World Bank Dams!
Earth Fever! Hubble Saved?
Da Vinci's Cars, Einstein Mission
Lava Life, Spike Shaved & More!
World Bank Dams!
WASHINGTON April 22, 2004 (Reuters) - The World Bank is accelerating its funding for large dam projects to the detriment of the environment and locals in the countries where the projects are built, a report released on Thursday said. 

"So often it's the poorest that pay the price for projects that are supposed to bring development," said Peter Bosshard, main author of the International Rivers Network report. 

"Bank-funded dams have displaced more than 10 million people, flooded millions of hectares of lands and pushed many countries deeper into debt. Yet the bank is set to repeat its mistakes all over again," he added. 

The report, published on Earth Day and presented as the IMF and World Bank hold their spring meetings in Washington, underlines what it calls the dangers of the World Bank's renewed interest in engaging in big dam projects. 

Richard Uku, spokesman for the World Bank's infrastructure branch, said the bank is indeed reinvigorating its development of water, communications, sanitation, energy and transportation infrastructure. The agenda is outlined in the Infrastructure Action Plan released in September 2003.

The world spends about $60 billion on the water sector, including sanitation, irrigation, hydro power and water supply in developing countries, said a World Bank spokesperson. About 90 percent of that comes from domestic sources. 

The World Bank accounts for 50 percent of external financing or $3 billion a year. 

World Bank supporters and bank President James Wolfensohn say the lender's involvement in the projects helps ensure that some social and environmental regulations are met. 

"If we withdrew, in one case, it would have been financed separately by people who didn't give a damn," Wolfensohn told reporters on Thursday. "Sometimes there's criticism of us for staying in when it would be a lot easier for us to move out." 

However, Bosshard said, large dam projects often do more harm than good to the environment and the displaced people. 

The report, which focuses on India as a case study, calls on the bank to look more into alternative projects like rainwater harvesting systems. The report also suggests the World Bank apply the recommendations of the 2000 World Dam Commission review. 

The review was the first global assessment of dams and was co-sponsored by the World Bank. 

The Bank has its own environmental and social safeguard policies, Uku said.

Critics argue, however, that the bank has a poor track record of implementing those safeguards. 

Alok Agarwal is a long-time activist with Save the Narmada, a group against a controversial dam project in India with which the World Bank was involved. 

"On paper there is a policy that people should be given land for land, but the government is not following those principles," Agarwal said.

Nor, he said, did the bank provide adequate compensation for the displaced people. 

"The WCD analysis showed that in the past, those safeguard policies ... generally have not been implemented," said Deborah Moore, a former commissioner on the World Commission on Dams.

"If you're going to reengage with those kinds of projects, what is it that you will be doing differently this time?"

International Rivers Network - http://www.irn.org

Earth Fever: Global Average Temperatures Increase Over Decades!
Goddard Space Center News Release

April 22, 2004 - Like thermometers in space, satellites are taking the temperature of the Earth's surface or skin. According to scientists, the satellite data confirm the Earth has had an increasing "fever" for decades. 

For the first time, satellites have been used to develop an 18- year record (1981-1998) of global land surface temperatures. The record provides additional proof that Earth's snow-free land surfaces have, on average, warmed during this time period, according to a NASA study appearing in the March issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The satellite record is more detailed and comprehensive than previously available ground measurements. The satellite data will be necessary to improve climate analyses and computer modeling. 

Menglin Jin, the lead author, is a visiting scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and a researcher with the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Jin commented until now global land surface temperatures used in climate change studies were derived from thousands of on-the- ground World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stations located around the world, a relatively sparse set of readings given Earth's size. These stations actually measure surface air temperature at two to three meters above land, instead of skin temperatures.

The satellite skin temperature dataset is a good complement to the traditional ways of measuring temperatures.

A long-term skin temperature data set will be essential to illustrate global as well as regional climate variations. Together with other satellite measurements, such as land cover, cloud, precipitation, and sea surface temperature measurements, researchers can further study the mechanisms responsible for land surface warming. 

Furthermore, satellite skin temperatures have global coverage at high resolutions, and are not limited by political boundaries. The study uses Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Land Pathfinder data, jointly created by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through NASA's Earth Observing System Program Office.

It also uses recently available NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer skin temperature measurements, as well as NOAA TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) data for validation purposes. All these data are archived at NASA's Distributed Active Archive Center. 

Inter-annually, the 18-year Pathfinder data in this study showed global average temperature increases of 0.43 Celsius (C) (0.77 Fahrenheit (F)) per decade. 

By comparison, ground station data (2 meter surface air temperatures) showed a rise of 0.34 degrees C (0.61 degrees F) per decade, and a National Center for Environmental Prediction reanalysis of land surface skin temperature showed a similar increasing trend in global and land surface temperature, in this case 0.28 degrees C (0.5 degrees F) per decade. Skin temperatures from TOVS also prove an increasing trend in global land surface temperatures. Regional trends show more temperature variations. 

"Although an increasing trend has been observed from the global average, the regional changes can be very different," Jin said. "While many regions were warming, central continental regions in North America and Asia were actually cooling."

One issue with the dataset is that it cannot detect surface temperatures over snow. In winter, most of the land areas in the mid to upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are covered by snow.

Of Earth's land area, 90 percent of it is snow free in July, compared to only 65 percent in January. For this reason, the study only focused on snow free areas.

Still, in mountainous areas that are hard to monitor, like Tibet, satellites can detect the extent of snow coverage and its variations. 

The satellite dataset allows researchers to also look at daily trends on global and regional scales. The largest daily variation was above 35.0 C (63 F) at tropical and sub-tropical desert areas for a July 1988 sample, with decreasing daily ranges towards the poles, in general. Daily changes were also closely related to vegetation cover.

The daily skin temperature range showed a decreasing global mean trend over the 18-year period, resulting from greater temperature increases at night compared to daytime. 

Things like clouds, volcanic eruptions, and other factors gave false readings of land temperatures, but scientists factored those out to make the skin temperature data more accurate. 

Scientists are considering extending this 18-year satellite- derived skin temperature record up to 2003. The mission of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural or human-induced changes to enable improved prediction capability for climate, weather, and natural hazards. NASA funded the study.

Goddard Space Center - http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov
 

Indians Lose Kennewick Ancestor to White Man
PORTLAND April 20. 2004 (AP) - Anthropologists seeking to study the ancient Kennewick Man skeleton scored another victory when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by four Northwest tribes for a rehearing in the lengthy dispute. 

Tribal lawyers sought to have the case reheard by the full court after a three-judge panel ruled in February that the tribes had no right to the 9,300-year-old remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. 

A brief order issued Monday by the court denied the request from the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakama and Colville tribes, who want to bury the remains without a scientific study. 

The collection of 380 bones and bone fragments, which were found in July 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Wash., are being stored at the Burke Museum in Seattle. 

Alan L. Schneider, a Portland lawyer representing the scientists, said his clients were pleased with the court's decision. 

The tribes and the U.S. Justice Department have 90 days to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Rob Roy Smith, a Seattle lawyer for the tribes, told The Oregonian that his clients "are clearly disappointed. This case has dealt a staggering blow to the tribes' ability to protect their cultural properties." Smith added that no decision has been made whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. 

The February ruling, written by Judge Ronald M. Gould, upheld a 2002 decision by Magistrate John Jelderks of the U.S. District Court in Portland that the scientists can study the remains.
Hubble Saved?
By Dr David Whitehouse 
BBC News Science Editor 

Pasadena April 23, 2004 (BBC) - A robotic rescue mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope may be feasible, according to NASA's Associate Administrator, Dr Ed Weiler. In January, the US space agency said there would be no more risky astronaut visits to the telescope, which would probably limit its life to a few years. 

But Dr Weiler says there are now some promising ideas about how Hubble could be visited without the space shuttle.

A small spacecraft could be built to attach itself to Hubble, he believes. 

"There is a lot of optimism about the robotic possibilities," Dr Weiler told BBC News Online. He added that NASA should be able to be more definitive about the options in June. 

It was NASA's chief, Sean O'Keefe, who said there would be no more manned missions to Hubble because it was deemed too risky following the Columbia accident of last year. Many astronomers were horrified that such an outstanding telescope, with many years of productive life ahead of it, should be abandoned in this way.

Astronauts, astronomers and politicians called on NASA to look at ways of saving the telescope. 

Now, Dr Weiler says studies have revealed some promising ideas for how it might be possible for an unmanned servicing mission to carry out many of the tasks that would be necessary to keep Hubble working further into the future. 

The major problems for the telescope will come when its gyros and batteries fail. The gyros allow Hubble to be pointed accurately and must be replaced or augmented, as must the batteries. 

What is envisaged is a small spacecraft that would attach itself to the observatory.

The spacecraft may then be able to plug into Hubble and feed power into it without having to remove its old batteries - which would be a tricky task for a robot. It might also be possible for the attached spacecraft to take over the pointing of Hubble. 

But upgrading Hubble's optical instruments may be out of the question for an unmanned mission. 

Dr Weiler recently told reporters that he could imagine a situation in which a new instrument was only partially installed by a robot and could not be fixed. If that happened, it could render all the other instruments useless, he warned.

In the coming months, NASA will ask industry to look into the options and come up with specific proposals for servicing Hubble. The provisional date for such a mission is 2007-8, so NASA needs to get contractors underway as soon as possible. By the time any mission is flown, it is highly likely that Hubble's remaining gyros will have failed. 

Engineers are working on strategies for Hubble to carry on observing even with more gyro failures, but eventually the telescope would have to be shut down to await repair. Even if it is decided that Hubble cannot be rescued, the telescope will still have to be visited by a small spacecraft to help it re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. 

Because of its size, Hubble cannot be allowed to crash to Earth in an uncontrolled manner as debris from it could pose a hazard.

Hubble Official - http://hubblesite.org

Save The Hubble - http://www.savethehubble.com

The Man in the Ladies' Room Ceiling
KANSAI JAPAN April 24, 2004 (UPI) - A man was arrested Saturday at Kansai International Airport in Kansai, Japan, after he was found trapped among ceiling pipes over a woman's restroom.

Shuichi Arai of Kumatori, Osaka Prefecture, is facing a charge of trespassing, but police suspect he had wanted to sneak a peek at the women using the airport lavatories, reported the Mainichi Daily News.

Arai admitted trespassing, but said he climbed into the airport ceiling to escape somebody who was chasing him.

Police officers said they found Arai trapped in the maze of pipes above the ceiling.
Da Vinci's Cars
FLORENCE, Italy Friday April 23, 2004 (Reuters) - Leonardo da Vinci is revered around the world as a master of Renaissance painting and an ingenious engineer, but few have thought of him as the father of the modern car.

But on Friday, the Museum of History and Science in Florence -- the heart of Renaissance Italy -- unveiled the first "automobile" built based on some of the sketches from da Vinci's famous notebooks.

"This has been a big adventure which has also helped us to develop tools to help people unaware of Leonardo's scholarship understand this complex device," said Paolo Galluzzi, director of the museum. 

The primitive-looking contraption runs on springs instead of petrol and was probably intended to produce special effects at courtly events, but it was still the world's first self-propelled "vehicle," the experts said. 

The "automobile" -- which in fact looks more like a wagon -- is by no means the first invention discovered in da Vinci's mysterious manuscripts, which include flying machines, helicopters, submarines, military tanks and bicycles. 

Born near Florence in 1452, da Vinci is thought of as the original "Renaissance Man" -- a talented painter, sculptor, engineer and musician. 

Many of his ideas were recorded in notebooks now housed in museums and enjoying unprecedented popularity due to the best-selling novel the "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. 

In 1905, Girolamo Calvi, one of the pioneers of da Vinci studies, noted the links between da Vinci's designs and the first motor cars which were beginning to take to the roads. 

In 1936, Calvi referred to da Vinci's sketches as "Leonardo's Fiat" but it wasn't until very recently that scientists correctly interpreted his design and the models on display in Florence are the first reconstructions. 

Three "car" models, copies of da Vinci's sketches and an interactive digital simulation can be seen at the museum until June 5th.

Museum of History and Science in Florence - http://www.imss.fi.it/news/eautomobile.html

Arnold's Hummer
By Michael R. Blood
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES April 23, 2004 (AP) — Labeled an environmentalist-come-lately as a candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger answered his critics by announcing plans to retrofit one of his gas-swilling Hummers to run on eco-friendly hydrogen power.

"I think that's where the future of fuel will be going," he said at the time.

But seven months later, the high-tech Hummer has yet to hit the road.

For the moment, the project has produced more talk than torque.

Seven companies submitted bids to do the work — ranging in cost from $40,000 to $150,000 — but no contract has been signed, said Rick Margolin, assistant director of Energy Independence Now, a Santa Monica group that evaluated the proposals on behalf of the governor.

"He does have people working on it," Margolin said.

Schwarzenegger, who has owned as many as six of the enormous SUVs at one time, raised his proposal for a clean-fuel vehicle with officials in the Hummer division of General Motors Corp. But for now the company is not engineering a hydrogen-fueled Hummer for him or anyone else.

"It's out there as an idea," said David Caldwell, a spokesman for Hummer. "It's not something that exists currently. It's not something you would expect to see in the near future."

He added, "We would never do a Hummer on any energy source that would not perform like a Hummer is supposed to perform."

Schwarzenegger took delivery of the first Hummer made available to the public more than a decade ago, a civilian version of a military vehicle that caught the public's attention during the Gulf War.

His popularity in Hollywood helped transform the brand into a favorite status vehicle. He was forced to defend his association with the hulking, low-mileage Hummer during the campaign when rivals questioned his environmental credentials considering his choice of transportation.

General Motors markets and distributes the latest version of the vehicle, the 6,400-pound H2, and estimates it gets 10 to 13 miles per gallon. Dealers put the figure at 8 to 10 mpg.

The issue hasn't vanished. Activists planned a Thursday news conference in Sacramento to urge the governor to stop driving his signature vehicle, citing its impact on air quality.

Sierra Club lobbyist Bill Magavern said the gas-greedy Hummer "wreaks havoc on our environment" but viewed the governor's promise to retrofit his sport utility vehicle as "largely irrelevant."

"The Hummer is the opposite kind of vehicle from what we would like to see on California streets," he said. "What's more important to us is whether he keeps his promise to reduce California air pollution by 50 percent.... We have yet to see his strategy."

There was no mention of his Hummer on Tuesday, when Schwarzenegger directed state agencies to work with private companies and research groups to develop a statewide network of stations offering hydrogen fuel within six years. 

"Your government will lead by example," he said in announcing the initiative.

With the governor working on the alternative-fueling plan, the retrofitted Hummer was "pushed down on the priority list," Margolin said.

Einstein Mission Report
NASA Press Release

April 23, 2004 - Gravity Probe B — a NASA mission to test two predictions of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity — is orbiting 400 miles above Earth, and all spacecraft systems are performing well. Its solar arrays are generating power, and all electrical systems are powered on.

The spacecraft is communicating well with its supporting satellite relay and ground stations. Launched April 20 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Gravity Probe B is managed by the Marshall Center.

After two days in orbit, all Gravity Probe B systems are performing as planned. The solar arrays are generating power, and all electrical systems are powered on.

The spacecraft is communicating well with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) and supporting ground stations.

All four Gyro Suspension Systems have now been activated. In addition, a lift check was successfully accomplished for gyros #2 and #3.

"We've successfully achieved the first of many upcoming steps in preparing these four gyroscopes for science data collection," said Rob Brumley, Stanford Gravity Probe B Deputy Program Manager, Technical.

"We are all extremely gratified with the initial performance of these gyroscopes in space, including the first ever levitation of a Gravity Probe B gyro on orbit." 

The spacecraft's Attitude Control System is maintaining initial attitude control. Fine attitude control should be achieved when thruster calibrations have been completed. After that, the ultra-precise science telescope will be locked onto the Gravity Probe B guide star, IM Pegasi, to within a range of 1/100,000th of a degree.

The spacecraft is being controlled from the Gravity Probe B Mission Operations Center, located at Stanford University. The Initialization & Orbit Checkout (IOC) phase of the Gravity Probe B mission is planned to last 45-60 days, after which the 12-month science data collection will begin. This will be followed by a two-month final calibration of the science instrument assembly. 

NASA's Gravity Probe B mission, also known as GP-B, will use four ultra-precise gyroscopes to test Einstein's theory that space and time are distorted by the presence of massive objects. To accomplish this, the mission will measure two factors -- how space and time are warped by the presence of the Earth, and how the Earth's rotation drags space-time around with it.

Marshall Space Flight Center - http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news

Lava Life 
University of Alberta News Release

April 23. 2004 - A new discovery of microbial activity in 3.5 billion-year-old volcanic rock and one of earth's earliest signs of geological existence sheds new light on the antiquity of life, says University of Alberta researchers who are part of a team that made the groundbreaking finding. 

"People have been looking for signs of early bacteria for the last 50 years," said Dr. Karlis Muehlenbachs, from the U of A's Faculty of Science and an author on the paper just published in the journal Science.

"A variety have claimed they've seen it and subsequently been challenged as being flawed. We are suggesting that we have clear evidence of life prospering in an environment where no one else has bothered to look." 

The research team, also made up of Drs. Harald Furnes from the University of Bergen in Norway, Neil Banerjee from the U of A, Hubert Staudigel from the University of California and Maarten de Wit from the University of Cape Town, studied samples of pillow lava taken from the Mesoarchean Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa. They found mineralized tubes that were formed in the pillow lava, suggesting microbes colonized basaltic glass of the early oceanic crust, much in the same way as they do modern volcanic glass. 

This evidence of life in the basaltic glass on the seafloor comes in the form of textures produced by microbes as they dissolve the glass, said Banerjee. "These textures include channels or tubes produced by the microbe as it tunnels through the glass, possibly using the glass as a source of nutrients," he said. "We have also found traces of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium-all essential to life-as well as DNA associated with the microbial alternation textures in the recent basaltic glass samples." 

The team then compared its $3.5 billion-year-old samples to the modern pillow lava on the seafloor using several sophisticated tests and was able to find much evidence of life. To date the microbial activity, the team compared the relationship between the tubular structures and the metamorphic mineral growth.

"On the microscopic level, we see that during metamorphism, the new minerals cross cut the preserved biological features," said Muehlenbachs. "This means that the biological features pre date the metamorphism, leading to the conclusion that the microbes were attacking the glass 3.48 billion years ago-very soon after the glass chilled and lasting a few million years, perhaps until the usual geological processes buried and cooked them." 

Despite challenges to previous research claiming evidence of life activity, this research team is certain its evidence is solid. "In other discoveries, there has been much discussion and argument about the rock type and where it came from," said Muehlenbachs. "Everyone agrees our rock is from the sea floor-that's a sure thing. Ultimately that leads to the question of where did life start and where did it originate. And we could argue fairly effectively that maybe there is a link with the origin of life in our work." 

Another interesting aspect to the research, said Muehlenbachs, is that the rock type they studied is the same as on the surface of Mars. "Martian rocks would also have glass that would retain a record of life activity-we could learn a lot from them as well."

University of Alberta - http://www.ualberta.ca

Scripps Institution of Oceanography - http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu

Genre News: James Marsters, Sky Captain, Angel, Stargate Atlantis, Tru, 2nd Annual SPACEYS & More!
Spike Shaved For Charity

Hollywood April 23, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - James Marsters, who plays Spike on The WB's Angel, will shave off his trademark blond hair for charity on The Ryan Seacrest Show on April 27, The WB announced.

Marsters will shave his head to raise money for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

The top 10 donors will receive a personalized autographed photo, along with a lock of James' hair.

The deadline for donations is April 26. Marsters' series, Angel, is wrapping production of its final season, and the California-born actor will no longer need Spike's platinum do.

Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation - http://www.pedaids.org

Marsters, Knightley Voted Favorite Romeo and Juliet

LONDON April 22, 2004 (Reuters) - US actor James Marsters and British actress Keira Knightley are favorites to play Romeo and Juliet, according to a poll by Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company on Thursday. 

The online poll on the eve of Shakespeare's 440th birthday asked visitors to the theater company's Web site who they would ideally like to see play the bard's most famous lovers. 

Marsters, who plays Spike in the TV series "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" was a clear winner to star as Romeo, the RSC said. 

Knightley, star of hit movies "Love Actually" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" pipped Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson for the role of Juliet. 

Other contenders for Romeo included Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Colin Firth - and Ozzy Osbourne. 

More than 2,000 people voted for over 150 actors.

[Marsters' character Spike also just won a SPACEY as SPACE viewers favorite in Canada. See the entire list of SPACY winners below. Spike is also leading Angel in our own eXoNews Angel Poll, BTW. Ed.]

eXoNews Angel Fan Poll - http://richlabonte.net/angel

Official Angel - www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||139,00.html

Spidey Leaps, Sky Captain Steps Back
By Gregg Kilday 

LOS ANGELES April 22, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," a retro-futuristic action-adventure movie starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, won't be taking to the skies during the crowded summer months.

Paramount Pictures is postponing the film, which had been scheduled for release June 25, nearly three months to a new Sept. 17 playdate. The studio said the shift comes because of moves on the part of its competitors.

"Sky Captain," which first-time director Kerry Conran shot with his actors performing in front of green screens with elaborate special effects added in postproduction, had been scheduled to open a week before Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 2," which was originally set to bow Friday, July 2.

However, Sony recently announced it was moving "Spider-Man's" debut up two days to Wednesday, June 30. With "Spider-Man" previews expected to take place Tuesday night, June 29, that would have left "Sky Captain" just four days before it had to fend off "Spider-Man." 

"To have a window of a mere four days seemed to be wrong," Paramount vice chairman Rob Friedman said. "We have a great movie that the public is excited about and the media is excited about. With think it's a bigger opportunity in what is right now an extraordinarily crowded summer to put (the movie) in a less competitive situation where we will have a greater opportunity." 

"Sky Captain" is in the midst of a hectic postproduction effects crunch, and nearly a dozen effects houses have been called in to work on the movie. 

Although not atypical for a lavish effects film, the situation had led to speculation that the film would not meet its delivery date. 

"It would definitely have made it," Friedman said. However, since the studio would not have gotten the finished film until close to its release date, it would not have been able to do extensive screenings before a June 25 release.

Under the new schedule, it said, Paramount will now have several months to promote the film at events like the annual Comic-Con International convention in July. 

On its new Sept. 17 date, "Sky Captain" is expected to find more open sailing.

The date currently appears to be host to just one other wide release, Warner Bros. Pictures' "Duma," directed by Carroll Ballard.

Official Sky Captain - http://www.skycaptain.com

Angel: The Girl in Question

LOS ANGELES April 22. 2004 (Zap2it.com) - As "Angel" nears its May 19 finale, it's looking like Joss Whedon will stick to his vow not to clutter up the last few episodes with characters from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

That's not to say, however, that Buffy is not a presence on the show. In fact, one of the final episodes will revolve around Angel and Spike trying to rescue her from an old foe.

"The Girl in Question," the episode scheduled for Wednesday, May 5, will find the two soul-cursed vampires (David Boreanaz and James Marsters) heading for Rome at the behest of Buffy cohort Andrew (Tom Lenk). They're on a mission to rescue the slayer from The Immortal, a nemesis from their past.

Darla (Julie Benz) and Drusilla (Juliet Landau) appear in flashback scenes, but Buffy herself (Sarah Michelle Gellar) doesn't show up in the episode. Whedon has said that he doesn't want to overshadow "Angel's" core characters by having Gellar or other "Buffy" stars around for the finale.

The WB is somewhat more cryptic about the final two episodes, saying only that Angel and Co. will battle Wolfram & Hart's mysterious Senior Partners and someone will die. The network also says that Connor (Vincent Kartheiser) will appear in the series finale on May 19, but the character's role is left undefined.

Zap2it's Kate O'Hare talks to Scott Bakula, who plays Capt. Jonathan Archer of the starship Enterprise about genre show cancellation worries, including Angel - http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,274|87709|1|,00.html

Save Angel - http://www.savingangel.org

eXoNews Angel Fan Poll - http://richlabonte.net/angel

Official Angel - www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||139,00.html

Duchovny Talks Connie and Carla and Mulder

LOS ANGELES April 22, 2004 (AP) - "Connie and Carla" helped David Duchovny rediscover his love for acting.

In the musical comedy, Duchovny plays Jeff, the love interest of Nia Vardalos' Connie. He says he likes to surprise fans with his comedic talents. 

"I'm always joking with my manager about how people always say they didn't know I was funny," he told AP Radio. 

Acting didn't always bring Duchovny joy, and he temporarily lost his love for it while working on "The X-Files," where he played FBI Agent Fox Mulder for nine seasons. 

"I stopped enjoying being (on the set) as an actor because it was old for me — it was old for all of us," he said.

"In the last couple of years, I've been able to rediscover some kind of joy in performing and acting that I felt I'd lost over time." 

He hopes to apply such feelings to the new "X-Files" movie, now being written by series creator Chris Carter.

He says he expects Mulder to remain the character fans have come to love. 

"I don't know if Mulder should develop — I mean, Mulder is Mulder. That's one of the things I learned fighting for the last three, four years on the show trying to change the guy," he said. "The nature of the character is what I eventually learned to love about him — he's ... a great character." 

"Connie and Carla" is in theaters now. 

Connie and Carla Official - http://www.connieandcarla.com

eXoNews X-Files II Fan Poll - http://richlabonte.net/keyofx/x.htm

Tim Robbins Joins Cast of His Off-Broadway Play
By Ernio Hernandez and Robert Simonson
Playbill

New York April 23, 2004 (Playbill) - Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins will join the cast of his play Embedded at The Public Theater April 27, and the Off-Broadway run has been extended yet again, through May 22.

The Public Theater's presentation of The Actors' Gang production of the Robbins work began preview Feb. 24 and opened March 14 at the Newman Theater space. Robbins also directs the piece.

Embedded is a mix of satirical depictions of governmental and military operations and scenes of sentimental naturalism involving the war's "little people": journalists and soldiers. Central are a sextet of grotesquely masked "President's men," who are linked to the Bush White House by such nicknames as Dick, Pearly White, Gondola, Wolfy and Rum Rum. 

The term "embedded" was used during the war in Iraq to refer to journalists who were allowed to accompany American troops as they marched toward Baghdad. In Robbins' play, the reporters are whipped into fighting form by a hard-as-nails sergeant with a predilection for show tunes and editorial censorship. 

Embedded had its world premiere in November 2003 at The Actors' Gang in Los Angeles, where Robbins is artistic director. 

Robbins, who recently won an Oscar for his performance in the film "Mystic River," has been seen in such films as "Bull Durham," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Player." He recently appeared Off-Broadway in two other rotating cast shows: The Guys and The Exonerated. Also a screenwriter-director, Robbins penned and helmed the film versions of "Cradle Will Rock," "Bob Roberts" and "Dead Man Walking." 

The cast of Embedded includes Ben Cain, V.J. Foster, Brent Hinkley, Kaili Hollister, Mark Lewis, Riki Lindhome, Jay R. Martinez, Kate Mulligan, Steven M. Porter, Toni Torres, Lolly Ward and Andrew Wheeler. 

The design team includes Richard Hoover (scenic design), Yasuko Takahara (costume), Adam H. Greene (lighting), David Robbins (sound) and Erhard Stiefel (masks). 

Tickets are $50 and are on sale now at The Public Theater box office, 425 Lafayette Street; on-line at www.publictheater.org  and at (212) 239-6200.

Stargate Atlantis: The Web Site

Hollywood April 22, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - A new Web site has gone live for SCI FI Channel's upcoming original series Stargate Atlantis, which premieres July 16.

The new preliminary site includes a welcome message from "President Henry Hayes"; cast and crew biographies; a gallery of images; wallpaper, e-card and IM icon downloads; and a bulletin board.

Stargate Atlantis, a spinoff of SCI FI's hit original series Stargate SG-1, features a new cast led by Joe Flanigan, playing a crew that undertakes humanity's greatest and most dangerous mission yet.

Atlantis will debut with a two-hour premiere in July and feature crossover appearances by members of the SG-1 team. Following its premiere, 18 additional original episodes of Atlantis will air during the show's regular Friday 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot as a companion series to the new eighth season of SG-1, which airs at 9 p.m.

Stargate Atlantis, meanwhile, is featured in the current issue of TV Guide, with new photos inside and on the cover. The issue, covering the week of April 25, is now on newsstands.

Stargate Atlantis Official - http://www.scifi.com/atlantis

Gateworld Ultimate Stargate Fan site - http://www.gateworld.net

Fox Renews 24 - Tru Fate Unknown

LOS ANGELES April 21, 2004 (Reuters) - TV broadcaster Fox on Wednesday renewed four of its most successful prime-time shows for the 2004-2005 season, while the fate of a few others was still up in the air.

Fox, which said earlier this week it would launch a new slate of six shows in June as part of a year-round programming strategy, ordered a new season of family comedy "The Bernie Mac Show," real-time thriller "24," teen drama "The O.C." and offbeat comedy "Malcolm in the Middle." 

Fox also gave a three-year extension to its late-night sketch comedy show "MADtv," keeping it on air through 2008. 

The network had previously given full-season orders to comedy "That '70s Show" and animated mainstays "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill." 

A spokeswoman for the network said the fate of shows like the critically acclaimed comedy "Arrested Development" and the drama "Tru Calling" were still up in the air and would be decided over the next month. The network plans to announce its full fall schedule on May 20. 

The spokeswoman said the early pickups were designed to allow the shows to secure their staff and talent for next season. The other networks have made the same move in recent weeks as they go through the process of selecting the new shows they will add to the new schedule.

[Zap2it says the chances for Tru Calling might be better than ratings watchers think - apparently Tru is reaching the right age demographics for Fox and the Zorro Net may renew based on their beloved 18-24 age group rather than overall audience. Ed.]

Frasier, Hewitt and Chaplin Do Scrooge

LOS ANGELES April 23, 2004 (Zap2it.com) - Jennifer Love Hewitt and Geraldine Chaplin will show off their musical chops in NBC's "Christmas Carol."

Chaplin, the daughter of screen legend Charlie Chaplin, has signed to play the Ghost of Christmas Future in the movie, which is based on the Madison Square Garden's musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens story.

Hewitt will play Emily, Ebenezer Scrooge's long-lost love, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") will star as Scrooge in the film, which is scheduled to premiere during the holiday season.

Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld"), Jane Krakowski ("Ally McBeal") and Jesse L. Martin ("Law & Order") are also in the cast.

Hallmark Entertainment is producing "A Christmas Carol."

Chaplin has worked on several Hallmark productions in the past, including ABC's "Dinotopia" miniseries and NBC's "Gulliver's Travels" and "The Odyssey."

Other credits include "Talk to Her," "Jane Eyre" and "Chaplin," in which she played her own grandmother.

Hewitt will next be seen in "Garfield: The Movie."

The former "Party of Five" star and part-time singer also starred in an ABC comedy pilot this spring.

[Don't laugh! Jennifer Love Hewitt has a great voice! She began in show business as a singer at the tender age of 5. Ed.]

Networks Fail The Grade
By Geoffrey Berkshire

New York April 21, 2004 (Variety) - A new study on race and gender diversity on television has found that networks aren't making the grade when it comes to fair and accurate representation in their programming. 

Among the findings of "Fall Colors 2003-04: Prime Time Diversity Report," issued by child research and action org Children Now: 

Study is the fourth such report by Children Now, with the goal of providing a five-year progress report on the nets' stated efforts to increase diversity in their shows. 

Researchers examined two episodes of each primetime entertainment series on the six national broadcast networks; midseason replacements were not included. 

While the org praised the progress made in increasing Latino representation, the good news was tempered by the fact that Latino characters in the study are more likely to hold low-paying jobs than other racial groups. 

The study also determined that the 8 o'clock hour, when children are most likely to be watching, is primetime's least diverse hour of programming. And sitcoms, the genre of choice among kids, are the least likely shows to have racially mixed casts. 

"The message primetime TV sends to kids about the world in which they live is that some racial groups are privileged, while others are under-represented or even invisible," said Patti Miller, director of Children Now's Children & the Media program.

2nd Annual SPACEYS - Complete List of Winners!

[Here is an award genre fans can be proud of and it certainly makes me wish I lived in Canada - or at least that I could get SPACE on cable. Even the award show sounds great! Some Americans think that SPACE is the Canadian equivalent of Sci Fi Channel, but SPACE has no time for sad two-star "original" movies. Take a look at their schedule! These guys have everything - from Angel to Buffy to Firefly to Star Trek to X-Files! Even Harsh Realm pops up on SPACE from time to time. A true science fiction depository! When are we going to get something like this in the US? Probably never... Ed.]

TORONTO April 18, 2004 (CNW) - With tens of thousands of SPACE viewer votes counted, the results are in!

The winners of the 2nd Annual SPACEYS, honouring the finest in science fiction and fantasy entertainment, were announced tonight on SPACE: The Imagination Station.

Co-hosted by Hypaspace's Jonathan Llyr and SPACENews videographer Natasha Eloi, this year's award show traveled from London, England to Hollywood to track down the award winners in 14 categories as chosen by viewers and SPACE's panel of judges.

Some of the guest presenters included Edmonton-born actress Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica, the "Matrix Twins" Adrian and Neil Rayment from The Matrix Reloaded, and Ron Perlman from Hellboy.

Ben Browder also made a guest appearance and hints about the possible resurrection of Farscape, while Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead presented two awards from his home in Oregon.

The winners of The 2nd Annual SPACEYS are as follows:

FAVOURITE TV CHARACTER - MALE

Nominees: Captain Jonathan Archer (Enterprise), Clark Kent (Smallville), Jack O'Neill, (Stargate SG-1), Lex Luthor (Smallville), Spike (Angel)

Award Presenter: Victoria Pratt from Mutant X - Winner: Spike (Angel) - Accepted by James Marsters

FAVOURITE TV CHARACTER - FEMALE

Nominees: Lana Lang (Smallville), Phoebe Halliwell (Charmed), Shalimar Fox (Mutant X), Sydney Bristow (Alias), T'Pol (Enterprise)

Award Presenter: Ben Browder from Farscape - Winner: T'Pol (Enterprise) - Accepted by Jolene Blalock

BEST ACTION SEQUENCE

Nominees: "The Bride and the Crazy 88" (Kill Bill - Volume 1), "Battle of Pelennor Fields" (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), "Freeway Chase" (The Matrix Reloaded), "Demolition Derby" (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), "Nightcrawler Attack" (X2: X-Men United)

Award Presenter: Ben Browder from Farscape - Winner: "Freeway Chase" (The Matrix Reloaded) - Accepted by Shane Cawley of Warner Bros. Canada

FAVOURITE MOVIE VILLAIN - SCI-FI/FANTASY

Nominees: Agent Smith (The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions), Bullseye (Daredevil), Go Go Yubari (Kill Bill - Volume 1), T-X (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), William Stryker (X2: X-Men United)

Award Presenter: David Prowse from Star Wars - Winner: Agent Smith (The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions) - Accepted by "The Matrix Twins" Adrian and Neil Rayment

BEST COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION MOVIE

Nominees: American Splendor, Daredevil, Hulk, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, X2: X-Men United

Award Presenter: Ron Perlman from Hellboy - Winner: X2: X-Men United - Accepted by director Bryan Singer

FAVOURITE CANADIAN TV SERIES

Nominees: Andromeda, Jeremiah, Mutant X, Stargate SG-1, Starhunter

Award Presenter: Ellen Dubin from The Collector - Winner: Stargate SG-1 - Accepted by Richard Dean Anderson, Christopher Judge and Amanda Tapping

FAVOURITE TV SERIES

Nominees: Alias, Angel, Enterprise, Smallville, Steven Spielberg Presents Taken

Award Presenter: Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica - Winner: Angel - Accepted by director/writer Steven S. DeKnight

BEST HORROR/SUSPENSE MOVIE

Nominees: Cabin Fever, Gothika, Jeepers Creepers 2, 28 Days Later, Willard

Award Presenter: Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead - Winner: 28 Days Later - Accepted by producer Andrew MacDonald

BEST SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY MOVIE

Nominees: Kill Bill - Volume 1, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Matrix Reloaded, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Award Presenter: Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead - Winner: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Accepted by Peter Jackson

FAVOURITE MOVIE HERO

Nominees: The Bride (Kill Bill - Volume 1), Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), Neo (The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions), Sam (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), Wolverine (X2: X-Men United)

Award Presenter: Adrian and Neil Rayment, The Matrix Reloaded - Winner: Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) - Accepted by Terry David Mulligan for Johnny Depp

BEST VISUAL SFX

Nominees: Hulk, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, X2: X-Men United

Award Presenter: Ray Harryhausen - Winner: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Accepted by Peter Jackson

FAVOURITE VIDEO GAME

Nominees: Call of Duty, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Rise of Nations, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Award Presenter: Victor Lucas from Electric Playground - Winner: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Accepted by Bioware

BEST ANIMATED MOVIE

Nominees: Finding Nemo, Brother Bear, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Triplets of Belleville

Award Presenter: David Hayter, screenwriter of X-Men and X2 - X-Men United - Winner: Finding Nemo - Accepted by director Andrew Stanton

FAVOURITE MOVIE VILLAIN - HORROR

Nominees: The Creeper (Jeepers Creepers 2), Death (Final Destination 2), Freddy, (Freddy vs. Jason), Jason (Freddy vs. Jason), Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003)

Award Presenter: Emily Perkins from Ginger Snaps - Winner: Death (Final Destination 2)

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Peter Jackson

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Ray Harryhausen

Check out Canada's SPACE: The Imagination Station at - http://www.spacecast.com

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