Tuesday, July 17, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 21 - 30 of 3093
  • Wednesday, Jul. 4, 2018
Miles Teller to play Goose's son in "Top Gun" sequel
In an Oct. 25, 2017 file photo, actor Miles Teller attends a special screening of "Thank You for Your Service" at The Landmark at 57 West in New York. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

Miles Teller has been cast as the son of Goose in the long-planned sequel to "Top Gun."

Teller was announced Tuesday as the co-star opposite Tom Cruise in "Top Gun: Maverick." He'll be playing the son the of Maverick's wingman. Goose was played by Anthony Edwards in the 1986 original.

The film, which will also returns Val Kilmer as Iceman, is scheduled to be released by Paramount Pictures in July 2019. Directing is Joe Kosinski, who helmed "Oblivion," also with Cruise.

Actors Glen Powell and Nicholas Hoult had been up for the much sought-after part, but Teller won out.

The 31-year-old actor celebrated on Twitter with the first half of a famous quote from "Top Gun": "I feel the need..."

  • Monday, Jul. 2, 2018
Report: Federal Facebook probe now includes FBI, SEC
In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A federal probe into Facebook's sharing of user data with Cambridge Analytica now involves the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department, the Washington Post reported.

Representatives from these agencies have joined the Federal Trade Commission in the inquiry, the newspaper reported, citing five unnamed people familiar with the matter. Those people spoke on condition of anonymity because the probes are not complete.

The probe reportedly centers on what Facebook knew in 2015, when it learned that the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users. Facebook didn't disclose the incident with the political firm, which later worked for the Trump campaign and other Republican candidates, until this March.

The Post said the probe will look at why Facebook didn't inform users or investors earlier. Investigators are examining actions and statements of the company and its executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to the report.

Facebook confirmed to The Associated Press that it has received questions from these agencies and said it is cooperating with the inquiry.

Representatives from the FBI and Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An SEC spokesperson declined to comment. The FTC said in March it was looking into whether Facebook engaged in unfair acts that hurt consumers, and which might have violated a consent decree it reached with the FTC in 2011.

Facebook shares fell 1.2 percent in after-hours trading following the report Monday, after rising 1.6 percent in the regular session.

  • Monday, Jul. 2, 2018
Miniseries highlights stories behind Tennessee brands
In this Dec. 5, 2011, file photo, bottles of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey line the shelves of a liquor outlet in Montpelier, Vt. A miniseries that airs beginning July 11, 2018, highlights the personal stories behind six iconic Tennessee brands, including Jack Daniel's. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- 

A miniseries that airs beginning this month highlights the personal stories behind six iconic Tennessee brands.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development says the companies featured in the series include Jack Daniel's, Lodge Cast Iron, St. Blues Guitars, United Record Pressing, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and Prophetik Haute Couture.

The miniseries "Remastered" was shot and produced last year. It includes appearances by John Rich of country music duo Big & Rich; Laura Daily, chief merchant for Cracker Barrel; Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show; and Hunter Lewis, editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine.

The first episode is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. CDT July 11 on RFD-TV. New episodes will air on Wednesdays.

  • Saturday, Jun. 30, 2018
U.K. lawmakers slam Facebook's evasive answers
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The head of the U.K. Parliament's media committee slammed Facebook on Friday for what it described as evasive behavior in answering questions on fake news.

Committee chair Damian Collins said that Facebook's claims that it was unable to distinguish between political and non-political advertising is "difficult to believe." He cited several examples of where Facebook's responses were "found wanting," including their refusal to share how many resources they were devoting to security.

"In these responses, Facebook continue to display a pattern of evasive behavior - a pattern which has emerged over the course of our inquiry," he said. "The company appears to prefer minimal over rigorous scrutiny."

Facebook did not respond directly to any of Collins charges of being evasive, but pointed out that it had appeared before Collins' committee in the past.

"We welcome the chance to help the committee with its inquiry which is why Facebook's CTO Mike Schroepfer gave nearly five hours of testimony to the (media) committee in April and we have responded to every question the committee has sent us," the company said in a statement. It added that it continues to "engage" with the committee to "provide any further information they may need."

Facebook is under scrutiny globally over allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to help U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Collins has made no secret of his displeasure that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has declined to testify before the committee. Nor did members of the committee hide their frustration with Schroepfer during his testimony in April.

The unassuming engineer was forced to defend the company against suggestions that it was cavalier with user data and had done little to stem the spread of fake news. The session, which lasted over four hours, covered many of Facebook's perceived sins, with lawmaker Julian Knight accusing the company of "bullying journalists, threatening academic institutions and impeding investigations by legal authorities."

Collins was clearly unimpressed with the follow-up letter Facebook sent to address points raised in the testimony. He attached the letter from Facebook outlining questions that he wanted answered.

"They finish their letter by citing the number of times they have provided evidence to our committee," Collins said. "Highlighting this fact seems to tell us that Facebook seem reluctant to be subject to continual scrutiny, and prefer that their engagement on these issues be limited to only the minimum necessary, or when pressed, despite them being one of the most influential companies in the world with no public accountability or oversight other than to their shareholders."

  • Friday, Jun. 29, 2018
Czech film fest to honor Tim Robbins, Barry Levinson
In this Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 file photo, actor and director Tim Robbins poses with his Berlinale Camera Award after he is honored for his lifetime achievement at the 2016 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

An annual international film festival in the western Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary is kicking off with an award for American actor, director, and producer Tim Robbins.

Robbins won an Oscar in 2004 for best supporting actor in "Mystic River" and was nominated for a best director for his 1995 movie "Dead Man Walking." Friday's opening night at the 53rd edition of the festival is honoring his outstanding contributions to world cinema.

U.S. producer and director Barry Levinson who won the Academy Award for "Rain Man" in 1988 will receive the same award at the event's closing night on July 7.

The event opens with the screening of "Loves of a Blonde," a 1965 movie by Milos Forman to honor the Czech born filmmaker who died in April.

  • Friday, Jun. 29, 2018
Beyond politics: Facebook to release limited info on all ads
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Facebook says it will release more information on all advertisements running on its service. The move is part of a broader effort to encourage "transparency" in its operations.

The company said Thursday that it will let everyone see all ads run by a given Facebook "page," which is typically the public profile of a business, organization or public figure. Facebook will also publish information on when pages were created and any name changes they've undergone.

Facebook did something similar with political and election-related "issue" ads following the 2016 election. Fake accounts from Russia gamed Facebook's systems to try to influence the U.S. presidential elections, and the company is trying to avoid similar problems in upcoming contests.

Facebook, however, won't archive general advertisements as it does with political ads.

  • Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2018
NYWIFT executive director Terry Lawler to conclude tenure on December 31
Terry Lawler

Terry Lawler will conclude her tenure as executive director of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) on December 31, 2018. Announcement was made by Lawler and the NYWIFT board of directors.

Strategic planning has been underway for an executive director transition for the past two years as part of NYWIFT’s five-year strategic plan. 

A longtime member of NYWIFT, Lawler joined the staff as executive director in June 1997, at the start of NYWIFT’s 20th anniversary year. Under Lawler’s leadership the organization has doubled its membership size, tripled its operating budget, and has spearheaded the creation of numerous innovative programs and initiatives. 

During her tenure, not only has Lawler guided the organization through massive organizational growth, she has also led NYWIFT through enormous change in the industry at large. She guided its move to online communications and the inclusion of the “digital media” industry, alongside film and television, in the organization’s programming and membership outreach. She also significantly enhanced membership diversification across occupations with more members represented in the below-the-line crafts, as well as age, race and ethnicity and, yes, gender. Moreover, she has revitalized NYWIFT’s advocacy initiatives and strengthened relationships with important partners such as the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, sister WIFTI chapters, and the media.

Lawler’s creativity has led to many of NYWIFT’s groundbreaking flagship initiatives, including The Writers Lab funded by Meryl Streep, From Script to Pre-Production, the Women Calling the Shots Showcase at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Film Financing Day, and the Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Series. Lawler created NYWIFT’s now-iconic Designing Women Awards, and she also established two new Muse Awards categories, the Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award in 2006 and the Nancy Malone Directing Award last year. Recognizing the need to lift women in all areas of the industry, Lawler created the “Jenny Award,” given to an outstanding volunteer member at the annual cocktail party, and the ever-popular Women Below-the-Line Party celebrating female below-the-line professionals.

Always passionate about education, Lawler created the Next Wave NYWIFT membership category with an eye toward the inclusion and mentorship of tomorrow’s industry leaders at the start of their careers. She strengthened the intern/mentor program, now endowed by the Nancy Malone Fund, and worked with the HP Foundation to devise a new job shadowing program for young female crew members, slated to start later this year. NYWIFT scholarships also expanded to include several more schools under Lawler’s leadership, including a special scholarship for high school seniors at the Academy for Careers in Television & Film in Queens. 

Lawler has also brought unprecedented financial stability to the organization with new revenue-generating efforts like the fiscal sponsorship and legacy gift programs. She established funding opportunities for women in the industry such as the Fund for Women Filmmakers, which provides cash and in-kind grants for finishing, marketing and promoting films, and strengthened NYWIFT’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund, which has helped to preserve over 100 films by women.

“I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have worked at NYWIFT for the last 21 years. I was able spend my time advocating for equality for women in film, television and digital media, as well as providing education and information to women and men in the field, which has been deeply satisfying,” Lawler said. “I have met many talented and committed women during my time here and have made life-long friends. Though I am excited to be moving on to new adventures, I will always cherish my time at NYWIFT and the members, donors, board and staff who are responsible for its success.”

Board president Simone Pero said, “In the history of the organization, NYWIFT is the most robust it’s ever been, a testament to the unparalleled contributions of our Executive Director and friend, Terry Lawler. In her two decades as Executive Director, Terry has not only grown and sustained the organization, but she has steered the organization to exceptional heights, firmly establishing NYWIFT as the preeminent professional association for women in our industry. At a time when the importance of supporting women and equality is more critical than ever, we are deeply indebted to Terry’s leadership, vision, and enormous talents in serving our members and setting us up for an exciting and prosperous future. We will miss her dedication, wisdom, tenacity, humor and grit greatly. But, in the spirit of NYWIFT supporting women’s dreams and talents, we wish her much success in her next act.”

The board has hired transition consultant Ellen Gurzinsky from WindowBox Coaching and Consulting to manage the process externally. Lawler will assist with the transition as will the current staff, all of whom will continue in their roles. Applications are due by August 27, 2018. Questions about the position can be directed to Gurzinsky here.

  • Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2018
Apple CEO intends to keep speaking out on social issues
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during The Fortune CEO Initiative 2018 Annual Meeting, Monday, June 25, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Apple CEO Tim Cook intends to continue lambasting U.S. immigration policies and other issues that trouble him to avoid falling into an "appalling silence."

Cook outlined his views on when CEOs should protest government policies during a Monday evening appearance at a business conference hosted by Fortune magazine..  His remarks came a week after he condemned the Trump administration's since-reversed practice of separating children from parents accused of crossing the U.S. border illegally in an interview with The Irish Times.

If he had dodged the politically charged subject, Cook said he would have been cast into "the appalling silence of the good people category and this is something that I never want to be a part of."

Cooks listed education, privacy rights, the environment and human rights as other key issues for him and Apple.

Immigration is a sensitive subject that can also affect Apple's business because it relies on a pipeline of employees who come from outside the U.S. to fill thousands of the engineering jobs required to design and program the iPhones, Macs, iPads and other gadgets that have turned it into the world's most valuable company.

Leaders at other major U.S. technology companies that rely heavily on foreign-born programmers have also decried President Donald Trump's crackdown on immigration since taking office last year.

Cook has publicly supported one of the Trump administration's biggest initiatives — a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code that has lowered the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

The package also included a temporary break lowering the tax rate on profits brought back from overseas to 15.5 percent. No company benefited from that benefit more than Apple, which is bringing back about $250 billion in cash from overseas accounts and funneling a large chunk of the money into higher dividends for shareholders and repurchases of the company's own stock.

  • Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2018
Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer developing TV show
In this Tuesday, June 20, 2017, file photo, then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer smiles as he answers a question during a briefing at the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is working on a television interview show in which he banters with guests about a variety of topics.

A spokesman for TV syndication company Debmar-Mercury said Monday that a first episode of the series, titled "Sean Spicer's Common Ground," is in the works.

No other details about the episode were released. The plans were first reported by The New York Times.

The Times reported the show would feature Spicer interviewing public figures and have respectful conversations on topics ranging from the media to sports to marriage.

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump, says he was approached to be a guest on the inaugural episode. Avenatti wrote on Twitter he declined.

  • Monday, Jun. 25, 2018
Russell Crowe will play Roger Ailes in new Showtime limited series
This combination photo shows Roger Ailes at a special screening of "Kingsman: The Secret Service" in New York on Feb. 9, 2015, left, and actor Russell Crowe at the Australian premiere of his movie "The Mummy" in Sydney on May 22, 2017. Crowe will portray Ailes in a new Showtime series about the late Fox News founder. (AP Photo)

Russell Crowe will portray Roger Ailes in a new Showtime series about the late Fox News Channel founder.

The eight-episode limited series is based on the 2014 book "The Loudest Voice In The Room" by Gabriel Sherman.

Sherman's book chronicles the rise and fall of the media mogul who shook up the American political news landscape.

No air date was announced for the series, which will focus on Ailes' journey from local television producer to one of the most influential forces in news.

Ailes was CEO of Fox for 20 years before resigning after sexual harassment allegations against him surfaced in 2016. He died at age 77 from complications after a fall in May 2017.

Crowe is best known for his roles in "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind."