SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures is a 1994 New Zealand psychological thriller directed by Peter Jackson, from a screenplay he co-wrote with his partner, Fran Walsh, starring Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet in their feature film debuts, with supporting roles by Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent, Clive Merrison, Simon O'Connor. Based on the notorious 1954 Parker–Hulme murder case in Christchurch, New Zealand, the film focuses on the obsessive relationship between two teenage girls—Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme—which culminates in the murder of Parker's mother; the events of the film span the period from their meeting in 1952 to the murder in 1954. The film opened in 1994 at the 51st Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Lion, became one of the best-received films of the year. Reviewers praised most aspects of the production, with particular attention given to the performances by the unknown Winslet and Lynskey, as well as for Jackson's directing; the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

In 1952 Christchurch, New Zealand, a 14-year-old girl from a working-class family, Pauline Parker, befriends the more affluent English 13-year-old Juliet Hulme when Juliet transfers to Pauline's school. They bond over a shared history of severe childhood disease and isolating hospitalizations, over time develop an intense friendship. Pauline admires beauty. Together they paint, write stories, make plasticine figurines, create a fantasy kingdom called Borovnia, it is the setting of the adventure novels they write together, which they hope to have published and made into films in Hollywood. Over time it begins to be as real to them as the real world. Pauline's relationship with her mother Honora becomes hostile and the two fight constantly; this angry atmosphere is in contrast to the peaceful intellectual life Juliet shares with her family. Pauline spends most of her time at the Hulmes'. Juliet introduces Pauline to the idea of "the Fourth World", a Heaven without Christians where music and art are celebrated.

Juliet believes. Certain actors and musicians have the status of saints in this afterlife, such as singer Mario Lanza, whom both girls are obsessed with. During a day trip to Port Levy, Juliet's parents announce that they are going away and plan to leave Juliet behind, her fear of being left alone makes her hysterical, culminating in her first direct experience of the Fourth World, perceiving it as a land where all is beautiful and she is safe. She asks Pauline to come with her, the world that Juliet sees becomes visible to Pauline, too; this is presented as a shared spiritual vision, a confirmation of their "Fourth World" belief, that influences the girls' predominant reality and affects their perception of events in the everyday world. Juliet is sent to a clinic. Again her parents leave the country, leaving her alone and missing Pauline. Pauline is desolate without her, the two begin an intense correspondence, writing not only as themselves, but in the roles of the royal couple of Borovnia. During this time Pauline begins a sexual relationship with a lodger.

For both of them, their fantasy life becomes a useful escape when under stress in the real world, the two engage in violent murderous, fantasies about people who oppress them. After four months, Juliet is released from their relationship intensifies. Juliet's father blames the intensity of the relationship on Pauline and speaks to her parents, who take her to a doctor; the doctor suspects that Pauline is homosexual, considers this a cause of her increasing anger at her mother as well as her dramatic weight loss. Juliet catches her mother having an affair with one of her psychiatric clients and threatens to tell her father, but her mother tells her he knows. Shortly afterward, the two announce their intention to divorce. Soon it is decided that the family will leave Christchurch, with Juliet to be left with a relative in South Africa, she becomes hysterical at the thought of leaving Pauline, the two girls plan to run away together. When that plan becomes impossible, the two begin to talk about murdering Pauline's mother as they see her as the primary obstacle to their being together.

As the date of Juliet's departure nears, it is decided that the two girls should spend the last three weeks together at Juliet's house. At the end of that time, Pauline returns the two finalize plans for the murder. Honora plans a trip for the three of them to Victoria Park, the girls decide this will be the day. Juliet places a broken piece of brick into a stocking and conceals it in her bag before departing on the trip. After having tea, the three walk on a path down a steep hillside; when Honora bends over to pick up a pink charm the girls have deliberately dropped and Pauline bludgeon her to death with the brick. An epilogue explains that Juliet were arrested shortly after the murder, it is revealed that Pauline's mother Honora never married her husband. Since the girls were too young to face the death penalty, both were sentenced to serve five years in prison, they were released separately with some sources saying. Fran Walsh suggested to Peter Jackson that they write a film about the notorious Parker-Hulme murder.

Jackson took the idea to producer Jim Booth. The three filmmakers decided that the film should tell the story of the friendship between the two girls rather than focus on the murder and trial. "The friendship was for the

Politics of Turkmenistan

The politics of Turkmenistan takes place in the framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Turkmenistan is both head of state and head of government. No true opposition parties are allowed. After 69 years as part of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared its independence on 27 October 1991. President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, a former bureaucrat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, ruled Turkmenistan from 1985, when he became head of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR, until his death in 2006, he ruled with totalitarian control over the country after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On 28 December 1999 the Mejlis declared Niyazov President for Life. Prior to 2008 the authorities permitted only a single political party, the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan. Political gatherings are illegal. All citizens must carry internal passports, noting place of residence—a practice carried over from the Soviet era. Movement into and out of the country, as well as within its borders, is difficult.

Turkmenistan is dominated by a pervasive cult of personality extolling the late president Niyazov as Türkmenbaşy, a title he assumed in 1993. His face adorned many everyday objects, from banknotes to bottles of vodka; the logo of Turkmen national television was his profile. The two books he wrote were mandatory reading in schools, public servants were quizzed yearly about their knowledge of their contents, they were common in shops and homes. Many institutions were named after Niyazov's mother. All watches and clocks made had to bear his portrait printed on the dial-face. A giant 15-meter tall gold-plated statue of Niyazov stood on a rotating pedestal in Ashgabat, so it would always face into the sun and shine light onto the city. A slogan popular in Turkmen propaganda is "Halk! Watan! Türkmenbashi!" Niyazov renamed the days of the week after members of his family and wrote the new Turkmen national anthem/oath himself. Foreign companies seeking to exploit Turkmenistan's vast natural gas resources cooperated with Niyazov since he controlled access to the natural resources.

His book, revered in Turkmenistan like a holy text, has been translated into 41 languages as of 2008 and distributed for free among major international libraries. Niyazov once proclaimed that anyone who reads this book three times will "become more intelligent, will recognise the divine being and will go straight to heaven". After Niyazov's death, deputy prime minister Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow became acting-president, was elected president in his own right on 11 February 2007 in elections condemned by international observers as fraudulent. On 20 March, in a decision of significant symbolical weight in the ongoing rejection of Niyazov's personality cult, he abolished the power of the president to rename any landmarks, institutions, or cities. After the death of Saparmurat Niyazov Turkmenistan's leadership made tentative moves to open up the country. Berdimuhamedow repealed some of Niyazov's most idiosyncratic policies, including banning opera and the circus for being "insufficiently Turkmen".

In education, his government increased basic education from 9 years to 10 years, extended higher education from two years to five. He has increased contacts with the West, eager for access to the country's natural gas riches - but fears were mounting that the government would revert to Niyazov's draconian style of rule; the constitution provides for freedom of the press. The government controls all media outlets. Only two newspapers and Galkynyş, are nominally independent, but they were created by presidential decree. Cable television, which existed in the late 1980s, was shut down. Turkmen authorities restrict the activities of all but the recognized Russian Orthodox and Sunni Muslim faiths. Religious congregations must register with the government, individual parishes must have at least 500 members to register. Severe measures deal with religious sects that have not been able to establish official ties of state recognition Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Hare Krishna, Jehovah's Witnesses, Bahá'ís.

Practitioners of these sects have been harassed, and/or tortured, according to some foreign human-rights advocacy groups. Corruption continues to be pervasive. Power is concentrated in the presidency. Little has been done to prosecute corrupt officials. With regard to the legal profession, while law practice may be conducted in Turkmenistan in assorted ways, there is no clear indication as to how certain demographic groups, such as women, have fared in the field; the United Nations General Assembly recognized and supported Turkmenistan's "status of permanent neutrality" on 11 January 1996. In September 2008 the People's Council unanimously passed a resolution adopting a new constitution; the latter resulted in the abolition of the Council and a significant increase in the size of Parliament in December 2008. The constitution enables the formation of multiple political parties. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has stated that "The new constitution corresponds to all internation

Kang Yeong-seo

Kang Yeong-seo is a South Korean swimmer, who specialized in backstroke events. Kang became one the youngest swimmers in history to be selected to the South Korean team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, finishing among the top thirty in the distance dorsal. Kang competed for the South Korean swimming team in the women's 200 m backstroke at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Leading up to the Games, she blasted the field with a remarkable 2:17.10 to earn her selection to the nation's Olympic team and register under the FINA B-cut by 0.3 of a second at the Dong-A Swimming Championships in Ulsan. Kang touched out the hard-charging Guatemalan swimmer Gisela Morales at the wall by the smallest of margins to win the opening heat, posting a new personal best of 2:14.52. Despite her impressive swim from the prelims, Kang fell short of the semifinal field with a twenty-sixth overall position. NBC Olympics Profile