BBC to Launch ‘Doctor Who’ Online Game for Kids

The BBC said Monday it would launch The Doctor and the Dalek, an online game, using Doctor Who characters and voiced by the sci-fi show’s star Peter Capaldi, that will teach children basic computer programming skills.


The puzzles featured in the game are linked to the computing curriculum in the U.K. and are designed to allow children to learn core programming principles as they play, the U.K. public broadcaster said.

The game is designed to be part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with digital technology. It will be available for free at bbc.co.uk/cbbc starting on Wednesday. BBC director general Tony Hall has made digital initiatives, education and diversity goals key themes of his tenure, among other things. 

Read more ‘Doctor Who’ Traveling to Minecraft on Xbox

The game sees the Twelfth Doctor go on a dangerous quest in a story from Doctor Who and Wizards vs Aliens writer Phil Ford. After answering a distress call from a Dalek, one of the Doctor’s long-time enemies, the Doctor takes his unlikely ally on a mission to save all of creation from destruction, a description of the game says.


A range of puzzles are featured throughout the game, with players having to take control of the Dalek and program it to “power up” its ability to perform a range of tasks, such as flying. Each puzzle unlocks an achievement that helps the Doctor build the Dalek back to full strength, ensuring it can take on increasingly difficult challenges as the game progresses.

Resources accompanying the game will be available from BBC Learning at bbc.co.uk/schoolscomputing for teachers and parents to help children get the most out of the game.

Read more BBC’s ‘Doctor Who’ Draws Biggest Season Launch Ratings Since 2010

Said Danny Cohen, BBC director of television: “The Doctor and the Dalek is a brand-new Doctor Who story and a fantastic game, voiced by the wonderful Peter Capaldi. It’s an excellent example of how a hugely popular BBC show can give fans something extra, whilst also introducing wider audiences to increasingly important skills, such as coding and programming.”

Sinead Rocks, head of BBC Learning, added: “We’re really excited about the launch of The Doctor and the Dalek as not only is it a really entertaining platform game for kids to play but it’s also a great introduction to some key principles of computer programming.”


Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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Tokyo Film Festival, Market to Open With Animation Focus

The TIFFCOM market of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) opens Tuesday and runs until Thursday, the day the 27th edition of the main festival kicks off with the world premiere of Disney’s Big Hero 6.

The market is expecting 320 exhibitors and 1,100 buyers, up slightly from last year, plus seminars and talks on fund raising, co-productions, location incentives and how to predict a hit movie using big data.

TIFFCOM will be in its third year of its guise as the so-called Japan Content Showcase, incorporating the Tokyo International Music Market and Tokyo International Anime Festival at its Odaiba venue on reclaimed bay-side land. However, this is the first year the market begins before the main festival.

Animation will be a major theme this year, including the opening film, a 50-title Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) showcase and productions from Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) as Tokyo seeks to craft a clear identity for itself on the crowded festival circuit.

“Anime is a unique type of content that Japan can take pride in,” festival director Yasushi Shiina told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he had high hopes that this year’s content offerings would appeal to a wide range of film fans from around the world.

In his second year at the helm, Shiina said he is trying to get both the Japanese film industry and general public more engaged with the festival.

“In addition to being a strategic event through which the “Japan brand” can be promoted, the festival is also an important way of promoting cultural exchange between people from around the world. I think the understanding of that and the response to it has strengthened,” said Shiina in response to a question about what he feels he has achieved so far.

Read more Tokyo Film Festival to Feature Special Screenings of ‘The Expendables 3′ and Martin Scorsese Doc

A 10-meter tall, robot from The Next Generation – Patlabor – episode 10, a new live-action feature and seven-chapter series in the Mobile Police Patlabor anime story, will be put up in its 22-ton splendor at the Roppongi Hills festival site during the festival. Oshii served as general director for the new segment in the story, part of which will be shown in market screenings during TIFFCOM.

A live-action Dreamworks remake of Oshii’s groundbreaking 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell is reportedly also moving ahead, with Scarlett Johansson tipped to star.

The festival will come to a close on Oct. 31 with the announcement of the competition winners, including the $50,000 Sakura Grand Prix, judged by a jury headed by director James Gunn

 

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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J.K. Rowling Building Hagrid’s Hut on Her Scottish Estate

What does J.K. Rowling do with all her hundreds of millions of dollars? Build real-life structures straight out of her Harry Potter books of course. 

The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the famed writer has submitted plans to build a stone-built summer house on the grounds of her Scottish estate, and the plans for the building bear a rather striking similarity to Hagrid’s hut from the Harry Potter universe.

Hagrid, played by Robbie Coltrane, is a teacher and gamekeeper in the Harry Potter series. Like Hagrid’s hut, Rowling’s planned version will also be built on the edge of a forest that is part of her 162-acre estate, that also includes a small loch, or lake.  

Rowling’s Scottish estate is not far from Castle Menzies, which many have likened to Hogwarts. 

Read more J.K. Rowling Drops Harry Potter Hints to Send Twitter Crazy

Twitter: @gentlemanabroad

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Jennifer Garner, Rachel Zoe Host Elyse Walker’s 10th Annual Pink Party

On Saturday, the ladies wore pink — at least, Jennifer Garner and Rachel Zoe did, as they co-hosted Elyse Walker‘s 10th annual Pink Party at Santa Monica Airport’s Hangar 8.

This year’s philanthropic party raised more than $1.8 million, benefiting the Women’s Cancer Program (WCP) at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Since the event’s inception 10 years ago, it has helped raise more than $11.5 million to support the program dedicated to cancer research and treatment.

Having taken part in the fashionable charity event in past years, Garner expressed hope for breast cancer cure in the near future. “Getting a tour [at Cedars-Senai], you realize that there is a cure,” the Men, Women & Children star, who arrived in a bright rosy Christian Dior dress and Christian Louboutin heels, told reporters on the carpet. “We’re so close, and it’s just about having these great minds in the same place, at the same time, and to see the different hospitals doing different cancer research, all collaborating all over the world. It’s so inspiring.”

One of those great minds included attendee Dr. Beth Y. Karlan, a renowned and leading expert in women’s cancers, who has been at the forefront of developing research programs and diagnosis to fight the deadly disease with the funds raised from the Pink Party.

This year’s star-studded guest list saw Shay Mitchell, Maria Shriver and Katherine Schwarzenegger, Molly Sims, Giuliana and Bill Rancic, Marcia Cross, Frances Fisher, Reid Scott and A.J. Cook showing their support for the cause.

Kicking off the evening’s extravaganza, Walker held a live auction featuring a one-year lease on a 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet from the Auto Gallery, a one-week stay at a San Jose del Cabo Luxury home called Casa Yvonne, and the Perfect 10 Package which included items such as a $100,000 shopping spree at Walker’s online boutique FWRD and dinner for 10 at Giorgio Baldi.

Attendees were treated to a fashion show shortly after, which featured runway looks from designers Barbara Bui, Belstaff, Chloe, J. Mendel, Giambattista Valli, Lanvin, Rachel Zoe and Reed Krakoff. Chaz Dean and his team of stylists provided hair styling and Benefit Cosmetics provided makeup.

The event also included a silent auction, where Lisa Rinna and other partygoers were spotted checking out designer handbags from Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Nina Ricci, Proenza Schouler and Roberto Cavalli.

Though this will be Walker’s last year leading the Pink Party, she noted, “I plan on being a huge supporter of other people’s events.”

“I started to know by year eight that I wanted to end on a high note,” the FWRD creative director explained to Pret-a-Reporter of her decision to step down after a decade. “It’s hard to keep the momentum going every single year. How do I keep people coming back? People want to come to this party, so every year I have to throw in a new thing, sometimes I switch locations — this year [...] Jen Garner and I reached out to Rachel Zoe to co-host tonight, so that’s my little finale.”

And when Garner called Zoe, the power stylist only had one reaction: “You say, ‘Yes.’ I mean, look at her face [looks at Garner on the carpet] — can you say no to her? You can’t. Those dimples — it’s her. You can’t say no.”

PRETTY IN PINK: The evening’s co-host Rachel Zoe in one of her own designs. (Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

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Tokyo Film Fest and Contents Market Open This Week

The TIFFCOM market of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) opens Tuesday and runs until Thursday, the day the 27th edition of the main festival kicks off with the world premiere of Disney’s Big Hero 6.

The market is expecting 320 exhibitors and 1,100 buyers, up slightly from last year, plus seminars and talks on fund raising, co-productions, location incentives and how to predict a hit movie using big data.

TIFFCOM will be in its third year of its guise as the so-called Japan Content Showcase, incorporating the Tokyo International Music Market and Tokyo International Anime Festival at its Odaiba venue on reclaimed bay-side land. However, this is the first year the market begins before the main festival.

Animation will be a major theme this year, including the opening film, a 50-title Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) showcase and productions from Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) as Tokyo seeks to craft a clear identity for itself on the crowded festival circuit.

“Anime is a unique type of content that Japan can take pride in,” festival director Yasushi Shiina told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he had high hopes that this year’s content offerings would appeal to a wide range of film fans from around the world.

In his second year at the helm, Shiina said he is trying to get both the Japanese film industry and general public more engaged with the festival.

“In addition to being a strategic event through which the “Japan brand” can be promoted, the festival is also an important way of promoting cultural exchange between people from around the world. I think the understanding of that and the response to it has strengthened,” said Shiina in response to a question about what he feels he has achieved so far.

Read more Tokyo Film Festival to Feature Special Screenings of ‘The Expendables 3′ and Martin Scorsese Doc

A 10-meter tall, robot from The Next Generation – Patlabor – episode 10, a new live-action feature and seven-chapter series in the Mobile Police Patlabor anime story, will be put up in its 22-ton splendor at the Roppongi Hills festival site during the festival. Oshii served as general director for the new segment in the story, part of which will be shown in market screenings during TIFFCOM.

A live-action Dreamworks remake of Oshii’s groundbreaking 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell is reportedly also moving ahead, with Scarlett Johansson tipped to star.

The festival will come to a close on Oct. 31 with the announcement of the competition winners, including the $50,000 Sakura Grand Prix, judged by a jury headed by director James Gunn

 

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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J.K. Rowling Building Hagrid’s Hut on Her Scottish Estate

What does J.K. Rowling do with all her hundreds of millions of dollars? Build real-life structures straight out of her Harry Potter books of course. 

The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the famed writer has submitted plans to build a stone-built summer house on the grounds of her Scottish estate, and the plans for the building bear a rather striking similarity to Hagrid’s hut from the Harry Potter universe.

Hagrid, played by Robbie Coltrane, is a teacher and gamekeeper in the Harry Potter series. Like Hagrid’s hut, Rowling’s planned version will also be built on the edge of a forest that is part of her 162-acre estate, that also includes a small loch, or lake.  

Rowling’s Scottish estate is not far from Castle Menzies, which many have likened to Hogwarts. 

Read more J.K. Rowling Drops Harry Potter Hints to Send Twitter Crazy

Twitter: @gentlemanabroad

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Hong Kong Protests Divide Local Celebrities

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are causing deep divides in the local entertainment industry, as directors, actors and producers line up on either side of the debate. 

Singapore’s Straits Times reported on Friday that outspoken and prolific director Wong Jing (God of Gamblers) posted on a Chinese micro-blogging site a public rebuke of movie stars Anthony Wong (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Ip Man: The Final Fight), Chapman To (Infernal Affairs) and singer Denise Ho for their criticism of the heavy-handed police response to the demonstrations.

Wong Jing said on Weibo: “I absolutely don’t agree [with your political views]. To avoid embarrassment, your contact details will be erased from my phone and computer. Have a happy life.” 

Read more Chow Yun-Fat Speaks Out in Support of Hong Kong Democracy Protestors

Previously, Wong Jing has been vociferous in his condemnation of demonstrators and his support for Hong Kong police. After some of the protests turned ugly, the director said: “They [the protestors] splash urine on people… They deserve a beating.”

Chapman To, Anthony Wong and Denise Ho were all quick to respond to Wong Jing’s public declaration, first with a mixture of amusement as well as openly critical of the director’s ties to China. Wong Jing predominantly makes Mandarin-language films these days expressly for the Chinese market rather than the Cantonese speaking Hong Kong market. 

As the protests reach their third week, Hong Kong’s celebrities have become more vocal about the situation. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Chow Yun-fat was the first prominent person to pass comment on the protests, with Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai following suit.

Read more Instagram Blocked in China as Pro-Democracy Protests Continue in Hong Kong

Twitter: @gentlemanabroad  

 

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Adam McKay on ‘Ant-Man’ Rewrites: I Added Action, Worked on Dialogue With Paul Rudd





Adam McKay isn’t directing Ant-Man, but he’s definitely left his mark.

McKay, director of Anchorman and The Other Guys, told Collider that the film’s star, Paul Rudd, asked him to help rewrite the potential tentpole. The two then spent six to eight weeks working on the script that director Edgar Wright left behind after exiting the project in May.

“We just shaped the whole thing; we just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places — we just basically did a rewrite,” McKay said. He said they also added “some cool new action.”

Read more What Robert Downey Jr. in ‘Captain America 3′ Means for His Other Planned Films

McKay, who was in talks to take over for Wright in the director’s chair before Peyton Reed took the job, was surprised by Rudd’s writing talent. “I’ve always known Paul Rudd’s a really good writer from improvising with him on set, but I had no idea he was that good — he’s really great with dialogue,” McKay said. 

Despite the changes they made to the script, McKay pointed out that much of what Wright oversaw remains in the new version, including “a lot of dialogue and character [stuff].”

The film, with a screenplay currently credited to writers McKay, Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer, features Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll and John Slattery

Disney releases Ant-Man on July 15, 2015.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@pgmedia.org
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski




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Study: Parents and MPAA Raters Can Be Desensitized to Sex and Violence in Film

Parents – presumably including the ones the MPAA relies on for movie ratings – become desensitized to sex and violence in movies the more they are exposed to such scenes, according to a study set for release Monday.


The study indicates that when parents first see a scene involving graphic sex, their first instinct is that the movie isn’t suitable for children under, on average, 17.2 years of age. For a scene with violence, the initial reaction is children under 16.9 years of age shouldn’t watch.

See more Highly Paid Film Stars

But as they watched more and more sex and violence on the screen, their opinions changed significantly — down to 13.9 years for violence and 14 for sex, according to the study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

The authors studied 1,000 parents of children ages 6-17 who watched scenes from several films: 8 Mile (2002, rated R); Casino Royale (2006, PG-13); Collateral (2004, R); Taken 2 (2012, PG-13; Die Hard (1988, R); Live Free or Die Hard (2007, unrated DVD version); The Terminator (1984, R); and Terminator Salvation (2009, PG-13).


The study is set for publication in the journal Pediatrics, which says of the movies chosen: “They include sexual encounters that leave little to the imagination, executions that come by surprise, and battles between humans and robots that end in the graphic ‘death’ of the robot.”

See more Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films

The study explores what it calls “ratings creep,” whereby movies that might have been rated R a few decades ago are actually less violent than movies that are rated PG-13 today. The phenomenon doesn’t apply as much to sex.

“People who rate movies for the MPAA, who are themselves parents, could be subject to the same desensitization and thus more likely to be lenient when it comes to evaluating the appropriateness of such content for children,” the authors said.


An MPAA spokesperson had no comment on the study.


“We were surprised to see the transfer of desensitization,” said Dan Romer, associate director of the APPC. “If the parents saw movie clips with violence, they became more accepting of the sex scenes, and vice-versa.”

See more ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Thelma & Louise’ Stars Reunite

“Children are affected by what they see and hear,” the upcoming article in Pediatrics says. “Research supports the connection between viewing violent media and later aggression in individual children.”

The Pediatrics article will also suggest that the MPAA conduct “interventions to prevent desensitization” among its raters, and also recruit more of them. The MPAA doesn’t disclose the identities of most of its “raters,” but says they each are parents of children ages 5-15 and that each rater serves no more than seven years.


“Parent raters for the movie industry may become progressively more approving of violence in movies simply because of their job,” the Pediatrics article will say.


Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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‘Walking Dead’s’ Andrew J. West Talks Gareth’s Appetite for Revenge





[Warning: This story contains spoilers from episode 502, "Strangers," of AMC's The Walking Dead and the comic series it is based on.]

AMC’s The Walking Dead remixed a major scene and introduced a key character from the comics Sunday during the second episode of its fifth season.

Following the bloody blowout at Terminus, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his sizable group of “survivors” hit the road — until they encountered Seth Gilliam‘s Father Gabriel and looked to his well-preserved church for shelter. Realizing that he’s low on supplies, Rick — who doesn’t quite trust Gabriel — takes the preacher on a what turns out to be a harrowing supply run.

See more ‘Walking Dead’ Comes to Life: From Comics to the Small Screen

While Gabriel can’t — and won’t — defend himself against the undead, Rick’s group is forced to navigate a group of walkers in water as they raid a food bank that had been completely overrun. While everyone makes it out alive, Bob comes thisclose to being walker bait before girlfriend Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) comes to his rescue after he was pulled underwater by a walker.

Back at the church, Daryl (Norman Reedus) — convinced the group is being watched — attempts to get Carol (Melissa McBride) to open up about her time on the road without the group. Carol refuses and, just as she’s plotting to leave the group to go out on her own solo, she and Daryl spot the car that took Beth and make off after it — together.

Following Bob’s (Larry Gilliard Jr.) close call, he retreats to the woods while the rest of the survivors are feasting and enjoying a rare celebration. It’s then that he’s knocked out and, after coming to, realizes Gareth (Andrew J. West) has not only cut off his leg but his group of cannibals are feasting on it.

“Your people took away our home, that’s fair play. Now we’re out here like everybody else trying to survive, and in order to do that, we have to hunt,” Gareth tells a visibly shocked and shaken Bob before confessing that their people evolved to become the so-called Hunters from the comics. “No matter how much we hate all this ugly business, a man’s gotta eat. If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would,” Gareth says.

It’s a scene is nearly straight out of Robert Kirkman‘s comic series, where Dale is the one who loses his leg to the Hunters. Dale, however, had the last laugh as the Hunters were eating his leg after he’d already been bitten by a walker and had left the group to die on his own volition.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with West to talk about Gareth’s shocking scene, how the character compares with Chris, his comic book counterpart, and yes, if Bob was damaged goods at their time of “consumption.”

See more ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Most Shocking Deaths

Gareth is, without a doubt, the head of this group of cannibals. Did you know how dark he’d get?

We shot the premiere and, going into episode two, I had no idea. I read that script and when I got the last couple pages, I was just shocked — but in a good way. I was smiling from ear to ear. All Scott had told me was that I was in episode two. I kept reading and got to the final pages and my God. I’m a fan of the comic book, too, so that was informing what I was reading and I recognized certain things. But it was a huge surprise and a pleasant one at that for me to be able to get to do something like that.

There aren’t many people who can say it’s a “pleasant” surprise to play someone who chops off a guy’s leg and eats it for dinner.

(Laughing) It’s such a shocking scene, even on paper. That’s the thing: You watch the episode and it’s terrifying, but it’s terrifying on paper when you read it. I was up pacing all night because I was so excited to shoot it. It was a big surprise but I loved it.

What did you actually eat to double for Bob?

They’ve got some culinary skills! It was some type of pork and it was pretty delicious! I’m a pork fan and I don’t know if it was pork shoulder but was tasty stuff! I gladly skipped lunch that day. It was good, and it made shooting that scene much easier to have something so tasty. The last line of the episode wasn’t that hard to say!

So how did Gareth and his goons amputate Bob’s leg without him waking up?! Seems like when he comes to, he has no idea that he’s now missing a limb.

The way that the episode ends will be explored, as will that whole world and that scenario. We’ll get into more details about that whole situation.

See more ‘Walking Dead’ Season 5 Premiere: From the Woods to the Red Carpet

Bob was outside of the church crying — just hours after a close call with a walker. Did Gareth and company make sure Bob wasn’t bitten when he was underwater? Comics readers may recognize that element of this story.

Right! Obviously the scene is not just inspired by but also heavily drawn from the comics. Some of the language is the exact same; a lot of the language is also similar or the same. What’s interesting is in the comics, it’s Dale that they pull off from the church and into the woods. And in the comics, we know what we know that happens to him. What’s cool about the show is that it does draw directly from the source material but it’s not always the same. Bob is a completely different character than Dale. I wouldn’t recommend people speculate too heavily on if the show is following the comic; it veers in and out of that world and that will continue. How this whole situation with Bob and Gareth plays out is going to be interesting. There will be more surprises to come.

Is there hope for Bob or is he a full-course meal?

I feel like there’s hope for everyone until you see them with green skin and rotting flesh or a bullet in the brain. It’d be wrong to say that it’s hopeless for anyone. We saw Hershel get around for a long time on one leg. I wouldn’t want to say it’s hopeless for Bob; that would be misleading.

Somebody within that church group is going to have to say, and pardon the bad joke, but “What about Bob?” right?

(Laughing) All the sudden Bill Murray‘s face pops up in one of the windows of the church! “What are you guys saying?!” Oh man, I spoiled it for everyone! But you’d think someone has to notice Bob is missing. It’s a tightknit group; these people keep tabs on one another. It would be very far-fetched to think that would go unnoticed for too long.

After Rick vows so boldly in the season premiere to kill Gareth, what will their next interaction look like?

The show thrives on person vs. person tension and there will be no shortage of that to come — and in many different forms. It’s two strong personalities going against each other and often not face to face as we see in episode two. It’ll be interesting to watch their relationship continue.

Read more ‘Walking Dead’ EPs Dissect the Season 5 Premiere, Preview Road Ahead

Since Gareth without a sanctuary like Terminus, could he be working with Father Gabriel to lure Rick’s group there so they can slowly pick them off? That’s something that also stems from the comics and would make sense since he’s been spying on Rick’s group.  

It’s an interesting theory. It goes back to the resourcefulness of the character. He’s probably thought of most, if not all the angles to negotiate the situation that he now has with Rick. They’re in a bit of a grapple with one another and it’s a bit of a cat and mouse game. Gareth has considered many avenues and that’s what’s going to be exciting about the show, to see what Gareth — and Rick — ultimately decide is the best way to contend with this issue that they both have with one another. Gareth thinks things through; he’s very diligent and calculated about the best way to go about approaching something. So whatever he thinks is going to help achieve that goal, that’s what he’s going to do. 

Looking at the comics, Gareth is a remix of Chris — the head of the Hunters. How much of the comic did you read to prepare for the role?

I can’t say that I was a longtime fan. I started reading the comics immediately after I got cast. It wasn’t so much to help me with the job; I didn’t know if my character was based on any of the characters in the comics. I wanted to pick it up as a fan and now I’m addicted to the comics and devoured them very quickly. I read the Hunters arc before we even got back into season five. When I read that, I had no idea that some of that would inspire Gareth down the road. When I read episode two I recognized it and was surprised because I didn’t know that’s who Gareth was going to be — or that he’d be so closely inspired by that character. It was cool. I don’t use it as a research tool; I don’t think it’s necessary since the show is its own thing. You don’t need the comic to do your job well because it is its own world with its own story.

Gareth’s line — “You’re either the butcher or the cattle” — seems like it, too, is a remix of Chris’ “Eat or be eaten” from the comics. Having read the Hunters arc, how does Gareth compare to him?

There are some similarities between them but there are a lot of differences, too. Chris in the comics is struck me as somebody who is somewhat intelligent but isn’t nearly as resourceful as Gareth is. I’ve always seen Gareth as a resourceful, intelligent and much more organized guy than Chris is in the comics. We see Chris, who with the Hunters, lives in an abandoned house and they don’t have their shit together that well. They have this thing they do but it’s all fly-by-night. Gareth is just more powerful than Chris was. We see that immediately in the season four finale when he’s running this major operation that we come to know as Terminus — which is very different from Chris in the comics.

Read more ‘Walking Dead’s’ Andrew Lincoln: Rick is a ‘Complete Warrior’ in Season 5

As Gareth tries to survive in this world, is he looking to start trouble with Rick’s group considering his mother, Mary, was left by Carol to die during the attack on Terminus?

People may not believe this but I don’t see Gareth as a vengeful person. He’s not a guy who is concerned with revenge. He’s more concerned with doing whatever it takes to survive. Because of the history he has and the decisions he’s made, it’s clear that for him that it’s either us or them. I don’t think Gareth is the kind of guy who would go after Rick or anybody else just to go after somebody. Because he’s ultimately concerned with the best way for him and his group to survive, that may entail going after Rick and eliminating them. It may entail trying to somehow create some sort of tenuous bond. The answer to that question of how do we best survive is something that he’s trying to figure out and he’s open to multiple answers to that question. I don’t think he’s hell-bent on vengeance; he’s got a bigger picture perspective.

Do you think Gareth can co-exist in this world with Rick? What are your long-term hopes for him?

Gareth’s whole philosophy is, “We need to call into question what is socially acceptable.” The rules aren’t what they used to be; they’re totally different now. Gareth has subscribed to this new way of living that may seem to be much darker and terrifying to people but for him, it’s what life has become now and he’s willing to accept that. Because he’s willing to alter his viewpoint on how to treat people and what’s socially acceptable, that greatly increases his ability to exist in this world. I wouldn’t write him off based on what we’ve seen from him and what we’ve heard Rick say or how the tension has grown between them. The question of them coexisting is interesting and we’ll see what happens with that. Gareth has been around a long time and has seen some shit and survived and come through the other end. Whether you agree with his methods is one thing but he’s made it work for himself. You wouldn’t want to write him off too quickly.

How much more of Gareth’s backstory will we learn? We know from the premiere that Terminus was once really a sanctuary and he was turned. Does he have any humanity left?

We will learn some more and there are things that will be revealed. The process of revelation is gradual but I don’t think it’s complete yet.

The series may be headed to Alexandria at some point this season. Is this also on Gareth’s radar?

A lot is on Gareth’s radar. If it is opportunity to exist and survive, it’s probably something he’s aware of. He’s not a dumb guy. He has figured out how to negotiate people and the landscape. I wouldn’t’ put anything past him. He’s serious about his business and if that means finding multiple locations, whatever that may mean, I wouldn’t discount any of it.

What did you think of Gareth’s food selection? Have theories about what may happen next? Share them in the comments section below. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit




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Global Box Office: ‘Gone Girl’ Races Past $200M; ‘Annabelle’ Scares Up $166M

David Fincher‘s Gone Girl has raced past the $200 million mark at the global box office, where it will soon overtake the filmmaker’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ($232.6 million) and The Social Network ($224.9 million).

Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, even has a shot at approaching $300 million worldwide, although that won’t be enough to match The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($333 million) or Seven ($327.3 million), which rank as Fincher’s top-grossing movies, respectively, not accounting for inflation.

Read more David Fincher Cast Ben Affleck in ‘Gone Girl’ After Googling His Smile

For the weekend, Gone Girl took in $20.2 million from 58 markets overseas for a foreign total of $94.7 million for a global total of $201.6 million. While the 20th Century Fox and New Regency film is doing best in Europe — the U.K. leads overall with $23.2 million — it has surprised in many Asian markets.

New Line and Warner Bros.’ horror prequel Annabelle likewise remains a strong global player, finishing Sunday with an impressive $166.1 million in total ticket sales, including $95 million overseas. Annabelle, costing just $6.5 million to make, earned another $19.2 million internationally for the weekend.

Still, it was neither of those films, nor Dracula Untold, that topped the weekend box office chart offshore. Instead, the crown went to Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The quirky superhero tentpole, still playing in China and a smattering of other territories, took in $23.1 million to jump the $400 million mark internationally for a worldwide total of $732.6 million.

Read more ‘Annabelle’ Director John Leonetti Talks About Shooting on a Haunted Set

Better yet, Guardians became No. 3 Marvel title of all time behind The Avengers ($1.5 billion) and Iron Man 3 ($1.2 billion).

Universal and Legendary’s origins pic Dracula Untold came in No. 2 overseas, earning $22.5 million from 58 markets for a foreign total of $95.7 million, more than double its early North American take of 40.7 million (Dracula Untold fell 58 percent in its second weekend domestically). Its global cume is $136.4 million.

Thanks to a late rollout in Europe, Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came in No. 4 internationally behind Guardians, Dracula Untold and Gone Girl (Annabelle rounded out the top five). TMNT took in a hearty $20 million from 33 territories for a foreign total of $185.4 million and global haul of $375 million. In Europe, the U.K. led with an impressive $7.9 million, followed by France ($4.1 million), Germany ($3.8 million) and Spain ($1.5 million).

Read more ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Debuts Wiz Khalifa-Led Rap Single, TV Spot (Video)

TMNT has yet to open in China and Japan.

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Birdman’ Soars to No. 2 Theater Average of 2014

In a case of life imitating art, Birdman soared in its bicoastal debut for former Batman star Michael Keaton, who plays a washed-up superhero movie star trying to rehabilitate his career by launching a show on Broadway.

The dark comedy, from director Alejandro G. Inarritu, grossed an estimated $415,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a whopping screen average of $103,750, the best showing so far this year after Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which posted a record-breaking theater average of $202,792 earlier this year. (This year’s other indie hit, Boyhood, posted a screen average of $77,524 when launching in five locations in July.)

It’s also one of the best showings in two years if Sunday’s estimates hold. Birdman, hoping to be a prominent awards player, now has to hold up as it wings its way into other top markets.

Read more Michael Keaton on Getting ‘Spooked’ by Oscar Buzz After Nearly 40-Year Career

Fox Searchlight and New Regency partnered on the film, starring Keaton opposite Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

“I think to see him in this part was really gratifying for people,” said Searchlight distribution chief Frank Rodriguez.

Keaton’s box office record has been decidedly mixed over the last two decades since starring in Batman Returns in 1992 and Batman in 1989.

Birdman isn’t Keaton’s first indie effort. He both directed and starred in the 2008 drama, The Merry Gentleman, which quickly disappeared, opening to $74,981 in 24 theaters and topping out at $347,000.

Two years earlier, Keaton played the lead in indie film Game 6, which fared even worse, opening to $9,610 from four theaters for an average of $2,402. Game 6 also starred Keaton as an aspiring playwright, although in that film, his character sets out to kill a critic who skewered his last play.

Read more New York Film Fest: ‘Birdman’ Cast on Superheroes, Theater and How “Being a Celebrity Is S—”

Rodriguez said Birdman‘s strong opening was the culmination of several factors, including stops at the Venice, Telluride and New York film festivals, and a massive publicity blitz by the cast in the days leading up to the movie’s release.

“It’s also a cinematic triumph,” said Rodriguez, in reference to Inarritu and Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki‘s decision to make the movie seem as if it was shot in one long take.

While an ode to Broadway, Birdman‘s top-grossing theater was the Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles, followed by the Angelika Film Center in New York, the Landmark in Los Angeles and Lincoln Square AMC in New York. Next weekend, Birdman opens in an additional 18 markets, including San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas.

Elsewhere at the specialty box office, Roadside Attractions and Justin Simien‘s satirical dramedy Dear White People enjoyed a strong start, earning $338,000 from 11 theaters in select markets for a location average of $30,702.

Dear White People, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, follows four African-American students at an Ivy League university whose lives converge when controversy erupts over an African-American themed Halloween party thrown by white students. The film stars Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell and Kyle Gallner.

Read more ‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism

Elsewhere, Alex Ross Perry‘s 2014 Sundance entry Listen Up Philip, starring Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss and Jonathan Pryce, opened in two theaters, grossing $24,291 for a so-so location average of $12,146 for Tribeca Film.

Among holdovers, Bill Murray‘s comedy St. Vincent expanded into a total of 68 theaters in its second outing, grossing $685,000 for a location average of $10,074 and a cume of $836,982.

St. Vincent is working very well in the suburbs, so we are going to pull the trigger next weekend and go wide,” said TWC’s Erik Lomis. “People are embracing it because it’s a feel-good movie. There’s a lot of heavy stuff in the market.”

Fox International’s co-production Bang Bang celebrated the weekend by becoming the top-grossing Bollywood title of all time in North America, not accounting for inflation. The film earned $155,000 from 108 theaters for a domestic total of $2.6 million, surpassing last year’s Kick ($2.5 million).

Read more Imax to Screen Bollywood Remake ‘Bang Bang!’ in India

The Metropolitan’s The Met: Live in HD broadcast its second opera of the season, Mozart‘s The Marriage of Figaro, on Saturday, taking in $2.1 million from 900 North American screens.

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Box Office: Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’ Conquers Competition With $23.5M Weekend

Thanks to an army of older males, David Ayer‘s Fury won the North American box office battle with $23.5 million from 3,173 theaters, toppling Gone Girl from the top spot and delivering one of the best openings of all time for a World War II war movie, not accounting for inflation. It’s also another win for star Brad Pitt.

Fury is a career best for Ayer. As fate would have it, the year’s other high-profile WWII drama, the upcoming Unbroken, is directed by Pitt’s wife, Angelina Jolie.

Sony, QED International and LStar Capital spent $68 million to make Fury, featuring Pitt as a battle-hardened Army sergeant in command of a Sherman tank and its five-man crew as they attempt to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany (Sony is aggressively marketing the film to veterans). The film, earning an A- CinemaScore, also features Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood.

Read more Brad Pitt to Toast Veterans at ‘Fury’ Washington Premiere

While Fury played heavily to males (60 percent), Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer noted that females, likely lured in by Pitt, made up a healthy percentage. “It’s really resonating with all audiences,” he said. Overall, 51 percent of the audience was over the age of 35.

Strong reviews, along with the successful U.S. launch, should bolster Fury‘s showing overseas, where it begins rolling out next weekend.

In 2009, Pitt starred in Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds, which lays claim to the No. 2 opening of all time for a WWII war title ($38.1 million) after Pearl Harbor ($59.1 million). Fury ranks No. 4 behind those two titles and Saving Private Ryan ($30.6 million).

Holdover Gone Girl — jumping the $100 million mark domestically and the $200 million mark globally — edged out new family entry Book of Life to take the No. 2 spot domesticaly (both are from 20th Century Fox). Gone Girl fell just 33 percent to $17.8 million from 3,241 theaters for a total $107.1 million. Overseas, Gone Girl took in another $20.2 million for a foreign cume of $94.7 million and worldwide haul of $201.8 million.

Read more ‘Gone Girl’ Cast on David Fincher’s Pranks, Multiple Takes

By the end of Halloween weekend, Gone Girl will have surpassed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5 million) to become Fincher’s top film of all time in North America.

Book of Life, produced by Guillermo del Toro and fueled by Hispanic moviegoers (40 percent), came in No. 3 with a solid $17 million from 3,071 theaters. Fox Animation and ReelFX co-produced the $50 million movie, voiced by Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Hector Elizondo, Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana.

The pic, set around the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, likewise earned an A- CinemaScore. The 3D title skewed female (57 percent), while 54 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25, with many of those under the age of 10.

“The origins of the story are in Mexican folklore, so we targeted Hispanics, but we broadened the campaign to make it accessible for all audiences,” said Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson. “As for Gone Girl, it’s a box office phenomenon. If you don’t see the movie, you’re not part of the conversation. And there is a whole lot of conversation going on.”

Overseas, Book of Life debuted to $8.6 million from its first 19 markets, many of them in Latin America, for a global launch of $25.6 million. Mexico led with $3.8 million, followed by Brazil with $2 million.

Read more Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Book of Life’ Teases Magic and Love After Death (Video)

The weekend’s third new nationwide offering was romancer The Best of Me, the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, starring Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato and Gerald McRaney.

Best of Me placed No. 5 for the weekend with $10.2 million from 2,936 locations, the lowest debut for a Sparks adaptation, not accounting for inflation. The previous low was the $12.2 million debut of A Walk to Remember in 2002.

Relativity partnered on the $26 million film with DiNovi Pictures and Nicholas Sparks Productions, and says its financial risk is minimal after selling off international rights and taking advantage of tax credits. Still, the $26 million budget doesn’t include marketing costs. Best of Me, earning a B+ CinemaScore, came in behind Disney holdover Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which took the No. 4 spot.

“We have had great success with Nicholas Sparks over the years and are always glad to be in business with him. We are confident the film will play well over the coming weeks given its word of mouth and strong CinemaScore,” a Relativity spokesperson said. The company also worked with Sparks on Safe Haven and Dear John.

Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s dark comedy Birdman soared at the specialty box office, earning $415,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a whopping location average of $103,750, the second-best showing in two years after Wes Anderson‘s 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel ($202,792).

Read more New York Film Fest: ‘Birdman’ Cast on Superheroes, Theater and How “Being a Celebrity Is S—”

Fox Searchlight and New Regency partnered on Birdman, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero-movie star who tries to reclaim his career by staging a play on Broadway. The awards contender also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

Roadside Attractions and Justin Simien‘s satirical dramedy Dear White People also prospered, earning $338,000 from 11 theaters in select markets for a location average of $30,702. 

Here are the estimated top 10 films for the weekend of Oct. 17-19 at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Change, Cume

1. Fury, 1/3,173, Sony/QED, $23.5 million

2. Gone Girl, 3/3,249, Fox/New Regency, $17.8 million, -33%, $107.1 million

3. The Book of Life, 1/3,071, Fox/ReelFX, $17 million

4. Alexander…Very Bad Day, 2/3,088, Disney, $12 million, -34%, $36.9 million

5. The Best of Me, 1/2,936, Relativity, $10.2 million

6. Dracula Untold, 1/2,887, Universal/Legendary, $9.9 million, -58%, $40.7 million

7. The Judge, 2/3,003, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow, $7.94 million, -39%, $26.8 million

8. Annabelle, 3/2,878, Warner Bros./New Line, $7.92 million, -50%, $74.1 million

9. The Equalizer, 4/2,262, Sony/Village Roadshow, $5.5 million, -44%, $89.2 million

10. The Maze Runner, 5/2,155, Fox, $4.5 million, -40%, $90.8 million

Twitter: @PamelaDayM

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Box Office: Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’ Guns Down $8.8M Friday; ‘Birdman’ Soars

Marking another victory for star Brad Pitt, director David Ayer‘s Fury will win this weekend’s North American box office battle with an estimated $25 million after topping Friday’s chart with $8.8 million. The World War II tank drama, nabbing an A- CinemaScore, launches two months before Pitt’s wife, Angelina Jolie, opens her own WWII epic, Unbroken.

Sony, QED International and LStar Capital spent $68 million to make Fury, featuring Pitt as a battle-hardened Army sergeant in command of a Sherman tank and her five-man crew as they attempt to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany (Sony is aggressively marketing the film to veterans).

Fury, also starring Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood, is playing in 3,155 theaters.

Read more Brad Pitt to Toast Veterans at ‘Fury’ Washington Premiere

New family friendly entry Book of Life, produced by Guillermo del Toro, is finding itself in a close race for No. 2 with fellow Fox title Gone Girl. Both films are aiming to take in roughly $18 million for the weekend.

Gone Girl continues to enjoy a stellar hold in its third outing, and will jump the $100 million mark today in North America as it races towards becoming David Fincher‘s top-grossing film of all time domestically.

Fox Animation and ReelFX co-produced the $50 million Book of Life, voiced by Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Hector Elizondo, Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana. The pic, set around the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, grossed $5 million Friday from 3,069 locations after likewise earning an A- CinemaScore.

Read more Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Book of Life’ Teases Magic and Love After Death (Video)

The weekend’s third new nationwide offering is romancer The Best of Me, the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, starring Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato and Gerald McRaney. Best of Me placed No. 3 Friday with with $4.1 million from 2,936 locations for a projected $11 million-plus weekend, potentially the lowest opening for a Sparks adaptation. It earned a B+ CinemaScore.

Relativity partnered on the $25 million film with DiNovi Pictures and Nichols Sparks Production, and offset much of its risk by selling off rights internationally. Best of Me could fall to No. 4 for the weekend behind Disney’s Alexander the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Read more New York Film Fest: ‘Birdman’ Cast on Superheroes, Theater and How “Being a Celebrity Is S—”

Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s dark comedy Birdman is making headlines at the specialty box office, where it’s on course to score the best theater average of the year so far after The Grand Budapest Hotel in a victory for the filmmaker, Fox Searchlight, New Regency and Michael Keaton, who stars as a washed-up superhero-movie star who tries to reclaim his career by staging a play on Broadway.

Birdman is projected to gross $410,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $102,500. The awards contender also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

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China’s controversial "baby hatches"

June 27, 2014, 7:16 PM|Controversy surrounds the “baby hatch,” a place where desperate parents in China can leave a baby they can’t care for. The increasing number of abandoned newborns has overwhelmed the government system, causing hatches to shut down. One family faces criminal charges after finding out they left their baby to die at a closed “hatch.” Seth Doane reports.

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China’s controversial "baby hatches"

June 27, 2014, 7:16 PM|Controversy surrounds the “baby hatch,” a place where desperate parents in China can leave a baby they can’t care for. The increasing number of abandoned newborns has overwhelmed the government system, causing hatches to shut down. One family faces criminal charges after finding out they left their baby to die at a closed “hatch.” Seth Doane reports.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsInvestigates/~3/uDUxHqozzf8/

Watch: White Sox manager grants sick girl’s wish

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Watch: Gary Carter’s Hall of Fame speech

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Your taxes funding Nazi war criminals’ retirement?

OSIJEK, Croatia – Dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The payments, underwritten by American taxpayers, flowed through a legal loophole that gave the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal U.S. government records.

Among those receiving benefits were armed SS troops who guarded the network of Nazi camps where millions of Jews perished; a rocket scientist who used slave laborers to advance his research in the Third Reich; and a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.

There are at least four living beneficiaries. They include Martin Hartmann, a former SS guard at the Sachsenhausen camp in Germany, and Jakob Denzinger, who patrolled the grounds at the Auschwitz camp complex in Poland.

Hartmann moved to Berlin in 2007 from Arizona just before being stripped of his U.S. citizenship. Denzinger fled to Germany from Ohio in 1989 after learning denaturalization proceedings against him were underway. He soon resettled in Croatia and now lives in a spacious apartment on the right bank of the Drava River in Osijek. Denzinger would not discuss his situation when questioned by an AP reporter; Denzinger’s son, who lives in the U.S., confirmed his father receives Social Security payments and said he deserved them.

The deals allowed the Justice Department’s former Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, to skirt lengthy deportation hearings and increased the number of Nazis it expelled from the U.S.

But internal U.S. government records obtained by the AP reveal heated objections from the State Department to OSI’s practices. Social Security benefits became tools, U.S. diplomatic officials said, to secure agreements in which Nazi suspects would accept the loss of citizenship and voluntarily leave the United States.

“It’s absolutely outrageous that Nazi war criminals are continuing to receive Social Security benefits when they have been outlawed from our country for many, many, many years,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, a senior Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She said she plans to introduce legislation to close the loophole.

Since 1979, the AP analysis found, at least 38 of 66 suspects removed from the country kept their Social Security benefits.

The Social Security Administration expressed outrage in 1997 over the use of benefits, the documents show, and blowback in foreign capitals reverberated at the highest levels of government.

Austrian authorities were furious upon learning after the fact about a deal made with Martin Bartesch, a former SS guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. In 1987, Bartesch landed, unannounced, at the airport in Vienna. Two days later, under the terms of the deal, his U.S. citizenship was revoked.

The Romanian-born Bartesch, who had emigrated to the U.S. in 1955, was suddenly stateless and Austria’s problem. Bartesch continued to receive Social Security benefits until he died in 1989.

“It was not upfront, it was not transparent, it was not a legitimate process,” said James Hergen, an assistant legal adviser at the State Department from 1982 until 2007. “This was not the way America should behave. We should not be dumping our refuse, for lack of a better word, on friendly states.”

Neal Sher, a former OSI director, said the State Department cared more about diplomatic niceties than holding former members of Adolf Hitler’s war machine accountable.

Amid the objections, the practice known as “Nazi dumping” stopped. But the benefits loophole wasn’t closed.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in an emailed statement that Social Security payments never were employed to persuade Nazi suspects to depart voluntarily.

The Social Security Administration refused the AP’s request for the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts of those payments. Spokesman William “BJ” Jarrett said the agency does not track data specific to Nazi cases.

A further barrier, Jarrett said, is that there is no exception in U.S. privacy law that “allows us to disclose information because the individual is a Nazi war criminal or an accused Nazi war criminal.”

The department also declined to make the acting commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, or another senior agency official available for an interview.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said the loophole should be closed.

“Someone receiving an American pension could live very well in Europe or wherever they settled,” Hier said. “We, in effect, were rewarding them. It didn’t make any sense.”

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Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

People hold signs, including some reading "America is ready for marriage," at a same-sex marriage victory celebration on October 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. America may be ready, but Republicans aren't: Rising popular support for same-sex marriage is posing a problem for GOP.i
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People hold signs, including some reading “America is ready for marriage,” at a same-sex marriage victory celebration on October 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. America may be ready, but Republicans aren’t: Rising popular support for same-sex marriage is posing a problem for GOP.

George Frey/Getty Images


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George Frey/Getty Images

People hold signs, including some reading "America is ready for marriage," at a same-sex marriage victory celebration on October 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. America may be ready, but Republicans aren't: Rising popular support for same-sex marriage is posing a problem for GOP.

People hold signs, including some reading “America is ready for marriage,” at a same-sex marriage victory celebration on October 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. America may be ready, but Republicans aren’t: Rising popular support for same-sex marriage is posing a problem for GOP.

George Frey/Getty Images

When social norms change, sometimes they change so fast it’s hard to keep up.

Only 10 years ago, ballot initiatives opposing gay marriage were helping Republicans win elections. But two weeks ago, when the Supreme Court effectively cleared the way for legal same-sex marriage, the response from Republican leaders was deafening silence.

They were so quiet some wondered whether the culture wars had finally ended with a Republican defeat.

Gary Bauer, a longtime social conservative activist, thinks that’s nonsense.

“The idea that the culture wars are over is absurd,” he says. “A war over the culture and the meaning of American liberty will continue to be a major factor in the American public debate.”

Other social conservative leaders agree with Bauer. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said if the Republicans don’t fight against gay marriage, he’d become an independent. Senator Ted Cruz promised to introduce a constitutional amendment allowing states to ban gay marriage.

But those views are in the minority. While polls show opinion on some social issues, like abortion, are relatively stable, public opinion on gay marriage has changed — and changed fast.

A majority of Americans now accept gay marriage, says Peter Levine, a political scientist at Tufts University. He calls that “a profound generational change.”

“In the long run everyone’s going to be for gay marriage,” he says, “but in the short term Republicans have a problem, which translates into a problem of perceived intolerance.”

Conservative views on social issues, including gay marriage, are often called the third leg of the Republican stool, alongside small government and strong defense. So the party will have to adapt without alienating an important part of its voting coalition, says Ari Fleischer, former Bush White House press secretary.

“For Republicans, the challenge is if they take the issue uniquely as gay marriage head-on, many Republicans aren’t going to want to change, who are older voters,” Fleischer says. “Younger Republicans are willing to change on that issue — they already have changed.”

The problem for the GOP is that right now there aren’t enough young Republicans. Young people vote overwhelmingly for Democrats in national elections, and social issues are one of the main reasons.

Kirsten Kukowski is the press secretary for the Republican National Committee, which is trying to help Republican candidates bridge the gap between the party’s base and changing public attitudes.

“For a long time we came across as maybe not as sensitive and not as compassionate on these issues,” she says. “And I think a couple of years ago — right after the 2010 presidential election — for people in the RNC specifically, our strategists, a lot of our pollsters and a lot of the people around us in these campaigns, we sat down at the table and said, ‘How do we change how we talk to voters?’ “

Republicans are already changing. This year, most Republican candidates in tight races barely mention social issues on the stump. Others have moved to the center, disavowing their previous support for “personhood” amendments which would give constitutional rights to embryos. A handful of Republican senate candidates have joined Planned Parenthood in supporting the idea of over-the-counter birth control.

In addition to RNC operatives, conservative intellectuals are also grappling with this problem. Henry Olsen is with the Ethics & Public Policy Center.

“There’s a group of us who are basically conservative but think that mainstream conservatism needs to rethink some of its strategic approaches and policy emphases,” he says. “And we’ve been called reformicons, and we’re fine with that.”

Olsen and his fellow reformicons say social issues like gay marriage have to be navigated carefully — very carefully.

“No Republican candidate can be nominated that openly supports same-sex marriage. That doesn’t mean that you need to talk about it in a way that implies disapproval or condemnation of gay and lesbian people. It certainly does not mean that you have to deny certain sorts of federal benefits that presumably could be extended to people without the formal extension of marriage,” he says. “That sort of thing is the rhetoric of compassion and inclusion that a Republican candidate to win the presidency ought to pursue.”

Gay marriage is where opinion is changing the fastest, but the public is also evolving on other issues, like immigration and climate change. The RNC’s Kirsten Kukowski says the party will debate all of this in the 2016 primary campaign.

“We’re going to have a very interesting conversation in the next couple of months,” she says. “And having been here through the last presidential [election] and then through the midterms, this is going to be a very important conversation for Americans to have, and for us to have as a party.”

It’s clear where the public is going on issues like gay marriage — but not so clear where the Republican Party will end up.

Source Article from http://www.npr.org/2014/10/20/357440359/turf-shifts-in-culture-wars-as-support-for-gay-marriage-rises?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts

Meghan, 23, began experiencing hallucinations at 19. "Driving home, cars' headlights turned into eyes. The grills on the cars turned into mouths and none of them looked happy. It would scare the crap out of me," Meghan says.i
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Meghan, 23, began experiencing hallucinations at 19. “Driving home, cars’ headlights turned into eyes. The grills on the cars turned into mouths and none of them looked happy. It would scare the crap out of me,” Meghan says.

Marvi Lacar


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Marvi Lacar

Meghan, 23, began experiencing hallucinations at 19. "Driving home, cars' headlights turned into eyes. The grills on the cars turned into mouths and none of them looked happy. It would scare the crap out of me," Meghan says.

Meghan, 23, began experiencing hallucinations at 19. “Driving home, cars’ headlights turned into eyes. The grills on the cars turned into mouths and none of them looked happy. It would scare the crap out of me,” Meghan says.

Marvi Lacar

The important thing is that Meghan knew something was wrong.

When I met her, she was 23, a smart, wry young woman living with her mother and stepdad in Simi Valley, about an hour north of Los Angeles.

Meghan had just started a training program to become a respiratory therapist. Concerned about future job prospects, she asked NPR not to use her full name.

Five years ago, Meghan’s prospects weren’t nearly so bright. At 19, she had been severely depressed, on and off, for years. During the bad times, she’d hide out in her room making thin, neat cuts with a razor on her upper arm.

Meghan had been depressed off and on for years, but the hallucinations signaled a subtle shift in her symptoms.

Meghan had been depressed off and on for years, but the hallucinations signaled a subtle shift in her symptoms.

Marvi Lacar


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Marvi Lacar

“I didn’t do much of anything,” Meghan recalls. “It required too much brain power.”

“Her depression just sucked the life out of you,” Kathy, Meghan’s mother, recalls. “I had no idea what to do or where to go with it.”

One night in 2010, Meghan’s mental state took an ominous turn. Driving home from her job at McDonald’s, she found herself fascinated by the headlights of an oncoming car.

“I had the weird thought of, you know, I’ve never noticed this, but their headlights really look like eyes.”

To Meghan, the car seemed malicious. It wanted to hurt her.

Kathy tried to reason with her.

“Honey, you know it’s a car, right? You know those are headlights,” she recalls pressing her daughter. “‘You understand that this makes no sense, right?’ “

“I know,” Meghan answered. “But this is what I see, and it’s scaring me.”

In other words, Meghan had insight, defined in psychiatry as the ability to understand that one’s unusual experiences are attributable to a mental illness.

What Meghan saw did not fit with what she believed. She knew she was hallucinating.

"She would stay in her room and keep to herself," Kathy, Meghan's mother, says. "Sometimes that was a good thing because her depression just sucked the life out of you."

“She would stay in her room and keep to herself,” Kathy, Meghan’s mother, says. “Sometimes that was a good thing because her depression just sucked the life out of you.”

Marvi Lacar


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Marvi Lacar

It’s the loss of insight that signals a psychotic break. This can lead to several different diagnoses, but in people ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia, the break signals the formal onset of the disease. Typically, a first psychotic break occurs in a person’s late teens or early 20s. In men, the range is 15 to 24; in women, 25 to 34.

That first psychotic break can lead to a series of disasters: social isolation, hospitalization, medications with sometimes disabling side effects and future psychotic episodes.

So, what if you could intervene earlier, before any of that? Could you stop the process from snowballing?

At 19, Meghan hadn’t had a psychotic break. She still had insight. That made her eligible for a new type of program taking shape in California that aims to prevent schizophrenia before it officially begins.

The program draws on research suggesting that schizophrenia unfolds much more slowly than might be obvious, even to families.

“You start to see a decline in their functioning,” says Dr. Daniel Mathalon, who studies brain development in the early stages of psychosis at the University of California, San Francisco.

“They were doing better in school, now they’re doing worse,” he says. “Maybe they had friends but they’re starting to be more isolated.”

Eventually, these subtle behavioral shifts may take on a surreal quality. A young person may hear faint whispers or hissing, or see flashes of light or shadows on the periphery.

“They lack delusional conviction,” explains Mathalon. “They’re experiencing these things; maybe they’re suspicious. But they’re not sure.”

"I valued my ability to think and learn," Meghan says. "To know that the one thing I valued so highly was dissolving away, that I was losing chunks of my sanity with every hallucination... That was more terrifying than the monsters that I saw could ever be."

“I valued my ability to think and learn,” Meghan says. “To know that the one thing I valued so highly was dissolving away, that I was losing chunks of my sanity with every hallucination… That was more terrifying than the monsters that I saw could ever be.”

Marvi Lacar


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Marvi Lacar

Psychiatrists have a word for this early stage: prodromal.

Meghan took a screening test developed at Yale University Medical School that identified her as possibly within the prodromal stage of psychosis. That is, her symptoms could be indicative of early psychosis, but weren’t predictive.

She was referred to a clinic in an office park about an hour from her house called Ventura Early Intervention Prevention Services, or VIPS, operated by Alameda-based Telecare Corporation.

VIPS is one of a handful of programs that have sprung up in California in recent years, based on a model developed in Maine by a psychiatrist named Dr. Bill McFarlane.

McFarlane believes that psychosis can be prevented with a range of surprisingly low-tech interventions, almost all of which are designed to reduce stress in the family of the young person who is starting to show symptoms.

McFarlane cites research done at UCLA suggesting that certain kinds of family dynamics — families that don’t communicate well, or are overly critical — can make things worse for a young person at risk of schizophrenia.

Meghan's family credits the VIPS program for her transformation. "She's not the broken little girl that she was three years ago," Meghan's stepfather, Charlie, says.i
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Meghan’s family credits the VIPS program for her transformation. “She’s not the broken little girl that she was three years ago,” Meghan’s stepfather, Charlie, says.

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Marvi Lacar

Meghan's family credits the VIPS program for her transformation. "She's not the broken little girl that she was three years ago," Meghan's stepfather, Charlie, says.

Meghan’s family credits the VIPS program for her transformation. “She’s not the broken little girl that she was three years ago,” Meghan’s stepfather, Charlie, says.

Marvi Lacar

“Our theory,” says McFarlane “was that if you could identify these young people early enough, you could alter some of those family patterns. Then you could work with the family to start behaving not just normally, but in a way that was smarter.”

McFarlane’s programs bring families in for twice-monthly multifamily group therapy sessions, where participants take a nuts-and-bolts approach to resolving disputes at home and softening their responses to what the young person is going through.

“We assume parents can’t figure this out alone,” says McFarlane.

In some cases, participants are also prescribed antipsychotic drugs, especially one called Abilify, which McFarlane and others believe can stem hallucinations.

McFarlane himself is careful about recommending antipsychotic medications.

The drugs, he says, should be used cautiously, at lower doses than would be prescribed for full psychosis, and even then only in young people who aren’t responding to other treatments.

But in programs inspired by his model the drugs appear to be widely prescribed, including in clients as young as 10 or 13. This fact has become a flashpoint in the conversation around schizophrenia prevention.

“No one is harder to diagnose than a child or a teenager,” says Dr. Allen Frances, a former chair of the psychiatry department at Duke University and chair of the task force that produced the fourth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM-IV, the standard reference for psychiatric diagnoses.

“There are rapid developmental changes from visit to visit,” he says. “The tendency to overdiagnose is particularly problematic in teenagers.”

Frances points to studies showing that if you take three kids, all experiencing those surreal early symptoms, only one will get schizophrenia.

So what about the other two?

Frances says these kids are wrongly labeled and stigmatized. Their parents are terrified. And in many cases, they will be prescribed antipsychotic drugs, which can have serious side effects and haven’t been studied well in children.

“We have to be careful of any new fad in psychiatry,” says Frances. “The field has been filled with fads in the past and often we learn in retrospect that they’ve done much more harm than good.”

But what Frances calls a fad is to others a model for mental health care.

To see these programs in action, the best place to go is California, where over the last few years a handful of programs have sprung up based on McFarlane’s PIER model.

One, in San Diego, is called Kickstart. Like the others, it’s paid for by a state tax on millionaires, passed by voters in 2004, that funds mental health. Services – everything from homework help, family therapy, and outings such as kite-flying expeditions — are offered for free.

Joseph Edwards, Kickstart’s assistant program director, says for teenagers who might be developing schizophrenia, just being outside, with friends, is a kind of therapy.

“They’ll want to isolate,” says Edwards. “There’s sensitivity to a lot of stimulation. And a lot times we’ll see what we call day/night reversal, where they’ll stay up all night and go to sleep in the day time.”

Edwards says if a teenager is really isolating, a Kickstart worker will drive to his or her house and cajole the person out. Anything, he says, to keep them engaged, with friends in school or at work.

Tony, 13, spends an afternoon at an arcade with Ashley Wood, his occupational therapist in the Kickstart program in San Diego.i
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Tony, 13, spends an afternoon at an arcade with Ashley Wood, his occupational therapist in the Kickstart program in San Diego.

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Tony, 13, spends an afternoon at an arcade with Ashley Wood, his occupational therapist in the Kickstart program in San Diego.

Tony, 13, spends an afternoon at an arcade with Ashley Wood, his occupational therapist in the Kickstart program in San Diego.

Marvi Lacar

At an arcade in a strip mall, we meet Ashley Wood, one of Kickstart’s occupational therapists. Wood brought her client, 13-year-old Tony, here as a reward for being cooperative in therapy.

We aren’t using Tony’s full name because he’s a minor, at the request of his parents.

Wood has an easy laugh and teases Tony gently to pull him out of his shell.

“When we first met, he was so quiet,” she says, laughing. “He’s like. ‘who is this chick?’ “

“Nah,” says Tony, smiling shyly. “I was being a jerk.”

Tony had been getting in fights. He was angry at his mom, angry in school. And there was something else.

“I used to see stuff and hear [stuff],” he tells me.

“Like what?” I ask him. “Like … weird objects,” he responds. When I press him for more details, he shakes his head.

Are Tony’s symptoms the beginning of schizophrenia? Or just the routine weirdness of a teenage brain taking shape?

No one — not Wood, not his therapists — can say for sure.

Wood says what she’s teaching him will be helpful either way.

“When he’s frustrated at school or at home, instead of immediately responding, kind of finding a way to communicate. So we’re trying to work on the impulse control as well.”

Impulsive, unruly, prone to angry outbursts, Tony sounds like a lot of 13-year-old kids.

That’s one reason that last year, the American Psychiatric Association opted to exclude the idea of “psychosis risk syndrome” from the DSM-5, the latest version of the manual of mental disorders. The screening test is generally considered to be only 30 percent accurate.

In 2011, a review of prodrome intervention programs called the idea of intervention in pre-schizophrenia “inconclusive.”

“This is an experiment far before its time,” says Allen Frances.

McFarlane believes the benefits of these programs are borne out in the work done at his clinic and others based on his model. In July, he published the results of a two-year study of two groups of young people at risk for, or in the early stage of, schizophrenia, which showed better functional outcomes for those who went through treatment.

He and other proponents say schizophrenia’s early window may be too precious to miss.

“We’re running up against the limits of what we can do for patients who develop schizophrenia, once it goes to chronic stages,” UCSF’s Mathalon says. “I think this is a direction we have to go in, but we have to do it carefully.”

When you talk to people who have been through these programs and ask them what helped them, it is not the drugs, not the diagnosis. It’s the lasting, one-on-one relationships with adults who listen, like Ashley Wood.

Tiffany Martinez, an early client of Bill McFarlane’s in Maine, chokes up when asked to describe what she thinks helped her climb out of an incipient mental health crisis that began she was in college.

“To share such personal intimate details, you know? To have these people working so hard on it and so devoted and invested in the work,” Martinez, now age 26, says.

“It’s like getting a chance. Just the program what the program stands for alone is hope.”

That same relief is palpable when you talk to Meghan’s mom, Kathy, and stepfather, Charlie.

“I thought we were going to have to take care of her for the rest of her life,” says Kathy. “I thought she’d forever be marginal, forever be medicated. I thought we’d just have to get used to it.”

Today Meghan is off all her medications. She’s animated, playing board games with her family, excited about being back in school.

Her family credits the VIPS program.

“We were blessed to have this for her,” Charlie says. “We really were. It saved her life.”

Source Article from http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/20/356640026/halting-schizophrenia-before-it-starts?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

U.S. Airdrops Weapons, Ammo, Medical Supplies To Kurds In Kobani

Kurdish fighters move into position in Kobani, Syria on the border with Turkey Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.i
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Kurdish fighters move into position in Kobani, Syria on the border with Turkey Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

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Kurdish fighters move into position in Kobani, Syria on the border with Turkey Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

Kurdish fighters move into position in Kobani, Syria on the border with Turkey Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

Levend Ali/AP

The U.S. military confirmed Sunday an airdropped delivery of small arms, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces in the Syrian town of Kobani on the border with Turkey. The 27 bundles of supplies were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq.

In a statement, U.S. Central Command said the airdrops, executed by three C-130 cargo planes, were intended to help Kurdish fighters defend the city against the group calling itself the Islamic State.

“This assistance is another example of U.S. resolve to deny ISIL key terrain and safe haven as well as our commitment to assist those forces who oppose ISIL,” CENTCOM said in the statement, using a widely-used acronym for the Islamic State.

Polat Can, a spokesman for Kurdish forces in Kobani, acknowledged the delivery on his Twitter feed and added that he would soon be posting some “good news.”

In the past two weeks, U.S. forces have conducted 135 airstrikes against ISIL in and around the city of Kobani. The CENTCOM statement says the strikes have killed hundreds of fighters for the Islamic State and badly degraded the group’s military resources.

In a conference call with reporters following the announcement, senior administration officials said more resupply missions were possible.

“We’re trying to stay one step ahead of an opportunistic enemy,” said one official.

The Turkish government has stated its opposition to U.S. arms deliveries to Kurdish forces. Turkish officials link the Kurdish rebels in Syria to the PKK, a Kurdish group in Turkey that has been recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S. and NATO.

In a phone call on Saturday, President Barack Obama notified Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the U.S. military’s plans to airdrop the arms and supplies into Kobani. Administration officials would not characterize Erdogan’s reaction but acknowledged Turkey’s range of concerns.

One official said there was “an urgent need to resupply” and that airdrops should be viewed as a humanitarian mission, citing concerns that Islamic State militants would massacre the Kurdish population in Kobani if the group is able to take over the town. A land route for more supplies was discussed but another official said during the call that such a plan would require Turkey’s cooperation.

CENTCOM’s statement Sunday reiterated that the situation in Kobani is still “fragile.” Last week, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Lloyd J. Austin stated that despite stepped-up strategies and efforts by allied forces, “Kobani could still fall.”

Source Article from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/10/20/357484216/u-s-airdrops-weapons-ammo-medical-supplies-to-kurds-in-kobani?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

The Boston Herald’s Missed ‘Cartoon-gate’ Lessons

The Boston Herald published this cartoon earlier this month.

The Boston Herald published this cartoon earlier this month.

The Boston Herald


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The Boston Herald

The worst fate of all may be to make a terrible mistake and then learn the wrong lessons from the experience.

That’s the thought I had reading a heartfelt column about the Boston Herald‘s unfortunate decision to publish a cartoon featuring a White House gate-crasher asking the nation’s first black president if he had “tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste.”

After a two-week silence, Rachelle Cohen, the Herald‘s editor of editorial pages, offered a humble, thoughtful essay on the experience, calling her decision to approve the cartoon “dumb.” She highlighted some of the negative reactions sparked by the cartoon; including Deval Patrick, the state’s first black governor, who “snapped” at a Herald reporter asking a question involving race.

Once again, Cohen noted that neither she nor cartoonist Jerry Holbert were aware of the racial stereotypes they inadvertently invoked with the image (black people have long been stereotyped as simpletons with a fondness for watermelon; plug the terms “Obama” and “watermelon” into Google’s Image Search to see a wide array of racist pictures featuring those two items).

And she explained how a mistake in Herald procedure resulted in no other senior editors seeing the image until it was published.

It was an important, if belated, mea culpa.

But it also kinda missed much of the point.

Here’s my list of the biggest lessons the Herald should learn from Cartoongate.

Lesson #1: Staff Diversity Brings Better Journalism

The Herald didn’t participate in the most recent diversity survey implemented by the American Society of News Editors; years ago, the Knight Foundation reported 5.5 percent of the newspaper’s staff was non-white in 2003, a time when about 20 percent of the population in its circulation area was non-white.

The Herald‘s vice president of promotion and marketing didn’t respond to a phone call and emails, so I don’t know what the newspaper’s staff diversity levels are like now.

But if its past numbers haven’t changed, the Herald still has a lot of work to do. No one knows whether a black or Latino editor might have flagged the cartoon, but this incident seems to have exposed a huge blind spot in its op-ed department.

In journalism, staff diversity isn’t just about soothing hurt feelings or avoiding embarrassment; it’s a journalistic value. Few quality newspapers would shrug off conditions where they published 10 factual errors a day. So its time to realize diversity is an important a tool for delivering accuracy and context to all kinds of coverage.

Yes, the media economy is terrible. Yes, it’s tough to diversify staff anywhere, especially in a city like Boston with such a contentious history on racial issues. And it’s likely the Herald, like most other media outlets, doesn’t have the staffing it had 10 or 15 years ago.

Lesson #2: In Race and Media, History Matters

A cover from April 2010.

A cover from April 2010.

The Boston Herald


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The Boston Herald

It’s not just about knowing enough American history to catch a problematic image; media outlets build reputations with their communities through their own history of coverage and focus. If a newspaper develops a track record of covering racial issues well and thoughtfully, then an occasional mistake can be seen in the proper context. But a history of missteps can work the other way.

The Herald, for example, drew protests from national organizations representing black and Hispanic journalists in 2010 when it published a cover on immigration issues featuring “NO WELFARE” stamped on a black woman’s forehead, “NO TUITION” stamped on a person who looked Latino, and “NO MEDICAID” stamped on the forehead of an Asian man. No white person was pictured on the cover.

Critics of the watermelon cartoon had a tough time believing Cohen and Holbert weren’t intentionally referencing racial stereotypes. But a past record of accurate, sensitive coverage could have earned them the benefit of the doubt.

Lesson #3: Racial Miscues Are Big News

In the past, there’s often been a pattern to race-related media controversies: a few days of outrage, a non-committal apology from a news outlet, and a collective shrug as everyone moves on.

But that didn’t happen in this case. Thanks to social media and growing concern about how big institutions treat people of color, stories about such lapses can become major news, dissected on Twitter feeds and plastered across Facebook pages around the globe by people who refuse to shrug and move on.

Holbert admitted that the syndicate that distributes his cartoons across the country flagged the issue and asked him to change the toothpaste flavor, which he eventually did for them. But he didn’t tell the Herald about the change because he didn’t think it was an issue.

Now he knows differently.

It feels similar to what we’ve seen in Ferguson, MO, where the death of a young black man in a questionable police shooting sparked protests and national media coverage within days. Other media outlets seem more willing to feature such stories now — especially if they come with compelling video — and the public is more willing to challenge institutions which once got the benefit of the doubt.

One more thing: In her column, Cohen notes the governor treated a Herald reporter harshly because of his anger over the column. Once upon a time, fury over issues like this would simply simmer in communities of color; now, people of color occupy the highest offices in the land and there is a bigger price to pay for such mistakes.

That’s how the march of diversity creates new demands on news outlets and draws new boundaries for what is important and what is not.

A spokeswoman for Boston’s NAACP chapter said the group is arranging a public meeting with officials from the Herald to talk about diversity issues, likely in early November. Perhaps this incident has taught the newspaper that it needs to do more than talk.

Because, as important as heartfelt apologies are, they don’t matter much if behavior doesn’t change.

Source Article from http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/10/19/356639426/the-boston-heralds-missed-cartoon-gate-lessons?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

Ebola In Church: A Reverend’s Quarantine Spreads The Word

Reverend Dr. Herman Browne voluntarily quarantined himself for 21 days after his wife's friend tested positive for Ebola. On Sunday, he returned to his church, Trinity Cathedral, to preach to his congregation about Ebola prevention.i
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Reverend Dr. Herman Browne voluntarily quarantined himself for 21 days after his wife’s friend tested positive for Ebola. On Sunday, he returned to his church, Trinity Cathedral, to preach to his congregation about Ebola prevention.

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Reverend Dr. Herman Browne voluntarily quarantined himself for 21 days after his wife's friend tested positive for Ebola. On Sunday, he returned to his church, Trinity Cathedral, to preach to his congregation about Ebola prevention.

Reverend Dr. Herman Browne voluntarily quarantined himself for 21 days after his wife’s friend tested positive for Ebola. On Sunday, he returned to his church, Trinity Cathedral, to preach to his congregation about Ebola prevention.

Jon Hamilton/NPR

Night clubs have shut their doors. Soccer leagues have been suspended. And a strict curfew is keeping the streets empty at night.

But there’s one place in Monrovia where people continue to gather despite the threat of Ebola: Sunday church service.

Priests use tweezers to deliver the Holy Communion wafer at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia to prevent the spread of Ebola.i
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Priests use tweezers to deliver the Holy Communion wafer at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia to prevent the spread of Ebola.

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Priests use tweezers to deliver the Holy Communion wafer at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Priests use tweezers to deliver the Holy Communion wafer at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR

Since Ebola began in Liberia’s capital city, more people have started coming to Sunday service at Trinity Cathedral, says the very Reverend Dr. Herman Browne. And like many priests across Monrovia, Browne has been spreading the word about Ebola prevention through his sermons.

But Browne’s message this week was personal. It came from his family’s encounter with the virus.

For the past three Sundays, the reverend had been under a volunteer quarantine. This week he returned to the pulpit and explained to his congregation what happened.

It all began when his wife, Trokon Browne, went to see a close friend. “The friend … broke down, fell on the floor and started to cry,” Herman said. “Some illness had returned to her, and she was explaining it to Trokon.”

These were warning signs about Ebola. Trokon knew that. But her nurturing instincts kicked in. She embraced and fed her friend anyway.

“I said that was a crazy thing to do,” Herman said to his congregation, “because the lady was vomiting and had diarrhea.”

Two days later, the Brownes learned that the friend had Ebola.

One of the reasons Ebola continues to spread in Liberia is that people who know they’ve been exposed to the virus often keep it a secret until they’re desperately ill and highly contagious. They fear the embarrassment, the stigma and the prospect of losing their income.

But the Brownes went public.

Since the Ebola epidemic started, attendance at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia, has risen by about 20 percent, a church leader says.i
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Since the Ebola epidemic started, attendance at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia, has risen by about 20 percent, a church leader says.

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Since the Ebola epidemic started, attendance at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia, has risen by about 20 percent, a church leader says.

Since the Ebola epidemic started, attendance at Trinity Cathedral in Monrovia, Liberia, has risen by about 20 percent, a church leader says.

Jon Hamilton/NPR

“I left work immediately, wrapped up everything, called the treasurer, the bishop, my colleagues,” Herman said. Then Trokon and Herman quarantined themselves for 21 days.

Even their children we’re not allowed to come upstairs until the couple knew they did not have Ebola.

Herman said he was hoping his congregation would learn a powerful lesson from his family’s experience: “Once you slip mentally, in terms of being aware and conscious, the smallest slip could cause you grave harm,” he said after the church service.

That’s a message Liberians have heard constantly from the government. But many people in Monrovia say they don’t trust a government. They consider it corrupt. So the messages can have more of an impact when they come from a spiritual leader.

Reverend Browne begun educating his congregation about Ebola long before it affected the family directly. And it’s clear the message has been received at the church. People sanitize their hands before entering the cathedral. A priest delivers the Holy Communion wafers with tweezers. The church program tells the congregation: “Do not hide sick persons.”

But Trokon Browne says those are relatively easy steps. What’s harder, she says, is to keep a safe distance when a friend or family member is sick, perhaps with Ebola.

“I cannot see my husband sick and not touch him. Or I cannot see my child sick,” she said. “Ebola might as well kill us. So it’s still very hard. Trust me it’s still very hard.”

It’s also hard for some people to accept the way Ebola appears to punish those who are trying to follow Christian teachings, Herman Browne said. That’s why some in his congregation consider the disease demonic.

“Those who don’t care and those who don’t want to express their care are those who survive. Those who actually care are those who die,” he said. “At the heart of it, for some of us with religious eyes, is an anti-care, anti-love message. And that can be very draining.”

This time, the message is less harsh. Trokon wasn’t infected. And her sick friend was one of the lucky ones who survived Ebola.

Source Article from http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/10/19/357399593/ebola-in-church-a-reverends-quarantine-spreads-the-word?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

Ebola: Another sign of our capital’s decay?

Beyond the immediate danger posed by Ebola, what the situation has exposed should not go unremarked.

Because, to the list of institutions once held in high regard but which have lately come up short — the Veterans Administration, the IRS, yes, even the Secret Service — we now must add the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s been an all-too-familiar story: first, the calm assurances that all is well; then the impenetrable press releases saying nothing; finally the grudging admission, “Mistakes were made.”

The administration seemed as caught off-guard as the rest of us, and scrambled to catch up.

Congress, which has done nothing for years, literally, and can’t even break the partisan deadlock long enough to confirm a Surgeon General, played to form — they launched into a bitter blame game.

All this as the chairman of the Federal Reserve expressed concern the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer, which could mean new problems on the economic front.

I don’t know where all this goes. What I do know is that our once-proud “shining city on a hill” is becoming just a town where nothing works.

Once we figure out what to do about Ebola, maybe we should focus on what to do about that.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsOpinion/~3/9whujBSXEe0/

Global Box Office: ‘Gone Girl’ Races Past $200M; ‘Annabelle’ Scares Up $166M

David Fincher‘s Gone Girl has raced past the $200 million mark at the global box office, where it will soon overtake the filmmaker’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ($232.6 million) and The Social Network ($224.9 million).

Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, even has a shot at approaching $300 million worldwide, although that won’t be enough to match The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($333 million) or Seven ($327.3 million), which rank as Fincher’s top-grossing movies, respectively, not accounting for inflation.

Read more David Fincher Cast Ben Affleck in ‘Gone Girl’ After Googling His Smile

For the weekend, Gone Girl took in $20.2 million from 58 markets overseas for a foreign total of $94.7 million for a global total of $201.6 million. While the 20th Century Fox and New Regency film is doing best in Europe — the U.K. leads overall with $23.2 million — it has surprised in many Asian markets.

New Line and Warner Bros.’ horror prequel Annabelle likewise remains a strong global player, finishing Sunday with an impressive $166.1 million in total ticket sales, including $95 million overseas. Annabelle, costing just $6.5 million to make, earned another $19.2 million internationally for the weekend.

Still, it was neither of those films, nor Dracula Untold, that topped the weekend box office chart offshore. Instead, the crown went to Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The quirky superhero tentpole, still playing in China and a smattering of other territories, took in $23.1 million to jump the $400 million mark internationally for a worldwide total of $732.6 million.

Read more ‘Annabelle’ Director John Leonetti Talks About Shooting on a Haunted Set

Better yet, Guardians became No. 3 Marvel title of all time behind The Avengers ($1.5 billion) and Iron Man 3 ($1.2 billion).

Universal and Legendary’s origins pic Dracula Untold came in No. 2 overseas, earning $22.5 million from 58 markets for a foreign total of $95.7 million, more than double its early North American take of 40.7 million (Dracula Untold fell 58 percent in its second weekend domestically). Its global cume is $136.4 million.

Thanks to a late rollout in Europe, Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came in No. 4 internationally behind Guardians, Dracula Untold and Gone Girl (Annabelle rounded out the top five). TMNT took in a hearty $20 million from 33 territories for a foreign total of $185.4 million and global haul of $375 million. In Europe, the U.K. led with an impressive $7.9 million, followed by France ($4.1 million), Germany ($3.8 million) and Spain ($1.5 million).

Read more ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Debuts Wiz Khalifa-Led Rap Single, TV Spot (Video)

TMNT has yet to open in China and Japan.

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Birdman’ Soars to No. 2 Theater Average of 2014

In a case of life imitating art, Birdman soared in its bicoastal debut for former Batman star Michael Keaton, who plays a washed-up superhero movie star trying to rehabilitate his career by launching a show on Broadway.

The dark comedy, from director Alejandro G. Inarritu, grossed an estimated $415,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a whopping screen average of $103,750, the best showing so far this year after Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which posted a record-breaking theater average of $202,792 earlier this year. (This year’s other indie hit, Boyhood, posted a screen average of $77,524 when launching in five locations in July.)

It’s also one of the best showings in two years if Sunday’s estimates hold. Birdman, hoping to be a prominent awards player, now has to hold up as it wings its way into other top markets.

Read more Michael Keaton on Getting ‘Spooked’ by Oscar Buzz After Nearly 40-Year Career

Fox Searchlight and New Regency partnered on the film, starring Keaton opposite Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

“I think to see him in this part was really gratifying for people,” said Searchlight distribution chief Frank Rodriguez.

Keaton’s box office record has been decidedly mixed over the last two decades since starring in Batman Returns in 1992 and Batman in 1989.

Birdman isn’t Keaton’s first indie effort. He both directed and starred in the 2008 drama, The Merry Gentleman, which quickly disappeared, opening to $74,981 in 24 theaters and topping out at $347,000.

Two years earlier, Keaton played the lead in indie film Game 6, which fared even worse, opening to $9,610 from four theaters for an average of $2,402. Game 6 also starred Keaton as an aspiring playwright, although in that film, his character sets out to kill a critic who skewered his last play.

Read more New York Film Fest: ‘Birdman’ Cast on Superheroes, Theater and How “Being a Celebrity Is S—”

Rodriguez said Birdman‘s strong opening was the culmination of several factors, including stops at the Venice, Telluride and New York film festivals, and a massive publicity blitz by the cast in the days leading up to the movie’s release.

“It’s also a cinematic triumph,” said Rodriguez, in reference to Inarritu and Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki‘s decision to make the movie seem as if it was shot in one long take.

While an ode to Broadway, Birdman‘s top-grossing theater was the Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles, followed by the Angelika Film Center in New York, the Landmark in Los Angeles and Lincoln Square AMC in New York. Next weekend, Birdman opens in an additional 18 markets, including San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas.

Elsewhere at the specialty box office, Roadside Attractions and Justin Simien‘s satirical dramedy Dear White People enjoyed a strong start, earning $338,000 from 11 theaters in select markets for a location average of $30,702.

Dear White People, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, follows four African-American students at an Ivy League university whose lives converge when controversy erupts over an African-American themed Halloween party thrown by white students. The film stars Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell and Kyle Gallner.

Read more ‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism

Elsewhere, Alex Ross Perry‘s 2014 Sundance entry Listen Up Philip, starring Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss and Jonathan Pryce, opened in two theaters, grossing $24,291 for a so-so location average of $12,146 for Tribeca Film.

Among holdovers, Bill Murray‘s comedy St. Vincent expanded into a total of 68 theaters in its second outing, grossing $685,000 for a location average of $10,074 and a cume of $836,982.

St. Vincent is working very well in the suburbs, so we are going to pull the trigger next weekend and go wide,” said TWC’s Erik Lomis. “People are embracing it because it’s a feel-good movie. There’s a lot of heavy stuff in the market.”

Fox International’s co-production Bang Bang celebrated the weekend by becoming the top-grossing Bollywood title of all time in North America, not accounting for inflation. The film earned $155,000 from 108 theaters for a domestic total of $2.6 million, surpassing last year’s Kick ($2.5 million).

Read more Imax to Screen Bollywood Remake ‘Bang Bang!’ in India

The Metropolitan’s The Met: Live in HD broadcast its second opera of the season, Mozart‘s The Marriage of Figaro, on Saturday, taking in $2.1 million from 900 North American screens.

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Box Office: Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’ Conquers Competition With $23.5M Weekend

Thanks to an army of older males, David Ayer‘s Fury won the North American box office battle with $23.5 million from 3,173 theaters, toppling Gone Girl from the top spot and delivering one of the best openings of all time for a World War II war movie, not accounting for inflation. It’s also another win for star Brad Pitt.

Fury is a career best for Ayer. As fate would have it, the year’s other high-profile WWII drama, the upcoming Unbroken, is directed by Pitt’s wife, Angelina Jolie.

Sony, QED International and LStar Capital spent $68 million to make Fury, featuring Pitt as a battle-hardened Army sergeant in command of a Sherman tank and its five-man crew as they attempt to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany (Sony is aggressively marketing the film to veterans). The film, earning an A- CinemaScore, also features Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood.

Read more Brad Pitt to Toast Veterans at ‘Fury’ Washington Premiere

While Fury played heavily to males (60 percent), Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer noted that females, likely lured in by Pitt, made up a healthy percentage. “It’s really resonating with all audiences,” he said. Overall, 51 percent of the audience was over the age of 35.

Strong reviews, along with the successful U.S. launch, should bolster Fury‘s showing overseas, where it begins rolling out next weekend.

In 2009, Pitt starred in Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds, which lays claim to the No. 2 opening of all time for a WWII war title ($38.1 million) after Pearl Harbor ($59.1 million). Fury ranks No. 4 behind those two titles and Saving Private Ryan ($30.6 million).

Holdover Gone Girl — jumping the $100 million mark domestically and the $200 million mark globally — edged out new family entry Book of Life to take the No. 2 spot domesticaly (both are from 20th Century Fox). Gone Girl fell just 33 percent to $17.8 million from 3,241 theaters for a total $107.1 million. Overseas, Gone Girl took in another $20.2 million for a foreign cume of $94.7 million and worldwide haul of $201.8 million.

Read more ‘Gone Girl’ Cast on David Fincher’s Pranks, Multiple Takes

By the end of Halloween weekend, Gone Girl will have surpassed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5 million) to become Fincher’s top film of all time in North America.

Book of Life, produced by Guillermo del Toro and fueled by Hispanic moviegoers (40 percent), came in No. 3 with a solid $17 million from 3,071 theaters. Fox Animation and ReelFX co-produced the $50 million movie, voiced by Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Hector Elizondo, Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana.

The pic, set around the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, likewise earned an A- CinemaScore. The 3D title skewed female (57 percent), while 54 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25, with many of those under the age of 10.

“The origins of the story are in Mexican folklore, so we targeted Hispanics, but we broadened the campaign to make it accessible for all audiences,” said Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson. “As for Gone Girl, it’s a box office phenomenon. If you don’t see the movie, you’re not part of the conversation. And there is a whole lot of conversation going on.”

Overseas, Book of Life debuted to $8.6 million from its first 19 markets, many of them in Latin America, for a global launch of $25.6 million. Mexico led with $3.8 million, followed by Brazil with $2 million.

Read more Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Book of Life’ Teases Magic and Love After Death (Video)

The weekend’s third new nationwide offering was romancer The Best of Me, the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, starring Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato and Gerald McRaney.

Best of Me placed No. 5 for the weekend with $10.2 million from 2,936 locations, the lowest debut for a Sparks adaptation, not accounting for inflation. The previous low was the $12.2 million debut of A Walk to Remember in 2002.

Relativity partnered on the $26 million film with DiNovi Pictures and Nicholas Sparks Productions, and says its financial risk is minimal after selling off international rights and taking advantage of tax credits. Still, the $26 million budget doesn’t include marketing costs. Best of Me, earning a B+ CinemaScore, came in behind Disney holdover Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which took the No. 4 spot.

“We have had great success with Nicholas Sparks over the years and are always glad to be in business with him. We are confident the film will play well over the coming weeks given its word of mouth and strong CinemaScore,” a Relativity spokesperson said. The company also worked with Sparks on Safe Haven and Dear John.

Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s dark comedy Birdman soared at the specialty box office, earning $415,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a whopping location average of $103,750, the second-best showing in two years after Wes Anderson‘s 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel ($202,792).

Read more New York Film Fest: ‘Birdman’ Cast on Superheroes, Theater and How “Being a Celebrity Is S—”

Fox Searchlight and New Regency partnered on Birdman, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up superhero-movie star who tries to reclaim his career by staging a play on Broadway. The awards contender also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

Roadside Attractions and Justin Simien‘s satirical dramedy Dear White People also prospered, earning $338,000 from 11 theaters in select markets for a location average of $30,702. 

Here are the estimated top 10 films for the weekend of Oct. 17-19 at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Change, Cume

1. Fury, 1/3,173, Sony/QED, $23.5 million

2. Gone Girl, 3/3,249, Fox/New Regency, $17.8 million, -33%, $107.1 million

3. The Book of Life, 1/3,071, Fox/ReelFX, $17 million

4. Alexander…Very Bad Day, 2/3,088, Disney, $12 million, -34%, $36.9 million

5. The Best of Me, 1/2,936, Relativity, $10.2 million

6. Dracula Untold, 1/2,887, Universal/Legendary, $9.9 million, -58%, $40.7 million

7. The Judge, 2/3,003, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow, $7.94 million, -39%, $26.8 million

8. Annabelle, 3/2,878, Warner Bros./New Line, $7.92 million, -50%, $74.1 million

9. The Equalizer, 4/2,262, Sony/Village Roadshow, $5.5 million, -44%, $89.2 million

10. The Maze Runner, 5/2,155, Fox, $4.5 million, -40%, $90.8 million

Twitter: @PamelaDayM

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Box Office: Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’ Guns Down $8.8M Friday; ‘Birdman’ Soars

Marking another victory for star Brad Pitt, director David Ayer‘s Fury will win this weekend’s North American box office battle with an estimated $25 million after topping Friday’s chart with $8.8 million. The World War II tank drama, nabbing an A- CinemaScore, launches two months before Pitt’s wife, Angelina Jolie, opens her own WWII epic, Unbroken.

Sony, QED International and LStar Capital spent $68 million to make Fury, featuring Pitt as a battle-hardened Army sergeant in command of a Sherman tank and her five-man crew as they attempt to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany (Sony is aggressively marketing the film to veterans).

Fury, also starring Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood, is playing in 3,155 theaters.

Read more Brad Pitt to Toast Veterans at ‘Fury’ Washington Premiere

New family friendly entry Book of Life, produced by Guillermo del Toro, is finding itself in a close race for No. 2 with fellow Fox title Gone Girl. Both films are aiming to take in roughly $18 million for the weekend.

Gone Girl continues to enjoy a stellar hold in its third outing, and will jump the $100 million mark today in North America as it races towards becoming David Fincher‘s top-grossing film of all time domestically.

Fox Animation and ReelFX co-produced the $50 million Book of Life, voiced by Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Hector Elizondo, Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana. The pic, set around the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, grossed $5 million Friday from 3,069 locations after likewise earning an A- CinemaScore.

Read more Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Book of Life’ Teases Magic and Love After Death (Video)

The weekend’s third new nationwide offering is romancer The Best of Me, the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, starring Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato and Gerald McRaney. Best of Me placed No. 3 Friday with with $4.1 million from 2,936 locations for a projected $11 million-plus weekend, potentially the lowest opening for a Sparks adaptation. It earned a B+ CinemaScore.

Relativity partnered on the $25 million film with DiNovi Pictures and Nichols Sparks Production, and offset much of its risk by selling off rights internationally. Best of Me could fall to No. 4 for the weekend behind Disney’s Alexander the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Read more New York Film Fest: ‘Birdman’ Cast on Superheroes, Theater and How “Being a Celebrity Is S—”

Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s dark comedy Birdman is making headlines at the specialty box office, where it’s on course to score the best theater average of the year so far after The Grand Budapest Hotel in a victory for the filmmaker, Fox Searchlight, New Regency and Michael Keaton, who stars as a washed-up superhero-movie star who tries to reclaim his career by staging a play on Broadway.

Birdman is projected to gross $410,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $102,500. The awards contender also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone.

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Ebola: Another sign of our capital’s decay?

Beyond the immediate danger posed by Ebola, what the situation has exposed should not go unremarked.

Because, to the list of institutions once held in high regard but which have lately come up short — the Veterans Administration, the IRS, yes, even the Secret Service — we now must add the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s been an all-too-familiar story: first, the calm assurances that all is well; then the impenetrable press releases saying nothing; finally the grudging admission, “Mistakes were made.”

The administration seemed as caught off-guard as the rest of us, and scrambled to catch up.

Congress, which has done nothing for years, literally, and can’t even break the partisan deadlock long enough to confirm a Surgeon General, played to form — they launched into a bitter blame game.

All this as the chairman of the Federal Reserve expressed concern the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer, which could mean new problems on the economic front.

I don’t know where all this goes. What I do know is that our once-proud “shining city on a hill” is becoming just a town where nothing works.

Once we figure out what to do about Ebola, maybe we should focus on what to do about that.

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