Breaking News

Dutch Queen Beatrix abdicates in favor of her son

Dutch Queen Beatrix, who has reigned for 33 years, has abdicated her throne in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander. The news comes as the Queen addressed the nation on television and radio.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation after the announcement, praising the Queen for her years of service.

The coronation of Willem-Alexander will take place on April 30. The 45-year old Prince will become the first King of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great grandfather William III in 1890.

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who will be 75 on January 31, came to the throne in 1980 following her mother’s, Queen Juliana, abdication after 31 years as head of state on her 70th birthday.

Source:RT

B.N

 

Chinese Girl portrait goes to auction

Vladimir Tretchikoff's original painting of the Chinese Girl, believed to be the world's most reproduced print, is to go on sale in London.

The Russian artist, who died in 2006, claimed that by the end of his career he had sold half a million large-format reproductions of the print worldwide.

The portrait of a young Chinese girl with distinctive green-hued skin and ruby lips could fetch up to £500,000,according to BBC.

The painting will form part of Bonhams' South African art sale on 20 March.

Tretchikoff, who grew up in Russia and Shanghai, eventually settled in South Africa in 1946 and painted the Chinese Girl in Cape Town in 1952.

His model was Monika Sing-Lee, then 17, whom he spotted working at her uncle's launderette in Sea Point, Cape Town.

'King of Kitsch'

According to Tretchikoff's biographer Boris Gorelik, the image - also known as the Green Lady - went on to become "one of the most important pop culture icons in Britain and the Commonwealth in the 1950s".

Its popularity led to Tretchikoff being called the "king of kitsch" - a moniker he hated, insisting he was a serious artist.

The painting was brought directly from the artist by a woman in Chicago when Tretchikoff was touring the US in the 1950s. It has remained in the same family for the past 60 years.

"The combination of lustrous golden silk and the blue-sheen of the model's skin combine to produce an otherworldly glow: a luminescence that is the leitmotif of Tretchikoff's best works," said Giles Peppiatt, director of South African Art at Bonhams.

The work will be exhibited in New York and Johannesburg prior to its sale.

M.W

Why did Naomi Watts agree to play Princess Diana in the new film?

 According to the actress, because the project was going to happen whether she accepted the role or not

Calling the role "high, high, high risk," but also a "very, very important piece of our history," Watts told Peter Travers that the Princess Diana movie was like a fast-moving train she felt compelled to jump aboard.

"It was a story that was going to be told, and I just felt like she was a fascinating woman," Watts said. "It's delicate because her boys are still around, obviously. Very much so. But, like I said, it was going to be told. Maybe it was more recent than people [expected]."

Originally called "Caught in Flight," "Diana" focuses on Diana's long-time love affair with Dr. Hasnat Kahn (Naveen Andrews), the "love of her life." According to Variety,the film will show "how finding true personal happiness for the first time allowed [Princess Di] to evolve into a major international campaigner and humanitarian." Jessica Chastain was initially rumored for the role, but Watts took her place.

"The filmmakers came to me and it's a good script and it's very scary and I kind of wanted to say no but I couldn't," Watts said last year.

To play Diana, the actress dived into research materials headlong. "I read all the biographies. I looked at every piece of footage. I spent every single day, for weeks, listening to that Martin Bashir interview in my iPod," Watts told Travers. "I didn't want to get involved in a performance of mimicry, but I did want to be as exact as possible with the Bashir interview because everybody knows and remembers that well."

Whether or not Watts nailed the role won't be known until "Diana" hits theaters later this year, but co-star Andrews is already an avowed fan.

"I don't think anyone else could have done it," the former "Lost" star told the Press Association. "There's no one else."

 

B.N

 

Campaign to rid New Zealand of cats angers animal-lovers

 The controversial call to rid the country of cats is being led by Gareth Morgan, a prominent businessman, who tells owners on his newly created Cats to Go website: "The fact is that your furry friend is actually the friendly neighbourhood serial killer."

Under a picture of a kitten with red devil's horns, the website asserts "cats are the only true sadists of the animal world" and that they "torture their victims slowly and without mercy".

It goes on: "Every year, hundreds of millions of birds are murdered by cats.

"Some cats will kill over a thousand birds each year."

Although the campaign stops short of calling for cats to be euthanised, it points out that that is an option.

It also calls on cat owners to keep their pet inside 24 hours a day and, when the time comes, "ensure this is the last cat you ever own".

Cats should also be neutered and have a bell hung around their necks to warn birds they are nearby, it says.

The website asks for signatures on a petition calling for cats to be registered and micro-chipped like dogs.

"Imagine a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife, penguins on the beach, kiwis roaming about in your garden," Mr Morgan says.

"Imagine hearing birdsong in our cities."

New Zealand is renowned for its unique birdlife, most of which flourished for thousands of years without predators.

So benign was the natural environment that species such as the kiwi, the national symbol, became flightless.

But Mr Morgan's campaign was bound to spark an angry backlash in a country that owns more cats per capita than any other, with nearly half of all households having at least one.

Cat lovers were quick to take to the internet and talkback radio to air their protests.

Some have even set up anti-Gareth Morgan web pages.

More than 70 per cent of visitors to the Cats to Go website expressed disapproval of the proposals, while on news websites, comments such as "Mess with my cat and I'll mess with you" summed up the mood.

Bob Kerridge, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, rounded on Mr Morgan, saying: "Butt out of our lives.

"Don't deprive us of the beautiful relationship that a cat can provide, individually and as a family.

"People consider cats to be a member of the family.

"So he's trying to, quite frankly, take away the civil liberties we all have, to choose who we want in our home."

B.N

 

 

Campaign to rid New Zealand of cats angers animal-lovers

By Paul Chapman in Wellington

The controversial call to rid the country of cats is being led by Gareth Morgan, a prominent businessman, who tells owners on his newly created Cats to Go website: "The fact is that your furry friend is actually the friendly neighbourhood serial killer."

Under a picture of a kitten with red devil's horns, the website asserts "cats are the only true sadists of the animal world" and that they "torture their victims slowly and without mercy".

It goes on: "Every year, hundreds of millions of birds are murdered by cats.

"Some cats will kill over a thousand birds each year."

Although the campaign stops short of calling for cats to be euthanised, it points out that that is an option.

It also calls on cat owners to keep their pet inside 24 hours a day and, when the time comes, "ensure this is the last cat you ever own".

Cats should also be neutered and have a bell hung around their necks to warn birds they are nearby, it says.

The website asks for signatures on a petition calling for cats to be registered and micro-chipped like dogs.

"Imagine a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife, penguins on the beach, kiwis roaming about in your garden," Mr Morgan says.

"Imagine hearing birdsong in our cities."

New Zealand is renowned for its unique birdlife, most of which flourished for thousands of years without predators.

So benign was the natural environment that species such as the kiwi, the national symbol, became flightless.

But Mr Morgan's campaign was bound to spark an angry backlash in a country that owns more cats per capita than any other, with nearly half of all households having at least one.

Cat lovers were quick to take to the internet and talkback radio to air their protests.

Some have even set up anti-Gareth Morgan web pages.

More than 70 per cent of visitors to the Cats to Go website expressed disapproval of the proposals, while on news websites, comments such as "Mess with my cat and I'll mess with you" summed up the mood.

Bob Kerridge, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, rounded on Mr Morgan, saying: "Butt out of our lives.

"Don't deprive us of the beautiful relationship that a cat can provide, individually and as a family.

"People consider cats to be a member of the family.

"So he's trying to, quite frankly, take away the civil liberties we all have, to choose who we want in our home."

B.N