April 10, 2009

Lindsay Lohan still wants Ronson



April 10 -- The "Mean Girls" actress - who split from her DJ girlfriend last Friday (03.04.09) - had previously said life without Samantha was like living in "hell", but now insists her romance is not dead and buried.

Asked how she was coping without Samantha, Lindsay replied: "You guys make it seem like it's so over, but it's not. People take breaks. It's OK. It's normal, they focus on themselves."

Samantha's family reportedly hired five security guards to keep Lindsay out of Los Angeles' Bar Marmont, where Samantha was playing, on Friday.

The DJ then changed the locks on the Hollywood Hills home she shared with Lindsay and was even said to be seeking a restraining order against her, although she has denied the claims. 

Lindsay has since claimed she is being shunned by friends of Samantha - including Nicole Richie - calling those close to the DJ "a bunch of disrespectful, unappreciative, jealous people with bad f***ing energy".

The 22-year-old actress is struggling to cope with the end of the relationship and has reportedly taken to asking paparazzi where Samantha is so she can go and see her.

A source said: "Lindsay was out on Tuesday (07.04.09) at a tattoo parlour. She was calling the paps to see who Samantha was with at the Chateau Marmont."

Meanwhile, Lindsay's grandmother Marilyn has spoken of her concern for her granddaughter.

Speaking from New York, she said: "All the family would like to reach out to her. We're all here for her and we'd love to see her. Me, as a grandmother, I'd like to try and help her out, but she's not here, she's in Los Angeles. I think she needs her family in her life, but they're not. They should be. I haven't seen her in over a year.

"I think what happened is she's had too much too fast. She was on her own too early."

(Agencies)

Taylor Swift not a party girl



April 10 -- Taylor Swift shuns celebrity parties for quiet nights in with friends. The 19-year-old singer - who is close pals with singers Miley Cyrus and Carrie Underwood - is determined not to go off the rails like other young stars and is putting her career before merriment.

She said: "I like hanging out with my friends. I don't really go out much, I have friends who are famous too but we don't go and crash all the hotspots. "I'm a bit too young for all of that. I'm a quiet girl and a good girl."

Taylor's clean-cut image has clearly impressed her young fans - she was recently named the top teenage role model in an online poll of adolescents.

The "Love Story" singer wants to keep her private life out of the spotlight and has previously refused to discuss intimate details about her relationships.

Taylor - who used to date Jonas Brothers singer Joe Jonas - said: "It's fine to talk about love publicly, but I think when you talk about virginity and sex publicly, people just automatically picture you naked. And as much as I can prevent people picturing me naked, I'm going to!"

(Agencies)

Tom Thumb, hopeful candidate for world's smallest dog

The tiny puppy, called Tom Thumb, peers out of a coffee cup.(Photo: Chinanews.com)

The tiny puppy, called Tom Thumb, peers out of a coffee cup.


Little Tom sits easily in his owner Susan Thomson's hand, pictured with husband Archie.(Photo: Chinanews.com)

Little Tom sits easily in his owner Susan Thomson's hand, pictured with husband Archie.

1,600 pandas dispalyed in square in France



A girl touches a panda made of paper in a square in Nantes, west of France, April 4, 2009. World Wildlife Fund Intenational displayed 1,600 paper pandas in the city of Nante, calling the world to save endangered species and improve deteriorating environment

View world's best rooms to feast your eyes

A room overlooking the harbour at the InterContinental Hong Kong has seats to the world's largest permanent light-and-sound show - a dazzling display of Hong Kong's skyline with flashing neon-lit skyscrapers, laser beams and searchlights.

A room overlooking the harbour at the InterContinental Hong Kong has seats to the world's largest permanent light-and-sound show - a dazzling display of Hong Kong's skyline with flashing neon-lit skyscrapers, laser beams and searchlights

March 29, 2009

Manuel Uribe uses modified truck to go outside

Manuel Uribe reacts after spending his first night on his new modified truck outside his mother's house in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg).
Manuel Uribe reacts after spending his first night on his new modified truck outside his mother's house in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg)

A paramedic checks the blood pressure of Manuel Uribe before a TV interview in his new modified truck in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg).

A paramedic checks the blood pressure of Manuel Uribe before a TV interview in his new modified truck in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg).

Manuel Uribe greets children wearing Spring costumes at a esplanade in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg).

Manuel Uribe greets children wearing Spring costumes at a esplanade in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg)

Manuel Uribe (C) waits for an interview next to his wife Claudia Solis (L) and a TV host at an esplanade in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey March 20, 2009.  Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg).

Manuel Uribe (C) waits for an interview next to his wife Claudia Solis (L) and a TV host at an esplanade in the suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza, in Monterrey March 20, 2009. Uribe, who once weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kg), will use a modified truck with the help of a driver who will help him to go out anytime he wants to. Uribe, who is unable to walk due to his swollen legs, has been confined to his home for years. Friday was the first time in six bedridden years Uribe was able to go to work. He currently weighs 705 pounds (320 kg)

March 13, 2009

Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend, doctors charged


Anna Nicole Smith is shown with her attorney Howard K. Stern and Smith's newborn daughter Dannielynn Hope at home in the Bahamas in this publicity photo released to Reuters by 'Entertainment Tonight' television program Nov. 2, 2006.


March 13 -- Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend Howard K. Stern and a doctor were arrested Thursday on charges of giving thousands of prescription drugs to the former Playboy playmate that led to her 2007 fatal overdose death.

Smith's attorney, Stern and doctor Sandeep Kapoor were arrested and later released from a Los Angeles County jail Thursday night after each posted a $20,000 bond, a police spokesman said.

tern and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich, who is expected to come Monday, were each charged with three felony counts of conspiracy and several other charges of fraudulent prescriptions.

The doctors and Stern devised a plan to use fake names so that Smith could be prescribed "thousands of pills," California Attorney General Jerry Brown said.

The prescriptions were issued between June 2004 and January 2007, just two weeks before Smith's death.

"These individuals repeatedly and excessively furnished thousands of prescription pills to Smith, often for no legitimate medical purpose," Brown said.

Smith,39, died of drug overdose on February 8, 2007 in Florida. Her death came just months after her 20-year-old son Daniel also died of a lethal combination of drugs. Smith has a daughter, who was born days before the tragic death of her son.

Smith's assets were estimated at 710,000 U.S. dollars in May. As the widow of late Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, she had been fighting Marshall's family for years over his estimated 500 million dollars fortune.

On October 18, 2007, Stern had filed his creditor's claim in the Los Angeles Superior Court, citing a contingent fee agreement on file in bankruptcy court.

In the court filing, Stern specified that his 6 percent payment "is conditioned upon recovery in the Marshall litigation."

(Agencies)


Madonna wins in custody row with Guy

Singer Madonna (L) and director Guy Ritchie arrive on the red carpet at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 21, 2008.

Singer Madonna (L) and director Guy Ritchie arrive on the red carpet at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 21, 2008

March 12 -- New York court lawyers agreed to a last-minute deal Wednesday, giving the cusody of two sons to pop star Madonna.

The pop singer and her ex-husband Guy Ritchie, a British movie director, have been locked in a fight over the living arrangements of their two sons, Rocco, 8, and David Banda, 3.

The pair were heading for a New York court showdown Wednesday because Guy wanted the boys raised in the UK.

A report from UK media said that the New York court lawyers agreed to a last-minute deal that allows Rocco and David to live their 50 year old mom, Madonna, while their 40 year old father, Guy, will get regular visits and see them in the UK during holidays.

Meanwhile, Modonna and her latest boyfriend, Brazilian model Jesus Luz, were seen leaving the NYC Kabbalah Center on Monday night, where they attended a Purim celebration.

(Agencies)

March 11, 2009

Victoria Beckham delays baby

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham and his wife Victoria pose at a party at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in this July 22, 2007 file photo.


March 11 -- Victoria Beckham has reportedly told husband David she won't have another baby while he is living in Italy.
Although David is keen to have a fourth child, Victoria has reportedly told him it is not feasible while he is playing soccer for AC Milan and she and their three sons - Brooklyn, 10, Romeo, six, and Cruz, four - are living in the US, where David was playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
A source said: "The baby issue is a bit of a sore point. In Victoria's eyes it's not the right time. David's future with Los Angeles Galaxy is so uncertain that planning for another child is, in Victoria's eyes, premature. First, they need to sort out where they are going to be living.
"Her refusal has upset David as he feels his life is going in the right direction. He's loving playing soccer again and what would complete everything for him would be a fourth child."
David, 33, has just had his loan move to AC Milan extended and is trying to make the deal permanent so he can extend his career with the England national team.
However, Victoria, 34, is said to be reluctant to relocate the family to Italy and is happy to stay in Los Angeles as the boys have settled in school and she is busy carving out a successful fashion career.
The former Spice Girl - who spent the weekend in Milan to watch her husband play in a match and spend some time with him - has been flying back and forth to Italy to visit her husband and the gruelling trips are beginning to take their toll.
The source added to Britain's Daily Express newspaper: "David feels guilty that Victoria is exhausted and it's difficult for him to tell her how happy he is. He starts to tell her all the great stuff that's happening to him and she tells him she's feeling dreadful. There is a divide and it ends in disagreement."
Previously, Victoria has made no secret of her desire to have another baby, especially a daughter.
She recently said: "If it happens, I'd love it. You can't choose what you have but after three boys I would love a girl."
(Agencies)

Attorney denies "romanic relationship" between Davis, Brown

Chris Brown and Rihanna perform during the Z100 Jingle Ball in New York Dec. 13, 2008.


March 12 -- The attorney of Tina Davis, who was reportedly the woman who sent a lengthy "intimate" text message to Chris Brown, denied the rumored "romantic relationship" between Davis and Brown Wednesday.
"The relationship between Ms. Davis and Mr. Brown is that of manager and client," declared attorney Marshall B. Grossman in a written statement.
"There has never been any other relationship. The rumors in circulation are false. There are no emails between Ms. Davis and Mr. Brown of the type which have been described in media report," said Grossman.
U.S. media reported that Davis, also Chris Brown's manager, and the R&B star had a relationship in the past. Also it was rumored that the text message which caused altercation between Brown and Rihanna was sent by Davis.
Grossman stressed in the statement: "If the source of the false rumors is identified, legal action will be taken."
In fact, the two had been rumored to be romantically involved since 2005, but Brown's representative shot down the supposition in November 2007, saying the two only "have a strictly professional relationship."
The singer-songwriter Brown allegedly assaulted Rihanna, a 21-year-old Barbadian singer and former beauty queen, in a Los Angeles district after a pre-Grammy Awards party last month. His arrest just hours before the Grammy ceremony on Feb. 8 made sensational entertainment headlines.
The prosecutors charged him with two felony counts including assault and making a criminal threat against Rihanna, but last Thursday, a Los Angeles court postponed the arraignment of Brown for until April 6.
If convicted on the two felony counts, Brown faces a sentence ranging from probation to four years and eight months in state prison, prosecutors said.
(Agencies)

Michael Jackson moves to Rod's

U.S. pop star Michael Jackson receives the Diamond Award during the World Music Awards at Earl's Court in London in this Nov. 15, 2006 file photo. Jackson turns 50 on Aug. 29, 2008.


March 12 -- Michael Jackson is renting Rod Stewart's house.
The pop superstar will live in the "Maggie May" singer's Essex mansion when he comes to London to play his 10-show residency at The O2 arena in July.
The house boasts 180 acres, has its own soccer pitch field and is located 3.5 miles outside Greater London.
A source said: "It's going to be perfect for Michael and his kids."
It has also been revealed Jackson - who has three children, son Prince Michael, 10, daughter Paris, nine, and five-year-old son Prince Michael II - will be releasing new music ahead of his shows.
Concert promoter Randy Phillips said: "There will be a new Michael Jackson single before the first date.
"Michael has got some new music and he is looking for a new way of disseminating his material to his fans."
The singer - who has not performed a full-length concert since 2001 - is also said to be planning some spectacular visual effects, including a complicated trick that will see him floating across the stage.
Phillips explained: "He wants to use some technical effects that have never been seen before."
Jackson's arrival in Britain will also be memorable - he has reportedly hired the $6,929-an-hour Challenger 604 plane that featured in the last James Bond film "Quantum of Solace."
A source said: "He has taken an option on it to hire it for his trip to London in July."
(Agencies)

Nicole Richie's marriage doubts

Caption Celebrity socialite Nicole Richie (L) and her boyfriend Joel Madden arrive for Richie's court appearance in Glendale Superior Court in Glendale, California, July 27, 2007. Richie was sentenced on Friday to four days jail for driving under the influence of drugs.


March 11 -- Nicole Richie is unsure whether she will marry Joel Madden.
The 27-year-old star - who has 14-month old daughter Harlow with Joel, and is currently expecting her second child with him - is content with her relationship and refuses to plan too far ahead.
She said: "I don't know about the future. I make it a custom not to plan the future. I may plan to and I may not."
Despite having no plans to walk down the aisle in the near future, Nicole is totally committed to Joel and is keen to praise him.
Asked to name the Good Charlotte rocker's three best qualities, she replied: "Good father! Talented musician! Good personality!"
Nicole is equally as glowing about her daughter, saying she is the most important person in her life.
She explained: "Harlow means everything to me. She had a close resemblance to Joel at the time of birth, but she now looks like me because of her green eyes and blonde hair, but she also resembles Joel."
Although she loves being a mother, Nicole believes it is important to spend some time away from Harlow.
She revealed to Vivi magazine: "I wear jeans and a T-shirt and no make-up when I am with my daughter. But I take care of my adult time too. I like to go to restaurants and bars in high-heeled shoes and dresses when I have free time. Because I am still 27 years old, you know?"
(Agencies)

March 2, 2009

"Slumdog" brings Hollywood closer to Bollywood

March 3 -- The largely Indian cast and crew of "Slumdog Millionaire" who gleefully stormed the stage at the Academy Awards signaled a closer nexus between the world's biggest movie industries, with experts hoping for a happy ending.

India, home to the world's most prolific movie industry, has long tried to draw wider audiences, including by recently forging ventures with Hollywood studios looking to offset sluggish box office sales with new markets and cheaper production costs.

Now, the thumping success of "Slumdog" and a global financial crisis, which has pulled the plug on much Wall Street funding for movies, are bringing Hollywood and Bollywood closer together.

Like India's IT industry, Bollywood may now aggressively tout cheaper facilities for animation films and post-production. "Slumdog" also showcased India's prowess in music and sound mixing, with Oscars for A.R. Rahman and Resul Pookutty.

"India is an important domestic market for all foreign studios and also offers opportunities to cut costs," said Rajesh Jain, head of KPMG India's entertainment practice.

"The Oscars will raise the industry's visibility further."

Studios including Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, NBC Universal, Viacom and Warner Brothers have already put more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in India for stakes in local TV channels and ventures with Bollywood studios.

Their first efforts, including Disney's first Hindi animation flick, failed to set the Indian box-office on fire, but analysts say they will be encouraged by the success of "Slumdog," which became the eighth movie ever to win eight Academy Awards.

"The Oscar wins for 'Slumdog' only bodes well for the Hollywood-Bollywood connection," said Nelson Gayton at the UCLA Entertainment and Media Management Institute in Los Angeles.

"The critical and commercial success of the film speaks to global audiences for films of Indian content, especially if they do so well in the USA to begin with," he said.

It bodes well for Indian films too, he said, which while popular in the sub-continent have rarely met with global success.

CUTTING COSTS

"Slumdog Millionaire" was based on a novel by Indian author Vikas Swarup and filmed largely in the squalid slums of Mumbai.

It was directed by Briton Danny Boyle and distributed and marketed by Fox Searchlight, but many of the cast and crew, including co-director, Loveleen Tandan, are Indian.

The movie is seen by many in the industry as showing a way forward for Hollywood and Bollywood studios eyeing new markets.

"The Oscars have provided a huge platform to showcase Indian talent. It's a foot in the door," said Vijay Singh, chief executive of Fox Star Studios in India, which is looking to make Bollywood films with Indian studios and directors.

"We're going to see more Hollywood studios want a link into India, tapping more resources here, and we're also going to see more Indian directors look to appeal to larger audiences."

Before Boyle, filmmakers of Indian origin, including Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta, made films such as "Monsoon Wedding" and "Earth," that were set wholly or partly in India, and produced and marketed by Hollywood studios.

India has touted itself as a low-cost destination for Hollywood filmmakers, much like Canada has done, highlighting its lush locales, hi-tech studios and cheap labor costs.

Yet differential state taxes, an antiquated license system and reams of red tape have hamstrung its ambitions.

Long dominated by family-owned production and distribution firms, India's film industry has been bogged down by formulaic fare and box-office revenues of less than 10 percent of Hollywood's because of low ticket prices.

Now, the entry of large corporations, institutional finance, a move to a Hollywood-style studio system and the mushrooming of multiplexes are all transforming the industry and drawing more foreign studios eager for a share of the pie.

India's filmed entertainment sector, estimated at about 2.2 billion dollars, is forecast to grow by more than 9 percent every year over the next five years, according to consultancy KPMG.

STEPPING OUT

Initially, Hollywood studios were content with limited releases of their biggest blockbusters in movie-mad India, dubbing some films in regional languages in a market where racy action flicks and lavish song-and-dance spectacles rule.

In recent years, Hollywood studios looking to cut costs began shipping animation and post-production work to India, tapping its reputed software services skills and affordable workforce.

With "Slumgdogs" Oscar wins, studios may ship more high-end animation and visual effects work to India, said KPMG's Jain.

"Studios will also be looking to tap content, directors and other talent from India," he said, pointing to "Slumdog"'s Freida Pinto who has been signed by American director Woody Allen.

India's UTV Motion Pictures has co-production deals with Disney and Fox Searchlight, while Indian businessman Anil Ambani's Reliance Entertainment has tied up with a handful of production houses including those of Hollywood stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts to develop and co-finance films.

Reliance Entertainment, in which billionaire investor George Soros owns a small stake, also sealed a deal last September with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks SKG for a new 1.2-billion-dollar Hollywood film company.

More such deals are in the offing as Hollywood tries to fill the 18 billion dollars hole left by Wall Street, according to Gayton.

"These dollars need to be replaced from some alternative source, perhaps not at the same level ... but it seems to me India and China are well positioned to fill that gap," he said.

"The impact of the Spielberg deal was the message that India is here as a major global player in media and entertainment."

(Agencies)

Britney's Circus: in cages, scantily clad, wearing sparkles


March 3 -- Britney Spears posted a set list of songs on her web site one day before her Circus tour, revealing to fans what they can expect from the stage show Monday.
On her web site, Britney said that the songs to be staged include a mix of tracks from throughout her career, and the concert will go in a three-ring-circus set design. The first act will be titled "Circus," followed by the songs "Circus" and "Piece of Me."
Britney will also perform "Boys," new single "If U Seek Amy" and more in the "House of Fun (Anything Goes)" segment. In the following, Britney will take her fans to the "Freakshow /Peepshow," followed by the "Electro Circ." For those sections, Britney has a slew of fan favorites lined up, including "Slave" and "Toxic."
From a clip on the web site, Britney seems to be back to her old form: dancing in cages, scantily clad and wearing sparkles.
The tour kicks off Tuesday in New Orleans, near the place where Britney grew up in Louisiana.
(Agencies)

February 24, 2009

Oscar ratings improve as "Slumdog Millionaire" dominates awards

The graphics shows British director Dan Boyle's rags-to-riches love story "Slumdog Millionaire" which won big at the 81st Academy Awards Sunday night,on Feb.22.2009,in Los Angeles, grabbing eight Oscars including best picture and best director.
The graphics shows British director Dan Boyle's rags-to-riches love story "Slumdog Millionaire" which won big at the 81st Academy Awards Sunday night,on Feb.22.2009,in Los Angeles, grabbing eight Oscars including best picture and best director.

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 -- Preliminary numbers released Monday showed that ratings for the 81st Academy Award show overnight climbed about six percent from last year's record low.

The ABC-produced Oscar telecast show, where British director Dan Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" took eight statuettes including best picture, probably had an average viewership of more than 34 million across the United States, according to a market research firm.

Preliminary numbers from Nielsen Media Research, which measure roughly 50 of the biggest markets in the U.S., showed that New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were among the markets where most households tuned in to watch the film industry's annual gala show.

Although total viewer estimates are expected to be issued later in the day, it is a good bet that this year's Oscar show will rise comfortably ahead of last year's all-time low. About 32 million U.S. viewers watched the show last year.

Last year's record-low ratings prompted organizers to change their traditional format to hand out the awards and present more dance-and-song performances during the ceremony hosted by Australian actor Hugh Jackman.


(Agencies)

Rihanna makes first statement since assault

A photo allegedly shows Rihanna's beaten face was post on the TMZ website.
A photo allegedly shows Rihanna's beaten face was post on the TMZ website.

Feb. 24 -- Chart-topping Rihanna, speaking for the first time since being brutally beaten before the Grammy Awards, said Friday she is "strong" and "doing well."
But the Jay-Z protégé, who spent her 21st birthday in private Friday, would not discuss boyfriend Chris Brown's role in the vicious Feb. 8 attack.

"At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown," her two-sentence statement read. "She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time."

Rihanna's remarks came after her father ripped Los Angeles police over the leak of a graphic photo showing her bruised and battered face.

"Sloppy work on their part," Ronald Fenty told People magazine, adding that his daughter had no plans for a birthday celebration as she recovered from the assault.

The "Umbrella" singer, who has remained in seclusion since the incident, was spotted in Los Angeles Thursday night. She had been with family in her native Barbados. Friends there took out a newspaper ad Friday wishing her a happy birthday.

The shocking picture showed Rihanna - her eyes closed tight - with deep bruises on her forehead, black marks around her eyes and dried blood at the corner of her mouth.


Singer Rihanna poses with her awards for favorite female artist in the pop/rock and the soul/R&B categories at the 2008 American Music Awards in Los Angeles November 23, 2008.

Singer Rihanna poses with her awards for favorite female artist in the pop/rock and the soul/R&B categories at the 2008 American Music Awards in Los Angeles Nov. 23, 2008.

Her father, while upset with the LAPD, said the leak of the photo to celebrity Web site TMZ.com did illustrate the brutality inflicted on his daughter.

"It's good and it's bad to see the picture, because there's other people who were thinking differently, that [her injuries] may not be that bad," Fenty told Us Weekly magazine.

Brown, 19, whose hits include "Run It!," missed his scheduled Grammys appearance after his arrest on suspicion of making criminal threats to a woman - although the LAPD never confirmed it was Rihanna.

The pair had attended a pre-Grammy party honoring music mogul Clive Davis prior to their reported altercation. Brown remains free on the 50,000- U.S. dollar- bail.

After the photo was posted Thursday night on TMZ.com, the LAPD called its release a serious violation that could lead to departmental firings.

TMZ declined comment on a blog report that it had paid 62,500 dollars to "a law enforcement insider" for the picture.

(Agencies)

Tom Cruise "flustered" by Penelope Cruz

U.S. actor Tom Cruise waves during a photo call as he presents his movie "Valkyrie" in Rio de Janeiro February 3, 2009.

U.S. actor Tom Cruise waves during a photo call as he presents his movie "Valkyrie" in Rio de Janeiro February 3, 2009.

Feb. 24 -- Tom Cruise was "weird" and "awkward" when he bumped into his ex-girlfriend Penelope Cruz.

The 'Valkyrie' star was "visibly flustered" when Penelope - who he dated for three years before they split in 2004 - approached him at a pre-Oscars party in Beverly Hills on Friday night.

A source said: "Penelope tapped him on the shoulder and timidly asked, 'Tom?'

"Tom turned around, got visibly flustered and awkwardly said, 'Oh, hey. Hi', and gave her a small, distant hug before turning back around to his friends. It was weird."

The 46-year-old actor is now married to actress Katie Holmes, who was absent from the party, hosted by the head of Creative Artists Agency Bryan Lourd.

The source told the New York Post newspaper: "Katie was not there. But he clearly hasn't run into Penelope very often since they split."

Madonna, Sir Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Ford, Mike Myers, Shirley MacLaine, Meg Ryan, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio were also at the party.

(Agencies)

February 3, 2009

Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer split?

Jennifer Aniston has reportedly turned down John Mayer's marriage proposal.

Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer (L) have reportedly ended their on/off relationship for good, after the rocker was allegedly spotted kissing another woman.

Feb. 3 -- Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer have reportedly ended their on/off relationship for good, after the rocker was allegedly spotted kissing another woman.

Despite widespread rumors of the split on the internet, an American entertainment magazine reported yesterday that Jennifer Aniston spent the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday with John Mayer and his friends at a casual get-together just outside Los Angeles.

"She and John were affectionate and shared some hugs during the game," says a source. "They acted like a normal couple spending a casual Sunday together with friends."

The couple has been at the center of growing speculation about the state of their relationship in recent weeks, with internet gossips publishing conflicting reports over whether they have in fact split.

Aniston and Mayer parted ways at the end of last summer after several months of dating, but rekindled their love affair last October, with the actress claiming that they were unable to stay away from each other after the break-up.

(Agencies)


January 13, 2009

Preah Vihear temple and the coming victory

The loud voices shouted ‘Cheyo Prasath Preah Vihear Khmer’ meaning ‘Bravo Preah Vihear, Khmer temple,’ and some Khmer National songs were proudly sung by the local youths, children and adults. All of these voices came from the heart of the 14 million Cambodians of the nation when they found out that the ‘Preah Vihear Temple’ had been successfully registered in the World Heritage List on 7 July 2008. From the capital city of Phnom Penh, to provincial towns and to all the small villages and pagodas, there was celebrating and a victory party throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia.

This victory for Preah Vihear Temple is breaking news and disconnected from the party politics of the national election 2008.
Over the weeks, all the talk was about the Preah Vihear registration news. Also, the media were all busy sending each other messages of congratulations for the listing of the Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site.

But on the other side of the border, a group of Thais who were unaware of the history and pronouncements of international law came over to the gate of Preah Vihear temple to complain, to make noise and to ignore all the facts, reality and even international law. The most obstreperous, pro-Thai protestors were shouting in Thai to the effect that ‘Preah Vihear temple belongs to Thailand. Why did UNESCO give it away to Cambodia?’

This group of Thailand boosters seemed to have just awaked from a nightmare after over 50 years of dreaming when the Siam army occupied Preah Vihear temple in the late 1950s. Even the International Court of Justice ruled that the Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia but the Thai boosters seemed to be blissfully unaware of this reality.
After the French colonialists gave full independence to Cambodia in 1954, the Thai army invaded and for several years occupied Preah Vihear temple. Then the Royal Government of Sangkum Reastr Nyum, led by King Norodom Sihanouk, brought this case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague in the Netherlands. After few years and an investigation, on 15 June 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the Preah Vihear Temple belonged to Cambodia.
Many Thai people are still upset at this loss in the International Court. The Thais even tried to impede the Royal Government of Cambodia in preparing the documents to bring the Preah Vihear temple into the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. But unluckily for the Thais, the 37th meeting of UNESCO’s committee in Quebec, Canada, decided to register the Preah Vihear Temple in the World Heritage List.
This caused the Thais almost uncontrollable anger.
At 15 July 2008, three Thais stepped over the border at midnight and were caught by the Cambodian authorities. This was reported to the Thai government. Then some Thai military men stepped onto Cambodia territory and one was injured by a land mine. This sudden loss of face was too much for their army commanders and this changed everything. They decided to occupy the Sekha Kriri Svara pagoda near the Preah Vihear temple and claim the land as Thai.
Since then, the Thai military have been increasing their troops to thousands of soldiers fully equipped and with modern weapons. For all practical purposes, this is an invasion. We must now ask why the Thais created this scene?

Thais are Buddhist people and yet they have occupied this Khmer Buddha pagoda. It has always been a safe haven for people to get dharma, meditate and pray. But the Thai soldiers have converted the temple into a battlefield. Their excuse was, "We just came to protect our protestors who have a lot to complain about in this Preah Vihear temple case."

Why did the Thai military come to take Cambodia land? What is the reason? Why don’t they just take their own land?
At 6:03 pm, 17 July 2007: In the pagoda, all seemed normal. A group of monks were finishing up chanting the dharma in the main building and some them went to bed. In the Preah Vihara building, a small group of monks with a few old people starting more dharma chanting. A Khmer photojournalist was taking photographs with the monks and went out of the pagoda and put on his shoes.
Suddenly there were a few loud commands in the Thai language from the army leader. Some of the troops ran up to him and he shouted another order. The soldiers ran back to their original places and grabbed their weapons and ran for local cover in the pagoda area. The Thai soldiers who had been eating, threw away their plates, grabbed their weapons and ran for cover among the big stones of the temple. They took their weapons from ‘safe’ to ‘fire’ and pointed them to the other side of the road where a photojournalist was walking and carrying few cameras.
"Please, do not shoot because the monks are chanting the Buddha dharma in the Vihara. Today is the Buddhist day; we are all brothers in Buddhism. Please keep the peace!" said the photojournalist and walked out in front of the soldiers guns.

Crossing over the pagoda gate, the photojournalist said to the Khmer army, "Please go to a safe place quickly and prepare to fight. But we are peaceful Khmer so just take cover and see if they open fire. Then we can react. Above all, try to keep the peace!"
All of the Khmer army men ran from their dinner to take cover but without their weapons, a bad situation.
Inside the pagoda, few Thai soldiers even interrogated the lady who cooks for the monks, their guns pointed at her.
Then the two armies pointed their guns at each other and the Khmer elderly ran out of the pagoda to tell the people outside. The Thai army was surrounded and pointing their guns at the Khmer.
At about 7:30 pm there was trouble again. Both the Thai and Khmer soldiers were coming out from around the pagoda and keying their weapons from ‘safe’ to ‘fire’. The leaders of both sides were hard talking to each other in order to find a peaceful solution. This included phone communication between the commanders on each side. A solution was found when the Khmer side agreed to move the army away from inside the pagoda.
On 18 July, H.E. Phay Siphan, spokesman of Council Ministers House of the Royal Government of Cambodia brought a group of Cambodian national journalists and international media persons to the Preah Vihear temple. The press conference took place in front of the Sekha Kiri Svara pagoda on the edge of the battlefield. "I came here to bring my Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen’s message to every one here, to keep peace."
During this, Khann Yon, 40, head monk of Skha Kiri Svara pagoda came to the conference and suggested to the Thai army leader, "I would like you take all your troops outside our pagoda. We need the pagoda to pray for Buddha’s dharma and for our people to perform their Buddhism ceremonies."
Lt. Chhayan Sun Naneon, who was the Thai army leader there, said, "Yes, we agree with you. After this conference we are prepared to move." Everybody was happy and gave him a big hand.
But about two hours later, about 60 new soldiers were added for a total of over 500 troops in the Skha Kiri Svara pagoda. Then the Thai commander said that they would not leave the pagoda, "We will wait for our top commander to find a solution for us," he said. "And never mind about this agreement 2 hours ago!"
The situation went from bad to worse. Both sides started to take up positions and wait!
On 21 July, a meeting between Cambodians and Thais was set up in Srah Keo province of Thailand near the border of Banteay Mean Chey province. A day long meeting seemed unnecessary but they agreed no fighting. Instead of this, Thai troops massed by the thousands near the Preah Vihear temple and the Thai army was in a fighting mood while the Cambodias were preparing to resist. But the Cambodian side constantly tried to be peaceful accordingly to their leader’s orders.
Ever since the Cambodian Military sent troops to protect the Preah Vihear temple area, CTN television, and other television stations, including several radio stations broadcasted requests for donated aid and gifts to be distributed to the Cambodian military opposing the Thais. Many charities funded and collected large amounts of gifts, food, medicine and other necessities. All this demonstrates that Cambodians love their Preah Vihear temple and they honestly share their hearts with the Khmer military for protecting the temple and homeland from foreign incursion.
Instead of sending gifts to the collectors, more and more Khmer people went to the temple area to donate their gifts directly and to daily visit the Khmer soldiers at the Preah Vihear temple.
The inscriptions recorded in the Preah Vihear temple went deep into Khmer dynasty history and culture back to ancient times. This temple construction began in the 9th century by King Yasovaraman I, then continued by King King Suryavarman I, King Udayadityavarman II, King Jayavarman VI, and was finished by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century. In the year of 1016 King Suryavaraman I, celebrating his official royal ceremony for Preah Vihear Temple, which was originally named ‘Sri Sekharisvara’ according to the main Siva God name.
With these inscriptions together with the Khmer history books written by Khmer scholars as well as some books by European scholars, it can be clearly understood that the Preah Vihear temple was build by ethnic Khmers and that this temple was finished about 200 years before the new migrant ethic group called the ‘Siamese’ race established themselves in our nation after they robbed power from the local Khmer Governor in the Sukhothai area, all in the 13th century.
"Normally, all of the inscriptions in every Khmer temple ended by our ancestors stating at the end of each script ‘we announce to all people who are builders and protectors to take care of these temples and be reborn in paradise. But for destroyers or even those who think bad thoughts, their family relationships will get bad luck and they will be stuck in hell for ever’," professor Sotheara said. •
PREAH VIHEAR, Mountain of the Gods
Preah Vihear, one the most remarkable achievements of the ancient Khmers, still sees few visitors. Hopefully the floodgates are about to open as the site was registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List this year, 2008.
Preah Vihear is a triumph of art and architecture, a cultural jewel with a history spanning millennia. Countless pilgrims and monarchs have made the long journey to pray there, though camera toting tourists have replaced the ragged mendicants of the past.
Now accessible from Siem Reap/Angkor, Preah Vihear temple is located in the Dang Rek mountain range in the far north and was only reopened to visitors in 2003
H.E. Chhuch Phoeun, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said he thought Preah Vihear was added onto UNESCO’s list because it meets all criteria of integrity, outstanding universal value, and protection and management. "Now that our temple is listed, we will benefit greatly especially in the tourism sector," he said.
H.E. Hang Soth, Deputy Director of the Preah Vihear Authority, he said that "I agreed with H.E Phoeun. Preah Vihear temple is qualified to be on the world heritage list because it is wonderful and should be compared to a priceless diamond,"
"Moreover, since Preah Vihear was included on the world heritage list this year (2008), it will be the second destination for tourists after Angkor Wat and living conditions for people in the Preah Vihear area will be much improved," H.E. Soth said.
He explained that a site could be included on the world heritage list only if it is a masterpiece of human creative genius, a unique testimony to a cultural tradition or civilization, an outstanding architectural or technological ensemble, or a landscape illustrating a significant stage in human history. "Protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations," H.E. Soth added.
H.E. Pich Keo, former professor of the Royal University of Fine Arts, said that for almost 1200 years, Preah Vihear has dominated the surrounding plateaus. The arduous struggle of construction was a major feat of engineering. "Ten ancient Kings were involved in the construction but most work was done by only six of them," he said.
The temple was begun by King Yasovarman I (889-910 AD). He built the foundations and the eastern stairs which rise nearly a kilometer from the forested plains. King Suryavarman I, (1002-1050) and his son King Udayadityavarman II (1050-1068) carried on, laying out most of the monolithic features present today. King Jayavarman VI (1080-1107), King Dharanindravarman I (1107-1112), and King Suryavarman II (1113-1150) added the finishing touches.
"Two kings spent much more time building than the rest," said Pich. "The father and son kings, that is King Suryavaraman I and his son King Udayadityavarman II, were great architects. They put in the walkways, the stairs, the walls – all these structures were carved out of mountain stone to be part of the temple."
"It is easy to see which parts were installed by Suryavaraman and Udayadityavarman as their artistic style is very distinctive," Pich explained.
"The parts of the temple built by these kings are mostly the same," he said. "On the Pder [gate lintels] of the temple they use the Kleang temple style, an interesting art style including lion heads in the center. The father [King Suryavaraman I] depicts lion tongues as leaves, but for the son [King Udayadityavarman II’s], lions have no tongues."
Some information about the pair was gleaned from temple inscriptions although detective work was required. "Even temple inscriptions didn’t tell us that the two kings were related," said Pich. "My experience tells me that the smooth continuation of art characteristics means it’s sure that these kings were both from the same blood, or we can say ‘father and son kings’."
Former Deputy Director of National Committee for UNESCO, Dr. Micheal Tranet said the temple’s orientation is a clue to its function. "Preah Vihear faces north across the ex-Khmer provinces now in north-east and central Thailand," Tranet explained. "They selected this mountain to construct the temple as being the center of the ancient Khmer Kingdom. It signifies the central power of the king."
As well as status symbol and central marker, the temple is also a monument to religious tolerance. "The Preah Vihear temple was dedicated to Shiva, a god of the Brahman religion, but it was not cut off from Buddhism because most of the kings who helped to build this temple understood Buddhism," Tranet said.
Ros Samphal, Director of the Department of Culture and Fine Arts of Preah Vihear province, said the temple’s layout is complex. It has four levels from the top, with four courtyards, each containing five Gopuras (entrance pavilions). Preah Vihear temple became a place of pilgrimage and worship for kings and commoners alike, as it is a stylized representation of Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods.
"Each level has a different name and the architecture is also very different," Samphal explained. "Level one, or the main temple, is called Prasat Banteay [fortress temple]. The main building of the temple has many complex partitions and roofs, similar in style to Angkor Wat. Level two has entrances with marvelous Pder, including decorations describing the Churning of the Ocean Milk [a Hindu creation myth]."
"Level three, called Prasat Srah Srang [temple of the bathing pond], has a deep stone-lined pond that still holds water. Many entrances have beautifully decorated Pder showing scenes of wrestling and a script explaining the temple’s symbolism," Samphal said. "The fourth level has collapsed though the fifth level remains and is home to two Dragonairs – mythical monsters that protect Preah Vihear temple."
Samphal said Preah Vihear was the holiest of holies in ancient Cambodia, adding that "We know it as ‘Kampoul Mahidhirith,’ meaning ‘the pinnacle of the supreme power of the mountain,’ and ‘Atitep Kampoul Phnom,’ meaning ‘the mountain of the gods.’"

Visiting a Krama manufacturing village at Koh Dach

Cambodian farmers make traditional Krama all throughout the kingdom but for day tripping, it may convenient to visit several interesting places such as Pea-ream and Thnoat communes in Bati district, and Tang Yab and Say-va commune in the Samrong district of Takeo province. Or go to Prek Chang-kran commune, Sithor Kandal district of Prey Veng province, but the closest Krama makers are on Koh Dach village-island.

Koh Dach village, well know as a ‘weaving handicraft village,’ is on one of the largest islands located on the Upper Mekong, with a length of 12 kilometres. The island is located in Koh Dach commune, Mukh Kampool district. Koh Dach is about 10 kilometres from Phnom Penh.
The Koh Dach villagers have retained their traditional lifestyle based around their main handicraft, traditional silk weaving, Pha-muong, Hol, Krama and cotton clothes. Visitors walking the villager trail around the island will hear the sound of looms emerging from every house. Some houses have 5-10 looms and all the family members are weavers. From eight to eighty years of age, all the family play a role in production. As a result, much of the silk, Pha-muong, Hol and Kramar products for sale in the Phnom Penh markets originated in the Koh Dach villages, all of it hand made and of fine quality.
Beside the production of handicrafts, the residents of Koh Dach are also excellent gardeners, producing a wide variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits. The geography of Koh Dach Island varies. Though 12 kilometres long, some areas are only 100 meters wide and 2,500 meters wide elsewhere. The land is home to thousands of Khmer traditional houses and three ancient pagodas, each with a long history set in a traditional context. A visit to Koh Dach will give you a better understanding of Cambodian life than any other area surrounding the capital. You will take away lasting memories of the arts and lives of Cambodian people, happily co-existing with nature and traditional values.

Cambodia’s Pristine Coastline

The Kingdom of Cambodia has about 450 kilometers long treasure, its spectacular natural coastline. From Koh Kong province in the west to Kampot province in the South-west, the coast is a mix of national parks, fine sandy beaches and picturesque coastal villages. In the seas off Cambodia's shores are dozens of unspoiled islands, each surrounded by crystal clear waters teeming with marine life and coral reefs.

For the tourist, it is a vast resource waiting to be explored. With those amazing nature resources, Kingdom of Cambodia invites visitors to enjoy and relax on one of the many beautiful beaches which line the Southern Cambodia coasts at Kep, Kampot, Sihanouk Ville, and the southwestern coast of Koh Kong province.
In Sihanoukville, there are the homeland of white sand beaches of O’Cheouteal, Independence, Victory beaches, and O’Tress etc. For those interested in peace and a clean natural environment, away from the masses. Such as O'Tress Beach is an ideal haven. The beach is a 10-minute motorbike or car trip south of the popular O'Chheuteal Beach.

‘O’Tress’ is a hidden nature beauty, its clean beach and seas backed by tall trees. Offshore from the beach are the islands of Koh Tress, Koh Russey and Koh Ta Keav.
There’re a few restaurants run by locals and foreigners, are beginning to open to provide sustenance to visitors.


Today, Sihanouk Ville is the second largest city in the kingdom and is famous for the natural beauty of its beaches and islands. The town too is the location of the countries international sea-port, the trade gateway which links the country with the rest of the world.
Recently, the port is also an international checkpoint for foreigners arriving by sea. Tourism ships increasingly are using the port as a stop-over point. If you visit Cambodia’s coastal capital, you should not miss the seafood food available there. The fish are caught locally and renown for their good taste and deliciousness.

Off the southern coast are largely areas of colorful coral reef and abundant fish life. These waters off Sihanouk Ville and Koh Kong province are a treasure for divers and snorkelers. So to are the islands of Koh Ta Keav, Koh Rusey, Koh Rong and Koh Kong.


Kbal Chay Waterfalls
North along Hun Sen Drive, a few kilometers past the Caltex Oil Depot there is a turnoff, a rough dirt road leads inland for several kilometers again to the base of a set of spectacular waterfalls. Locals have only recently made this a popular picnic spot because of its remote location and former security problems during the 1990’s
It remains unspoilt, although the road is acceptable and should only be attempted in a four-wheel drive or by experienced bike riders after rain. These powerful falls boast a series of deep pools and white water cascades. When attempting to walk up the falls, beware of the barbed hooks set up by fishermen in some of the cascades.

O’Russey Kandal Becomes Popular

The trend of the people in the world today is to travel. The number of visitors increases yearly both domestically and overseas. When people want to relax, they travel to other places especially to those with natural beauty. In order to serve the needs of these tourists, many areas are being preserved and developed in remote areas in the northeast of Cambodia.

Mr. Thok Sokhom, former Acting Team Leader of Mekong Tourism Development Project and Deputy Director of Mekong Discovery Trail said "Among the eco-tourism destinations in Cambodia, Stung Treng province is one of the great potential areas, with untouched natural beauty containing O’Russey Kandal, O’Svay and Preah Rumkel communities."
"These eco-communities were put as the begining line for conservation their nature beauty and rehabuilitation for communities to served as the tourist needs," Sokhom said. Today, the Royal Government of Cambodia is concentrate for promoting eco-tourism there. There’re many constructing linking infrastructures to those destinations.

In the purpose to develop eco-tourism, local committees in the O’Russey Kandal area and at Sopheakmith, organized their areas to become attractive destinations for both local visitors and foreign tourists.
Mlup Baitong’s project coordinator, Mr. Nov Kosal, said "Mlup Baitong encourages communities by providing them environmental training courses such as community leadership skills, how to protect environment, how to serve guests and food sanitation."
"In order to build huts for the tourists, the community asked for money from Baitong. Baitong checked to see if this was a reasonable proposal.
We will provide them the money, referring to our project as the ‘Micro-Project’. So far we have built eight cottages on various waterfronts."
From his observation, most of visitors from Stung Treng province, Kratie and Phnom Penh also come daily to visit O’Russey Kandal, just 27 kilometers from the town. On the weekend, around 15-20 motorists visit here. But for national festivals like Khmer New Year, Phum Ben day or the Water Festival, there are thousands of local tourists visiting.
"For guest safety, we have check points, parking shelters and information centers. We have 5036 hectares of conservative lands and forests along the waterfall," he said.

Mr. Nov Kosal clarified, "by seeing the potential of attracting visitors, the Ministry of Tourism is encouraging the development of this place. Even the Minister of Tourism himself has visited this area.
Mrs. Seum Chanthan, 55 years old and chief of cooks in O’Russey Kandal resort,
said "I am so happy that this place near my village has become an attractive site for tourists. It paves the way for me to sell my products. Before, I grew potatoes, coconuts, bananas and other vegetables to sell in the province [Stung Treng]. Now I can sell them here."
She added that at every National festival, she could earn 500.000 to 600.000 riel per day [$125-$250] just by cooking food for the visitors. With this income, my family’s living conditions are better.

Before Mlup Baitong came to help the community, at every national festival, the commune chief solicited private bids for organization and control. Since Mlup Baitong has arrived to help develop eco-tourism, there is more community organization.
At the time of the tourist increase in the O’Russey Kandal area, Mlup Baitong provided English classes for young boys and girls so that they could be guides.
An indigenous 16 year old girl, Rom Sokna, said, "I study in grade 7. I am very happy that the Mlup Baitong organization provides English classes for me free of charge.
I love nature very much because my family is located a rich, forest region. In the future, if this region becomes popular, I will show the visitors the importance of nature."
Hout Sokny, another school girl, said, "The first thing I tell visitors here is to conserve nature and not destroy the forest. I think the forest is crucial for human and animal life. In order to help my village, I will study hard."
Chhor Lakkhina, 15, is studying English with other students so that they can be guides in the future. She said that English is very important for her to improve her general knowledge of the environment.
Both government officials and the various private sectors expect that the increasing numbers of tourists will spread to their area because this place is next to the newly constructed national road 7. Besides culture, Cambodia still has many eco-tourism areas to attract domestic and foreign visitors, particularly in the Northeast.

A tour through an amazing temple complex

Natural Magic Shiva Linga of Preah Theat Mountain (Thmor Thom)

From Phnom Penh, drive down National Road No. 5 and turn left at Damnak Trach market. Then drive about 38 km. along the local red soil road to reach Preah Theat Mountain. Along the way, this red soil road is linked to several villages of Samki Mean Chey district of Kampong Chhnang province directly through the high plateau area near the foot of the Oral Mountain.

There, a few small mountains start rising up above the level of the villages and the emerald jungle comes into clear view. And from afar, enormous stones that stand on the peak of Preah Theat mountain top can be seen. The largest and highest stone pieces were called by the local people ‘Preah Sereyrikatheat’ of Preah Theat mountain, which the ancient stone inscription has as ‘Shiva Linga Sriparvata’.

The Shiva Linga Sriparvata is the most important god in the pantheon of gods in the Brahman religion, entrusted to forever protect the earth of the ancient Khmer Empire.
(roup1) At this mountain area, many legends and myths related to traditional cosmological beliefs of gods, mythology, and ancient history are recounted by the more elderly of the local people near the Preah Theat mountain. Many arguments about materials and locations linger at the mountain area.
This area has made a deep, spiritual impact on people who practice and participate in special, sacred worship rituals when they arrive there.
Most of the local people go there to pray for luck, happiness and prosperity or even for abundant crops. Some couples go to Preah Theat mountain for the special purpose of praying for fertility, following unsuccessful attempts of conceiving children after being married for a long period of time. These traditions and beliefs were derived from their ancient ancestors a long time ago and today's generations often find it extremely difficult to find the original source of their ancestors' traditional beliefs.
Chhin is a 55 year old grandfather and the Achar of Preah Theat pagoda, which is located at the foot of Preah Theat mountain. He said, "Actually we don’t know why our ancestors have kept their tradition of praying to this mountain and stones. But when people come to pray here, they must have had some success in order to make them come back again and again."
"I remember some legends about Lord Buddha. They were related to me by my monk teacher and the elderly Achar, when I was boy," Chhin said.


(roup 2) He recalled that there are the bone relics of the Savaka of Lord Buddha kept for sacred storage on the peak of the mountain. That's why our ancestors called this mountain ‘Preah Sereyrikatheat’ or ‘Preah Theat’ till this day. Savaka means the 500 monks who supported and followed the Lord Buddha when he was still alive.
Until 1979, there were many small gold images of the Buddha kept in the temple’s cave under the tallest stone there, but they were lost during the time that the Vietnamese soldiers came to occupy this mountain immediately after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Mr. Chhin said, "I just follow the traditions of our ancestors and respect this sacred place."
"Every year before I sow my crops, I pray to the god of magic here at Preah Sereyrikatheat. Then at harvest time we always get bountiful yields," Chhin said.
"All the local people come to pray here before we go out of our home villages to engage in business or to travel any distance. Then every thing happens as we wish."
"Nowadays some people from far away, such as Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, have begun to come here to pray for whatever they need. Then those people returned to pray again and to leave a token of respect for the success of their prayers," Chhin said. "Because of the powerful magic of this sacred place, our ancestors handed down this tradition to us."
Mr. Vong Sotheara, a lecturer in the History Department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, has made several trips to Preah Theat mountain to research some astonishing artifacts and events from the historical script that relate to this mountain.
(roup 3) He said the inscription K.441 of Yeay Poan temple at Sambor Prei Kuh is from the 7th century which is pre-Angkorian history. This inscription states that the king built and offered respect to a big natural Shiva Linga on the top of the mountain named ‘Lingadri’. This natural linga has a 92 meter perimeter and rises 25 meters high.
"Mr. George Cœdés, a French expert and scholar of history and culture of Southeast Asia, studied this inscription. He suggests that the Lingadri today is located at Phou Kao Mountain nearby Wat Phou temple in Champa Sak province of Lao P.D.R." Sotheara added. "But according to my research, the ‘Lingadri’ which can also be called ‘Linga Sriparvata,’ is located on Preah Theat mountain of Kampong Chhnang province."
"The evidence to substantiate this is simply that the size of the natural Shiva Linga at Phou Kao mountain has only a 35 meter perimeter and is only18 meters high. It is smaller than the inscription that K.441 describes. The K.441 inscription more accurately describes the one at Phnom Preah Theat," Sotheara said.
"Other inscriptions written during the Angkor period from Damrei temple, Andong temple and Baksei Cham Krong temple all describe the Shiva Linga as having a height of 36 meters, which is similar to this natural Shiva Linga on Preah Theat mountain," he said. And the script from the Koh Ker area mentioned that King Jayavarmen IV paid his respects to the Shiva Linga of Preah Theat mountain.
"One of the most important proofs of this is in 1016, when the great King Suryavarman I celebrated his Tapoverya in the Preah Vihear temple on the peak of Dangrek mountain. The king tried to invite the two magic Shivas there to rebirth a Shiva named ‘Sri Sekharisvara’ to protect this great temple," Sotheara said. The Tapoverya ceremony is a very special meditation ceremony in the Brahman religion that may involve magic from Shiva and natural power of the king to bring success as the King of the Empire. In the past, most great Khmer kings during the Angkor period celebrated this Tapoverya ceremony during their reigns.
Then the King Suryavarman I celebrated a successful Tapoverya ceremony. This ceremony was an invitation to the Shiva Sri Sekharisvara power to protect the temple area. That is why people at that time called it ‘Sri Sekharisvara’ temple while people today call it ‘Preah Vihear’ temple. So the Preah Theat natural linga should be the ancestor of the Shiva god named Sri Sekharisvara of the Preah Vihear temple.
"I believe that this Shiva ‘Linga Sriparvata’ is the biggest Shiva Lingaparvata in the world," Sotheara said. The ground floor structure was build with sandstone and brick, emulating the Sambo Prey Kuh style. I am sure that this natural linga was a celebration of the magic power of Shiva Linga at least as far back as the 7th century during the Chenla era."
Mr. Ang Kim Eang, President of Great Angkor Tours and Travel, was surprised when he arrived at Preah Theat mountain when he found, on the grounds surrounding the linga, a protective area that resembled a temple
"The top stone is celebrated as the natural Shiva linga with the remaining protective structure similar to a temple. On the lower level is the other large stone which is shorter than the linga. This should be the yoni of Shiva's wife because the construction style is the same," Kim Eang said.
"With this enduring history and the uniqueness of the biggest and tallest natural Shiva linga and yoni as well as the beautiful vistas, this Preah Theat mountain will be a new destination that should be suggested in our tour itineraries from Phnom Penh," Kim Eang said. "I hope that many foreigners will decide to come here. It should also be a good link to the ancient capital of Long Vek as well as some traditional handicraft villages of Kampong Chhnang province."
For those who reach the top of the Preah Theat mountain, there is a rest area with stone seats affording the best view around this area. When you look south down the stairway, there is a magnificent verdant landscape from the south and sweeping across to the east.
From the north and the west there is the emerald, tropical jungle linking the many smaller mountains to the higher Oral Mountain which touches the white fluffy clouds. Oral Mountain is one of the highest mountains in Cambodia
The Preah Theat mountain is the most holy place. Visitors are prohibited from drinking alcoholic beverages or uttering profanities. Also, girlfriends and boyfriends will receive bad luck if they kiss there.
To be safe and successful in all things, Phnom Preah Theat may be the best place to pray. Then when you return home, why not take some water from the Yoni or Linga basin storage as your holy water.

Day trip to Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm temple, or the Tonle Bati temple, is one of most population destinations for weekend day trips for Cambodians and visitors who are staying in Phnom Penh. This temple complex is one of the biggest temple ruins built during the Angkor period and is located closest to the modern capital of Phnom Penh.

Down National Route 2, only 35 kilometers from Phnom Penh, this resort area hosts the beautiful temple ruins and also a natural lake nearby. And one can enjoy a typical Khmer picnic made up by the local residents. The turnoff from Phnom Penh is marked by a large picture of a temple ruin on the right hand side of the road. There is a three kilometer entryway to reach Tonle Bati resort.
(roup1) Ta Prohm temple was built by the great King Jayavarman VII during the Angkor era in the late 12th and beginning of the 13th century and devoted to both Brahmanism and the Buddhist religion. The temple artistry follows the Bayon style. The temple area is smaller than the other temple at Angkor complex. But it boasts impressive laterite and sandstone structures decorated with beautiful carvings that are relevant to Khmer history.


Mr. Thorng Em, Director of the Takeo Provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts, said "one of the unique bas reliefs of the Ta Prohm temple is the beautiful reclining Buddha on the top of the lintel of the door (gobora) of the main tower of the temple facing to the east. Inside this main tower there are two big Buddha statues in good condition."
He continued that the other Buddhist Ta Prohm temple was mentioned by an important stone script that was found at the eastern site on a lintel of the first door (gobora). This big piece of stone was interpreted by many Khmer scholars to say that the Ta Prohm temple was built from some pieces of the original stones from the other ancient temples in that area.
(roup 2) Mr. Sambo Manara, Professor of History at the Royal University of Phnom Penh explained that the Sanskrit script described the temple as dedicated to Buddhism. Then he continued that, a King Rudhravarman was crowned in Nonkor Phnom (Funan) Kingdom. This king was the son of King Jayavarman. Rudhravarman’s ancestors were the former king of Funan Kingdom, named Hun Tean and queen Souma."
From various scripts, we know that "During the era of the Funan Kingdom, Cambodia had diplomatic relations with China. The Funan King sent two Khmer Buddhist monks to China to help them translate the Buddhist Bible from Pali and Sanskrit to Chinese," Manara said.
"The monks names were Sankh-Pal Therak and Muntrea Sena. These two monks were the first Khmer religious ambassadors to China. There are several papers concerning this history and they vary very little and only about dates," Mr. Manara said.
H.E. Chhorn Eam, Minister of Religion and Cult, agreed that according to the ancient script, "Buddhism arrived in Cambodia during the pre-Funan Kindom through networks linked with Sri Lanka. And then, the Funan Kingdom introduced the Buddhist religion to China. But actually our Khmer civilization is one of the first to receive the Buddhist religion back in the early times of Buddha (3-4th century BC)".
(roup3) Mr. Chhorng Em, said "the Ta Prohm temple, was also dedicated to the Brahman religion as well as to Buddhism. There are many bas reliefs and lintels depicting such Brahma gods as Siva and Vishnu. For example, on the Southern and Northern doors, there are lintels with depictions of Vishnu and Siva."

"The one Avalokesvara at the south has four arms brandishing bible such as the magic wheel tool, Sank (shell), Dam-bang magic stick weapon, and a magic stone ball. At the Northern lintel, there is another Avalokesvara with 6 arms, all with tools," Mr. Em said.
"Vishnu is the most important of the three gods of Brahmanism. His function is to protect the earth and all its life. Another well known ancient myth of Brahmanism found here is the ‘Churning of the Sea of Milk’ as well as the Eyravanda elephant (a three headed elephant). Every visitor can see these at the garden on the eastern side of the 2nd Gobora (door). These are all in good condition," Mr. Em said.
The Ta Prohm temple structure is 42 meters long by 36 meters wide and over 12 meters high. Located in Tonle Bati village, Kraing Thhnong commune, Bati District, Takeo province. The entry fee is free for Cambodians, and 3$US for foreigners.

Kate Winslet scores double triumph at Golden Globes

British actress Kate Winslet poses with the trophies of the best actress and best supporting actress awards at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 11, 2009

Jan. 13 -- Five-time Oscar nomenee Kate Winslet walked away from the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards with two trophies in hand -- best actress for her role in Revolutionary Road and best supporting actress for her performance in The Reader.

On the red carpet, Kate was accompanied by co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

The ceremony, considered the second largest event after the annual Academy Awards in Kodak Theater, will help dispel clouds of gloom among Americans' minds due to the current economic recession in the United States, organizers said.

Hollywood stars and celebrities came back to the ceremony at Beverly Hilton Hotel this year after a strike by the Writers Guild of America reduced last year's event to a boring news conference, where winners were announced at the same ball room.

Sunday night's event also gave Hollywood its first chance to bid a fond farewell to the late Heath Ledger, who was named the winner of a posthumous best supporting-actor award for his role as The Joker in "The Dark Knight," the 2008 box office champion.

Meanwhile, as expected, British director Danny Boyle's "Slum dog Millionaire," became the biggest winner at the Globes by winning all four awards of its categories, including best drama and director for Danny Boyle, also best screenplay and musical score.

The film, which tells a story of a young man from Mumbai who finds success on a television game show in India, won five prizes on Jan. 8's Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics Choice Awards, including best picture, director, writer, composer and young actor for star Dev Patel.

The Golden Globe Awards are often promoted as an early indicator of the Oscar. However, none of the Golden Globe best picture winners have gone on to win the Academy Award for best picture for the past four years.

The awards are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which has about 85 members based in Hollywood to report news about the entertainment industry for publications around the world.

(Agencies)

January 10, 2009

Sarah Jessica Parker to split?

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker arrives to attend a tribute to Diane Keaton by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York April 9, 2007.


Jan. 9 -- Sarah Jessica Parker is reportedly set to split from her husband and is already house-hunting alone.

The 43-year-old actress - who has been dogged by rumors her 11-year marriage to Matthew Broderick is in trouble after claims he cheated on her with a 25-year-old woman - recently asked a New York broker to find her an apartment.

A source told America's Star magazine: "The time has come when she realizes it just isn't worth it. Sarah Jessica is determined to get her own place and bring down the curtain on her marriage."

The 'Sex and the City' actress and Matthew, 46 - who have a six-year-old son James Wilkie together - are already said to be living "separate lives".

Another source added: "Sarah's not stupid. She knows exactly what's going on. For a while it was easier for her to stay than go through a harsh divorce. They're essentially living separate lives."

Sarah and Matthew spent the festive period with each other for the sake of James, but it is believed the pressure of keeping up a happy pretence only caused further cracks in their relationship.

The source added: "They spent the holidays with him, pretending to be happy. Sarah is a great actress when she has to be!"

(Agencies)

Kate Moss throws goblet at photographer

British model Kate Moss poses with her fashion collection in the Topshop window of at their flagship store at Oxford Circus in central London April 30, 2007.

Jan. 9 -- Supermodel Kate Moss resorted to violence when a persistent photographer wouldn't leave her alone during a recent shopping trip in Hong Kong, reported the Sun.

Kate Moss and rocker beau Jamie Hince, were spotted in a luxury store in Hong Kong's Central. The two were in Hong Kong on a stopover after a vacation in Thailand. The catwalk queen drank several cups of champagne provided by the store while picking out outfits for her boyfriend. When she noticed the photographer, Moss asked security guards to take him away.

Later the paparazzi followed the two into an open-air bar, Hince yelling at him to leave them alone.

As they left the bar, Kate Moss, holding her champagne goblet, walked up to the persistent photographer and threw her glass, aiming for his head.

Once in their car, Moss allegedly smoked a cigarette, rolled down the window and cursed the photographer again, while Hince gave his middle finger up.

The report concluded that "Kate Moss apparently gained weight and had a baby belly."

(Agencies)

January 8, 2009

Brad Pitt: I was faithful to Jennifer Aniston


Cast member Brad Pitt and actress Angelina Jolie pose at the premiere of movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" at the Mann's Village theatre in Westwood, California December 8, 2008. The movie opens in the U.S. on December 25

Jan. 8 -- Brad Pitt says that his relationship with current companion Angelina Jolie only began after his splitting from former wife Jennifer Aniston.

In October, Jolie revealed that she and Pitt fell in love while making the 2005 film "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." In November, Aniston called Jolie's comments "really uncool," because she was married to Pitt while the movie was in production.

Pitt set the record straight in a story posted on W magazine's Website Wednesday, defending both women and insisting that his relationship with Jolie didn't begin until after he and ex-wife Aniston split in 2005.

"Jen is a sweetheart," Pitt told the magazine for its Jan. 20 issue. "I think she got dragged into that one, and then there's a second round to all that Angie versus Jen. It's so created.

"What people don't understand is that we filmed ("Mr. & Mrs. Smith") for a year. We were still filming after Jen and I split up," he continues. "Even then it doesn't mean that there was some kind of dastardly affair. There wasn't. I'm very proud of the way that it was handled. It was respectful."

Pitt said he and Aniston "still check in with each other."

"She was a big part of my life, and me hers," he said. "I don't see how there cannot be (that). That's life, man."

The 45-year-old Pitt, who has six children with Jolie, was nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for his starring role in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Jolie was nominated for those same awards for her starring turn in "Changeling." Aniston can currently be seen in the family film "Marley & Me."

(Agencies)

by Cuteman

123 Web Trip - Powered by Cuteman 2008