Happy Birthday Steven Spielberg

American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur Steven Spielberg was Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 18th December 1946. Throughout his early teens, Spielberg made amateur 8 mm “adventure” films with his friends, the first of which he shot at the Pinnacle Peak Patio restaurant in Scottsdale. He charged admission  to his home films while his sister sold popcorn. In 1958, he became a Boy Scout, and gained a photography merit badge by making a nine-minute 8 mm film entitled The Last Gunfight. At age thirteen, Spielberg won a prize for a 40-minute war film he titled Escape to Nowhere which was based on a battle in east Africa. In 1963, at age sixteen, Spielberg wrote and directed his first independent film, a 140-minute science fiction adventure called Firelight. The film, which had a budget of US$500, was shown in his local cinema . He also made several WWII films inspired by his father’s war stories. During the 1960s He became a student at California State University, Long Beach & also worked at Universal Studios as an unpaid, seven-day-a-week intern and guest of the editing department, and made his first short film for theatrical release, the 26-minute Amblin’. Spielberg became the youngest director ever to be signed for a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio (Universal). He dropped out of Long Beach State in 1969 to take up the television director contract at Universal Studios and began his career as a professional director.

His first professional TV job came when he was hired to direct one of the segments for the 1969 pilot episode of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford. He also directed an episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. & an episode of The Name of the Game called “L.A. 2017”. This futuristic science fiction episode impressed Universal Studios and they signed Spielberg to do four TV films. The first , Duel, was about a psychotic Peterbilt 281 tanker truck driver who chases a terrified driver (Dennis Weaver) and tries to run him off the road. Next he made the TV film “Something Evil” which capitalize on the popularity of The Exorcist. Spielberg’s debut feature film was The Sugarland Express, about a married couple who are chased by police as they try to regain custody of their baby. Next Spielberg directed Jaws, a thriller-horror film Starring Richard Dreyfus and based on the Peter Benchley novel about an enormous killer shark.It was an enormous success, winning three Academy Awards  and grossing more than $470 million worldwide, it was also nominated for Best Picture. Spielberg and actor Richard Dreyfuss then worked on  Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). which gave Spielberg his first Best Director nomination from the Academy & won Oscars in two categories. His next film, 1941, was a big-budgeted World War II farce. Next, Spielberg teamed with Star Wars creator and friend George Lucas on an action adventure film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It became the biggest film at the box office in 1981, and received numerous Oscar nominations.

A year later, Spielberg made E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, about a young boy and the alien he befriends. Itl went on to become the top-grossing film of all time & was also nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. Between 1982 and 1985, Spielberg produced three high-grossing films: Poltergeist, a big-screen adaptation of The Twilight Zone (for which he directed the segment “Kick The Can”), and The Goonies. His next directorial feature was the Raiders prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In 1985, Spielberg released The Color Purple, an adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name,  the film was a box office smash and received eleven Academy Award nominations.Next Spielberg shot an adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, starring John Malkovich and a young Christian Bale, which was nominated for several Oscars.After two forays into more serious dramatic films, Spielberg then directed the third Indiana Jones film, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In 1991, Spielberg directed Hook,starring Robin Williams and in 1993  Spielberg directed a film version of Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, about a theme park with genetically engineered dinosaurs. Spielberg’s next film, Schindler’s List, was based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a man who risked his life to save 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust & earned Spielberg his first Academy Award for Best Director (it also won Best Picture) & was a huge success at the box office and the American Film Institute listed it among the 10 Greatest American Films ever Made.

In 1997, he directed The Lost World: Jurassic Park.His next film, Amistad, was based on a true story (like Schindler’s List), specifically about an African slave rebellion. In 1998 he released the World War II film Saving Private Ryan, which was a huge box office success.In 2001, Spielberg filmed fellow director and friend Stanley Kubrick’s final project, A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Next Spielberg and Tom Cruise collaborated in  the futuristic neo-noir Minority Report, based upon the science fiction short story written by Philip K. Dick.Spielberg’s next film Catch Me If You Can was about the daring adventures of a youthful con artist (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) & earned Christopher Walken an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Spielberg collaborated with Tom Hanks again as well as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stanley Tucci in 2004’s The Terminal. In 2005, Spielberg directed a modern adaptation of War of the Worlds based on the H. G. Wells book of the same name which starred Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. Spielberg’s next film Munich, was about the events following the Massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. It  received five Academy Awards nominations & was Spielberg’s sixth Best Director nomination and fifth Best Picture nomination.Spielberg next film was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Next Spielberg shot a film based on The Adventures of Tintin & followed that with War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Spielberg’s next film is the historical drama film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The film is Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, which covers the final four months of Lincoln’s life and is released on 25 January 2013.

Happy Birthday Keith Richards

Keith Richards Guitarist with Rock band The Rolling Stones was born December 18th 1943. The Rolling Stones were formed in London in 1962 When Keith Richards and Mick Jagger who were childhood friends and classmates, discovered that they shared a common intereest in the music of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. leading to the formation of a band with Dick Taylor (later of Pretty Things). Richards, Taylor, and Jagger found Brian Jones as he sat in playing slide guitar with Alexis Korner’s R&B band, Blues Incorporated,which also had two other future members of the Rolling Stones: Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts

sg-rsOn 12 July 1962 the band played their first gig at the Marquee Club billed as “The Rollin’ Stones”.The line-up was Jagger, Richards and Jones, along with Stewart on piano, and Taylor on bass. Bassist Bill Wyman joined in December 1962 and drummer Charlie Watts the following January 1963 to form the band’s long-standing rhythm section. Their first single, was a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” and their second single, was “I Wanna Be Your Man”, Their third single, Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”. The band’s second UK LP – The Rolling Stones No. 2, yielded the singles “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off of My Cloud”. The third album “Aftermath” was released in 1966, contained the singles “Paint It Black”, the ballad “Lady Jane” “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” “Goin’ Home” and “Under My Thumb”. 1967 saw the release of “Between the Buttons”, which included the double A-side single “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday”, and the release of the Satanic Majesties Request LP. the next album, Beggars Banquet was an eclectic mix of country and blues-inspired tunes,featuring the singles “Street Fighting Man” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil. The Stones next album Let It Bleed featured the song “Gimmie Shelter”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” “Midnight Rambler” and “Love in Vain”. The next album Sticky Finger was released in 1971.and featured an elaborate cover design by Andy Warhol, and contains the hits, “Brown Sugar”, and “Wild Horses”. The Stones classic double album, Exile on Main St. was released in May 1972. their follow-up album Goats Head Soup, featured the hit “Angie”. Their next album was 1974′s It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.

album-Rolling-Stones-Exile-On-Main-StreetSome Girls, which included the hit single “Miss You”, the country ballad “Far Away Eyes”, “Beast of Burden”, and “Shattered”. The band released their next albums Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You in 1980 which featured the single “Start Me Up”. in 1982 the Rolling Stones toured Europe to commemorate their 20th anniversary and released their next album Undercover in late 1983. In 1986′s the album Dirty Work was released,which contained the song “Harlem Shuffle”.The next album “Steel Wheels” included the singles “Mixed Emotions”, “Rock and a Hard Place”, “Almost Hear You Sigh” and “Continental Drift”. their next studio album 1994′s Voodoo Lounge,went double platinum in the US. and went on to win the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.The Rolling Stones ended the 1990s with the album Bridges to Babylon which was released in 1997. In 2002, the band released Forty Licks, a greatest hits double album, to mark their forty years as a band. On 12th November 2012 The Rolling Stones released the album Grrrr  to celebrate their 50th anniversary and have also made a documentary called Crossfire Hurricane.

The Rolling Stones are one of the of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music and In early 1989, the Rolling Stones, including Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart (posthumously), were inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Q magazine also named them one of the “50 Bands To See Before You Die”, and popular consensus has accorded them the title of the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” Rolling Stone magazine ranked them 4th on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list.

UN Arabic Language Day

UN Arabic Language Day is observed annually on 18th December.The event was established by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010 “to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization”. December 18 was chosen as the date for the Arabic language as it is “the day in 1973 when the General Assembly approved Arabic as an official UN language.

Taghreedat is a regional and international Arabic digital content community building initiative. With currently a community of over 2,500 Arab volunteers residing in 31 countries around the world, of which are 20 Arab countries, Taghreedat is aimed at building an active Arabic digital content creation community that contributes directly and significantly to increasing the quality and quantity of Arabic content on the web, through the implementation of the concept of crowd-sourcing to increase Arab users’ contribution to enriching Arabic content on the web through both original content projects, as well as projects geared towards localization and Arabization.

Starting on May 31, 2011 on Twitter, as a call to action to increase the quality and quantity of Arabic e-content on Twitter via the hashtag #letstweetinarabic, Taghreedat has created a community of Arabic digital content enthusiasts from all parts of the Arab world, through its account on Twitter: @Taghreedat, which currently has over 100,000 followers. Taghreedat has worked with a number of international and regional stakeholders, among which are San Francisco-based organizations and companies including: Twitter, The Wikimedia Foundation and Storify, in addition to New-York-based TED and Abu Dhabi based twofour54 – the supporting organization which currently funds this initiative.