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Marvel superheroes return to Chinese cinemas after nearly four years

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Marvel superheroes return to Chinese cinemas after nearly four years

Marvel’s superheroes began their return to China’s massive movie market after an apparent ban of nearly four years on Tuesday, with fans streaming into cinemas to watch “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

The Disney-owned studio’s hugely popular franchises have been absent from Chinese screens since 2019, with no explanation.

Marvel blockbusters have raked in billions globally, and their return to one of the world’s biggest movie markets means hundreds of millions of dollars in potential earnings for Disney — the first Black Panther film alone took in $105 million at Chinese cinemas.

“I’m super excited,” said a woman named Chen, beaming as she lined up to enter a packed theatre in Shanghai for the midnight premiere of “Wakanda Forever”.

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“I’ve had to use streaming sites to watch the last couple of movies… But I hope this means I’ll watch Marvel movies more often in theatres now.”

The end of the apparent block on Marvel films has coincided with China’s loosening of the strict zero-Covid policies that disrupted its entertainment industry for years.

China’s communist rulers have also recently eased a tech crackdown, including on the lucrative gaming sector.

“Because of Covid, it’s already been a long time since we’ve been to the cinema,” said hospital worker Kun, 25, who came to the Shanghai theatre to watch “Wakanda Forever” with his friends.

“We still have to work tomorrow but it’s a rare opportunity so we came here.”

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For one mother-and-son duo at the Shanghai cinema, the return of Marvel revived a family tradition.

“He’s always been a Marvel fan — during the Avengers series, we would always watch the midnight screening,” said Lin Fan, with her visibly excited 13-year-old son Jiang Xiaoyi.

Next up for Chinese Marvel fans is “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”, set for release on February 17.

Lucrative market
“Spider-Man: Far from Home” was the last Marvel film released in China, in July 2019.

The China Film Administration, affiliated with the Communist Party’s propaganda department, has not given a reason for the absence of Marvel films from cinemas.

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During that period, Disney declined requests by censors to remove references to same-sex relationships in Marvel films, including 2021’s “Eternals” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” a year later.

However, the global media giant has also faced accusations of bending to Beijing’s will.

Its remake of “Mulan” faced boycott calls after it emerged that some of the scenes were filmed in China’s Xinjiang, where widespread rights abuses against the region’s Muslim population have been widely documented.

And two episodes of the popular animated show “The Simpsons” have been unavailable on the company’s Disney+ streaming service in Hong Kong — one that references the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, and another mentioning “forced labour camps” in China.

Regulators and Disney have not publicly commented on the apparent restriction of these episodes.

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A 2020 report by the anti-censorship group Pen America said Hollywood studios changed scripts, deleted scenes and altered other content to avoid offending Chinese authorities.

The report said they had to completely avoid sensitive issues including Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the portrayal of LGBTQ characters and Taiwan — a self-ruled island China considers its territory.

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Reham Khan deflects criticism over marrying younger guy

Reham Khan deflects criticism over marrying younger guy

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Reham Khan deflects criticism over marrying younger guy

Appearing in Hafiz Ahmed’s podcast, Reham Khan addressed criticism on her marriage with a younger boy.

Talking about it, she said, “When people see me, they say, ‘Oh, she married a younger guy,’ but they don’t know that I was first married to a man who was 16 years older than me.

Then, I married a man who was 22 years older than me. So, why don’t they criticise men for marrying younger women?

And as a woman, if I am a divorcée, it becomes a tag, but men, despite getting multiple divorces and engaging in multiple marriages, are never labeled”.

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Talking about whether she allows her husband for a second marriage, she said, “I am not in favour of men having multiple marriages simultaneously.

If my husband wants to marry again, he will have to leave me. I agreed to marry him after seeing the divorce papers.”

Reham Khan is a brilliant host, writer and a social media influencer who began her career from international media as a weather reporter.

She, later on, shifted to Pakistan where she became a prominent Pakistani news anchor.

Reham Khan became a known figure after her marriage to former PTI founder.

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The marriage didn’t last longer. It was Reham Khan’s second marriage.

In December 2022, Reham Khan tied the knot with Mirza Bilal.

Reham Khan is currently spending time in Pakistan with her husband.

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Saheefa Jabbar speaks out against tossing money at weddings

Saheefa Jabbar speaks out against tossing money at weddings

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Saheefa Jabbar speaks out against tossing money at weddings

Model Saheefa Jabbar Khattak has shared her stance on some degrading customs prevalent at wedding parties.

Known for her proactive engagement, she criticised certain customs that perpetuate demeaning portrayals.

She said this in the context of weddings where people as a tradition toss a deck of money in the air.

This act symbolises wealth, and it is intended to be donated to the less fortunate.

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However, Saheefa Jabbar strongly disapproves of this tradition. She stated: “It is the happiest day of your life and your family.

“I understand that I wish nothing but lifelong happiness and a great future ahead.
With this, I would like to add that it doesn’t have to include less privileged individuals picking up money from the ground and bending in front of you.”

According to her, the spectacle of individuals scrambling to grab the money perpetuates an undignified and degrading portrayal of those in need.

She continued: “When you have millions of followers on various platforms, it’s important to conduct yourself with responsibility.

“Putting an end to such customs and traditions is something we people with influence should focus on and the responsibility lies with you.”

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She has raised her concerns over such matters in the past as well and viewers highly respect her for her sensitivity.

One person said: “This is why I love Saheefa. She always talks about important things that no one even pays much attention to.”

Another wrote: “They did this at my wedding too.
“I feel so guilty as I remember little children, barefoot, trying to get the money before anyone else does.”

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London Fashion Week show at British Museum irks Greece

London Fashion Week show at British Museum irks Greece

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London Fashion Week show at British Museum irks Greece

The Greek Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, expressed her anger late on Saturday after a London Fashion week show took place in front of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum.

Designer Erdem Moralioglu chose the impressive setting of the Athens Parthenon sculptures showroom at the British Museum to present the autumn winter 2024 collection of his eponymous brand Erdem, inspired by Greek singer Maria Callas and her interpretation of the opera Medea in 1953.

“By organising a fashion show in the halls where the Parthenon Sculptures are exhibited, the British Museum, once again, proves its zero respect for the masterpieces of Pheidias,” Mendoni said in a statement.

“The directors of the British Museum trivialize and insult not only the monument but also the universal values that it transmits. The conditions of display and storage of the sculptures, at the Duveen Gallery, are constantly deteriorating. It is time for the stolen and abused sculptural masterpieces to shine in the Attic light,” she added.

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The sculptures were taken from the Parthenon temple at the Acropolis in Greece in the early 19th century by British diplomat Thomas Bruce, the earl of Elgin.

Athens maintains the marbles, which are a major draw for visitors at London’s British Museum, were stolen, while the UK claims they were obtained legally.

The 1963 British Museum Act prohibits the removal of objects from the institution’s collection.

But officials at the museum, which is under pressure to repatriate other foreign antiquities, have not ruled out a possible loan deal.

Late November, a diplomatic spat raised eyebrows when Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his “displeasure” over UK counterpart Rishi Sunak’s last minute cancellation of a bilateral meeting set to discuss their long-running dispute over the Parthenon Marbles.

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At issue for London was the Greek leader’s comments in a BBC interview a day before the meeting about ownership of the 2,500-year-old marbles.

Sunak was allegedly angry about Mitsotakis’s comments that having some of the marbles in London and others in Athens was like cutting the Mona Lisa in half. 

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