Briefly, Sept. 11
Olivia Newton-John diagnosed with cancer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Olivia Newton-John says she has been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in three decades.
The four-time Grammy winner, who will turn 70 Sept. 26, told Australian news program “Sunday Night” doctors found a tumor in her lower back in 2017.
Newton-John said she’s “treating it naturally and doing really well.” The “Grease” star said for pain she is taking cannabis oil, made from marijuana her husband grows in California. She has undergone radiation treatments and has cut sugar out of her diet.
She said, “I believe I will win over it.”
She said she hopes her native Australia will legalize medical marijuana.
Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, undergoing a partial mastectomy and reconstruction. She was diagnosed with breast cancer again in 2013.
Iran detains artists over dance performance
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities have detained two artists over a theatre production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Cultural official Shahram Karami told the official IRNA news agency Monday that Iran’s judiciary had ordered the detention of the play’s director, Maryam Kazemi, and the manager of the theater that hosted it, Saeed Assadi.
Karami said both were taken into custody Sunday evening, after the broadcast of a video trailer about the work. He said it had caused a “misunderstanding,” but did not elaborate, adding that a court had accepted to release the two on some $24,000 bail each.
A clip on social media showed female actors dancing with men as part of the trailer, an illegal act under the Islamic Republic’s strict rules that forbid gender mixing and women dancing in public.
The play was on stage for seven nights before the detentions. The comic fantasy tracks the intertwined fates of four lovers and is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, put on by theater groups and schools around the world.
The police forces and hardliners who dominate Iran’s judiciary reject western culture in Iran.
In July, Iran detained Maedeh Hojabri, a teenage girl who posted dance videos online.
In 2014 authorities sentenced six young men and women to suspended prison terms after they appeared in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.”
Exotic pets trading rises on Facebook
BANGKOK (AP) — A wildlife monitoring group says research it has conducted since 2016 has found a sharp increase in the number of people belonging to Facebook groups in Thailand where endangered animals are bought and sold.
The monitoring network TRAFFIC said its researchers found 1,521 animals for sale online in 12 Facebook groups in Thailand in less than a month of monitoring in 2016. Follow-up research on the same 12 groups showed at least nine were still active in July this year, with one becoming secret, and their overall membership had increased to 203,445 from 106,111.
Maethinee Phassaraudomsak, data and research officer for TRAFFIC in Thailand, said in an email Monday that the monitoring “shows how easy it is to carry out this business and market wildlife publicly while staying anonymous and out of reach of authorities.”
A new report by the group shows screenshots of exotic animals advertised for sale on Facebook. In one example, an unidentified user posted a picture of a rare hornbill bird with a caption saying “a baby rhinoceros hornbill is available for purchase. Interested buyers, please contact by Facebook private message.”
The bird’s price was listed as 9,500 baht ($289). The report said rarer and protected species command higher prices.
The report said the vast majority of animals offered in the online wildlife trade were juveniles, prized for pets.
The illegal wildlife trade is not new to Thailand, where wildlife seizures are often announced by authorities. In 2013, Thailand was considered to have the largest unregulated elephant ivory market in the world but it has since instituted new laws to deal with the problem.
TRAFFIC said its research found 200 different species offered for sale online and 95 of those, mostly reptiles, were not protected by Thai law because they are not native to the country.
It said animals such as the black pond turtle that are not native to Thailand and therefore not protected by Thai law frequently turn up in wildlife seizures in the country and region.
“Growing online wildlife trade will only pile further pressure on threatened non-native species that currently have no legal protection or regulation,” Kanitha Krishnasamy, TRAFFIC’s acting regional director in Southeast Asia, said in a statement.
“Giving such species protection under Thailand’s law and enabling enforcers to take action is the strongest way to address this critical conservation problem,” Kanitha said.
The TRAFFIC report recommended that “Thai authorities should establish a close working relationship with Facebook and develop joint strategies to tackle this problem.”
Facebook said in an emailed response to an AP request for comment that “Facebook does not allow the sale or trade of endangered species or their parts, and we remove this material as soon as we are aware of it. We are committed to working with TRAFFIC and law enforcement authorities to help tackle the illegal online trade of wildlife in Thailand.”