UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Africa News blog:

Must we see rape in Britain to understand rape in Congo?

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I was left somewhat traumatised after going to see a screening of a controversial new Hollywood-backed short released this week, aimed at highlighting the link between minerals mined for British mobile phones and the use of rape and murder as weapons of war in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The highly graphic campaign video - appropriately called Unwatchable - starts with a little English girl picking flowers in the garden of her family’s multi-million pound mansion in a picturesque Cotswolds village.

This tranquil scene is shattered in an instant when armed men descend on the house, gang-rape her sister on the kitchen table and then murder her parents. It ends five minutes later with the girl running for her life.

“We placed it in a sort of cliché idyllic countryside, and tracing it back to mobile phones would make it relevant to people on the street,” Marc Hawker of production company DarkFibre told AlertNet.

from Fan Fare:

New Dads Elton John, David Furnish plan more movies

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JohnFurnishNow that they have baby Zachary to look after, Elton John and David Furnish may follow up their animated movie "Gnomeo and Juliet" with more kids' films. Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born on Christmas Day at a Los Angeles hospital to a surrogate mother.

The celebrity couple produced the feel-good, gnome-infested take on William Shakespeare's bleak tragedy "Romeo and Juliet", and the film hits theatres in Britain and the United States on Feb. 11. At the London premiere this weekend, the couple walked the red carpet along with some of the stars who provided voices, including Emily Blunt, Stephen Merchant and Matt Lucas.

from Fan Fare:

Who is greatest stage actor of all?

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McKellenSo who is the greatest stage actor of them all?

Britain's "The Stage" theatrical publication is holding a poll to ask visitors to its website to choose who is the best stage actor of all time. Six of the 10 shortlisted artists are still alive, and include legends not only of the stage, but also the screen, including Judi Dench and Ian McKellen (pictured at right). The Stage will keep the voting lines open for the next 10 weeks and publish the winner in a special Christmas edition.

Here is the full list. How about giving us your opinion as well? And if you think the best ever to walk the boards is not on the list, let us know.

from Fan Fare:

Colin Firth — once an awards militant, now a convert

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colin firth Honesty from actors tends to be in short supply around Hollywood's awards season. Most respond to questions about possible Oscar or Golden Globe nominations with the standard line about "the  honor" of simply being nominated.

So it was refreshing when British actor Colin Firth -- still perhaps best known as the deliciously wet-shirted Mr Darcy of  "Pride and Prejudice" fame  -- admitted that he used to boycott award ceremonies. Until he did just that and lost out to a rival.

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