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Saturday 25 March 2017

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A 26-year-old Serb has been arrested after allegedly trying to blackmail Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox through a local distributor by threatening to release a copy of The Boss Baby.

A 26-year-old Serb who worshipped superheroes and whose father was once the head of Serbia's antiterrorist service has been arrested after allegedly trying to blackmail Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox through a local distributor by threatening to release a copy of The Boss Baby, the latest animated film from Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studios, before its world premiere.

Momcilo Dinovic reportedly obtained a copy of the movie and demanded more than $25,000 worth of bitcoin, the electronic currency, or he would post the film online before its official release on March 31, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

According to the Serbian Interior Ministry, Dinovic received the equivalent of about $11,000 in bitcoin from the companies and was waiting for more when he was detained by police in Belgrade on March 14.

Police have not said how Dinovic, an IT expert, came to possess the film, a star-studded computer animation featuring Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, and Jimmy Kimmel.

But screenwriter and film critic Aleksandar Radivojevic noted that "at a time when everything is done over the Internet, things like this can easily leak out or can be hacked."

If found guilty of extortion, Dinovic faces a prison sentence of between three and 12 years.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (center) made his remarks at a gathering of women assembled for International Women's Day on March 7. (file photo)

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (center) made his remarks at a gathering of women assembled for International Women's Day on March 7. (file photo)

On the occasion of International Women's Day, Kazakhstan's president offers a few tips on how flattery can get you everywhere when it comes to the fairer sex.

"If she is beautiful, tell her she is intelligent. If she doesn't look good, tell her she is beautiful. If she is neither, then tell her she's lost weight."

That's the advice given by Nursultan Nazarbaev, Kazakhstan's longstanding leader, during an event marking International Women's Day on March 8 at the Akorda presidential palace.

Addressing a gathering of women assembled for the occasion, Nazarbaev explained that compliments are key to getting a woman to like you, while noting that he is always teaching Kazakh men the arts of flattery and chivalry in dealing with the ladies.

Nevertheless, he joked about his fellow man, they still "don't know how to behave."

The audience included women from all walks of life -- from start-up entrepreneurs to housewives, to teachers, doctors, athletes, and lawmakers.

Later in the day, the president shared more poignant comments relating to his relationship with women on social media, posting a 2001 video in which he paid tribute to his late mother.

He said he regretted not having been able to spend as much time as he wanted with his mother, who died in 1977 as her son was rising through the official ranks, and that he had dreamt about her while making crucial life decisions.

"I'm not a mystic, neither do I believe in sorcerers, psychics, or astrologists," he said in the video. "But it has really happened that I dreamt about her and she told me: 'Rest assured, everything will be fine.'"

Tons Of Flowers

Kazakhstan annually marks International Women's Day with official meetings and gatherings, special TV programs, and also as a private family event.

Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, imported a record 8.6 tons of flowers ahead of the event this year, nearly three times the city's monthly average.

The figure showed that Kazakhs take Women's Day very seriously, local media said. And based on readers' comments on articles about Nazarbaev's salutations, it appeared that some were taking his advice on dealing with women to heart.

"Good advice, men should follow it," wrote one reader of Tengrinews.

A commenter identified as Erlan, however, seemed to take umbrage with the president's comments, writing that "In my opinion, all Kazakh women are intelligent and beautiful. They don't have to lose weight."

Another paid tribute to Kazakh women who "raise their children without help from the government, have to create jobs for themselves, pay taxes, and retire at 63."

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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