Dream Home (2010) Wai dor lei ah yut ho (original title) 96 min - Horror - 19 November 2010 (UK)
Cheng Li-sheung is a young, upwardly mobile professional finally ready to invest in her first home. But when the deal falls through, she is forced to keep her dream alive - even if it means keeping her would-be neighbors dead.
Director: Ho-Cheung Pang Writers: Ho-Cheung Pang (story), Ho-Cheung Pang (screenplay), and 2 more credits » Stars: Josie Ho, Eason Chan and Michelle Ye (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1407972/)
Nice little Hong Kong horror with a subtle political subtext set just as the banking crisis and financial meltdown created by 20 years of utterly ruthless and depraved self-serving neo-liberalism begins.
This would actually work as a fairly vanilla but enjoyable murder thriller, with some nice strands to the story and background scenes explaining the fairly ordinary if slightly tragic life of the story's sweet, hard-working, lonely and let-down protagonist, Chen Lai-Sheung, very sympathetically acted by Josie Ho, which gives this one a depth not usually found in much of the horror genre.
Chen's dreams are fairly modest. To have a nice job, a nice partner (who isnt already married) and a nice apartment with a view of the sea.
But instead Chen is a white-collar working-class woman trapped in a soul destroying job in a bank call centre selling loans to people who cant afford them, the casual bit-on-the-side for a married man, stiffed wherever she turns by souless corporate greed.
So, learning the lesson that society has taught her, that to succeed you must become ruthless, callous and utterly selfish, she unleashes her desperate and murderous attempt to hold onto her innocent childhood dream of returning to the sea-front property that her family were evicted from by property developers and gangsters 15 years earlier, now hopelessly out of her financial reach.
Once all the normal channels for a first time house buyer have been closed to her, she knows that the only opportunity left to her is by murdering all of her potential neighbours by spectacularly violent and usually very clumsy means in an attempt to devalue the property price for the apartment she has her heart set on.
But the very realistic and eye wateringly gory murder scenes, that managed to even make a jaded old gore hound like me wince at times, mean this one has to stay for the horror buffs only.
Fifty-three Muammar Gadaffi loyalists were executed by members of the counter-revolutionary NTC at a Sirte hotel last week, Human Rights Watch reported yesterday.
Human Rights Watch saw the badly decomposed remains of the 53 people on October 23, 2011, at the Hotel Mahari in District 2 of Sirte.
The hotel is in an area of the city that was under the control of the NTC before the killings took place.
The bodies were clustered together, apparently where they had been killed, on the grass in the sea-view garden of the hotel.
NTC factions from Misrata had held that area of Sirte since early October, according to witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch called for an immediate and transparent investigation into the apparent mass execution and to bring those responsible to justice.
‘We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gadaffi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot,’ said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who investigated the killings.
‘This requires the immediate attention of the Libyan authorities to investigate what happened and hold accountable those responsible.’
The condition of the bodies suggests the victims were killed approximately one week prior to their discovery, between October 14 and October 19, Human Rights Watch said.
The bloodstains on the grass directly below the bodies, bullet holes visible in the ground, and the spent cartridges of AK-47 and FN-1 rifles scattered around the site strongly suggest that some, if not all of the people, were shot and killed in the location where they were discovered, Human Rights Watch said.
All the bodies were in a similar stage of decomposition, suggesting they were killed at the same approximate time.
Some of the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs with plastic ties, while others had bandages over serious wounds, suggesting they had been treated for other injuries prior to their deaths.
About 20 Sirte residents were putting the bodies in body bags and preparing them for burial when Human Rights Watch arrived at the hotel.
On the walls of the Hotel Mahari, Human Rights Watch saw the names of five known Misrata-based ‘brigades’, who had apparently based themselves in the hotel.
At the entrance, as well as on the inside and outside walls, was written ‘Tiger Brigade’ (Al-Nimer), ‘Support Brigade’ (Al-Isnad), ‘Jaguar Brigade’ (Al-Fahad), ‘Lion Brigade’ (Al-Asad), and ‘Citadel Brigade’ (Al-Qasba).
‘The evidence suggests that some of the victims were shot while being held as prisoners, when that part of Sirte was controlled by anti-Gadaffi brigades who appear to act outside the control of the National Transitional Council,’ Bouckaert said.
‘This latest massacre seems part of a trend of killings, looting, and other abuses committed by armed anti-Gadaffi fighters who consider themselves above the law,’ Bouckaert said.
Posted by George Eaton - 25 October 2011 15:43 While Westminster is fixated on the EU, Scotland is moving ever closer to independence.
While the Tories have been warring over whether to hold a national vote on EU membership, Alex Salmond has been quietly devising his strategy for a different referendum. As the SNP leader confirmed at his party's conference last weekend, the ballot paper will contain two questions. The first will be a straight yes/no question on Scottish independence, the second will be on full fiscal autonomy or "devolution max" (devo max).
Aware that he may not be able to win a majority for independence, Salmond is attempting to ensure that the SNP ends up with a consolation prize. But no one should underestimate how radical a step fiscal autonomy would be. Scotland would win complete control over spending, borrowing and taxation, leaving Westminster in charge of foreign affairs and defence. In an ingenious move, Salmond is attempting to turn the SNP into the party of independence and the party of devolution. The distance between the two is smaller than some imagine. An independent Scotland would retain the Queen as its head of state, British military bases (although the Trident subs would go) and the pound until, in Salmond's words, "it was in Scotland's economic advantage to join the euro" (in other words, indefinitely).
However, there is every reason to believe that Scotland will vote for full independence in the second half of the five-year Holyrood parliament. The SNP has already amassed a £1m campaign war chest and the polls are moving its way. A ComRes survey published on 15 October showed that 49 per cent of Scots now favour independence, with just 37 per cent opposed. Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie posed the question: "What if devo max got 99 per cent 'yes' and one per cent 'no' in the vote while the independence option got 51 per cent 'yes' and 49 per cent 'no'?" But Salmond has already confirmed that a slim majority for independence will trump a large majority for devo max. A brilliant politician and strategist, he will wait until discontent with the Westminster coalition is at its height before calling a referendum.
Labour and the Tories, leaderless as they are in Scotland, are not even close to devising a strategy to combat Salmond. After the SNP's remarkable victory in May, David Cameron vowed to defend the United Kingdom with "every fibre in my body". But we've seen little evidence of that so far. As for Ed Miliband, he has largely avoided the subject since forgetting the name of one his party's leadership candidates (Ken Macintosh), even though Scottish independence would automatically strip his party of 41 seats. For now, all the momentum is with Salmond and the SNP. This must change. And soon.
Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The death of Muammar Qaddafi is a cause for joy in Libya, and for concern. Some worry that the ruling National Transitional Council will force its way to permanent power; others that Islamist elements will seek to put the country under Shariah law; and there is also the danger of the nation splitting into three parts.
But there is another tremendous threat to Libya's progress waiting quietly next door. Algeria's military junta is terrified that a rebellious spirit may finally cross its borders. Ever since the Tunisian revolt dethroned President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Washington's foreign- policy establishment has paid little attention to Algeria, the lodestar of "the Arab West."
That's a mistake. With Qaddafi's fall and next week's elections in Tunisia, the odds are decent that the Great Arab Revolt will start to shake Algeria. The country is now surrounded by states in transition: Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, where the king just might be laying the groundwork for the Middle East's first real constitutional monarchy.
Algeria isn't a closed society. There are probably more Algerians living in the West than any other Arab nationality, and they usually remain in close contact with family and friends back home.
Although oil and natural gas wealth hasn't enriched the common man, it has exposed the society -- especially the elite -- to globalization. Algerian oil, with its very low sulfur content, is highly prized in pollution-conscious Europe. The U.S. buys about 30 percent of Algeria's crude- oil exports, accounting for 3.6 percent of American petroleum imports last year. Algeria is the world's sixth- largest producer of natural gas, with most of its exports going to Europe.
A former colony of France and profoundly westernized, Algeria was the first major Arab state to flirt with democracy. The military dictatorship -- spiritually bankrupt, economically inept and violently challenged on the streets -- that had ruled the nation unchallenged since the mid-1960s, decided in 1989 to try elections. Yet after the triumph of the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front in local elections in 1990, the junta canceled the experiment. Civil war followed. In a savage duel between the regime and Islamist guerrillas, entire villages were wiped out.
So far, the lingering trauma of that bloodbath has helped save the regime from a new wave of Arab rebellion. But young men have bad memories -- and the Great Arab Revolt of 2011 has been the product of aspiring, deeply frustrated young men. Although the Algerian economy has improved since 1990, economic aspirations have far outstripped the government's ability to promote job growth.
On top of a corrupt socialist economy, the regime has built a masterpiece of crony capitalism. The dissident historian Mohammed Harbi, who once championed the rebellion against France and now lives in exile in Paris, put it succinctly: "The regime has nothing to offer for the long term. It is not interested in asking where Algeria and Algerians will be in twenty years."
Nothing really works in the country, except the oil and natural-gas industries, which fuel the police state. Hundreds of thousands have emigrated from the poverty, boredom and brutality of the security services.
In France and Belgium, expatriates have developed a pro-democracy virtual world on the Internet. Although deeply fearful of its powerful neighbor, Tunisia has developed a press that not only critiques its own embrace of democracy but also the resistance to popular government next door.
In the past 10 years, the Algerian regime has worked hard to create the illusion that it enjoys a popular mandate. Thousands of youthful demonstrators who briefly hit the streets after Tunisia and Egypt erupted revealed different sentiments. f Algeria starts to rumble again, it will be because pro-democracy Algerian secularists detest the military dictatorship more than they fear Islamists. Indeed, in Tunisia and Egypt, Islamic parties have gained strength since the presidents-for-life fell. The wearing of veils has become much more common in Tunis, even in the wealthier neighborhoods.
The Algerian junta held firm in the 1990s partly because the non-Islamist middle and upper classes that detested the regime were repelled by the barbarism of the guerrillas. When jihadists started butchering women and children, the Islamic alternative became too frightful. (Also, the brutality of the government's forces -- the worst of them happily called themselves "les exterminateurs" -- inspired abject fear.) If the Tunisian and Egyptian elections bring Islamists to power and the sky doesn't fall, however, the odds of popular unrest in Algeria will shorten further.
The nature of Islamism has changed since 1990. Then, leading voices within the Islamic Salvation Front openly questioned the need for democracy since Shariah had all the answers. Today, while it may partly be duplicity at work, those Algerian voices have almost vanished. In Tunisia and Egypt, the big Islamist movements have embraced representative government -- younger members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood are loudly pro-democracy.
Religious hierarchy in the Middle East is in an advanced state of decay. Established religious institutions got compromised because of their close association with dictatorships.
In Egypt, this has produced ardently pro-democratic young Islamists who challenge their elders from the "left" and hard-core fundamentalist splinter groups who challenge from the "right." This individualization of the Muslim identity -- "my opinion is just as good as yours" -- is something entirely new to Islam, and its deep penetration into the Middle East is a driving force behind the revolts.
In Algeria, we don't know where the successors of the Islamic Salvation Front stand, since discussions of man, God and the ballot box have been silenced by the regime. But the secular Arab middle class and the university- educated young throughout the region are no longer offering their unconditional support to secular dictators for fear of what Islamists might bring. The era of "Khomeini anxiety" -- dominated by a fear that revolution and democracy will lead to theocracy -- may be fading.
All this has Algeria's generals understandably nervous. If elections in Tunisia and Egypt empower Islamists, we can expect Algeria's leaders to clandestinely aid unrest in Libya, creating a chaotic buffer zone against the spread of popular government.
One thing is certain, if revolt comes to Algeria, anger at the U.S. will probably swell. Twenty years ago, France was still the omnipresent devil. In the popular imagination today, Washington has replaced Paris as the backer of tyranny.
In 2002, William Burns, an assistant secretary of state, remarked in Algiers that the U.S. "has much to learn from Algeria on ways to fight terrorism." This solicitation has continued under President Barack Obama. Last month, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, was in Algiers. At a counterterrorist conference hosted by the government, he saw an opportunity "for our officials to learn from the experiences of other allied countries, in particular our North African partners.
"Our bilateral cooperation with the Algerian government in the battle against terrorism is now stronger than it has ever been," he said, covering "issues of public diplomacy, economics, and military aid."
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has relentlessly used counterterrorism -- the battle against al-Qaeda -- to justify political repression and the severe abuse of human rights. With such careless public comments, American officials reinforce the regime, but deeply anger the citizenry.
Since 1990, Algeria has been a volcano waiting to explode again. The revolts in Libya and Tunisia have probably brought that day closer. The coming shock to energy markets and America's role in the region may not be small.
(Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former case officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is the author of "The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East." The opinions expressed are his own.)
'CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE' – Gadaffi urges in his will
THREE days after his death, a website has published the last will written by murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi.
In his will, the Libyan leader calls on Libyans to preserve their identity and history and calls on his supporters to fight against foreign aggression against Libya.
It reads: ‘This is my will. I, Muammar bin Mohammad bin Abdussalam bin Humayd bin Abu Manyar bin Humayd bin Nayil al Fuhsi Gadaffi, do swear that there is no other God but Allah and that Mohammad is God’s Prophet, peace be upon him. I pledge that I will die as Muslim.
‘Should I be killed, I would like to be buried, according to Muslim rituals, in the clothes I was wearing at the time of my death and my body unwashed, in the cemetery of Sirte, next to my family and relatives.
‘I would like that my family, especially women and children, be treated well after my death.
‘The Libyan people should protect its identity, achievements, history and the honorable image of its ancestors and heroes. The Libyan people should not relinquish the sacrifices of the free and best people.
‘I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow and always.
‘Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honour.
‘Even if we do not win immediately, we will give a lesson to future generations that choosing to protect the nation is an honour and selling it out is the greatest betrayal that history will remember forever despite the attempts of the others to tell you otherwise.’
Published Oct 21, 2011 12:36 PM News spread around the world on Oct. 20-21 that NATO planes had struck a car caravan leaving Sirte in Libya, wounding Moammar Gadhafi, and that the Libyan leader was captured alive and subsequently killed. The details of his death are sketchy and may be purposely distorted or obscured by his killers. This main fact stands out: It took the intervention of the imperialist air forces — including a U.S. Predator drone and a French warplane — to end the life of this African leader.
Thus the assassination of Gadhafi was like the rest of the so-called uprising in Libya: a complete creation of the imperialist powers in NATO. As we have stated in this column before, the “rebels” — the Transitional National Council leaders, the monarchists from Benghasi and whatever other forces joined the rag-tag anti-government crusade in Libya — could not have won one battle without the air power, reconnaissance, logistics, funding, planning and direct intervention of NATO.
That means that especially France, Britain and Italy, with full U.S. logistical support, carried out a war — using meager Libyan puppet forces — in an attempt to recolonize Libya, just as these imperialists have attempted to recolonize Iraq and Afghanistan. As of yet none of these attempts have completely succeeded in subjugating the people, who are still resisting heroically in each location. True, the imperialists have brought misery wherever they sunk their claws, but nowhere is their rule secure.
Those who deceived themselves into believing this was an honest popular uprising in Libya — like those in neighboring Egypt or Tunisia — have to feel humiliated listening to the triumphant speeches today of NATO heads of government Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, Silvio Berlusconi and Barack Obama. The words of the imperialist leaders ranting against the Gadhafi they murdered is proof enough that the Libyan leader died trying to fight for his oil-rich country’s independence from these very same predatory world powers.
The even more important lesson, however, is that the imperialist states and their leaders have no compunction about using force, breaking international laws and simply carrying out murders of government leaders. They are war criminals. They deserve no respect. They deserve instead to be put on trial.
In the past weeks hundreds of thousands of young people have been occupying the squares or demonstrating in the main cities of the countries headed by these imperialists. This latest murder should strengthen their determination to rid the world of the capitalist system, which not only robs them of their future at home but brings pain and misery to much of humanity.
Long live the struggle to liberate Libya, and the world, from imperialism and the banks and corporations that own it!
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Gaddafi, still alive, being beaten and paraded through the streets by the subhuman rats. His final moments. Still he does not beg, he does not cry out. These rats who were notorious for their cowardice in battle, who could make no gain without days of NATO bombing to clear an empty path for them, who could only win outright against unarmed civilians, raping and lynching as a substitute for courage. Who always fled at the sound of gunfire. These rats never showed an ounce, a fraction of the courage of Muammar Gaddafi, a true lion of Africa.
The dirty fucking contras, NATOs whores, with Gaddaf still alive after capturei, beating him. He does not cry out, he does no beg. He died a hero for his people. Maybe Cameron should remember this video next time he thinks he can grab a cheap photo opportunity on the tube?
Capital hails heroes who signed up to stop fascists
Published on Friday 14 October 2011 12:06
THE Capital will today mark the 75th anniversary of Scottish involvement in the Spanish Civil War.
Almost 600 brave Scots volunteered to fight the fascists for the republican cause during the 1936 to 1939 battle, many of them from Edinburgh who had never left the city before.
Around one third – up to 200 – lost their lives, and there are now no living Scottish volunteers.
A commemoration ceremony was to be held this afternoon at the Spanish Civil War memorial in East Princes Street Gardens, to which people were invited to bring flowers in the red, yellow and purple of the Spanish republic.
An event will also be held tonight to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice after leaving Scotland to fight – or nurse – in the war.
Co-organiser, Leith-based author, Daniel Gray said: “The people who fought in the war are heroes who deserve to be talked about and remembered. We can learn a lot from them – they were extremely gallant and bold people, and really inspirational.”
The Spanish Civil War started in July 1936 with large numbers of Scots travelling to Spain in October 1936. The conflict ended in April 1939. Today’s commemorative events focus on the start of the Scots going to Spain.
Tonight, Stories and Songs of Spain will take place at the Pilmeny Youth Centre in Leith from 7pm. The free event will feature live anti-fascist Spanish music from Gallo Rojo and a rare screening of a documentary, Scotland and the Spanish Civil War.
Daniel Gray will also read from his book, Homage to Caledonia, in which he traced the stories of the Scots who volunteered.
Among his discoveries were letters from 37-year-old Edinburgh shoe repairer Harold Fry’s wife following his death on the battlefields.
Mrs Fry, who was left a widow with a month-old baby her husband had never seen, wrote: “His experience of fascist methods of warfare and their brutal treatment of prisoners behind the lines only helped to strengthen his determination to carry on the fight until Franco, Hitler and Mussolini were beaten.”
City nurse Annie Murray was one of only a handful of Scottish women to serve in the war.
She left her career at the Royal Infirmary to volunteer in the British Medical Aid Committee. Near Barcelona, Annie saw young children blown to pieces by bombs dropped by Italian planes, disguised in sweet tins.
In a letter to her sister Agnes, she said: “The poor little mites of children picking up what they took to be the long-desired chocolate and quickly opening them were suddenly left handless, their faces burned beyond recognition.
“Nothing could surely be more brutal. What a bloody awful war this has been.”
Co-organiser of the commemorative events, city councillor Gordon Munro, said: “The contribution these people made was immense.
“You’re talking about ordinary working men and women going across to Spain and fighting.
“We were conscious that their contribution needed to be marked and remembered.”