World Briefs

GERMANY

Richard Attenborough plans to film the life of 19th century Austrian empress Elisabeth, the Habsburg royal murdered by an anarchist in 1898.

The vet British director told German news weekly Der Spiegel that he had not yet found a star for the biopic but had secured financing from German and Dutch investors.

Attenborough said he was still looking for backers for a feature on 18th century political activist Thomas Paine.

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Spiegel TV and Bavaria Film announced a joint venture for television production Thursday called Story House. The first release will be an eight-part doc on East Germany titled “Das Schwarzbuch des Kommunismus,” slated for broadcast on pubcaster ARD.

SOUTH AFRICA

Two senior South African Broadcasting Corp. executives are to be redeployed to lower positions after they chose to accept demotions within the public broadcaster rather than being fired.

SABC group executive Hawu Mbatha said Monday that chief executive of corporate affairs Thaninga Shope and chief executive of television Molefe Mokgatle had indicated they would accept lower positions.

The two executives were found guilty by an internal disciplinary hearing for failing to comply with the corporation’s financial control procedures.

AUSTRALIA

Video Ezy may face fines of A$10 million ($6 million) after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found the major video retailer had wrongly used the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) as an excuse to raise prices.

Video Ezy is the first Oz company to be caught by the Commission’s price spies, who are determined to stamp out profiteering during the confusing introduction of the 10% value-added tax.

The 456-store video chain, which is owned by Malaysian property giant Berjaya Berhad and controls 30% of Oz’s video rental market, denies the charge, saying the price hikes were a result of store refurbishments and new video stock.

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