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Gym owner loses some 200 members following Covid cert introduction

Voice Of EU



Gym owner Dirk van der Flier has had approximately 200 cancellations or membership freezes following the Government decision to introduce Covid-19 certs for attending gyms.

There has been a widespread opposition among gym-goers to mandatory vaccination certs which were introduced at short notice on December 7th.

The Leisure, Health and Fitness Association, which represents 370 facilities, is predicting a decline of up to 40 per cent new membership next month – which is traditionally the busiest month.

Mr van der Flier owns Gyms Plus which has premises in Ballsbridge, Rathfarnham and Swords in Dublin, Ashbourne in Co Meath, Cork city, Drogheda in Co Louth and Naas, Co Kildare.

“We have had people who have cancelled their membership. We have had people who have gone on freeze,” he said.

He said the cancellations have to be seen in the context of Gyms Plus having between 13,000 and 14,000 members across its network.

However, he stressed that it is early to get a definitive picture of how it will impact gyms.

“It’s hard to judge the impact as this is usually a very quiet week. It varies from place to place. I thought it would be a lot worse,” he said.

Mr van der Flier said the Covid pass came as a bit of a shock to some of his members when it was implemented at short notice on December 7th as not all members listen or see the news.

“It’s hard to know what the demographic is. The problem with fit people is that they think they are invincible anyway,” he said.

He also believes there is an attempt by outsiders to agitate and stir up gym members against the Covid certs.

“You should see the lengths of emails I get quoting this act and that one. They are written by somebody with a solicitor’s mind. People feel empowered to have a crack at this.”

‘No hard evidence’

A small gym owner and personal trainer from north Dublin has said he will not ask his clients for Covid-19 certificates.

The man, who asked not to be named as he fears it will affect his business, said the Covid passes have failed to stop the transmission of disease as were their original intention.

“There is no hard evidence to suggest they have mitigated the spread of Covid, but for some reason they have spread the Covid certs to gyms” he said.

Leo Varadkar has said that it has encouraged more people to come forward to get vaccinated. It’s been used more as a coercive tactic rather than it was originally supposed to be which is a safe place to dine in.”

He stressed that Health Surveillance Protection Centre (HSPC) have recorded very few outbreaks in gyms.

He acknowledged that vaccines do help prevent serious illness and death, but that his members were healthy people who looked after their bodies.

“Working in this industry, I know that a disproportionate amount of the unvaccinated population would be gym users who would give an extra bit of care to their personal health. They might take a more holistic approach to their health.

“Despite what anybody says, the vaccines are a new medicine. It is understandable that some people are a little bit hesitant and they want to see how things go.”

He also says that a lot of young people, especially teenagers, use leisure facilities . “The younger you go down the age bracket, the more likely you are to find unvaccinated people.

“The only reason they are being introduced into gyms is to coerce people into getting vaccinated who are not vaccinated.”

Waterford gym goer Val Kearney said he does not support Covid-19 certs in gyms though he is vaccinated himself.

“I’ve been back to being a gym user since they reopened the most recent time around. As far as I’m aware there hasn’t been a Covid scare. All members have been fantastic, wiping down equipment before and after use. There’s been no issues from staff either, in terms of not wanting unvaccinated members on the premises,” he said.

Leisure, Health and Fitness Association chief executive Karl Dunne said many gym owners were in the “line of fire – there is a lot of pent-up anger”.

Gardaí were called to two gyms where members refused to comply with the new Covid-19 regulations.

“We had one incident where a guy threw a pen at reception staff in anger,” he said.

Negative messages

Many gyms have been targeted on social media, he added, and bombarded with negative messages.

Several anti-vaccination gym goers contacted the Adrian (Kennedy) and Jeremy (Gibson) Opinions Matter podcast to voice their disapproval of the Covid-19 certs.

Biancha, who did not give her surname, said she was not anti-vaccination, but did not trust the RNA vaccines which are currently being administered.

She is doing antigen tests every two days and has tested negative on all occasions.

She suggested that unvaccinated people should be allowed separate days to go to the gym.

“All these people who aren’t allowed in because they are making a choice, that is discrimination,” she said.

“Some certain ethnic groups used to not be allowed in a pub. That’s discrimination. We are talking about principles here. I’m mentally very down not being able to go the gym.”

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Rule number one of ‘Fight Club’ in China: The police always win | USA

Voice Of EU



The first rule of Fight Club in China is that the police always beat the criminals. The second rule is that buildings are not demolished. And the third is that if the ending is considered unsuitable, change it.

David Fincher’s 1999 cult film, which was shown just once in Chinese theaters during an edition of the Shanghai Film Festival, is now available on tech giant Tencent’s streaming services in China. But with a different outcome. Warning this article contains spoilers.

In the original, the narrator, played by Edward Norton, has just “killed” his imaginary alter ego, Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, and watches the explosion of several nearby buildings with his girlfriend Maria, played by Helena Bonham-Carter. The anarchist revolution advocated by Durden is underway.

In Tencent’s version, on the other hand, there are no explosions and no scenes of Tyler and Maria holding hands as they watch the destruction. Instead, the screen turns black and writing appears, explaining that the police “arrested all the criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.” According to this alternative ending, Durden is sent to a psychiatric hospital, from which he is released in 2012. Screenshots of the new ending went viral last weekend in China, with comments mocking the changes. Although the film was shown just briefly in movie theaters, many fans have been able to watch pirated versions of the original over the past two decades, and considered the ending one of the film’s fortes.

“When a director comes to present his film in China, people will ask: director, why is your film so avant-garde that it completely dispenses with audiovisual language, ending it instead with just a poster and a story about respecting the law? Is it a satire on censorship in your country? And the director will answer: What? I filmed that?” wrote one user of Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. “Probably everyone in Ocean’s Eleven would also get arrested. And the whole Godfather family, too,” scoffed another. “But the ending was great! A bunch of foreigners in a terrible situation setting off terrorist bombs – a perfect scene to encourage [Chinese] nationalism,” joked another.

(l-r) Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek and Gwilym Lee in 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' another movie that was altered for audiences in China.
(l-r) Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek and Gwilym Lee in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ another movie that was altered for audiences in China.

It is unclear whether it was Tencent or the film’s original producers who made the changes. On the Chinese movie review platform Douban, the original film is rated nine out of 10 and has 744,000 comments.

China currently has a flourishing movie market, one in which just over 30 foreign films are released on the big screen each year. In fact, it overtook the US market for the first time in 2020, due in part to a quicker recovery from the pandemic. And, according to research portal, it is expected to gross $16.5 billion by 2026, annual growth of 30.1%, with respect to the $3.4 billion in 2020.

Within this market, Fight Club is not the only Hollywood movie to be changed. In 2019, scenes from Bohemian Rhapsody that alluded to Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality were carefully cut out in the Chinese version. While same-sex relationships are not illegal in the world’s second-largest economy, it is considered a sensitive issue and scenes portraying it are often, but not always, removed. Theoretically, they have been banned on television and also on streaming platforms since 2017.

The ending of ‘Lord of War,’ starring Nicholas Cage, was also altered in China.
The ending of ‘Lord of War,’ starring Nicholas Cage, was also altered in China.

Lord of War (2005) endured a similar fate to that of Fight Club. In its original version, the main character, an arms dealer played by Nicholas Cage, manages to escape prison and resume business. The film alludes to the fact that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council ­– the US, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China – are the planet’s main arms dealers. But the version for the Chinese market, which is half an hour shorter than the international version, removes the original ending and replaces it with a text stating that the Cage “confessed to all the crimes of which he was officially accused during the trial, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.”

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High Court orders man to repay €30,000 awarded over fall on slippery tiles

Voice Of EU



The High Court has ordered a man who fell on slippery tiles on the porch of his rented council home to pay back €30,000 he received in part compensation.

Mr Justice John Jordan also ordered solicitors who acted for Thomas Keegan (53) to repay €20,000 received in part payment of fees.

The judge made the order in relation to monies paid by Sligo County Council as a condition of being allowed to appeal a €105,000 award made by the High Court in 2017 to Mr Keegan over the accident at his home at McNeill Drive, Cranmore, Co Sligo.

Mr Keegan, who previously worked as a paver, had claimed the slippiness of the terracotta tiling originally installed in the porch, as well as the angle of the porch to face the prevailing wind and rain in Sligo, created a particular hazard.

In 2017, the court found the council was liable and there was no contributory negligence on Mr Keegan’s part.

However, the council was permitted to appeal on the basis of paying €50,000, including the monies to Mr Keegan’s solicitors on his behalf.

Failed to prove

The Court of Appeal (CoA) ordered a retrial and, earlier this month, Mr Justice Jordan found that the plaintiff had failed to prove the council was “in any way responsible” for the accident. He also found it “artificial” for Mr Keegan to suggest he was a visitor to his home, which he rented and occupied.

The case came back before Mr Justice Jordan on Friday for the matter of costs in relation to the second High Court hearing.

Peter Bland SC, for the council, argued his client was entitled to those costs but he had no objection to a stay in the event of another appeal to the CoA. He sought the repayment of the €30,000 for Mr Keegan and the €20,000 for his solicitors given the outcome had been overturned.

John Finlay SC, for Mr Keegan, said he could not oppose the costs order or an order for the return of the monies.

Mr Justice Jordan granted the council its costs for the retrial with the exception of one day’s costs related to the evidence of an expert introduced by the council “who made a difference” to the case.

It was unfortunate the council did not engage this expert at an initial stage in the case and Mr Keegan might have been spared all of this time and expense that followed, he said.


He also ordered the return of the monies paid out but noted that if the council had difficulties with that money being paid as a condition of it being allowed to appeal, it could have appealed that matter itself but it did not.

The court heard the accident occurred on November 18th, 2013, when Mr Keegan was returning home sometime after 5pm after visiting a number of pubs in which he had consumed five pints of Guinness.

He suffered a significant injury to his left ankle, with X-rays revealing a fracture to his left distal tibia and fibula.

The council did not argue the consumption of this level of drink was an act of contributory negligence but argued it as a factor in regard to Mr Keegan’s duty to take reasonable care for his own safety and in his conflicting accounts of how the accident occurred.

Having heard expert evidence, Mr Justice Jordan was satisfied the unglazed tiles did not pose a danger.

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Two fans sue Universal for $5 million for cutting Ana de Armas out of ‘Yesterday’ | USA

Voice Of EU



There are risks to being an actor. A common one is what’s known in the industry as “winding up on the cutting room floor.” You get hired for a project, and based on the script you’ve read and the time that you spend on the set, you assume that you are one of the characters; that is, until the day the movie is released and you realize that your scenes have been cut out entirely.

In the case of the Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas, who featured in the latest James Bond movie No Time to Die and is on an unstoppable path towards Hollywood stardom, it went further than that: she actually appeared in movie trailers advertising Yesterday, a 2019 film by the British director Danny Boyle in which actor Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik, a struggling singer-songwriter who wakes up after an accident into a world where nobody has heard of the Beatles or knows any of their songs, except himself.

Almost three years after Yesterday’s release, two fans of de Armas are suing Universal Pictures for cutting her scenes out of the final version, claiming the studio engaged in “false, deceptive and misleading advertising.”

Conor Woulfe, a 38-year-old resident of Maryland, and Peter Michael Rosza, 44, from California, rented Yesterday on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99 (€3,52). In their federal class action lawsuit, they claimed that they only rented it because they thought De Armas would be in the movie after watching the trailer. In the promotional material, she is depicted as Roxane, a character who becomes a love interest for Malik – that is, until the movie creators realized that this would draw attention away from the main love story between the songwriter and a character played by Lily James.

It is unclear whether the plaintiffs are as interested in De Armas as they may be in the $5 million (€4.5 million) they could take home if a court rules in their favor. The lawsuit states that the case is being brought “individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated.” It also claims that “by paying to view the falsely advertised movie,” the plaintiffs “suffered injury-in-fact and lost money.”

Regardless of the case’s chances, the story illustrates a US penchant for resolving disputes in court with astronomical figures in the balance, as a first step in the conversation.

The entertainment news website Variety, which first reported on the case, noted the resemblance with a 2011 case brought in Michigan by a movie viewer who was disappointed with Drive, by Nicolas Winding Refn, which she expected to be a “high-speed action driving film” but turned out to be a tortured drama about a solitary driver who finally finds the right girl.

Cutting actors out of final versions is nothing unusual. Terrence Malick, the director of Badlands and The Tree of Life, has a habit of hiring more stars than he will later need on the screen. Adrien Brody, for example, showed up for the premiere of the 1998 The Thin Red Line, convinced that he would be one of the main attractions – in the end, he only showed up in a few scenes. But the prize probably goes to To The Wonder, also by Malick: Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper and Michael Shannon all wound up on the cutting room floor.

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