Families of victims of Flight AF 447 met in Rio — Marseille: the largest mosque in France in 2011 — A possible biography — Film world bids a fond farewell to the everyman of the Spanish screen — ‘Tough cookie’ Sgt. Kimberly Munley took down Fort Hood gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan — Music Videos by Andres Segovia


Sunday Poem:  Wiliam Faulkner “As I Lay Dying”

William Faulkner, reads from his novel “As I Lay Dying,” which was published in 1930. The novel tells the story of a mother’s death and her family’s travails in carrying her to Jefferson, Mississippi, to be buried. The novel is written in many short sections, each named after the character whose point of view and thoughts are expressed. Copyrighted however you can listen by clicking below. This is one of the “Vardeman” sections.

“As I Lay Dying” .au file (4.4 Mb), .gsm file (0.9 Mb), .ra file (0.5 Mb)


Chicken the cat models the latest must-have hairstyle for felines: Kitty Wigs. The image is taken from a new book “Kitty Wigs” by Julie Jackson, released next week in the UK Picture: CATERS


Hua Hua, an 18-month-old female Dalmatian, feeds her 12 newborn babies in Chengbei market, Foshan, in South China’s Guangdong province BARCROFT MEDIA



Families of victims of Flight AF 447 met in Rio

Lefigaro.fr avec AFP  07/11/2009 (English Translation)

Several hundred people gathered Saturday at a ceremony in memory of the 228 victims of Flight Rio-Paris 1 June Some Brazilian families wore armbands to protest a “lack of transparency” of the French investigation.

Five months after the terrible crash unexplained flight AF 447 over the Atlantic, families seek to do their mourning. Saturday, several hundred relatives of the 228 victims of the Rio-Paris from June 1, attended a simple ceremony of remembrance and moving. This tribute, which was also attended by French and Brazilian officials and executives of Air France, sought to quiet, away from the press at the request of families. But he was also an opportunity for Brazilian families to express their dissatisfaction with the “lack of transparency” in their view, the French investigation.

“It was an imposing ceremony of dignity and passion to help families do their mourning,” said the press secretary of the French State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet, after the tribute. “The families were happy to be able to share this terrible pain,” he said, announcing that “a memorial in France would be inaugurated on the anniversary of the accident on 1 June.

The ceremony took place at Mirante do Leblon belvedere overlooking the sea in a residential area south of Rio, in the presence of some 500 relatives of missing and more than one hundred members of staff of Air France. A monument was unveiled, consisting of a glass panel of several meters, on which were engraved 228 swallows – symbolizing the 228 victims – who seem to soar above the ocean. The ceremony was simple: an act ecumenical reading of sacred texts, tributes read by five families, music, a song written by the wife of a victim. And a very moving moment, according to one participant, when the names of the 228 victims were shelled. In the afternoon, families had to board boats and throw flowers into the bay from Rio.

A new tracing campaign in February

A spokesman for the Brazilian association of victims, Maarten Van Sluys, reported that close to sixty Brazilians wore black armbands “to protest silently against the lack of transparency in the investigation of the French authorities.” This association, which claims to represent thirty-eight fifty-eight families of victims in Brazil, published an open letter demanding more information about the survey, and the payment of compensation higher than 17,000 euros already paid by insurance . At the end of the ceremony, Maarten Van Sluys gave the letter to French Minister. “Everyone wants the truth, the French government wants the truth, the Brazilian government and the families who also want to continue their mourning,” replied Alain Joyandet, adding a new tracing campaign would take place in February.




A spectacled bear named Dolores, who has lost almost all of her hair, walks around her enclosure at the zoo in the eastern German city of Leipzig AFP/GETTY


Four-month-old Asian elephant calf Luk Chai plays with a football in his enclosure at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. The calf was born at the zoo to mother Thong Dee, a former Bangkok street elephant GETTY



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Marseille: the largest mosque in France in 2011

Le Figaro – Aliette de Broqua – Marseille  06/11/2009 (English Translation)

The building permit issued, it remains to complete the funding of the largest building in France’s Muslim.

The project of the Great Mosque of Marseilles is now a symbolic step. The UMP senator-mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, gave the Muslim community permission to build this place of worship to be built in the northern districts. Elected at first opposed the project, estimated in 2001 that it could deprive a decent place of worship 200 000 Marseilles Muslims, a quarter of the population. The issue is sensitive and extreme right in decline, has made his total opposition to the “cathedral mosque” the main workhorse.

But Jean-Claude Gaudin is good. “It was the first to say, I want a mosque for Muslims in Marseille,” said association president Mosque of Marseilles, Cheikh Noureddine, a former entrepreneur halal.

Gaudin has encouraged the gathering of a diverse community and divided into an association which now manages the file. The city has granted a long lease and issue a permit today to build.

“It’s a great day. It is the birth of our mosque. For us now to raise, “said Noureddine Cheikh satisfied.

The faithful, who now have 63 places of worship in the city, often in makeshift ground floor of public housing or in small rooms, neighborhood can be proud of a vast and beautiful place. The 8 600 m² of land of former abattoir in St. Louis provide the opportunity to build a large prayer hall but also a theological school, a library, a restaurant, a library and an amphitheater.

Minaret of 25 meters

The building will be clad in glass and crystal white stone used in Croatia for the White House or the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. The prayer hall, one of the largest in Europe, has an area of 3 500 square meters to accommodate a maximum of 7 000 people. “This is a lighthouse with a 25 meter minaret broadcasting a stream of light to call to prayer with a strong symbolic value of recognition,” said Maxime Repal, architect. The call to prayer sound will only inside the building.

Many steps remain to be overcome. It must meet the 22 million needed for construction. Noureddine Cheikh is serene: “A dozen rich countries have assured us of their support, says he. Now we have the building permit will be able to move forward. “A subscription service has been launched. The laying of the cornerstone is scheduled for April 21, 2010 and the opening for the festival of Eid in November 2011.

However, opponents of the mosque does not disarm. The MNR and the National Front, who attacked the lease and were dismissed, appealed. In addition, the League of the South, led by the mayor of Orange, Jacques Bompard (MPF) for regional announced a new remedy. “The rent, too low, equivalent to an aid to construction, which is contrary to the law on secularism. There is no reason to give a lease. So if the lease is void, the building permit is also, “says Ronald Perdomo, counsel for the League of the South.


JAGUAR-sml_1518124iThis big cat earned the nickname Mick Jaguar after his 15-inch tongue was compared to the rock band’s iconic lips-and-tongue logo. Rolling Stones fan Ruth Savitz snapped this impressive picture at Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania


A Philippine Eagle Owl stares back at the camera at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City, Philippines REUTERS


A possible biography


How many tales go untold in Spain due to a simple lack of curiosity? Out of a blend, peculiar to our country, of disinclination for serious research and a taste for anecdote and hearsay? Our incapacity to retell our own lives sincerely is on a par with the Spanish disinterest in investigating the private lives of public figures.

The paradox of Spanish autobiography amazes me. The Anglo-Saxons, who in person are very reserved, hermetic even, write autobiographies of an almost confessional shamelessness. The Spaniards, apparently such open, affable people, are always exceedingly prudish in memoirs of their own lives. Rigorous biographers perhaps help to counteract this interested opacity — the way the Spanish memoir writer covers up his tracks, confident that no one will bother to seek out the truth.

Few in Spain are ready to work hard at this, to devote time to discovering the facts of another’s life — to be an incorruptible detective, interviewing elderly eyewitnesses before the lights go out. Who, for example, would write a biography of Santiago Carrillo, a man who had a hand in so many of the crucial events of Spanish history?

Who at 21 was in charge of Public Order in Madrid in the first November of the Civil War, when the enemy was approaching the city and the government had fled to Valencia. Santiago Carrillo, who later lived in Moscow as leader of the Spanish Communist Party, in the dark years of Stalin, in an exile that seemed endless.

Carrillo has written books of memoirs, which are not particularly revealing and do not abound with self-criticism—exercises in political self-justification. His detractors, of course, have treated him as a gross caricature of diabolical evil, one of the few Spanish Reds whose name was occasionally pronounced on Franco’s radio. For today’s purveyors of soft-left rhetoric, Carrillo is a cheerful, spry old granddad, the embodiment of “historical memory” — a fiction that adorns the indifferent vacuity of the present with the brave banners of 70 years ago.

Ideology is often a form of laziness, areason for learning nothing. The rightist sneers against Santiago Carrillo are as uninteresting as the fulsome compliments on how amazingly lucid he is at his age. They tell us nothing about the man, whose life would seem to be material for a novel. What was it like, at 21, to be shouldered with such responsibility in a besieged city, a chaos of abandoned offices and unanswered telephones ringing?

Then later living in Moscow, learning the tortuous mechanisms of survival in Stalin’s regime, sending agents to Spain who often never returned. There aremany good Civil War memoirs that give you a vivid sense of the fear, the stubborn refusal to surrender, the disappointment, and the apostasy.

But the overall impression is confused. Each book tells some part of the story, leaving others untold. And the list of good and bad personalities varies so widely. So many innocent people were marked as traitors, expelled, excommunicated with attendant anathema, something that is perpetuated in these memoirs. Years ago, reading these stories, I imagined a novel about the underground years of the Communist Party in Spain.

But I couldn’t get a grip on it. Now I see Santiago Carrillo being interviewed by Javier Rioyo together with other veterans of the time, Marcos Ana and Teodulfo Lagunero, and what I see is a new crop of complacent anecdotes, adventures of old men who prefer to inhabit a realm of vague nostalgia undisturbed by introspection or the awareness of any error, any regret.

This blurs the grandeur that the Spanish Communists possessed: that of choosing, when Franco died, the road of concord and reconciliation, shedding their ossified Soviet baggage, to put their intelligence and generosity to work in the construction of a new democracy. Justice can only be done to such lives in one of those biographies — the ones that Spaniards can’t be bothered to write.



Film world bids a fond farewell to the everyman of the Spanish screen

Actors and directors pay tribute to José Luis López Vázquez, who died last Monday aged 87


For decades he was the onscreen representative of what people would class as “your average Joe” — just a regular guy overwhelmed by life, or indeed by an exuberant blonde. José Luis López Vázquez belonged to that class of atypical actors whose mere presence evoked an entire universe of frustrations, miseries and hopes.

He mastered every nuance, and was able to rise above his image as a short, balding man with a mustache to become one of the best tragic and comic actors in the history of Spanish cinema.

López Vázquez, who died on Monday at the age of 87, had racked up more than 250 movies on his résumé, and his legacy is now part of Spain’s cultural heritage.

Born in Madrid in 1922, López Vázquez’s childhood was marked by poverty, something that made him fatalistic and mistrustful.  “I was a rootless child,” he once said. “My father left us when I was barely old enough to work out what was happening.

I was raised by my mother, who earned three pesetas a day, my grandfather and an uncle who was a bachelor. We were desperately poor, but I never felt resentful.

I was a very independent child.” He dropped out of high school to work as a typist, and soon after found his first calling in life: painting. He made a living as a set decorator, thus establishing his first contact with the world of the theater. But it wasn’t until the 1940s that he began working on the side as an actor at the María Guerrero Theater.

Just like in the movies, his first break on the stage came when he was asked to fill in for someone who fell ill, to take the role of a journalist. He would often recall later how he made audiences laugh when in the part.

But his career really took off in 1957, when he appeared in film director Luis García Berlanga’s Miracles of Thursday, and in particular a year later, in The Little Apartment. He was always aware of the limitations imposed by his physique (“I was an insignificant person, and continue to be so”) but learned how to make the most of it. He worked on The Little Coach, Plácido, The Executioner, Cousin Angelica, Peppermint Frappé and Robbery at 3 O’clock.

Even Hollywood tried to enlist him. In 1972, this short, nearsighted man worked under George Cukor in Travels With My Aunt. “Cukor was delighted with him, and I understand that when Dustin Hoffman made Tootsie, he said that he found inspiration in López Vázquez’s performance in the Oscar-nominated My Dear Señorita,” says the actress Concha Velasco.

In 2005, López Vázquez accepted an honorary Goya Award (the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards) for lifetime achievement. “He was a reference, like Fernán-Gómez, like all the greats,” said the man who handed him the prize, fellow actor José Sacristán. “The camera was always interested in him. He was a great comic and dramatic actor, but above all else he was able to convey an unsettling feeling, in a way that no one else could.”

All his colleagues agree that his technique as an actor was truly prodigious, and that there was some element of mystery to it that has gone to the grave with him. When López Vázquez was asked about his method, he never had an answer. He simply replied that he was a perfectionist a slave to an uncertain order.

He was involved with four women, and had four children from his second and third relationships.  The last movie he shot was ¿Y tú quién eres? (or, And who are you?), and fellow actor Álvaro de Luna recalls what the veteran did: “He made up a character that was not the one in the script. He acted from the gut, but was surprisingly precise. He built each character down to the smallest details —the way they walked, the way they put on their jacket… There is only a handful of actors capable of doing that.”



Tina-Turner-performs-in-L-001She’s 69 … Tina Turner Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Pop’s performing pensioners

Guardian – Dave Simpson

Today’s stars now rock right past the retirement age. How do they do it? And shouldn’t some of them stop?

Dave Swarbrick, one-time fiddler with Fairport Convention, can laugh about his “death” now. It was 1999 and he’d been taken ill in Austria. The Daily Telegraph ran the influential folk musician’s obituary. “I read it in my hospital bed,” he laughs. “It was fantastic. I sold it at gigs. I still get people asking me to sign it.”

A decade on, the much-loved “Swarb” is still playing. In fact, he plays so many gigs that he reckons he clocks up more miles than a sales rep. At 68, Swarb is one of a growing number of musicians rocking, if a little more softly, right past retirement age. Chuck Berry, one of rock’n’roll’s pioneers, is still touring, aged 83. And 73-year-old ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman is about to lead his jazz-rocker Rhythm Kings on a 34-date tour, which, he says, “will show the whippersnappers how it’s done”.

So why keep on doing it when they could all just put their feet up? “I get a £34 state pension, so I can’t stop,” jokes the fabulously rich Wyman. More seriously, he says that playing music “is where my heart is”. Swarb, who before a double lung transplant was performing in a wheelchair with oxygen tanks on stage, used to work as a printer, but never thought of himself as one. A fiddler, he says, is “who I am. If I stopped, I might as well chop my head off.”

Historically, classical composers tend to go on and on (the American composer and pianist Leo Ornstein completed his final piano sonata aged 97) – while orchestral players usually retire at the normal age, owing to the physical demands of performance. In other creative professions, very old age has never been an issue: romantic novelist Jean MacLeod is 101. Yet rock has always been seen as a “young person’s game”; and, as the greats age, their ability to rock on is astonishing experts.

“Playing live is extremely demanding,” says Simon Warner, a musicologist at Leeds University. “It involves extreme physical and mental stamina. Cheryl Cole sang on X Factor but she mimed the chorus, because it was too ‘exhausting’ to do that and dance. And Cheryl Cole is 23! If she can’t do three minutes, how on earth can Bruce Springsteen do three hours?”

Warner regards Mick Jagger – in his 60s and still running about five miles on stage during every gig – as a “physical freak”. But they are all slouches compared with Mississippi bluesman T Model Ford, who’s still “chasing women” and performing for up to five hours at a time, despite being 89 and fitted with a pacemaker. He puts it down to working in a stone mill when he was 15, “taking jobs that grown men couldn’t handle”. That and Jack Daniel’s, five wives and “the Lord”.

But can a pensionable musician really be at the top of their game? Yes, says Emma Soames, editor-at-large at Saga magazine, arguing that age isn’t a barrier if a performer has something special. She cites Neil Young, 63, as the best act at Glastonbury this year. “I’m sure he’s having more fun than if he’d put on his slippers.” And people keep telling top mezzo-soprano Felicity Palmer that she’s singing better than ever at 65. “Technically,” she says, “I know what I’m doing more than I did 20 years ago.”

There is also pride involved. Jacqui McShee, 65, has fronted folk-rock legends Pentangle since she was 23, which is a long time to be working your voice muscles. To her, the prospect of going on as a “croaky version” of her youthful self would be “awful”. Similarly, 69-year-old Tina Turner’s “booty-shaking” might not be what it once was, but some stars – such as Leonard Cohen, who’s playing to his biggest crowds at 75 – have acquired a new poignancy, and audiences love them.

Warner believes Robert Plant’s post-Led Zeppelin success, with Alison Krauss, is evidence that fans are starting to value a “grey icon”. The Stranglers’ drummer Jet Black, 71, says that when he joined the punk band, he was only in his 30s, yet his age was ridiculed in the teen-obsessed pop press. The older he got, though, the more the crowds chanted his name. “It’s like they’re willing me on,” he says.

Perhaps audiences fear that each passing tour could be the last. Both Cohen and Morrissey, a youngster at 50, recently collapsed on stage. And guitarist Mick Green, an early rock’n’roller with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and now a “hired gun” for acts such as Paul McCartney, had a heart attack in 2004, while backing Bryan Ferry. “I was dead!” he says. Amazingly, there were two doctors in the audience, who ran on stage and saved his life. Every heart specialist he saw told him to retire immediately – except one, who reasoned that it was his raison d’etre. So Green plays on. “Music’s in my blood,” he says.

While things like diabetes and kidney problems can affect ageing people in all professions, musicians have the added stresses and strains involved with keeping standards up over the course of a lifetime. Wyman has an occasional whistling in his ear from Stones amps so loud “you could feel your trousers flapping”, while Green and Swarb are partially deaf. Swarb’s shoulder muscles have atrophied from holding the violin up. “It stops me doing windmills! I can only get halfway,” he sighs. Green, who has arthritis in his fingers, has had to learn to play differently.

But singer-songwriter Roy Harper, 68, insists he’s had more injuries from gardening. He was diagnosed with the lung disorder HHT at 31 and given seven years to live, so the cult performer knows better than anyone that an older musician must treat their body well. Green regrets the early rockers’ lifestyle of “transport caffs and 40 fags a day”, while Swarb used to smoke “everything I could lay my hands on. I once got conned buying dope and bought some boot polish, but it cost so much I smoked it!”

He doesn’t regret the boot polish (“they’re all happy memories”) but does regret the tobacco, because it gave him emphysema. Even lifelong puffer Wyman eventually renounced cigarettes. McShee shunned the druggier end of the folk scene in favour of beer and curry, but that had to go when she started putting on weight. Even T Model Ford has had his notorious whiskey intake limited to “an inch” on doctor’s orders.

They have changed their lives in other ways, too. Flying used to wear Wyman out, so now he tours by car, meaning he can drive through villages he never saw before and take “nice photos”. Similarly, McShee has discovered “one thing that’s good about getting past 60 is you get a Senior Person’s Railcard. I have a little suitcase on wheels. If I go in the car my hips lock and I can’t stand up.”

Wyman has adopted a more disciplined approach to work, too. The Stones, he says, would take weeks to rehearse “songs they’d been playing for 30 years” because “Mick would turn up late after dinner with some celebs and Keith would fall asleep”. The Rhythm Kings rehearse their entire set in a less-tiring seven hours. “We’re more dedicated,” he says. Although they are mates, he doesn’t miss being in the Stones, of whom he asks: “When did they last have a hit? 1976?”

While Wyman now feels too old to write a rock song, what he can do is play in the style of the artists, such as jazz pianist Fats Waller, he listened to in his youth. So a kind of musical second childhood is opening up. On an equally positive note, McShee and Swarb both say they are not terrified of making mistakes like they were in their youth.

What does seems to be true of everyone from Bob Dylan to David Bowie is that, as musicians age, their creativity starts to fade. But those who come to it late (such as Leonard Cohen or T Model Ford, who was given a guitar by his third wife when he was 58) tend to produce good work later on, perhaps because most musicians have a finite number of ideas.

So when should a musician stop? Paul McCartney and AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, both in their 60s, are considering saying farewell to touring. Dave Brock, of festival veterans Hawkwind, says he can’t play outdoors long after 9pm any more because, at 68, “the damp gets in your bones”. This may be a case of the human body calling time, but Jet Black isn’t thinking of retiring and Mick Green would be happy to die on stage – again – doing what he loves.

“When I look in the mirror I see an old bloke,” says Green. “But when I strap on a guitar, I feel 18 again.”



*Nov 06 - 00:05*


‘Tough cookie’ Sgt. Kimberly Munley took down Fort Hood gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan


Tiny but tenacious, Sgt. Kimberly Munley was a “tough cookie” nicknamed Mighty Mouse long before her heroic takedown of the Fort Hood shooter.

“She’s the happiest, sweetest, most fun-loving girl you’d ever want to be friends with – and never want to cross,” close friend Drew Peterson said Friday.

Munley, a 34-year-old mom of two, proved her mettle Thursday when Maj. Nidal Hasan launched his bloody rampage at the Army base.

Just three minutes after Hasan shot up his fellow soldiers, Munley tracked him down outside a pre-deployment facility and unloaded on him at close range.

“She fired on him twice and drew the attention toward her. He immediately spun around and charged her,” said Chuck Medley, director of emergency services at Fort Hood.

“She fired a couple more rounds and fell back, continuing to fire.”

Munley was hit in both legs and her wrist during the gun battle but stayed on her feet and kept firing at the charging gunman.

“She struck him a couple times in the upper torso and he went down,” Medley said.

“When she rounded that corner, she made a split-second decision to put her life at risk. If she had not responded the way she had, we would have had an extremely high number of dead and injured.”

Munley, a civilian cop employed by the Army, was recovering at the hospital Friday and was unavailable for comment, but she was doing well enough to take several calls from friends.

“She said one of the bullets hit an artery and she lost a lot of blood, but she sounded in good spirits,” said country music singer Dierks Bentley, who met Munley at a July 4 event and called her Friday.

“She was laughing and joking.”

To her friends, relatives and former colleagues in North Carolina, Munley’s bravery was par for the course.

Wrightsville Beach Police Investigator Shaun Appler told the Daily News how the 120-pound cop saved him from an assailant who jumped him.

Appler was conducting a DWI traffic stop in January 2001 when he got into a heated argument with a driver and called for backup.

When Munley arrived, Appler had been tackled to the ground and was struggling to hold onto his gun.

“She actually launched on the back of this guy and together we were able to subdue him,” Appler said.

‘Mighty Mouse’

“Without her help, who knows how it would have turned out? From that point on, I’ve called her Mighty Mouse. She was never afraid to get in the middle of things.”

Peterson, 27, said he was far from surprised to hear Munley may have prevented many more deaths at Fort Hood.

“She was born and bred to be a police officer. If you were ever to be in a fight, she’d be the first person to stand up next to you and back you up,” he said.

“She’s a tough cookie.”

A native of Carolina Beach whose father served as mayor, Munley became a cop in nearby Wrightsville Beach in 2000 and quickly forged a reputation as a cop who never shied from a challenge.

“She’s pretty much fearless,” Chief John Carey said. “She is a small-framed person, but she was always willing to jump in and help other officers.”

Munley also distinguished herself with her firearm skills.

“She’s a very good shot,” Carey said.

After serving with the Wrightsville Beach force and at a local hospital, she moved to Texas and enlisted in the Army in 2005.

Munley spent two years as a chemical operations specialist before becoming a civilian cop assigned to Fort Hood.

Her stepmother, Wanda Barbour, said her family has become accustomed to her acts of courage.

“When I heard a female officer was involved, I knew in my heart it was her,” Barbour said. “I wasn’t surprised at all that she was right there. It’s just the way she is.”


She opened her eyes and said, ‘Did anybody die?’