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Sunday, August 31, 2014

NFL Player Ray McDonald Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges

NFL Player Ray McDonald Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges


NFL Player Ray McDonald Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 10:39 AM PDT

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested early Sunday morning on felony domestic violence charges, according to the San Jose Police Department.

McDonald was taken into custody and brought to the Santa Clara County Jail after officers responded to reports of a violent altercation in San Jose, Calif., around 2:45 a.m., NBC Bay Area reports. The alleged victim was pregnant. No bail has been set.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the team since 2007, was previously arrested in 2010 for DUI and again in 2012 for an outstanding warrant.

The arrest comes in the same week as National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell instituted harsher punishments for players guilty of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes against women. First-time offenders will be subject to a six-game suspension, while a repeat offender will be banned from the league for life.

Goodell was motivated to change the league’s policies after being widely criticized over the suspension of Ray Rice for only two games in July, after the Baltimore Ravens running back was captured on video pulling his unconscious fiancé out of an elevator following an altercation.

The NFL commissioner later acknowledged that he “didn't get it right” on Rice’s punishment. (As TIME’s Sean Gregory notes, the league gives year-long suspensions for marijuana use.)

In a Sunday statement, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said that the team is “aware of the recent reports regarding Ray McDonald and we take such matters seriously. As we continue to gather the facts, we will reserve further comment."

Former 49ers players say head coach Jim Harbaugh has a zero-tolerance policy for assaulting women, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "He said that we can do anything in the world and we can come and talk to him and he'll forgive us except put our hands on women," Donte Whitner, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns, said in 2012. "If you put your hand on a woman, then you're done in his book."

[NBC Bay Area]

Stormy Weather Chases Summer Away Over Labor Day Weekend

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 09:55 AM PDT

The Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, has been wet, windy and distinctly unsummery in many parts of the U.S., with strong thunderstorms expected through the middle of the country and into the Northeast.

While conditions for possible tornadoes settled down significantly Sunday, a strong jet stream that dipped south over the weekend dropped heavy rain that created floods in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Several feet of standing water left stalled and stranded cars Saturday on the streets of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Read more from our partners at NBC News

Militia Says it ‘Secured’ US Compound in Libya

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 09:41 AM PDT

The Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya’s capital has “secured” a U.S. Embassy residential compound there, more than a month after American personnel evacuated from the country over ongoing fighting, one of its commanders said Sunday.

The Islamist militia’s move likely will reinvigorate debate in the U.S. over its role in Libya, more than three years after supporting rebels who toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It also comes near the two-year anniversary of the slaying of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi.

An Associated Press journalist walked through the U.S. Embassy compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside. Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions and computers still inside.

A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week, a day after it has seized control of the capital and its international airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia was in the compound before his troops took it over.

The Dawn of Libya militia is not associated with the extremist militia Ansar al-Shariah, which Washington blames for the deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed Stevens and the three other Americans.

On July 26, U.S. diplomats evacuated the compound and the capital to neighboring Tunisia under a U.S. military escort as fighting between rival militias intensified. The State Department said embassy operations would be suspended until the security situation improved. The fighting prompted diplomats and thousands of Tripoli residents to flee. Dozens were killed.

A video posted online surfaced Sunday showing men playing in a pool at the compound and jumping into it from the roof. Voice heard in the video identified it as the U.S. Embassy compound.

In a message on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy’s residential annex, though she said she couldn’t “say definitively” since she wasn’t there.

“To my knowledge & per recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked,” she wrote on Twitter. She did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate. State Department officials in Washington also declined to immediately comment.

Tripoli is witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since Gadhafi’s ouster in 2011. The militias, many of which originate from rebel forces that fought Gadhafi, became powerful players in post-war Libya, filling a void left by weak police and a shattered army. Successive governments have put militias on their payroll in return for maintaining order, but rivalries over control and resources have led to fierce fighting among them and posed a constant challenge to the central government and a hoped-for transition to democracy.

Following weeks of fighting that brought the capital to a standstill, the Dawn of Libya militia said last week it managed to seize control of Tripoli’s airport and drive a rival militia from the mountain town of Zintan out of the capital. It is now deployed around the capital and has sought to restore normalcy in the city. The group called on foreign diplomats to return now that the fighting has subsided.

Here’s Your First Trailer for Downton Abbey Season 5

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 09:26 AM PDT

Downton Abbey is getting extra political this year: the fifth season of the hit period drama takes place in 1924, the year of Britain’s first Labour party government and, consequently, a year of dramatic social change at the Crawley estate.

Cast members such as Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter and Laura Carmichael are all returning, while guest-stars Anna Chancellor and Richard E. Grant will introduce a few new characters into the mix.

Stray water bottles, however, are not expected to return.

Parks and Rec’s Cones of Dunshire Game Is (Almost) Real

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 09:12 AM PDT

From the lips of nerds to God’s ears: Cones of Dunshire, the amusingly complex fictional board game featured in Parks and Recreation has become a real-life game thanks to the company behind Settlers of Catan.

Parks and Recreation producers originally contacted Mayfair Games to create a loose concept for the game that Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) dreams up during time off between jobs, as Vulture reported last year. But while a commercial version of the game isn’t headed to stores, Mayfair did flesh out the concept and debut it at gaming convention GenCon, where 33 people paid $100 to participate.

“I don't think that there was a plan to produce an actual game, and whatever cohesiveness there was to the content was almost an afterthought,” Alex Yeager of Mayfair told Nuvo, Indianapolis’ alt-weekly. “As we've moved forward with our planning for this charity event, we've come to regret that a little bit!”

Scott and Aziz Ansari, who plays Tom Haverford on the NBC comedy, even made an introductory video for the event. But no word yet on whether any of the lucky gamers followed it up with a round of True American.

Pakistan Protestors Clash with Police as Calls for Sharif’s Ouster Grow

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 09:00 AM PDT

There is an old joke about Islamabad, the sleepy and verdant capital of Pakistan: It is half the size of a Arlington National cemetery, it goes, but twice as dead. On Saturday night, however, the quiet streets near the government buildings in Islamabad were transformed into what many observers compared to a warzone, as anti-government protestors clashed for hours with the police amid clouds of tear gas. Three people are reported to have died, and hundreds wounded.

The clashes have dimmed hopes of an agreement being reached between the embattled government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the tens of thousands of protestors led by former cricket legend turned opposition leader Imran Khan and his ally, cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.

Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, contends the elections last year which brought Sharif to power for a third time were rigged. He is demanding the resignation of Sharif and fresh elections. Qadri wants nothing less than a complete overhaul of the political system through a "revolution". Until Saturday, authorities had generally tolerated the crowds of protestors who began gathering in Islamabad Aug. 14 for mostly peaceful demonstrations.

But as Khan and Qadri make clear that they will not settle for anything short of Sharif's resignation, the deadlock has raised the prospect of an increasingly dangerous confrontation that could bring down the 15-month-old civilian government.

The two sides blame each other for the violence. Late on Saturday, Khan and Qadri urged their followers to enter the highly fortified "Red Zone" of the capital, a security-sensitive area at one end of Islamabad that is home to the presidential palace, parliament, the Prime Minister's house, the Supreme Court, and many foreign embassies. The government says that it was forced to respond after the protestors cleared away shipping containers used as barricades and advanced toward the prime minister's residence.

Doctors treating the injured said that the police had used several rounds of tear gas, baton charges and even rubber bullets. Images circulating on social media showed the bodies of protestors bearing bloody and livid scars from the apparent use of rubber bullets. At the same time, the police said that they were confronted with a contingent intent on carrying out violence against state institutions, armed with large sticks, hammers and iron rods. Some of the protestors cut the gates at parliament, letting hundreds enter into its lawns and parking area.

Pakistan's journalists were caught in the middle of the clashes. Geo TV, one of Pakistan's largest news channels, claimed that its offices were attacked by protestors, broadcasting images of large holes in its glass building. The standoff between the government and the protestors has sharply polarized Pakistan's lively and excitable news media, with prominent news anchors taking vocal positions on both sides of the divide.

Sharif’s government has attempted to engage with the demonstrators. Earlier in the week, the army chief General Raheel Sharif—no relation to the prime minister—had been asked by the government to step in and mediate an end to the protests. But neither Khan nor Qadri seem prepared to compromise on anything short of their exacting demands.

The government says that it is prepared to give Khan all he has asked for, including a high-profile judicial inquiry into allegations of electoral fraud, except Sharif’s resignation. But on Sunday morning, the onetime cricket star appeared emboldened by the protests, calling on supporters around the country to convene on Islamabad for a fresh night of protests.

Not all of Khan’s allies believe that’s the best approach. Javed Hashmi, a widely-respected member of Khan's party, spoke out Sunday against the decision to advance on the prime minister's residence and parliament. "This kind of behavior is not seen in any country in the world, where people pick up sticks and protest outside the prime minister's house," Hashmi said. He added that if martial law is imposed in the country, Khan will bear the blame for leading Pakistan to that fate.

Sharif, meanwhile, remains determined to stay in power. But Saturday night's violence, with the threat of another confrontation Sunday, may have eroded his authority further. Up to now, analysts believed that Sharif’s premiership would withstand the demonstrations, despite being weakened by them. On Sunday morning, however, several commentators on Pakistani news channels have been drawing comparisons with 1977, when anti-rigging protests and police brutality against the backdrop of failed negotiations led to a military coup.

What’s Next For Michael Sam?

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 08:27 AM PDT

The NFL may not see its first openly gay player on a regular season roster this year after all.

The St Louis Rams announced Saturday that Michael Sam didn’t make the team’s 53-man roster, but analysts say the rookie defensive end still has a shot at a career in the NFL.

Sam now becomes a free agent, but if another team doesn’t pick him up, he might end up back where he started: with the Rams, as part of their 10-member practice squad, the Washington Post reported. In that case, the player would practice with the team but not play in games.

Watch the video above for more on what analysts say is in store for Sam.

Firewatch Is One of the Most Gorgeous Game’s You’ll See All Year

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 08:18 AM PDT

Firewatch, the first, much-anticipated game from Camp Santo, unveiled its first trailer this week. The video the plight of the game’s main character as well as his companion, a voice on the distant end of a radio. Campo Santo is a new studio that includes designers Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, both of Telltale Games’ acclaimed Walking Dead series. The group also includes Nels Anderson who worked on Mark of the Ninja and graphic designer Olly Moss. The game is planned for release on Linux, Mac and Windows sometime in 2015. You can watch the entire trailer here, or check out some of the most beautiful bits below.

[Campo Santo]

Campo Santo Productions
Campo Santo Productions
Campo Santo Productions
firewatch_5
Campo Santo Productions
Campo Santo Productions

Last Known Survivor of Hindenburg Flight Crew Dies at 92

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 08:00 AM PDT

A German man thought to be the last surviving flight crew member of the Hindenburg airship that crashed 77 years ago has died at the age of 92.

Werner Franz suffered a heart attack on Aug. 13 in his hometown of Frankfurt, Germany, the Associated Press reports.

Franz was working as a cabin boy at the age of 14 when the Zeppelin caught fire and crashed into Lakehurst, N.J., on May 6, 1937, killing a total of 36. The incident has become one of the most iconic aircraft accidents in history, partly due to broadcast coverage of the disaster and Herbert Morrison famously crying out, “Oh, the humanity!” during his eyewitness report.

Franz jumped out of the aircraft as it was falling to the ground and escaped “without a scratch on him,” historian and friend John Provan said.

“Werner was most fortunate because he was in the officers’ mess cleaning up,” Provan told the AP. “Above him was a large tank of water that burst open and drenched him, which protected him a bit from the flames and the heat.”

Three other survivors of the crash are believed to be still alive, according to Navy Lakehurst Historical Society president Carl Jablonski: Werner Doehner and Horst Schirmer, both passengers, and Robert Buchanan, a member of the ground crew that had been waiting to secure the airship.

[AP]

China Rules Out Open Election in Hong Kong, Setting Stage for ‘Occupy’ Protest

Posted: 31 Aug 2014 07:52 AM PDT

On democracy, there will be no compromise. That’s the message Beijing sent the city of Hong Kong on Sunday. After months of rallies calling for free and fair elections, China’s legislature effectively shut the door on full democracy, ruling out open nominations for the planned 2017 election of the city’s chief executive (CE), the local government’s top leader.

Since Hong Kong returned to China in 1997, the CE has been chosen by an electoral commission dominated by establishment figures. In 2017, the CE will be elected by Hong Kong voters. But the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing has now confirmed that it will retain its gatekeeper role, making sure candidates are first vetted by a committee to gauge whether they demonstrate, among others things, sufficient “love for country.”

The announcement sets the stage for renewed conflict in the city of 7 million. On Sunday evening, local time, several thousand people gathered at government offices to protest. On an open-air stage framed by the People’s Liberation Army’s Hong Kong headquarters and lighted by the city’s skyscrapers, democracy campaigners denounced the CCP and vowed to push ahead with plans to shut down the city’s financial district. The group behind the push for civil disobedience, Occupy Central with Love and Peace, did not say when, or how, the ‘occupation’ would start.

“We’re telling Beijing this is the start of a movement,” said Prof. Joseph Cheng, convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy, an umbrella group advocating an open nomination process. “We don’t want to be just another Chinese city.” Beijing warned that if democratic legislators did not support its 2017 plan, the territory would revert to the current system of the choosing the CE, which has been criticized by many in Hong Kong as unrepresentative and undemocratic.

Becoming “just another Chinese city” is at the heart of the activism, and counter-activism, currently shaking Hong Kong. It has been 17 years since the territory was returned to Chinese sovereignty. Under a political conceit called “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong retained certain freedoms, but was to be beholden, on matters of security, to Beijing. Over the years, however, many Hong Kong citizens say their relative autonomy has been eroded with Beijing pressuring the city’s politicians, businesspeople, journalists and even judges to get its way.

Fears about Hong Kong’s status as a special administrative region of China have brought together wide swathes of Hong Kong society to either oppose, or support, the diktats of the CCP. This spring, some 800,000 people voted on a civil society-backed plebiscite on electoral reform that Beijing deemed illegal. Shortly afterward, on the July 1 anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, tens of thousands of people (estimates ranged from under 100,000 to more than 500,000) marched to show their support for democratic reform. The pro-Beijing camp held their own hundreds-strong counter-protest and issued a petition signed by 1.3 million supporters of their own.

The latest ruling will only deepen divisions, further widening the gap between those who welcome China’s influence (or believe there is no practical choice but to accept it), and those who see it as a threat. It may also lead to polarization within the pro-democracy camp, as the movement wrestles with how to move forward. For some, the civil disobedience spearheaded by Occupy Central is not enough.”We have to stand up for ourselves,” said Bobby Chan, a 50-year-old private investor who attended Sunday’s protest. “Enough is enough."

Other self-styled democrats are wary of plans to paralyse Central, the city’s financial district and lifeblood. They worry that blocking a vital part of the economy, and disobeying Beijing, will hurt, not help, Hong Kong’s cause. In a much-discussed editorial for the South China Morning Post, titled “The logic of Beijing’s vision for 2017 chief executive election,” lawmaker Regina Ip argued that the Chinese plan was based on international law and left room for democratic reform in the future. Progress will come with time and trust in the authorities, she reasoned. In a telephone interview with TIME, Ip said Occupy Central’s “damage” to the city would depend on how many people take part and how many participants represent the “hardcore element.”

“Hardcore,” or, to use Beijing’s language, “extremist” elements, figure heavily in the CCP’s opposition to Hong Kong protest movements. In recent weeks, state-backed media have stepped up their rhetorical battle, claiming the democracy movement was a threat to the stability of the territory and the country. Citing an unnamed government source, state media also warned against foreign interference, saying central authorities will not allow anyone to use Hong Kong “as a bridgehead” to subvert, or infiltrate the mainland. "The Chinese government is convinced that there are forces in Hong Kong that want to undermine China," says David Zweig, director of the Center on China's Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Many activists are unbowed. “We fought for democracy for over three decades," said Lam Cheuk Ting, chief executive of the Democratic Party, at Sunday’s demonstration in Hong Kong. “We have tolerated an undemocratic government for more than 15 years.” The people, he said, are “extremely angry.”

As heavy rain soaked Lam and his fellow protestors, some of whom were in tears, an advertisement flashed above them. From the heights of a tower bearing the name of a Chinese state-owned investment company, CITIC, beamed a fluorescent slogan, in English and Chinese; it read: “A New Chapter.” Not for Hong Kong.

—with reporting by Zoher Abdoolcarim, Charlie Campbell and David Stout in Hong Kong

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Watch a 3,500-Pound Spaceship Burn Up in the Atmosphere

Watch a 3,500-Pound Spaceship Burn Up in the Atmosphere


Watch a 3,500-Pound Spaceship Burn Up in the Atmosphere

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 09:48 AM PDT

When the Cygnus supply ship arrived at the International Space Station in July with cargo that included food, science equipment and mini-satellites, the astronauts aboard knew it would be making a dramatic exit.

Cygnus was released on August 15 from the ISS carrying more than 3,000 pounds of garbage, and was catapulted through the atmosphere with the plan of having it burn its way into oblivion.

And burn its way into oblivion it did. The commercial cargo ship separated from the ISS and dropped into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean two days later. A Vine posted Friday by one of the ISS’s current six astronauts, Reid Wiseman, shows Cygnus reentering the atmosphere and flaring up into a crisp.

Movies Are Having Their Worst Summer Since 1997

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 09:00 AM PDT

If you can’t remember the last time you went out and saw a great movie, you’re not alone.

North American box offices are having their worst summer season in 17 years, and it’s because no one is particularly excited about the flicks that have occupied the silver screen for the past several months.

Ticket sales in the United States and Canada are expected to total roughly $3.9 billion between the first weekend in May through the end of August, a 15 percent decline from the same stretch last year, the New York Times reports.

Sequels that were expected to rake in cash at the box office by adhering to tried-and-true formulas ended up bombing. Tom Cruise’s sci-fi Edge of Tomorrow looked kind of like Oblivion (2013, also starring Cruise) and sounded kind of like The Day After Tomorrow (2004). It brought in $99.4 million, but Warner Bros spent at least $250 million on production and domestic marketing.

Amazing Spider-Man 2, Step Up All In, and Hercules, all with familiar themes, did poor to middling in ticket sales.

The No. 1 movie of the summer, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, sold more than $258 million in ticket sales, at least partially for offering something new to moviegoers: a 1970’s-era soundtrack and eclectic range of lesser-known comic book heroes (including a talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper) materialized into solid ticket sales.

Here’s to new ideas and better sales next summer.

[NYT]

Al-lelujah! A Pacino Double Feature at Venice

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Al Pacino is still at it. At 74, four decades after the first two Godfather films, and more than a decade since his last starring role in even a minor hit (2003’s The Recruit), he remains eager for work. Any job that requires his surly majesty, in movies of modest budgets or minimal artistry, is an offer he can’t refuse. Last year he played a deranged version of himself, wandering off into the faux-reality of his most famous characters, in the Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill. Al Pacino and Adam Sandler! Michael Corleone would give them both the fatal kiss of dismissal.

Yet Pacino’s unflagging search for good roles makes him an endearing figure, especially at the Venice Film Festival, where three years ago he presented his finest recent work. Wilde Salome is a documentary of his stage production of the Oscar Wilde play (starring Jessica Chastain, in her first film work, as Salome), with charming side trips into Wilde’s biography. On opening night, the star charmed the audience with an impromptu monologue, some of it in Italian. The film never secured a theatrical release and, despite Pacino’s lingering star quality, it never played another film festival.

(READ: How Pacino wowed ‘em at Venice with Wilde Salome)

Venice, which is loyal to its favorite directors and stars, has brought Pacino back for a double feature tonight: Barry Levinson’s The Humbling and David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn. Each of his directors could use a hit, even a succès d’estime, as much as their star: Levinson’s last film in theaters, The Bay, grossed a total of $30,668; and Green’s Joe, which premiered at Venice last year, fell short of $400,000. A generation apart, the filmmakers deserve a break, especially when teaming with the bantam battler Pacino.

“Crazy emperors sort of work for me,” Pacino said about his Herod in Wilde Salome. That’s the role he’s played forever — either raging violently or sinking into monarchial despair — and gets to reprise in tonight’s films. In Green’s film he’s A.J. Manglehorn, a locksmith still pining over an affair he had a decade earlier with a woman named Clara; he still writes daily letters to his lost love. That leaves him little emotional energy to expend on his businessman son (Chris Messina), his tanning-salon friend (Harmony Korine) or the nice lady at the bank (Holly Hunter) who’s interested in pursuing a relationship but whose flirtation skills have rusted over: her conversation ascends quickly from “I like your shirt” to “Let’s take a bath together.”

Each of the main supporting character gets two big scenes — one edgy, one friendly — while Manglehorn lavishes what’s left of his love on his cat Fanny and his granddaughter Kylie (Skylar Gasper). This pensive, logy movie veers occasionally into magic realism: a couple (Tim Curry and Monica Lewis) singing the hymn “Love Lifted Me” when they meet at the bank; a mime who offers Manglehorn a special key to the film’s resolution. The rest, with Pacino in pensive mode as a deposed king of the heart, never reaches the tenderness or intensity of Green’s work with Nicolas Cage in Joe.

(READ: Corliss on Joe at the 2013 Venice Film Festival)

In The Humbling, based on Philip Roth’s 2009 novella, he’s Simon Axler, once among the greatest stars of the classical stage, who has lost his mojo, finding himself incapable of a powerful or even coherent performance, and resolved to end the fear and shame by killing himself. As Simon says in the book, “Suicide is the role you write for yourself. You inhabit it and you act it. All carefully staged — where they will find you and how they will find you. But one performance only.” One thinks of Robin Williams, who staged his last great scene with his death earlier this month.

(READ: TIME’s cover story on Robin Williams’ life and death)

Levinson, who directed Williams in Good Morning Vietnam, Toys and Man of the Year, also directed Pacino as Jack Kevorkian — the doctor who allowed his patients to achieve a calming form of suicide — in the 2010 TV movie You Don’t Know Jack. Simon could have used Kevorkian, since he is incapable of pulling off even his own last curtain call. He has kept a shotgun in his Connecticut retreat, even though “I’m not a gun person,” as a tribute to Hemingway. Yet when the big moment comes, he can’t quite reach the trigger. (“Hemingway must have had longer arms.”) The failure sends him to a psychiatric residence, where a woman (Nina Arianda) whose husband sexually violated their eight-year-old daughter begs Simon to shoot the brute dead. Can a man who botched his own death be persuaded to kill someone else?

The Humbling could pass as a love story: Simon has a twilight affair with Pegeen (Greta Gerwig), a woman half his age whose actor parents (Dianne Wiest and Dan Hedaya) were once Simon’s close friends. Pegeen is taking a break from 17 years as a lesbian to act out her childhood crush on Simon, but her adventurous sexual appetite abrades against Simon’s erotic conservatism.

But this is a movie less about the death of love and more in love with death. Having the 72-year-old Levinson directing a screen adaptation by the 83-yar-old Buck Henry of a novel that Roth published when he was 78 almost guarantees an old man’s meditation on dying as the final act in life’s tragicomedy. Will it be played the second time as farce or as great escape? Simon’s affair with Pegeen was a test to determine if life is worth living. Like Michael Keaton’s desperate, aging actor Riggan Thomson in Birdman, which opened the Venice festival on Wed. and is playing at Telluride this weekend, Simon makes his ultimate grand gestures on the Broadway stage — Riggin as a Raymond Carver character, Simon as King Lear.

(READ: Corliss’s review of Birdman)

With mixed results, Levinson juggles the awful and the amusing aspects of Simon’s life; The Humbling shifts without warning from tales of horror to deadpan comedy, until the ending, when Pacino, the street kid who loves Shakespeare, gets to play the Bard’s maddest monarch and achieves a trace of tragic grandeur. In the unlikely event that this Al Pacino double bill plays at a theater near you, see both films, and decide which Al sinks into your soul.

Saved by the Bell’s Dustin Diamond Seeking Redemption in Bell Biopic

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 08:06 AM PDT

Dustin Diamond, best known for role as Saved by the Bell’s “Screech,” doesn’t understand why he has such a bad reputation.

Like why fans believe he’s actually the aggressive guy they saw on reality show Celebrity Fit Club. (“It was scripted on my end,” the 37-year-old tells TIME. “I had to outdo Gary Busey! I didn’t think the fans would think of everything being real.”)

Or why they were turned off by his self-released and allegedly staged adult film, pleasantly titled Screeched — Saved by the Smell. (“Paris Hilton made $14 million for her sex tape . . . As an opportunist, I thought I could easily fake it and get a stunt double,” he said. “But people just ran with it. Everyone has a sex tape, but I was making porn. And I wasn’t, it wasn’t me. My conscience is clear.”)

And then there was his book, Behind the Bell, that claimed to provide salacious details about cast hookups and drug abuse that even Diamond now admits were embellished. (“They gave me a ghostwriter who just talked to me for a few hours here and there on the phone” and then came up with a false, final manuscript he was “powerless” to change, although he did pose for the cover, Diamond says. While he didn’t say what the book got wrong about other cast members’ stories, he said that he never called anyone a douche-nozzle or had a sexual relationship with NBC Vice President of Children’s Programming, Lisa Mancuso, who died of cancer years before the book’s publication.)

But now, Diamond is ready for redemption, which he hopes will come in the form of the upcoming and unauthorized Lifetime biopic based on Behind the Bell, premiering Monday. Diamond says the film isn’t based on the “nasty and negative” lies told by his ghostwriter, but on Diamond’s own clarifications. Viewers will be “surprised” by the film, Diamond says. And apparently Diamond will be, too — because in spite of his Executive Producer title, Diamond admits that he hasn’t “actually read the script or seen the final product.” Or been on set, for that matter.

When informed that the teaser shows Diamond’s character punching someone in the face while shouting “I’m not Screech!,” he was surprised, because that incident, he says, never happened.

“No one who is writing this was there,” says Diamond, revealing his first signs of concerns over the film, to which he signed on in a hands-off capacity. “I didn’t talk to [the writers] really, so how did they research? I’m going to watch with very nervous hopes . . . if they butcher it and get it completely wrong, I’m just going to film a documentary of just me talking about the errors.”

All this uncertainty might be why Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Bell’s Zack), Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding), and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie) have all exhibited disappointment in Diamond and complete disinterest in watching a dramatized version of what they remember as a positive experience. A spokesperson for Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) responded to an email request for comment with a brusque single-word punctuated response of, “Nope.” Lark Voohries (Lisa), meanwhile, tells TIME that she will be watching because the movie’s release “was flattering all around, you know, that the excitement lives on.”

While Diamond and Voohries have kept in touch and worked together on independent film projects, Diamond says he hasn’t heard from the rest of the cast since he was 16, which was more than 20 years ago. Diamond was only 11 when filming of Saved by the Bell began, which socially isolated him from his mostly 14-year-old cast-mates.

“Some of [the cast] would go out to a bar or a restaurant, and I wasn't invited,” Diamond says. “And at that age it hurts. And it was like, what am I? I haven't earned my place?”

Diamond, however, says there are no hard feelings. “No one holds on to a grudge over two decades.” But, depending on the backlash from the Lifetime film, Diamond said that “maybe reaching out to the cast members after all this time would be a good thing.”

5 Awesome Things Apple’s New iPhone 6 Is Rumored to Have

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 07:49 AM PDT

It’s Apple devotees’ favorite time of the year again.

Apple appears set to roll out its new iPhone this month, with a planned September 9 event likely to mark the unveiling of the fabled iPhone 6. Just like unicorns or Tupac, we can’t be absolutely sure what features the new iPhone 6 will have. But the rumors have been flying thick and fast, and expectations are high.

Here are some of features strongly rumored to be on the new iPhone 6.

A Model With a Bigger Screen.

Some Apple critics have compared the iPhone 5’s puny 4-inch screen unfavorably to Samsung’s flagship phones, like the Galaxy S5, which has a 5.1-inch screen. The iPhone 6 is expected to silence the complainers, with one iPhone 6 model rumored to have a 5.5-inch screen, which is quite a big jump in size. A second model may have a 4.7-inch display, which is also a pretty big increase, and certainly much larger than the comparatively minuscule iPhone 4 display, which was a mere 3.5 inches.

Near Field Communication (NFC).

Near Field Communication is essentially a way to wirelessly connect devices over a very short range. The Financial Times reported Friday that Apple is working with a Dutch chipmaker to add NFC capabilities to the new iPhone, opening up the possibility of mobile, pay-by-touch payments and open other potential applications.

Mobile Payments.

The iPhone 6’s purported NFC capabilities will mean Apple could turn the iPhone into a mobile wallet, allowing users to pay for goods and services with a swipe of the phone. Apple is reportedly holding talks with credit card companies and banks on the effort, and thanks to Apple’s massive database of financial data it’s collected through the App Store and iTunes, this could be push mobile payments into the mainstream.

Sapphire Glass.

One of the biggest complaints with the iPhone and other smartphones is that they’re pretty fragile devices, considering how often we use them and how expensive they can be — and there are few things uglier than a cracked iPhone display. Well, Apple is developing synthetic sapphire at its new facility in Arizona, the Wall Street Journal reports, a harder and more expensive material that can replace glass. And if this can be believed, sapphire is remarkably resilient. Plus, Apple already used sapphire in smart parts of the iPhone 5 (over the camera lens) and in the iPhone 5S (for the home button/fingerprint scanner).

iOS 8.

Apple’s new operating system is one of the few things we do know a lot about, and it’s official information from Apple this time. For instance, we know that Apple is rolling out a new HealthKit app as part of iOS 8 that allows users to keep track of their personal health and fitness data, which also pulls in data from other sources like Nike+ apps and health institutions. We also know that iOS 8 allows you to share apps, music and books purchased with the same credit card with your family, as well as save photos, video and documents to iCloud. The camera software will have a shot timer and other improvements, and group messaging will be more versatile: you can now add or drop someone from a conversation, finally.

EU to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 07:22 AM PDT

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders on Saturday were poised to impose new sanctions against Russia as Ukraine’s president warned the conflict with Moscow threatens peace and stability for Europe as a whole.

Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko said a strong EU response is needed because his country is subject to “military aggression and terror.”

“Thousand(s) of the foreign troops and hundreds of the foreign tanks are now on the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told reporters, speaking in English. “There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine but for the whole peace and stability of Europe.”

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said before a summit of the 28-nation EU’s leaders in Brussels that “sanctions are not and end in themselves” but a means to dissuade Russia from further destabilizing Ukraine.

“Russia should not underestimate the European Union’s will and resolve to stand by its principles and values,” he told reporters, adding that the escalation seen over the past week cannot go unpunished.

“The opening of new fronts and the use of Russian regular forces (on Ukrainian soil) is not acceptable and represents a grave transgression,” Barroso added.

NATO estimates that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine even though Russia denies any military involvement in the fighting that has so far claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures.

Conceding ground in the face of a reinvigorated rebel offensive, Ukraine said Saturday that it was abandoning a city where its forces have been surrounded by rebels for days. It was also pulling back from another it had claimed to have taken control of two weeks earlier.

The statements by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, indicate that Ukrainian forces are facing increasingly strong resistance from Russian-backed separatist rebels just weeks after racking up significant gains and forcing rebels out of much of the territory they had held.

Poroshenko, who was meeting with EU leaders later Saturday, said Ukraine would welcome an EU decision to help with military equipment and further intelligence-sharing.

Barroso provided no specifics about which sanctions the heads of state and government might adopt to inflict more economic pain to nudge Russia toward a political solution. “No one’s interest is served by new wars on our continent,” Barroso said.

The EU leaders were likely make a political decision Saturday, with the exact targets of sanctions to be divulged by the EU executive in the coming days.

The United States and the EU have so far imposed sanctions against dozens of Russian officials, several companies and the country’s financial industry. Moscow has retaliated by banning food imports.

New EU sanctions have to be agreed unanimously — a requirement that has in the past blocked or softened decisions since some nations fear the economic fallout. Russia is the EU’s third-largest trading partner and one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.

Barroso said that the EU — a bloc encompassing half a billion people and stretching from Lisbon to the border with Ukraine — stands ready to grant Kiev further financial assistance if needed. The bloc will also organize a donors’ conference to help rebuild the country’s east at the end of the year, he added.

On the ground, fighting continued.

Ukrainian forces had been surrounded by rebels in the town of Ilovaysk, avout 20 kilometers (15 miles) east of the largest rebel-held city of Donetsk for days.

“We are surrendering this city,” Ukraine’s Lysenko told reporters. “Our task now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to regroup.”

Lysenko said that regular units of the military had been ordered to retreat from Novosvitlivka and Khryashchuvate, two towns on the main road between the Russian border and Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city. Ukraine had claimed control of Novosvitlivka earlier in August.

Separately, Ukrainian forces said one of their Su-25 fighter jets was shot down Friday over eastern Ukraine by a missile from a Russian missile launcher. The pilot ejected and was uninjured, the military said in a brief statement.

Syrian Rebels Attack UN Peacekeepers in Golan Heights

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 07:21 AM PDT

BEIRUT (AP) — Clashes erupted between al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels and U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Saturday after the militants surrounded their encampment, activists and officials said, as the international organization risked being sucked further into the conflict.

Other U.N. peacekeepers were able to flee from a different encampment that that was also surrounded by rebels of the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, they said.

The clashes came after Syrian rebel groups, including the Nusra Front, overran the Quneitra crossing — located on the frontier between Syrian and Israeli controlled parts of the Golan Heights — on Wednesday, seizing 44 Fijian peacekeepers.

The Nusra Front also surrounded the nearby Rwihana and Breiqa encampments, where other U.N. peacekeepers were holed up.

The gunbattle began early Saturday at the Rwihana base some 1.5 miles (2.3 kilometers) from Quneitra, where 40 Filipino peacekeepers were surrounded by Nusra fighters who were ordering them to surrender, said Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Philippines’ Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin gave a similar account but did not name the armed group.

Abdurrahman, whose information comes from a network of activists throughout Syria, said he was not aware of any fatalities among the 40 Filipino peacekeepers in the Rwihana encampment as sporadic fighting continued throughout the day. A Philippine military spokesman, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, also said there were no casualties.

The 35 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers at the Breiqa encampment were extracted on Saturday morning, with the assistance of Irish peacekeepers who rushed to the scene, said officials.

The Irish U.N. peacekeeper battalion, which is tasked with emergency responses, evacuated all the Filipino U.N. peacekeepers on Saturday morning, said a military official who spoke on condition that his name and country of origin not be revealed, citing army policy.

He said there was no shooting involved, and no injuries. He said that the Irish battalion also evacuated another base on Friday but provided no further details.

Gazmin confirmed that peacekeepers from his country were “extricated.” The Philippine military said there were 35 Filipino troops in the encampment.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that a number of U.N. peacekeepers entered Israel. He spoke on condition of anonymity citing military guidelines.

It was not immediately clear which rebel group was holding the Fijian U.N. peacekeepers, although it was likely to be the Nusra Front, said Syrian activist Abdurrahman.

The Nusra Front has recently seized hostages to exchange for prisoners detained in Syria and Lebanon.

The situation of the peacekeepers, tasked with monitoring a 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel, remains “very, very fluid,” the U.N. secretary-general’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters Friday at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

The U.N. said in a statement that it had received assurances from credible sources that the Fijian peacekeepers “are safe and in good health.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the detention of the Fijians and called for their immediate release.

The U.N. mission, known as UNDOF, has 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.

Various rebel groups have been engaged in intense fighting with the Syrian military in and near the Golan Heights.

Also Saturday, a Syrian activist released a video showing extremists from the Islamic State group opening fire and killing dozens of men stripped down to their underwear.

The men in the video were likely those who were captured after the extremists overran a Syrian airfield on Sunday; Syrian soldiers who were stuck behind front lines after the northeastern Tabqa air base fell to the Islamic State group.

The video, released by an activist who uses the name Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, corresponded with The Associated Press reporting of the event. It matched a series of other videos that were released since Wednesday. One video showed the men being held in a concrete-floor room; another showed the men forced to march through a barren landscape in their underwear, herded like sheep. Another showed their seemingly lifeless bodies in piles on the ground.

The British-based Observatory earlier said around 120 captive government troops from Tabqa were killed near the base.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

The Islamic State group uses violence and images of violence, from mass-killings to beheadings, to instill fear in its opponents and win recruits as it seeks to expand a proto-state it has carved out in Syria and Iraq.

America’s Fastest Growing Jobs

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 06:00 AM PDT

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This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

By Robert Serenbetz

After the recession wiped out millions of jobs, the American labor market has at least partially recovered. So far this year, the United States has added roughly 1.6 million jobs. And in the 10 years through 2022, the BLS estimates that employment will grow by over 15 million jobs, or by 11%.

Some jobs are expected to better capitalize on economic, demographic, and workplace trends than others. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to grow 53.4%, the fastest in the nation, and occupations in the health sector are also anticipated to disproportionately grow. Based on estimated employment figures and projections for 2012 and 2022 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for more than 1,000 occupations, 24/7 Wall St. identified the fastest growing jobs in America.

Click here to see the 10 fastest growing jobs.

The jobs with the largest expected growth are often those that benefit from America's changing demographics. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Martin Kohli, chief regional economist for the BLS, noted that the effects of an aging population, which has access to Medicare, "combined with innovations that provide new treatments" has led to increases in health care spending. In turn, more spending creates "a high demand for jobs to provide these services," he added.

In fact, the average of all health support occupations is expected to grow 28% by 2022. Six jobs within the top 10 are in the health care sector.

Some of the fastest growing jobs are expected to receive a boost from economic trends. For example, the BLS expects that a continued economic rebound will lead to greater demand for construction and renovations. While construction laborers and helpers are expected to grow 25%, jobs such as masons' helpers are expected to grow at a considerably higher rate of 45%.

Government and private sector initiatives are also expected to contribute to growth in specific occupations. New federal health care legislation is expected to increase access to health care and, in turn, to the scale of the health care industry. Meanwhile, mechanical insulators are expected to benefit from an increased focus on environmental sustainability.

Most of the occupations with the highest estimated growth rates are not especially large. Only two occupations, home health aides and personal care aides, are estimated to be among the larger jobs by number of people employed in 2022.

There does not appear to be wage or educational trends among the jobs with the largest growth rates. These occupations all have various levels of median wage as well as differing educational requirements.

To determine the jobs with the highest forecast rate of employment growth, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed BLS Employment Projections program data for 2012 and 2022. In order to qualify, occupations needed to reference a specific job rather than a broader classification. Figures from the BLS for 2012 represent estimates, while figures for 2022 represent forecasts and may be revised. Further information on each occupation came from the BLS' Occupational Outlook Handbook.

These are the fastest growing jobs in America.

1. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 53.4%
> Number employed, 2012: 1,600
> Number employed, 2022: 2,500
> Median annual income: $83,580
> Educational qualification: Master's degree

Industrial organizational psychologists are anticipated to be the fastest growing job in the U.S. in the 10 years through 2022. The BLS estimates that in the 10-year period through 2022, employment of industrial-organizational psychologists will rise more than 53%, dramatically higher than the growth rates for all jobs and for other psychologist professions. The use of psychology is expected to increase across the nation as individuals and institutions look for help in solving or managing problems. Industrial-organizational psychologists address issues relating to workplace productivity, organizational developments, and employee screening. Becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist typically requires a master's degree, as well as an internship or residency. Despite the forecast growth rate, the actual number of jobs expected to be added is very small — just 900 by 2022.

2. Personal Care Aides
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 48.8%
> Number employed, 2012: 1,190,600
> Number employed, 2022: 1,771,400
> Median annual income: $19,190
> Educational qualification: Less than high school

Similar to home health aides, personal care aides provide individualized home health services to elderly clients living at home. However, personal care aids are restricted to providing only basic medical services and will often work in conjunction with nurses or social workers. The BLS expects that over 580,000 jobs for personal care aides will be created in the decade through 2022, the most out of any of America's fastest growing jobs. Yet, the median annual wage for personal care aids was just $19,910 as of 2012, well below the nationwide median of $34,750 for all occupations.

3. Home Health Aides
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 48.5%
> Number employed, 2012: 875,100
> Number employed, 2022: 1,299,300
> Median annual income: $20,820
> Educational qualification: Less than high school

An aging population will likely result in a greater need for home health aides, who provide individualized daily client care. The number of such aides is expected to grow by over 48% in the 10 years from 2012 and become one of the most commonly-held jobs by 2022. Home health aides typically work for a medical institution and keep a record of services performed and the client's conditions, in addition to providing home care and companionship. For elderly clients, home health care is increasingly popular because it offers a "less expensive alternative to nursing homes or hospitals," the BLS notes.

MORE: The Best (and Worst) Countries to Find a Full-Time Job

4. Mechanical Insulation Workers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 46.7%
> Number employed, 2012: 28,900
> Number employed, 2022: 42,400
> Median annual income: $39,170
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

While the BLS forecasts above average growth in construction employment, the estimated growth rate of mechanical insulation workers is projected to be more-than twice that, at 47%. Unlike other types of insulators, mechanical insulation workers require greater specialty given the challenges of applying insulation to pipes and ducts in all types of buildings. Increased emphasis on energy efficiency will result in growing demand for mechanical insulation workers instead of non-mechanical insulation workers.

5. Interpreters and Translators
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 46.1%
> Number employed, 2012: 63,600
> Number employed, 2022: 92,900
> Median annual income: $45,430
> Educational qualification: Bachelor's degree

The BLS pointed to increased globalization and greater diversity within the United States as the primary driver of growth for the profession. Although computers have greatly increased the efficiency and productivity of interpreters and translators, technology cannot provide the specific nuances of human translation. Demand will likely remain strong for frequently translated languages, but most growth will likely be due to greater need for translators in American Sign Language and emerging market languages. According to the BLS, "growing international trade and broadening global ties" will create new jobs for interpreters and translators.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

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6 Ways to Take Control of Your Schedule

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 06:00 AM PDT

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

By Jordana Jaffe

Way too often, we feel like our days and hours guide us, rather than vice versa. Our schedules are the master and we their abiding servants.

But not only does that arrangement not feel great, it can also only last so long. When you and your energy, needs, or desires aren't aligned with your schedule, you will crash and burn sooner rather than later. To help you avoid that crash, or even better, to stop the madness once and for all, here are some things that you can start doing right now to finally feel in control of your time.

1. Take inventory.

Get super clear on what's going on in your day right now. If you already have an organized calendar, get clear on where your time is spent. If you don't, spend the next few days keeping a time journal: write down everything you do and to the minute how long each task takes you. It may feel a bit tedious, but the results will astound you.

2. Identify what's not working.

Where is too much of your time being spent? What do you absolutely dread doing? What are the time wasters in your calendar? Make a note of all of these things and also jot down how much time you currently spend on all of them.

3. Write down what you would rather be doing.

Have you been craving going to that yoga class? Are you longing to catch up on weeks' worth of your favorite shows on DVR? Write a list of all of the things you would love to start including in your schedule as well as the time commitment for each.

4. Reevaluate.

Now it's time to make some changes. Look back to what's not working in your schedule: how can you delegate or outsource some of these things?

Here are two great resources for outsourcing:

  • Fancy Hands: For $45/month, you are given 15 virtual tasks that you can delegate. From setting up doctor's appointments to booking tickets for a show to researching where to find that dress you love, this resource is a must (note: it may seem like all of these tasks shouldn't take you very long, but trust me, they add up).
  • Task Rabbit: This is for all of those tasks that you need an actual person to help you with. For example, building the baby's crib, dropping those envelopes at FedEx, or even picking up groceries.

Now think about all of the time wasters you can eliminate all together. If you're having a problem prying yourself off of Facebook, ask yourself why. What is Facebook giving you? Entertainment? Connection? Consider seeking those feelings from something more fulfilling.

5. Makeover time.

Now it's time to start including all of that stuff you've actually been wanting to do. Fit these activities in the white space you now have thanks to eliminating the time wasters and outsourcing everything you don't absolutely need to be doing.

6. Live into it.

Making a change takes time, no matter how badly you may want it. See how your new schedule is working out. Figure out what is working really well and what needs to be adjusted, and then shift things accordingly. Above all, make sure to be gentle with yourself. Progress always trumps perfection.

27 Pinterest Boards That Will Actually Make Your Life Better

Posted: 30 Aug 2014 06:00 AM PDT

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.