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Monday, December 09, 2019

Egyptian Teen Defects To U.S. After Science Fair In Los Angeles

Egyptian Teen Defects To U.S. After Science Fair In Los Angeles

By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — An Egyptian teenager accused of illegally protesting his country’s government has defected to the United States after attending an international science fair for high school students in Los Angeles.

Abdullah Assem, 17, decided not to board a Cairo-bound plane Sunday for fear he would be arrested upon landing.

For the last four days he has stayed with family friends in Los Angeles County while he seeks asylum in the U.S.

Last week, Abdullah was one of 1,787 teens participating in the six-day International Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by chipmaker Intel at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

His project, “Eye Detection and Tracking-Based Communication System for Tetraplegia Patients,” had qualified for the competition through one of the program’s 450 preliminary science fairs. His research involved the use of eyeglasses and motion sensors to enable quadriplegics to use computers.

Abdullah was arrested April 25 in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo and accused by police of illegally protesting — apparently by flashing the banned four-fingered hand gesture showing support for ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

After skipping his return flight, Abdullah told Al-Jazeera he feared being rearrested.

“In case I get back to Egypt, my future will be in jail, considering that I am threatened all the time to be detained,” the boy said.

Farida Chehate, an attorney with the Los Angeles-area Council on American-Islamic Relations, said her group will help the teen apply for amnesty with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

She said the teen may also be accused of setting fire to cars belonging to police officers, although Chehate has yet to see Egyptian authorities’ reports.

“He’s somewhat politically active,” Chehate said. “He has posted on Facebook and formed a group. His feelings have put him on the wrong side of the government.”

Chehate said media coverage of Abdullah’s apprehension in April apparently motivated the government to allow him to attend last week’s International Science and Engineering Fair. She said the boy’s family supports his asylum effort.

“We’d hope the family is not in jeopardy” since Abdullah’s arrest attracted extensive Egyptian media attention, she said.

The boy’s father, Assem Mohammed, told Egyptian news agencies that his son did not perform well in last week’s fair “because he didn’t have enough time to prepare” for judging. “He made his presentation with handwritten notes. He didn’t even have time to type it on a computer.”

Some $5 million in cash prizes and scholarships were awarded at the competition’s end.

Abdullah, a senior at Dar Heraa Islamic Private School in Assiut, Egypt, was scheduled to take his final high school exams this week.

Sharon Rummery, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in San Francisco, said her agency would not be authorized to discuss an asylum application, even if one had been filed on behalf of Abdullah.

There are five criteria for asylum, which can lead to citizenship, and two of them are fear of political leanings and membership in a social group, she said.

Rick Bates, interim chief executive of Washington, D.C.’s Society for Science & the Public, said he knows of no previous situation where a high school student participating in a fair has defected at the end of the competition.

“I don’t know that we have a reaction,” Bates said. “The young man and his family have made that decision.”

Annual science fairs have been conducted since 1950, and the event began including international high school students in 1958.

After Abdullah arrived in Los Angeles on May 12, “I think he had a normal week,” Bates said. “He did indicate that he wanted to stay and look at colleges.”

Photo: Donkey Hotey via Flickr

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Stanley Rubin, Prolific TV And Movie Writer-Producer, Dies At 96

Stanley Rubin, Prolific TV And Movie Writer-Producer, Dies At 96

By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — There was a 69-year gap between the time Stanley Rubin enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, in hopes of launching a writing career and 2006, when he actually graduated.

And during that seven-decade break in schooling, the prolific film and television writer and producer left his mark at nearly every studio in Hollywood, helped run the Writers Guild and Producers Guild, and took home one of the first Emmys ever awarded.

Rubin, 96, died Sunday in his sleep at his home above the Sunset Strip, said actress Kathleen Hughes, his wife of 59 years.

Born Stanley Creamer Rubin on Oct. 8, 1917, in the Bronx, he was a teenager when he took a Greyhound bus across the country to enroll at UCLA in 1933. After working as the editor of the school’s newspaper, the Daily Bruin, he was a few units shy of graduating when he dropped out in 1937 to work for a weekly Beverly Hills newspaper owned by Will Rogers Jr.

From there he went to work in the Paramount Pictures mailroom, where his radio, TV and film career was launched. In 1949, the first year the Emmys were awarded, he accepted the statue for best film made for television for an episode of the dramatic anthology series “Your Show Time” called “The Necklace.”

By 1940 he had become a writer at Universal Studios; in 1946 he switched to Columbia Pictures, and in 1948 he moved to a producing job at NBC. Rubin worked as a theatrical film producer for a variety of movie studios in the early 1950s before returning to television producing at CBS. He moved back to TV production at Universal Studios in 1960, took a TV producing post at 20th Century Fox in 1967 and then at MGM from 1972 to 1977.

Along the way, he wrote 19 movies and produced more than two dozen feature and TV films, including a 1955 Francis the Talking Mule comedy and 1967’s The President’s Analyst starring James Coburn. Producing River of No Return in 1954, Rubin turned into a diplomat when he mediated between strict director Otto Preminger and mercurial star Marilyn Monroe.

After leaving MGM, he worked as an independent film producer. His last screen credit in 1990 was as co-producer of Clint Eastwood’s White Hunter Black Heart.

Hughes said her husband’s favorite movie was The Narrow Margin, a 1952 thriller about assassins stalking a woman taking a train from Chicago to Los Angeles to testify against the mob.

The movie’s release was delayed when RKO Radio Pictures head Howard Hughes became enthused by the film and asked Rubin to reshoot it with an A-list cast instead of Marie Windsor starring as the woman and Charles McGraw playing a police detective trying to protect her. Rubin refused on grounds that the whole film would have to be recast and reshot.

Rubin could be stubborn when he stood up to studio chiefs, recalled a friend, film historian Alan K. Rode. He once refused when another studio head insisted that a fictional movie about Adolf Hitler escaping Nazi Germany and hiding in the U.S. be changed to a film about communists making nerve gas in the Midwest, said Rode, director of the Film Noir Foundation.

During World War II, Rubin served a stint with the Army’s First Motion Picture Unit. He hammered out contracts for the Writers Guild and spent five years as president of the Producers Guild.

Rubin’s decision to return to UCLA to make up his missing 14 units found students in a 2006 School of Theater, Film and Television history class in awe of him after they discovered who he was. They were shocked to learn that the grandfatherly man who always sat near the front of the class had been a genuine pioneer of radio, television and film.

Rubin’s 20-page term report was about how advertisers determined the content of 1940s radio shows.

“Most of the scripts I wrote ran about 120 pages,” he confided to one of his young classmates. “So this was a piece of cake. But don’t tell the professor.”

Besides his wife, he is survived by daughter Angie, a film music editor; sons John, a documentary filmmaker, and Michael, who formerly worked in postproduction. Another son, Chris, died in 2008.

Photo: geminicollisionworks via Flickr