside his New York City prison cell with a bedsheet wrapped around his neck that was tied to his bunk bed.“
The convicted pedophile, who was 6 feet tall, apparently killed himself by kneeling toward the floor and strangling himself with the makeshift noose, a law enforcement source said Monday,” according to the New York Post. Law enforcement received a call at 6:39 a.m. local time that Epstein was in cardiac arrest and was later pronounced dead at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. Epstein was facing charges of sex trafficking that stemmed from activities over a period of three years in the early 2000s. He served a 13-month prison sentence in Florida in 2008 after he was charged with similar offenses, and was forced to register as a sex offender. His attorneys unsuccessfully lobbied for bail and house arrest on the new charges, but a federal New York judge declared him a flight risk and a danger to the community. New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said the autopsy on Epstein was performed on Sunday and stated she would release the determination upon “further information.” Federal authorities, including Attorney General William Barr, have expressed dismay at Epstein’s death in federal custody and pledged to investigate. “I was appalled and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry, to learn of the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s failure to adequately secure this prison,” Barr said in New Orleans Monday. “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and office of the inspector general are doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,” he added. The nation’s chief legal officer also issued a warning to those who may have conspired with Epstein, stating that they “should not rest easy.” “Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it,” he said. The Associated Press reported Sunday that the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit was experiencing staff shortages the time of Epstein’s death with only one guard working a fifth-straight day of overtime and another guard working mandatory overtime. Epstein was put on the prison’s suicide watch after he was discovered on July 23rd with neck bruises, according to several reports. He was said to be taken off the watch list days later.
Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who worked at three federal prisons, said he is stunned by Epstein’s removal from the list. “For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking. For someone this high-profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances. You leave him on suicide watch until he’s out of there,” Lindsay told NBC. “It’s too early to say what I think should happen, but if this did occur as we believe that it did, some staff are going to have some hard questions to answer.” Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has pledged to continue the case against Epstein despite his death. “To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing,” Berman said.