Robert De Niro to open Sarajevo Film Festival

SARAJEVO The Sarajevo Film Festival will honor two-time Oscar-winning U.S. actor and producer Robert De Niro with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to film on its opening night on Friday. "We are honored to have Robert De Niro as the first recipient of the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo - Lifetime Achievement Award," director Mirsad Purivatra said in a statement on Monday. De Niro will present Martin Scorsese's digitally restored movie "Taxi Driver" in which he starred, in honor of its 40th anniversary, the statement said.British film director Stephen Frears, who will be awarded for extraordinary contribution to the art of film, will present his latest film "Florence Foster Jenkins". The Sarajevo Film Festival, founded as an act of defiance towards the end of the 1992-95 siege during the Bosnian war, will show 222 films from 61 countries to an audience of about 100,000. Its main award is the Heart of Sarajevo. An international jury will be chaired by Palestinian film-maker Elia Suleiman. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Read More
California crews battle Big Sur blaze for 11th day

Crews battling a deadly wildfire that has gutted dozens of homes near California's Big Sur coast looked forward to cooler weather to help them slow the flames on Monday as the blaze raged for an 11th day, burning most heavily in rugged, inaccessible terrain.The combination of steep, mountainous landscape and extremely hot, dry conditions has hampered efforts to quell the so-called Soberanes Fire, which erupted on July 22 just south of the picturesque ocean side town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.Carmel itself has remained largely out of harm's way, but the blaze has roared through more than 40,000 acres (16,190 hectares) of drought-parched chaparral, grass and timber in and around the Los Padres National Forest.A force of nearly 5,300 firefighters has managed to slow the pace of the fire's spread during the past two days. But containment of the blaze - a measure of how much of its perimeter has been cleared by fire crews of unburned vegetation - stood at less than 20 percent on Monday. As long as crews can keep the fire's growth somewhat in check, "we should get more containment as we go along," said Toni Davis, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).She added that slightly lower temperatures in the forecast should help that effort, even as some of the heaviest fire has crept into areas largely beyond the reach of ground crews.Flames have already destroyed 57 homes and 11 outbuildings, with at least five other structures damaged, according to the latest tally. Another 2,000 structures were threatened, with an estimated 350 residents displaced by evacuations. The fire threat, coming at the height of the region's summer travel season, has prompted the closure of several popular California campgrounds and recreation areas along the northern end of the Big Sur coastline, including Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.Officials on Sunday ordered evacuations for the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Pfeiffer Big Sur. The blaze took a deadly turn last Tuesday when a bulldozer operator hired by property owners to help battle the flames was killed when his tractor rolled over. It was the second California wildfire-related death in a week.Another fire broke out on Saturday in grass and brush about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Fresno, in central California, and has since charred about 1,800 acres (607 hectares), threatening 400 structures, according to Cal Fire. On Monday, it was listed as 15 percent contained. (Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Will Dunham)

Read More
Prince Harry regrets not talking sooner about Diana's death

LONDON Britain's Prince Harry has spoken about how he regrets not talking sooner about the impact of the death of his mother, Princess Diana.Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, when Harry was 12 and his brother Prince William was 15. Harry, now 31 and fifth in line to the throne, said he had not discussed his mother's death until three years ago, the BBC reported."I really regret not talking about it," he said. "For the first 28 years of my life, I never talked about it." He added: "It is OK to suffer, but as long as you talk about it. It is not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognizing it and not solving that problem." Harry, who is the queen's grandson, was speaking last week at a barbecue he hosted for the mental health charity Heads Together, attended by sports starts such as former England footballer Rio Ferdinand and Olympic athlete Kelly Holmes. "I think the key message here is that everyone can suffer from mental health issues, whether you're a member of the royal family, whether you're a soldier, whether you're a sports star," said Harry, a former army officer who served in Afghanistan. (Writing by Giles Elgood; editing by Stephen Addison)

Read More
Philistines were more sophisticated than given credit for, say archeologists

ASHKELON, Israel Philistines were no "philistines", say archaeologists who unearthed a 3,000-year-old cemetery in which members of the biblical nation were buried along with jewelry and perfumed oil.Little was known about the Philistines prior to the recent excavation in the Israeli port city of Ashkelon. The famed arch enemies of the ancient Israelites -- Goliath was a Philistine -- flourished in this area of the Mediterranean, starting in the 12th century BC, but their way of life and origin have remained a mystery.That stands to change after what researchers have called the first discovery of a Philistine cemetery. It contains the remains of about 150 people in numerous burial chambers, some containing surprisingly sophisticated items.The team also found DNA on parts of the skeletons and hope that further testing will determine the origins of the Philistine people.We may need to rethink today's derogatory use of the word philistine, which refers to someone averse to culture and the arts, said archaeologist Lawrence Stager, who has led the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon since 1985. "The Philistines have had some bad press, and this will dispel a lot of myths," Stager said.Stager's team dug down about 3 meters (10 feet) to uncover the cemetery, which they found to have been used centuries later as a Roman vineyard.On hands and knees, workers brushed away layers of dusty earth to reveal the brittle white bones of entire Philistine skeletons reposed as they were three millennia ago. Decorated juglets believed to have contained perfumed oil were found in graves. Some bodies were still wearing bracelets and earrings. Others had weapons. The archeologists also discovered some cremations, which the team say were rare and expensive for the period, and some larger jugs contained the bones of infants. "The cosmopolitan life here is so much more elegant and worldly and connected with other parts of the eastern Mediterranean," Stager said, adding that this was in contrast to the more modest village lifestyle of the Israelites who lived in the hills to the east.Bones, ceramics and other remains were moved to a tented compound for further study and some artifacts were reconstructed piece by piece. The team mapped the position of every bone removed to produce a digital 3D recreation of the burial site.Final reports on the finds are being published by the Semitic Museum at Harvard University. (Editing by David Goodman)

Read More
Masterful Murray delivers again for grateful nation

LONDON Cometh the hour, cometh the man -- Andy Murray proved himself the bastion of British tennis once again as he outclassed Canadian powerhouse Milos Raonic to claim a second Wimbledon title in masterful fashion on Sunday.Three years after a nation held its breath, more in hope than expectation, as Murray took on and defeated ironman Novak Djokovic to end 77 years of pain, the 29-year-old delivered another command performance, winning 6-4 7-6(3) 7-6(2).It was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested as a razor-sharp Murray dictated play from start to finish.He committed a miserly 12 unforced errors, blunted the 140mph first serves whizzing his way and even reduced the normally Zen-like Raonic to venting his frustration.The near hysteria of 2013 turned to expectation this time as defending champion Djokovic, Murray's bogeyman who beat him in this year's Australian and French Open finals, lost early.It left the door open for Murray and when sixth seed Raonic knocked out seven-times champion Roger Federer to scupper hopes of a dream finale, many appeared to take for granted that the Scot would be hugging the Challenge Cup again before he walked on Centre Court to contest his 11th grand slam final.Understandably so, seeing as he had started the previous 10, all against Djokovic and Federer, as underdog.That created its own pressure but Murray hid it well in a near-faultless two hours 48 minutes in the Centre Court sunshine as he added a second Wimbledon crown to his 2012 U.S. Open title and gold medal from the London Olympics.He is expected to head to Serbia next week for a Davis Cup quarter-final, having almost single-handedly won the trophy for Britain last year. Then it's on to Rio to defend his Olympic crown.No wonder the player once regarded as a surly teenager with bad hair is now a British sporting icon. DELIRIOUS MURRAYWhen Raonic shoved a backhand into the net to end the contest, a delirious Murray roared to the sky before bursting into tears as his latest achievement sunk in."I feel happier this time. I feel like this was sort of more for myself," Murray, who became a father in February with wife Kim, who watched from the front row of his box, told reporters."The last time it was just pure relief and I didn't really enjoy the moment as much."I'm going to make sure I enjoy this one more."For Raonic, who had been hoping to become Canada's first grand slam singles champion, there were no regrets. He knew he had been beaten by the better player, although there was much in his grand slam final debut to admire."This one is going to sting so I'm going to make sure that as long as these courts are green I'll do everything I can to be back here for another chance," the 25-year-old said on court."Andy has been playing great and he deserves to be winning here for the second time."I was keeping up with him. But when it counted, I wasn't able to get on top."FINAL SHOWDOWN The final was billed as a showdown between one of the world's biggest servers and arguably the best returner.Raonic did blast one down at 147mph, the fastest delivery of the tournament, but the free points he usually enjoys were missing as Murray sent the ball hurtling back time and again.Murray only broke serve once but always seemed in control as the Canadian struggled to apply any sustained pressure.The first chink in Raonic's armor came in the seventh game when Murray went 15-40 ahead. The Scot just missed with one attempted pass but converted his second break point when a powerful forehand forced a Raonic volley error.Murray had break points in the first, seventh and ninth games of the second set as he tightened his grip, but Raonic was cool under pressure and took it to a tiebreak.Upping the ante, Murray found another gear to move two sets clear and within sight of victory.The match was more than two hours old when Raonic finally had two break points at 2-2 in the third set, but Murray saved both to hold -- gesticulating wildly toward his coach Ivan Lendl who sat impassively throughout the match.Raonic held to stay alive at 4-5 and 5-6 but rock solid Murray was relentless, winning the first five points of the day's second tiebreak and wrapping it up without any drama.(This version of the story has been refiled to correct speed of serve to 147mph in para 21) (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Read More
Older Post