The Iraqi military is training a former member of an Iran-backed militia, who is under U.S. sanctions for killing protesters, to become a high-ranking officer in the army, according to six government, security and militia officials. They said that Hussein Falih Aziz, known as Abu Zainab al-Lami, had been sent to Egypt with Iraqi officers for a year-long training normally reserved for the country's military personnel. Making Lami a senior officer in the army is one of the boldest moves yet by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a U.S. ally, to dilute the power of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, the officials said, and aligns with Washington's stated desire to curtail Tehran's influence across the Middle East.
Any proposed cap on the salaries of Formula One drivers should be careful not to hold back the sport's top talent, newly crowned seven-times champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday. "I'm not personally opposed to it," the Briton, who equalled Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven titles at the last race in Turkey, told reporters in a video conference call at the Bahrain Grand Prix. "I do think about the next up and coming young stars that are coming through and I don’t particularly see why they should be handicapped if they’re bringing something huge to the sport."
The Austrian village of Fucking is changing its name, the mayor of the municipality where it is located said on Thursday, after residents apparently grew tired of the sniggers it prompted in the English-speaking world and of visitors stealing its signs. The village, part of the municipality of Tarsdorf, north of Salzburg and near the German border, has long been a figure of fun in English-speaking media, which have gleefully reported local exasperation at signs being removed. In 2018 the pornographic website Pornhub said it was offering free premium access to residents of Fucking and towns with names such as Titz, Germany or Big Beaver, Pennsylvania, in the United States.
Iranian director Firouzeh Khosrovani has won the IDFA award for best feature-length documentary with “Radiograph of a Family,” a film that uses an intimate study of her parents’ marriage—her father was secular, Westernized and progressive, while her mother was a devout, traditional Muslim—to explore the divisions in Iranian society both in the run-up and aftermath […]
The crowds that bade farewell to Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires on Thursday were in keeping with the devotion Latin America has reserved for the passing of its sporting and artistic idols, from Brazilian Formula 1 great Ayrton Senna to Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The body of Maradona, who died from a heart attack on Wednesday, lay at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires and tens of thousands of his compatriots braved the coronavirus pandemic to pay their last respects to one of the world's best footballers who led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup. Such public outpourings of grief are common in Latin America, where sport and the arts carry an exaggerated importance.
France reported 13,563 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, compared with 16,282 on Wednesday and 21,150 a week ago, suggesting the spread of the virus continued to slow in the fourth week of a national lockdown.
On Wednesday night, G4, the gaming network that aired from 2002-2014 and recently announced a revival, held a charity special that saw its previous lineup of hosts -- Olivia Munn, Kevin Pereira, Adam Sessler, Morgan Webb, Kristin Adams and Blair Herter -- reunite for a night of nostalgia and reminiscing. But, at the very end […]
Police officers in Fulshear, Texas, shared a video parodying scam phone calls about extended vehicle warranties on November 20.In the video filmed by Captain Michael McCoy, Sergeant Roger Thurman walks up to a vehicle as if during a traffic stop and says, “There’s people trying to get in touch in regards to your vehicle extended warranty.”The Federal Communications Commission has warned the public to be cautious of calls from scammers posing as representatives of car dealers, manufacturers or insurers that warn of auto warranties or insurance that is about to expire.“During the call – which often begins automated or pre-recorded – you may be instructed to press a certain number or stay on the line, then asked to provide personal information, which potentially can be used to defraud you,” the Federal Communications Commissions said.According to a survey conducted by First Orion, a company that provides phone call information, 86 percent of respondents had received a robocall about car warranty, and 30 percent had received one within a week of the survey. Credit: Fulshear Police via Storyful
In the animated feature “The Croods: A New Age,” which bowed Nov. 25 in select theaters, the first prehistoric family encounters the Bettermans, a family a few steps evolved beyond the cave people. When the Croods stumble on their lush treehouse compound, it looks like paradise to them. It’s so appealing, in fact, that even […]
Daria Nicolodi died Thanksgiving Thursday. She was 70 years old. The cause of death has not been released.The Italian-born actress starred in “Inferno,” co-write “Suspiria” and was the mother of Asia Argento. She was also in the cult classic “Deep Red.”Argento posted a heartfelt tribute to her mother, who starred in many of her father’s films, on Instagram in announcing the death.Also Read: 'X Factor Italy' Finds New Judge to Replace Asia ArgentoThe caption was written in Italian but translated, reads like this: “Rest in peace beloved mother. Now you can fly free with your great spirit and you won’t have to suffer anymore. I will try to go on for your beloved grandchildren and especially for you who would never want to see me so grieved. Even if without you I miss the ground under my feet, and I feel I have lost my only true point of reference. I am close to all those who have known and loved her. I will always be your Aria, Daria.”Others joined Argento in memorializing Nicolodi.Horror screenwriter Michael Varrati wrote on Twitter, “I’m thankful for the work of Daria Nicolodi. Her legacy shall continue to live on in all the vibrant, vicious hyper-colored majesty of the cinema. A true creator and one of Giallo’s greatest grand dames.”Writer and director Jamie Righetti called the death “gutting” and said, “Daria Nicolodi co-wrote SUSPIRIA and contributed so much to giallo as a whole. The Argento films we adore wouldn’t be the same without her influence. What a huge loss for cinema.”Read original story Daria Nicolodi, ‘Inferno’ Star and ‘Suspiria’ Co-Writer, Dies at 70 At TheWrap
Three days of national mourning were called for Maradona who led Argentina to a 1986 World Cup win and is revered with cult-like status. His triumphs on the soccer field was marred by struggles with addiction away from it and he died aged 60 following a heart attack at home on Wednesday. The family of the former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli forward is hoping to hold the burial on Thursday evening at the Bella Vista cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires where his parents are also buried, a government source said. A cemetery source confirmed that the burial had been scheduled for 6pm local time, but said it could also be delayed to Friday morning. Early on Thursday, thousands of fans had already formed a snaking line through the streets near the central Plaza de Mayo after a night of mourning and reminiscing. Some scuffles broke out as some tried to get inside the palace to see their hero's casket.
Three stars each from Egyptian clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek have tested positive for coronavirus and will miss the CAF Champions League final in Cairo Friday, according to Egyptian football officials.
Thankful? In 2020?Yes, it’s been a miserable year on a lot of fronts. And this is a mess of an awards season – a morass of delays, rule changes to adjust to the fact that movie aren’t being released and theaters can’t open, and the promise that it’s going to go on and on for another five months, until the April 25 Oscars will put this season out of its misery and we’ll all realize that we should immediately start thinking about the Emmys.So no, the word thankful does not immediately come to mind when I think of 2020, or of this awards season.But in the midst of the pandemic and the nonexistent release schedule, and in the shadow of the endless stretch of campaigning that lies ahead, there are a few reasons to be grateful on this oddest of all Thanksgivings.Also Read: Oscars in April? Here's the COVID-Altered Awards Season CalendarHere are 10 of mine.1\. Film festivals They’ve tried, they really have. As events whose heart lies in bringing audiences together to celebrate the art of filmmaking in a communal setting, festivals have been robbed of one of the main reasons they exist. But one at a time, they’ve worked to find ways to promote cinema without their usual tool kits. They’ve done drive-in screenings, they’ve gone virtual to have “premieres” that take place only online, and at times they’ve simply released lists of the movies they would have shown if they could have; what comes through is a love for film and a desire to promote it in any way possible.I didn’t “go” to the Toronto International Film Festival, because there were no press screenings or events I could have attended if I were there. But I saw 30 TIFF movies, which was more than I could have gotten to if I’d been running between the auditoriums at TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Scotiabank and Roy Thomson Hall. Sure, I would rather have been there running ragged on no sleep, but worthy movies don’t go away just because there’s no place to show them. And film festivals, working within the restrictions of these trying times, have found a reason to go on.2\. Netflix Yeah, the streaming giant is going to be the death of the movie business, yadda yadda. But when a year when we all have to stay home, isn’t it nice to be able to sit on the couch and watch good new movies by Spike Lee, David Fincher, Charlie Kaufman and Aaron Sorkin, among others? Or to have a place where you could get obsessed with chess or mad at people who have private zoos?Let’s face it, Netflix is the right evil empire at the right time. And when they dominate the Oscars, as they probably will, the people who don’t want them to be competing there ought to thank them for making the race a lot more robust, healthy and interesting than it would have been without them.Also Read: Oscars Look to Netflix and 2021 to Rescue the Skimpiest Best Picture Race EverAmazon Studios3\. Netflix’s rivals Of course, Netflix has had some help from its streaming counterparts. Amazon has a strong slate headed by Regina King’s “One Night in Miami,” and Apple nudged its way in with Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks,” which if nothing else gives Bill Murray a grand showcase. New Oscar rules have made it easier for movies to qualify even if they’re made by and for streaming services, and everybody wants a piece of that.4\. Unobtrusive watermarking Here’s the problem when you can’t go to screenings and you have to watch upcoming movies at home on a link: Those movies almost always have a visible onscreen anti-piracy watermark, which more often than not takes the form of your name or email address somewhere on the screen. The degree to which this is annoying differs from studio to studio and from screening platform to screening platform. More often than not, it starts out very annoying, then you get used to it, then it gets annoying again when your damn name gets in the way of something important.Watching a subtitled movie with your name at the bottom of the screen can be particularly annoying, though the worst by far was watching the beautifully shot, impeccably composed “Nomadland” with my name in BIG LETTERS right across the middle of the screen. But I’ve since gotten a better “Nomadland” link without that distraction — and besides, I’m here to be thankful, not to complain. So here’s a thank you to the platforms that keep their watermarking unobtrusive, making it small or tucking it in the corner.Also Read: 'Nomadland' Film Review: Frances McDormand Hits the Road in Quiet, Lyrical DramaThe Go Go’s at Chicagofest in Chicago, Illinois, July 30, 1981 . (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)5\. Nonfiction filmmaking All year long, nonfiction films told us about the vital issues of this stormy year, from voter suppression (“All In: The Fight for Democracy”) to civil liberties (“The Fight”), from COVID-19 (“76 Days,” “Totally Under Control”) to international tensions (“The Dissident”), from race (“Time,” “MLK/FBI”) to sexual abuse (“On the Record,” “Showbiz Kids”) to LGBTQ issues (“Welcome to Chechnya,” “Disclosure”).There were plenty of films to entertain us, too: I’m partial to “The Go-Go’s” myself, since I was part of that story back in my rock ‘n’ roll days, but you might go for Taylor Swift (“Miss Americana”) or for the playful subversion of Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson Is Dead.” We don’t even have to wait for the inevitable films about the pandemic or the 2020 election: More than ever, documentaries have felt like a true and essential real-time chronicle of our complex and stormy times.6\. Indie gems just waiting to be watched Hope springs eternal this year — the hope that without so many studio films hogging the spotlight, and with no star-studded receptions happening to tempt voters, movies that might have been overlooked in the past could break through. It’s probably wishful thinking, for the most part — but as of this writing, the Academy Screening Room for the Best Picture category has more than 90 films just waiting for members to watch them. And while some of those are presumed front runners, most of them are not, and many are little indies that could greatly benefit from the voters’ eyeballs that now have access to them.(Granted, you don’t get your movie into that screening room unless you pay the Academy $12,500, so it’s not a completely open playing field.)How about it, Academy members? Why not check out some movies this long holiday weekend? You don’t need my advice, but if you want it, here’s a list you could work from: “Wendy,” “The Outpost,” “First Cow,” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” “Herself,” “Shirley,” “The Trip to Greece,” “The True History of the Kelly Gang,” “Wander Darkly.” You’ll find something in there that you like.Courtesy of Amazon Studios7\. Comedies that came along at the right time When the situation outside is dire and you can’t take another shot of cable news, you don’t always want to watch another dark drama. That’s why “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” probably felt more refreshing and necessary than it would have under different circumstances, and also why comedies like “Bill & Ted Face the Music” and “Palm Springs” seemed like movies we needed to see when they came out.They might not all be awards movies, but they felt good at a time when we needed to feel good. I mean, hey, even “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” had its moments.8\. Theaters First, I’m thankful that they all haven’t declared bankruptcy and that there’s a pretty good chance that someday we might actually get back to seeing movies in big rooms designed for that purpose.But I’m also thankful for the moments when I’ve been able to get out of the house and see films with real projection and sound, whether it’s a couple of screenings where my wife and I were the only people in the biggest theater at Netflix, or one or two other very sanitized, very socially distanced screenings.Some movies — most movies, I’d argue — really do belong in big rooms, which is why I’m happy that I’ve been able to revisit that experience a handful of times. One was even a public screening, when I drove to Simi Valley (which isn’t in L.A. County and thus wasn’t under the same restrictions) because I felt as if I needed to see Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” When I bought my ticket in mid-afternoon, the online seating chart said I was going to be the only person in the theater; by the time the film began in the early evening, there were about 20 people in the 100-seat theater. I wish there were fewer, and I wish the theater wasn’t serving food, but I’m glad I got to see it before streaming became an option.Diane Warren (Photo by Corina Marie for TheWrap)9\. Diane Warren There’s something oddly comforting about knowing that it’s a new year, and that means a new Diane Warren song in the Oscar race — or, in the case of this year, three new Diane Warren songs in the Oscar race. And there’s something refreshing about the fact that she really wants to win and she’s never going to play it cool and pretend she doesn’t. More power to her for that.Face it: She’s not going away, people. You’re gonna have to give her an Oscar someday.10\. Other winners The early days of awards season happened to coincide with a different kind of awards, as the extended basketball season and the truncated baseball season both came to an end within a couple of weeks in October. And when that happened, the two teams I root for, the Lakers and (especially!) the Dodgers, won championships.I understand this doesn’t have anything to do with movie awards, although the late Lakers star Kobe Bryant did win an Oscar a few years back, and I recognize that many of you may not be fans of those teams or may not care about who wins the World Series or the NBA Championship. I respect your right to feel that way, and I hope you respect my right to be happy about the Lakers and delirious about the Dodgers.I mean, if you had told me one year ago that over the next 12 months, the Dodgers and Lakers would win championships, “Parasite” would win the Oscar for Best Picture and Donald Trump would lose the election, I would have said, “Thanks! Wow, 2020 is going to be a great year!”Turns out it hasn’t been such a great year after all. But it does have a few things to be thankful for.Read original story 10 Things to Be Thankful for in This Weird, Messy Awards Season (Including Netflix) At TheWrap
Seattle, Microsoft and the field of artificial intelligence come in for their share of the spotlight in “Superintelligence” — an HBO Max movie starring Melissa McCarthy as the rom-com heroine, and comedian James Corden as the world’s new disembodied AI overlord. But how much substance is there behind the spotlight? Although the action is set in Seattle, much of the principal filming was actually done in Georgia. And the scientific basis of the plot — which involves an AI trying to decide whether or not to destroy the planet — is, shall we say, debatable. Fortunately, we have the perfect… Read More
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the first three episodes of "12 Dates of Christmas," streaming now on HBO Max. In 1965, Maria von Trapp (Julie Andrews) stepped into Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria and fell in love in "The Sound of Music." Now, 55 years later, two new men and […]
There’s no better time than the first time, at least when it comes to actors debuting in their inaugural feature films. In the history of the Oscars, more than 25 actors have been nominated for their feature debuts across all four acting categories. Among them are winners like Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) and […]
A little boy’s Christmas wish was granted by his parents on November 24 when he returned from school to find a festive tree.Footage recorded by David Scully in Dublin, Ireland, shows his four-year-old son, Zane, reacting to the surprise. “Wow..it’s my own beautiful Christmas tree!” he says as he admires the room.Scully told Storyful he and his wife decided to surprise their son after he asked for a tree in his room. They told Zane there was a surprise waiting for him after school and his excitement on the way home was “real and adorable.”Scully added that when Zane opened his bedroom door and “saw his own little tree…the joy and happiness on our son’s face was priceless.” Credit: David Scully via Storyful
President Uhuru Kenyatta, once one of Africa’s most-followed leaders, said on Wednesday that he was bullied off Twitter by Kenyan citizens, shedding light on a months-long mystery that confused his nearly four million followers. Mr Kenyatta's accounts on Twitter and Facebook disappeared on March 22 2019 year after he tweeted about fighting corruption. Authorities claimed that the president’s account was hacked but provided no evidence. However in a recent speech, Mr Kenyatta, once tagged a 'digital president' for his friendly use of social media, said he went off social networks because of the constant barrage of insults Kenyan netizens hurled at him. “I left Twitter because there’s just insulting,” President Uhuru said in Swahili. “I’d rather talk to my wife, sleep and wake up in the morning to work.” In a country where around 10 million people have access to the internet, Kenyans have widely taken to social media platforms to discuss politics. Unofficially called KOT, or Kenyans on Twitter, the online cohort are some of the most active social media users on the continent, known for stinging virtual disagreements with politicians and nationals of other countries. A bill put forward to regulate social media in 2019 generated such backlash it was swiftly dropped. Author Nanjala Nyabola told the Telegraph that the growth of social media was 'keeping the feet of power to the fire in a way that has become difficult to do offline because of [Kenyatta's] creeping restrictions on freedom of expression and expression and association." "It's a shame that instead of rising to the challenge... he has chosen to run away."
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race will switch from London's Thames to the Great Ouse in Ely in 2021 due to coronavirus-related restrictions and safety concerns, organisers said on Thursday.
Peacock host Mehdi Hasan has accused comedian Bill Maher of “brazen” Islamophobia in a new Daily Beast interview Thursday.“There is subtle Islamophobia, and I wouldn’t put Bill Maher in the ‘subtle’ category. He’s pretty brazen,” Hasan, who hosts “The Mehdi Hasan Show” on NBC’s streaming platform, said. “This is a guy who says Islam acts like the mafia, and the guy who says stuff like, ‘Muslims bring that desert stuff to the West.’ I mean, that’s not just Islamophobia, that’s old-fashioned racism.”Hasan, who also serves as a political analyst for MSNBC, was explaining how he sees his religion reflected on television. Maher’s HBO show, “Real Time,” was used an an example of a program “prominent Democrats” still go on in spite of the host’s comments.Also Read: Bill Maher Jokes Trump's Concession Speech Will Be 'Like the End of Scarface' (Video)“Some people have pushed back at him, but you’ll notice that he never has any kind of ‘mainstream Muslims’ to come on and talk,” he added. “He only has the Muslims who will come on and bash Islam. And he gets away with it. You talk about ‘cancel culture,’ well where is it? Bill Maher still has a very prominent show.”Hasan said Maher is “still called liberal” and has said “so many things” to offend Muslims, but also “statements that have offended African American communities and other communities.”A representative for Maher didn’t immediately return a request for comment.Read original story Mehdi Hasan Accuses Bill Maher of ‘Brazen’ Islamophobia: It’s ‘Old-Fashioned Racism’ At TheWrap