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Mon, 26 Sep 2022
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Vancouver man sues Avatar's James Cameron for copyright violation

© CTV News
Emil Malak, a screenwriter and restaurateur appears on Canada AM Click Here to Watch Video
Canada, British Columbia - After its 2009 release, Avatar became the highest grossing movie of all time in North America and surpassed the $2-billion mark at the international box office.

At the time, director James Cameron said he'd been developing the idea for the film since 1994, but had delayed production for over a decade until he felt the technology was sufficiently advanced to capture his vision.

But Vancouver restaurateur and amateur screenwriter Emil Malak is challenging Cameron's authorship, telling CTV's Canada AM that the Academy Award-winning director "borrowed" concepts from a screenplay Malak sent him over a decade ago.

As he related to host Marci Ien, Malak learned the director was in Vancouver filming television series Dark Angel back in 2000. Taking advantage of the director's presence in town, Malak dropped off a copy of his script - a film called Terra Incognita he wrote in 1997 - to one of Cameron's producers. No one ever responded.

Nearly 10 years later, Malak received a call about his script, but it wasn't from the person he'd hoped.

"I never heard until 2009 when my colour graphic designer called me and said 'he's taken all your building blocks on the story and the characters and the graphics.' I went to the Internet to look and I was quite surprised," he told host Marci Ien.

Heart - Black

Whitney Houston drowned with cocaine in system

Whitney Houston
© Minyanville
US: California, Los Angeles- Pop star Whitney Houston died of accidental drowning due to the effects of cocaine use and heart disease, a Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman said on Thursday.

The 48-year-old singer, who spent years battling addiction to drugs including cocaine, was found submerged in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room on February 12, the eve of the Grammy Awards.

An autopsy into Houston's death found that the cause of death was accidental drowning with atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors, Los Angeles County Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said.

Harvey said toxicology tests also turned up marijuana, an anti-anxiety medication, a muscle relaxant and an anti-histamine in Houston's system.

Those drugs were not found to have contributed to her death, and no trauma or foul play were suspected, the coroner's office said. A final report was expected to be made public within two weeks.


How The War on Women Opens the Door for Politics in Your Doctor's Office


Both Arizona and Kansas are considering bills giving doctors the legal authority to withhold potentially crucial information about a woman's health, and in this case her child's.


5 Deadly Threats to Our Precious Drinking Water Supply

© Shutterstock/Dragana Gerasimoski
World Water Day is a chance to stop and realize that humanity is facing a frightening water crisis.

If you brushed your teeth this morning or flushed the toilet or had a cup of coffee, consider yourself lucky. Actually, if you turned on your tap and potable water freely came out, consider yourself truly blessed. Because so many of us in the United States are in this situation it can be easy to forget that nearly 900 million other people aren't so lucky. It can be easy to forget that globally we face a frightening water crisis. And it can be hard to notice that even here in the US there are dire threats to our water supply right now.

The people hardest hit by the water crisis are in developing countries - places it is easy for many world leaders (and the rest of us) to overlook. And even the number of those without clean water - last tallied at 884 million - can be hard to grasp. Here's another way of looking at it: if you take that number and translate it into the population of developed countries, the people living in the world today without access to clean drinking water would equal all the people living in the US, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia and Norway.


New Jersey Middle School Bans Hugging

© Graeme Robertson / Getty Images
Matawan, NJ - The new policy at Matawan Aberdeen Middle School has many parents scratching their heads.

Last week, excessive hugging and physical contact by sixth and eighth graders prompted the principal to come on the loud speaker and declare a ban on hugging, according to published reports.

Alarm Clock

Schools Ban Children Making Best Friends

© Unknown
Teachers are banning schoolkids from having best pals - so they don't get upset by fall-outs. Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups. Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey.

She added: "I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn't have a best friend and that everyone should play together. "They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they're learning to deal with it."

Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, confirmed some schools were adopting best-friend bans. He said: "I don't think it is widespread but it is clearly happening. It seems bizarre.

Comment: This attitude is spreading everywhere: New Jersey Middle School Bans Hugging


Defying Hitler - Sebastian Haffner

defying Hitler cover
© Unknown
There's a reason why the UK History channel is approximately 24 hours a day of wall-to-wall Nazi documentaries - Hitler sells. The rise of the Nazis exerts a horrible fascination; it's hard to fathom how a decent and progressive nation could suddenly become complicit in horrific acts of genocide. Sebastian Haffner's personal account, written shortly before the outbreak of WW2, takes a long hard look at the German psyche in the years between the wars, and exactly what it was that caused the country to buckle before the extremists.

Haffner's perspective on the subject is a very interesting one - a young Prussian lawyer who grew up during WW1, he was exactly the type of young patriot that swelled the ranks of the Nazi party in its early days; in fact, he'd even been in the forerunner to the Hitler Youth. In the circumstances, you might expect him to be bending over backwards to deny his involvement with all things evil, and demonstrate his own high moral standing, but in fact he is very honest about his own cowardice in his lack of opposition to the new regime. Though the book's title is Defying Hitler, there's very little defiance going on, as Haffner describes the national reaction to the dictatorship as everyone simply putting their fingers in their ears and going "la la la", almost literally, and hoping that it would all get better soon.

2 + 2 = 4

Virginia Middle-Schoolers Assigned Opposition Research on GOP Candidates

© Unknown
A Virginia middle school teacher recently forced his students to support President Barack Obama's re-election campaign by conducting opposition research in class against the Republican presidential candidates.

The 8th grade students, who attend Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County, were required to seek out the vulnerabilities of Republican presidential hopefuls and forward them to the Obama campaign.

"This assignment was just creepy beyond belief - like something out of East Germany during the Cold War," one frustrated father, who asked for his family to remain anonymous, told The Daily Caller.


Air Canada seizes passenger's Mexican pinata as potential security risk

© unknown
Watch out! It's the latest high tech terrorist weapon!
Airline security seems to be entering the realm of the absurd: Witness an Air Canada flight attendant confiscating a pinata from Nova Scotia resident Robert Braunschweig.

QMI Agency reports Braunschweig was returning from Mexico earlier this month when he bought the papier-mache animal figure at a gift shop in Toronto's Pearson International Airport during a connection stopover.

As Braunschweig boarded his flight home, a flight attendant spotted the toy in his carry-on bag and confiscated it, claiming it was a threat to security.

"My eight-year-old daughter was seriously disappointed," he told QMI. "She insisted that I bring her something from Mexico so I bought her a small pinata."

Leaving aside Braunschweig's thinking behind buying a Mexican souvenir for his daughter in Toronto, the pinata seems an unlikely threat.

Mexican pinatas originate with Christmas festivals and can be made of paper-covered clay. Today they're mostly associated with children's parties, with blindfolded kids whacking suspended pinatas to break them and disgorge the treats inside.

Eye 1

Wife: 'Kony 2012' director suffers from psychosis, expected to be hospitalized for weeks

Jason Russel
Jason Russel meltdown
US, California - The director of a wildly popular video about brutal African warlord Joseph Kony has been diagnosed with brief psychosis and is expected to stay in the hospital for weeks, his wife said Wednesday.

Jason Russell, 33, was hospitalized last week in San Diego after witnesses saw him pacing naked on a sidewalk, screaming incoherently and banging his fists on the pavement. He was in his underwear when police arrived.

His outburst came after the video's sudden success on the Internet brought heightened scrutiny to Invisible Children, the group he co-founded in 2005 to fight African war atrocities.

Russell's family said that the filmmaker's behaviour was not due to drugs or alcohol. He was given a preliminary diagnosis of brief reactive psychosis, in which a person displays sudden psychotic behaviour.

"Doctors say this is a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks. Even for us, it's hard to understand the sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention - both raves and ridicules, in a matter of days," Danica Russell said in a statement.