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Bryan Singer: Director fired from Freddie Mercury film

The film, titled Bohemian Rhapsody, will tell the story of the late Queen frontman’s life.

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The director of the new Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, has been fired due to “unreliable behaviour”.

In a statement, Twentieth Century Fox said Bryan Singer was no longer the director of the film.

A source told the BBC the main reason for the firing was “a pattern of unreliable behaviour on the set”. They added that the studio felt the move was in the best interest of the film.

The film will tell the story of the late Queen frontman’s life.

Singer had clashed with lead actor Rami Malek and failed to show up for filming on multiple occasions, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The announcement comes days after the studio said production had been suspended so Singer could deal with “a personal health matter”.

The director’s representative said it was “a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family”.

His representative has not yet responded to the latest development.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Freddie Mercury on stage in 1982

Filming has been taking place in the UK, with Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello and Gwilym Lee starring as Queen’s other members.

The movie is still expected to be released in December 2018 as planned.

As well as directing, Singer is listed as a co-producer, alongside Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, among others.

Singer’s past directing credits include The Usual Suspects, four X-Men movies and Superman Returns.

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Saudi Prince bin Salman ‘was mystery buyer’ of $320m house

The house near Paris has a wine cellar, cinema and moat with an underwater chamber for viewing fish.

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the mystery buyer of a luxury French house, according to reporting by the New York Times.

The newspaper says a paper trail from a 2015 purchase leads back to him through several shell companies.

The house, near Versailles, has a wine cellar, a cinema and a moat with koi, sturgeon and an underwater chamber.

It cost €275m ($320m, £240m) and Fortune magazine called it the world’s most expensive house.

The buyer was unknown at the time.

But the New York Times reports that documents showed the house was owned by an investment company managed by Prince Mohammed’s personal foundation.

The Saudi government has declined to comment on the report.

A spokeswoman for the Saudi embassy in Washington accused New York Times journalists of “subjective reporting” and serving a “personal agenda”.

Skip Twitter post by @FatimahSBaeshen

In spite of this subjective reporting that self serves their personal agenda, the silver lining here is that there’s even more motivation to continually engage with the Press to share KSA’s amazing transformational story under the guidance of our current leadership. https://t.co/uLuwM4p8tO

— Fatimah S Baeshen (@FatimahSBaeshen) December 16, 2017 Report

End of Twitter post by @FatimahSBaeshen

From the exterior, the Chateau Louis XIV appears to be a 17th-Century chateau, constructed in a similar style to the nearby palace at Versailles.

On closer inspection, however, this is not the case: it was built after developer Emad Khashoggi demolished a 19th-Century building that had previously stood on the 57-acre (23-hectare) site and is modern inside. According to reports, its fountains and air conditioning, as well as lights and music, can be controlled by smartphone.

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFive things about Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

A local official told the New York Times: “The idea is tacky, and then once you visit it isn’t.”

In 2015, Prince Mohammed reportedly bought himself a yacht from a Russian businessman for $590m.

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Austria protest as far right Freedom Party tastes power

The Freedom Party is the EU’s only far-right party in power and plans controls on asylum seekers.

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Thousands of protesters rallied in central Vienna against Austria’s new coalition government of conservatives and far right, during its swearing-in.

Among the banners were ones saying “Don’t let the Nazis govern”.

The Freedom Party (FPÖ) – the junior partner – is the only far-right party to get into power in the EU.

The FPÖ and People’s Party (ÖVP) plan to implement stricter rules for asylum seekers, after immigration proved a major concern for Austrian voters.

The coalition says Austria will stay in the EU. The new chancellor is Sebastian Kurz, 31 – Europe’s youngest leader.

Image copyright EPA Image caption A leftist banner: “Don’t let the Nazis govern – never let them parade!”

There was a heavy police presence outside the Hofburg Palace during the swearing-in.

About 6,000 people demonstrated against the new coalition, the BBC’s Bethany Bell reports.

The FPÖ was founded by former Nazis in the 1950s, but today it denies any connection with Nazi ideology.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen (L) conducted the inauguration at the Hofburg Palace

The FPÖ has received some key posts in the coalition, taking charge of interior and defence, and being allowed to choose the new foreign minister.

The FPÖ has a co-operation agreement with the ruling United Russia party of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the FPÖ says it wants to get the EU sanctions on Russia eased.

The new foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, is a Middle East expert who speaks Arabic and Hebrew.

She has accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “negligence” by allowing in record numbers of migrants.

Controversially she also said the turmoil in the Arab world was partly caused by young unemployed men “who cannot find a woman today” because of their low status.

Tough on asylum

The coalition plans to make asylum seekers hand over any cash they have when they submit an asylum claim, so that it funds their welfare.

They will also have to hand over their mobile phones so that the authorities can see from their data how they reached Austria and whom they contacted. Phones will not be confiscated but there will be systematic checks.

The FPÖ was in a coalition government before, in 2000. Back then there was a huge outcry and the government was left diplomatically isolated in the EU. But this time the reaction has been far more muted.

Migrant pressure

In 2015 Austria was at the heart of the EU’s migrant crisis, when more than a million asylum seekers arrived, hoping to reach Germany. Most did move on to Germany, but Austrian resources were severely stretched and the crisis fuelled anti-immigration sentiment.

Many were refugees from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the third quarter of this year, asylum applications in Austria were about 25% lower than in the same period of 2016, Eurostat reports. In Germany the numbers were more than 75% lower.

According to the new Austrian government’s plans:

In a Facebook post, FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache said (in German): “No longer will it possible for migrants who haven’t worked here a single day and have paid nothing into the system to get thousands of euros in social security!” He added: “On this point we in the Freedom Party have stuck to a central electoral promise!”

The Danish government was widely criticised in Europe when it introduced similar measures.

Who’s who in the new government?

Chancellor: Sebastian Kurz, People’s Party. The 31-year-old was foreign minister in the outgoing Austrian government.

Interior minister: Herbert Kickl, Freedom Party. The party’s general secretary and campaign director, 49, was a speechwriter for the late party leader Jörg Haider and is a close confidant of Mr Strache.

Foreign minister: Karin Kneissl, nominated by the FPÖ but not a member. The former diplomat, 52, speaks eight languages and is not afraid of controversy.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

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Shinee singer Jonghyun: K-pop boy band superstar dies

Jonghyun was a member of Shinee, who have had a string of number one hits in South Korea.

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A member of one of South Korea’s leading boy bands has died suddenly.

Jonghyun, full name Kim Jong-hyun, was one of the five members of Shinee, who have had a string of number one hits in their home country.

The Korean Herald said he was 28 years old. He was taken to hospital after being found unconscious in an apartment in Seoul, according to reports.

Police told the BBC Korean Service that suicide will be investigated as a possibility.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that emergency services were alerted by the singer’s sister, and that he was later pronounced dead at hospital.

Jonghyun shot to fame with the band in 2008, and they also became big in Japan. He launched a successful solo career in 2015.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

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