Indian film “Dangal” makes a smash in China

Indian film “Dangal”

Indian film “Dangal” starring renowned actor Aamir Khan has earned over 450 million yuan (65 million US dollars) within 11 days, the highest grossing Indian movie in China ever.

This low-budget film surged above 100 million yuan in a single day on May 13 and was rated 9.2 out of 10 on Douban, a Chinese well-acknowledged film review website in public.

The Indian biographical sports drama, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, depicts a father who teaches wrestling to his daughter, who then becomes India’s first female wrestler and wins at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

With a well-written plot and excellent acting, the film also features gender equality and education reform.

In addition, less traditional group dancing and singing scenes may have changed many viewers’ ideas on Indian films, which have long been labeled for their mix of musical drama.

The latest film has brought further acclaim in China for actor Aamir Khan, who was best known here previously for the 2009 Bollywood comedy “Three Idiots”.

At the recent 2017 Beijing International Film Festival, Khan said he wanted to co-produce a film in China.

Letv, Aston Martin unite to develop connected cars

Internet company Letv plans to develop smart electric cars with British luxury carmaker Aston Martin. [ZHEN HUAI/CHINA DAILY]China’s young Internet company Letv is planning to develop connected electric cars with British luxury carmaker Aston Martin. The two companies will start a series of research projects ranging from connected technologies to car engineering and manufacturing, according to a memorandum of understanding they signed on Thursday night.Ding Lei, co-founder of Letv’s car unit, said the partnership is a “landmark” in its car making plan, which was made public in December.The dotcom firm has big ambitions in the new-energy vehicle industry, which is being encouraged by the Chinese government to cope with air pollution.The MOU signing, which Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer described as “getting engaged”, came after their initial contact and “dating” during the Shanghai auto show in April.Palmer said their collaboration was partly because of their common interest in electric cars. “We see the electric vehicles as a vital part of our future product portfolio and welcome Letv as a research partner in this exciting venture.”He said that Aston Martin is 102 years old and it is necessary for old dogs that want to learn new tricks to work with young dogs in this fast-changing world.”The motoring industry is sometimes complacent so you need new blood. …The best way for us to be relevant as a brand is to bring the best of the old and the best of the new,” Palmer said.He said the cooperation would begin by bringing Letv’s touch-screen system to Aston Martin’s Rapide S to be exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show in January in the United States.More connected technologies will feature in its first electric car RapidE, which the British carmaker said would roll off its assembly line in the United Kingdom in about two years.Jia Yueting, Letv’s chairman and CEO, said in addition to the connected technologies, the two companies will leverage their respective resources to carry out long-term, allaround cooperation in building connected electric vehicles, with the aim of providing next-generation transportation tools and global traffic solutions.”It is a win-win venture which symbolizes the deepening collaboration and reformation between the IT and automobile industries,” Jia said.Jia said on its Sina Weibo on Friday morning that Aston Martin will be the OEM for Letv’s first electric car.The car has completed testing in the US and a small scale trial production is on the horizon, the company said at a news conference in Beijing in late October.Letv’s car unit has more than 700 engineers worldwide, with 400 of them based in the US. Letv is also a large shareholder of Atieva, designer of models such as the Tesla Roadster, Audi R8 e-tron and Chevrolet Volt.In early September, Letv became a major investor in a new-energy vehicle charging station producer in China as part of its green auto campaign.

Direct flight to China ‘absolutely vital’, says Ireland tourism chief

A regular direct flight between China and Ireland is vital for Ireland’s economy and its tourism business, the head of Tourism Ireland said at a conference in Cork.Niall Gibbons, who has just returned from a promotional visit to China, said at the Asia Matters conference that Ireland should consider improving its visa system to encourage Chinese visitors.”That direct flight is absolutely vital, that is number one,” Gibbons said, before pointing out that the United States and Japan offer Chinese tourists 10-year visas in an effort to increase tourism.Chinese businesses travelers and other tourists are becoming increasingly interested in Ireland. Earlier this month, the Irish government revealed that there had been a 500 percent increase in applications from people wanting to take part in the immigration investment scheme, almost all of them from China. Out of the 329 people who applied to take part in the scheme, in which participants receive residency rights in return for investing in Irish assets, property, or businesses, 313 were from China. The rest came from 11 other countries.That growth corresponds to a surge in Chinese investment in Ireland last year. Chinese companies plowed in 2.7 billion euros, compared to 66 million euros in 2015. The increase was mostly the result of HNA Group’s 2.5 billion euro purchase of part of the Irish aircraft leasing group Avolon.China’s ambassador to Ireland, Yue Xiaoyong, said at the same conference that bilateral trade between Ireland and China was picking up this year, after a 13.75 percent growth last year.He also urged Ireland to build more quality hotels to accommodate increased tourism visits from Chinese nationals.

Polish modern art shows social changes over time

The show State of Life at the National Art Museum of China touches on Poland’s social realities and culture. Treasures from Chopin’s Country, the exhibition that concluded at National Museum of China a month ago, took visitors on a journey through five centuries of Polish fine arts. Now, Poland’s modern art is being displayed for Chinese audiences at another venue in a show titled State of Life.The latest exhibition, at the National Art Museum of China, has some 70 contemporary art pieces touching on Poland’s social realities and culture, as well as the lives and emotions of its ordinary people. It mostly centers on the art landscape before and after 1989, when Soviet-led communism ended in Poland, and seeks to reveal how Polish artists noted changes in their nation’s cultural identity and values over time.In Wlodzimierz Pawlak’s oil painting of 1986, Nostalgy, he uses the Polish national flag as the background. He paints a swimmer – a symbol of Polish people – struggling alone at the border of the white and red blocks, as if trying to stay above the surface of water. In it, the man sees no hope of being saved – the social emotions that Pawlak detected at the time.In the work, he expresses people’s nostalgia for the passion that once dominated the Polish nation.The mood dramatically transforms in Tadeusz Rolke’s photo series, Tomorrow Will Be Better, taken in 1992.It documents not only the beginning of Poland’s transition in the early 1990s, but also the restart of people’s lives in an era when new and old rules began to coexist.Through Rolke’s lens of calmness one can see people acting in varied ways toward the transformation. Some are profiting from their first barrels of gold – they converted beds into merchandise stands and public buses into restaurants – while the elderly are seen looking surprised and unprepared for the changes.

Serena Williams beats sister Venus to reach last eight

Serena Williams of the U.S.A. celebrates after winning her match against Venus Williams of the U.S.A. at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 6, 2015.LONDON – Serena Williams extended her mastery over big sister Venus, and kept alive her bid for Grand Slam history.In the 26th career meeting between the siblings, Serena dominated with her steady serve and big hitting from the back of the court to win 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court, extending her Grand Slam winning streak to 25 matches.The win sent the top-ranked Serena into the Wimbledon quarterfinals as she bids for a fourth straight Grand Slam title, a feat last accomplished by the younger Williams in 2003.If Serena can triumph again, only the U.S. Open would stand in her way of becoming the first player to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam _ a sweep of all four majors in the same season _ since Steffi Graf in 1988.When Venus hit a backhand long on break point to end the match, Serena showed no emotion and did not celebrate. She walked slowly to the net, where the two sisters hugged. They walked off the court together.”It’s hard to feel excited about (beating) someone you root for all the time no matter what and who you love so much and she’s your best friend in the world,” Serena said. “It’s never easy but you just play for the competition and enjoy the moment.”Both sisters have won Wimbledon five times, but Serena also has a total of 20 Grand Slam titles. Another Wimbledon title will put her just one behind Graf, who holds the Open era record with 22.”It was really good for me to get it done in straight sets, and just put this behind me and just move forward,” Serena said.

LA lakers coach Mike D’Antoni resigns

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni reacts during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas in this file photo taken February 24, 2013. Mike D’Antoni has resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, ending an unhappy two-season tenure with the struggling NBA franchise. The 62-year-old still had a year to run on his $12 million three-year contract but the team announced on Tuesday he had decided to step down. D’Antoni joined the Lakers in November, 2012 after Mike Brown was fired following just 71 games in charge. Under D’Antoni’s guidance, the Lakers compiled a 67-87 record. “Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.” The Lakers limped into the playoffs in D’Antoni’s first year in charge but finished the 2013-14 season with a dismal 27-55 record, the worst 82-game return in team history. There had been growing speculation about his position with the fading team and his departure was greeted warmly by one of his more outspoken and high-profile critics. “Happy days are here again. Mike D’Antoni resigns as Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier,” Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted. D’Antoni had previously worked as head coach of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, compiling a career record of 455-426. He was named NBA coach of the year for the 2004-05 season after leading the Suns to the Western Conference finals. He led Phoenix to the same stage the following year and was appointed the Western Conference coach for the 2007 All-Star Game. – Reuters

US says fully supports Iraqi president

Staff Sgt. Daniel Leavindofske, 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron ramp team chief and Senior Airman David Babcock, air transportation journeyman, assist with loading bundles of halal meals on to a C-17 Globemaster III for a humanitarian airdrop mission over Iraq at a base in the US Central Command area of responsibility on August 9, 2014 and released on August 10, 2014.WASHINGTON – The US State Department said on Sunday that the United States fully supports President Fuad Masum in his role as guarantor of the Iraqi Constitution. Iraqi PM to file complaint against presidentThe United States is closely monitoring the situation in Iraq and is in touch with Iraqi leaders, according to a statement of the US State Department. “We reaffirm our support for a process to select a Prime Minister who can represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people by building a national consensus and governing in an inclusive manner,” the statement said. “We reject any effort to achieve outcomes through coercion or manipulation of the constitutional or judicial process,” it added. According to the satement, the United States stands ready to support a new and inclusive government, particularly in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). “We believe such a new and inclusive government is the best way to unify the country against ISIL, and to enlist the support of other countries in the region and international community.” the statement added.

Centennial German sailor’s club believed first cinema in China

Qingdao Sailors Club. A former sailor’s club built in 1902 by the Germans is believed to be the earliest-existing cinema in China. The conclusion was drawn by a group from China Film Association and China National Film Museum, based on archives retrieved during the club’s two-year renovation, which will finish this month. The three-story wooden building is in Qingdao city, East China’s Shandong province. The auditorium, on the first floor, served as a cinema. After examining archives that include information on film tickets, advertisements, timetables and film introductions, they believe the club was screening films from at least 1907 to 1914. The audience were primarily sailors and club staff. Locals and German navy soldiers joined later. Among more than 850 movies that were screened, almost half were documentaries, followed by German scenery and political and educational movies, according to Han Mingsheng, who led the team. Qingdao Sailors Club. The club was designed under the stewardship of Albert Wilhelm Heinrich (1862-1929), who was also known as Prinz Heinrich, in 1899, after Qingdao fell under 17 years of German colonization. Its primary function was to entertain the 2,000-plus German sailors and crew based in Qingdao, the sole Far East base of Germany at the turn of the 20th century. After 1914, the building was used as the Japanese residential seat and then as the US navy club. It is a national key cultural heritage site. Qingdao Urban Development Group Co. Ltd., the current owner, is planning to bring the club back into a modern cinema next month.

Gatlin wins 100m at Rome Diamond League

US Justin Gatlin celebrates after winning the Men’s 100m event at the Rome’s Diamond League competition at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on June 2, 2016. ROME – Justin Gatlin edged fellow American Ameer Webb to win the men’s 100m at Rome Diamond League meeting on Thursday.Gatlin, 34, stormed to the finish in 9.93 seconds while Ameer followed at heel with one-hundredth of a second behind. Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut also dipped under the 10sec mark with 9.99.Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson posted a season best of 10.87 to take the women’s race as American English Gardner came second in 10.92.Ethiopian Almaz Ayana produced the performance of the night as she ran the second fastest 5000m of all time, clocking 14 minutes 12.59 seconds, narrowly missing out on a new world record.Ayana’s fellow countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba has kept her world mark of 14:11.15 for eight years.Two Olympic champions New Zealand’s Valerie Adams and Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen, recorded victories in the women’s shot put and triple jump respectively.

Giuseppe Tornatore to work with Alibaba Pictures

Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore attends a forum during the 6th Beijing International Film Festival on April 16, 2016. This is the first time that Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore will work with a Chinese partner, and he said he believed that China’s rapid growth in film market will have a significant impact in the future on the global film industry.The director earned his master status with many great classics, such as Cinema Paradiso, Malèna and The Legend of 1900. He directed a promotional film in 2006 for Beijing Olympics 2008, which was his first encounter with China.Alibaba Pictures, Alibaba Group’s film entertainment affiliate, has been expanding onto the global stage by investing in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation and the South Korean film Real. Alibaba Pictures and Skydance will also join forces to develop and make a Flying Tigers feature film for global release, which would be the first Alibaba’s original film project.The signing with Tornatore is Alibaba Pictures’ first foray into Europe. Zhang Qiang, CEO of Alibaba Pictures, said they would continue integrating talents, technologies and resources to develop and make global blockbusters. “We are so happy to work with director Tornatore and we are looking forward to working with more excellent directors from all over the world.”Related:Special: 6th Beijing International Film Festival