Beijing, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Chinese tax authorities have ordered "X-Men" star Fan Bingbing and companies she represents to pay taxes and penalties totaling $130 million but would spare her from criminal prosecution, state media said Wednesday.
The announcement ended months of speculation over one of China's highest-profile entertainers since she disappeared from public view three months ago amid reports she was being investigated for tax fraud.
Of the total amount, Fan is being personally fined around $70 million for tax evasion. The official Xinhua News Agency cited tax authorities as saying Fan would not be held criminally accountable for tax evasion as the taxes, fines and late fees amounting to nearly 900 million yuan ($130 million) were paid on time.
The announcement, carried by Xinhua, gave no indication as to Fan's whereabouts but indicated her agent was being held by police for allegedly obstructing the investigation.
Fan has starred in dozens of movies and TV series in China and is best known internationally for her role as Blink in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past," a cameo in the Chinese version of "Iron Man 3," and star turns on the red carpet at Cannes as recently as May. Before her disappearance, she had been booked to star with Penelope Cruz in the Hollywood film "355." She has a role in the upcoming Bruce Willis-Adrien Brody feature "Air Strike."
Fan posted an apology on her official account on the social media site Weibo.com saying that she accepts the tax authorities' decision and would "try my best to overcome all difficulties and raise funds to pay back taxes and fines."
"I am unworthy of the trust of the society and let down the fans who love me," she wrote in her first update of her Weibo.com microblog since June 2.
A man surnamed Liang, who identified himself as a staff member of Fan's studio when reached by phone, refused to comment on the announcement or on Fan's location.
Her disappearance coincided with a crackdown by the authorities on high salaries for actors that can eat up much of the cost of a production. In June, regulators capped star pay at 40 percent of a TV show's entire production budget and 70 percent of the total paid to all the actors in a film.
Fan evaded 7.3 million yuan in taxes by using a secret contract worth 20 million yuan that she signed for starring in the film "Air Strike," the report said. She had instead paid taxes on a contract for only 10 million yuan, Xinhua said. This referred to a reportedly common entertainment industry practice — an actor having a public contract stating an official salary and a private contract detailing actual, much higher pay.
A talk show host, Cui Yongyuan had said in May that Fan had such an arrangement, which allegedly helps facilitate tax evasion, and revealed details that sparked a public outcry. Cui later apologized.
New York, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — Ruby Rose has played some dangerous characters, like an inmate in "Orange Is the New Black" and a scientist battling a prehistoric shark in "The Meg." But the actress herself is now officially dangerous.
Cybersecurity firm McAfee on Tuesday crowned Rose the most dangerous celebrity on the internet. No other celebrity was more likely to land users on websites that carry viruses or malware.
Reality TV star, Kristin Cavallari finished behind Rose at No. 2, followed by actress Marion Cotillard (No. 3), the original "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter (No. 4), actress Rose Byrne (No. 5), Debra Messing (No. 6), reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian (No. 7), actress Amber Heard (No. 8), morning TV show host Kelly Ripa (No. 9), and actor Brad William Henke as No 10.
Rose is a model and MTV VJ who may have gotten a burst of online interest when she was named to play Batwoman on an upcoming CW series.
The survey is meant to highlight the danger of clicking on suspicious links. McAfee urges internet users to consider risks associated with searching for downloadable content and always apply updated security fixes. The company used its own site ratings to compile the celebrity list and used searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo.
"In our hyper-connected world, it's important for consumers to think before they click to be sure that they are landing on safe digital content and protecting themselves from cybersecurity threats that may be used to infect their devices or steal their identity," writes Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. "So whether you're looking up what Ruby did on the latest 'Orange is the New Black' episode, or what Kristin Cavallari wore the latest awards show, make sure you're searching the internet safely."
Rose deposes last year's most dangerous celeb, Avril Lavigne. That top 10 also included Bruno Mars, Carly Rae Jepsen, Zayn Malik, Celine Dion, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Katy Perry and Beyonce.
Musicians on the latest list took a hit. Adele was the highest ranked musician at No. 21 followed by Shakira at No. 27. Diddy, who finished at No. 9 in 2017, fell to No. 76.
Paris, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — Charles Aznavour, the French crooner and actor whose performing career spanned eight decades, has died. He was 94.
One of the Armenian diaspora's most recognized faces and vocal defenders, he seduced fans around the world with his versatile tenor, lush lyrics and kinetic stage presence. He sang to sold-out concert halls until the end, resorting to a prompter only after having written upwards of 1,000 songs by his own estimate.
His death was confirmed by the French Culture Ministry. "Thank you, M. Aznavour," government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux tweeted.
Often compared to Frank Sinatra, Aznavour started his career as a songwriter for Edith Piaf. The French chanteuse took him under her wing. Like her, his fame ultimately reached well outside France: Aznavour was named entertainer of the century in an online poll by CNN and Time magazine in 1999.
London, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — A year after it became an unwilling focus for Britain's #MeToo movement, the Old Vic Theatre says it is trying to stamp out abuses of power in all workplaces.
The London theater company once led by actor Kevin Spacey said Monday that 20 cultural organizations have joined it in appointing workplace "guardians," specially trained staff who serve as a first line of defense against bullying, harassment and abuse.
It has been a year since abuse allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein spurred women around the world to organize the "Me Too" and "Time's Up" movements, and triggered an outpouring of allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics, publishing, academia and business.
The scandal rocked the venerable Old Vic when Academy Award-winning actor Spacey, its former artistic director, was accused of sexual misconduct by men in the United States. Police in the U.S. and in Britain are investigating several claims.
After an investigation, the Old Vic said it had received 20 complaints of inappropriate behavior by Spacey, who led the theater between 2004 and 2015. It said most of the alleged victims had been staff members, and acknowledged that a "cult of personality" around the Hollywood star had made it difficult for them to come forward.
In response, the Old Vic trained staff members to act as "confidential sounding boards" to staff members experiencing abuse and unsure about what to do.
Old Vic executive producer Kate Varah said the guardians can provide a "sanity-check conversation" for employees who feel they are being bullied or abused. She said the goal is to bridge the gap "between a water cooler conversation with a mate where you can say 'This happened and it doesn't feel right' and then formalizing that" by going to management or a union.
The guardians get legal training to give "neutral support," with the employee deciding what action to take. Guardians pass information to management, but only once it has been anonymized.
Varah said 20 organizations have signed up to a Guardians Network, including the British Film Institute, the English National Opera, the Society of London Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland. A further 30 groups in the cultural sector and beyond are considering joining.
Member organizations receive legal training and get the chance to get together and share information and lessons.
"It feels incredibly important that this isn't just identified as an issue within one particular industry," Varah said. "This is something that any workplace faces."
Heather Rabbatts, a founder of Time's Up U.K., welcomed the Old Vic program, calling it a step toward eliminating workplace abuse.
The allegations against the famous and powerful Spacey, sparked soul-searching within Britain's theater industry, where rumors of inappropriate behavior by him had long circulated — though an investigation by lawyers found no evidence that suspicion about Spacey's behavior was widespread at the Old Vic.
Varah acknowledges it was "a challenging time" for the theater, which is celebrating its 200th birthday in 2018. She's keen to ensure the scandal doesn't distract from the venue's achievements under artistic director Matthew Warchus, who took over from Spacey in 2015.
Under his tenure the Old Vic has developed the musicals "Groundhog Day" and "The Girl From the North Country" and tempted Glenda Jackson back onto the stage after two decades for "King Lear."
Varah said that since Warchus took over, "we've never felt this was a place where we needed particularly to fix a problem."
"But that is almost naive. I think any organization that feels that they've got nothing to solve in this area probably hasn't had their eyes open to some of the day-to-day issues that could arise.
"I think as an organization, we are stronger," she added. "We have learnt from our experiences and we have done everything that we can to ensure that the organization now leads the way, not just on stage but also offstage as well."
Dhaka, Sept 30 (UNB) - A classical musical programme with the participation of the Indian artists was held on Sunday in the city for third gender people.
Rethink, a platform that works for the eunuchs, organized the programme.
Indian Sarod artiste Arnab Bhattacharya performed in the programme accompanied by Nilimesh Chakraborty on tabla.
The people of the hijra community spoke about the presentation of artists. They said that this arrangement has really inspired them. They also expressed their satisfaction as they could enjoy the programme along with the general people without any disturbance.
The artists also expressed their gratitude towards Rethink for introducing such kind of programme.
Arnab Bhattacharya said, “We have served in many countries of the world. But there was no such arrangement anywhere. This class of society has always seen us from a distance and we have never been able to come to them like that.”
Director of Rethink Lulu-Al-Marjan said that the able people should create more opportunities for the third gender people so that they never feel neglected.
The organisation is regularly holding many cultural sessions in the city with the participation and performance of transgender people.