The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cruise in a storm

Auckland, Jan. 13 (AFP): The New Zealand film industry today played down a dispute involving Maori people and the makers of a Hollywood blockbuster over sacred Mount Taranaki, saying it was a “storm in a teacup”.

Some Taranaki Maori have complained that the makers of The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, have desecrated sacred Maori sites.

Others say they want compensation for the use of images of their sacred mountain, which in the film about Japan is meant to be Mount Fujiyama.

Jane gilbert, executive manager of Film NZ, the organisation that promotes New Zealand as a film-making venue, said: “I personally think this is a storm in a teacup. I think the people that are promoting this are taking advantage of the situation.”

Online vote

Anieres, Switzerland (AP): As the 1,162 voters in this swiss village cast their ballots in a local referendum, more is at stake than simply a taxpayer-funded renovation of a high-end restaurant. This Geneva suburb is making Swiss history with the country’s first legally binding Internet vote. Polling day for those who want to vote by marking a ballot paper in a booth in the local school is January 19. Voters can also vote by mail, as more than 90 per cent of voters have done in previous referendums. But beginning last Tuesday, voters could also vote online through a special Geneva state website using a regular home computer. Residents type in a series of security codes, their date and place of birth, then cast their vote on whether 4.3 million swiss francs (US$3.1 million) of taxpayer money should be spent to renovate a municipal property.

Toni sense

Sydney (Reuters): Australian actress Toni Collette, who played a woman obsessed with getting married in the Australian comedy Muriel’s Wedding, has tied the knot in a Buddhist ceremony near Sydney. Around 100 guests gathered to witness Collette, 30, exchange vows with Australian musician Dave Galafassi, 25, in a ceremony at the bride’s rural retreat presided over by Buddhist monks, before a vegetarian banquet and a dazzling fireworks display. In the 1994 hit comedy, Collette starred as a depressed Muriel Heslop who turned to shoplifting, Abba music and her obsession with weddings to cope with her dysfunctional family. She marries a South African swimmer to help him win immigration clearance to compete for Australia. Collette recently starred with Hugh Grant in the comedy-drama About a Boy and received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role alongside Bruce Willis in the ghostly The Sixth Sense.

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