Seoul, Nov 14 (AP/UNB) — The agency for K-pop superstars BTS apologized Wednesday for members wearing a T-shirt depicting the explosion of an atomic bomb and a hat with a Nazi emblem.
Japanese TV broadcasters recently canceled planned appearances in that country after images went viral of the musician wearing the shirt. The South Korean boy band ran into more troubles after news broke out that another member wore a hat featuring a Nazi symbol in a magazine photo book and band members flew flags with what appeared to be the Nazi swastika during a concert in the past.
"We would like to again offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who has suffered pain, distress and discomfort due to our shortcomings and oversight in ensuring that these matters receive our most careful attention," the band's agency, the Big Hit Entertainment, said in a statement.
The T-shirt portrayed an atomic bombing juxtaposed with the celebration of Korea's 1945 liberation from Japan at the end of the World War II. The United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before Tokyo's surrender.
Before its division into North and South Korea after the liberation, the Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910-1945. Many in both Koreas still harbor strong resentment against the Japanese colonial masters. But in South Korea, it's extremely rare for anyone to publicly celebrate or mock the atomic bombings.
South Korean politicians criticized the Japanese broadcasters' decisions to cancel BTS appearances, accusing Japan of harboring "self-centered views on history" and letting politics interfere with cultural exchanges.
It doesn't appear the T-shirt controversy is seriously affecting the band's huge popularity in Japan, with 50,000 people reportedly filling up the Tokyo Dome Wednesday evening to watch them perform.
The BTS agency said the A-bomb shirt's wearing was "in no way intentional" and that it wasn't designed to "injure or make light of those affected by the use of atomic weapons." It said it still apologizes for "failing to take the precautions that could have prevented the wearing of such clothing by our artist."
Regarding the hat furor, it said all apparel and accessories used for the photo book were provided by a media company involved in its publication. It said the flags in question were aimed at symbolizing South Korea's restrictively uniform and authoritarian educational systems, not the Nazism.
"We will carefully examine and review not only these issues but all activities involving Big Hit and our artists based on a firm understanding of diverse social, historical and cultural considerations to ensure that we never cause any injury, pain or distress to anyone," the agency statement said.
The seven-member band, which has worldwide following, is the first South Korean artists in May to top the Billboard 200 albums chart with "Love Yourself: Tear." The band began its Japan tour earlier this week.
South Korean K-pop and movie stars are extremely popular in Japan and other Asian countries.
Los Angeles, Nov 13 (AP/UNB) — Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic book and helped make billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, died Monday. He was 95.
Lee was declared dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to Kirk Schenck, an attorney for Lee's daughter, J.C. Lee.
As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book. He revived the industry in the 1960s by offering the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, even philosophy.
Millions responded to the unlikely mix of realistic fantasy, and many of his characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men went on to become stars of blockbuster films. He won the National Medal of Arts in 2008.
Recent projects Lee helped make possible range from the films "Avengers: Infinity War," ''Black Panther" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" to such TV series as "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" and "Daredevil." Lee was recognizable to his fans, having had cameos in many Marvel films and TV projects, often delivering his trademark motto, "Excelsior!"
"Captain America" actor Chris Evans mourned the loss on Twitter: "There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!"
Lee considered the comic-book medium an art form and he was prolific: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years. "I wrote so many I don't even know. I wrote either hundreds or thousands of them," he told The Associated Press in 2006.
He hit his stride in the 1960s when he brought the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and numerous others to life. "It was like there was something in the air. I couldn't do anything wrong," he said.
His heroes, meanwhile, were a far cry from virtuous do-gooders such as rival DC Comics' Superman.
The Fantastic Four fought with each other. Spider-Man was goaded into superhero work by his alter ego, Peter Parker, who suffered from unrequited crushes, money problems and dandruff. The Silver Surfer, an alien doomed to wander Earth's atmosphere, waxed about the woeful nature of man. The Hulk was marked by self-loathing. Daredevil was blind and Iron Man had a weak heart.
"The beauty of Stan Lee's characters is that they were characters first and superheroes next," Jeff Kline, executive producer of the "Men in Black" animated television series, told The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, in 1998.
Some of Lee's creations became symbols of social change — the inner turmoil of Spider-Man represented '60s America, for example, while The Black Panther and The Savage She-Hulk mirrored the travails of minorities and women.
"I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups," he told The AP in 2006. "We all grew up with giants and ogres and witches. Well, you get a little bit older and you're too old to read fairy tales. But I don't think you ever outgrow your love for those kind of things, things that are bigger than life and magical and very imaginative."
Lee scripted most of Marvel's superhero comics himself during the '60s, including the Avengers and the X-Men, two of the most enduring. In 1972, he became Marvel's publisher and editorial director; four years later, 72 million copies of Spider-Man were sold.
"He's become our Mickey Mouse," he once said of the masked, web-crawling crusader.
Lee also published several books, including "The Superhero Women" in 1977 and "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" the following year, when he was named publisher of the year by the Periodical and Book Association of America.
CBS turned the Hulk into a successful TV series, with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno portraying the doomed scientist from 1978-82. A Spider-Man series ran briefly in 1978. Both characters were featured in animated TV series as well.
The first big-budget movie based on Lee's characters, "X-Men," was a smash in 2000, earning more than $130 million at North American theaters. "Spider-Man" did even better, taking in more than $400 million in 2002. A Marvel movie empire would emerge after that, one of the most lucrative mega-franchises in cinema history, with the recent "Avengers: Infinity War" grossing more than $2 billion worldwide. In 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film shave netted over $17.6 billion in worldwide grosses.
"Black Panther" actor Winston Duke took to Twitter to pay his respects to Lee: "You gave us characters that continue to stand the test of time and evolve with our consciousness. You taught us that there are no limits to our future as long as we have access to our imagination. Rest in power!"
Stanley Martin Lieber was born Dec. 28, 1922, in New York. He grew up a fan of "Hardy Boys" adventure books and Errol Flynn movies, and got a job at Timely Comics after graduating from high school.
Within a few months, the editor and art director quit, leaving the 17-year-old Lee with creative control over the company, which grew and was renamed Atlas Comics and, finally, Marvel. Lieber changed his name, thinking Lee would be used for "silly little comics" and his real name would be reserved for novels.
His early work largely reflected popular movies — westerns, crime dramas, romance, whatever was the rage at the time. He worked for about 50 cents per page.
After a stint in the Army during World War II, writing for training films, he was back at Marvel to begin a long and admittedly boring run of assembly line comic book production.
Comics in the 1950s were the subject of Senate hearings pushed by the Comics Code Authority, which frowned on gore and characters that questioned authority. Major comic book companies adopted the code as a form of self-regulation to avoid sanctions.
Lee said he was also working for a publisher who considered comics as fare only for children.
"One day I said, 'This is insane,'" Lee told the Guardian in 1979. "I'm just doing the same type of stories as everybody else. I wasn't taking pride in my work and I wanted to quit. But my wife said, 'Look, why don't you do the kind of comics you want for a change?'"
The result was the first issue of "The Fantastic Four," in 1960, with the characters, plot and text from Lee and the illustrations by famed Marvel artist Jack Kirby.
The characters were normal people changed into reluctant superheroes through no fault of their own.
Writing in "Origins of Marvel Comics," Lee described the quartet this way: "The characters would be the kind of characters I could personally relate to; they'd be flesh and blood, they'd have their faults and foibles, they'd be fallible and feisty and — most important of all — inside their colorful, costumed booties they'd still have feet of clay."
"The Amazing Spider-Man" followed in 1962 and before long, Marvel Comics was an industry behemoth.
Lee knew his work was different, proudly noting that stories were drawn out over several issues not to make money but to better develop characters, situations and themes. He didn't neglect his villains, either. One, the Moleman, went bad when he was ostracized because of his appearance, Lee wrote, adding it was "almost unheard of in a comic book" to explain why a character was what he was.
Lee's direct influence faded in the 1970s as he gave up some of his editorial duties at Marvel. But with his trademark white mustache and tinted sunglasses, he was the industry's most recognizable figure. He lectured widely on popular culture.
Lee moved to Los Angeles in 1981 to head Marvel Productions, an animation studio that was later purchased, along with Marvel Comics, for $50 million by New World Entertainment.
As sales of comics declined, Marvel was forced into bankruptcy proceedings that meant it had to void a lifetime contract prohibiting Lee from working for anyone else. Lee later sued Marvel for $10 million, saying the company cheated him out of millions in profits from movies based on his characters.
In 2000, Lee agreed to write stories for DC Comics, reinventing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other signature characters for Marvel's one-time rival. DC Vice President and Publisher Paul Levitz had nothing but praise when the agreement was made.
"With his artistic collaborators at Marvel, Stan co-created the richest imaginary universe a single comics writer has ever built," he said.
The dapper, friendly comic book genius continued to work into his 90s on numerous projects, including comics, films and DVDs.
In the late 1990s, he looked to capitalize on the Internet craze, offering animated "Webisodes" of comic-like action. Stan Lee Media also sought to reach out to Web-savvy youth through deals with pop artists the Backstreet Boys and Mary J. Blige.
The company went bankrupt, and three men were indicted for allegedly defrauding the business in a check kiting scam. Lee wasn't implicated.
After that initial failure, Lee formed the successful Pow! Entertainment company to launch animated Internet-based projects.
Lee's wife and partner in nearly everything, Joan Lee, died on July 6, 2017, leaving a void that made her husband, by then in mental and physical decline, vulnerable to hangers-on who began to surround him. Lawsuits, court fights and an elder abuse investigation all emerged in the fight over who spoke for the elderly Lee.
Lee is survived by his daughter, Joanie, and a younger brother who also worked in comics, Larry Lieber.
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) – The 71st birthday of late prolific author, dramatist, screenwriter, playwright and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed is being celebrated today (Tuesday).
Humayun Ahmed (13 November 1948 – 19 July 2012) was a Bangladeshi writer, dramatist, screenwriter, filmmaker, songwriter, scholar, lecturer.
His breakthrough was his debut novel Nondito Noroke published in 1972.
He wrote over 200 fiction and non-fiction books, all of which were bestsellers in Bangladesh.
Ahmed's writing style is characterised as magical realism.
His books were the top sellers at the Ekushey Book Fair during the 1990s and 2000s.
He won the Bangla Academy Award and the Ekushey Padak award for his contribution to Bengali literature.
In the early 1990s, Ahmed emerged as a filmmaker. He went on to make a total of eight films - each based on his own novels. He received six Bangladesh National Film Awards in different categories for the films Daruchini Dwip, Aguner Poroshmoni and Ghetuputra Komola.
Ahmed is often credited with revitalising Bengali literature. His unique storytelling style captures the oral tradition and rhythm at the root of Bangla, bringing to life the stories and aspirations of traditional middle class and rural families.
Meawnujile, his family members and different cultural organizations and TV channels have chalked out various programmes to celebrate the birthday of the prominent figure of Bengali literature.
Marking his birthday, private television Channel-i is going to organize a fair 'Humayun Mela' on the television channel premises in Tejgaon area in the capital.
Onno Prokash Publication will also distribute “Humayun Ahmed Award” on this occasion.
Dhaka, Nov 11 (UNB) - This year writers Rizia Rahman and Fatima Rumi will receive the Exim Bank-Anyadin Humayun Ahmed Literary Award at Bangla Academy on Monday.
The award giving ceremony will be held at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium of the Academy where Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith will be the chief guest.
Rizia Rahman has been selected for the award in recognition of her contribution in the field of literature, while Farima Rumi has been selected in the young writer category.
Rizia Rahman is a Bangladeshi novelist who is best known for her novel ‘Bong Theke Bangla’. She is also a recipient of Bangla Academy Literary Award and Fatima Rumi previously won Kali O Kolom Award-2014 in the Short Stories and Novel category for her debut book ‘Ami Onindita’.
Dhaka, Nov 10 (UNB) -Mira Rajput is back and how. On Friday, Shahid Kapoor’s wife shared the first picture of her two-month old baby son Zain Kapoor and wrote: “Hello World.” The little boy could be seen looking intently at the camera as someone is holding him in her/his hand. Zain is wearing a festive maroon kurta.
While it is still too early to say whom he resembles, some have already begun the guessing game and claiming he looks like his grandfather, Pankaj Kapoor. It may be recalled that Zain was born in Mumbai in September this year, amid much public attention, reports Indian Express.
Shahid and Mira are a popular couple with their personal pictures and videos often trending on the internet. On the occasion of Diwali, the couple posted a number of pictures on their respective social media handles and needless to say, they were lovely. One particular picture of the handsome couple in a liplock was quite a hit online, while another one where Shahid can be seen holding up his baby girl, Misha dressed in a pale pink ghagra choli, was also popular.
Post the birth of her son, Mira pretty much disappeared from social media, hardly posting pictures on Instagram or appearing in public. However, much of that has changed and she is being spotted every now and then. On November 1, the family was again seen together on Ishaan Khatter’s birthday. On Thursday, post Diwali, the duo had been snapped after a quiet dinner together.
In the run-up to her pregnancy, Mira was particularly noticeable for her fashion sense.
Shahid, meanwhile, is preparing for his next film, Kabir Singh, a Hindi remake of the 2017 hit Telugu film, Arjun Reddy. The project requires him to grow his beard, which is why we see him in his current ‘thick beard’ avatar. His last film, Batti Gul Meter Chalu was a box office fiasco.