Arab, African stars descend on Carthage

Tunisian actress Mariem Ben Chaabane arrives for the opening ceremony of the Carthage Film Festival’s 28th edition on Saturday in Tunis. (AFP)
Updated 05 November 2017
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Arab, African stars descend on Carthage

TUNISIA: The 28th edition of the Carthage Film Festival opened on Saturday evening with the participation of a large number of cinema stars from Arab, African and Latin American countries.
In the center of Habib Bourguiba Street, the red carpet extended to the Cinéma Le Colisée to welcome the guests of the film festival. Photographers rushed to take pictures of the artists, and hundreds of spectators gathered to greet the stars.
“We are delighted to welcome you today to the opening of the 28th Carthage Film Festival, in which we tried to reconcile the principles of the festival with the spirit of the times,” said Najib Ayad, director of the festival.
“The Carthage Film Festival is an African-Arab festival. All competitions are dedicated to African and Arab cinema, with an emphasis on a gradual return of balance between the Arab and African audience, and with greater emphasis on Africa as a cornerstone of the festival,” he said.
Four countries will be the guest of honor at the new edition of festival namely Algeria, Argentina, South Africa and South Korea.
At the opening ceremony, there was a musical performance by Algerian musician Hassan Belkacem Boualiaoui, in addition to a dance performance from Argentina.
In the opening speech, Tunisian Minister of Cultural Affairs Mohamed Zine El Abidine welcomed attendees.
The opening ceremony featured “Writing on Ice” by Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi, in the presence of the participating stars, led by Egyptian actor Amr Waked. The film is a joint Egyptian-Palestinian-Tunisian production.
The festival will feature films from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Senegal, Cameroon, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and South Africa.
The Carthage Film Festival, the oldest art festival in Africa and the Arab world, was founded in 1966.


Grandmaster in a flash: Indian prodigy chess champ at 12

Updated 30 min 56 sec ago
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Grandmaster in a flash: Indian prodigy chess champ at 12

NEW DELHI: A 12-year-old Indian boy described as “unstoppable” by his proud father has become the world’s second youngest chess grandmaster ever.
Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, the son of a bank employee from the southern city of Chennai, achieved the feat with some aggressive play at an event in northern Italy that ended Sunday.
Praggnanandhaa — whose 17-year-old big sister Vaishali Rameshbabu is also no slouch at the game, being a two-time youth chess champion — was aged 12 years, 10 months and 13 days when he won the title.
But this was too old to beat the current record-holder, Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who was 12 years and exactly seven months when he made the grade in 2002.
Praggnanandhaa’s father said that his son, who practices six hours a day and watches past matches online, was not even four when he first started taking an interest in chess.
However he said that the family could not afford to pay for extra travel and training for both the boy and his sister.
“But the passion in him to play chess was unstoppable, I had to give in and put him in coaching classes. And he has been unstoppable since,” the 53-year-old, who has the same name as his son, told Indian media.
“He was just six years old when he came second in the under-eight national championship. That is when I knew that I can’t hold him back because of our financial situation,” he told online paper The News Minute.
A predecessor to chess is thought by some to have originated in India in the sixth century AD, from where it spread to Persia and developed into the “Game of Kings” it is today.
However in modern times it only achieved major popularity in India when Vishwanathan Anand became the country’s first grandmaster aged 18 in 1988 and dominated the game in the 2000s.
On Sunday the five-time world champion congratulated Praggnanandhaa.
“Welcome to the club & congrats Praggnanandhaa!! See u soon in chennai,” he wrote on Twitter.
“He plays other outdoor sports too when he wants to relax his mind,” the prodigy’s father said.
“When his focus is not on the board, he is quite a handful. But he saves most of his aggression for the chessboard,” he said.