Of all the filmmakers you might expect to make a film about Jewish hero Judah Maccabee, Mel Gibson is probably not at the top of the list. So consider this a Hannukah surprise.
Deadline broke the news that Gibson and Warner Bros. are teaming on a film about the hero who led a small band of Jews against mighty Seleucids armies and, among other things, liberated Jerusalem. Gibson will produce the picture, and potentially direct, too.
It would seem a curious choice for Gibson, who has a past checkered with accusations — and admitted utterances — of anti-semitic sentiment. His 2004 film, “The Passion of the Christ,” was a blockbuster hit but proved wildly divisive, with Jewish audiences taking offense to the way Israelis were portrayed.
In the midst of the controversy over the film, Gibson defended himself against the charges, saying, “For me, it goes against the tenets of my faith, to be racist in any form. To be anti-Semitic is a sin. It’s been condemned by one Papal Council after another. There’s encyclicals on it, which is, you know — to be anti-Semitic is to be unchristian, and I’m not.”
In 2006, he was recorded, during a DUI arrest, drunkenly blaming Jews for all the wars in the world.
According to the LA Times, Gibson has long wanted to do a film about Maccabee, and considering doing so as a followup to “Passion.”
He’ll be collaborating with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who has been honored for his work recognizing the atrocities of the Holocaust…
The whole news report is in the Huffington Post here.
Mel Gibsonis interviewed about his Maccabean movie here.
To the accompaniment of prayer, a pealing pipe organ, applause, and laughter, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was installed Thursday as the new head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“This is a big job,” he told the throng of 1,700 crowded into the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
Without mentioning the clergy sex-abuse scandal plaguing the archdiocese, the new archbishop acknowledged in his homily that “this church in Philadelphia faces very serious challenges these days. There’s no quick fix to problems that are so difficult, and none of us here today, except the Lord himself, is a miracle worker.”
But, he said, “no bishop will give more joyfully of himself than I will to renewing this great church. No bishop will try harder to help persons who have been hurt by the sins of the past. And no bishop will work harder to strengthen and encourage our priests and restore the hearts of our faithful.”
Chaput, 66, succeeds Cardinal Justin Rigali, who is retiring after eight years at the helm of the 1.5 million-member archdiocese.
A half-dozen cardinals, about 200 bishops, and 400 priests in cream-and-gold vestments preceded Chaput to the main altar of the cathedral. Rigali followed, carrying an ornate crosier, or bishop’s staff, of brass and silver.
In his final gesture as archbishop, Rigali first took his seat in the large oak-and-velvet bishop’s chair. Chaput sat in a smaller chair opposite him.
After a representative of the papal nuncio’s office read Pope Benedict XVI’s July 19 edict naming Chaput to Philadelphia, Rigali rose, crossed the altar, and escorted the former Denver archbishop to the chair in the formal act of succession.
At that, the congregation rose and applauded Chaput for more than 90 seconds.
Later, the Kansas-born Franciscan Capuchin friar took hold of the plain wooden shepherd’s staff that he had brought with him from Colorado as the symbol of his new office…
You can read the full text of Archbishop Chaput homily here.
In the next couple of weeks. Seriously – that’s if you stay between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the Equator:
A six tonne Nasa satellite is set to fall uncontrolled out of orbit, potentially raining debris over swathes of the planet including Britain, the US space agency has admitted.
The $750 million (£468 million) Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) satellite, launched 20 years ago to study climate change, is set to breach the atmosphere within weeks.
In a new alert issued this week, officials warned pieces could land in densely populated areas on six continents including parts of Britain, Europe, North and South America and Asia.
Nasa claimed the risk to public safety from the “dead” satellite – which is orbiting just over 155 miles above the earth with an inclination of 57 degrees – was “extremely small”.
But senior space agency officials admitted they were “concerned” about the risk to billions of people when it starts falling uncontrolled out of orbit at any stage from later this month.
Nasa admitted more than half a tonne of metal from the satellite, which ran out of fuel in 2005, will survive as the majority it will burn up after entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Scientists estimate the debris footprint will be about 500 miles long with a 1-in-3,200 chance a part a satellite part could hit someone.
While Nasa did not know the exact areas it will fall, the projected danger zone has been narrowed to areas between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the Equator.
These areas cover six continents and billions of people and three oceans…
9/11, ten years on.
After the terrorist planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, pictures of the survivors and the rescue workers were seared on to the public imagination.
The Telegraph reports:
The events of September 11 2001 were the most photographed in the history of mankind. Osama bin Laden and his hijackers knew that in New York City, they were striking not just at America’s financial hub, but also at the heart of the international news media, where their attack would be captured from every angle, in terrifying detail.
Of the countless faces that featured in photographers’ frames, a handful would become seared on to the public imagination. These people, who seemed to define the shock – and hint at the suffering – inflicted on the United States in those 102 minutes, are likely to have their image reproduced in history books for generations to come…