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SUNDAY MORNING

Six degrees

Mark Peters

 

Brandon Flowers (right) and his band The Killers are sure to cause some Hot Fuss when they stop off at the AsiaWorld-Expo on Tuesday. The Las Vegas-based outfit's lead singer claims to be grateful that stars such as Elvis Presley and Bono have been open in the past about their religious beliefs, paving the way for him to speak openly about Mormonism. Last year, Flowers defended his faith on a Swedish talk show after taking offence to accusations of charlatanry against the religion's founder, Joseph Smith, by famed atheist Richard Dawkins …

 

The evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion sparked outrage on Twitter recently with the dispatch: "All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though." The 72-year-old responded to being branded "an old white racist" by pointing out that "Muslims aren't a race. What they have in common is a religion. Rather than Trinity, would you prefer the comparison with Jews?" Dawkins has been referred to as "Darwin's Rottweiler" for his advocacy of the theory of evolution outlined by English naturalist Charles Darwin …

 

In 1839, Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, with whom he would raise a family of 10 children, but the decision did not come easy to him. Prior to proposing, the scientist compiled two lists - "Marry" and "Not Marry" - under which he added, as a positive, "a constant companion and a friend in old age … better than a dog anyhow". The downsides, he noted, were "less money for books" and a "terrible loss of time". This year, the Bank of England announced that the portrait of Darwin that graces the back of Britain's £10 note will be replaced by a likeness of 19th-century novelist Jane Austen …

 

Now one of the most-read writers in English literature, Austen's work afforded her little personal fame or plaudits during her short lifetime. Despite the 1869 publication of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen having taken her writing to a much wider audience, relatively little is known about her. Nearly 200 years on from the author's death, in 1817, it is still disputed whether the mystery illness that killed her was Addison's disease, Hodgkin's lymphoma or bovine tuberculosis. A 1995 film adaptation of Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility was directed by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee …

 

The decorated filmmaker, whose diverse movies have included such characters as a rampaging green superhero, gay cowboys and, most recently, an Indian boy stranded at sea with a tiger called Richard, will next turn his focus to boxing. Lee plans to document the biggest fights and rivalries of the 1960s and 70s, with 3D depictions of classic bouts including the "Thrilla in Manila", in which Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier. In 2006, it was rumoured that Lee was about to direct a biopic about the life of Dusty Springfield, with the singer set to be played by South African actress Charlize Theron …

 

As a teenager, Theron saw her mother shoot dead her abusive father, Charles. After Charles returned home and drunkenly fired into the bedroom of his 15-year-old daughter, Theron's mother, Gerda, pulled her gun in self-defense, killing him and wounding his brother. In 2010, the Oscar-winning actress battled ninjas in the music video for Crossfire, the debut solo single from The Killers' frontman, Brandon Flowers.

 

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