Philippines pulls Hollywood film ‘Uncharted’ over South China Sea map

Philippines pulls Hollywood film ‘Uncharted’ over South China Sea map
The South China Sea, a strategic and resource-rich waterway is claimed by China almost in its entirety. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 April 2022

Philippines pulls Hollywood film ‘Uncharted’ over South China Sea map

Philippines pulls Hollywood film ‘Uncharted’ over South China Sea map
  • Movie contains image of China’s maritime claims in disputed maritime region
  • China and Philippines have overlapping claims in South China Sea

MANILA: The Philippines has pulled from cinemas the Hollywood film “Uncharted” over a scene showing a Beijing-endorsed map of the disputed South China Sea, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The South China Sea, a strategic and resource-rich waterway is claimed by China almost in its entirety while it is also contested by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The action film, starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg and released in the Philippines on Feb. 23, contains a two-second frame showing an image of the so-called nine-dash line, which China uses to illustrate its claims to the maritime region, through which an estimated $3.4 trillion in global trade travels each year.

“The nine-dash claim is contrary to national interest, which has been settled in the 2016 Arbitral Award,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“China also never had historic rights in the waters within the nine-dash line.”

The Philippines’ move comes after Vietnam banned the Sony flick last month over the same scene.

An international tribunal in The Hague dismissed China’s expansive claim to the South China Sea in 2016. Beijing did not recognize the ruling.

China argues that it enjoys historic rights over the waters and has asserted its claims by constructing and fortifying artificial islands in the region.

The Philippine foreign ministry said Sony’s Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. was ordered to stop screening the film unless and until it removed the objected scene.

It is not the first time popular culture has entered the South China Sea dispute.

The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam banned the screening of DreamWorks’ animated feature “Abominable” in 2019 for showing China’s nine-dash line.

In 2021, the Philippines and Vietnam requested that Netflix take down episodes of the political drama “Pine Gap” for the same reason.


Gamers8 esports event brings global musical artists to Riyadh

Axwell will be performing for the opening weekend on July 21. (Supplied)
Axwell will be performing for the opening weekend on July 21. (Supplied)
Updated 04 July 2022

Gamers8 esports event brings global musical artists to Riyadh

Axwell will be performing for the opening weekend on July 21. (Supplied)
  • The musical performances and children’s activities open the event up to a wider audience, with around 1,000 activities and attractions at Boulevard Riyadh City during the festival

JEDDAH: An esports festival is bringing international musical artists to Riyadh for the eight-week event.

The lineup for Gamers8 features DJs, rappers, and singers from the Arab world, Europe, and the US, including Lil Pump, Nancy Ajram, Hamaki, Disco Misr, Alan Walker, Russ, DJ Snake, and Balqees.

Artists will perform each weekend for fans and participants.

Alan Walker

Gamers8, which is the biggest gaming and esports event worldwide, is being brought to the city by the Saudi Esports Federation.

Its goal is to blur borders, the ones between countries and the ones between the real world and the virtual one, and to bring gamers together. It is also a step forward in finding gamers, strengthening the gaming community in Saudi Arabia, and introducing them to the rest of the world.

A prize purse of up to $15 million is up for grabs.

The big-name games at the festival are PUBG, Dota 2, Rocket League, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and Fortnite.

DJ Snake

The musical performances and children’s activities open the event up to a wider audience, with around 1,000 activities and attractions at Boulevard Riyadh City during the festival.

SEF COO Ahmed Al-Bishri said: “The goal of Gamers8 is to bring the virtual world of esports gaming out into the physical realm of Riyadh while merging a plethora of entertainment such as music, festivals, shows, and the latest experiences for children.

“We are delighted to be bringing some of the biggest names in music to Riyadh this summer and know they will significantly contribute to a season of incredible moments and memories.”

Full details about the performers and festival can be found on gamers8.gg.


Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello
Updated 02 July 2022

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello

Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram teases collaboration with US DJ Marshmello

DUBAI: Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram this week teased an upcoming collaboration with US music producer Marshmello.

The superstar took to Instagram to share a picture of herself with the DJ, who was in his usual custom white helmet resembling a marshmello, in a recoding studio.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nancy Ajram (@nancyajram)

Ajram captioned the post: “Sah Sah,” meaning “true true” in English. This hints that this could possibly be the title of the duo’s new song.

Marshmello shared a short clip on Instagram of him playing the stringed qanun instrument. His post was also captioned “Sah Sah.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by marshmello (@marshmello)

Ajram shared Marshmello’s reel and wrote to her 33 million followers: “Soon.”

Fans quickly responded to the stars’ posts and expressed their excitement for the new track.

“What a collab,” wrote one fan on Instagram, while another said: “Can’t wait!”


What We Are Playing Today: Akfosh

What We Are Playing Today: Akfosh
Updated 01 July 2022

What We Are Playing Today: Akfosh

What We Are Playing Today: Akfosh
  • This Arabic card game is a great deal of fun to play with a large group

Akfosh is an Arabic game that contains 55 picture cards on various subjects, including Saudi cultural items, well-known locations across the country, and even fruit and vegetables.

The Saudi-specific fashion items include the shemagh (male headdress), burqa, madas (sandal), dallah (coffee pot), finjan (coffee cup), and miswak (twig to clean your teeth). The landmarks include Jeddah’s fountain and the Kingdom Center in Riyadh, while the other cards feature Arab-related icons such as tents and camels.

The game allows between two and eight players to participate. There are different styles of playing, with the most popular having every player with one card face down in front of them, and the rest of the deck placed in the middle. When the game starts, each player flips their card to see it and then tries to grab a matching one from the middle first. The player with the most cards wins.

Akfosh is one of my favorite Arabic card games and is a great deal of fun to play with a large group. It relies on your visual observation, and it gets everyone competitive because it is so fast-paced.

Carrying the small box is quite easy, it fits perfectly in my handbag. I always have my Akfosh cards with me if I know many people will be at a gathering or outing. It is a fun activity that brings people together.

The game suits all ages and can be found across the Kingdom at Virgin megastores, Jarir bookstores, and even through online platforms such as Noon, Lifestyley and Amazon.

 

 


Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih invited to join Academy of Motion Picture Arts

Famed composer Hesham Nazih. (Supplied)
Famed composer Hesham Nazih. (Supplied)
Updated 30 June 2022

Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih invited to join Academy of Motion Picture Arts

Famed composer Hesham Nazih. (Supplied)

DUBAI: Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih is among 397 individuals invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year.

The organization that puts on the Oscars said Tuesday that 44 percent of the 2022 class identifies as women, 50 percent come from outside of the US and 37 percent are from underrepresented ethnic and racial communities. If the invitees accept, which most do, they will have voting privileges at the 95th Academy Awards.

Nazih, the only Egyptian invited this year, joins Oscar winners Ariana DeBose, Troy Kotsur and Billie Eilish, as well as Iranian actor Amir Jadidi on the list.

Other actors invited this year include Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessie Buckley, Gaby Hoffman, “Belfast” co-stars Jamie Dornan and Caitríona Balfe, as well as Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, both of “The Power of the Dog.” 

The 95th Academy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on March 12, 2023.

Across more than 40 films over an award-winning 20-year-span, Nazih has heightened each project he’s scored, from “Son of Rizk” to “Blue Elephant.” Now, the composer for Marvel’s TV show “Moon Knight,” Nazih has officially made the crossover that only a handful of true international greats, such as Ennio Morricone and A.R. Rahman, have pulled off before him.

“I knew this was huge step for me,” Nazih previously told Arab News. “Working with Marvel was a game changer for my career. I had countless thoughts in my head, and I had to fight a lot of them off.”


Opera icon Andrea Bocelli to perform in Abu Dhabi

The opera star has sold more than 90 million records worldwide. (AFP)
The opera star has sold more than 90 million records worldwide. (AFP)
Updated 30 June 2022

Opera icon Andrea Bocelli to perform in Abu Dhabi

The opera star has sold more than 90 million records worldwide. (AFP)

DUBAI: Lauded Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will return to the UAE for his fifth concert in Abu Dhabi in November.

The opera star, who has sold more than 90 million records worldwide and has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, will perform at Etihad Park on Yas Island on November 24.

No stranger to the region, in January, Bocelli performed to a packed auditorium in the iconic mirrored Maraya venue of Saudi Arabia’s AlUla.

“It is always an incredible experience to sing in the middle of the desert in AlUla,” he said at the time. “Coming from the noise and chaos of the big city, it is an educational experience for me to find myself in this idyllic and peaceful place away from the world.”

It was Bocelli’s fourth performance at Winter at Tantora, the Kingdom’s original music and cultural festival. He was accompanied on stage by Italy’s Asti Symphony Orchestra and sopranos Christine Allado, Serena Gambero and Clara Barbier Serrano.