Chinese moviegoers won't get to see Kate Winslet's breasts in 3-D

The 3-D rerelease of James Cameron's Titanic may be breaking box office records in China, but some viewers are upset that one particular scene -- you know the one! -- didn't make it past the censors:

Some were upset about missing out on the romantic but controversial scenes in which Kate Winslet posed nude for sketches. Internet forums and microblogging sites were abuzz with criticism of the censorship.

"I've been waiting almost 15 years, and not for the 3D icebergs," said a post.

Given the hefty $24 ticket price, you can understand the guy's frustration. The official explanation from China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television didn't exactly help:

Considering the vivid 3D effects, we fear that viewers may reach out their hands for a touch and thus interrupt other people's viewing. To avoid potential conflicts between viewers and out of consideration of building a harmonious ethical social environment, we've decided to cut off the nudity scenes.

Good news for DVD bootleggers, I guess.  



Will Israel and Lebanon's new naval partnership last?

Although the Arab Spring hasn't won Israel many friends in the Middle East, Haaretz reported yesterday that its navy "recently strengthened its cooperation with the Lebanese Navy in the Mediterranean." The partnership, Israel hopes, will prevent provocations in the form of possible pro-Palestinian flotillas to Gaza on May 15, or Nakba Day, which commemorates "the displacement of Palestinians following the establishment of Israel in 1948, and on Naksa Day, which takes place in June and commemorates the displacement of Palestinians after the 1967 war."

It's no surprise that Israel would turn to regional multilateralism in order to avoid a repeat of the Gaza flotilla incident of 2010. According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, "pro-Palestinian activists from Sweden [have] announced their intent to organize another Gaza flotilla this year, saying they have already bought the ship."

Whether this friendly strategic cooperation will last, though, is an entirely different question. Israel and Lebanon may soon be engaged in nasty disputes over natural gas fields in the Levant Basin, which as Robin M. Mills reported for FP last year "spans not only Israel's offshore but also that of Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria." In 2009, U.S. exploration company Noble Energy found Tamar, a deepwater field that holds 8.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. Noble discovered Leviathan, which has an aerial area of 125 square miles and contains a potential 20 Tcf, in early 2010. As Mills noted, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the entire basin "could contain 120 Tcf of gas, equivalent to almost half of U.S. reserves."

With Tamar set to come online in April 2013, and Leviathan expected to begin production by 2016, what is for now just a dispute over maritime borders could soon turn into a regional conflict over natural gas.

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