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FRANCE

Guillaume Canet, who plays Virginie Ledoyen’s boyfriend Etienne in “The Beach,” has won the French Prix Jean Gabin.

Actress Clotilde Courau, who appeared in the 1998 film “Foul Play” and the 1995 “The Bait,” received the Prix Romy Schneider, during an awards ceremony at the Paris nightspot Fouquet’s.

The awards, granted by a coterie of French film grandees, go to a young actor and actress who best represent the spirit of French cinema legends Gabin and Schneider. Previous winners include Juliette Binoche.

JAPAN

Sony claimed stake to a new piece of the Internet on Wednesday by saying it will start a company next month that will use icons and other computer graphics to get information to Net surfers.

The company called Cybergene.com Corp. will officially be launched April 16, and from the end of June, it will offer clients software free to users in order to spread the word about its graphics-based, Net-information technology called IP3.

Sony said the IP3 technology, made in conjunction with Tokyo-based company Visionarts Inc., will enable users to access information by clicking on the icons it calls Information Pictures without having to use a portal site and search engine.

Net company Internet Initiative Japan will link with five local cable TV companies to provide data transmission and interactive services on a high-speed, high-volume network.

The five cablers — Tokyu Cable, CTY, LCV, Kintetsu and Himawari — serve about 3 million households and will work with Internet Initiative to provide distribution services for games, music and movies.

Internet Initiative, listed on NASDAQ, will start its broadband network service this summer.

INDIA

Satcaster Star TV India and United Television (UTV) have unveiled a strategic alliance focusing on content creation, including animation, Webcasting and Internet sites, TV channels and production of movies for theatrical and satellite release. Star TV will hold a 12% stake in UTV.

Star TV will launch three channels — Fox Kids, an education channel and a health channel — later this year.

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