British Queen celebrates



Samsung said Monday it temporarily suspended business with one of its suppliers in China over the suspected use of child workers, following criticism that its monitoring of illegal labour practices was ineffective.

The South Korean electronics giant launched an investigation into the Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co. after the rights monitoring group China Labor Watch (CLW) reported the factory was employing workers under the age of 16.

"Following the investigation, Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidence of suspected child labor at the worksite," the company said in a statement.

Samsung said the Chinese authorities were also looking into the case, and added that if it was proved the factory hired children illegally the business suspension would become permanent.

"Furthermore, Samsung will strengthen its hiring process not only at its production facilities but also at its suppliers to prevent such case from reoccurring," it said.

The company stressed that it maintained a "zero-tolerance" policy on child labour and conducted regular inspections of its suppliers to ensure its implementation.

"It is unfortunate that the (CLW) allegation surfaced despite Samsung's efforts," it said.

In its report, the New York-based watchdog had cited other violations at the same factory, including unpaid overtime wages, excessive overtime and a lack of social insurance and training.

Samsung said it had audited Dongguan Shinyang Electronics three times since 2013, including an inspection last month.

The executive director of China Labor Watch, Li Qiang, challenged Samsung's commitment, saying its monitoring system was ineffective.

"Samsung's social responsibility reports are just advertisements," Li said.


- 'Inadequate' labour practices -


Samsung has put its energy into audits and the production of these reports, but these things are meant to appease investors and do not have any real value for workers," he added.

The world's largest maker of mobile phones and flat-screen TVs has more than 200 suppliers in China and there have been repeated allegation over working practices in recent years.

A previous CLW report published in 2012 claimed workers at some plants were required to put in excessive overtime and could not sit down while working.

It also reported that one supplier, HEG Electronics in Huizhou, had hired children aged under 16.





Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, who has been in trouble with the law in recent months, got two years of probation in Los Angeles Wednesday over an egg-throwing attack.

The teen idol did not appear in court. His attorneys entered a no contest plea on his behalf on a single misdemeanor vandalism charge before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Leland Harris.

In addition to the probation, the singe was ordered to complete five days of community service and an anger management program.

He must also reimburse $80,900 of repairs performed on the home of his neighbor in the upscale neighborhood of Calabasas, where many celebrities live. And the singer was ordered to stay away from the neighbor and his family for two years.

Assistant District Attorney Alan Yochelson said Bieber's prank was an "extremely immature and silly act."

Another hearing was set for August 12.

Police had said soon after the attack they would be investigating felony charges against Bieber.

The January incident was just one in a long line of controversial headlines which have tarnished the once clean-cut image of Bieber, who has sold more than 12 million albums since emerging on the music scene in 2009 as a schoolboy sensation.

The 20-year-old star is also facing charges in Florida over an illegal street race in his Lamborghini in Miami Beach on January 23.

He has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of substances, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

And in Canada, he is accused of assaulting a limousine driver last year.

Toronto police have accused Bieber of hitting a limousine driver "several times" over the back of the head. The car had picked him and five others up from a nightclub in the city in the early hours of December 30.





Jury service can be an arduous, nerve-wracking duty for many US citizens, but when you're Madonna it's a two-hour wait before being sent home as a "distraction."

The pop icon turned up at the New York Supreme Court on Monday, accompanied by her own beefy bodyguards, after being summoned to jury duty along with hundreds of ordinary New Yorkers.

She arrived at 10 am -- an hour later than everyone else -- and was relieved of her civic responsibility after officials decided that her superstar celebrity was a hindrance rather than a help.

"She got a jury summons and she came to do jury duty and I think that in itself is a good thing," New York courts spokesman David Bookstaver told AFP.

"It says to everyone that everyone gets called, and when you get called you have to show up."

The pop star posted a picture from the court house on instagram with the caption "Serving my country! Reporting to jury selection! #itshotinhere," raking up more than 21,700 likes.

She was photographed by New York Daily News walking up the steps of the imposing court building dressed in a black pant suit, a patterned scarf and her eyes shielded by large dark glasses.





A bridge in Paris famed for the thousands of "locks of love" that controversially line its railings has reopened after it was urgently closed when part of a padlock-laden barrier collapsed, authorities said Monday.

Thousands of couples from across the world visit the picturesque Pont des Arts every year and seal their love by attaching a padlock to its railing and throwing the key into the Seine.

But this tradition has become controversial as critics say it causes damage to the structure in central Paris.

On Sunday evening, police were forced to hurriedly evacuate the footbridge after two and a half metres (eight feet) of railing collapsed under the weight of the tokens of affection.

The city council said Monday that the bridge that spans the Seine near the Louvre museum reopened later on Sunday evening.

"The two railings that collapsed were temporarily replaced by wooden planks," Bruno Julliard, a deputy mayor in charge of cultural affairs, told AFP.




An oil painting sold at a Spanish antique shop over two decades ago for around 150 euros ($200) has been certified as Salvador Dali's first Surrealist work which he painted as a teenager, art experts said Thursday.

Tomeu L'Amo, a painter and art historian, found the canvas at a store in Girona in northeastern Spain in 1988 and suspecting it was a work by Dali he paid 25,000 pesetas, Spain's currency at the time, for it.

"I was very happy. I felt like a kid in a candy store," he told a news conference in Madrid to discuss the conclusions of art experts who have studied the work.

"When I saw its colours I suspected it was a Dali. That was my opinion but I did not have proof. I investigated and little by little I realised it was a Dali."

"The Intrautirine Birth of Salvador Dali", which depicts angels floating in the sky over a volcano, bears the Spanish artist's signature below a short dedication.

It was dismissed for years as the work of an unknown artist because the signature includes the date 1896 -- eight years before Dali was born.

But after subjecting the painting to the latest high-tech tests -- including infrared photography, X-rays and ultraviolet radiation -- between 2004 and 2013 art experts have concluded that it is indeed the work of Dali and was made around 1921 when he was 17-years-old.

The work employs thick brushstrokes with the figures defined by strokes of black and blue pencil, a technique frequently used by Dali, said Carmen Linares, the head of the conservation department at Barcelona's Frederic Mares Museum.

"Infrared photography has improved the visualisation of the black lines thus confirming the use of this technique which is also used in other works by the artist," she said.






US online entertainment powerhouse Netflix announced what it called significant expansion into Europe, promising viewers in six countries online video by the end of the year.

Already a fixture in parts of northern Europe, the digital television and film streaming star said it would offer monthly subscriptions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

It did not reveal prices, but a report in French daily Le Figaro indicated that Netflix would be in France by mid-September with a subscription plan of less than 10 euros (13 dollars) per month.

"Upon launch, broadband users in these countries can subscribe to Netflix and instantly watch a curated selection of Hollywood, local and global TV series and movies," Netflix said in a release.

Netflix also touted the availability of its growing selection of original programming such as prison comedy-drama "Orange is the New Black" and political thriller "House of Cards."



Such shows will be streamed to televisions, tablets, smartphones, video game consoles or computers.

Since it launched its streaming service in 2007, Netflix has become the world's leading Internet television network, boasting more than 48 million members in more than 40 countries.

- Billion hours streamed -

Netflix says it streams more than a billion hours, collectively, of digital films and television shows to online viewers each month.

Netflix launched its service in Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 2012, and moved into the Netherlands the following year.

Households interested in subscribing to Netflix when it launches in the new batch of European countries were invited to sign up for email alerts at

In April, Netflix reported that revenue during the first three months of this year breached a billion dollars atop growing membership.




Spring officially arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday when Japan's weather agency announced the start of the cherry blossom season.

Forecasters watching trees at the capital's central Yasukuni Shrine said the city's first blossoms had appeared there, marking the beginning of two weeks in which Tokyo's parks, temple grounds, schools and streets will explode in pinks and whites.

"Cherry blossom is a good gauge to let us know that spring is here," a Japan Meteorological Agency official said, adding that this year's first blossoms had appeared at the usual time.

Japanese culture prizes the perfect but delicate blossom, whose transience -- they only last a week -- is seen as a reminder of the fragility of life.





Star Trek actor Chris Pine pleaded guilty Monday to drink driving in New Zealand and had his licence suspended for six months, reports said.

Pine, 33, was charged after he failed a breath test this month in the South Island town of Methven, where he had been attending a party after completing the science fiction film Z for Zachariah, New Zealand Newswire reported.





In a London basement, cutting-edge technology is being used to make a computerised Sandra Bullock climb into her rocket. But the team who put her there in "Gravity" have spent the morning working with more basic tools of the trade -- syrup, cheese and chocolate.

"We're trying to create a melting flesh effect for the new Tom Cruise movie," said Richard Graham, visual effects project manager at Framestore, the British company that has helped "Gravity" collect 10 Oscar nominations.

"Golden syrup and chocolate make really good blood if you mix them with lots of red food colouring," Graham told AFP in an interview at Framestore's sprawling studios, behind the facade of an ordinary-looking office block in the Soho district of central London.


"We've also been blow-torching different cheeses to make them bubble. Burger cheese didn't work that well because the fat content's not high enough. Mature English cheddar was a lot better."

The sticky mess of foodstuffs will appear for only a fleeting moment, grafted digitally onto the actors' skin, in the forthcoming movie "End of Tomorrow".

But that's nothing unusual for Graham and the other visual effects (VFX) artists who spent a painstaking three and a half years creating the stunning computer-generated space vistas of "Gravity".

Framestore staff toiled for a year building a digital replica of the International Space Station (ISS) -- and then tore their hair out trying to work out how to blow it up.

Tim Webber, the film's VFX supervisor, remembers feeling exhausted after the very first meeting with director Alfonso Cuaron.


"So much about it was so different to any film before," Webber told AFP. "The massive involvement of visual effects changed everything about the film-making process."

An extremely complex shoot saw Bullock and co-star George Clooney spend hours suspended in rigging at Shepperton Studios, west of London, or else trapped in a cage filled with two million tiny LEDs designed to simulate the harsh light of space.

Time Magazine named this innovative "lightbox" as one of their top inventions of 2013. But like the cheese in "End of Tomorrow", other VFX tricks used in "Gravity" were more rudimentary.

"We had someone hit Sandra Bullock over the head with a broomstick," Webber recalled.

"She was supposed to be flying down the ISS and bumping into the walls, so we had to get her to react as if she'd bumped into something. There was a lot of low-tech stuff going on alongside the high-tech stuff."


 Battersea Park – Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August 2013

Foodies Festival is delighted to add a NEW festival of food and drink to their UK calendar – FEAST at Battersea Park, this summer’s essential celebration of food and drink.  The exciting new event invitesLondon’s foodies to experience an exclusive picnic extravaganza featuring the UK’s largest selection of restaurant, street and artisan food available in one place.

Visitors to FEAST can dine on every conceivable type of food from the pop-up restaurants, street food vendors, artisan producers, farmers’ market, vintage tea rooms, seaside food stalls and BBQ tents, washing it all down with wines, ciders and ales from the Vineyard and Orchard.

Ten of London’s most talked-about chefs and restaurants including BoqueriaSupper ClubMazi and Mango Tree are popping-up at FEAST each serving a different style of food for visitors to enjoy on huge feasting tables in the magnificent FEAST Tent at the heart of the festival.

Boqueria, who were voted Good Food Guide’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’ for London 2013, and Time Out’s ‘Best New Cheap Eats’ in 2012, said: “We're delighted to be part of the Feast Festival, it's an amazing way to connect with our customers and for people to get to know about us. It's also huge fun for our kitchen to be outside cooking and preparing things from scratch in front of an audience, cant wait”


POP-UP RESTAURANTS – choose from ten diverse London restaurants serving their signature dishes all day long and sit down to tuck in at the magnificent feasting tent at the heart of the festival.

CHEFS’ THEATRE – eat the food, and then learn how to make it with dozens of demos over the weekend featuring top chefs including 2012 MasterChef champion Shelina Permalloo, Salt Yard’s Ben Tish,Saturday Kitchen regular José Pizarro and Pizza Pilgrims - the perfect pit-stop between dishes.

FEAST FARM – chill with a glass of British artisan ale or enjoy a cream tea from the vintage tea pagoda on the FEAST Farm, then work it all off with some barn dancing and ranch skills classes and demos with live animals.

BBQ ARENA – enjoy a hog-roast, watch the hourly BBQ classes or compete against fellow festival-goers in the Man vs Meat competitions.

FOODIES BY THE SEA – escape to the seaside and relax on a deckchair at the FEAST beach and enjoy entertainment including Punch and Judy, sand art and fire dancing.  The nearby seaside food huts offer top-notch British beach-food including cockles, mussels and artisan ice-creams including Custom Creams liquid-nitrogen organic ice-creams and sorbets.

STREET FOOD AVENUE - serving a huge selection of ready-to-eat hot and cold food from around the world including exotic meats, tapas, churros, burritos, Moroccan tagines, South American prime beef, sausages, pizza, Jamaican and Thai street food plus London’s favourite, Jun Tanaka’s Street Kitchen.

FARMERS’ MARKET – FEAST has brought together a superb selection of artisan producers selling and sampling everything from sauces, pickles and jams, to cakes, cured meats and chocolate.  The market area incorporates a cookware section where passionate home-cooks can indulge in some retail therapy.

THE VINEYARD – selling a unique selection of wine and champagne from around the world, and featuring an open-air theatre with hourly tastings and masterclasses from the experts, The Vineyard is a wine-lovers paradise.

THE ORCHARD - celebrate great British cider and ales in The Orchard.  Sample and buy direct from the producers.

MASTERCLASSES – learn how to make sushicocktails and truffles at the hourly masterclasses in the dedicated tents throughout the site – sign up on entry.

CHILDREN’S COOKERY THEATRE – FEAST is a family-friendly festival where children are encouraged to get involved and learn more about eating and cooking healthy food at these regular hands-on cookery sessions.

PING PONG ZONE – arguably the best outdoor game of the summer.

THE SPEAKEASY – escape the crowds and listen to chilled beats from top DJs with a cocktail in the FEAST speakeasy.  Discover the password to get in.

VIP TENT – VIP tickets holders can relax with a glass of champagne and collect their goody bags at the Bedouin-themed tent and garden.

ENTERTAINMENT STAGEno festival would be complete without good music and the FEAST stage showcases an eclectic mix of acts playing jazz, soul, blues, acoustic and R&B throughout the 3-day event.

FEAST at Battersea Park is open from 11am until 9pm.


Notes to Editors

Ticket Information

FEAST Festival tickets are now available from or by calling 0844 995 1111.

1-day adult ticket £22.00 (£18.00 concession)
1-day child ticket £10.00 (Age 13-18)
1-day VIP ticket £48.00

VIP tickets include a free glass of champagne on arrival, access to the VIP tent throughout the day, a taster meal from one of the pop-up restaurant tents, a goody bag and reserved seating in theatre and masterclass sessions as well as a private bar with great views of entertainment stage.

All children aged 12 and under go free when accompanied by an adult.

Opening times: 11am until 9pm (photo by StefZ).