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15/12/2019 15:31:34  

  • One Million Moms complained about bridal ads for Zola
  • Ellen DeGeneres and Sandra Bernhard lead online backlash

Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, the Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar.

Related: Army and navy academies investigate possible 'white power' hand signals

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15/12/2019 09:31:30  

The British Film institute, still searching for new leadership, needs someone to put quality before quantity

Wanted: a new boss for British movies. Amanda Nevill announced in April that she was to step down as chief executive of the British Film Institute, but there’s still no anointed successor. Running the BFI these days is a real challenge, especially because, since 2011, it has also been in charge of allocating lottery movie funds - now a pot of £50m a year. This is in addition to overseeing the national film and TV archives, cinemas on the South Bank, the London film festival and a vast education programme. Names on the wish list include Nevill’s deputy Ben Roberts; Daniel Battsek, who runs Film4; Amanda Berry, head of Bafta; and Michael Jackson, the former controller of BBC One and Two, former chief executive at Channel 4, and, for the past 17 years, a TV and movie exec in the US. Could the one-time wunderkind return to the UK?

Cinema-going itself is in rude health in the UK – surprising and yet encouraging, given that there are so many rival streaming options. But British-made movies? I’ve long believed the UK has too much of a small-screen mentality towards films. So what should the BFI’s role be when competing with the likes not just of Hollywood, but the super-rich Netflix and Amazon? Ideally, by backing movies that are quintessentially British and yet will travel. Not easy. The BFI rightly put development money into the Oscar-winning The Favourite, but, please, can we avoid more tedious historical dramas like Mike Leigh’s Peterloo. The answer is to support fewer films but give each more money to boost their potential. Quality over quantity.

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14/12/2019 16:30:47  

"YouTube channels posing as American news outlets racked up millions of views on false and inflammatory videos over several months this year," reports CNN. "All with the help of YouTube's recommendation engine." Many of the accounts, which mostly used footage from CNN, but also employed some video from Fox News, exploited a YouTube feature that automatically creates channels on certain topics. Those topic channels are then automatically populated by videos related to the topic -- including, in this case, blatant misinformation. YouTube has now shut down many of the accounts. YouTube's own algorithms also recommended videos from the channels to American users who watched videos about U.S. politics. That the channels could achieve such virality -- one channel was viewed more than two million times over one weekend in October -- raises questions about YouTube's preparedness for tackling misinformation on its platform just weeks before the Iowa caucuses and points to the continuing challenge platforms face as people try to game their systems.... Responding to the findings on Thursday, a CNN spokesperson said YouTube needs to take responsibility. "When accounts were deleted or banned, they were able to spin up new accounts within hours," added Plasticity, a natural language processing and AI startup which analyzed the data and identified at least 25 different accounts which YouTube then shut down. "The tactics they used to game the YouTube algorithm were executed perfectly. They knew what they were doing."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

14/12/2019 11:31:35  

Northern England and Scotland may face snow, while 13 flood warnings and 130 flood alerts were issued for parts of the country

Heavy showers across the UK are expected to continue over the weekend with the potential for snow in northern England and Scotland, the Met Office has said.

Rain showers, blustery gales and spots of sunshine are expected throughout the weekend, with Netweather warning of gales in the south with gusts of over 50mph in the English Channel, and wet hill snow in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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13/12/2019 23:31:09  

  • Prince had plotted using mercenary army to overthrow Maduro
  • Speculation that Prince could be back channel for White House

Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater and prominent supporter of Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez – one of Nicolás Maduro’s closest allies.

The visit, described by one source as “outreach” to Maduro’s government, came just eight months after Prince floated a plan to deploy a private army to help topple the Venezuelan leader.

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13/12/2019 16:33:45  

Bush House, King’s College London
Simon Russell Beale, Mark Gatiss and Catherine Tate were on hilarious form in this new version of the state-of-the-nation comedy

How is it possible that an audience who have just given a roaring ovation then leave the venue looking crestfallen? James Graham’s The Vote, a night-specific play set in a polling station over the last 90 minutes the ballot boxes are open, achieved that anomaly in 2015, when the Donmar Warehouse premiere (also screened live on Channel 4) concluded with the predominantly leftist London audience finding out from the TV exit poll that David Cameron’s Conservatives had a working majority.

A similar mood-flip occurred on Thursday night after a star-cast reading of The Vote 2019, an updated version, again directed by Graham’s original collaborator, Josie Rourke. In a large lecture hall at the premises that King’s College London took over from BBC World Service, 12 music stands were ranged before three dozen seated actors, many of whom had participated in the premiere, their scripts showing their own lines highlighted in yellow or pink.

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13/12/2019 12:31:25  

Feeling the need for isolation and to get away from it all? These tiny islands, remote bothies and clifftop retreats should do the trick

Where better to escape political disappointment than a tiny island? Each is a nation unto itself ready to be declared an independent democratic republic (with yourself as benign dictator-for-life, naturally). Flat Holm, a 24-hectare isle four miles into the Bristol Channel, has been home to hermits, farmers, military garrisons and a cholera hospital. Nowadays, it offers some of Britain’s most isolated accommodation: a hostel, a campsite and a cosy Grade II-listed former lighthouse keeper’s cottage. This last would make a perfect presidential palace from whose garden you could issue statutes banning fake news and charlatans, and welcoming all immigrants (well, except a certain blond one, perhaps).
Cottage £100 a night, sleeps 4, £150 for 6. Hostel adult £19, child £16. Camping adult £8, child £7, cardiffharbour.com. Boat from Cardiff Bay adult £32, child £20, bayislandvoyages.co.uk; landing fee adult £5, child £2.50
Dixe Wills

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12/12/2019 11:31:03  

Zelenskiy sitcom lasted just one night after alluding to Putin in crude sub-language

A Russian television channel has abruptly cancelled a sitcom starring Ukraine’s president after an allusion to a crude joke about Vladimir Putin was aired in Russia’s far east.

The political satire Servant of the People served as a platform for the former comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy to gain popularity and eventually win the Ukrainian presidency, in a vote largely driven by anger at the country’s previous leaders.

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12/12/2019 10:31:29  

'Sir, they're about to disclose the vulns!' 'Damn it. Accelerate the rollout!'

How does Microsoft mitigate the risk of speculative-execution bugs on its Azure platform? The US goliath is unwilling to comment, despite running a session at its Ignite conference last month on exactly this subject.…

12/12/2019 10:30:01  

Having spent the day parading around the media campaigning for Labour, long-time lefty Steve Coogan took to Channel 4 last night, saying if, as a celebrity, he can “say anything that can help influence the election, you’re honour-bound to do that”. Labour may be worrying he influenced the election in completely the wrong way, however, […]

The post Steve Coogan: Brexiteers are Ill-Informed and Ignorant appeared first on Guido Fawkes.

12/12/2019 02:33:29  

MikeChino shares a report from Dwell: In Tabasco, Mexico, a family living below the poverty line recently visited their future home: a 3D-printed, 500-square foot structure with two bedrooms, one bath, a wraparound cement patio, and an awning over the front porch. It's one of two fully furnished homes -- printed in about 24 hours and finished by local nonprofit ECHALE -- that will soon make up a larger community of 50 dwellings with green spaces, parks, amenities, and basic utilities. Tabasco is a seismic zone, so the homes were engineered beyond standard safety requirements -- and they'll endure for generations. "Icon's printer, called the Vulcan II, isn't the first designed to build an entire house," notes Fast Company. "But the new Mexican neighborhood, which will have 50 of the homes, will be the first community to use this type of technology at scale." New Story, the nonprofit leading the project, has posted a video about the homes on their YouTube channel.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

11/12/2019 19:31:01  

Bayern: Neuer; Pavard, Martinez, Boateng, Davies; Alcantara, Kimmich, Coutinho; Coman, Gnabry, Perisic

Subs: Ulreich, Goretzka, Singh, Müller, Mai, Lewandowski, Zirkzee

Hello. This is one of those matches that existentialist philosophers love. You are free to give it your own meaning. In competition terms, it is absurd: Bayern have already qualified for the next stage as group winners, and Spurs have already got there as runners-up. But the teams are here and so are we, so let’s make it matter. Express yourselves, players! Express yourself, reader!

Actually, the game does carry at least a little jeopardy, especially for Bayern. They come into it on the back of two domestic defeats and they are not the kind of club who can tolerate a third straight loss, especially not to a side whom they whupped 7-2 a couple of months ago. That was a different Tottenham, though, one led by a Mauricio Pochettino nearing the end of his tether. Now José Mourinho has the reins and it will be a matter of pride to him to show some improvement. You might think improving on a 7-2 defeat will be a doddle, but canny Mourinho has introduced an extra element of intrigue by leaving a load of first-teamers in London, including Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier, along with the injured Hugo Lloris, Tanguy Ndombele, Harry Winks and Erik Lamela. So expect some lesser-spotted faces to get a look-in today. It’s a pity for Spurs’ U-19s that they had to play Bayern’s U-19s earlier today (result: 3-0 to Bayern), otherwise they might have got a run-out against the senior side here. It’s on!

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11/12/2019 17:31:08  

It’s a big night for one team at the Stadion Maksimir, although fortunately that isn’t Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men have already assured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League after three wins and two draws so far in the group stage, meaning they are in the hat as group winners no matter happens tonight against Dinamo Zagreb.

The Croatians are vey much still in with a shout of making it through, which would be some achievement. Nenad Bjelica’s side are currently third, one point behind Shakhtar Donetsk, and will require victory to stand a chance. The Ukrainians are playing Atalanta at home, who also have an outside chance of qualifying so it really is set up for a fascinating evening.

Related: Ilkay Gündogan blames Manchester City’s slump on loss of confidence

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10/12/2019 21:30:48  

Exclusive: presenter talks about taking over as main anchor from David Dimbleby

Huw Edwards has said “the stakes are very high” for the BBC and its general election coverage on Thursday, admitting he feels “a combination of excitement and nerves” as he prepares to succeed David Dimbleby as its main anchor.

Amid Conservative threats to examine the BBC licence fee and Channel 4’s broadcasting remit after the election, and BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg having to apologise after being misled over an altercation outside Leeds General Infirmary, public service broadcasters are under immense scrutiny.

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10/12/2019 07:30:40  

He’s targeted the BBC and Channel 4, and the Tory manifesto has plans for a constitutional upheaval and an attack on human rights

Boris Johnson is ending his despicable campaign with a “blitz” through Labour seats from Grimsby to Wrexham. Listen with fear to his message: he has distilled it down to pure Faragism, reprising the spirit of Vote Leave’s “breaking point” poster and “70m Turks”. His party’s veins flow with Brexit party poison.

In erstwhile Labour-land, Brexit is the tin-opener that gives Conservatives a chance, not with dog-whistle but foghorn. That old populist template casting honest working people as being deceived by “the elite” echoes down the centuries from the far right. Already hard-pressed seats suffer from 10 years of lost public jobs, investment and services, yet Johnson urges them to blame not entitled Etonians but Jeremy Corbyn’s “great betrayal orchestrated from Islington by politicians who sneer at your values and ignore your votes”.

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10/12/2019 00:31:08  

TV channel Gold announces the winners in a national competition for topical festive gags – can you do any better?

What do Donald Trump, Santa and Olivia Colman have in common? No, it’s not a joke – but all three feature in the winning gags of a national competition to find the best topical Christmas cracker funnies.

A joke about the US president was deemed the funniest, while British politicians Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron and the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg also feature in the highlights. It is the seventh time that the TV channel Gold has run the annual competition, which challenges the British public to tweet their best efforts. Entries were shortlisted by a panel of judges led by comedy critic Bruce Dessau and put to an anonymous public vote of 2,000 British adults to reveal the winning jokes. Here are the Top 10:

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09/12/2019 21:30:49  

Jacinda Ardern confirms that New Zealanders and tourists from Australia, the US, Britain, China and Malaysia are among missing on White Island/Whakaari. Follow rolling updates

After the tragedy, there are questions about why tourists were allowed on the island at all considering the risks. Volcanologist Carina Fearnley has spoken to the UK’s Channel 5 News saying she had visited the island and found it terrifying given her understanding of the danger.

“When I visited, I was fully aware of the dangers and the risks involved, and I was quite terrified.”

Volcanologist @CarinaFearnley has studied New Zealand's White Island volcano.

A sudden eruption at the popular tourist spot has left at least five dead and many more missing. pic.twitter.com/dB8qcDKGu4

Scott Morrison said it was “still too early to tell” the full extent of injuries of the 13 Australians in hospitals around New Zealand but that “a number of them are in critical conditions” including those with “quite severe burns”.

Marise Payne said the Australians “are located in multiple hospitals around New Zealand, in Waikato, in Christchurch, in Middlemore in Auckland, in Tauranga and in Hart Valley”.

The challenge for the next few days is supporting those Australians who are so badly injured in hospitals across New Zealand, supporting their families and supporting the families of those who remain unaccounted for. We will be working closely with New Zealand authorities and with Royal Caribbean to provide any support that we can, and we will ensure that all assistance is provided to them and to their families.

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09/12/2019 16:31:19  

If Boris Johnson’s wins on Thursday, his government is predicted to impoverish hundreds of thousands more children

Last Monday, during a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on child poverty, the UK was introduced to three remarkable young people. We met eight-year-old Courtney and watched her counting down till her family’s next universal credit payment while worrying about whether her mum would get a present from Santa. Courtney’s family have been sleeping in coats and visiting food banks because of problems with their benefits.

We met Danielle, a 15-year-old from Sudbury who lives with her mum and sister in a cramped bedsit flat, still trying to study for her GCSEs though she’s struggling with self-harming issues and suicidal thoughts.

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09/12/2019 15:30:24  

Roger Ailes’ victims fight back in a film where the odious media mogul looms large … before Rupert Murdoch saves the day

The loathsome Roger Ailes, notorious as a former Nixon apparatchik and veteran CEO of the stridently mediocre Fox News channel, became even less fragrant in 2016 when the open secret of his sexual harassment became an open non-secret. The channel’s former anchor Gretchen Carlson successfully filed a lawsuit against him, revealing that he made sexual advances to her and other women at Fox; their careers would be advanced (or cancelled) at his seedy whim. Carlson’s courageous lawsuit was supported by six other women and the 76-year-old Ailes’s own boss, Rupert Murdoch, fired his underling, who died a year later.

This gruesome soap opera of misogyny and reactionary politics has already been turned into a Showtime TV drama, The Loudest Voice, with Naomi Watts as Carlson and Russell Crowe as Ailes – and now it is a movie directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph, with Nicole Kidman as Carlson and John Lithgow horribly plausible and latexed up as her bloated old sex-criminal employer. Charlize Theron is Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly, who infuriated the Fox News fanbase by challenging Trump on his anti-women attitudes before the election, and Margot Robbie plays Katya Pospisil, a fictional composite of all the younger women who were abused. She is the “Christian influencer” on Instagram who figures she can get ahead at Fox, and submits, almost in a dream, to the humiliation required.

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09/12/2019 11:30:41  

The public want action, but with the Tories obsessed with Brexit, the issue hasn’t gained traction in the media

The moment I began to lose hope that this really would be “the climate election” came the day after Channel 4 hosted its climate debate. For the first time in British history, party leaders had gathered to discuss how to tackle the climate crisis. Yet the papers and morning TV and radio shows didn’t seem particularly interested in the discussion: they spent more time talking about Michael Gove and Stanley Johnson’s Borat-esque attempt to storm the doors with a camera crew.

It’s useless to waste energy blaming Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, for this. There is a term used in basketball to explain the behaviour of an incorrigible gunner who hoists a shot at every opportunity: shooters shoot. It’s just their nature. Gove goves, meaning if you trot him out, he does personally and professionally debasing things in front of television cameras to lock down their attention.

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09/12/2019 07:36:25  

Word as used in ‘Indigenous voice to parliament’ was central to public debate in 2019, centre’s director says

“Voice” – as in Indigenous voice to parliament – has been named the 2019 word of the year by the Australian National Dictionary Centre, beating “quiet Australians” and “fish kill.”

The term was first used to define a First Nations representative body by Noel Pearson in 2015 and is defined by the dictionary as “a formal channel for Indigenous input into the making of laws and policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.

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08/12/2019 14:30:30  

Snowman and Snowdog producers have made Christmas treat from Judith Kerr’s children’s classic

“Talk the tiger,” Judith Kerr’s two-year-old daughter Tacy used to instruct her at bedtime. She was demanding more of the story her mother, who had trained as an artist but was then working as a television screenwriter, had started inventing for her after a visit to the zoo.

Talk the tiger Kerr did, and then over the course of a year she started writing it down and illustrating it. A friend recommended that she use bright indelible inks rather than her usual watercolours. The tiger sprang vividly to life and rapidly into homes up and down the land when his encounter with a little girl called Sophie was published as The Tiger Who Came to Tea in 1968. It was an immediate success and has remained in print ever since. Kerr, of course, became a prolific, highly respected and hugely loved children’s author over the subsequent half century, notably for the domestic adventures of another – albeit slightly smaller – cat, Mog, who was rightly felt to merit her own obituary in this paper when she alas ate her very last egg for breakfast. Kerr died in May at the age of 95.

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07/12/2019 20:30:18  

While the PM tours the nation his Labour constituency challenger has been working tirelessly to pull off a 5% swing

Woody Allen observed that 80% of success is just showing up. Boris Johnson does not subscribe to that particular wisdom. If there is a strategy to his election campaign, it would seem to be that the prime minister does his best work in absentia.

Our fearless would-be leader has cancelled bakery visits in Glastonbury and pub meet-and-greets in Rochester (citing security concerns about the five protesters outside). He sent his old man along in his place to the Channel 4 leaders’ climate debate and has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the gauntlet chucked in his direction by Andrew Neil. The Tories began this campaign calling Jeremy Corbyn chicken. They have gone quiet with that taunt now.

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06/12/2019 18:30:07  

They would like us to view the prime minister and his policies in a political safari park – which you drive through at pace

One of our great national sports in this country is looking the wrong way. For most of this year, you could read multiple condemnatory stories a day about Meghan Markle doing this or that at Wimbledon or her baby shower or wherever – and absolutely nothing about Prince Andrew being accused of doing this or that with the then teenage sex slave of his international child-sex trafficker friend. Yoohoo, newshounds, over here!

And so to the latest helpful diversion in this endlessly entrancing general election – a row over a clip of Boris Johnson that Channel 4 News wrongly subtitled. They had the prime minister saying, “I’m in favour of having people of colour coming to this country”, when in fact he was saying “people of talent”. If you somehow missed this shitshow, it’s best summarised as “person who has said multiple racist things didn’t say this particular racist thing but the cockup has played right into his hands”. Also, you’re the UK’s last pure human. Can I come and hide out where you are for the next five days?

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06/12/2019 17:29:00  

TORIES Unveiled new campaign poster Fought back against Channel 4 doctored racism smear Denied Corbyn’s latest document ‘leak’ Preparing for tonight’s final debate  Topline(s): We will get Brexit done. LABOUR Unveiling of new document claiming Boris’s deal puts a border down the Irish sea Reminding their Northern hearlands that Thatcher ‘damaged’ them and Boris will […]

The post 6 Days to Go appeared first on Guido Fawkes.