Oscar-winner Haggis accused of abusing four women

In this May 29, 2008 file photo, director Paul Haggis arrives at a screening in Los Angeles. A December 2017 civil lawsuit charging the Oscar-winning filmmaker with rape has prompted three other women to come forward with their own accusations. (AP)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Oscar-winner Haggis accused of abusing four women

NEW YORK: Oscar-winning Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis is now accused of sexual abuse by four women, according to an amended civil suit filed on Friday in New York.
Haggis, who wrote and produced “Crash,” and penned the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby,” is also known for his high-profile split almost a decade ago from the Church of Scientology.
The allegations against him are the latest in a torrent of accusations made against powerful men that began with the fall of film mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, over numerous accusations including rape.
Three women alleging to be victims of Haggis’s abuse are referred to in the lawsuit amended Friday and initially filed on December 15 at a New York court by a film publicist, Haleigh Breest.
She accused Haggis of abusing and raping her in January 2013 when she was 26.
On the same day Haggis, 64, filed his own action against Breest, denying the accusation and accusing her of seeking “to extract many millions of dollars” from him.
Breest’s lawsuit says that since she filed her claim “three other women have accused Paul Haggis of rape and sexual abuse.”
Those three are identified only as Jane Doe one, two and three.
The first woman, a publicist who worked with Haggis on a television program, alleged that in 1996 he forcefully kissed her before making her perform oral sex and then raping her.
Another woman, who wanted to propose an idea for a show, alleged that she had to flee from his office in 2008 when he kissed her by force.
The third woman, whom Haggis met at a film festival, said she was abused in 2015 when he tried to forcefully kiss her.
According to the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, who are acting for the plaintiff and passed the allegations to AFP, the claims show that Haggis “is a serial predator who has preyed upon women for many years.”
A lawyer for the film-maker, Christine Lepera, did not immediately comment when reached by AFP but in a statement to the Deadline.com website said he “denies these anonymous claims in whole.”
She said that Haggis “views the fact that these reports appear to be spearheaded from the law-firm representing Ms Breest, as a further tactic to try to harm him and continue their effort to obtain money.”


Japan space probe Hayabusa2 drops hopping rovers toward asteroid

Updated 48 min 54 sec ago
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Japan space probe Hayabusa2 drops hopping rovers toward asteroid

  • If the mission is successful, the rovers will conduct the world’s first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface
  • The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020

TOKYO: A Japanese space probe Friday released a pair of exploring rovers toward an egg-shaped asteroid to collect mineral samples that may shed light on the origin of the solar system.
The “Hayabusa2” probe jettisoned the round, cookie tin-shaped robots toward the Ryugu asteroid, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
If the mission is successful, the rovers will conduct the world’s first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface.
Taking advantage of the asteroid’s low gravity, they will jump around on the surface — soaring as high as 15 meters and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes — to survey the asteroid’s physical features with cameras and sensors.
So far so good, but JAXA must wait for the Hayabusa2 probe to send data from the rovers to Earth in a day or two to assess whether the release has been a success, officials said.
“We are very much hopeful. We don’t have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful,” Yuichi Tsuda, JAXA project manager, told reporters.
“I am looking forward to seeing pictures. I want to see images of space as seen from the surface of the asteroid,” he said.
The cautious announcement came after a similar JAXA probe in 2005 released a rover which failed to reach its target asteroid.
Next month, Hayabusa2 will deploy an “impactor” that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a two-kilo (four-pound) copper object into the surface to blast a crater a few meters in diameter.
From this crater, the probe will collect “fresh” materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, hoping for answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.
The probe will also release a French-German landing vehicle named Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.
Hayabusa2, about the size of a large fridge and equipped with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa — Japanese for falcon.
That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed a scientific triumph.
The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020.