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Hitler was shrewd, not so hypnotic, new German biography says

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BERLINA new biography of Hitler by a prominent German historian is likely to stir controversy with its argument that the Nazi leader’s political acumen has been underestimated and that the belief in his hypnotic grip over Germans is inflated.

Peter Longerich’s “Hitler”, to be published on Monday, is a 1,295-page tome that includes material from the diaries of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels and early Hitler speeches.

“Overall, you have a picture of a dictator who controlled much more, who was more closely involved in individual decisions than previously thought. I wanted to put Hitler as a person back in the centre,” Longerich told Reuters in an interview.

Recent works on the Third Reich have placed more emphasis on the social and political climate that led to the rise of Nazism after defeat in World War One and crippling reparation demands.

Soon after World War Two, Germans clung to the belief that they had been held hostage by a criminal gang led by the charismatic Hitler, bent on conquering Europe and exterminating Jews.

Longerich, a professor at London University, argues that while all Hitler’s policies and the results were catastrophic, he acted smartly in specific situations.

“The question why he managed to get so far needs to be addressed: Obviously he had the ability to exploit individual situations in his own interest and for his own aims,” he said.

Even his racial policies, which culminated in the murder of at least 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, were in large part down to political opportunism, says Longerich, who does not think Hitler was radically anti-Semitic at an early age.

“Around 1919-1920 he realised he could be successful in politics by embracing and inciting anti-Semitism,” he said, adding it became a central element only in the 1930s.

Hitler’s skill in taking power is even more striking given that the Austrian-born art student was a ‘nobody’ with no ideology until he was about 30. Only then, refusing to accept Germany’s defeat, was he drawn to the early Nazi party.

Longerich also seeks to debunk the theory that Hitler had an irresistible charisma that captivated Germans, arguing it was largely artificially constructed by the Nazi propaganda machine which pumped out pictures of entranced fans at rallies.

The author does not exonerate Germans, saying large parts of the population supported Hitler while others were opportunistic in following him, but he argues that there were social tensions and discontent, for example within the church.

“It would be illogical to think that a deeply divided country like Germany suddenly united behind one person and shared one political view,” Longerich said.

Seventy years after his death, Germans’ attitudes towards Hitler are still evolving, Longerich said.

“I don’t think there is any enthusiasm for Hitler but we are seeing taboos being broken,” he said, citing recent films about the dictator and a debate about the publication of “Mein Kampf”.

As fears about right-wing radicalism in Germany grow due to the refugee crisis, he warns that with a “rougher” political atmosphere, “the potential of a single political figure is a factor which should not be underestimated”.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michael Roddy/Jeremy Gaunt)

Source: R-Entertainment

Busta Rhymes sentenced to time served in protein shake incident

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NEW YORKRapper Busta Rhymes pleaded guilty to a non-criminal harassment charge on Friday for throwing a protein drink at an employee at a New York City gym, prosecutors said.

Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Tahiem Smith Jr., was arrested in August and charged with felony assault on suspicion of throwing a cardboard cup containing strawberry-flavored health shake at the head of a Steel Gym employee.

Rhymes’ plea agreement came on the condition that he attend anger management classes, which he has done.

The New York County District Attorney’s Office reduced the charge after further investigation and based on the limited nature of the worker’s injury, prosecutors said.

Police in the days following the incident said Rhymes and the employee also threw water at each other and had a longstanding dispute over undisclosed matters.

“As I said when Busta was arrested, criminal charges in this instance was a bunch of bull, especially a felony,” Rhymes’ attorney, Scott Leemon, said in a statement.

Leemon said his client was happy to put the episode behind him.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney)

Source: R-Entertainment

Filipina wins transgender pageant in Thailand

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Entertainment | Sat Nov 7, 2015 1:39am IST

PATTAYA, Thailand |

PATTAYA, ThailandFilipina Trixie Maristela was crowned Miss International Queen 2015 on Friday at a contest in Thailand billed as the world’s largest transgender pageant.

The 29-year-old beat 26 other competitors for the coveted crown, with second and third place going to contestants from Brazil and Thailand respectively.

“I’m very thankful to be given this chance to win Miss International Queen which is a very prestigious pageant for transgenders like us,” said Maristela who wore a glittering red and beige evening gown.

Thailand remains a largely conservative society, with no laws recognising same-sex unions. But it has a prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, with many members playing leading roles in its entertainment industry.

“In other countries, like Thailand, transgenders are very well accepted. Not like in Japan,” Japanese contestant Ryo Mizuno told Reuters before the show in the Thai beach town of Pattaya.

“Miss International Queen opens the door for everyone to accept transgender people.”

Thailand’s contestant, Sopida Siriwattanukoon, agreed. “Some other countries still find third gender women a laughing stock,” she said. “We each have our own talent to offer.”

Source: R-Entertainment

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