Syrian singer Omar Souleyman took to the stage at a Swedish music festival on Thursday (08Aug13) after overturning an initial refusal to grant him entry into the country on a work visa. The musician was forced to pull out of a scheduled performance at the Stockholm Music and Arts festival over the weekend (03-04Aug13) after officials refused him entry on the grounds that he could apply for permanent residency in Scandinavia to escape the civil war in his native country.
Souleyman, who has collaborated with Blur frontman Damon Albarn and Icelandic singer Bjork, was outraged by the decision and travelled to the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to argue his case with officials.
He was successful and the travel ban was reversed, and he was offered a slot at the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg by organisers who had campaigned against the decision to bar him from the country.
A statement posted on the festival's website reads, "This is a fantastic victory for everyone that's been struggling with this issue. For Omar... for Way Out West and above all the audience. This shows that you can correct a wrong. We send a big thanks to everyone who has helped out this past week."
Souleyman confirmed the news to Britain's The Guardian, adding, "As troubled as it is, I love my country, I would never defect to Sweden. Thank God that the visa has been finally resolved."
Syrian singer Omar Souleyman has been forced to cancel an appearance at an upcoming Swedish music festival after the country's immigration authorities denied his request for a work visa. The musician, who has previously collaborated with Blur rocker Damon Albarn and Icelandic star Bjork, had been booked to perform at this week's (begs05Aug13) Way Out West event, which takes place in Gothenburg from 8 to 10 August (13), but Swedish officials have banned him from entering the country due to fears he will try to escape the civil war in his native Syria and try to apply for permanent residency in Scandinavia.
The ruling has left Souleyman dumbfounded and he has criticised the decision in a statement, which reads: "I could not believe the reason for which my visa was denied - that of Sweden being afraid that I will want to stay there and apply for a residence permit when I arrive.
"I am a musician who travels all over the world and to all western countries to sing for people and to make them dance. I have never ever had any wish or intention to remain in any country that has issued me a visa that enables me to perform for people there.
"It is clear to anyone who will take a look at my extensive touring history for the last five years in the western world where I have been and how many borders I have crossed. Hundreds and hundreds... I have a family in Syria and I have no intention of ever abandoning them."
Organisers behind the Way Out West festival have also weighed in on the visa issue, taking aim at immigration authorities for their "stupidly strict" decision.
Event bosses state: "It's obvious that Omar Souleyman is a professional touring artist who does not intend to flee to Sweden. It's outrageous that Sweden is the first country in Omar's career to refuse him a visa. Given the situation in Syria it feels even more important for artists to be able to express themselves freely."
George Clooney has dismissed Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir's criticism of the actor's eye in the sky satellite project, insisting he's glad the President knows what it feels like to be a Hollywood superstar. Clooney has invested millions in spy technology which allows him and others interested in African affairs to keep an eye on trouble spots on the border of North and South Sudan from outer space, and it seems al-Bashir is beginning to bristle about the project.
The leader, who is charged with war crimes, has issued a statement attacking Clooney and his spy tactics, but the Ocean's Eleven star has laughed off the controversial politician's remarks.
He tells Britain's The Guardian newspaper, "He puts out a statement saying that I'm spying on him and how would I like it if a camera was following me everywhere I went, and I go, 'Well, welcome to my life, Mr. War Criminal!'
"I want the war criminal to have the same amount of attention that I get. I think that's fair."
Clooney also reveals that he helps to fund the Sudan border satellite project with the millions he makes from filming foreign TV commercials - he shot an Italian coffee ad last year (12).
On this 237th birthday of our dear country America, we all band together in our patriotism. Yes, we do have quite the uniting country indeed... despite it being split up into 50 states, all of which vehemently hate the other 49 (especially Jersey).
But as brethren of the same land, we must find common ground. We must find something to appreciate each of the states from which we do not hail. The best way to do that: Movies. Hollywood.com has taken a look at every corner of our land of the free and pinpointed the big screen feature that best exemplifies each of the 50 states. Check below, and see if your home state is represented by a particular favorite of yours.
AlabamaForrest GumpSure, he ran all around the country, but that Greenbow pride stuck with him.
AlaskaOut ColdWacky, off-kilter, and a gem that nobody ever talks about. Just like Alaska.
ArizonaPsychoFrom the creepiest corner of the country comes the creepiest movie ever made.
ArkansasTrue GritRemake or original, both have that AK charm.
CaliforniaCluelessNever before has the Valley been so astonishingly well represented.
ColoradoThe Shining Beautiful and inspiring, but haunting nonetheless — we mean the film and the state.
ConnecticutMystic PizzaSoft-spoken and charming? A little bit sad, but able to laugh? That's Connecticut for you.
DelawareThere are no memorable movies set in Delaware. Sorry, Delaware. Sorry, everybody.
GeorgiaThe Legend of Bagger Vance Ah, that whimsical mystery that soars through the Georgia winds... the kind of mystery only a Will Smith Ghost could convey onscreen.
HawaiiLilo & StitchHawaii is such a fantasy land that only an animated Disney flick could appropriately capture its presence.
IdahoNapoleon DynamiteSlow moving, weird, and possibly ingenious. From the fields of Idaho comes a cult classic that nobody could stop quoting for years.
IllinoisFerris Bueller’s Day Off Danke schoen for Chicago and its favorite son, John Hughes.
IndianaBreaking AwayA sleepy state with firecracker passion gives us a coming-of-age dramedy that can be described just the same.
IowaWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Sad, lonely, desperate, hopeless... No. Not hopeless. Just remember: We can go anywhere.
KansasThe Wizard of OzOh gee, as if there was any alternative?
KentuckyGoldfingerYou don't think of James Bond as a Southern boy, do you? Well, he payed a visit to the Bluegrass State in this classic chapter.
LouisianaSteel MagnoliasThat heartfelt hometown passion for which Louisiana is famous just courses through the beloved modern classic.
MaineCasper The other creepiest corner of the state gives us a slightly more charming ghost story.
MarylandThe Blair Witch Project And we thought the scariest thing in Maryland was Omar Little...
MassachusettsJaws Celebrate Boston pride all you want with The Departed, but Jaws captures everything that a Martha's Vineyardian knows to be home.
MichiganAmerican Pie Great Lakes, great friends, great stories... and hardly a worry in the world. American Pie, you've got Michigan right.
MinnesotaGrumpy Old Men I think just about everyone in Minnesota is in fact 75 years of age or older.
MississippiThe Help Granted, Mississippi has come a long way since the days of The Help, but it still has that connotation...
MissouriWaiting for GuffmanWe'll be honest. We've never been to Missouri. We don't know anyone from Missouri. We have no idea what Missouri is like. But we imagine (and hope) it's exactly like Waiting for Guffman.
MontanaA River Runs Through It That old mountain spirit, that true American flavor, that's what Montana, and this Robert Redford classic, are about.
NebraskaElection We always thought there was something suspicious lurking underneath that oh-so-perfect Nebraska... Tracy Fleck just might be the state incarnate.
NevadaFear and Loathing in Las VegasSorry, Nevada, but you're just Vegas to the rest of the world. Crazy, drug-addled Vegas.
New HampshireLolitaThings are a bit off all throughout the beautiful, jovial, captivating Granite State, and throughout Stanley Kubrick's classic comedy.
New JerseyClerks Angry, grungy, and highly polarizing. Yep. Clerks is Jersey.
New MexicoCity SlickersYes, this movie is about people from other states visiting New Mexico... but isn't that what the real New Mexico is all about, anyway?
New YorkAnnie Hall A symphony of neuroses, heartbreak, and wide-eyed fantasy, Annie Hall is everything that the unstoppable city of New York has to offer.
North CarolinaBull DurhamThis movie is set in North Carolina. So it wins.
North DakotaFargo Oh yah. Quite a sinister tone under this kooky snow-laden state and its signature film, yah.
OhioTommy BoyThe good-natured values of hard work and friendship? That's the cornerstone of Ohio livin', we tell you.
OregonThe GooniesWhen Oregon learned it was finally getting a movie, the entire state cheered: "It's our time."
PennsylvaniaRockyPennsylvania is just another nickname for Philadelphia, right?
Rhode IslandDumb and DumberYes, a good portion of the film takes place on the road (and in a place where the beer flows like wine), but Harry and Lloyd are distinctly, undeniably Rhode Island folk.
South CarolinaThe Notebook That deep, abiding love that can only exist in a small state sheltered from the rest of the world? That can only come from a man like Nicholas Sparks? That can only be appropriately sold through a stunner like Ryan Gosling? Yep.
South DakotaLittle Big ManIt's appropriate that South Dakota's pick is riddled with historical color... and some wacky adventure.
TennesseeThe Blind SideA simple story of family, pride, acceptance, and overcoming adversity. Tennessee should be proud of this Oscar winner.
TexasDazed and ConfusedOf course our Texas pick had to come from Richard Linklater, master of the Lone Star State. And which film better than his most iconic, nihilistic, dreamy high school graduation picture?
Utah127 HoursIn Utah, no one can hear you scream. =
VermontSuper TroopersCall it a mindless stoner comedy, but the Broken Lizard debut packs a lot of that wintry Northeast flavor into its wild, witty mix.
VirginiaThe PatriotAs if there was anything more Virginian. As if there is any state more American.
WashingtonThe Twilight SagaWhat's with the corners of this country being so dang creepy? At least this one has some glitter.
West VirginiaOctober SkyCoal mines and dreams of escaping the coal mines. That's what ol' West Virginia was all about in its day.
WisconsinLars and the Real Girl There's something cold, eerie, and wonderfully beautiful about small town Wisconsin. Ditto Gosling.
WyomingButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Wyoming, even though we're not entirely sure that you actually exist, you might win the pot with the best movie on the list.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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Hit action series 24 is returning to the small screen for a limited 12-episode run. Reports recently surfaced online suggesting Kiefer Sutherland's famous counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer would be heading back to TV, and now executive producer David Fury has confirmed the news.
He posted a link on his Twitter.com page on Friday (10May13) directing fans to a Deadline.com article about the supposed revival, and wrote, "Yep, I'm pulling double duty along w/ (with) (new pilot) TYRANT. Whoo & Hoo!"
Sutherland is said to be in talks to reprise his action-packed role for America's Fox network following the cancellation of his latest TV series, Touch, on Thursday (09May13).
The news will be warmly welcomed by 24 fans - plans to turn the drama into a movie have failed to come to fruition following the end of the show's eighth season in 2010, and director Antoine Fuqua recently suggested the film had been shelved.
24's revival comes as Bollywood star Anil Kapoor, who played Middle Eastern President Omar Hassan on the show in 2010, prepares to launch an Indian version of the series, which will be set in Mumbai.
Top Reggaeton act Wisin Y Yandel's manager has dismissed reports suggesting the duo is to split after pal and peer Don Omar appeared to make the big announcement onstage at a gig last week (03May13). The singer broke the news to fans during a concert on Friday after he was joined onstage by one-half of the Puerto Rican twosome, Llandel Veguilla Malave, aka Yandel.
His brief comments about his friend and collaborator's upcoming solo career were shot down by the duo's manager Edgar Andino over the weekend, and now he is addressing ongoing rumours about Wisin Y Yandel's future.
He tells Billboard.com, "Wisin has been recording in Puerto Rico and Yandel in Orlando, and because they're recording separately people are speculating. But the bottom line is, they haven't had the possibility to record solo."
But he tells the website that both artists do have future individual solo plans that won't interrupt their work as a duo.
Superduo Wisin Y Yandel have split, according to fellow reggaeton star Don Omar. The singer broke the news to fans during a concert on Friday (03May13) after he was joined onstage by one-half of the Puerto Rican twosome, Llandel Veguilla Malave, aka Yandel.
But his brief comments about his friend and collaborator's upcoming solo career did not sit well with Wisin Y Yandsel's manager Edgar Andino, who told the El Nuevo Dia newspaper, "As far as I know, Don Omar is not Yandel's publicist or manager."
Andino refused to confirm or deny reports suggesting the award-winning duo had split.
Wisin Y Yandel first found success in 1998 and have released 10 albums. They won a Grammy in 2010 for Best Urban Latin Album and they have two Latin Grammys.
Actor Kiefer Sutherland has appealed to producers behind the Indian remake of his hit U.S. TV series 24 to offer him a guest part - because he would be "honoured" to make an appearance alongside his former co-star Anil Kapoor. The Bollywood star, who played Middle Eastern President Omar Hassan in the eighth and final season of the original programme, will portray lead character Jai Singh Rathod in the reboot, a role similar to Sutherland's famous counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer, and the 46 year old admits he would love to land a small cameo in the new Mumbai-based show.
He tells the Hindustan Times: "Doing it in your language will be amazing and I think (Kapoor) is fantastic. I am really excited to see what he does to that show. I really wish him all the best."
As for the possibility of making a guest appearance in the Indian 24, Sutherland says, "I'd be honoured, that would be an awful lot of fun."
The Canadian actor filmed director Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist in India, and he fell in love with the spicy local food.
He adds, "I was in New Delhi for about two weeks. I had an amazing time there. I was there for work, so I did not have much time to travel or sightsee. But I had some of the best meals there I've had in my life... India is a place that I'd love to go back to."
After a lifetime of alien invasions and Kaiju attacks and intergalactic teleportation devices and Woolly Mammoths and John Cusacks, Roland Emmerich has decided to take it easy for a while. Maybe settle down in a nice retirement community and pass the time with some character work. Maybe someplace like a war-laden, early 20th Century Middle East. Following his forthcoming action-adventure White House Down, Emmerich will be setting to work on a Lawrence of Arabia mini-series, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. The project, to be developed by FremantleMedia International, will take the form of six separate hours, and will draw from the writings of British officer T.E. Lawrence.
The Independence Day director will produce the mini-series, working alongside film and television writer Clive Bradley. While a remake of the classic 1962 biographical drama Lawrence of Arabia would be a prospect doomed to fail, the mini-series format might allow for a more accepted new look at the colorful story. Based on Emmerich's past work, we can estimate that a hike in the wartime action will be present in this new vantage point, although the small screen delivery could indicate something a little more Patriot and a little less 10,000 B.C.. Just as long as there's some Ghost Chase in there, we're happy.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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Tragic star Jenni Rivera was the toast of the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards on Thursday (25Apr13), posthumously winning six major trophies. The singer died in a plane crash in Mexico in December (12), along with six other passengers, but her legacy is proving strong - she picked up more than half of the 11 prizes she was nominated for at the prizegiving.
Her haul included Artist of the Year, Albums Artist of the Year, Female, Latin Pop Album of the Year (Joyas Prestadas: Pop), Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Solo, Regional Mexican Album of the Year (La Misma Gran Senora), and Regional Mexican Albums Artist of the Year, Solo.
Rivera was remembered onstage with video tributes, and her brother Juan Rivera performed in her honour.
Don Omar was also a big winner at the event, picking up 10 awards, while newcomer Prince Royce went home with four trophies, including Albums Artist of the Year, Male.
Shakira was presented with three prizes; Social Artist of the Year, Songs Artist of the Year, Female and Latin Pop Songs Artist of the Year, Solo.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez beat her ex-husband Marc Anthony to the Tour of the Year trophy for her 2012 world trek with Enrique Iglesias.
The ceremony took place at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami in Florida.