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Oct. 2, 2008 at 2:00 PM
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South Korean actress Choi found dead

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Popular South Korean actress Choi Jin-sil was found dead in her home in southern Seoul of an apparent suicide, police said Thursday.

The 40-year-old TV and movie star was discovered by her mother with an elastic band around her neck, tied to a shower stall in her home, The Seoul Times quoted officers at the Seocho Police Station as saying.

"Given the results of an examination that spotted no trace of physical trauma on her body, we came to the conclusion that it is a suicide," Yang Jae-ho, a criminal investigations officer, told reporters.

Yang said no suicide note has been found but Choi sent two text messages shortly before her death asking her makeup assistant to look after her two children.

Choi was previously married to professional baseball player Cho Sung-min but that relationship ended in a bitter divorce in 2004. The actress reportedly had since been treated for depression.


SAG recommends strike authorization vote

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The Screen Actors Guild's National TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee says it recommends a strike authorization vote of the membership be taken.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers made what it called its final contract offer to SAG June 30. Other than one sidebar meeting during the summer, the two parties haven't convened to discuss a new contract. The old one expired July 1.

While SAG this week asked AMPTP to return to the bargaining table, AMPTP declined, stating it wouldn't be productive to do so "given SAG's continued insistence on terms which the companies have repeatedly rejected."

SAG's negotiating committee issued a statement that said, "A strike authorization vote of the membership is necessary to overcome the employers' intransigence ..."

The committee emphasized a strike should only be called if the board "deems it necessary and unavoidable to do so."

AMPTP's answering statement noted it had made deals with other unions "on comparable terms months ago, during far better economic times.

AMPTP said: "It is unrealistic for SAG negotiators now to expect even better terms during this grim financial climate. This is the harsh economic reality, and no strike will change that reality."


Boyd wins 'Talent' competition

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Opera-singing insurance salesman Neil E. Boyd has won the top prize on "America's Got Talent."

Boyd won $1 million and the opportunity to perform in Las Vegas.

"What has happened to my life?" E! News quoted Boyd as saying upon learning he won the television talent competition series.

David Hasselhoff, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan were the program's celebrity judges, while Jerry Springer served as host.

Boyd beat out fellow singing finalists Donald Braswell, Eli Mattson and Queen Emily, as well as the violin duo Nuttin But Stringz, to win the competition, E! said.


'Kung Fu Panda' sequel on its way

GLENDALE, Calif., Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A sequel to the animated hit "Kung Fu Panda" is in the works, Hollywood's DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., has announced.

The second installment in the computer animation franchise is slated to open in theaters June 3, 2011.

The company said it also anticipates releasing the film into IMAX theaters worldwide.

Like all DreamWorks Animation feature films, starting in 2009, the new "Kung Fu Panda" flick will be produced in stereoscopic 3D technology.

The sequel will once again star Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and other original cast members and will be directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, head of story on "Kung Fu Panda."

"We are thrilled to reunite the creative team that made 'Kung Fu Panda' such a global success. Because of their imaginative work, Po's path to heroism proved popular with moviegoers of all ages around the world," DreamWorks Animation's Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement.

Bill Damaschke, co-president of production and president of live theatrical, added: "The story of 'Kung Fu Panda' provided a great introduction to these characters and afforded wonderful opportunities to further expand on the world we created in ancient China. Quite simply, there's more story to tell."

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