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Don't Eat My Dog!
Hot Nukes, New Stonehenge!
Diet Watermelon, Phalloplasty,
Pepsi Pesticide Challenge & More!
Don't Eat My Dog!

By FLAtRich

South Korea August 12, 2003 (eXoNews) - We're not talking hot dogs here, so keep your pet on a leash! South Koreans selling dog meat on the Internet are doing a thriving business at home and your pup could be next!

Take a look at the dog meat available at the Korean site and if you are as repulsed as we were you may want to drop by DogAid at and see what you can do to put an end to this barbaric treatment of man's best friend.

There is also a Korean site called the Anti Dog Meat Movement Headquarters at, but it seems to have stopped updating a year ago.

Much attention was given to the Korean practice prior to the 2002 World Cup when animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot rallied 20,000 French citizens to send a petition to the Korean Embassy in Paris.

Bardot was supported by French personalities Jean-Paul Belmondo and Sophie Marceau and World Cup footballer Emmanuel Petit among others, but world concern over the butchering of dogs to supply Korean dog eaters seems to have dwindled since.

The 2002 statement from the Brigitte Bardot Foundation read, "We protest against the situation of dogs and cats in Korea where they are piled up in cages to be sold. Then they are beaten to death to make their own flesh tender.

"These terrible practices are unacceptable and unjustified, so we are asking Korean authorities to stop these cruel practices and to close definitely those markets.

"As these practices continue we commit ourselves not to buy Korean products anymore."

The South Korean government basically ignored the protests and instead the National Dog Meat Restaurants Association of Korea promised World Cup visitors free samples of cooked dog. The Guardian UK reported in May 2002 that the samples were offered "to convince them of its nutritional value and help overcome any cultural prejudices they may have over eating the animal."

The Guardian article continued:

"Fans will be given free samples of dog meat stew and soup in paper cups outside the ten stadiums that will be hosting World Cup matches in Korea along with leaflets in English explaining the nutritional and cultural aspects of dog meat. They will also be encouraged to try some of the dog meat restaurants in the country."

A quick glance at a listing of news for the last two months on the Meat Industry Internet News Service site at shows no US activist actions against dog eaters.

Attention is focused on chicken rights, while dog rights are ignored.

In July 2003, animal rights group PETA made national headlines when it sued KFC for cruel treatment of chickens.

A California egg farm was cleared of wrongdoing in July for slaughtering 30,000 quarantined chickens by throwing them into wood chippers.

According to an article published on the Meat Industry Internet News Service site animal activists were outraged at the chicken slaughter and called for tougher guidelines in US slaughterhouses.

West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd urged the hiring of inspectors during agriculture hearings.

"Despite the laws on the books, chronically weak enforcement and intense pressure to speed up slaughterhouse assembly lines reportedly have resulted in animals being skinned, dismembered, and boiled while they are still alive and conscious," Byrd said.

The Meat Industry article says, "8 billion chickens and turkeys, 97 million hogs, 35 million cattle, 3 million sheep and lambs, and 1 million calves are slaughtered in the United States."

With such growing concern over the treatment of animals bred for food, it seems incredible that the abuse of animals considered as domestic pets should continue unchecked.

An introductory message on the DogAid site says the group is working to "bring attention to the plight of dogs and cats in the South Korean dog and cat meat industry" and also targets trade in dog fur.

The site says, "Countries involved in the fur trade include, China, Philippines and Vietnam."

Graphic photos on this site are shocking, but may bring the message home.

Here are some other sites concerned with dog rights -

The Korean Animal Protection Society -


There is also graphic (but dated) information on the practice of dog eating at

Airlines Must Report Pet Deaths
WASHINGTON August 12, 2003 (Reuters) - Aviation regulators required U.S. airlines on Monday to report monthly on the number of pets they lose and how many of them die or are injured on commercial flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration received nearly 4,000 public comments on the regulation, which was ordered by Congress and prompted a threat by airlines earlier this year to stop carrying pets if it was approved.

Many of the comments favored some kind of reporting requirement, but the FAA rejected requests to include animal shipments beyond those being kept as household pets.

Under the rule, carriers are required to share information on incidents involving pets with the Transportation Department for inclusion in the agency's monthly consumer report on airline performance. The rule will take effect once it is cleared by the White House budget office, which reviews all regulations.

Airlines must report details of any incident that occurs from the time a pet is checked-in for travel to the time the animal is returned.

Carriers say they fly millions of animals each year for a fee and pet deaths are rare. But some animal advocacy groups have argued that reporting standards are necessary to give consumers information about an airline's record for handling animals.

Some airlines permit cats, some dogs and an assortment of small pets in the passenger cabin as carry-on items. Larger pets are flown as cargo in the belly of the aircraft.

Hot Nukes Risk Rivers

BERLIN August 12, 2003 (AFP) - Furnace-like temperatures in much of Europe have created headaches for nuclear power plant operators, leading to electricity shortages in some areas and galvanizing opponents of atomic energy.

Authorities in both Germany and France have announced a relaxation of environmental rules at a number of nuclear power plants, sparking an outcry from ecologists who say local rivers are at risk.

The southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg have ruled that plants can pump warmer water back into rivers than they are normally allowed due to the ongoing heatwave in the region, to avert electricity shortages.

Two plants in Baden-Wuettemberg have lowered production 20 percent due to the high temperature of water used to cool the reactors, and Germany's oldest nuclear plant at Obrigheim was told last week to switch off until the heatwave abated.

Environmentalist groups blasted the decision to ease the rules, saying even a temporary increase in river temperatures could be lethal to wildlife.

"The warmer the water in the rivers, the lower the level of oxygen it can hold, which increases the likelihood of fish dying," said Greenpeace spokeswoman Susanne Ochse.

France, where atomic power produces nearly 80 percent of the country's electricity, has also authorized state-owned utility EDF to expel warmer water from six nuclear plants.

The coalition Sortir du Nucleaire (Out with Nuclear Power) denounced the move as "scandalous dispensations with the sole purpose of protecting nuclear energy," warning of grave consequences for the environment.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said that "exceptional measures had to be taken" at the power plants and "were taken in a timely fashion," in a statement on the concessions granted to EDF.

While France stands by nuclear power as a relatively clean source of energy, Germany has decided to mothball its 19 plants over the next two decades on the initiative of the ecologist Greens party, junior partner in the ruling coalition.

In Switzerland, one of the country's five nuclear power stations, Beznau, has slowed production by 15 percent due to hot water in its cooling system while three others are offline for routine summer maintenance work. The country, however, primarily uses hydroelectricity and has reported sufficient water levels at its dams.

The Krsko nuclear power plant, shared by Croatia and Slovenia, has dropped output to only 20 percent to avoid overheating the Sava river, according to press reports. The Sava has dropped to its lowest level in 160 years due to an enduring drought in Croatia.

This year's scorching temperatures have sent energy consumption soaring -- reversing the usual European summertime trend and leading to calls for consumers to cut back on their use.

Electricity consumption in steamy Spain has rocketed by 15 percent since the start of August over the same period last year, with popular tourist destinations such as the Balearic Islands and Andalucia seeing a 21 percent rise in demand on some days.

As a result the grid has at times struggled to cope and on July 21 300,000 residents of the Balearic island of Mallorca suffered a six-hour power cut.

Devastating forest fires in Portugal have also taken their toll on the electricity supply, with 100,000 homes plunged into darkness between mid-July and early August. Damage to power lines may lead to further outages down the road, said utility Electricidade en Algarve.

Authorities maintaining the Dutch national grid on Sunday issued their first so-called code red for a possible power shortage in almost a decade and were forced to renew the warning Tuesday.

Austria, which has no nuclear power plants, relies on hydroelectric power and has seen water levels drop dramatically in recent weeks.

But the suffocating heat is also melting Alpine glaciers, supplying dams with excess water and compensating for the lower levels at river dams, said a spokesman for OEST, Austria's top electricity producer.

Earthjustice Responds to Bush Attacks on Watershed Protections
Seattle, WA August 7th, 2003 - Earthjustice filed official comments with the federal government responding to attempts to rewrite rules protecting rivers, creeks, and streams in the Pacific Northwest from damaging logging practices. The comments seek to keep the current protections in place.

Current rules governing protection and restoration of Northwest watersheds were hammered out in the 1990s after the courts found logging on public lands had destroyed much of the Pacific Northwest old-growth forests and added damaging levels of deadly sediment from logging sites to salmon-bearing waters. The watershed protections currently under attack by the Bush administration are drawn from the best science on what is needed to maintain clean water and healthy fisheries.

The timber industry told the Bush administration in a series of meetings and correspondence, uncovered by a FOIA request, the watershed protections were keeping them from cutting timber. The Bush administration responded by acting to weaken the rules as requested by the timber corporations. In its public comments, Earthjustice reveals that the administration is consistently misrepresenting the intent, application, and legal history of the watershed protection rules in its efforts to rewrite them.

Click to read or download Earthjustice comments (PDF file 270 KB - requires Acrobat Reader) -
Stonehenge News!

Archaeologists Unearth German Stonehenge

Goseck Germany August 8, 2003 (Deutsche Welle) - German experts on Thursday hailed Europe’s oldest astronomical observatory, discovered in Saxony-Anhalt last year, a “milestone in archaeological research” after the details of the sensational find were made public.

The sleepy town of Goseck, nestled in the district of Weissenfels in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt shimmers under the brutal summer heat, as residents seek respite in the shade.

Nothing in this slumbering locale indicates that one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of all times was made here.

But this is indeed exactly where archaeologists digging in the region last September stumbled upon what they believe is Europe’s oldest astronomical observatory ever unearthed.

On Thursday, German experts toasted the discovery as a "milestone in archaeological research" as details of the find were made public. State archaeologist Harald Meller said the site, which is believed to be a monument of ancient cult worship, provided the first insights into the spiritual and religious world of Europe’s earliest farmers. Francois Bertemes of the university of Halle-Wittenberg estimated the site to be around 7,000 years old. He described its significance as "one of the oldest holy sites" discovered in Central Europe.

Through carbon dating of two arrow heads and animal bones found within the site’s circular compounds, archaeologists have been able to determine the date of the site’s origins. They say that with all likelihood it can be traced back to the period between 5000 and 4800 B.C. If that is the case, it would make the Goseck site the oldest-dated astronomical observatory in Europe.

But it’s not just its age that makes the Goseck location so unusual.

Compared to the approximately 200 other similar prehistoric mound sites strewn throughout Europe, the Goseck site has striking deviations. Instead of the usual four gates leading into the circular compounds, the Goseck monument has just three. The walled-compound also consists of an unusual formation of concentric rings of man-high wooden palisades. The rings and the gates into the inner circles become narrower as one progresses to the center, indicating perhaps that only a few people could enter the inner-most ring.

Wolfhard Schlosser of the Ruhr University Bochum believes the site's unique construction indicates that it is indeed one of the earliest examples of an astrological observatory.

Schlosser, a specialist in astro-archeology, says the southern gates marked the sunrise and sunset of the winter and summer solstice and enabled the early Europeans to determine with accuracy the course of the sun as it moved across the heavens. Schlosser is convinced the site was constructed for the observation of astronomical phenomena such as the movements of the sun, moon and stars, and for keeping track of time. These celestial cycles would have been important for the sowing and harvesting of crops in the early civilization.

But, Goseck isn’t merely a "calendar construction," Schlosser explains, "but rather is clearly a sacred building." Archeologists have found plenty of evidence to prove that Goseck was a place of prehistoric cult worship. The arrangement of human bones, for instance, is atypical of burial sites, and telltale cut marks on them indicate that human sacrifice was practiced at the site.

Bertemes says it is not uncommon for such astronomical observatories to function as places of worship and centers of religious and social life.

The Goseck site, erected by the earliest farming communities between the Stone and Bronze Age, came 3,000 years before the last construction phase of the megaliths of Stonehenge in Great Britain.

Links between Nebra disc and observatory

Experts are also drawing parallels between the Goseck mounds and another equally spectacular discovery made in the region.

"The formation of the site, its orientation and the marking of the winter and summer solstice shows similarities to the world-famous ‘Nebra disc’ – though the disc was created 2,400 years later," Schlosser says.

The 3,600-year-old bronze Nebra disc was discovered just 25 kilometers away from Goseck in the wooded region of Nebra and is considered to be the oldest concrete representation of the cosmos.

The 32-centimeter disc is decorated with gold leaf symbols that clearly represent the sun, moon and starts. A cluster of seven dots has been interpreted as the Pleiades constellation as it appeared 3,600 years ago.

Schlosser believes the formations on the disc were based on previous astrological observations, which could possibly have been made at Goseck.

Archeologists are certain the observatory with its function of tracking time played a crucial role in a society dominated by the changing seasons. They theorize that both the Goseck observatory and the Nebra disc indicate that astronomical knowledge was tied to a mythological-cosmological world view right from the beginning.

A Mecca for archeologists

Archaeologists first took note of the location of the Goseck site after aerial images taken in 1991 showed geometrically arranged earth mounds. But it wasn’t until last year that excavation actually got underway. Because the site is being used as learning material for students at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, it is only open for excavation for a limited number of weeks in the year. Next year a group of students from the University of California at Berkley will have a chance to dig in the site.

Rüdiger Erben, district administrator of Weissenfels, believes the discovery of the Goseck observatory will probably result in some rather unscientific possibilities. He says he could imagine the site turning into a "Mecca for hobby archaeologists and astronomers."

Seahenge On Display in 2005

Norfolk UK August 5, 2003 (Eastern Daily Press) - Seahenge could go on public display for the first time in the summer of 2005, it emerged last night. The future of the 4000-year-old Bronze Age timber circle has been the subject of fierce debate since its controversial excavation from the beach at Holme, near Hunstanton, in 1999.

County councilors have now decided the internationally-important find should form the focal point of a £800,000 redevelopment of Lynn Museum at King's Lynn. Norfolk's museums and archaeology service is making a bid for Lottery cash towards the scheme and, if all goes to plan, work could start towards the end of next year.

English Heritage is in the process of choosing a specialist firm to carry out the conservation of the structure, which is being kept at the Flag Fen Bronze Age site near Peterborough.

Originally, it was thought that only a third or about 20 of the timber posts could be included in the display, but there are now plans to accommodate more than half of them.

"The smaller timber posts should be conserved by the middle of 2005," said Norfolk Archaeological Unit's archaeology and environment officer, Brian Ayers. "We always knew the larger central tree was far too big to do by then – nobody in the world has conserved anything as big as that. It's going to take a lot longer, so at the moment we are discussing a replica for the tree, which will go on display until it can be replaced by the original."

The role of Seahenge in the new-look museum, which is expected to re-open to visitors around mid-summer, 2005, was explained to a public meeting at Holme Village Hall.

"There were a lot of folk who would like to see the whole thing on display, but there was a general consensus that it was a move forward – we did stress it could be put on full display at a later date," said Mr. Ayers. "It does get it on display back in West Norfolk, within a stable environment and, importantly, within one which is already a focus for activity. It should be good."

A mobile exhibition charting the remarkable story of Seahenge is touring a series of venues in north-west Norfolk.

Gorilla Terrorist Arrested!
Hong Kong August 11, 2003 (Sapa-DPA) - A fruit vendor fainted while chasing a man in a gorilla suit who had stolen a bunch of bananas from her. The woman had to be taken to hospital after a crew filming a Candid Camera-style TV show targeted her shop on Saturday.

When the man in a gorilla suit grabbed her bananas, she hit him with a broom and chased him out of the shop before collapsing.

She told reporters later: "All I saw was something big and black with a lot of hair. When I realised it was a gorilla, I collapsed."

Police detained the man in the gorilla suit and the film crew for questioning before releasing them on bail.

The "gorilla" said he would send the shopkeeper a bunch of flowers.
Diet Watermelon!

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Press Release

August 11, 2003 - A less fattening but no-less sweet variety of watermelon has been developed by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem agricultural scientist.

The edible quality of watermelon fruit is dependent upon crisp texture, juiciness, deep-red flesh color and sweetness. Of these, high sugar content is perhaps the most important factor in ensuring consumer acceptability. However, it is also the factor that piles up calories – particularly since people tend to eat large servings of watermelon.

In experiments conducted at the Hebrew University's Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Rehovot, Prof. Shmuel Wolf has developed a strain of lowered-calorie, sweet watermelon with reduced sugar content.

Prof. Wolf explains that three types of sugar are found in watermelon -- fructose, glucose and sucrose. Perception of sweetness is stimulated differently by each of these sugars, with fructose producing the greatest sensation of sweetness. Thus, less fructose is required to provide the same sweet taste that is obtained from greater quantities of either glucose or sucrose.

In a breeding program carried out by Prof. Wolf involving wild varieties of watermelon with varying degrees and proportions of the different types of sugars, a watermelon was produced in which fructose is the major sugar. This enables overall sugar content to be reduced by up to 40 percent, with no loss of sweet taste.

The new watermelon, which does not involve genetic engineering, should be on the market by next summer, said Prof. Wolf.

New Underwater Volcano Discovered

Anchorage, Alaska August 12, 2003 (Reuters) - The North Pacific's "Ring of Fire" can claim a new member - a previously unknown underwater volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands that researchers in Alaska revealed on Monday.

Scientists this summer mapped the cone-shaped volcano, which rises beneath the waters near Amchitka Pass, a gap in the chain of largely uninhabited islands that separate the Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea.

The volcano rises 580m above the sea floor and tops out less than 115m from the water's surface, said researchers with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The volcano is considered active but dormant, although it could erupt at any time, officials warned.

If it did erupt, it could produce a new island in the Aleutian chain, which arcs from south-western Alaska to Siberia. An eruption could also bring some dangers to local mariners, either from lava or ash breaking the sea surface or from gaseous waters creating conditions that cause vessels to sink.

"You don't want to sail a ship over an erupting volcano," said Jennifer Reynolds, chief expedition scientist and a University of Alaska marine geologist.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory, operated jointly by federal and state agencies, plans to place a seismic monitor on nearby Semisopochnoi Island by 2005, Reynolds said. The volcano is similar to a few others that have been found in places like the waters off Iceland.

"To me, it's exciting because it's in the United States and not in some remote part of the South Pacific," Reynolds added.

The discovery of the volcano, which remains unnamed, was a byproduct of a coral reef survey conducted in the Bering Sea and North Pacific.

Phalloplasty Ain't No Nip/Tuck

SYDNEY August 11, 2003 (AFP) - Men who want their penises surgically enlarged are showing signs of profound psychological disturbance as well as risking infection, a prominent plastic surgeon has warned.

But the President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgery, Dr Alfred Lewis, argued that the same could not be said of women seeking breast enlargement.

"Breasts are public organs and the penis isn't -- it's a private organ," he he told reporters attending an international plastic surgery conference in Sydney. "Women don't want to have big breasts to look right out of clothes, they want to have big breasts to look right in clothes, in public."

Lewis said he would personally never perform a penis enlargement, although a number of his colleagues did not share this view.

"It's a completely and absolutely unnecessary operation which I think, in the patient requesting it, is showing a fairly profound psychological disturbance," he said.

He also said the procedure was fraught with complications, including infection, lumpiness and loss of skin. "The commonest complication is failure to make any difference."

Some of the latest techniques in penis enlargement, or phalloplasty, will be presented at the International Confederation of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery later this week. Lewis said he also refuses to operate on so-called "plastic surgery junkies," people under the age of 20 or those who were being pressured to undergo surgery by husbands or partners.

He said a plastic surgery junkie was usually a single woman, aged around 55, who was onto her third or fourth facelift in a short space of time and demanding more work.

Precise figures for the numbers of Australians who go under the knife each year are not recorded, but Lewis estimated there would be around 7,000 -- not including those having botox, collagen or fat injections.

The most commonly requested procedure was liposuction, followed by breast augmentations, nose jobs, face lifts and eyelid surgery.

About one in 100 patients are referred on for psychological counseling and the society received about 20 complaints each year, Lewis said.

Early Hominids More Like Us

COLUMBUS, Ohio August 6, 2003 – Our earliest ancestors probably behaved in a much more "human" way than most scientists have previously thought, according to a recent study that looked at early hominid fossils from Ethiopia

Previously skeptical, an Ohio State University anthropologist now supports the idea that the minimal size differences between male and female pre-hominids suggest that they lived in a more cooperative and less competitive society.

The evidence centers on the extent of sexual dimorphism – differences in size based on sex -- that existed among these early primates and what it suggests about the social structure of these creatures.

In a paper published in the August 5 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Kent State University reported that remains of both male and female specimens of Australopithecus afarensis showed fewer differences based on size than most paleontologists had earlier expected.

After comparing these bones with the near-complete skeletons of the fossil "Lucy," the researchers argue that the social structure of our earliest ancestors compared more to that of modern humans and chimpanzees than it does to gorillas and orangutans, as had previously been thought.

Gorillas, orangutans and baboons are known to have social structures built around fierce competition among males.

Chimps and humans however, while still competitive, are more cooperative, giving them a greater degree of "humanness."

In a commentary in the journal, Clark Spencer Larsen, distinguished professor and chair of anthropology at Ohio State, argued that the Kent State study was the best to date at linking sexual dimorphism in early hominids to their probable social structure.

"These researchers have been able to show convincingly that, from the fossil remains, there was very little sexual dimorphism in these early hominids," Larsen said. "From that, I think we can extrapolate some behaviors – specifically that males were cooperating more than they were competing among themselves – a distinctly ‘human’ behavior."

Larsen believes that this male cooperation is the product of evolutionary change. "The success of this cooperation proved valuable to these early ancestors and has become a trait among humans," he said.

Paleontologists knew that there were minimal size differences between males and females since Homo sapiens evolved but the fossil record is so sparse, they were unsure of whether pre-Homo species showed more of less sexual dimorphism. Modern humans show no more than 15 percent size difference on average, Larsen said.

This new study, however, took advantage of a novel fossil find at Site 333 in the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia where remains of 13 individuals were discovered in 1975. Scientists believe that they all died at the same time, giving a possible "snapshot" view of how they lived.

Using the "Lucy" skeleton from a nearby site as a template, the Kent State researchers were able to use femur "head" size as a key to extrapolate the size of the individuals from Site 333.

"Only in the last few years have we realized that an individual’s femur head size is a good proxy for its body weight," Larsen said.

The comparison showed that the sex-based size differences among the fossils at Site 333 were no greater than those for modern humans, suggesting that the same kind of modern social structure with cooperating males also occurred in the days of Australopithecus afarensis.

"I think what we are seeing here are the very first glimpses of ‘humanness’ in these early hominids dating back 3 million to 4 million years," he said.

Can Coke Pass The Pepsi Pesticide Challenge?

NEW DELHI, India August 12, 2003 (AP) — An Indian judge ordered the federal government Monday to test samples of Pepsi after the company challenged accusations that it and rival Coca-Cola are selling drinks in India containing dangerous levels of pesticide residue.

Meanwhile, two communist rebels groups, the Maoist Communist Center and the People's War Group, have issued statements threatening to attack anyone transporting, selling, or drinking Coca-Cola or Pepsi products in the eastern states of Bihar and Jharkhand, their strongholds.

Justice B.D. Ahmed said samples of locally made Pepsi drinks would be tested in a government laboratory and findings made within three weeks, Press Trust of India reported.

The ruling came in response to a petition filed by PepsiCo's Indian arm, which requested an independent evaluation of accusations by the Center for Science and Environment, an independent research group. PepsiCo had asked the court to stop the center from publishing the report and remove it from its Web site.

The independent research group's report, released last week, claimed that pesticide levels in some samples of Pepsi and Coca-Cola drinks were respectively 36 and 30 times higher than European Union safety standards.

Both companies rejected the claims, and the Indian government has already said it will conduct tests.

The environmental center says the contamination comes from polluted ground water and has acknowledged that local Indian soft drink brands also have high pesticide levels for the same reason.

However, it said that it had focused its campaign on Coke and Pepsi because they account for more than three-fourths of the bottled soft drinks consumed in India.

If consumed over a long period, the toxins could cause cancer, damage to the nervous system, birth defects, and disruption of the immune system, the research center said.

The lawmakers have banned the products from the Parliament building in New Delhi.

Genre News: Buffy, Al Franken, Megalopolis, Still Life, Goblet of Fire, Wicked, Salvador Dali & More!

New Buffy Game Goes Gold
Cinescape News Editor

Los Angeles August 12, 2003 (Cinescape) - Vivendi Universal has just informed us that BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: CHAOS BLEEDS has gone gold and is being duplicated for shipment to retail shortly.

The game will appear on store shelves starting August 26.

Available for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube systems, CHAOS BLEEDS was developed as a "lost episode" from the show's fifth season. A dimensional bleed has appeared in Sunnydale, spilling over and threatening to rewrite reality.

As usual, only Buffy and her Scooby pals are all that stand in the way of evil reigning supreme.

The game's official website is open. You can download an all-new trailer showcasing the game's action sequences and impressive graphics. See what it looks like to dust a vampire for yourself!

Order or preview Chaos Bleeds here:

[Real-life Buffy/Angel fans should also check out Kate O'Hare's Zap2it article on Angel's J. August Richards (Gunn) -,1002,274|82762|1|,00.html Ed.]

Did you vote in the eXoNews Buffy Poll? Wanna vote again? -

Free Al Franken!!

NEW YORK August 12, 2003 (AP) - Fox News Channel has sued liberal humorist Al Franken and the Penguin Group to stop them from using the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book.

Filed Monday in Manhattan, the trademark infringement lawsuit seeks a court order forcing a Penguin publisher, Dutton books, to rename the book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

It also asks for unspecified damages.

Fox News registered "Fair & Balanced" as a trademark in 1995, the suit says.

Franken's "intent is clear — to exploit Fox News' trademark, confuse the public as to the origins of the book and, accordingly, boost sales of the book," the suit said.

Dutton spokeswoman Lisa Johnson accused Fox News' parent company, News Corp., of trying to suppress the book.

"The attempt to keep the public from reading Franken's message is un-American," she said.

Official Al Franken site -

Coppola Seeks Inspiration for Megalopolis
By Fernanda Ezabella

CURITIBA, Brazil August 11, 2003 (Reuters) - Francis Ford Coppola is hunting for the perfect city.

Hoping to find inspiration for his first film in six years, the director of "The Godfather" trilogy just spent a week in Curitiba, a sleepy city of 1.6 million in southern Brazil known for its clean streets and efficient public transportation.

"I want to create a mixture of the Roman epics of (film director) Cecil B. DeMille with a modern New York," Coppola told Reuters in an interview on Sunday.

The new movie, to be called "Megalopolis," has been in the works for four years and could take Coppola to three continents before he settles down to film in New York City.

In Curitiba, he wandered the streets as an anonymous tourist, studying the details that made the city a model of urban planning.

"This place is amazing, especially the public transportation," said Coppola, whose quest for an urban paradise will also take him to cities in India, China, the Netherlands and the United States.

Coppola, who is financing "Megalopolis" himself, expects to start filming in 2004. It will have a budget of $60 million, but Coppola aims to make it "look like a $120-million film."

Coppola said he wrote the original script with actor Russell Crowe in mind for the lead role as the visionary architect that sets out to design a utopian city.

"But that was before he became so famous. I don't think it would be viable any more," Coppola said of Crowe, who won an Oscar for best actor in 2000 for his role in "Gladiator."

Asked to describe the perfect city, Coppola said it would be one without advertising and billboards at every turn.

Since the release of his last film in 1997, Coppola has spent most of his time tending to his Napa Valley vineyards and his restaurant businesses -- a task he says is often more rewarding than filmmaking.

"The difference is that it takes you an hour to prepare a nice dish and it's almost always a hit," he said. "But in the movies, it takes years to make a film and, in the end, the reviews are always mixed... That's why I think it's more fun to cook and make wines."

The Coppola winery -

Still Life Has Spirit

Hollywood August 11, 2003 (Sci Fi Wire) - David Keith, who co-stars in the upcoming Fox TV series Still Life, told SCI FI Wire that the show is a family drama seen through the eyes of the family's dead oldest son. "Jake was the only one who really got along with everybody, and now we're each left to our own devices as a family without him," Keith said in an interview.

Bryce Johnson stars as Jake Morgan, who was shot and killed on his first day on the job as a police officer and chose to remain in the Morgan house as a spirit.

Keith (Daredevil) plays Ben, the Morgan family patriarch.

"Ben is the quiet, strong type, the rock that the family leans on during the storm, yet he is shaken by the fact that he was probably the only one who was secretly happy when the older son decided to become a cop like his old man, and not a lawyer," Keith said.

"He probably enjoyed that, and now he feels the most guilty."

Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer/producer Marti Noxon is among the show's executive producers. But Keith said that he doesn't consider Still Life a genre show.

"There really aren't any supernatural overtones to it," he said. "Jake is the narrator. There's one situation where you hear Jake's spirit say he wished he'd locked a window, and the next time his sister tries to open it, it's stuck. But that's as close to supernatural as Still Life gets." Still Life is in production now as a midseason replacement.

Newell to Direct Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

LONDON August 11, 2003 (AP) - Mike Newell, the British director of "Four Weddings and A Funeral," will direct the fourth Harry Potter movie, Warner Bros. Pictures announced.

Newell will begin work on "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" in April, the company said Sunday. American Chris Columbus directed the first two movie versions of J.K. Rowling's hugely successful series on the boy wizard.

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," the third film in the series, is currently being filmed under the direction of Alfonso Cuaron, and the studio said that as the two productions will overlap, it was not feasible for him to direct both.

Producer David Heyman said Newell was the "perfect choice" for the new film. "He has worked with children, made us laugh, and had us sitting on the edge of our seats, he is great with actors and imbues all his characters, all his films, with great humanity. I'm thrilled," Heyman said.

Newell, 61, also directed "Donnie Brasco," with Al Pacino, and has recently completed "Mona Lisa Smile" with Julia Roberts.

The first two Potter films had a combined box-office gross of almost $1.9 billion.

Official Harry Potter film site -

Official Harry Potter book site -

Shadowbane for Free
By Justin Calvert

Hollywood August 11, 2003 (GameSpot) - Ubi Soft Entertainment has announced that players who have yet to experience Shadowbane online can now do so free of charge for up to 10 days. Players can download the software required to take advantage of the free trial offer, which is available for the PC and Mac from the official Shadowbane Web site.

"We're thrilled to offer the Shadowbane free trial to gamers who have yet to experience the unique world of Shadowbane," said Jason Rubinstein, general manager of "Shadowbane continues to offer a unique and immersive role-playing experience where [players] control all aspects of strategic city management, army creation, siege warfare, and economic development."

Shadowbane is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in a dynamic fantasy world where the actions of players permanently alter the history, politics, and landscape of the game.

Official Shadowbane Web site -

GameSpot's review of Shadowbane -

Joel Grey Joins Cast of Broadway's Wicked

NEW YORK August 11, 2003 (AP) - Joel Grey is getting "Wicked."

The Tony and Oscar-winning actor will join the cast of the $14 million, Broadway-bound musical when it opens this fall at the Gershwin Theatre.

Grey, 71, best known for his role as the master of ceremonies in the stage and screen versions of "Cabaret," will portray the Wizard of Oz. He replaces Robert Morse in the musical, which completed an out-of-town tryout in San Francisco this summer.

"Robert was not comfortable ... being away from his wife and two young children for the three months devoted to New York rehearsals and San Francisco performances," producer David Stone said Monday. "He decided that he did not want to leave his family on the West Coast for an additional 12 months to fulfill his Broadway contract."

"Wicked," which has a score by Stephen Schwartz, is based on the cult novel by Gregory Maguire and tells the story of Glinda and Elphaba, the witches from the Frank L. Baum classic. Kristin Chenoweth plays Glinda and Idina Menzel plays Elphaba. Joe Mantello ("Take Me Out") is the director.

The California reviews for "Wicked" were mixed. The San Francisco Chronicle, while praising its stars, suggested the musical "still needs some wizardry before its planned Broadway opening." The San Jose Mercury News said the show "musters up precious little in the way of musical theater magic."

Two other actors in smaller roles have been replaced in the show since it closed in June in San Francisco. Christopher Fitzgerald will now play Boq, and William Youmans is the new Dr. Dillamond.

"Wicked" resumes rehearsals in New York Aug. 25. It begins preview performances at the Gershwin Oct. 7 and opens Oct. 30.

[Grey will also be remembered by TV genre fans as the long-tongued demon Doc, an ally of  Big Bad Glory in the fifth season of Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Ed.]

Tickets for the Broadway run are now available by calling (212) 307-4100 or by visiting

Stephen Schwartz Official site -

Who Wants To Be Governor of California?

LOS ANGELES August 11, 2003 (AP) - The Game Show Network has found a reason to get into politics: the California recall, which will be spoofed in an October special.

"Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game" will include a political debate produced in the style of a game show, the channel announced Monday.

"Politics is the ultimate game and the California recall election is one of the most bizarre contests in American history," Rich Cronin, president of the channel, said in a statement.

The channel said it is lining up five candidates to take part in the Oct. 1 program. The show will chronicle their campaigns and include a "wide-ranging" debate, including buzz-in answers and bonus questions, the channel said.

Officials say 195 people have submitted papers to run to replace Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, whose approval ratings have fallen to record lows.

The five will compete for a prize of $21,200, the maximum corporate campaign contribution allowed by California law, the channel said. The prize will go to the candidate in the group who receives the most votes in the Oct. 7 recall election.

"If the winning candidate/contestant is actually elected governor, Game Show Network promises not to ask for any political favors in exchange for the money," the channel said.

The Game Show Network -

Salvador Dali Meets Disney

SYDNEY August 11, 2003 (Reuters) - A long-lost seven-minute animation by surrealist Spanish artist Salvador Dali and entertainment titan Walt Disney, which took 57 years to complete, has taken the top prize at an Australian film festival.

Fragments of the unfinished film "Destino" along with story boards, sketches and an original score were painstakingly put together by a team assembled by Disney's nephew Roy Disney after they were discovered in the studio's vaults.

Disney now hopes that "Destino," which fended off almost 90 entries to take the Melbourne International Film Festival's Grand Prix for Best Short Film late on Friday, will be considered for an Academy Award nomination, and it is looking at ways of releasing the animation commercially.

"If you saw it, you'd say this is what I'd imagine Dali paintings to look like if they came to life," said David Stainton, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.

"The woman in the story morphs into a ballerina, her head morphs into a baseball, you know, crazy stuff. It's a light story with an undercurrent of melancholy as it's a story of unrequited love," Stainton said in a telephone interview.

At a dinner party in California, Dali and Disney hatched the plan to collaborate on the film, which was begun in 1946 but shelved shortly after as the Disney studio ran into post-war financial problems.

"I think one of the things which attracted these two men together was their shared sense of humor. Dali really had a very upbeat, but very strong sense of humor, and a lot of what you see in Destino is a reflection of that," said Stainton.

The two men remained friends for the rest of their lives, but never had the chance to work together again.

One of Spain's greatest 20th century painters, Dali was known for his showmanship and handlebar mustache.

He died in 1989 at age 84.

The Salvador Dali Museum -


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