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ICONIC Maya Bay is finally reopening after being closed for nearly four years.

The Thailand beach was made famous by the 2000 film The Beach, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio.

4Maya Bay will finally reopen next yearCredit: Getty 4New rules will be in place when the beach reopens in January 2022, including restricions on visitorsCredit: AFP

However, its popularity led to its closure after the volume of tourists resulted in damage to the local wildlife and corals.

It was first shut down in 2018 to allow a full recovery of its corals and wildlife.

Thai authorities also said the white-sand paradise was suffering from the pressure of thousands of day-trippers arriving by boat.

Authorities initially said the beach - popular for backpacker day trips - was going to be closed for four months, but the reopening was repeatedly postponed.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, adviser to the Department of National Parks, told AFP the ban on visitors would be extended until mid-2021.

It will now reopen in January 2022, after authorities delayed the opening during Covid to allow it to recover further.

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However, there will be new restrictions in place when visiting, according to CNN Travel.

Speedboats will no longer be able to enter the bay, with a pier at the back of the island dropping off passengers instead.

Only eight boats will be allowed at a time, with tourists only able to visit for one hour between 10am and 4pm.

This means fewer than 2,000 people will be able to visit a day, compared to 5,000 when it was open.

Brits can now return to Thailand after the country lifted their Covid restrictions this month.

Vaccinated tourists no longer have to quarantine on arrival, and can return to the UK with just a lateral flow test.

Low-cost airline Scoot is even offering bargain flights to Thailand from just £170 next month.

4The 2000 film The Beach featuring Leonardo DiCaprio made the may famousCredit: Alamy 4However overtourism damaged the corals and wildlifeCredit: Alamy Red list changes – Holidays to Mexico, Thailand and Tunisia back ON as 47 countries removed from high-risk list

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Obituaries | Oscar-winning Cuckoos Nest actor Louise Fletcher dies

By Andrew Dalton | Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Louise Fletcher, a late-blooming star whose riveting performance as the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” set a new standard for screen villains and won her an Academy Award, has died at age 88.

Fletcher died in her sleep surrounded by family at her home in Montdurausse, France, her agent David Shaul told The Associated Press on Friday. No cause was given.

After putting her career on hold for years to raise her children, Fletcher was in her early 40s and little known when chosen for the role opposite Jack Nicholson in the 1975 film by director Milos Forman, who had admired her work the year before in director Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us.” At the time, she didn’t know that many other prominent stars, including Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn and Angela Lansbury, had turned it down.

“I was the last person cast,” she recalled in a 2004 interview. “It wasn’t until we were halfway through shooting that I realized the part had been offered to other actresses who didn’t want to appear so horrible on the screen.”

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” went on to become the first film since 1934’s “It Happened One Night” to win best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.

Clutching her Oscar at the 1976 ceremony, Fletcher told the audience, “It looks as though you all hated me.”

She then addressed her deaf parents in Birmingham, Alabama, talking and using sign language: “I want to thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”

A moment of silence was followed by thunderous applause.

Later that night, Forman made the wry comment to Fletcher and her co-star, Jack Nicholson: “Now we all will make tremendous flops.”

In the short run, at least, he was right.

Forman next directed “Hair,” the movie version of the hit Broadway musical that failed to capture the appeal of the stage version. Nicholson directed and starred in “Goin’ South,” generally regarded as one of his worst films. Fletcher signed on for “Exorcist II: The Heretic,” a misconceived sequel to the landmark original.

Far more than her male peers, Fletcher was hampered by her age in finding major roles in Hollywood. Still, she worked continuously for most of the rest of her life. Her post-“Cuckoo’s Nest” films included “Mama Dracula,” “Dead Kids” and “The Boy Who Could Fly.”

She was nominated for Emmys for her guest roles on the TV series “Joan of Arcadia” and “Picket Fences,” and had a recurring role as Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” She played the mother of musical duo Carpenters in 1989’s “The Karen Carpenter Story.”

Fletcher’s career was also hampered by her height. At 5-feet-10, she would often be dismissed from an audition immediately because she was taller than her leading man.

Fletcher had moved to Los Angeles to launch her acting career soon after graduating from North Carolina State University.

Working as a doctor’s receptionist by day and studying at night with noted actor and teacher Jeff Corey, she began getting one-day jobs on such TV series as “Wagon Train,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “The Untouchables.”

Fletcher married producer Jerry Bick in the early 1960s and gave birth to two sons in quick succession. She decided to put her career on hold to be a stay-at-home mother and didn’t work for 11 years.

“I made the choice to stop working, but I didn’t see it as a choice,” she said in the 2004 interview. “I felt compelled to stay at home.”

She divorced Bick in 1977 and he died in 2004.

In “Cuckoo’s Nest,” based on the novel Ken Kesey wrote while taking part in an experimental LSD program, Nicholson’s character, R.P. McMurphy, is a swaggering, small-time criminal who feigns insanity to get transferred from prison to a mental institution where he won’t have to work so hard.

Once institutionalized, McMurphy discovers his mental ward is run by Fletcher’s cold, imposing Nurse Mildred Ratched, who keeps her patients tightly under her thumb. As the two clash, McMurphy all but takes over the ward with his bravado, leading to stiff punishment from Ratched and the institution, where she restores order.
The character was so memorable she would become the basis for a Netflix series, “Ratched,” 45 years later.

Estelle Louise Fletcher was born the second of four children on July 22, 1934, in Birmingham. Her mother was born deaf and her father was a traveling Episcopal minister who lost his hearing when struck by lightning at age 4.

“It was like having parents who are immigrants who don’t speak your language,” she said in 1982.

The Fletcher children were helped by their aunt, with whom they lived in Bryant, Texas, for a year. She taught them reading, writing and speaking, as well as how to sing and dance.

It was those latter studies that convinced Fletcher she wanted to act. She was further inspired, she once said, when she saw the movie “Lady in the Dark” with Ginger Rogers.

That and other films, Fletcher said, taught her “your dream could become real life if you wanted it bad enough.”

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“I knew from the movies,” she would say, “that I wouldn’t have to stay in Birmingham and be like everyone else.”

Fletcher’s death was first reported by Deadline.

She is survived by her two sons, John and Andrew Bick.

The late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical material to this report.

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter:

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