US Nazi leader talks about Barack Obama, the economy and more

Saturday, November 22, 2008 

The National Socialist Movement is, according to its website, the largest and most active Nazi party in the United States. Accordingly, it refers to itself as ‘America’s Nazi Party’ and aims to instigate major change in the US.

Wikinews was able to conduct an interview with the head of the party, Commander Jeff Schoep. Fresh back from a march in Missouri, Commander Schoep told Wikinews his views on Barack Obama, the economy and much more.

Read the full exclusive interview below:

Does your party believe America will be a better or worse place with Obama as President?

WN How will the National Socialist Movement react to the election of Barack Obama – will there be co-operation or will you be opposed to him?

WN Obama says he wants to close Guantanamo Bay – what are your views on this?

WN There are fears Obama may be assassinated. What do you think that would mean for America and for your party?

WN Why do you think Obama succeeded over McCain?

WN If you were in power, how would you deal with the current financial situation?

WN Do you feel responses so far, both in the US and internationally, by politicians to the financial crisis were adequate, or could more have been done?

WN Do you think the economy will be sorted out in, say, four years time?

WN Is there need for some international financial co-operation, or could America solve its own financial problems entirely on its own?

WN The US currently owes a large amount of debt. How would you go about paying this off and preventing the problem repeating itself?

WN Oil will eventually run out. That may or may not be short-term, but what is clear is that the prices, although back down from the record highs, are set to rise. Would you commit to using alternative sources of fuel and energy to combat this, or have you another energy policy in mind?

WN America recently revealed that they had lost a nuclear weapon off Greenland forty years ago. Many others have gone missing. Do you think nuclear weapons safety is adequate, does it need revamped, or should America commit to nuclear disarmament?

WN What issues do you think the next US election will revolve around?

US Nazi leader talks about Barack Obama, the economy and more

Saturday, November 22, 2008 

The National Socialist Movement is, according to its website, the largest and most active Nazi party in the United States. Accordingly, it refers to itself as ‘America’s Nazi Party’ and aims to instigate major change in the US.

Wikinews was able to conduct an interview with the head of the party, Commander Jeff Schoep. Fresh back from a march in Missouri, Commander Schoep told Wikinews his views on Barack Obama, the economy and much more.

Read the full exclusive interview below:

Does your party believe America will be a better or worse place with Obama as President?

WN How will the National Socialist Movement react to the election of Barack Obama – will there be co-operation or will you be opposed to him?

WN Obama says he wants to close Guantanamo Bay – what are your views on this?

WN There are fears Obama may be assassinated. What do you think that would mean for America and for your party?

WN Why do you think Obama succeeded over McCain?

WN If you were in power, how would you deal with the current financial situation?

WN Do you feel responses so far, both in the US and internationally, by politicians to the financial crisis were adequate, or could more have been done?

WN Do you think the economy will be sorted out in, say, four years time?

WN Is there need for some international financial co-operation, or could America solve its own financial problems entirely on its own?

WN The US currently owes a large amount of debt. How would you go about paying this off and preventing the problem repeating itself?

WN Oil will eventually run out. That may or may not be short-term, but what is clear is that the prices, although back down from the record highs, are set to rise. Would you commit to using alternative sources of fuel and energy to combat this, or have you another energy policy in mind?

WN America recently revealed that they had lost a nuclear weapon off Greenland forty years ago. Many others have gone missing. Do you think nuclear weapons safety is adequate, does it need revamped, or should America commit to nuclear disarmament?

WN What issues do you think the next US election will revolve around?

Apple to give free cases, refunds to iPhone 4 owners

Saturday, July 17, 2010 

Apple Inc. announced Friday that it will give owners of its new iPhone 4 a free case in response to mounting concerns over the device’s antenna placement. The iPhone 4 antenna is actually a metal strip that wraps around the side of the device, which has caused dropped calls when held in a certain way.

The announcement came in a rare press conference held by Apple on Friday morning. During the event, company CEO Steve Jobs attempted to address reports by both consumers and the media of signal reception issues relating to the positioning of the phone’s antenna. Rather than recall the devices or offer a hardware fix, Jobs said yesterday that Apple will offer a free case to anyone who has purchased an iPhone 4.

The rubber cases, or “bumpers”, wrap around the side of an iPhone and have been found to alleviate the reception issues. Apple’s bumpers were priced at US$29 before the press conference, but will be free to anyone with an iPhone 4 until September 30. Jobs also said that those who had already purchased a bumper will receive a full refund for the accessory. For consumers still dissatisfied with iPhone 4, Jobs said that the phones can be returned for a refund as well.

Jobs acknowledged that “a very small percentage of users” were experiencing antenna issues, but dismissed the existence of an “Antennagate,” saying that similar problems plague all cellular phones and that the iPhone issue “has been blown so out of proportion that it is incredible.” He showed videos demonstrating a drop in signal strength when held in a certain way for other smartphones to help make his point.

According to company statistics, about one out of every 200 iPhone 4 customers have called AppleCare to complain about the antenna. The iPhone 4 return rate is about one-third of the iPhone 3GS return rate. However, Jobs admitted that the percentage of calls dropped on the iPhone 4 was slightly greater than the percentage of calls dropped on the 3GS. Jobs attributed the small increase to fewer iPhone 4 users putting cases on their devices.

In response to critics saying that Apple had not addressed the reception problem quickly enough, Jobs said that iPhone 4 had only been out for 22 days and that the company could not have resolved the issue any faster. The press event came just days after Consumer Reports declined to give Apple’s newest phone a “recommended” rating due to the antenna’s placement. The group said that Apple’s move to give away free cases is a good first step, but not permanent enough to earn a higher rating.

Earlier, on June 24, Apple told customers to either hold the phone without covering the antenna, or to use a case. The so-called “death grip”, however, has not been as big an issue for other phones as it has for iPhone 4, said Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports. On July 2, Apple associated the issue with a long-undiscovered software bug relating to the formula for calculating signal strength. An iOS update released Thursday came with an updated, more accurate method of calculating the number of cellular signal bars to display, but did not actually prevent the signal loss that comes with covering the antenna.

Combination Therapy Cancer Treatment In India At Mumbai And Bangalore At Low Cost.

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Submitted by: P Nagpal Nagpal

Combination Therapy

Combination therapy may benefit patients with specific genetic subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, study finds

Even when their tumors are shrinking in response to therapy, some non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients have a scattering of cancer cells that are undeterred by the drug, causing the tumor to resume its growth, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center scientists report in the January issue of Cancer Cell. The findings suggest that identifying such patients and treating them with a combination of drugs from the very start of therapy can produce longer remissions.

One of the triggers for resistance, the researchers found, is HGF, a ligand or “hook” that activates the MET protein.

When activated, HGF works through two entirely different channels to produce drug resistance, the authors report. First, it can generate cell-growth signals through a protein called GAB1. Second, it expands the number of MET-amplified cancer cells, ensuring they will become the dominant type in the lung tumors.

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“Not only can HGF spur cell growth on its own, it can speed up the process by which MET-amplified cells emerge and take over the composition of the tumor.

Combination therapy may benefit patients with specific genetic subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, study finds

Even when their tumors are shrinking in response to therapy, some non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients have a scattering of cancer cells that are undeterred by the drug, causing the tumor to resume its growth, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center scientists report in the January issue of Cancer Cell.

The findings suggest that identifying such patients and treating them with a combination of drugs from the very start of therapy can produce longer remissions.

One of the triggers for resistance, the researchers found, is HGF, a ligand or “hook” that activates the MET protein.

In about 20 percent of NSCLC patients who are resistant to Tarceva the mechanism is amplification of MET, and in another 20 percent it may involve HGF.

The findings suggest that patients whose NSCLC tumors harbor even a few MET-amplified cells prior to treatment would benefit from drugs that specifically target those cells, in combination with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. J nne notes that such drugs are already being studied in clinical trials.

A thorough analysis of a patient’s cancer prior to treatment can establish how it would ultimately develop resistance to therapy, allowing us to tailor treatment with greater precision to prevent resistance.

“For example, cancers found to harbor a small population of cells with pre-existing MET amplification will likely benefit from adding MET inhibitors to initial treatment. Those without such cells may not benefit, and these patients can avoid the added toxicity of MET inhibitors and instead focus on other strategies to prevent their cancers from becoming resistant.”

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FDA says Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke Plus is misbranded

Thursday, December 25, 2008 

The US Food and Drug Administration has written a warning letter to The Coca-Cola Company that Diet Coke Plus violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act’s guidelines. The December 10 letter, signed by Roberta Wagner, director of the office of compliance at the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says Coca-Cola should “take prompt action to correct these violations.”

The product’s label describes the drink as “Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals.” FDA said the soft drink does not have enough nutrients to justify the use of the word “plus” in its trade name. According to statute, foods must contain at least 10 per cent more of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or Daily Reference Value (DRV) for a given nutrient “than an appropriate reference food” in order to be called “plus” legally.

The FDA also advised “it is inappropriate to add extra nutrients to snack foods such as carbonated beverages.” The FDA warns Coca-Cola and asks it to revise the drink’s labeling and inform the agency of its reply regarding how it plans to fix the violation, within 15 days of receiving the warning. Coca-Cola says it will submit a reply to the FDA in early January, but currently has no plans to alter the label.

The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA, FDCA, or FD&C), is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 giving authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics. A principal author of this law was Royal S. Copeland, a three-term U.S. Senator from New York, whose concerns about drug safety stemmed from the fact that he was also a homeopathic physician. The act has been amended many times, most recently to add requirements about bioterrorism preparations.

The Coca-Cola Company issued a statement saying, “This does not involve any health or safety issues, and we believe the label on Diet Coke Plus complies with FDA’s policies and regulations.”

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world, and one of the largest corporations in the United States. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. Diet Coke Plus (also known as Coca Cola Light Plus) was released in the United Kingdom in October 2007.

Forbes has reported that “Coca-Cola has been on a crusade to revamp its image from a purveyor of highly sweetened, fattening products to a more family-friendly image of low-calorie, nutritional drinks. Its violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act could mean hefty fines and a seizure of product from the pop king, but often these sorts of issues are resolved without incident.”

FDA says Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke Plus is misbranded

Thursday, December 25, 2008 

The US Food and Drug Administration has written a warning letter to The Coca-Cola Company that Diet Coke Plus violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act’s guidelines. The December 10 letter, signed by Roberta Wagner, director of the office of compliance at the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says Coca-Cola should “take prompt action to correct these violations.”

The product’s label describes the drink as “Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals.” FDA said the soft drink does not have enough nutrients to justify the use of the word “plus” in its trade name. According to statute, foods must contain at least 10 per cent more of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or Daily Reference Value (DRV) for a given nutrient “than an appropriate reference food” in order to be called “plus” legally.

The FDA also advised “it is inappropriate to add extra nutrients to snack foods such as carbonated beverages.” The FDA warns Coca-Cola and asks it to revise the drink’s labeling and inform the agency of its reply regarding how it plans to fix the violation, within 15 days of receiving the warning. Coca-Cola says it will submit a reply to the FDA in early January, but currently has no plans to alter the label.

The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA, FDCA, or FD&C), is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 giving authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics. A principal author of this law was Royal S. Copeland, a three-term U.S. Senator from New York, whose concerns about drug safety stemmed from the fact that he was also a homeopathic physician. The act has been amended many times, most recently to add requirements about bioterrorism preparations.

The Coca-Cola Company issued a statement saying, “This does not involve any health or safety issues, and we believe the label on Diet Coke Plus complies with FDA’s policies and regulations.”

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world, and one of the largest corporations in the United States. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. Diet Coke Plus (also known as Coca Cola Light Plus) was released in the United Kingdom in October 2007.

Forbes has reported that “Coca-Cola has been on a crusade to revamp its image from a purveyor of highly sweetened, fattening products to a more family-friendly image of low-calorie, nutritional drinks. Its violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act could mean hefty fines and a seizure of product from the pop king, but often these sorts of issues are resolved without incident.”

FDA says Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke Plus is misbranded

Thursday, December 25, 2008 

The US Food and Drug Administration has written a warning letter to The Coca-Cola Company that Diet Coke Plus violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act’s guidelines. The December 10 letter, signed by Roberta Wagner, director of the office of compliance at the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says Coca-Cola should “take prompt action to correct these violations.”

The product’s label describes the drink as “Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals.” FDA said the soft drink does not have enough nutrients to justify the use of the word “plus” in its trade name. According to statute, foods must contain at least 10 per cent more of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or Daily Reference Value (DRV) for a given nutrient “than an appropriate reference food” in order to be called “plus” legally.

The FDA also advised “it is inappropriate to add extra nutrients to snack foods such as carbonated beverages.” The FDA warns Coca-Cola and asks it to revise the drink’s labeling and inform the agency of its reply regarding how it plans to fix the violation, within 15 days of receiving the warning. Coca-Cola says it will submit a reply to the FDA in early January, but currently has no plans to alter the label.

The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA, FDCA, or FD&C), is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 giving authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics. A principal author of this law was Royal S. Copeland, a three-term U.S. Senator from New York, whose concerns about drug safety stemmed from the fact that he was also a homeopathic physician. The act has been amended many times, most recently to add requirements about bioterrorism preparations.

The Coca-Cola Company issued a statement saying, “This does not involve any health or safety issues, and we believe the label on Diet Coke Plus complies with FDA’s policies and regulations.”

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world, and one of the largest corporations in the United States. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. Diet Coke Plus (also known as Coca Cola Light Plus) was released in the United Kingdom in October 2007.

Forbes has reported that “Coca-Cola has been on a crusade to revamp its image from a purveyor of highly sweetened, fattening products to a more family-friendly image of low-calorie, nutritional drinks. Its violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act could mean hefty fines and a seizure of product from the pop king, but often these sorts of issues are resolved without incident.”

What To See In Pattaya City

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Submitted by: Nicholas Jarder

Pattaya City is undoubtedly one of the liveliest and most vibrant cities in the world, with a broad range of attractions for both the young and the old. While it has developed a reputation as a wild site for fun-loving tourists, in recent years it has tried to moderate this and position itself as a more family-friendly destination. Here are some of the attractions in Pattaya that the whole family can enjoy.

1. Tiffany s Ladyboy Cabaret Show is the first cabaret show in Southeast Asia performed exclusively by transvestites. Starting in 1974 with only three performers, the Tiffany s show cast has since grown to more than 100 performers adorned in elaborate costumes performing in the company s own 1,000-seat theater. With any raunchiness toned down, the show is now deemed safe for all ages and encompasses a wide range of styles ranging from a history of Siam told through dance to Broadway musicals and even a Bollywood-style number.

2. The Ripley s Believe It or Not museum features over 300 exhibits from the collection of Robert Ripley, the creator of the internationally-famed books about world oddities. Located at the third floor of the Royal Garden Plaza, the museum has ten galleries featuring all manner of strange and shocking exhibits, such as genuine human shrunken heads and a mask made entirely of human skin, as well as more benign curiosities such as a model of the Titanic made from more than a million matchsticks.

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3. The Alangkarn Theater is a must for tourists wanting to see the hottest cultural shows in Pattaya City. The 2,000-seat theater is adorned with modern Thai d cor and features the 70 meter long Hexa Stage which has a host of state-of-the-art facilities such as a gigantic movie screen and high-tech light and sound systems that include digital synchronized pyrotechnics as well as multi-colored laser animation. And viewers can treat themselves to delicious local and international cuisine at the theater restaurant before or after the show or go shopping for souvenirs in the Cultural Rostrum, which features a wide variety of traditional handicrafts.

4. The Marine Science Aquarium and Museum of the Bang Sen Institute of Marine Science is the ideal educational destination for visitors wanting to learn more about local marine life. Designed to educate visitors about marine life and the marine environment, the Marine Science Aquarium features a large collection of marine life, including crustaceans, fish and vegetation. And the museum is conveniently located near the Bangsaen Beach, one of Pattaya s most laid-back and affordable beaches.

5. Mini Siam in Pattaya City is one of the world s most unique attractions a park that features over a hundred miniature replicas of famous sites worldwide. Divided into two sites Mini Siam and Mini Europe you can not only see such familiar attractions as the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, but also famous structures from Thai history, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Sukhotai s Wat Mahathat to more modern creations like the Hualamphong Train Station and the Rama IX suspension-cable bridge.

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Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas died Friday at age 75, after suffering from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He began the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978 and taught acting classes there to noted actors including George Clooney and Gene Hackman. Katselas is survived by a sister and two brothers.

Katselas directed an off-Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, and received a Tony Award nomination for his 1969 direction of Butterflies are Free. Actress Blythe Danner won a Tony Award for her role in Butterflies are Free under Katselas’ direction. He moved to California to direct the film version of that play, and went on to direct films and television movies. Actress Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her role in the film version of Butterflies are Free.

Katselas directed the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions of the play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! by playwright James Kirkwood, Jr. In his author’s notes in the publication of the script, Kirkwood acknowledged Katselas, and wrote that the plays were “directed with incredible energy and enthusiasm by Milton Katselas, to whom I am extremely indebted”.

Katselas directed the television movie Strangers: Story of a Mother and Daughter, and actress Bette Davis received an Emmy Award for her role in the movie. Katselas taught many famous actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Patrick Swayze. Katselas was credited with being able to nurture actors with raw talent so that they could develop strong Hollywood careers. He utilized innovative techniques in his courses – one course called “Terrorist Theatre” had a simple premise: successfully get an acting role within six weeks or leave the course.

He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who had immigrated from Greece, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York at the Actors Studio, and received advice from directors Joshua Logan and Elia Kazan.

Katselas was a prominent Scientologist, and a July 2007 profile on Katselas in The New York Times Magazine observed that some of his students stopped taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse because they felt they had been pressured to join the Church of Scientology. According to the article, Katselas credited Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard “for much of his success in life”, and one of his students works at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. The article commented that some in Los Angeles view the Beverly Hills Playhouse as “a recruitment center for Scientology”.

Katselas met L. Ron Hubbard after moving to California, and began studying Scientology in 1965. The New York Times Magazine reported that he had reached the level of “Operating Thetan, Level 5, or O.T. V.” in 2007. According to The New York Times Magazine when Scientologists proceed up the “The Bridge to Total Freedom” they learn the story of Xenu, and that: “75 million years ago the evil alien Xenu solved galactic overpopulation by dumping 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, where they were vaporized, scattering their souls.” A Church of Scientology publication, Source, lists Katselas as reaching O.T. V. in 1989.

Though some actors felt pressured to join the Church of Scientology after taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, at least one individual felt Katselas was not active enough with the organization. Actress Jenna Elfman left the Beverly Hills Playhouse because she felt Katselas was not committed enough to Scientology. Katselas had previously directed Elfman in half of Visions and Lovers: Variations on a Theme, two one-act plays about relationships that he had written himself. In 1999 Katselas had planned to adapt the script of Visions and Lovers to a film version, and Elfman was set to reprise her role from the play. In an article in Variety about the project, Elfman commented on her experience working with Katselas: “He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.”

Other prominent Scientologist actors who have studied under Katselas include Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, and Leah Remini. According to Rolling Stone, Katselas also recruited actress Kelly Preston to Scientology. Actress Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), told Scientology publication Celebrity that Katselas motivated her to get more active in Scientology, and she stated she took the organization’s “Purification Rundown” and her life “took off completely”.

Anne Archer was introduced to Scientology while studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, as was former Scientologist and now outspoken critic actor Jason Beghe. Beghe told Roger Friedman of FOX News in April 2008 that “He [Katselas] gets kickbacks”, and that he was brought to a Scientology center by fellow Beverly Hills Playhouse classmate Bodhi Elfman, Jenna Elfman’s husband. In a 1998 article for Buzz Magazine, Randye Hoder wrote “In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church’s influence seeps into the playhouse.”

Anne Archer’s husband and fellow Scientologist, producer Terry Jastrow, commented to The New York Times Magazine that Katselas changed the way he experiences life on a day-to-day basis: “I go out in the world and look at human behavior now. I see a woman or man interacting with a saleslady, and I see the artistry in it. Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.”

Actor Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoke highly of Katselas in a 2002 interview with San Francisco Chronicle: “He’s this wonderfully intuitive teacher and his premise is basically: The only real barriers are the ones we put in front of ourselves. If you say, ‘My character wouldn’t do that’ — bollocks! Ultimately it’s you who wouldn’t say that. Who knows what your character might do.” In the acknowledgements of her 2004 autobiography Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna, actress Doris Roberts wrote: “I thank my friend and acting teacher, the incredible Milton Katselas, for his insights, wisdom, and inspiration, which have helped make me the actress that I am.”

Katselas authored two books: Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want, first published in 1996 by Dove Books, and Acting Class: Take a Seat, which came out earlier this month. Dreams Into Action, a New York Times Bestseller, sought to modify motivational acting exercises to the field of business.

In an interview in the 2007 book Acting Teachers of America, Katselas commented on his experiences as an acting teacher over the years: “I have very special teachers here at the Beverly Hills Playhouse—some have been with me for over twenty-five years. I believe that to make a difference over the long haul, we need to train teachers. I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.”

British actor and comedian Sir Norman Wisdom dies aged 95

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 

Tributes are being paid following the announcement late last night that the veteran British actor and comedian Sir Norman Wisdom has died at the age of 95.

He passed away peacefully at the Abbot’s Wood nursing home, Ballasalla, Isle of Man yesterday evening. Following a series of strokes over the last 6 months, his health had declined severely.

Sir Norman’s career spanned almost seven decades, during which time he starred in 19 films, and 38 sitcoms, most as the inept character “Pitkin”, the persistant thorn in the side of his boss, Mr. Grimsdale. His most well known serious role came in the television play Going Gently in 1981, for ITV, in which he played a patient in hospital suffering from terminal cancer.

Following the news, the Albanian Ambassador in the UK, Zef Mazi explained that Sir Norman’s death was covered on all the news channels in Albania, where he was exceptionally popular. His material was the only Western-style comedy permitted to be shown in the Communist country. “After Charlie Chaplin, he was the biggest comedy star in Albania. I still remember his character Pitkin and his boss Mr Grimsdale,” he said. “He was very popular with everyone from very young people to very old people and he made us laugh at a time, in the communist period, when there were not many reasons to laugh.”

The Isle of Man’s Chief Minister, Tony Brown MHK, said that he was “deeply saddened” to have heard of the death. He is quoted as having said “[w]e were very fortunate indeed that Sir Norman chose to make the Isle of Man his home. He was a wonderful asset to the local community and made a tremendous contribution to countless Island charities and good causes.”

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in her conferred role as Lord of Mann on his 90th birthday in 2005, at the same time being made a Freeman of the Borough of Douglas.

The announcement of Sir Norman’s death was confirmed by his son and family in a statement last night.