Cameron likens ‘Avatar’ to battle over rain forest

 

BRASILIA, Brazil – Director James Cameron said Monday that a real-life “Avatar” battle is playing out in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, where indigenous groups are trying to halt the construction of a huge hydroelectric project.

In an interview, Cameron said he was in Brazil’s capital to support Indian and environmental groups as they stage protests against the Belo Monte dam project.

Cameron attended an environmental summit in the Amazon last month with former Vice President Al Gore. He returned this week to Sao Paulo to promote the DVD version of his blockbuster movie “Avatar,” in which the fictitious Na’vi race fights to protect its homeland, the forest-covered moon, Pandora, from plans to extract oil. He said he came to Brasilia on his own initiative because he was drawn to the activists’ plight.

“Avatar” has struck a chord with environmentalists worldwide, from China, where millions have been displaced by major infrastructure projects, to Bolivia, where Evo Morales, the nation’s first indigenous president, praised the film for sending the message of saving the environment from exploitation.

“I’m drawn into a situation where a real-life ‘Avatar’ confrontation is in progress,” Cameron said while en route to protests taking place in front of the Mines and Energy Ministry.

“What’s happening in ‘Avatar’ is happening in Brazil and places like India and China, where traditional villages are displaced by big infrastructure projects,” he said.

Pamela Anderson owes nearly $500,000 in taxes, records show

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California officials say former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson has failed to pay $493,000 in personal income tax.

Anderson is on the annual list of delinquent taxpayers released Monday by the California Franchise Tax Board.

The 42-year-old actress is currently competing on the television show “Dancing With the Stars.”

Anderson is among 250 individual and business taxpayers that owe more than $100,000 in back taxes. State records show a tax lien for $493,144 was filed against Anderson in April 2009.