Britney Spears’ dad claims his daughter’s day-to-day guardian called her “mentally sick” and possibly in need of another 5150 psychiatric hold during a phone call last month. Jamie Spears made the surprise claim in a sworn statement signed Friday and submitted to a Los Angeles County judge to oppose a request for his immediate suspension as conservator of his Britney’s estate. He said Jodi Mongtomery, the temporary conservator selected to manage his daughter’s medical care and security when he stepped down from that part of the 13-year conservatorship in September 2019, sounded “very distraugh...
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Movie stars, directors and fans descended on South Korea's port town of Busan Wednesday as Asia's largest film festival returned at full power post-pandemic, with an Iranian film opening the event.
Top Korean actors and Asian stars including Hong Kong's legendary Tony Leung are set to attend the Busan International Film Festival, which opened with a red carpet event and will run until October 14.
South Korea has cemented its status as a global cultural powerhouse in recent years, thanks in part to the explosive success of the Oscar-winning film "Parasite" and the Netflix series "Squid Game".
But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Busan festival was reduced to a fraction of its usual scale in 2020, while last year's edition took place with a number of social distancing measures.
But the festival is back with no restrictions for 2022, with high-profile guests such as Japan's famed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda flying in to discuss their latest projects.
"We feel fortunate to be able to play the role of Asia's best film festival again," festival director Huh Moon-young told reporters last month.
The festival will feature 243 movies from 71 countries, including 89 that will have their world premiere.
Hosts South Korea are well-represented, with K-pop megastar and actress IU joining Kore-eda to discuss their film "Broker" -- which was featured at the Cannes film festival earlier this year.
The festival opened with Iranian filmmaker Hadi Mohaghegh's "Scent of Wind", which tells the story of a father and a son -- both of whom have disabilities -- living in a remote village.
Celebrating Tony Leung
Hong Kong's acclaimed actor Tony Leung has been selected as the recipient of Busan's "Asian Cineaste of the Year" prize.
The festival will screen six films featuring Leung, who will be in Busan to receive the award and meet with festival goers.
Leung, 60, is best known for his collaborations with famed director Wong Kar-wai, and picked the six films himself -- which include Wong's "In the Mood for Love" (2000) and "Happy Together" (1997).
Other anticipated screenings include Korean-Canadian director Anthony Shim's "Riceboy Sleeps," which tells the story of a Korean immigrant single mother, said the festival's programmer Nam Dong-chul.
"The movie is expected to become the next 'Minari'," Nam said, referring to a 2020 drama about South Korean immigrants in the United States, which received rave reviews and a slew of awards, including the best supporting actress Oscar.
Four South Korean top stars -- Kang Dong-won, Han Ji-min, Lee Young-ae and Ha Jung-woo -- will meet with fans in Busan to talk about their life and work.
Japanese director Kei Ishikawa's drama "A Man" -- about a widow who discovers unexpected truths about her late husband -- will close the edition.
© 2022 AFP
Iranian schoolgirls have come to the fore in protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, removing their hijabs and staging sporadic rallies in defiance of a lethal crackdown by the security forces.
Amini, 22, was pronounced dead days after the notorious morality police detained the Iranian Kurd last month for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.
Anger flared at her funeral and spread to become the biggest wave of protests to rock Iran in almost three years, despite the backlash by the security forces that has killed scores and seen hundreds arrested.
Students rallied at the weekend before being confronted by riot police who cornered them in an underground car park of Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology before hauling them away.
Schoolgirls have since taken up the baton around the country, removing their hijabs, shouting anti-regime slogans and defacing images of the clerical state's leaders.
"Death to the dictator," a group of bare-headed girls is seen chanting in reference to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as they force a man, reportedly the principal, out of a school in Karaj, west of Tehran, on Monday in a video verified by AFP.
Another group of girls is seen chanting "Woman, life, freedom", as they march down a street of the Karaj neighborhood of Gohardasht.
"These are really extraordinary scenes. If these protests are going to achieve anything, it will be because of the schoolgirls," Esfandyar Batmanghelidj of the Bourse & Bazaar news and analysis website tweeted in response.
Schoolgirls are also seen emptying classrooms and appearing at flash-mob protests to avoid detection, in other footage shared online.
A boisterous group of girls are seen yelling "Get lost, Basiji", in reference to the paramilitary force, at a man standing at a podium in the southern city of Shiraz, in a video shared by the 1500tasvir social media channel.
AFP has been unable to independently verify the footage.
As the women-led protests stretch into a fourth week, Iran has widened its crackdown, rounding up high profile supporters of the movement and imposing internet restrictions that limit access to social media.
On Tuesday night, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour, who was arrested after his song in support of the protests went viral and became an anthem for the movement, was released on bail.
"I'm here to say I'm okay. But I am sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran -- which I have had no relations with -- made some improper political uses of this song," he told his 1.9 million Instagram followers shortly after his release.
Iran's judiciary meanwhile opened an investigation into the death of teenage girl Nika Shakrami who was reportedly killed during the protests.
BBC Persian and Iran Wire had reported that authorities had taken possession of her body and secretly buried her on Monday to avoid a funeral that could spark more protests.
At least 92 protesters have been killed so far in the unrest, according to Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR).
Amnesty International has confirmed 53 deaths, while Fars news agency put the death toll at "around 60" last week. At least 12 members of the security forces have been reported killed.
Another 63 people were killed last week when security forces "bloodily suppressed" a protest in Zahedan, near Iran's southeastern border with Pakistan, said IHR.
The clashes erupted after Friday prayers during protests sparked by accusations a police chief in the region had raped a teenage girl of the Baluch Sunni minority, it said.
The crackdown has drawn global condemnation.
On Tuesday the European Union joined the United States in warning that it was looking to impose tough new sanctions on Iran over the bloody crackdown.
Proposed sanctions targeting senior Iranian officials include "freezing their assets and their right to travel", French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said.
Iran has repeatedly accused outside forces of stoking the protests and last week said nine foreign nationals -- including from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland -- had been arrested.
But the White House said the "problems with Iran's behaviour" are separate from efforts to revive the nuclear deal.
© 2022 AFP
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said the Herschel Walker saga revealed the depths of Republican corruption.
The Georgia Republican reportedly paid for a girlfriend's abortion in 2009, although he now says it's murder, and his son lashed out against him as an absentee and abusive father to him and his other children, some of whom only became known during his Senate campaign, and the "Morning Joe" host said Walker was deeply unfit for office in numerous ways.
"Well, I would say the corruption is complete, but, well, that was known to Americans a long time ago, during Donald Trump's first campaign for president," Scarborough said. "This is a good sort of update, a good check on where the Republican Party stands. Did they fall in line, every single one of them fall in line? On one day when their leader actually attacks the Senate minority leader, and puts a death wish on him, and then make racist statements about his wife, no Republican comes out and condemns him by name."
"Then the next day his son comes out," Scarborough added, "the son of Herschel Walker comes out on this report on this abortion that the son says Herschel Walker is lying about, and the son confirms what we've all read, that he's abused his wife. He's lied about the abuse, he has four children out of wedlock, I think the son said. Never raised one of them, lied about most of them. He lied about his education, says he graduated from Georgia -- he never did. Lied about working for law enforcement -- he never did. He lied about working with the FBI -- he never did, and from a distance he seems to be, and I'm being very polite here, he seems to be a deeply disturbed man, incapable, as some of his friends from his hometown said, incapable of running a small Georgia town, let alone being a United States Senator."
Republicans know about all of this, Scarborough said, but they've made clear they don't care.
"This is evident to everyone in the Republican Party," Scarborough said. "They know that, but the corruption of the party has reached such a level that even somebody with Herschel Walker's background and with the stories from his ex-wife that, you know, he'd abuse her, put a gun to her head. All of this just doesn't -- they don't even flinch. So, well, let's see what impact this will have on the race."
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