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Saudi Gazette


US judge dismisses concussions

lawsuits against World Wrestling


A federal judge has

dismissed lawsuits by dozens of

former professional wrestlers who

accused World Wrestling Enter-

tainment Inc of failing to protect

them from concussions and other

head trauma, including chronic

traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Many claims filed on behalf

of 53 wrestlers like Joseph “Road

Warrior Animal” Laurinaitis and

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka were

brought too late and some were

frivolous, US District Judge Vanes-

sa Bryant in Hartford, Connecticut,

ruled on Wednesday.

Bryant also found no basis to

suggest the defendants, includ-

ing WWE Chief Executive Officer

Vince McMahon, knew of any link

between wrestling and CTE before

2007, which was after most of the

plaintiffs had retired.

“The court is also unwilling

to find that the diagnosis of one

wrestler with CTE is sufficient to

imbue WWE with actual aware-

ness of a probable link between

wrestling and CTE,” Bryant added.

CTE is a neurodegenerative

disease often caused by repeated

trauma to the head, and cannot be

diagnosed before death.

- Reuters

Jack Black gets a star on the

Hollywood Walk of Fame


Actor Jack Black

was honored with the 2,645th star

on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

on Wednesday.

Black, who was honored for

his career acting in film as well

as his work with his comedy rock

group Tenacious D, said he was

“nervous” and “embarrassed” to

receive the star, which fulfilled a

lifelong dream.

“If you get one of those starts

on the sidewalk, that mean’s you’ve

Actor Jack Black kisses his

star at its unveiling on the

Hollywood Walk of Fame in

Los Angeles, California on

Wednesday. - Reuters

made it and I feel like I’ve finally

grasped that sweet brass ring!”

Black said. “The question is, where

do we go now?”

“School of Rock” director

Richard Linklater hailed Black’s

acting ability. “There are hundreds

and hundreds of actors who could

do a good Hamlet, but there are

only a few who really can do what

Jack does,” he said. “There’s only

one Jack Black.”

Black joked that he planned to

retire after receiving the star to fo-

cus on “diet and exercise” and pass

the spotlight to the next genera-

tion, including his sons.

“Seriously it’s time to pass the

torch to the Uzi Verts and the Lil

Peeps and... the Tommy and Sam-

my Blacks of the world,” he said.

He added he would make Ju-

manji 2, another Kung Fu Panda

film and three more Tenacious

D albums “and that’s it.” “Un-

less something really cool comes

around,” he said.

- Agencies

All-star Mary Poppins sequel

flies into view


A view across the

grimy rooftops of London? A

nanny descending to earth

with a flying umbrella? Dick

Van Dyke? All are present

and correct in the trailer

for the “Mary Poppins” re-

boot that was released on


Julie Andrews, who won

the 1965 Best Actress Os-

car for her performance in

the original, is replaced in

“Mary Poppins Returns” by

Emily Blunt as the uncon-

ventional governess who ar-

rives as if by magic to heal a

family in need of love.

In the sequel, it is 1932

and the boy, Michael Banks,

has grown up and, helped by

his sister Jane, is bringing up

children of his own, in the

absence of their mother.

The trailer gives few

other clues to the plot of

the musical, but showcases

a stellar cast of British act-

ing talent, including Ben

Whishaw, Colin Firth and Ju-

lie Walters.

Meryl Streep also fea-

tures, as does Dick Van Dyke

who played the chimney

sweep Bert with the so-bad-

it’s-good cockney accent

in the original. Now 92, the

trailer shows him as lithe as

ever, dancing on a table.

The Bert character - Jack

in this film - is played by

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the

rapper and composer who

created the acclaimed musi-

cal “Hamilton”.

The movie includes

mixed live-action and anima-

tion scenes that are reminis-

cent of those that were cut-

ting edge in the mid-1960s

but have a retro-charm now.

“Mary Poppins Returns”

is set for a pre-Christmas

release in Britain and the

United States.

- Reuters

A scene from “Mary Poppins Returns”.

Belgian builds musical bridge

across the Bosphorus


Belgian musician Tristan

Driessens found his inspiration and his

calling east of the Bosphorus, becoming

one of the West’s few masters of the oud

and of Ottoman classical music.

Now he is helping build a musical

bridge for others, working with refugees

arriving from the east to help preserve

and develop their musical culture in Eu-

ropean exile.

“Sometimes you choose your fate,

sometimes fate chooses you,” said Dries-

sens, explaining how he came to master the

oud, the oriental lute, and become artistic

director of Refugees for Refugees.

This group brings together refugees

who have fled to Belgium from Syria,

Iraq, Afghanistan and as far as Tibet to

play concerts and record new music to-

gether in Brussels.

A record, named “Amerli” after an Iraqi

town besieged by Daesh (the so-called Is-

lamic State group), was released in May

2016 by the world music educational asso-

ciation Muziekpublique.

A portion of the sales of the recording

was invested in two Belgian NGOs work-

ing with refugees from the conflicts in the

Middle East, Globe Aroma and Synergie 14.

Driessens, a 36-year-old Belgian did

not impose his own vision on the refugee

ensemble, trying to draw music from their

talents, traditions and life experience, and

to guide it towards forming a whole.

“There are so many rich personalities,”

Driessens told AFP.

Among the group are Dolma Renq-

ingi, a Tibetan singer, Asad Qizilbash, a

Pakistani who plays the sarod, another

form of lute, Afghan troubador Aman Yu-

Belgian artistic director and oud player

Tristan Driessens poses for a picture during

an interview in Brussels. - AFP

sufi and “musicians who have such impor-

tant experiences, as refugees and as human

beings, in the realm of music”.

At Muziekpublique, Driessens teaches

Turkish music, but he invited his new col-

leagues to share all “their baggage, their musi-

cal tastes and their technique.”

“From there, I put together a rundown,” he

explains. “I spot the pearls... to create some-

thing of relevance, but for me this group is

first and foremost a human adventure.”

A second Refugees for Refugees al-

bum is due out next year.


Driessens also owes his musical calling

to a journey, albeit not a forced one.

Between the ages of 15 and 17, the

young oud player roamed Spain with his

mother, living and travelling in a gypsy

caravan pulled by two horses.

There he discovered musical tradi-

tions drawn from both the Sephardic

Jews and Arab Andalucia.

“It shaped how I saw the world and

allowed me to meet many artists at a

very young age,” he said.

The oud is often associated with Ara-

bic music, but Driessens’ next encounter

was with learned Turkish performers, vir-

tuosos like Yurdal Tokcan and Necati Ce-

lik, whom he sees as “a father, an anchor.”

The young Belgian’s formal guitar

and piano training had been in the West-

ern tradition, but Turkish classical music

would open the door to eastern styles.

“The power of expression that can

be contained in a simple oriental melody

fascinates me,” he said.

For just over a decade he has made

regular pilgrimages to Istanbul, the city

on the Bosphorus, bridge between Eu-

rope and Asia to sit at the feet of masters.

“It’s a cord that I can’t cut, a second

home,” he said. “Whether it’s to make a

recording, attend an artist in residence

or just drink Turkish coffee with my

master. I was formed in this city.”


Trump compliments EU’s Junkcer

by calling him ‘tough, nasty’

Nappy change: Dutch to turn

diapers into furniture


Fed-up with a growing mountain

of stinking disposable nappies, a Dutch firm

Wednesday started building the country’s first

recycling plant to turn poo into profit. Plastic from

the nappies extracted by the facility in the central

Dutch town of Weurt near Nijmegen will have a

second life as household items like garden furniture

or flower pots. “In total, we plan to process some

15,000 tons of nappies a year,” said Harrie Arends,

spokesman for the ARN energy company which

will run the plant. Worldwide, disposable diapers

are a major source of pollution with millions of tons

being dumped in landfills every year, forming a

major health hazard according to environmental

watchdogs. Slated to start its first recycling

operations by December, the factory will initially

have one steel “reactor” which uses high-pressure

steam to separate plastic compounds in disposable

nappies from urine and feces. “The old disposable

nappies are heated to 250 degrees Celsius (480

degrees Fahrenheit) under 40 bars of pressure and

everything becomes liquefied,” said Arends. “Once

cooled down, the plastic compound granules float

on top and will be separated from the rest of the

content which is basically sewage.” The plastic

is then put through a granulator to be used for a

variety of goods. The sewage generates gas and

is turned into fuel for power stations and fertilizer,

while the rest is piped to a nearby sewage treatment

plant. Arends said the company’s first reactor would

have a 5,000 liter-capacity, and added that there

were plans to build two more.



US President Donald Trump called

powerful EU Commission President Jean-Claude

Juncker “nasty” on Tuesday — but that was a

compliment. “He’s tough, he’s nasty, the kind of guy

I want negotiating for me,” Trump told reporters at

the White House. “He’s a tough, tough cookie.”

Trump’s unusual assessment of Juncker — more real

estate developer style than diplomatic — was then

followed by an equally Trumpian boast regarding his

own, even greater negotiating smarts.

Referring to US demands for renegotiated trade

arrangements with the European Union, Trump

said Juncker refused three times before a deal was

struck in July. “I said that’s OK. We don’t have to

renegotiate any longer. We are going to put a tariff

on all of the millions of cars you send into the United

States,” Trump recalled with a satisfied smile.

According to Trump, Juncker “was in my office so

quickly from Europe that I didn’t know they had

airplanes that flew that fast. I said where did you find

this plane?” Trump, speaking alongside visiting Polish

President Andrzej Duda, repeated his insistence that

Washington is right to tear up longstanding trade

agreements with close allies, as well as China.

“Our country has been abused, taken advantage

of, by virtually every country that it does business

with,” Trump said.


US President Donald Trump meets with European Commission

President Jean-Claude Juncker in the Oval Office of the White

House in Washington in this July 25, 2018 file photo. — AFP

Sheep throng a road near mine pit during seasonal

migration in Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang Autonomous

Region, China on Wednesday. - Reuters




during the

On|off catwalk

show during


Fashion Week

in London on


- Reuters