Daily Bite August 2010

By Nicola Harvey

This month in the Daily Bite: The greatest kiss is relived; George the humanitarian; Anne Frank's tree; and Angelina Jolie turns into superwoman.

31.08.10: George the humanitarian

George Clooney added another trophy to his Oscar, two Golden Globes and slew of movie critics awards on Monday.

Clooney was presented with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Primetime Emmy Awards for his work to raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur, and fund-raising efforts for causes ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the Haiti earthquake and the victims of the September 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington DC.

“It’s important to remember how much good can get done because we live in such strange times where bad behavior sucks up all of the attention and the press,” Clooney said as he accepted the award.

The actor said he hoped there were others who could step in and “help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heart-breaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away.”

30.08.10: Spot the trend: lovely long gowns

Here’s our favourite four frocks from the red carpet at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

1. Tina Fey, who’s up for three Emmy Awards for her work on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.

2. Toni Collette, who’s nominated for her comedy series The United States of Tara

3. Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria Parker.

4. Elisabeth Moss from the drama series Mad Men.

Stay turned, there’s more to come.

27.08.10: Super woman

Angelina Jolie announced during her recent trip to Sarajevo that she will direct her first feature film about a Serbian man and Bosnian woman who meet on the eve of the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The romantic drama, based on her own screenplay will be acted solely by people from the region, the production company GK Films stated on its website.

Jolie will also produce the film alongside GK Films’ British producer Graham King and his business partner Tim Headington.

“The film is a love story, not a political statement,” Jolie said in a weekend statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for whom she is a goodwill ambassador.

26.08.10: Dissent in Russia

Human Rights group Amnesty International have reported five of its activists were detained while distributing flyers at a U2 concert in Moscow on Wednesday.

The incident comes after a high profile meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U2 frontman Bono in which they discussed Russia’s commitment to fighting AIDS. A spokeswoman for U2 said the band did not yet have the details of the detentions and could not immediately comment.

Interfax news agency reports police detained the five volunteers who were distributing leaflets and displaying banners for holding an unsanctioned protest at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.

Head of Amnesty International in Russia Sergei Nikitin told media, “I am very sorry about what happened … it overshadowed the concert.”

At the end of their concert, U2 invited Russian rock star turned Kremlin critic Yury Shevchuk to join them on stage for a rendition of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

Shevchuk has become a significant figure in Russia’s opposition movement since he delivered a rare public rebuke to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in May.

Shevchuk’s appearance with a guitar at an opposition protest at the weekend attracted 2,000 people, making it one of Moscow’s biggest protests in years.


25.08.10: Super swine flu


New Zealanders are still suffering from a swine flu outbreak despite the World Health Organisation stating the pandemic has run its course, according to New Zealand’s director of public health, Mark Jacobs.  Reported on ABC, Jacobs says 10 people have died this year and more people are being hospitalised with H1N1 than last year.

So far this year 500 New Zealanders have been admitted to hospital with swine flu, with 80 having to be treated in intensive care.

Dr Jacobs says there are 16 people currently in a serious condition.

24.08.10: Anne Frank’s tree

A giant chestnut tree that comforted Dutch diarist Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic during World War II has collapsed in heavy wind and rain.

“It broke off like a match. It broke off completely about one metre off the ground,” a spokesman for the house said.

The tree was one of the few signs of nature visible to the Jewish teenager from the concealed attic she hid in for over two years during World War II.

She wrote, in May 1944, not long before she was betrayed to the Nazis: “Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year.”


20.08.10: Trouble in the Tasman

New Zealand’s admired Tasman glacier has changed from a U shape to an L after 50 million tonnes of ice fell off.

Mount Cook Alpine Village general manager Denis Calleson says a trail of huge icebergs has been left behind.

One is believed to be the largest in a fresh water lake outside Antarctica.

The event was thought to have triggered a three-metre-high tsunami in a remote part of Mount Cook National Park.

19.08.10: Word games

The World Cup in South Africa, climate change, the credit crunch and technology have all left their mark on the way we talk, the new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English reveals, as the latest crop of new words to be added to its pages is published today.

Vuvuzela, has blasted its way into the dictionary’s pages, while in the climate change sector ‘carbon capture and storage’ and ‘geo-engineering’ have made the cut.

Two of the buzzwords of this economic waste land also figure: ‘toxic debt’, used to describe a debt that has a high default risk, and the rather less snappy quantitative ‘easing’: the introduction of new money into the national supply by a central bank.

Since 2000, the 20-volume OED has been available online, with new words added  four times a year. There are currently more than 300,000 main entries, and  the figure is rising all the time. But coining a clever new word is not  enough to make the grade.

18.08.10: Vodka!

Russian’s have a love / hate relationship with vodka.

Mikhail Gorbachev banned it and Boris Yeltsin wandered the streets of Washington in his underpants after consuming too much of it.

Now President Dmitry Medvedev has become the latest leader to set his sights on the ice-cold drink.

City authorities in Moscow have announced a ban on the sale of spirits between 10pm and 10am, in the most recent of a series of measures designed to break the country’s drinking habit.

The average Russian drinks a litre and a half of pure alcohol every month, a habit that kills half a million people a year and is a major factor in population decline. An estimated 51 per cent of production is on the black market, with factories running illegal night shifts and huge supplies of moonshine called samogon distilled in villages, where it acts as a second currency.

17.08.10: In the grotto

A career in the creative industries rarely comes with a large salary package, except for the rare few.  But a report released today by the Australia Council reveals just how dire the situation is for many a budding (and established) artist. Report author, Macquaire University economist David Throsby, concludes the income gap between artists and the general workforce has widened. More than half of Australia’s artists are earning less than 10,000 a year from their art, with writers, painters and dancers doing it toughest.

10.08.10: 3,2,1 Kiss!

Under a 7.5 metre statue erected in the middle of Times Square in New York, hundreds of people gathered on Sunday to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II—and the anniversary of a very famous kiss. Couples re-enacted Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Life magazine photo of nurse Edith Shain being kissed by a sailor on V-J Day at the countdown of ‘3,2,1, Kiss!’

World War II veterans and their families gathered too, some with photographs of relatives who died in the war. Rocco Moretto, 86, told Gotham magazine, “I want to keep that day alive,” and kissed his friend and Women’s Army Corps veteran Margie Zwick. He said of the kiss, It was terrific. It’s been a long time coming.”


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