Michael Jackson Tribute Show Headed to Broadway in 2020

A musical inspired by the life of late pop singer Michael Jackson will open on Broadway in 2020, Jackson’s estate and its producing partner said on Tuesday.

The story will be written by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, according to a statement from the “Thriller” singer’s estate and Columbia Live Stage, co-developers of the untitled production.

The show will feature songs from Jackson’s extensive catalog of hits, it said.

Known as the King of Pop, Jackson died at age 50 in 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol and sedatives.

His estate previously collaborated on a live tribute show by Cirque du Soleil called “Michael Jackson One,” which has been running in Las Vegas since 2013.

Jackson gained success with songs such as “ABC” and “I’ll Be There” as a child singer with his brothers, and later pursued a solo career that earned him worldwide fame and fans with hits such as “Rock With You,” “Bad” and “Beat It.”

 

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Russia to Slam Retaliatory Tariffs on US Imports

Russia has announced retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. move to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said a statement on Tuesday Moscow has decided to apply retaliatory measures in line with the World Trade Organization’s rules to compensate for damage incurred by the U.S. tariffs.

Oreshkin said that additional tariffs will be applied to a range of U.S. imports, but he declined to immediately name them. He added that the tariffs will be applied to the U.S. goods that have domestic equivalents to avoid hurting the national economy.

The European Union, India, China and Russia all have applied to the WTO to challenge the tariffs that took effect March 23. Washington argued they were for national security reasons.

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Italian Interior Minister Plans to Expel Non-Citizen Ethnic Roma

Italy’s far-right anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has announced plans to count the ethnic Roma community living in the country and deport those without Italian nationality.

Salvini, who also serves as deputy prime minister and leads the Northern League party, said he has ordered a new census aimed at expelling non-Italian Roma. But reaction to his idea came from all sides.

Salvini has been very clear about not wanting anyone who is illegal on Italian soil. He set off a storm of controversy in Europe last week when he refused to let a charity ship carrying more than 600 mainly African migrants dock in Italy.

He said his ministry is looking at what he called “the Roma question” and wanted to see “who, and how many” there were. He was particularly clear that he did not want what he described as “these criminals” to be kept in Italian prisons and was looking at ways to deport them.

He said an agreement is needed with the countries that must take them back, like Romania, Albania and Tunisia. He claimed that they are the countries of origin from which criminals in Italian prisons are most numerous and added that Italy would “unfortunately” have to keep Roma found to have Italian nationality.

The policy was met with resistance by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who was quoted in Italian press reports as saying Salvini had gone “too far.” The leader of the anti-establishment M5S, Luigi Di Maio, called Salvini’s order “unconstitutional.”

Anna Maria Bernini, of the center-right Forza Italia party, said the government should guarantee the respect of the law without discrimination.

The leader of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, Giorgia Meloni, said a census of the Roma was “OK” — obviously a first step. But the problem is much wider, she added, and requires strong decisions.

The center-left Democratic Party (PD) was highly critical of Salvini, saying his call revived memories of “ethnic cleansing.”

Acting party secretary Maurizio Martina said nationalist and sovereignty positions like these are the worst and provide no real solutions to an enormous historical issue.

Salvini subsequently explained that the government had no intention of setting up a separate archive for Roma. He said he wanted to protect Roma children whose parents bar them from going to local schools and instead  instigate them to criminality.

Tens of thousands of Roma live across Italy, many in squalid shantytowns on the outskirts of major cities. According to an Italian national statistics report in 2017, there were believed to be up to 180,000 Roma in the country, with 40 percent under age 14. About half were believed to be Italian citizens.

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Теніс: Світоліна вийшла до другого кола в Бірмінгемі

Перша ракетка України Еліна Світоліна вийшла до другого кола турніру в англійському Бірмінгемі. В стартовому поєдинку Світоліна переграла 55-ту ракетку світу, 21-річну хорватку Донну Векіч у трьох сетах – 6:1, 3:6, 6:1.

Світоліна, сіяна в Бірмінгемі другою, вже тричі перемагала Векіч, але це було на інших покриттях – ґрунті та харді. Змагання в Англії відбуваються на траві, провідні тенісистки проводять таким чином підготовку до неофіційного чемпіонату світу на цьому покритті – Вімблдонського турніру.

Цей турнір розпочнеться на кортах Всеанглійського клубу лаун-тенісу та крокету 2 липня і триватиме до 15 липня.

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Russia’s Record-Breaking $15 Billion World Cup Price Tag: What Does It Buy?

The World Cup in Russia is the most expensive ever – with the official price tag around $15 billion. The result: several huge new stadiums, railroads and upgraded airports, plus the chance to reboot Russia’s global image. So, will the tournament represent a good value for Russians? As Henry Ridgwell reports from Moscow, the government appears to have used the World Cup to bury some bad economic news.

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Керівники держави висловили співчуття у зв’язку зі смертю Івана Драча

«Це була Людина, яка тонко відчувала Україну та її душу. Щирі співчуття рідним та друзям Івана Федоровича. Вічна пам‘ять…» – президент Петро Порошенко

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In ‘Jurassic World,’ a Dino-sized Animal-rights Parable 

The dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park” are many things. They are special-effects wonders. They are unruly house guests. And they are some of the biggest, most foot-stomping metaphors around. 

Since Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original, the dinos of “Jurassic Park” — many of them not light on their feet to be begin with — have been weighed down with meanings that sometimes shift movie to movie. If they look a touch tired in the latest “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” it could be from all the allegorical baggage they’ve been carrying. 

Twenty-five years ago, the dinosaurs — wondrous and horrifying creations at once — stood for the magical but fearsome power of genetic engineering. In 2015’s “Jurassic World,” they were focus group-approved theme park attractions that doubled for Hollywood blockbusters themselves. 

Now, in “Fallen Kingdom,” the scaly ones — again threatened with extinction — are pursued by poachers and others who wish to capture and capitalize on an endangered if dangerous species. The theme appealed to Colin Trevorrow, the director of 2015’s “Jurassic World,” now serving as co-writer with Derek Connolly, and as executive producer, alongside Steven Spielberg.

“We have a relationship with animals on this planet that is tenuous and is strained. They suffer from abuse and trafficking and the consequences of our environmental choices,” said Trevorrow. “To find a way to build essentially a children’s franchise about how we have a responsibility to the creatures that we share the planet with felt like a worthwhile thing to do.”

If the previous “Jurassic World” was fashioned as a meta-blockbuster, it made good on its intent. “Jurassic World” blew away expectations, setting a new opening-weekend record and stomping its way to nearly $1.7 billion worldwide. “Fallen Kingdom,” with J.A. Bayona taking over as director, has already taken in $370 million overseas (including $112 million in China) before opening in North America on Thursday night. 

That takes some of the pressure off “Fallen Kingdom,” which was made for about $170 million by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment. But expectations remain high for a 25-year-old franchise that has grossed $4 billion in ticket sales. And the animal-rights gambit of “Fallen Kingdom” — in which the dinosaurs leave the island in cages — has found a mixed critical reaction. Variety called it “a liberal pulp message movie” and “the first cautionary dinosaur-trafficking movie.” 

“We looked at real animal trafficking in the world and what that process is,” says Trevorrow, who’s writing and directing the third “Jurassic World” film. “First there’s capture and then there’s going to be an auction of some kind, a sale. We were following something that felt grounded in the reality that we know. It’s a rule that we have that we don’t want the dinosaurs to do anything that real animals wouldn’t or couldn’t do.”

The action takes place three years after the melee of “Jurassic World.” A soon-to-erupt volcano on Isla Nublar has sparked public debate, complete with Congressional hearings: Should the dinosaurs be saved? An aid to John Hammond, the Jurassic Park founder, has convinced Dallas Bryce Howard’s Claire Dearing (now a dino-rights activist) and Chris Pratt’s former raptor wrangler Owen Grady to help get the dinosaurs off the island.

The more cloistered second half of the tale most interested Bayona, the Spanish filmmaker known for “The Orphanage” and “A Monster Calls.” 

 “The first time Colin told me about the story, he told me that the second half was going to be a haunted house story,” says Bayona. “I thought that was going to be a lot of fun.” 

For anyone who recalls the frightful kitchen scene of “Jurassic Park,” “Fallen Kingdom” doubles down on the suspense of dinosaurs in tight, domestic quarters, while channeling the franchise’s contemplation of science into animal rights. Bayona traces the dinosaurs of “Jurassic World” to the kaiju of movies like “Godzilla.” 

“There’s one line that I love at the beginning of the film when Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) refers to nuclear power. Nuclear power is the moment when man makes a pivotal change in history,” says Bayona. “For the first time, man is over nature. That idea, which means crossing a red line, provokes monsters. The image of the atomic mushroom is very similar to the T-Rex.”

“Fallen Kingdom” also had more human issues to tackle. The high heels that Claire traipses through the jungle with in “Jurassic World” sparked criticism from many who derided the film for playing with outdated gender tropes. Trevorrow emphasized that that reaction was not worldwide. 

“All that stuff was very domestic but that didn’t make it something that didn’t deserve to be listened to,” says Trevorrow. “So we thought about it. We thought about how that imagery and iconography was affecting certain people and where those responses were coming from. And we definitely applied that when we thought about the next movie.”

Trevorrow had numerous conversations with Bayona and his producers about the issue. Now prepared for the jungle, Claire wears more appropriate footwear in “Fallen Kingdom,” though Bayona playfully re-introduces her with a shot that opens on her heels.   

“There’s some irony in the way we introduce Claire because there was such a big controversy with the heels that I just wanted to start with a shot of the heels,” says Bayona. “It was trying not to take the whole controversy too seriously.”

But the real-world connections that most motivated the filmmakers had more to do with stories like that of the northern white rhino. The last male of the species died in March , a victim of poachers seeking its horns. Debate has followed over whether a “Jurassic Park”-like revival of the rhinos should be carried out.   

“It has rendered a species extinct and it’s horrifying. And it’s our fault as mankind. We did that,” says Trevorrow. “It brings up a similar question that the movie brings up. If we did have this technology, if we could bring back the white rhinoceros, do we have a responsibility to do it? I don’t personally know the answer to that.”

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AFI Highlights Clooney’s Life of Acting, Activism and Pranks

George Clooney’s Hollywood career spans more than three decades, with memorable roles including fighting vampires, playing Batman and drifting through space in “Gravity.” But Clooney’s other accomplishments, including directing, screenwriting and activism, led to him becoming the latest recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.

 

Clooney, 57, was honored at a star-studded tribute gala earlier this month at the Dolby Theatre, where he has been a frequent guest because of the Academy Awards, including in 2006 when Clooney won for best supporting actor. TNT will air the tribute on Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

 

The star was all smiles during the tribute, where he was honored by stars from Jennifer Aniston to Bill Murray, along with his parents and his wife Amal. Photos of him playing his most memorable roles overlooked the stage as the celebration unfolded, and Clooney told his own story through video vignettes.

 

Here are some of the highlights of the gala:

 

The Early Years

 

During his acceptance speech, Clooney spoke about when he was new to Hollywood.

 

“When I was a young, broke unemployed actor, not only did I not have a job, I didn’t have an agent, I couldn’t get auditions,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be able to do a few short films for some up-and-coming young directors at the AFI.”

Laura Dern was the first to mention one of Clooney’s early films, “Grizzly 2,” which was never officially released. Dern and Clooney both had a short sequence in the film in which they climb a mountain and get eaten by a bear. Dern reminisced about how the two were stranded in Hungary after the film ran out of funding.

 

Clooney accrued more TV and film gigs with shows such as “ER” and “The Facts of Life” which eventually led to his major film roles in “From Dusk ‘Till Dawn” and “Batman & Robin.”

 

Global Activism

 

Amal Clooney, a distinguished human rights lawyer, noted her husband’s Kentucky manners and tendency to stick up for the most vulnerable, even on the film set.

 

The actor’s social justice work was cited even early on in his Hollywood career.

 

Actor Richard Kind said Clooney once convinced him to help clean up East Los Angeles after the LA riots in 1992. He also joined in the fight for same-sex marriage and more recently, helped raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey and mentored survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

 

When Clooney tried to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan in 2012, he was arrested for crossing a police line with his father, a moment he said he’s proud of. He was also the U.N. designated Messenger of Peace from 2008 to 2014.

 

“Look, if the cameras are going to follow me where I go, then I’m going to where the cameras should be,” he said in one of his vignettes.

 

“A Celebration of Life”

 

Apart from his activism, Clooney is also known far and wide for his eternal trickster spirit.

 

Jimmy Kimmel called Clooney “the world’s most diabolical prankster” and told of the actor’s biggest pranks. He once filled Bill Murray’s luggage with gravel and Chris O’Donnell’s car with popcorn. He also ended his film “Monuments Men” with a memorial dedication to his father, who is still alive.

 

But the actor himself wasn’t immune to the comic relief. Murray quipped about how Clooney was receiving the award at such a young age.

 

“I know that all of you thought the same thing that I thought: George is dying,” said Murray. “So, this isn’t really a lifetime achievement award. It’s a celebration of life.”

When the time finally came to receive his award, Shirley MacLaine gave Clooney a tongue-in-cheek lecture, encouraging Clooney to keep preserving his talent and ethics against time.

 

“Please mix your comedy, your humanity, your serious need to help us understand who we are,” said MacLaine. “Please direct more.”

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Right-Wing Italian Interior Minister Wants to Look into ‘Roma Question’

Italy’s new right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini said his department has to look into “the Roma question” in Italy — a comment the opposition said reminds them of Italian fascism.

Salvini said Monday he wants to take a census of Italy’s Roma population.

“Unfortunately, we will have to keep the Italian Roma because we can’t expel them,” Salvini told Telelombardia television.

Center-left politicians immediately jumped on Salvini’s comments, likening it to ethnic cleansing.

“You can work for security and respect for rules without becoming fascistic,” lawmaker Ettore Rosato tweeted. “The announced census of Roma is vulgar and demagogical.”

But Salvini said he wants to help the Roma, an itinerant ethnic group. He said he wants to know who they are and where they live, and protect Roma children, whose parents he said did not want them to integrate into society.

“We are aiming primarily to care for the children who aren’t allowed to go to school regularly because they prefer to introduce them to a life of crime,” he said.

The interior minister said he has no desire to take fingerprints of the Roma or keep index cards of individuals. He also said he wants to see how European Union funds earmarked to help the Roma are spent.

Many Roma live in camps on the outskirts of Italian cities. They complain of lifelong discrimination, being denied job and educational opportunities.

But officials say many Roma are responsible for petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and theft.

Salvini’s comments about the Roma came a week after Italy refused to let a shipload of migrants dock at an Italian port. Spain gave permission for the ship to dock in its country Sunday.

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Artist Christo Floats Tomb of Barrels in London’s Hyde Park

A 20-meter (22-yard) high sculpture of an ancient Egyptian tomb, made from 7,506 red, white and mauve barrels, has taken temporary residence amid the aquatic wildlife on a lake in London’s Hyde Park.

The floating installation — featuring two vertical sides, two slanted sides and a flat top — was unveiled on Monday by Bulgarian-born artist Christo.

“For three months, The London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park’s environment in the center of London,” he said. “The colors will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting.”

Work started in April to stack the 55-gallon barrels into their cut-off pyramid shape on a floating platform 40 meters long and 30 meters wide. Thirty-two anchors hold the structure in place.

Christo, whose full name is Christo Javacheff, was joined at the launch by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the Serpentine Galleries.

Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, are known for such works as “The Gates,” a 2005 installation in New York’s Central Park, and the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995.

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