Sobre la hipócrita María Milagros Charbonier
4 hours ago
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Action film parody "Tropic Thunder" held onto the top spot at the North American box office for a third straight week as the summer moviegoing season drew to a close, Hollywood studios reported on Sunday.
Paramount Pictures' farcical combat movie within a comedy, starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black, sold an estimated $11.5 million in U.S. and Canadian tickets Friday through Sunday to bring its three-week tally to $83.8 million.
Its biggest competition came from a real action flick, the sci-fi thriller "Babylon A.D." from 20th Century Fox starring Vin Diesel, which grossed an estimated $9.7 million in its first weekend to land at No. 2.
Blockbuster Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" climbed a notch up the box office chart to No. 3 with weekend receipts of nearly $8.8 million, pushing its cumulative domestic haul past the $500 million mark in its seventh week of release.
"Dark Knight," a Warner Bros, release, stands as the second-highest-grossing domestic film of all time, behind "Titanic."
The U.S. Labor Day holiday on Monday marks the official conclusion to Hollywood's 18-week summer film season, which is expected to end with roughly $4 billion in domestic box office receipts overall.
Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc, Fox is a division of News Corp and Warner Bros. belongs to Time Warner Inc.
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - The price of rat meat has quadrupled in Cambodia this year as inflation has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people, officials said on Wednesday.
With consumer price inflation at 37 percent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel ($1.28) from 1,200 riel last year.
Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs 20,000 riel a kg.
Officials said rats were fleeing to higher ground from flooded areas of the lower Mekong Delta, making it easier for villagers to catch them.
"Many children are happy making some money from selling the animals to the markets, but they keep some for their family," Ly Marong, an agriculture official, said by telephone from the Koh Thom district on the border with Vietnam.
"Not only are our poor eating it, but there is also demand from Vietnamese living on the border with us."
He estimated that Cambodia supplied more than a tonne of live rats a day to Vietnam.
Rats are also eaten widely in Thailand, while a state government in eastern India this month encouraged its people to eat rats in an effort to battle soaring food prices and save grain stocks.
($1 = 3,900 riel)
ROME (Reuters) - An Italian museum Thursday defied Pope Benedict and refused to remove a modern art sculpture portraying a crucified green frog holding a beer mug and an egg that the Vatican had condemned as blasphemous.
The board of the Museion museum in the northern city of Bolzano decided by a majority vote that the frog was a work of art and would stay in place for the remainder of an exhibition.
The wooden sculpture by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger depicts a frog about 1 meter 30 cm (4 feet) high nailed to brown cross and holding a beer mug in one outstretched hand and an egg in another.
Called "Zuerst die Fuesse," (Feet First), it wears a green loin cloth and is nailed through the hands and the feet in the manner of Jesus Christ. Its green tongue hangs out of its mouth.
Kippenberger's works have been shown at the Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery in London and at the Venice Biennale, and retrospectives are planned in Los Angeles and New York.
Museum officials in the northern bi-lingual Alto Adige region near the Austrian border said the artist, who died in 1997, considered it a self-portrait illustrating human angst.
Pope Benedict, who is German himself and was recently on holiday not far from Bolzano, obviously did not agree.
The Vatican wrote a letter of support in the pope's name to Franz Pahl, president of the regional government who opposed the sculpture. Pahl released parts of the letter, which said the work "wounds the religious sentiments of so many people who see in the cross the symbol of God's love."
Pahl, whose province is heavily Catholic, was so outraged by the sculpture of the pop-eyed amphibian that he went on a hunger strike to demand its removal and had to be taken to hospital during the summer.
"Surely this is not a work of art but a blasphemy and a disgusting piece of trash that upsets many people," Pahl told Reuters by telephone.
"This decision to keep the statue there is is totally unacceptable. It is a grave offence to our Catholic population," he said.
"Art must always be free and the artist should not have any restrictions on freedom of expression," Claudio Strinati, a superintendent for Rome's state museums, told an Italian newspaper Thursday.
Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 reboots the beloved ongoing "Love and Rockets" comic into a fat, all-new annual graphic novel length package.
Jaime launches the new format with a story that's unusual even for him... A full-on, pulse-pounding super-hero yarn! Maggie's longtime friend Penny Century has finally realized her longtime dream of acquiring super-powers, but at a terrible personal cost. Now she rampages through the galaxy, half mad with grief, and a motley group of super-heroes assembles to try to stop her -- led by Maggie's girlfriend Angel and her mysterious neighbor Alarma, and involving a number of characters longtime Love and Rockets fans will delight in recognizing.
The epic-length 50-page story (only the first half of the saga!) combines Jaime's razor sharp characterization and superlative art with wildly inventive, Kirby-style slam-bang super-hero action.
Then Gilbert Hernandez explodes with a similarly generous helping of his fantastically creative one-shot short stories: "Tamanny" (rookie cop vs. demonic drug users); "Papa" (a turn-of-the-century story involving a traveling businessman); "The New Adventures of Duke and Sammy" (super-powered Martin and Lewis impostors in outer space); "The Tender Room" (Into the Wild as re-imagined by Beto); "Chiro el Indio" (written by third brother Mario Hernandez); and "Never Say Never" (a kangaroo gets lucky in Las Vegas).
One hundred pages of Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez at the peak of their powers: this is a major graphic-novel event
Priest cancels nun beauty contest
An Italian priest who said he wanted to hold the world's first beauty contest for nuns has decided to cancel the project, saying he was misunderstood.
Antonio Rungi said he had never intended to put sisters on the catwalk, but had wanted to erase a stereotype of them as being old and dour.
He had wanted to hold the contest online on his internet blog.
Father Rungi said he changed his mind after the local religious authorities expressed their displeasure.
"My superiors were not happy. The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," Father Rungi told Reuters news agency from the town of Mondragone, near Naples.
"It was interpreted as more of a physical thing," he said. "Now, no one is saying that nuns can't be beautiful, but I was thinking about something more complete."
He said he had intended to showcase the good works that nuns do, especially in education and health care, so as to boost interest in religious vocations.
"We have to draw more attention to the world of nuns, who are often not sufficiently appreciated by society," he wrote in his blog.
"Nuns are - above all - women, and beauty is a gift from God," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper before he cancelled the project.
He had wanted nuns to send their photos to him, so that internet users could then choose the winner.
Father Rungi said the idea of the contest had been put to him by nuns themselves.
Priest to hold nun beauty pageant.
An Italian priest says he is organising the world's first beauty pageant for nuns to erase a stereotype of them as being old and dour.
Antonio Rungi says The Miss Sister Italy online contest will start on his blog in September.
"Nuns are above all women and beauty is a gift from God," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.
He is asking nuns to send their photos to him, saying that internet users will then choose the winner.
Father Rungi stressed that nuns were not being invited to parade in bathing suits, saying it will be up to them whether they pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.
"This contest will be a way to show there isn't just the beauty we see on television but also a more discreet charm," the priest, who lives near the southern city of Naples, told the Corriere della Sera.
"You really think all nuns are old, stunted and sad? This isn't the case anymore," he said, pointing out that many young nuns had arrived to Italy from around the world.
He added that the idea of staging such a contest had been suggested by nuns themselves.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Action movie spoof "Tropic Thunder" commanded the No. 1 spot at North American box offices for the second straight week, narrowly conquering sorority-themed college romp "House Bunny."
"Tropic Thunder," which stars Robert Downey Jr, Ben Stiller and Jack Black, had an estimated weekend total of $16.1 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters, bringing its total domestic take to $65.7 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
Downey, Stiller and Black have won much laughter from audiences playing a group of self-absorbed Hollywood actors caught up in a real-life battle with narco-terrorists while filming a war movie in Southeast Asia. The film was directed, co-written and co-produced by Stiller and was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.
"House Bunny," from Sony Corp's Columbia Pictures unit, debuted at No. 2 with ticket sales of $15.1 million.
Written by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz of "Legally Blonde" fame, the comedy stars Anna Faris as a former Playboy playmate who becomes house mother to socially inept sorority sisters after being cast out of the Playboy mansion.
In third place was "Death Race" with a weekend tally of $12.3 million, according to a spokesman for Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal.
The film, loosely based on 1975's "Death Race 2000," stars Jason Statham as a former Nascar champion and ex-con who is framed for his wife's murder and forced by a prison warden to compete in a brutal winner-take-all race of weaponized monster cars. Joan Allen stars as the icy prison warden.
The blockbuster Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" slipped from last week's No. 2 slot to No. 4 as ticket sales tumbled 37 percent to $10.3 million.
"The Dark Knight," a Warner Bros release, has amassed more than $489 million in six weeks of domestic ticket sales and is the second-highest grossing domestic film ever behind "Titanic."
Warner Bros' animated "Star Wars" movie, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," rounded out the top five with an estimated $5.7 million in North American ticket sales.
"Pineapple Express," a stoner comedy named for a strong type of marijuana, stoked box offices with $5.6 million in sales in its third week, while the American remake of the South Korean horror film "Mirrors," starring Kiefer Sutherland of the hit TV series "24," grossed $4.9 million in its second week to land in the No. 7 spot.
"The Longshots," based on the real-life story of 11-year-old Jasmine Plummer -- the first girl to compete as a quarterback in the Super Bowl of Pop Warner football, squeaked past "Mamma Mia!" in its first week in theaters with $4.3 million in ticket sales.
Lumbering in at No. 10 with $4.1 million in sales was Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Big-screen Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. scored his second No. 1 movie of the summer on Sunday as Hollywood spoof "Tropic Thunder" ended the month-long reign of "The Dark Knight" atop the North American box office.
"Tropic Thunder," a farcical combat movie within a comedy that also stars Ben Stiller and Jack Black, grossed $26 million during its first weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, bringing its five-day estimated total from Wednesday's opening to $37 million.
Downey who appears in the film in blackface, portraying a white actor playing a black action hero, also starred in the summer's first chart-topping movie, Marvel Studios' "Iron Man."
The superhero drama, which like "Tropic Thunder" was distributed by Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures, grossed nearly $99 million its opening weekend in May.
In "Tropic Thunder," Downey, Stiller and Black star as self-absorbed Hollywood actors caught up in a real-life battle with narco-terrorists while filming a war movie in Southeast Asia. The film was directed, co-written and co-produced by Stiller.
The blockbuster Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" slipped to No. 2 with $16.8 million in ticket sales in its fifth weekend of release but broke yet another commercial barrier along the way by becoming the second-highest-grossing film ever, according to box office tracking service Media By Numbers.
BATMAN FINDS NEW PERCH
"The Dark Knight," starring Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the villainous Joker in his last completed role, has now amassed more than $471 million in domestic ticket sales. That tally ranks second only to the $601 million grossed by all-time champion "Titanic."
Adjusted for inflation, though, the 1997 blockbuster stands at No. 6 in the record books, far behind "Gone with the Wind" at $1.4 billion in today's dollars, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.
The Batman sequel surpassed the original "Star Wars" movie -- $461 million -- as No. 2 on the all-time box office list on Saturday. Distributor Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, has said it expects "Dark Knight" to end up with about $520 million in domestic receipts.
The last movie to remain at No. 1 for four straight weekends was "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," in 2003-2004, Box Office Mojo said.
The latest addition to the "Star Wars" franchise, a newly animated tale called "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," opened at No. 3 this weekend with an estimated $15.5 million in North American ticket sales. The film is designed in part as a launch pad for a new TV series of the same name coming to the Cartoon Network.
The weekend's only other wide release, an American remake of the South Korean horror film "Mirrors," starring Kiefer Sutherland of the hit TV series "24," grossed $11.1 million to land at No. 4.
Last week's runner-up at the box office, the stoner comedy "Pineapple Express," fell to No. 5 with $10 million, a drop-off of nearly 60 percent from its opening tally.
Woody Allen's latest offering, the well-reviewed romantic comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, opened in just under 700 theaters nationwide to gross $3.7 million and round out this weekend's top 10.
Domestic box office receipts overall this weekend stood at $126 million, down 3 percent from the same weekend a year ago.
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Bigfoot or big fat lie? Whenever someone reports sighting the hairy beast of yore (details always fuzzy) or capturing the hirsute humanoid on film (images always grainy), it scares up a dubious debate of international proportions. Friday was just the latest episode in the Sasquatch show, as unreal as it may be.
Two men who claim to have stumbled across a Bigfoot corpse in the woods of northern Georgia indignantly stood by their story at a news conference in Palo Alto during which they offered an e-mail from a scientist as evidence and acknowledged they wouldn't mind making a few bucks from the "find" they have kept stuffed in a freezer for over a month.
"Everyone who has talked down to us is going to eat their words," predicted Matt Whitton, an officer on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department.
Whitton and Rick Dyer, a former corrections officer, announced the discovery in early July on YouTube videos and their Web site. Although they did not consider themselves devoted Bigfoot trackers before then, they have since started offering weekend search expeditions in Georgia for $499. The specimen they bagged, the men say, was one of several apelike creatures they spotted cavorting in the woods.
As they faced a skeptical audience of several hundred journalists and Bigfoot fans that included one curiosity seeker in a Chewbacca suit, the pair were joined Friday by Tom Biscardi, head of a group called Searching for Bigfoot. Other Bigfoot hunters call Biscardi a huckster looking for media attention.
Biscardi fielded most of the questions. Among them: Why should anyone accept the men's tale when they weren't willing to display their frozen artifact or pinpoint where they allegedly found it? How come bushwhackers aren't constantly tripping over primate remains if there are as many as 7,000 Bigfoots roaming the United States, as Biscardi claimed?
"I understand where you are coming from, but how many real Bigfoot researchers are out there trekking 140,000 miles a year?" Biscardi said.
Biscardi, Whitton and Dyer presented what they called evidence supporting the Bigfoot theory. It was an e-mail from a University of Minnesota scientist, but all it said was that of the three DNA samples sent to the scientist, one was human, one was likely a possum and the third could not be tested because of technical problems.
At least one other Bigfoot researcher, Idaho State University anthropologist Jeffrey Meldrum, called the trio's claims "not compelling in the least." He told the Scientific American that photographs posted on the Web site "just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect."
Whitton and Dyer have offered three different accounts of how they found the beast's remains.
In early videos, the animal was shot by a former felon, and the men followed it into the woods. In a second version, they found a "family of Bigfoot" in the north Georgia mountains. In the third, the two were hiking and stumbled upon the corpse with open wounds.
In one of their YouTube videos, they are shown speaking with a man they identify as a scientist. Earlier this week, they admitted that the man was Dyer's brother. Dyer said they were simply having fun.
Asked why anyone should believe his claims when he already had shown a flair for tomfoolery, he suggested that skeptics simply are jealous.
"They don't have a choice to believe us. We have a body," Dyer said.
LONDON (Reuters) - Batman movie star Christian Bale will not face charges after his mother and sister alleged he had assaulted them in a London hotel last month, Britain's prosecution service said on Thursday.
The Welsh-born 34-year-old actor, currently starring in one of Hollywood's most successful blockbusters "The Dark Knight," was released on bail without charge in late July after being questioned by London police.
The allegations had been made at the same time as The Dark Knight debuted in Europe.
"Taking all the factors into consideration, the decision has been taken that there is insufficient evidence to afford a realistic prospect of conviction, and accordingly the police have been advised that no further action should be taken against Mr. Bale," the Crown Prosecution Service said.
"Whilst the CPS treats all incidents which take place in a domestic context seriously, it is important that the views of complainants are also taken into account when making decisions in such cases."
The latest Batman film shattered box office records by grossing nearly $160 million during its first three days in North American theatres.
ROME (Reuters) - With the ruins of ancient Rome, the splendor of Vatican City and countless Renaissance art treasures, what does Italy's capital lack to attract tourists?
The answer, according to the mayor's office, is a Disneyland-style theme park.
"The model is Euro-Disney in Paris," said Deputy Mayor Mauro Cutrufo, announcing plans to build a vast ancient Rome theme park just outside the city which he says could be up and running within three to four years.
The park would provide family-friendly attractions to show visitors what life was like in the Rome of 2,000 years ago.
To be built on an as yet unspecified 400-500 hectare (1,000-1,200 acre) site, it would put a Roman twist on rides like Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, in which visitors float on boats through a fantasy pirate world.
"You would relive scenes from the Colosseum, from ancient Rome, gladiators or maybe Julius Caesar or other things," a Rome city official told Reuters.
A decision on whether to go ahead with the park could be made as early as next month after market research has shown potential demand for the plan.
But the park has already run into some opposition.
The government of the Lazio region, of which Rome is the capital, is run by the centre left and they are hostile to the proposal from the city council which is in the hands of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre right.
"I say no to Americanization," said Claudio Mancini, a member of the Lazio council, who hopes the project will be stopped at the planning stage.
"There are planning considerations to weigh up because 500 hectares isn't nothing," he was quoted as saying in the Corriere della Sera daily.
China Olympic ceremony star mimed
By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
A pretty girl who won national fame after singing at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was only miming.
Wearing a red dress and pigtails, Lin Miaoke charmed a worldwide audience with a rendition of "Ode to the Motherland".
But the singer was Yang Peiyi, who was not allowed to appear because she is not as "flawless" as nine-year-old Lin.
The show's musical director said Lin was used because it was in the best interests of the country.
The revelation follows news that a fireworks display used during the opening ceremony was apparently faked.
Speaking on Beijing Radio station, musical director Chen Qigang said the organisers needed a girl with both a good image and a good voice.
They faced a dilemma because although Lin was prettier, seven-year-old Yang had the better voice, Mr Chen said.
"After several tests, we decided to put Lin Miaoke on the live picture, while using Yang Peiyi's voice," he told the radio station.
"The reason for this is that we must put our country's interest first," he added.
"The girl appearing on the picture must be flawless in terms of her facial expression and the great feeling she can give to people."
Singer Lin, who is being called the "smiling angel", has already become a media celebrity because of her performance.
She told state-run China Daily that she felt "beautiful" in the red dress she wore during the performance.
Her dad told the newspaper that she already had fans all over the country.
According to Chinese news reports, Yang said she did not regret the decision, saying she was satisfied to have had her voice featured in the opening ceremony.
This is the second "fake" story about the opening ceremony
Viewers around the world saw a display in which 29 firework "footprints" travelled across Beijing from south to north.
But a senior official from the Beijing organising committee (Bocog) confirmed on Tuesday that footage of the display had been produced before the big night.
This was provided to broadcasters for "convenience and theatrical effects", according to Wang Wei, Bocog's executive vice-president.
"Because of poor visibility, some previously recorded footage may have been used," he told
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese police have arrested a 20-year-old man who attacked and robbed two people after they stared at his Winnie-the-Pooh costume, officials said on Tuesday.
Masayuki Ishikawa was hanging out on a Tokyo street corner after midnight last month while wearing the cuddly costume, accompanied by two friends dressed as a mouse and a panther, when he took offence at being stared at, police said.
"It's uncommon to see people dressed up like this, so the victims were watching them. Then the perpetrator came up and said 'What are you staring at?'" a police spokesman said.
Ishikawa and his friends beat up the two victims and stole $160 from them, the spokesman said, adding the group had apparently donned the unusual garb because they had run out of clean clothes.
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The glow of NBC's Olympic ratings victory threatens to be sullied by reports that the Beijing Olympic Committee and the network have been less-than-scrupulous in their presentation of the Summer Games.
Organizers are accused of mixing in fake CGI fireworks during Friday night's opening ceremony, while NBC is said to have added a bogus "Live" stamp to tape-delayed West Coast feed of competition coverage this weekend, and edited the "parade of nations" segment of the opening ceremony to delay the entrance of the U.S. Olympic Team.
A look at each report, along with a response from NBC Sports:
Accusation: Viewers were misled by the use of computer-generated fireworks during a sweeping helicopter shot leading up to the Bird's Nest. Organizers note the fireworks were there, but the footage was created in advance due to the danger of shooting live from a nearby helicopter.
NBC Response: An NBC Sports spokesperson says U.S. viewers were informed of the manipulation. Commentators Matt Lauer and Bob Costas said the fireworks were a digital effect. From the opening ceremony transcript during the fireworks in question:
Lauer: "You're looking at a cinematic device employed by Zhang Yimou here. This is actually almost animation. A footstep a second, 29 in all, to signify the 29 Olympiads."
Costas: "We said earlier that aspects of this Opening Ceremony are almost like cinema in real time. Well this is quite literally cinematic."
Analysis: Mixing real and CGI fireworks during an Olympic event is visually misleading, though NBC did try to address the issue. The question is, during a spectacular-looking shot, do the phrases "cinematic device" and "almost animation" really convey that the image wasn't real? It seems more to hint that something about it wasn't quite literal, while coming shy of saying -- in far more clear and simple terms -- "this is a digitally manufactured shot to represent what's happening right now outside the stadium."
Accusation: NBC is time stamping West Coast feeds of competition coverage with a "Live" tag even though the coverage is not live.
NBC Response: A spokesperson points out the constant "Live" tag is accompanied by twice-per-hour time stamps that inform West Coast viewers that the event was only live on the East Coast (ex. "10:05 ET").
"The audience makeup of the Olympics is very much like that of 'American Idol' and 'Dancing with the Stars' which have 'live' season finales presented in much the same way," an NBC Sports spokesperson says. "You assume there's a large amount of intelligence in the viewing audience, so when they see those twice-an-hour time stamps they'll understand what is being presented."
Analysis: If a sporting event's feed isn't live, a broadcaster should avoid using an omnipresent "live" tag. The best reason to have this tag on a West Coast feed (and to not put a clear "tape delayed" notice) is for the same reason some are incensed -- it gives viewers an impression of live urgency that isn't quite there. Like with the fireworks, the original complaint is mollified by the facts, to a degree: to a casual viewer the coverage shows one thing, while to somebody paying close attention, it shows something slightly less exciting.
Accusation: NBC edited the "parade of nations" from the original order to delay the entrance of U.S. athletes.
NBC Response: An NBC Sports spokesman says the order was unchanged.
Analysis: Editing a sporting event like a reality show to save the most eagerly awaited moments for the conclusion would be an issue -- if it were true. As it is, online reports have provided no real evidence.
Scientists in the US say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people invisible.
Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects making them "disappear".
The materials do not occur naturally but have been created on a nano scale, measured in billionths of a meter.
The team says the principles could one day be scaled up to make invisibility cloaks large enough to hide people.
The findings, by scientists led by Xiang Zhang, were published in the journals Nature and Science.
The light-bending effect relies on reversing refraction, the effect that makes a straw placed in water appear bent.
Previous efforts have shown this negative refraction effect using microwaves—a wavelength far longer than humans can see.
In order to have the 'Harry Potter' effect, you just need to find the right materials for the visible wavelengths
The new materials instead work at wavelengths around those used in the telecommunications industry—much nearer to the visible part of the spectrum.
Two different teams led by Zhang made objects made of so-called metamaterials—artificial structures with features smaller than the wavelength of light that give the materials their unusual properties.
One approach used nanometer-scale stacks of silver and magnesium fluoride in a "fishnet" structure, while another made use of nanowires made of silver.
Light is neither absorbed nor reflected by the objects, passing "like water flowing around a rock," according to the researchers. As a result, only the light from behind the objects can be seen.
The fine structure of the material gives it light-bending abilities
"This is a huge step forward, a tremendous achievement," says Professor Ortwin Hess of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey.
"It's a careful choice of the right materials and the right structuring to get this effect for the first time at these wavelengths."
There could be more immediate applications for the devices in telecommunications, Prof Hess says.
What's more, they could be used to make better microscopes, allowing images of far smaller objects than conventional microscopes can see.
And a genuine cloaking effect isn't far around the corner.
"In order to have the 'Harry Potter' effect, you just need to find the right materials for the visible wavelengths," says Prof Hess, "and it's absolutely thrilling to see we're on the right track."
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless "Theme From Shaft" won Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. He was 65.
A family member found him unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of death was not immediately known.
In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap.
His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show "South Park."
Steve Shular, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said authorities received a 911 call after Hayes' wife and young son and his wife's cousin returned home from the grocery store and found him collapsed in a downstairs bedroom. A sheriff's deputy administered CPR until paramedics arrived.
"The treadmill was running but he was unresponsive lying on the floor," Shular said.
The album "Hot Buttered Soul" made Hayes a star in 1969. His shaven head, gold chains and sunglasses gave him a compelling visual image.
"Hot Buttered Soul" was groundbreaking in several ways: He sang in a "cool" style unlike the usual histrionics of big-time soul singers. He prefaced the song with "raps," and the numbers ran longer than three minutes with lush arrangements.
"Jocks would play it at night," Hayes recalled in a 1999 Associated Press interview. "They could go to the bathroom, they could get a sandwich, or whatever."
Next came "Theme From Shaft," a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film "Shaft" starring Richard Roundtree.
"That was like the shot heard round the world," Hayes said in the 1999 interview.
At the Oscar ceremony in 1972, Hayes performed the song wearing an eye-popping amount of gold and received a standing ovation. TV Guide later chose it as No. 18 in its list of television's 25 most memorable moments. He won an Academy Award for the song and was nominated for another one for the score. The song and score also won him two Grammys.
"The rappers have gone in and created a lot of hit music based upon my influence," he said. "And they'll tell you if you ask."
Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
"I knew nothing about the business, or trends and things like that," he said. "I think it was a matter of timing. I didn't know what was unfolding."
A self-taught musician, he was hired in 1964 by Stax Records of Memphis as a backup pianist, working as a session musician for Otis Redding and others. He also played saxophone.
He began writing songs, establishing a songwriting partnership with David Porter, and in the 1960s they wrote such hits for Sam and Dave as "Hold On, I'm Coming" and "Soul Man."
All this led to his recording contract.
In 1972, he won another Grammy for his album "Black Moses" and earned a nickname he reluctantly embraced. Hayes composed film scores for "Tough Guys" and "Truck Turner" besides "Shaft." He also did the song "Two Cool Guys" on the "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" movie soundtrack in 1996.
Additionally, he was the voice of Nickelodeon's "Nick at Nite" and had radio shows in New York City (1996 to 2002) and then in Memphis.
He was in several movies, including "It Could Happen to You" with Nicolas Cage, "Ninth Street" with Martin Sheen, "Reindeer Games" starring Ben Affleck and the blaxploitation parody "I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka."
In the 1999 interview, Hayes described the South Park cook as "a person that speaks his mind; he's sensitive enough to care for children; he's wise enough to not be put into the 'whack' category like everybody else in town — and he l-o-o-o-o-ves the ladies."
But Hayes angrily quit the show in 2006 after an episode mocked his Scientology religion. "There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," he said.
Co-creator creators Matt Stone responded that Hayes "has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." A subsequent episode of the show seemingly killed off the Chef character.
Hayes was born in 1942 in a tin shack in Covington, Tenn., about 40 miles north of Memphis. He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother died and his father took off when he was 1 1/2. The family moved to Memphis when he was 6.
Hayes wanted to be a doctor, but got redirected when he won a talent contest in ninth grade by singing Nat King Cole's "Looking Back."
He held down various low-paying jobs, including shining shoes on the legendary Beale Street in Memphis. He also played gigs in rural Southern juke joints where at times he had to hit the floor because someone began shooting.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Dark Knight" ruled the North American box office for a fourth weekend on Sunday to become the third-biggest movie of all time.
The Batman sequel earned an estimated $26 million during the three days beginning on Friday, distributor Warner Bros. Pictures said, taking its total to $441.5 million after 24 days.
It now ranks at No. 3 on the all-time list, behind "Titanic" with $601 million and "Star Wars" with $461 million.
Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, said it expects "Dark Knight" to end up with about $520 million.
The weekend's No. 2 slot went to the new Columbia Pictures release "Pineapple Express" with $22.4 million.
The stoner comedy undoubtedly would have been No. 1 had the unit of Sony Corp not opted to open the picture two days earlier than usual on Wednesday to maximize sales during the school holidays. The five-day total for the Seth Rogen film stands at $40.5 million.
Another Wednesday opener was "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," which came in at No. 4 with $10.8 million for the weekend. The Warner Bros drama has a five-day haul of $19.7 million.
ZURICH (Reuters) - Two American climbers have been found dead on the Matterhorn mountain in the southern Swiss canton Valais, local police said on Saturday.
The bodies of the 57-year-old woman and the 53-year-old man were found at an altitude of around 4,000 meters late on Friday, said Jean-Marie Bornet, head of information and prevention for the Valais cantonal police.
The two climbers had been missing since Thursday.
"They were climbing, then they fell and were killed. It is not clear why they fell," but the weather was bad at the time, Bornet said. He did not give the climbers' names or home town.
An American tourist has been killed in Beijing in what appears to have been a random attack in the center of the city.
A Chinese man pounced on two US citizens and their Chinese guide as they visited the Drum Tower monument in downtown Beijing today.
One of the US tourists was killed. The second tourist and the Chinese guide, both women, were injured.
The attacker, Tang Yongming, 47, of the eastern city of Hangzhou, then killed himself by jumping off the second story of the monument.
It comes just a day after the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Drum Tower, a major tourist site in central Beijing, has been sealed off and uniformed police are standing guard.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar winner Morgan Freeman said he was feeling "real good" on Thursday after his release from a Memphis, Tennessee, hospital where he was treated for broken bones and other injuries from a weekend car crash.
Freeman, 71, lost control of the car he was driving late on Sunday night near a home he keeps in Charleston, Mississippi, and was airlifted to the trauma center of the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, about 100 miles away.
"I left the hospital today, just after 12 noon, Memphis time," the co-star of the blockbuster Batman movie "The Dark Knight" said in a brief statement.
"I'm doing very well. I feel real good."
He concluded by thanking hospital staff and well-wishers, saying, "It's great to know people care about you."
Freeman's publicist, Donna Lee, said on Monday the actor suffered a broken arm and elbow and "minor shoulder damage" but was expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery.
The celebrity news TV show "Entertainment Tonight" reported on its website that Freeman underwent surgery on Monday to reconnect nerves and repair damage to his left arm and hand.
A passenger and owner of the car Freeman was driving, a female friend identified as Demaris Meyer, was also injured, but no information has been released regarding her condition.
Lee said Freeman and his wife of 24 years are in the midst of a divorce and had been estranged for some time.
Police ruled out alcohol as a factor in the crash and said it was possible Freeman had fallen asleep at the wheel when the car careened off the highway and rolled over several times.
No other vehicle was involved and no citation was issued in connection with the accident.
Freeman won an Oscar in 2005 for his supporting role in Clint Eastwood's boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby." He also earned Oscar nominations for his work in the films "Street Smart," "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption."