TORONTO (Reuters) – A U.S.-Canadian couple freed in Pakistan this week, nearly five years after being abducted in Afghanistan, reunited with the husband’s family on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman arrived with their three children late on Friday in Toronto, where the husband said one of his children was murdered and his wife had been raped.
Citing an email from Boyle, the AP reported the family had “reached the first true ‘home’ that the children have ever known — after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new house hopefully.”
Boyle, a Canadian, and Coleman, an American were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network.
Pakistani troops rescued the family this week in the northwest of the country, near the Afghan border. The United States has long accused Pakistan of failing to fight the Haqqani network. The couple had three children while in captivity.
Boyle opened his Friday media statement by saying he was delayed due to a medical emergency involving one of his children.
AP, citing Boyle’s email, said his daughter had a cursory medical exam and hospital staff were “enthusiastically insistent that her chances seemed miraculously high based on a quick physical.”
Boyle made a brief statement at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport late on Friday, calling on the Taliban “to provide my family with the justice we are owed.”
“God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,” he said.
Reporting by Maggie Parkhill; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Bill Trott
Bob Weinstein (left) slammed his brother Harvey (right) following accusations of sexual misconduct against the Hollywood producer.
Bob Weinstein dubbed his brother, Harvey, a “predator” and said he hoped the disgraced Hollywood producer “gets the justice that he deserves.”
Bob Weinstein, 62, who founded Weinstein Co. with his brother Harvey, 65, told The Hollywood Reporter in an intense interview released Saturday morning the situation was “a waking nightmare.”
“I find myself in a waking nightmare. My brother has caused unconscionable suffering. As a father of three girls I say this with every bone in my body — I am heartbroken for the women that he has harmed. I’m a fighter,” Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter.
“This hurts, but I don’t feel an ounce of remorse coming from him, and that kills me too,” he continued. “When I heard his written, lame excuse. Not an excuse. When I heard his admission of feeling remorse for the victims and then him cavalierly, almost crazily saying he was going to go out and take on the NRA, it was so disturbing to me. It was utter insanity. My daughters all felt sick hearing this because we understood he felt nothing. I don’t feel he feels anything to this day. I don’t.”
Harvey Weinstein came under fire after The New York Times released an expose on Oct. 5 that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations made against the Hollywood producer by actresses and employees. On Tuesday, the New Yorker reported the movie mogul had sexually assaulted three women.
Bob Weinstein (left) said he and his brother Harvey have not had a relationship for years.
Following the bombshell allegations, a number of A-list stars came out to condemn the producer and some, such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, told their own uncomfortable experiences with Weinstein.
When The Hollywood Reporter asked Bob how he did not know of his brother’s misconduct, Weinstein said he had spoken to Harvey only a few times “on any personal level” in the last five years. However, Bob said he was aware of Harvey “philandering with every woman he could meet.”
“I was sick and disgusted by his actions. But that’s the extent of what [I knew]. I said, “Harvey, you’re just cheating. Why do you constantly cheat?” I could see it. But I wasn’t in the room with him,” Bob Weinstein said.
“For me, I thought he was literally just going out there cheating in a pervasive way,” Bob said. “It wasn’t like he even had a mistress. It was one after another and that I was aware of. But as far as being in a room and hearing the description in “The New York Times?” No way. No f—–g way was I aware that that was the type of predator that he was. And the way he convinced people to do things? I thought they were all consensual situations.”
“I have a brother that’s indefensible and crazy,” Bob said. “I want him to get the justice that he deserves.”
Bob went on to say his brother was a “bully,” “arrogant” and “treated people like s—t all the time.”
Bob said employees would come into his office in tears due to something Harvey said to them.
On Sunday, Harvey was fired from the Weinstein Company. Bob confirmed he was on the board that fired his brother. Harvey planned to fight the firing.
“Anybody can do what they want to do. I cannot control other people’s actions. But he was fired by the board, okay? I was on that board. I fired him. He can fight. It will be a losing fight,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein said he was going to change the company’s name and he was still planning on the future of the studio’s shares.
Bob Weinstein told the media outlet he was personally going to write a letter to the Academy to get Harvey booted and would be cooperating with police in their investigation.
Weinstein concluded that he felt “mortified” and “disgusted” by Harvey’s actions and he was “sick” for the victims.
“I’m mortified and disgusted by my brother’s actions. And I am sick for the victims. And I feel for them. I feel for them.”
One of the world’s leading trade publishers, Penguin Random House, will publish the children’s books series based on “Cleo & Cuquin,” a pre-school transmedia brand from Madrid-based Ánima Kitchent and Mexico’s Televisa.
The books will be released in Spain and Latin America by spring 2018. Also produced by Ánima Kitchent, but in co-production with Famosa, the audiovisual subsidiary of the toy maker Famosa, “Piny, Institute of New York” will count on U.K.’s ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) as licensing agent in the U.K., where Sony Pop is airing the series. “Piny” has already been broadcast in France (Gulli), Italy (Frisbee), Portugal (Disney Channel), Russia (Carousel TV) and Turkey (MCD Kidz).
Toy maker Clementoni will launch a line of “Cleo & Cuquin”-based toys in Spain in fall 2018 including puzzles, edukit toy cases and electronic games. Clementoni will support toy manufacturing giant Mattel, recently appointed global toy master for “Cleo & Cuquin,” a 52-episode seven-minutes TV show.
The new deal on “Cleo & Cuquin” marks the first time a Spanish company has established a licensing deal with a global toy master or a publisher such as Random House, according to Ánima Estudios CEO Víctor López who also commented that it on “Piny” it was “a great achievement” to have reached an agreement to join forces with ITV and Sony POP in the largest European market for licensing.”
Pre-school toon series “Cleo & Cuquin” is also co-produced by Barcelona-based Selecta Visión and the Moro Family’s company MAI. An adaptation of the legendary Spanish hit “Telerin Family,” a cartoon and daily jingle broadcast in which where six siblings tell children that it’s time to go to bed. It became a popular success in Spain and Mexico during the ’70s and ‘80s, coloring the now nostalgic childhood of a generation of newish parents and young grandparents.
The new brand will also include a bedtime app, web content and music video clips. Launched one year ago on the Famila Telerín’s YouTube channel, “Cleo & Cuquin’s” 17 music video clips have scored 600 million views and 1.5 million subscribers.
“Piny” re-creates the life in an unusual New York educational center which focuses on creativity, fashion and careers of the future. Series centers on Piny –the janitor’s daughter at this elite high school. A 52-episode toon TV show, “Piny” targets 6-8s.
A joint-venture founded by Latin American animation powerhouse Ánima Estudios with former executives at Spanish toon company Vodka Capital, Ánima Kitchent was launched in 2014.
In addition to Ánima Kitchent, the Spanish delegation attending this weekend’s 25th MipJunior under the umbrella Animation from Spain includes Baleuko, Ficción Producciones, Imira Ent., Motion Pictures, Pausoka Entertainment, Planeta Junior, Peekaboo Animation, Rokyn Animation, pubcasters TV3 and TVE, and Zinkia.
Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” was banned from a Mississippi school district.
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was removed from a Mississippi school district lesson plan because the book’s language made some people feel uneasy.
Administrators at the Biloxi School District announced early this week they were pulling the novel from the 8th-grade curriculum, saying they received complaints that some of the book’s language “makes people uncomfortable.”
The Sun Herald reported that the book was pulled from the lesson plan because the novel contained “the N word.”
A message on the school’s website says “To Kill A Mockingbird” teaches students that compassion and empathy don’t depend upon race or education.
School board vice president Kenny Holloway says other books can teach the same lessons.
However, the book will still be available in Biloxi school libraries.
The novel, published in 1960, chronicled the adventures of Jean Louise Finch aka Scout and her brother Jeremy aka Jem and the racial inequality that existed in their small Alabama town. The book followed a court case their father, Atticus, was involved in.
In the story, Atticus defended Tom Robinson, a black man who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a young white woman. Despite strong evidence of Robinson’s innocence, he was found guilty of raping Ewell.
The book was adapted into a movie in 1962, starring Gregory Peck, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Atticus Finch.
The Sun Herald reported the novel was listed at No. 21 on the American Library Association’s most “banned or challenged books list in the last decade.”
Blade Runner 2049 is something of a miracle—a sequel to a 35-year-old science fiction classic that feels urgent and necessary and which actually improves upon the original in some ways. Writer Sara Lynn Michener is thrilled with the new movie.
“It passed the piss test,” Michener says in Episode 277 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It’s 2 hours and 45 minutes. Both my partner and I had to pee halfway through, and neither of us could go to the bathroom, because we didn’t want to miss any of it.”
Science fiction author Matthew Kressel is a massive fan of the original Blade Runner, and appreciates that the sequel replicates its mood and pacing.
“A lot of today’s Hollywood films don’t have a lot of patience,” he says. “They sort of expect the audience to get bored really quickly, so they’re like, ‘We’ve got to have an explosion every 10 minutes.’”
But the slow pace of Blade Runner 2049 is proving a challenge for many viewers, and so far the movie hasn’t attracted an audience that extends much beyond fans of the original. Michener thinks it’s appropriate that the film, like its predecessor, is a box office disappointment. “They made a sequel to a cult classic,” she says. “It was not designed to work with the Fast & Furious crowd.”
Bestselling author Daniel H. Wilson thinks the movie will pick up steam over time due to its many ambiguities, which compel discussion.
“If your friend hasn’t seen it, well then they damn well better go see it, so that you can talk about it, because I’ve got things I need to talk about,” he says. “That is how this virus spreads.”
Listen to the complete interview with Sara Lynn Michener, Matthew Kressel, and Daniel H. Wilson in Episode 277 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
Sara Lynn Michener on Silicon Valley:
“In 2017 the ‘radical visionary’ is a kind of villain and a kind of hero at the same time. Like, we’re not sure whether Elon Musk, for instance, is ever going to go evil. Is he going to just always be altruistic and always be humanistic, or is he at some point going to do something really scary? And so I feel like, especially living in Silicon Valley—you know, the TV show Silicon Valley, I actually can’t stand watching it, because it’s too realistic. It’s not satirical enough to be funny, so it just makes me uncomfortable. … So that’s why when I watched this, when I saw Jared Leto’s character, I was like, this is totally a believable Silicon Valley visionary who’s so caught up in his own way of thinking and his own prejudices that he is a truly terrifying, powerful individual.”
Daniel H. Wilson on AI:
“AI [will] gain the ability to communicate with us like people, to pull those levers of emotion and gesture. … And as human beings, we are completely un-innoculated for this. We have spent maybe 300,000 years—as homo sapiens—interacting via speech and gestures only with human beings. Never in the history of evolution, never in the history of humankind, has there been a moment where we spoke to an artifact in the environment and it spoke back to us. So when that happens, we are going to be completely unable, I think, to defend ourselves, at least for a little while, and that may involve people buying a lot of products because they’re in love—because they’re literally in love—and that scares the shit out of me.”
Sara Lynn Michener on feminism:
“I am not going to be one of those feminists who has a problem with this movie, because I think that the goal of Blade Runner—if it’s going to be true to Blade Runner, which it is, thank goodness—is to show the world as it is. And I think that a lot of feminists have a hard time with that. They had a hard time with it in Game of Thrones, where Game of Thrones is designed to be a very patriarchal society, because it’s reflecting on and talking about patriarchy. Blade Runner is the same. … To me what makes Blade Runner prescient is its bleakness, and I think, as a feminist, I want science fiction to show us a mirror, I don’t want it to break the fourth wall and tell us, ‘Oh by the way, this is bad.’”
Matthew Kressel on dystopias:
“One of the things about the first film that I think is part of the reason it was copied so much is that you have this visual appeal. Even though it’s a dystopia, it’s sexy. There’s something about that world that is appealing. The new film, I do not want to live in that world. … But I like that. I think they really showed that this was a dystopian world 30 years before this film, imagine what happens after that. Things got worse. There’s blizzards all the time, they have to have these giant sea walls to protect them from the water coming in, they have these massive garbage dumps. … It’s gotten so much worse, and kudos to the director and the set designers for not being afraid to take it to that conclusion.”
Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Saturday amid a barrage of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations going back decades.
In a statement, the Academy, as it is commonly known, said “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” of its members voted to oust Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company.
“We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues,” read the statement from the Academy’s Board of Governors, “but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”
The Academy held an emergency session to discuss the allegations against Weinstein, which were reported by The New Yorker and The New York Times.
The move by the Academy, the world’s top movie organization and home to the Oscars, is almost unprecedented.
Weinstein was ousted a week ago from The Weinstein Co., which now is struggling to survive this scandal.
A British man has fallen to his death while taking photos at a temple in India during a year-long world trip.
Roger Stotesbury, 56, was visiting Orchha, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, with his wife Hilary on Friday when he plummeted 30ft (9m) from the Laxmi Narayan temple.
The couple, from Oxford, were blogging about their “middle-aged gap year”.
The Foreign Office said it was providing assistance to the family of a British man following his death.
Mr Stotesbury’s family said the father of two had just finished taking shots of the scenery from the 17th Century temple, about 160 miles south of the Taj Mahal.
The couple had been due to return to the UK this month, after completing their India trip.
A family spokesman said: “They were the most happily married couple I have ever known. They were just so devoted to each other.
“Roger took lots and lots of photographs, and he had gone to take some views from the temple.
“He put his equipment down and then he fell.”
On their blog, Mr Stotesbury wrote that his motto was to “die young as late as possible”.
The couple also wrote: “We took the view that on your deathbed you never wish you’d spent more time in the office.
“We’ve seen our two kids off into the wider world and we have no more caring responsibilities for our parents.
“So we thought now is the time to take a gap year and travel whilst we still have the health and energy. After all you only live once.”
In a statement issued on their behalf by the Foreign Office, his family said: “Roger Stotesbury was one of the most enthusiastic men who walked the planet, and was incredibly loved by his wife, children and the surrounding community.
“He brightened every room he entered. He and his wife, Hilary had planned their round-the-world gap year since the beginning of 2016 and set off on 1 November last year.
“They loved the last 11-and-a-half months of energetic travel, exploring from the bottom tip of Patagonia, right up through the Americas, to Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and finally India.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing assistance to the family of a British man following his tragic death in India on 13 October.
“Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.”
On “Revenge,” Em and P!nk seek retribution from their no-good, cheating exes. “I’m daydreamin’, let me count the ways / How I’ll get you or how I’ll make you pay / Babe, I’m hurtin’ and now you’ll feel the same,” P!nk casually sings over a bouncy instrumental that wouldn’t sound out of place on early Eminem albums. The rapper comes in later with an uncharacteristically laid-back verse, rhyming, “So when you’re driving, driving to his house / And you pass me while I’m driving to hers / Just remember, you cheated on me first / You’re a whore, you’re a whore, this is war.”
“Revenge” follows the duo’s previous collaborations: 2010’s “Won’t Back Down” and 2012’s “Here Comes the Weekend.” P!nk told Entertainment Weekly that Eminem’s involvement on “Revenge” was the result of some serious liquid courage.
“Max [Martin] and I started making [‘Revenge’], and I wrote this rap,” she said. “We were drinking a lot of wine, and then I went home and I thought more wine would be a good idea. I emailed [Eminem]. And I said, ‘You know I love you. I like that you work with a lot of the same people, like Rihanna. She’s hotter than me, but I’m funnier. So I’m going for a rap Grammy, and I’d like to take you along with me.’ It was this long email, and he wrote back right away and just said, ‘Okay.’”
Eminem sent his verse back four days later, and the rest is Grammy-aspiring history.
AIN ISSA, Syria/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian Islamic State fighters are set to abandon Raqqa in a withdrawal agreed with U.S.-backed Syrian militias that have them surrounded, a militia spokesman said on Saturday, as the jihadists’ defeat in their former Syrian capital edged closer.
Officials gave conflicting accounts on whether foreign fighters would also be leaving the city, where the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been battling to defeat Islamic State since June.
SDF spokesman Talal Silo said the foreign fighters would be left behind “to surrender or die”, without saying when the evacuation of Syrian fighters would take place.
But Omar Alloush, a member of Raqqa’s Civil Council, said the evacuation would include foreign fighters. He said it would take place overnight into Sunday. The jihadists would be taking some 400 civilians with them as human shields, he said.
The final defeat of IS at Raqqa would be a milestone in efforts to roll back the theocratic “caliphate” the group declared in 2014 in Syria and Iraq, where earlier this year it was driven from the city of Mosul.
IS used Raqqa as a base to plan attacks against the West.
The Kurdish YPG militia, which dominates the SDF, told Reuters earlier on Saturday that Islamic State was on the verge of defeat in Raqqa, and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists on Saturday or Sunday.
The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said a convoy was due to leave Raqqa on Saturday, in an arrangement agreed by local parties. It described the arrangement as “a civilian evacuation” and said it would not condone any arrangement that allowed “terrorists to escape Raqqa without facing justice”.
Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said the coalition’s stance was that IS fighters must surrender unconditionally, but added that he could not comment on who would be in the convoy. He said difficult fighting was expected in the days ahead.
The coalition statement said the arrangement brokered by the Raqqa Civil Council and local Arab tribal elders on Oct. 12 was “designed to minimise civilian casualties and purportedly excludes foreign Daesh terrorists”.
The coalition believed the arrangement would “save innocent lives and allow Syrian Democratic Forces and the coalition to focus on defeating Daesh terrorists in Raqqa with less risk of civilian casualties”, it said.
Children play inside a truck at a refugee camp for people displaced because of fightings between the Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants in Ain Issa, Syria October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Tribal leaders from Raqqa said the SDF had agreed to allow safe passage out of the city for Syrian Islamic State fighters still inside, and they were organising a “mechanism” for them to leave.
Its statement made no mention of the fate of Islamic State’s foreign jihadists, but said the remaining fighters in the city were only “a small number besieged in one or more positions in the city, who have no choice but surrender or death”.
Alloush earlier told Reuters that the IS fighters would go to remaining territory held by the group in Syria.
Negotiated withdrawals of combatants facing defeat have become a common feature of the six-year-long Syrian war.
An activist group that reports on Raqqa, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said on its Facebook page that dozens of buses had entered Raqqa city overnight Friday from the countryside to the north.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organisation that reports on the war, said Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families had already left the city, and buses had arrived to evacuate remaining foreign fighters and their families.
The Syrian army, which is supported by Iran-backed militias and the Russian air force, declared another significant victory over Islamic State on Saturday, saying it had captured the town of al-Mayadin in Deir al-Zor province.
The eastern province is Islamic State’s last major foothold in Syria, and it is under attack there from the SDF on one side and Syrian government forces supported by Iran-backed militias and Russian air strikes on the other.
Islamic State fighters had previously agreed to an evacuation last August, from an area on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
But as their convoy moved towards Islamic State-held territory in eastern Syria, coalition planes blocked its route by cratering roads, destroying bridges and attacking nearby Islamic State vehicles.
Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Richard Balmforth