Indian pop star, Daler Mehndi, has been sentenced to two years in prison for smuggling migrants abroad.
Mehndi and six others were accused in 2003 of cheating people of large sums of money by falsely promising to take them to Western countries.
The singer was convicted on Friday in the northern state of Punjab. But he was released on bail soon after.
Mehndi is one of the most popular Punjabi singers of the 1990s and early 2000s, and also has a following abroad.
In 1998 and 1999, he had allegedly taken at least 10 migrants, disguised as dancers in his ensemble, to the United States and returned without them.
After police in Punjab registered a case against him, about 35 people reportedly accused him of fraud. They said he had taken money from them for taking them abroad but had failed to do so.
Mehndi said he will appeal the conviction in a higher court.
He sang in several Bollywood films but he is best known for his music videos in bhangra pop, a bouncy electronic genre inspired by the traditional dance tunes of Punjab.
Mehndi's debut album sold over 20 million copies. He has given stage performances in about 18 countries including the UK, US and Singapore.
Source : BBC
Renowned musician, composer, conductor, and arranger Wycliffe Gordon and his International All Stars will tour Sri Lanka from the 24-28 of February with performances scheduled to be held in Colombo, Matara and Galle.
Gordon and his crew will perform as part of the cultural events planned under the #USSL70 campaign of the US Embassy to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.
Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan has revealed on Twitter that he has been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour.
The rare illness affects the cells that release hormones into the bloodstream. Mr Khan did not give any further details of his condition.
He had tweeted on 6 March that he was suffering from a "rare disease" but did not say what it was.
Khan, 51, has acted in more than 100 films including Bollywood hits Piku, Maqbool, Haasil and Paan Singh Tomar. His English language films include Life Of Pi, Jurassic World, Slumdog Millionaire and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Khan is India's best-known international actor and has also featured in a wide range of well-received roles in Bollywood and independent Hindi films. In 2013, he won India's National Film Award for his leading role in Paan Singh Tomar, a biopic about a top athlete who becomes a bandit.
He has also won the Viewers' Choice Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of a lonely accountant who mistakenly receives a lunchbox intended for a colleague in the 2013 film The Lunchbox.
It was also the only Indian film to be selected for competition at the London Film Festival that year.
Source : BBC
There are very few books in the literary world that offer you worthwhile reading about the history of Ceylon Railways. Fewer still; books written in English by Sri Lankan authors with hands on experience on this particular subject.
Among them, there are two books that comes to any railway expert’s mind; ‘The Viceroy Special’ and ‘The Uva Railway – Railway to the Moon’. Both provide comprehensive insight into the golden age that marked the genesis of Ceylon Railways, written by renowned Sri Lankan Author Hemasiri Fernando who is also the current Chairman of People's Bank, Sri Lanka.
This article focuses not on those two paperbacks but ushers into the limelight his third installment (or the second sequel) in the highly successful book series that Hemasiri Fernando authored to pay homage to Ceylon Railways. The new book, freshly printed is aptly titled as:
‘ESSAYS ON CEYLON RAILWAYS (1864 – 1964)’
Enriched with hundreds of rare, high quality photographs taken in Ceylon during 60’s and 70’s by leading railway enthusiasts around the world, followed by ancient maps that are digitally reproduced in an expert manner to preserve their authenticity, ESSAYS ON CEYLON RAILWAYS is an awe-inspiring masterpiece that creates an ideal virtual world for any railway lover can only dream of.
It consists of twelve thrilling chapters that teleports the reader back to the time of post-colonial rule when British were in complete control of the entire island and had established the Ceylon Government Railway (CGR) to develop the transportation system of the new colony. In a comprehensive manner, the book also subtly explains the chain of events that led to the rise of rails in Ceylon with the importation of British Engines.
Among the beautifully written essays in the ESSAYS ON CEYLON RAILWAYS, an entire chapter is dedicated to ‘Railway Signaling and Safety’ in which the author throws light upon a range of little-known railway signaling systems used by the British – including banner repeater signals, shunting signals, ground signals and semaphore signals. The essay is also supplemented with detailed photographs to assist the reader to comprehend how these signals were used in real life.
With his characteristic thoughtfulness evident in all his previous work, Hemasiri Fernando has not failed in including a separate chapter to pay tribute to each and every one of the Director Generals and General Managers who managed the administrative affairs in Ceylon Government Railways during the span of hundred years from 1864 to 1964.
Last Chapter is the most breathtaking one, where the author guides the reader around the unforgettable landmarks in railway history captured by best cameras at the time whilst providing computer generated aerial views that explain the layout of those once thriving railway workshop and stations.
Appropriately aligned to his flow of words, the author adorns his literary content with spectacular snapshots of the relevant sites in a manner that captivates the hearts of any railway nerd.
After Dr. David Hyatt, who is believed to have embarked on the most comprehensive research on CEYLON RAILWAYS, Hemasiri Fernando, as an author, has made – arguably - the best literary contribution to the Sri Lankan railway industry by launching the ESSAYS ON CEYLON RAILWAYS, his third book dedicated to the Ceylon Railway.
Review by : CHINTHAKA NANAYAKKARA
According to Forbes, between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017, the world's 10 highest-paid actresses made a combined $172.5 million. The 10 highest-paid actors earned more than double that amount: $488.5 million.
Mark Wahlberg topped the men's ranking after earning $68 million over the 12-month period. The highest-paid actress, Emma Stone, earned less than half that amount: $26 million.
"Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar," Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman tells Marie Claire. "In Hollywood we are making 30 cents to the dollar."
Although some defenders of the system point out that the disparity could be chalked up to the fact that more men star in profitable action and superhero franchises, women often make less even in romantic comedies. Portman, for example, says she was paid three times less than her male co-star Ashton Kutcher for the 2011 movie "No Strings Attached."
"I mean, we get paid a lot, so it's hard to complain," the star continues, "but the disparity is crazy."
If you were to combine the two rankings, the 20 highest-paid actors in the world would include two Ryans, two Toms and just three women (two of whom, as it happens, are named Jennifer). Stone, Hollywood's highest-paid woman, would barely crack the top 15.
Here's the breakdown. All figures are pre-tax:
20. Jeremy Renner: $19 million
19. Matt Damon: $21 million
18. Ryan Reynolds: $21.5 million
17. Jennifer Lawrence: $24 million
16. Jennifer Aniston: $25.5 million
15. Emma Stone: $26 million
14. Ryan Gosling: $29 million
13. Samuel L. Jackson: $30.5 million
12. Tom Hanks: $31 million
11. Chris Hemsworth: $31.5 million
10. Akshay Kumar: $35.5 million
9. Salman Khan: $37 million
8. Shah Rukh Khan: $38 million
7. Tom Cruise: $43 million
6. Robert Downey Jr.: $48 million
5. Jackie Chan: $49 million
4. Adam Sandler: $50.5 million
3. Vin Diesel: $54.5 million
2. Dwayne Johnson: $65 million
1. Mark Wahlberg: $68 million
Here's the full breakdown of the 10 highest-paid actresses:
10. Amy Adams: $11.5 million
8. Julia Roberts: $12 million (TIE)
8. Cate Blanchett: $12 million (TIE)
6. Charlize Theron: $14 million (TIE)
6. Emma Watson: $14 million (TIE)
5. Mila Kunis: $15.5 million
4. Melissa McCarthy: $18 million
3. Jennifer Lawrence: $24 million
2. Jennifer Aniston: $25.5 million
1. Emma Stone: $26 million
Hollywood couple Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are separating after two years of marriage. The pair, who reportedly met on the set of comedy film Wanderlust, said the mutual decision was "lovingly made" at the end of last year.
They gave no reason for the split and said they intended to continue their "cherished friendship". Aniston, 49, and Theroux, 46, were married in a secret ceremony in Los Angeles in August 2015. They had been together for four years before the wedding, which took place at their Bel Air mansion.
In a joint statement, the couple said they intended to remain friends. "We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship," they said. "Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly."
"Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another," the statement added.
Aniston starred in the hit TV series Friends and has appeared in numerous films such as Marley & Me and Horrible Bosses. This was her second marriage. She was married to fellow actor Brad Pitt for five years, but they divorced in 2005.
Justin Theroux, a cousin of British documentary maker Louis Theroux, is an American actor, writer and director. He has collaborated with Ben Stiller on the script for Zoolander 2, and starred in the television series The Leftovers.
Source : BBC
Veteran Film, Theatre and Teledrama actress Edna Sugathapala has passed away at the age of 72. She is said to have passed away while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo.
Edna was born in 1946 and educated at Good Shepherd Convent in her hometown Panadura, and later at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya. She began her film career by acting in popular film ‘Surayangeth Suraya’ directed by legendary director Lenin Moraes in 1969 alongside Gamini Fonseka and Sandya Kumari. She was also a talented singer, pianist and astrologist.
Actress Uma Thurman has detailed long hinted-at allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. In a New York Times article, she says Weinstein pushed her down and "tried to expose himself" at the producer's hotel room in London during the 1990s, before she managed to "wriggle away".
Harvey Weinstein's spokeswoman said the claims about an assault "are untrue".
The 47-year-old star also said she was raped as a teenager by an unnamed actor who was 20 years her senior. Thurman had expressed anger at Weinstein last November, saying: "I'm glad it's going slowly - you don't deserve a bullet." She did not make specific allegations against Weinstein at the time. But she details her claims in a 3,000-word feature published in the New York Times on Saturday, entitled: "This is why Uma Thurman is angry".
What does Uma Thurman say?
Among the revelations in the article are that Thurman was sexually assaulted at age 16, at the beginning of her career.
She met an actor - who is not named - at a Manhattan nightclub, and was "coerced" when she returned to his home for a late-night drink.
"I was ultimately compliant," she told the newspaper. "I tried to say no, I cried, I did everything I could do. He told me the door was locked but I never ran over and tried the knob." "When I got home, I remember I stood in front of the mirror and I looked at my hands and I was so mad at them for not being bloody or bruised."
Her allegations regarding Weinstein took place in the time period after the success of the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, which was produced by Weinstein. The alleged incident took place at his suite in London's Savoy Hotel.
"He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me... He did all kinds of unpleasant things," Thurman told the Times.
"But he didn't actually put his back into it and force me. You're like an animal wriggling away, like a lizard." She said a bunch of flowers arrived the next day with a note reading: "You have great instincts." And that in the aftermath, Weinstein's assistants kept calling about new film projects.
What was Harvey Weinstein's response?
A spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein - who is in rehab - issued a statement in the wake of the story's publication.
It said his team had contacted the New York Times and sent photographs "that demonstrate the strong relationship Mr Weinstein and Ms Thurman had".
The newspaper acknowledged receiving "chummy photos" of the pair at premieres and parties.
"Mr Weinstein acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals, after a flirtatious exchange in Paris, for which he immediately apologised and deeply regrets," the statement said.
"However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue."
"There was no physical contact during Mr Weinstein's awkward pass and [he] is saddened and puzzled as to why Ms Thurman... waited 25 years to make these allegations public".
Source : BBC
Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez, says she always wanted to be an entertainer but didn’t plan to get into Bollywood. In a blog post which went live on International Women’s Day on Thursday, Jacqueline penned her journey into stardom and Bollywood.
“Since a very young age, I’ve always dreamt of being an entertainer. Wanting to tell stories, make everyone around me laugh. For me, it was never about the films but the pure joy that comes with being an entertainer. That dream, that joy is something that had me drawn towards it,” Jacqueline said.
“Entering Bollywood pretty much happened by chance. In Bollywood, it’s not just about entertaining, but also an artistic form of expression through dance, acting and dialogue that has the potential to stir thousands of emotions. Your audience relates to you. Lives the character through you. All the strength to live up to my dream of being an entertainer has come from constantly growing as a performer and to focus on my strengths. It might sound a little too good to be true as you read, but believe me, once you start living by it, you’ll feel the difference yourself,” she added.
Born to a Sri Lankan father and Malaysian mother, Jacqueline was raised in Bahrain. At the age of 14, she was hosting a fitness show. She moved to Australia to attend college and then returned to Sri Lanka where she took up a reporting job.
The year 2006 turned to be a game-changer as she won the Miss Sri Lanka beauty crown. She made her debut in the Indian film industry with the 2009 film Aladin. “I grew up in a very simple Sri Lankan family, raised in the UAE. I first decided I wanted to be a performer at the age of 6, and honestly, was quite afraid to bring this up with my parents at first. I was apprehensive of what they’d say since it was quite an unconventional career path but I guess I happened to get really lucky,” she said.
The actor says her parents have been her biggest source of support even when her debut Bollywood film didn’t click at the box office. “In all my trying times, during the initial stages when I was unfamiliar with this vibrant city, that I now call home, or during my first stint in acting; I’ve always believed in my abilities and that really has made all the difference. It still astonishes me, how such a small change is able to get you through an entire trial and error phase and, put you right in front of your goals, however lofty they may be,” she added.
Australian celebrity chef George Calombaris has been successful in overturning his conviction for assaulting a football match spectatoar.
George Calombaris, a MasterChef Australia judge, had pleaded guilty to punching the man at the A-League grand final in Sydney last year.
He was fined A$ 1000 and received a conviction in October.
A judge quashed the conviction on appeal, instead imposing a 12-month good behaviour bond on Mr Calombaris. In explaining his decision on Wednesday, Judge Andrew Scotting said Mr Calombaris had an "exceptional character" and his punch had not been forceful.
The chef had already suffered financial and personal losses over the incident, including a A$300,000 sponsorship role, the judge said.
"To my mind, he is largely rehabilitated already in respect of this particular incident," Judge Scotting said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Last year, Calombaris made a public apology over a separate incident involving the underpaying of staff at his restaurant company.
Source : BBC
The Disney (DIS) and Marvel Studios film was the number one film in the U.S. for the second weekend in a row bringing in an estimated $108 million at the box office.
"Black Panther" becomes only the fourth film ever to cross $100 million in its second weekend, joining "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Jurassic World," and "The Avengers." It is the second highest second weekend for a film behind only "Force Awakens."
"Black Panther" has also crossed the $700 million mark globally in just two weekends of release and will cross $400 million domestically on Sunday, its 10th day of release. The film has yet to open in China or Japan.
After its second weekend domestically, the film, starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, is already the fifth highest grossing Marvel Studios film and will likely pass "Captain America: Civil War" and "Iron Man 3" to take the number three spot in the coming days.
Overall, "Black Panther" showed strong staying power losing only 47% of its domestic audience from its record-breaking opening weekend. That's less of a drop than other films in Marvel's Cinematic Universe like "Captain America: Civil War" and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," which saw its second-weekend totals drop closer to 60%, according to comScore.
Last weekend, the film, which is Marvel's first to be directed by an African-American director, opened to $201.8 million in North America, breaking multiple records. It became the largest opening for an African-American director by a sizable margin.
The record opening and a strong second weekend stand as a watershed moment for Hollywood. With "Black Panther" shattering expectations and records, the film's success could impact change in Hollywood by encouraging more diverse casts, crews, and stories.
The film currently holds a near perfect 97% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it one of the best-reviewed superhero films ever.
Source : CNN
US actor Mark Salling, known for his role in the TV series Glee, has been found dead near his Los Angeles home. US media reports suggest he may have taken his own life.
The 35-year-old was expected to get between four and seven years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child sex abuse images. His sentencing was due on 7 March.
Salling played footballer Noah "Puck" Puckerman on Glee from 2009 to 2015. He entered into a plea deal last October, avoiding a lengthier prison sentence of up to 20 years.
He was arrested in 2015 after a tip-off that he was in possession of images of children being sexually abused. Investigators ultimately found tens of thousands of abuse images on his laptop and hard drive.
Photographs in US media suggest the former television star's body was found in woodland near to where he lived in Sunland, Los Angeles.
Source : BBC
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