Nearly eight decades after she became one of the most famous supporting figures in American popular literature, Mammy has become the heroine of her own story in a prequel to "Gone with the Wind." "Ruth's Journey" by novelist and poet Donald McCaig comes 75 years after the film version of Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning epic work of fiction set in the Deep South during the US Civil War. In both the original book and the movie, he said, Mammy's real name was not even clear, as was usual for an African-American slave character tasked with raising her children of the family that owned her. In imagining Mammy's back story, McCaig -- whose book has been authorized by Mitchell's estate -- baptized her Ruth, in reference to the biblical character that symbolizes faith and fidelity.
Hello Kitty, Japan's global icon of cute, marked her 40th anniversary on Saturday with a human-size version of the feline character regaling fans at an upscale Tokyo department store and a theme park. The moon-faced creation, who has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry, began her birthday by trying her hand as manager of the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo's glitzy Ginza district. Kitty, who adorns everything from pencil cases to pyjamas the world over, also celebrated her birthday with fans at her creators' theme park Sanrio Puroland in western Tokyo. The Keio Plaza Hotel chain, meanwhile, opened Hello Kitty hotel rooms in Tokyo on Saturday, decorated floor to ceiling with pictures of the cuddly character.