Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper - A frail but smiling Dennis Hopper was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, belying reports that the "Easy Rider" actor was on his deathbed.

Hopper, 73, has advanced prostate cancer and was said in court documents this week to have dropped to about 100 pounds (45 kg) in weight and to be too weak to continue chemotherapy.

Hopper wore a bandage on his head and on his right hand at the ceremony. He attributed them to injuries he suffered in a fall after a paparazzi called out his name as he walked outside.

"I thought I recognized the voice, so I kept walking and turned around but I didn't see the little ridgeline in the road and I took a terrible fall because I have no muscle," the actor told reporters.

"So I fell directly on my face, and I had my glasses in my hand. I got pretty screwed up," he said.

Hopper, who began his career in the 1955 teenage rebellion film "Rebel Without a Cause" with James Dean, is embroiled in a divorce battle with his fifth wife.

Court documents in the case said he was too frail to continue with chemotherapy. But Hopper won his doctor's approval to attend the ceremony unveiling his Walk of Fame star and honoring his work in more than 150 movies.

Dennis Hopper

Palm Sunday 2010

Palm Sunday 2010 - Hundreds of Christians from around the world marched from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem to mark Palm Sunday, retracing the steps of Jesus 2,000 years ago.

The pilgrims waved national and church flags and followed a white donkey, which according to Christian tradition was the way Jesus entered the holy city.

A few dozen Israeli police stood by, a small fraction of the forces on duty in recent weeks because of Palestinian unrest. There were no incidents in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

"I see the problems here as a part of the trip, just showing the extremes of this God-drenched city," said Jane Voigts, a pastor from San Luis Obispo, California. "I've really seen more grace and hope amidst the suffering here."

In past weeks, Palestinian demonstrations followed disclosure of Israeli plans to build apartments in east Jerusalem, as well as rededication of an ancient synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

Most West Bank Palestinians were banned from Jerusalem Sunday in keeping with standing Israeli regulations. Palestinians and backers demanding free access to the holy city briefly broke through a crossing between the West Bank town of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Police drove them back and arrested 12. Palestinians said one of those arrested was local Fatah activist Abbas Zaki.

Palm Sunday 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Earth Hour 2010 - Europe’s best known landmarks — including the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and Rome’s Colosseum — fell dark Saturday, following Sydney’s Opera House and Beijing’s Forbidden City in joining a global climate change protest, as lights were switched off across the world to mark the Earth Hour event.

In the United States, the lights went out at the Empire State Building in New York, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, among many other sites in the Eastern time zone.

Millions were expected to turn off lights and appliances for an hour from 8:30 p.m. in a gesture to highlight environmental concerns and to call for a binding pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This year’s was the fourth annual Earth Hour, organized by the World Wildlife Fund.

“I think it’s great to see that hundreds of millions of people share this common value of lowering our carbon footprint,” said Dan Forman, a spokesman for WWF in Washington.

Some 4,000 cities in more than 120 countries — starting with the remote Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand — voluntarily switched off Saturday to reduce energy consumption, though traffic lights and other safety features were unaffected, organizers said.

“We have everyone from Casablanca to the safari camps of Namibia and Tanzania taking part,” said Greg Bourne, CEO of WWF in Australia, which started Earth Hour in 2007 in Sydney before it spread to every continent.

Other sites expected to participate in the U.S. were businesses on the glittering Las Vegas strip and the Mount Rushmore presidential monument in South Dakota. The lights stayed on at the White House, U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln and Washington monuments, though they were switched off at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Portrait Gallery.

In Europe, Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and buildings across Germany went dark. Amsterdam planned to cut the lights at most city buildings including Schiphol Airport, Artis Zoo and the Amsterdam Arena.

Earth Hour 2010

Elgin Park, Pennsylvania

Elgin Park, Pennsylvania -

I discovered the small (very small) town of “Elgin Park” the same way millions of others around the world have: someone forwarded me a link to a Flickr slide show. The subject line was “Cars of the past … real or models?”

The photos were of models, all right, but they appeared so much more lifelike than any dioramas I’d seen before. I felt as if I was looking at a movie that was expressed in stills.

I would soon learn that my view of Michael Paul Smith’s photos of this imaginary town was one of about 20 million — so far.

I wrote about Mr. Smith and his scaled-down town for the Sunday Automobiles section. While this may seem like the story of a car enthusiast, Mr. Smith defies that label. He is an artist, not a car nut. He loves the aesthetics of American cars from decades past, but he doesn’t seem to care what engines they had.

Elgin Park is really about a sense of home, not about the cars, which are simply the actors in the scenes. Mr. Smith is the casting director, as well as set director, of a still-evolving story. The scenes spring from his boyhood memories of a Pennsylvania steel town, and the care he lavishes on his handmade buildings and street sets reflects the love he still feels for his hometown.

Mr. Smith does not give the impression of someone stuck in the past. In our interviews, he talked about starting a new chapter in his life and told me, “I guess I’m becoming a Buddhist.” Giving away some of his models and other possessions is part of that new journey.

Nada Prouty To Restore Reputation

Nada Prouty To Restore Reputation - She worked inside Yemen in 2000 after terrorists bombed the USS Cole, killing 17 American sailors. She helped nab Zayd Hassan Safarani for a 1986 hijacking in Pakistan that killed 22 passengers. And she spearheaded the investigation into the 2002 assassination of USAID diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan.

But today, the 40-year-old former Taylor woman says she is unemployed, shunned by neighbors and regretting that she pleaded guilty in 2007 to federal charges that caused her to forfeit her citizenship and be branded as a Hizballah mole. The feds found out about her while investigating her brother-in-law, prominent Detroit-area restaurateur Talal Chahine, on tax evasion charges.

"It makes me sick that anyone would think I would do anything to harm the United States," said Prouty, a Lebanese immigrant who is going public to try to clear her name. and regain her citizenship. CBS's "60 Minutes" aired a segment on her tonight.

The Justice Department makes no apologies: "Prouty represented a national security vulnerability that required immediate action."
'I would never betray my country'

Prouty says her life has been a series of humiliations since she pleaded guilty in Detroit in 2007 to citizenship fraud and illegally accessing an FBI computer system to obtain information about family members and a Detroit-based Hizballah investigation.