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ABBA Reunites With Avatars for TV Tribute

It’s the closest thing yet to an ABBA reunion: computerized avatars of Sweden’s legendary disco group will perform during a televised tribute to the quartet to be broadcast this autumn, ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus said Thursday.

Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson split up in 1982 after dominating the disco scene for more than a decade with hits like “Waterloo”, “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia” and “Super Trouper”.

The group, which has sold more than 400 million albums, has not sung together on stage since 1986.

The avatars will perform an as yet unnamed ABBA song during the tribute show, produced …read more

Cambodia’s Nice New TV Channel from China

Life is good at NICE TV.

Staff enjoy generous benefits at the new Chinese network and their flashy building, directly inside Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, boasts an elegant restaurant on the fifth floor with 360 degree views of the city’s political heartland.

News manager Seang Sophorn is busy directing from the control room as reporter Khoun Leakana, formerly of The Phnom Penh Post, beams in live from the scene of a reeking chicken processing factory that has residents up in arms.

“We are journalists so we are like the bridge to make the government aware of people’s needs or also to bring what …read more

Screening of ‘Black Panther’ Ends Saudi Ban on Movie Theaters

Saudi Arabia has ended a 35-year ban on movie theaters with a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther.

The invitation-only screening, held Wednesday at a concert hall converted into a cinema complex in the capital, Riyadh, was attended by both women and men.

“This is a landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society,” Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad said in statement ahead of the screening.

It’s a stark reversal for a country where public movie screenings were banned in the 1980s during a wave of ultraconservatism that swept Saudi …read more

Swedish King Wants to Let Nobel Body Members Resign

Sweden’s king wants to change the statutes of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize each year, to allow its life-appointed board members to resign.

Academy head Sara Danius stepped down last week amid turmoil at the academy over the alleged sexual misconduct of a man married to an academy board member, Swedish poet Katarina Frostenson.

The latter left the academy when Danius withdrew. A week earlier, three male members had resigned over the academy’s vote not to remove Frostenson.

King Carl XVI Gustav — the body’s patron who must approve any of its secret votes — said Wednesday “that anyone …read more

Icons of American West Showcased — in Florida

When you think of Florida, the colored stone walls of the Grand Canyon don’t come to mind. Neither do cowboys, wolves or Native American silver-and-turquoise jewelry.

In downtown St. Petersburg, all of those icons of the American West are on display in a new museum.

It’s called the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, and it opened this month. The 80,000-square-foot (7,400-square-meter) space is two blocks from the glittering blue waters of Tampa Bay. But at the museum’s front door, visitors are transported west. For vacationers in the Gulf Coast city, it will be a fascinating cultural respite from sun, sand …read more