US Navy Seals star in a different Act of Valor

The secretive Navy Seals are coming out of the shadows for a new Hollywood film, with elite commandos cast in starring roles in a radical departure for America’s special forces. In Act of Valor, the select troops who call themselves “the quiet professionals” take a turn as leading men on the big screen, reciting lines from a script as they race to prevent terrorists from carrying out an attack on the US.

Filming began in 2007, before the Navy’s sea, air and land teams were catapulted to fame for their daring raid last May that killed Osama bin Laden. US defence officials did not find out about the movie until after the fact, causing consternation at the Pentagon, which has an office that vets the scripts and negotiates cooperation deals with Hollywood producers. Although troops have appeared in movies before, such as Black Hawk Down, this film ventures into unchartered territory, possibly jeopardizing the anonymity that the special forces have sought to safeguard.

“It’s one thing to be filmed parachuting out of a plane, but it’s another thing to be parachuting and land on the red carpet,” a defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. Premiering on February 24, the action-packed movie tells the fictional story of Seals rescuing a kidnapped CIA agent from a Central American drug cartel, only to uncover a terror plot against the United States by a Chechen jihadist. “Obviously, clearly we wish it had gone through the normal channels,” said Vince Ogilvie, deputy director for entertainment media at the Pentagon.

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China detains Tibetan writer

Police in southwest China have detained a Tibetan writer amid scores of detentions in the region hit by anti Chinese protests, a US-based broadcaster Radio Free Asia said on Sunday. A team of 20 policemen took Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, 33, from his home in Seda county, Sichuan province on Wednesday last week, the broadcaster said, citing acquaintances of the popular author.

Writers, singers and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, especially following protests against Chinese rule in 2008, it said. Drubpa Kyab’s disappearance comes amid a huge clampdown in Tibetan-inhabited areas following several bouts of deadly unrest, and ahead of the March anniversary of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile.

A government official in Seda said that he was unaware of the arrest. Police in the country did not answer phones on Sunday. According to Human Rights Watch, authorities have also detained large numbers of Tibetans for political re-education after they returned from a visit to India to listen to religious teachings. The New York-based group quoted multiple sources as saying that since February 6, many recently-returned Tibetans had been detained in ad hoc centres in Lhasa and other areas.

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