Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World Briefing

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World Briefing

Article excerpt

PIRATED `STAR WARS' SELLING IN ASIA

HONG KONG -- Pirated copies of the Star Wars prequel -- with washed out desert scenes and noise from a theater's audience -- have hit stores in Asia, after the film opened in the United States and before its Asia debut.

Pirated video CDs of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace are widely available in shopping malls in Hong Kong for between $3 and $4, a fraction of the cost of movie tickets. In Beijing, street vendors were sold out.

All copies sold in Hong Kong appeared to be from the same source: a home video recorded in a U.S. movie theater. The video is dark and fuzzy, and the sound quality is poor.

A spokeswoman at 20th Century Fox refused comment.

SHIP FIRE BLAMED ON SHORT CIRCUIT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A fire that sank a luxury cruise liner off Malaysia's western coast last week was caused by a short circuit in the engine room, an investigation concluded yesterday.

Capt. Jamaludin Yusuf, who headed the probe for Malaysia's Marine Department, said the weeklong investigation traced the fire to the main switchboard of the engine room in the eight-deck Sun Vista, the national Bernama news agency reported.

The cruise ship sank May 21 in the Straits of Malacca en route from the Thai resort island of Phuket to Singapore. The 1,093 passengers and crew escaped in lifeboats with no casualties.

Questions remain over why the crew was unable to extinguish the fire, which blazed for several hours, and why the first distress signal went out four hours after the fire was detected.

TOURISTS TURNED AWAY BECAUSE OF STRIKE

PARIS -- With no end in sight to a weeklong strike by its staff, the Louvre museum said yesterday it will have to cancel some upcoming cultural projects because of mounting losses.

The Louvre said it has so far lost $500,000 and that at least 100,000 people -- most of them foreigners -- have been turned away due to the strike.

The Orsay Museum, with its collection of impressionist paintings, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, and the National Archives are also closed. …

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