Saturday, February 23, 2008


The luminous [Julie] Christie, 66, expressed dismay that her co-star in "Away From Her," beloved Newfoundland actor Gordon Pinsent, didn't garner the same kind of awards recognition as she has.
"I am terribly, terribly sorry," said Christie.
"I've tried to work it out; I don't understand it. Maybe it has to do with not being so well-known; I really don't know. Everybody is surprised , everybody comes up to me from all different nations and says: 'Why isn't Gordon being nominated? He was so fantastic.' "
Christie said she attended the luncheon due in large part to her longtime affection for Canada, but said that her ardour has been tarnished thanks to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"I love Canada, I've always loved Canada, I feel proud of Canada - it's only just now that I am starting to lose my pride in Canada because of this guy who is your prime minister," said Christie.
The British actress, a longtime peace activist, accused Harper of refusing to welcome traumatized American soldiers to Canada who are deserting the army amid the prolonged and bloody war in Iraq.
"I was in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s . . . the place was full of war resisters and they were accepted by Canada and I've loved Canada ever since then. The fact that he's turned that around, and the cruelty of that and the meanness of it, it's put a little edge on my love of Canada."

The above, noted by Vince, is from Lee-Anne Goodman's "'Juno' director Reitman laments that film wasn't Canadian enough for Genies" (The Canadian Press). Julie Christie is, of course, the actress who excelled in films such as Shampoo, Darling, Petulia, Don't Look Now, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Doctor Zhivago, Heat and Dust, Afterglow, The Secret Life of Words and her current film, Away From Her, which finds the Oscar winning Christie once again nominated for Best Actress. Her director on Away From Her is the actress Sarah Polley who is up for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

In this morning's New York Times, Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributes "Iraqi Shiite Cleric Extends Cease-Fire by His Militia:"

But the cease-fire has been deeply unpopular with many Sadrists in southern Iraq, where militiamen loyal to a powerful and rival Shiite cleric, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, dominate many elements of the Iraqi security forces.
Moreover, many fighters in Baghdad continue to resist the cease-fire, and carry out rocket and mortar attacks against American and Iraqi forces. The American military calls these cells "special groups" and says they have Iranian backing.
Separately on Friday, the military announced that a marine was killed in combat on Thursday in Anbar Province in western Iraq.

Leila Fadel and Qassim Zein's "Radical Iraqi cleric asks militia to stand down for 6 more months" (McClatchy Newspapers) also notes the response:

The cease-fire wasn't met with universal support.
As the cleric read Sadr’s statement in Kufa, Hameed Hassan Ali wept.
“Sayed Muqtada’s orders are to be followed blindly; he has better knowledge of our destiny,” the 28-year-old Mahdi Army member said. “This second freeze has humiliated us because anyone, no matter who, has started targeting us and we became weak; but we cannot do anything contrary to Sayed Muqtada’s orders.”
Radhi Majeed, 37, also of Kufa, said Mahdi Army members ought to be able to respond when attacked.
"He must allow us to defend ourselves when someone accosts us, because another period of suspension will be exploited by the government to target Sadrists, fill the prisons with them and unsettle their families," Majeed said.

Back at the New York Times, Solomon Moore examines Basra post-British 'withdrawal' (they're not gone yet -- in fact four British troops were injured this week at the Basra base):

Yet the city remains deeply troubled. Disappearances of doctors, teachers and other professionals are common, as are some clashes among competing militias, most of which are linked to political parties. Murder victims include judicial investigators, politicians and tribal sheiks. One especially disturbing trend is the slaying of at least 100 women in the last year, according to the police. The Iraqi authorities have blamed Shiite militiamen for many of those killing, saying the militants had probably deemed the women to be impious.
"Most of the killings are done by gunmen in police cars," said Sheik Khadem al-Ribat, a Basra tribal leader who claims no party membership. He spoke of the militias in an antechamber of his downtown mosque, his voice barely above a whisper. "These cars were given to the political parties. There are supposed to be 16,000 policemen, but we see very few of them on the street, and most of the ones we do see are militiamen dressed as police."

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