Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2014 Contents A19
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
NEW YORK---The Interview was
put back into theatres Thursday
when Sony Pictures Entertain-
ment announced a limited the-
atrical release for the comedy
that provoked an international
incident with North Korea and
outrage over its cancelled release.
Sony Entertainment CEO
Michael Lynton said yesterday
that Seth Rogen s North Korea
farce "will be in a number of the-
atres on Christmas Day." He said
Sony also was continuing its
efforts to release the film on more
platforms and in more theatres.
"We have never given up on
releasing The Interview," Lynton
said in a statement yesterday.
"While we hope this is only the
first step of the film s release, we
are proud to make it available to
the public and to have stood up
to those who attempted to sup-
press free speech."
For Sony, the decision was the
culmination of a gradual about-
face: After initially saying it had
no plans to release the movie, the
company began softening its posi-
tion after it was broadly criticised.
Moviegoers celebrated the
abrupt change in fortune for a
film that appeared doomed as The
Interview began popping up in
the listings of independent the-
atres across the country Tuesday,
from Atlanta to Los Angeles. The
film stands to open in as many
as a few hundred theatres on
Thursday, the day it was originally
set for wide release.
One of the loudest critics of
the film s shelving---President
Barack Obama---hailed Sony s
"The president applauds Sony s
decision to authorise screenings
of the film," said Obama
spokesman Eric Schultz. "As the
president made clear, we are a
country that believes in free
speech, and the right of artistic
expression. The decision made by
Sony and participating theaters
allows people to make their own
choices about the film, and we
welcome that outcome."
Rogen, who stars in the film he
co-directed with Evan Goldberg,
made his first public comments
in a surreal ordeal that began with
hackers leaking Sony executives
emails and culminated in an
ongoing confrontation between
the US and North Korea. The FBI
has said North Korea was behind
the hacking attacks.
"The people have spoken! Free-
dom has prevailed! Sony didn t
give up!" said Rogen on Twitter.
"VICTORY!!!!!!!" said James
Franco, who co-stars in the film.
"The PEOPLE and THE PRESI-
DENT have spoken."
North Korea s Internet was shut
down in an apparent attack Mon-
day, and continued to be roiled
by intermittent outages yesterday.
That followed President Barack
Obama s vow of a response to
what he called North Korea s
"cyber vandalism" of Sony. The
White House and State Depart-
ment have declined to say whether
the US government was respon-
sible for North Korea s outages.
After hackers last Wednesday
threatened terrorist attacks against
theatres showing the film, the
nation s major multiplex chains
dropped "The Interview." Sony
soon thereafter cancelled the film s
release altogether and removed
mention of it from its Web sites.
But that decision drew wide-
spread criticism, including from
Obama, who chastised Sony for
what he deemed "a mistake" that
went against American principles
of free speech. George Clooney
also led a chorus pressuring for
the movie s release and rallying
against alleged corporate self-cen-
KIEV---Ukraine s parliament dropped
the nation s nonaligned status yes-
terday, possibly paving the way for a
bid to join Nato in defiance of the
Kremlin s wishes. Russia, meanwhile,
finalised a new economic alliance
with other former Soviet nations it
had vainly hoped Ukraine would join.
The parallel moves reflected new
divisions in Europe as Russia-West ties
have plummeted to their lowest point
since Cold War times over the Ukrain-
The parliament in Kiev passed the
bill to drop the nonaligned status in a
303-9 vote, with supporters saying it
was justified by Russian aggression
toward Ukraine, including the annex-
ation of its Crimean Peninsula in March
and Russian support for a separatist
insurgency in eastern Ukraine, where
some 4,700 people have been killed
since the spring.
But opponents said it will only
increase tensions, and Moscow echoed
"This is counterproductive, it only
heats up the confrontation, creating
the illusion that accepting such a law
is the road to regulating the deep inter-
nal crisis in Ukraine," said Russian For-
eign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The move doesn t mean that Ukraine
will apply to join Nato. But Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told
the parliament the law opens up new
mechanisms "in the conditions of the
current aggression against Ukraine."
Ukraine s prospects for Nato mem-
bership in the near term appear dim.
With its long-underfunded military
suffering from the war with the sep-
aratists and the country s economy in
peril, Ukraine has much to overcome
to achieve the stability that the alliance
seeks in members.
Five Nato countries---Norway, Esto-
nia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland---
now share relatively short borders on
Russia s western outskirts, totaling
about 1,300 kilometres. Adding
Ukraine s 1,500-kilometre border with
Russia to that would move the alliance s
eastward flank substantially, and put
it roughly on the same longitude as
An alliance official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity in keeping with
Nato practice, told The Associated Press
"our door is open and Ukraine will
become a member of Nato if it so
requests and fulfils the standards and
adheres to the necessary principles."
Although Ukraine had pursued Nato
membership several years ago, it
declared itself a non-bloc country after
Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych
became president in 2010. Yanukovych
was driven from power in February
after months of street protests that
exploded into violence, and was
replaced with Western-leaning Petro
Poroshenko in May.
The Kremlin had sought to persuade
Ukraine to join the Eurasian Economic
Union, an alliance which Russian Pres-
ident Vladimir Putin finalised Tuesday
at a meeting with four other ex-Soviet
The grouping, which includes Russia,
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyr-
gyzstan, comes to existence on January
1. In addition to free trade, it s to coor-
dinate the members financial systems
and regulate their industrial and agri-
cultural policies along with labor mar-
kets and transportation networks.
The new alliance immediately
showed signs of fracture as the leader
of Belarus sharply criticised Moscow
for damaging his country s economic
interests, breaking the ceremonial
Belarus, sandwiched between Russia
and European Union members Poland
and Lithuania, has profited handsomely
from Moscow s ban on imports of EU
food in retaliation to Western sanctions
against Russia by boosting imports of
food from EU nations and reselling it
The Russian authorities have retal-
iated by halting imports of Belarus
own milk and meat, citing alleged san-
itary reasons, and banning transit of
Belarusian food bound for Kazakhstan
through its territory on suspicion that
much of it ended up in Russia.
"In violation of all international
norms, we have faced a ban on transit,"
Lukashenko said. "It was done in a
unilateral way and without any con-
The somber-looking Putin sat next
to Lukashenko as he launched the
attack, and tried to joke to get over an
awkward moment. Amid the Ukrainian
crisis, Russia can t afford losing Belarus,
a major political and military ally.
Lukashenko also knows that Russia
needs him as the host of Ukrainian
peace talks. (AP)
Sony re-gifts The Interview
in limited theatrical release
A worker removes poster for the movie The Interview from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas
movie theatre in Atlanta last week. AP PHOTO
SAO PAULO---Brazilian President
Dilma Rousseff has named 13 of the
new ministers who will serve during
her second term.
Rousseff has named Jaques Wagner as
her new minister of defence---he s cur-
rently the governor of Bahia state and a
longtime member of the president s
Rousseff said in a late Tuesday note
that her new Mines and Energy minister
will be Sen Eduardo Braga from her ruling
coalition s most influential partner, the
Democratic Movement Party.
Braga takes over a ministry dealing
with an alleged kickback scheme at state-
run oil company Petrobras on contracts
worth about $4 billion.
In naming her 39 ministers, Rousseff
has to carefully balance the demands of
the nine parties that make up her ruling
She still has 22 ministers yet to name.
Brazil leader names 13 new ministers
Links Archive December 23rd 2014 December 25th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page