A Singapore film on religious and LGBTQ issues that premiered in New York this year has been banned in the city-state because it could create “social division”, authorities said.
The movie #LookAtMe by Singaporean film-maker Ken Kwek “exceeded the film classification guidelines” and cannot be screened locally, according to a statement issued Monday by regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The film premiered in July at the New York Asian Film Festival, where it was in competition for Best Feature and won a Special Jury award for Best Performance.
IMDA’s statement, issued jointly with the country’s culture and interior ministries, said the film “denigrates a religious community and has the potential to cause enmity and social division in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society”.
It revolves around a lead character who takes offence at a male pastor’s stand on homosexuality and posts an “incendiary” comment on social media which goes viral.
Tensions arise, with the protagonist “plotting a revenge attack” on the pastor, who is also portrayed as engaging in an act prohibited by his religious faith.
“The context may be seen to be suggesting or encouraging violence against the pastor,” IMDA said.
The team behind the movie said in a statement they were disappointed with the decision and will lodge an appeal.
“#LookAtMe is a work of cinematic fiction. The film seeks to entertain and encourage conversations on important social issues that are relevant to Singapore,” they said.
The team voiced hope that Singapore residents will be able to watch the film, which it said had been selected for screening at the Singapore International Film Festival in December.
While the city-state boasts a modern and vibrant culture, attitudes towards homosexuality remain conservative.
However, support for gay rights has been growing in recent years, with huge crowds attending Singapore’s annual Pink Dot gay rights rally.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in August said the country will repeal a colonial-era law criminalising sex between men, but will continue to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Landslide In Colombia Leaves 34 Dead
Heavy rains in northwest Colombia sent a wall of earth crashing onto a winding road, swallowing up a bus and other vehicles and killing 34 people, emergency services said Monday.
The landslide Sunday evening prompted a large rescue effort, with dozens of people in hard hats using backhoes and excavators to dig through the earth looking for victims.
The National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said the fatalities included eight minors and that nine other people were injured in the disaster in the remote town of Pueblo Rico.
The bus had set out from the city of Cali with 25 passengers, and traveled 270 kilometers (170 miles) before being hit by the landslide as it passed through the Andes mountain region, civil defense officials said.
Colombian media reported that a child had survived and was pulled from the arms of its mother, who did not make it.
One survivor said the bus driver had at first managed to dodge the worst of the landslide.
“Part of it was coming down and the bus was a little bit back from that. The bus driver was backing up when it all came crashing down,” Andres Ibarguen told radio station Lloro Stereo.
The rainy season that began in August is Colombia’s worst in 40 years, according to the government, causing accidents that have left more than 270 people dead.
The country has declared a national disaster over the rains linked to the exceptionally long La Nina weather phenomenon, which cools surface temperatures and is currently causing drought and flooding around the globe.
Today, the landslide “puts this town in mourning, tomorrow it could be in another area, because we really have many unstable areas in the country, and the rainy season has not ended,” said Javier Pava of the UNGRD.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization said last week the La Nina conditions could last until February or March 2023.
In Colombia, the phenomenon has also caused crop damage, compromising food supplies and leading to soaring prices.
In July, three children were killed in northwestern Colombia when a landslide buried a rural school. In February, 14 people died in a mudslide triggered by heavy rains in central-western Risaralda province.
American Entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison For Fraud
Fallen United States biotech star Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced Friday to 11 years and three months in prison for defrauding investors with her Silicon Valley start-up firm.
The Theranos founder had been convicted on four felony fraud counts in January for persuading investors that she had developed a revolutionary medical device before the company flamed out after an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.
The closely watched case became an indictment of Silicon Valley, and US federal prosecutors had sought a 15-year jail term for Holmes. She was sentenced to 135 months.
US attorney Stephanie Hinds said the sentence “reflects the audacity of her massive fraud and the staggering damage she caused.”
“For almost a decade, Elizabeth Holmes fabricated and spread elaborate falsehoods to draw in a legion of capital investors, both big and small, and her deceit caused the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars,” the prosecutor said in a statement following the judge’s decision.
Holmes, who is pregnant, will not have to surrender herself until April next year, ordered US District Judge Edward Davila in a courtroom in San Jose, California.
Holmes’s lawyer indicated she would appeal her conviction.
Moments before her sentencing, a tearful Holmes told the court, “I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos. I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work.”
She added, “I am devastated by my failings. Every day for the past years I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them.”
“I gave everything I had to building our company and trying to save our company.”
– ‘Tragedy’ –
Holmes became a star of Silicon Valley when she said her now defunct start-up was perfecting an easy-to-use test kit that could carry out a wide range of medical diagnostics with just a few drops of blood.
At the time, Holmes often dressed soberly in black turtlenecks that evoked her hero, the late Apple icon Steve Jobs.
She sold investors on the idea that her invention would disrupt medical practice, replacing expensive lab tests with her cheap kits.
But prosecutors said Holmes knew her device was not producing accurate and reliable results, yet induced dozens of investors to contribute nearly one billion dollars, all without ever achieving meaningful revenue.
Holmes’s meteoric rise and fast demise has been the subject of books, movies and a TV series that framed her story as a cautionary tale on the excesses of the tech industry that blindly followed a charismatic founder.
At one point, the Theranos board included former US Defense Secretary James Mattis and former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and the late George Shultz.
Sentencing Holmes on Friday, Davila said the case was a “tragedy” and “troubling on so many levels.”
He described Holmes as “a big thinker” who had fought to get into an industry dominated by “male ego.”
But he noted “significant evidence about manipulation and untruths that were being used in the negotiation of the business.”
“What is it that caused that? Was it hubris? Was it intoxication with the fame that comes from being a young entrepreneur?” he asked.
– ‘Amazing things’ –
After hearing her prison sentence, Holmes hugged her partner Billy Evans, who is the father of her 15-month-old son, and her mother, Noel Holmes.
Lawyers for Holmes, 38, had asked for leniency, presenting her as a devoted friend who cares for a young child and has a second child on the way.
This was backed up by 140 letters of support filed to the court, including from her family, friends and a US senator.
“I am confident that on the other side of this, Elizabeth will do amazing things for society with her talents and boundless passion for changing the world for the better,” said one letter.
That was in sharp contrast to descriptions given at her trial that painted her as an ambitious con artist who harassed her workers.
In a letter, Holmes’s aunt, who was an early investor in Theranos, called on the court to give her a tough sentence, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Prosecutors want Holmes to pay $800 million in restitution to investors that included the Walton family of Walmart, the Walgreens chain of pharmacies and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
A restitution hearing will be scheduled, although Holmes says she has no money to pay.
‘Days Of Our Lives’ Star, John Aniston Dies At 89
John Aniston, star of the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives and father of Jennifer Aniston, has died at age 89.
The Friends star posted a tribute to her father on Monday on Instagram, announcing that he had died on Friday, Veteran’s Day.
“You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew,” she wrote.
Photos of them together were shared with her 40 million followers.
Her tribute drew comments from many famous friends, including Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, her ex-husband Justin Theroux, and more.
The official Days of Our Lives account also posted a tribute to the talented member of their television family.