Egypt Independent: Arts-Main news en 'Batman' theater gunman to go on trial <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Opening statements will finally begin Monday in the long-awaited trial of James Holmes, the allegedly crazed gunman accused of opening fire in a packed Batman movie premiere in 2012, killing 12.</p><p>Troubled graduate student Holmes, 27, has been in custody since the night of the mass murder in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012, which also left 70 people injured.</p><p>Holmes -- who had a shock of orange hair when first seen after the attack, in which he allegedly dressed up as Batman villain the Joker -- faces 166 counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder and possession of explosives charges.</p><p>If convicted, he could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and much of the trial is expected focus on whether Holmes was sane at the time of the massacre.</p><p>A panel of 12 jurors and 12 alternates was selected after attorneys questioned over 1,000 of the 9,000 residents of Arapahoe County who received summons since January, when jury selection began.</p><p>The trial is likely to hear some grisly and harrowing evidence.</p><p>&quot;Jury service is not something we do because it&#39;s easy,&quot; said Colorado District Judge Carlos Samour. &quot;It&#39;s something we do because we deeply treasure our democracy.&quot;</p><p>Witnesses said Holmes threw smoke bomb-type devices before opening fire randomly with weapons, including an AR-15 military-style rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .40-caliber pistol.</p><p>In preliminary hearings, prosecutors said Holmes had enough ammunition to kill everyone in the crowded theater showing &quot;The Dark Knight Rises.&quot;</p><p>His apartment was later found to be booby-trapped with an array of home-made explosive devices, which police had to disarm before entering the dwelling.</p><p>Holmes appeared in court initially with flaming orange hair, apparently to mimic the Joker, who also had colored hair in the Batman movies.</p><p>By the time he appeared at the start of jury selection, Holmes wore a sport coat, blue shirt and khaki pants, glasses and had his brown hair and beard neatly trimmed.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>- &#39;Gripped by mental illness&#39; -</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Proceedings have dragged on for more than two-and-a-half years because the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty, according to Denver attorneys following the case. The defendant has undergone two psychiatric examinations.</p><p>Holmes&#39;s parents, Robert and Arlene Holmes, in December wrote a letter to the editor of The Denver Post saying their son had never harmed anyone prior to the shooting.</p><p>&quot;He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,&quot; the couple wrote of their son, who was a neuroscience graduate student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine before the shooting.</p><p>If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes will be confined to a state mental hospital. To win a release, he would have to be found free of mental illness and no longer a danger to himself or to others.</p><p>Attorneys say that is not likely to happen, as no psychiatrist would be willing to sign off on releasing him.</p><p>There is at least one famous precedent: John Hinckley, the man found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, who was back in court last week seeking to gain freedom.</p><p>Hinckley has been in a Washington mental institution, but has lived with his mother in southeast Virginia 17 days a month since 2013. His doctors joined in Hinckley&#39;s request that he be allowed out permanently with monitoring.</p> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:23:00 +0000 AFP 2448725 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/04/26/501184/2ee440530f384035794ce7de32eb58b2de787334.jpg Contemporary dance steps out in Poland after communism <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>When Jacek Krawczyk was growing up in then-communist Poland, the government was happy to train him in karate and acrobatics. He did not imagine that one day he would become a dancer using contemporary styles shunned under communism.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A quarter of a century since the collapse of communism, the northern Polish city of Sopot is hosting a week-long dance program that ends on Sunday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At the Polish Mistrzowie Polskiego Tanca festival, which opened on Tuesday under the auspices of the Sopot Dancer Theater, everyone can dance their hearts out -- and do pretty much whatever they want.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The idea of the festival came from a joke,&quot; event organizer and head of Sopot Dance Theatre Joanna Czajkowska told Reuters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She said her colleague Krawczyk had started kidding about belonging to a &quot;dinosaur generation&quot; of dancers and suggested having everyone who was at the forefront of Polish contemporary dance on one stage.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The result was an unprecedented gathering, for Poland, of the choreographers who gave Polish contemporary dance a new lease on life in the late 1980s and early 1990s after communism. They created a unique spirit characterized by Western structure combined with Eastern emotion and romanticism.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Krawczyk said the currents of contemporary dance that swept Europe in the first part of the 20th century were nipped in the bud when communism took hold in Poland after World War Two.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Classical ballet and folk dancing were the rule and while there were no official restrictions, lack of schools, infrastructure and financial support meant other styles could not develop, from the point of view of training dancers and for audience appreciation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;We could talk about what we wanted, but people were not able to read the code,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Krawczyk&#39;s own choreographed work, &quot;Essentia&quot;, showed how much things have changed by having the dancers perform while wearing traditional Vietnamese conical hats.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He said the dance, in keeping with Eastern philosophies, was intended to show how creatures come into the world, expend their energy and then through death are reabsorbed into nature, after which the life cycle begins anew.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Former classical ballet star Elwira Piorun presented a solo-work, &ldquo;Tomorrow&rdquo;, which took spectators to the heroine&rsquo;s inner world, characterized by chaotic movements, heavy breathing sounds and her vain attempt to fly.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>None of this would probably have gone down too well with Poland&#39;s former communist rulers, but it enthralled Czajkowska and other dance lovers in attendance.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I like watching young dancers because they are vital, beautiful and capable of doing impressive things with the body. But contemporary dance is not about the body, it is about the mind,&quot; she added.</div> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:40:00 +0000 Reuters 2448714 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/12/14/499612/canadians_dance_to_double_gold_at_gp_final.jpg Nicole Kidman set for London stage return in 'Photograph 51' <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Nicole Kidman will return to the London theater stage in September to play British scientist Rosalind Franklin in &quot;Photograph 51&quot;, 17 years after the Hollywood actress made her West End debut.</p><p>The play, by Anna Ziegler, tells the story of Franklin, whose use of X-ray diffraction images led to the discovery of DNA&#39;s double helix structure in 1953.</p><p>Academy Award winner Kidman debuted on the British stage in the 1998 David Hare play &quot;The Blue Room&quot; at London&#39;s Donmar Warehouse in a critically-acclaimed performance, described in one review as &quot;pure theatrical viagra&quot;.</p><p>She was nominated for an Olivier Award, London&#39;s premiere theater awards, for her role.</p><p>British director Michael Grandage will direct &quot;Photograph 51&quot;, reuniting with Kidman following their feature film collaboration &quot;Genius&quot;.</p><p>The play, which will be staged at the Noel Coward Theater, sees the return of Grandage&#39;s theater company to London&#39;s West End following a successful run of productions in 2013/2014 such as &quot;Henry V&quot; starring British actor Jude Law.</p><p>&quot;Photograph 51&quot; will run from September 14 until November 21.</p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:28:00 +0000 Reuters 2448619 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/02/23/43/screen_shot_2015-02-23_at_1.35.11_pm.png Indian jeweller pulls 'racist', 'slave-child' ad with Bollywood megastar <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>A major Indian jewellery chain has withdrawn an advert featuring Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with a dark-skinned boy holding a parasol over her after it was slammed by activists and on social media for being racist and promoting child slavery.</p><p>Kalyan Jewellers, which employs about 4,000 people across India, said the advertisement featured in a national newspaper on April 17 was intended to present &quot;royalty, timeless beauty and elegance&quot;.</p><p>The ad shows Rai Bachchan, 41, a former Miss World and goodwill ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, in regal Indian attire and adorned with jewellery, reclining under a parasol held by a boy of darker skin.</p><p>&quot;If we have inadvertently hurt the sentiments of any individual or organisation, we deeply regret the same. We have started the process of withdrawing this creative from our campaign,&quot; said a statement by the jewellery retailer on its Facebook page late on Wednesday.</p><p>In an open letter to Rai Bachchan published on Indian website Scroll, a group of social activists said the image reflected 17th and 18th century European paintings of noblewomen with their child servants and was &quot;insidiously racist&quot;.</p><p>&quot;In the advertisement you appear to be representing aristocracy from a bygone era &ndash; bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head,&quot; said the letter.</p><p>&quot;While advertisers routinely use fantasy images to sell products, they must surely desist from using images that condone, legitimise, normalise, or build desirable fantasy around slavery or servitude of any kind, including child slavery or child servitude.&quot;</p><p>The activists - including Shantha Sinha, former chair of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Harsh Mander, director of Centre for Equity Studies, and Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India - called for Rai Bachchan, brand ambassador for Kalyan Jewellers, to disassociate herself from the advert and ensure its withdrawal.&nbsp;</p><p>Rai Bachchan&#39;s publicist Archana Sadanand issued a statement indicating the actress was not involved in the final image.</p><p>&quot;The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand,&quot; said the statement. &quot;However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professional working on the brand visual communication.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Kalyan Jewellers&quot; was one of India&#39;s top trends on Twitter on Thursday with users slamming the advert as &quot;sick&quot; and &quot;insensitive&quot;.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Black kid holdin umbrella to d great Aishwarya Rai. Kalyan Jewellers has lost this one completely by promoting slavery!&quot; tweeted one user.</p><p>Thousands of Indian children, mostly from poor rural areas, are taken to cities every year by trafficking gangs who sell them into bonded labour or hire them out to unscrupulous employers, promising to send their parents their wages.</p><p>There are no official figures on the number of child workers in India. The 2014 Global Slavery Index says the country is home to more than 14 million victims of human trafficking.</p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:23:00 +0000 Reuters 2448618 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/30/43/aishwarya_2.jpg