Star Wars and Denuclearization


Staff & Wire Reports



FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, file photo, actress Carrie Fisher attends a special screening of, "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds," at Alice Tully Hall in New York. J.J. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera's core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, file photo, actress Carrie Fisher attends a special screening of, "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds," at Alice Tully Hall in New York. J.J. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera's core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)


FILE - In this March 2, 2017 file photo, director-producer J.J. Abrams poses for a portrait to promote "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Lyceum Theatre in New York. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera's core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP, File)


Next ‘Star Wars’ film to use unreleased Fisher footage

Sunday, July 29

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Carrie Fisher is not done with “Star Wars” after all — Lucasfilm says unreleased footage of the actress will be used in the next installment of the “Star Wars” saga to draw her character’s story to an end.

The studio and writer-director J.J. Abrams announced Friday that footage of Fisher shot for 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be used in the ninth film in the space opera’s core trilogies about the Skywalker family that includes Fisher’s character, Leia.

Filming is scheduled to begin Wednesday at London’s Pinewood Studios.

Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, will also appear in the film, which for the moment is simply called “Episode IX.” It is scheduled to be released in December 2019.

Fisher died in December 2016 after she finished work on the middle installment in the trilogy, “The Last Jedi.” Director Rian Johnson opted not alter her storyline, leaving Leia’s fate to be handled by Abrams.

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams said in a statement. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us.”

He said recasting Fisher or recreating her using computer graphics, as was done in a spinoff film “Rogue One,” was not an option.

“With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

Friday’s announcement also confirmed that Billy Dee Williams will be returning to the franchise as Lando Calrissian, a hero of the rebellion who hasn’t been seen in the latest trilogy.

Also returning to the film are Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran, who all play heroes.

Adam Driver and Domhnall Gleeson, who play villains in the latest films, are also returning.

19 million euros for the villa of Sophia Loren’s husband, Carlo Ponti

1,300 square metres of luxury with elements dating back 2,000 years

The magnificent villa once owned by Carlo Ponti, successful film producer and husband of actress Sophia Loren, is currently for sale in Rome. The villa (http://www.lionard.com/luxurious-estate-on-the-appian-way-in-rome.html) is located in the Appian Way Park, one of the Eternal City’s most beautiful and prestigious areas, it is surrounded by a centuries-old park and is just ten minutes from the Colosseum.

In the 1950s, Carlo Ponti lived in this stunning estate with his first family; here, he had many guests who made the history of cinema, and whose films he produced: from directors Federico Fellini, Vittorio de Sica, Roberto Rossellini to actors like Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano, or Hollywood celebrities such as Antony Quinn, Kirk Douglas and the many others who spent long periods of time here.

When traveling through the Appian Way, no one could imagine what “paradise” is hidden behind those boundary walls with three doors. Carlo Pozzi had a little quirk: he would usually have his guests enter from the most modest of the three, then show them a room dating back to Roman times with walls and vaults made of huge tuff blocks, and mosaic floors depicting Medusa’s head, both all existing today. Alberto Sordi, remembering when he had been a guest of Pozzi’s at this villa, decided to set the initial scene of his movie “Un tassinaro a New York” here.

This estate is composed of a two-storey main villa, which measures approximately 680 sqm, and an independent outbuilding measuring 600 sqm. It is being sold by Lionard Luxury Real Estate (www.lionard.com) for 19 million euros, but the two properties may also be bought separately.

The main villa was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a basalt quarry which was employed, from 312 BC, to extract the material used to make the most famous Roman road, the Appian Way, also known as Regina Viarum (queen of roads). It was then modified several times in the 1950s and completely restored by its current owner, who bought it from Ponti’s first family in the 1980s.

This property is surrounded by a centuries-old park measuring approximately 1.5 hectares, featuring tall trees and spacious lawns. The park is also home to a wonderful heated swimming pool, a garage, and some independent spare apartments.

One of the accesses leading to the main villa, the one at garden level, leads to a room with a concrete vault and ancient Roman mosaic floors. This area is also home to the room with mosaic floors depicting Medusa and tuff walls and vaults.

It is possible to access the upper storey from the main staircase or by elevator, here you can find the sleeping area, composed of five bedrooms with their own bathrooms, and a library to finish off in style with a romantic winter garden.

Mansfield offers out-of-the-ordinary family summer getaways

MANSFIELD, OH – For travelers seeking an unexpected summer destination for families, Mansfield offers a plethora of unforgettable activities for families that can help break through any leftover winter cabin fever. From learning about quirky inventions to dreaming up some of their own, kids will love the hands-on and out-of-the-ordinary offerings in Mansfield.

In the center of downtown Mansfield sits a beautiful historic carrousel, made by local craftsman at Mansfield’s Carrousel Works. Kids can choose their favorite colorful creature and take a ride at Richland Carrousel Park, home to the first hand-carved wooden carrousel to be built since the 1930s. The Carrousel Park is the perfect stop for a summer getaway.

Just down the street, Mansfield Memorial Museum is the only place in the world to see ELEKTRO, the world’s first robot. Built in Mansfield before gaining fame at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, ELEKTRO stands seven feet tall, weighs 300 pounds and always excites kids of all ages. The museum is also home to extraordinary objects from days gone by, including Native American, Asian and African artifacts, as well as collections spanning U.S. military history. A bizarre compendium of stuffed ducks, mice, frogs and their furry counterparts fill Victorian-era fairy tale taxidermy dioramas that have been on display since the museum opened 125 years ago.

Also located in downtown, Little Buckeye Children’s Museum features exhibits dedicated to art, science and transportation. With more than two dozen different rooms to explore, imaginations run wild while kids play doctor, climb the treehouse or build a fort in The Blue Room. Ideal for kids ages 2-10, Little Buckeye provides hours of entertainment.

After being enveloped in downtown Mansfield’s small-town charm, families can immerse themselves in 150 acres of woods, fields and lakes at Gorman Nature Center. With more than five miles of public hiking trails, visitors can experience naturalist-led hikes or adventure on their own, enjoying the warm, fresh summer air. Kids can also enjoy nature workshops as they learn from experts. The entire family can forget bedtime as they’re dazzled by a sea of stars during a nighttime sky watch events.

Hayrides and events at Malabar Farm State Park, Mohican Wildlife Weekend, biking the B&O Trail, Ohio Bird Sanctuary, pick-your-own strawberry and blueberry patches and other events and activities keep kids entertained and help families bond while creating lifelong memories. The July 28 Children’s Festival is a free family fun-filled day, packed with games, prizes, food and entertainment that takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Mansfield.

For truly memorable meals, kids love eating in a train car at Buckeye Express Diner. Serving up kid-friendly comfort food seven days a week, the diner is housed in a decommissioned rail-car-turned-restaurant. The on-site play area is ideal for an after-dinner workout, while the old-fashioned gift shop offers toys and souvenirs that will delight the whole family.

After a day of fun, families love returning to Comfort Inn Splash Harbor. Splash Harbor’s large swimming pool, a 50-foot slide, two basketball hoops, dump buckets and spray areas let the kids blow off steam, while an adults-only hot tub offers the perfect retreat for Mom and Dad. A video arcade and fitness area are also available to guests.

Clear Fork Adventure Resort is paradise for thrill-seeking kiddos, with a host of summer activities they’ll reminisce about for years to come. Spanning 175 acres, the resort has ATV trails and rentals, wake boarding, rock climbing and sand volleyball. Parents will want to have their cameras ready to capture every moment as their little daredevils square off against each other inside giant inflatable orbs or bounce like kangaroos on the bungee jump. Cabins, campsites and bunkhouses offer memorable overnight accommodations for adventure-loving families.

A destination unlike any other, Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio offers unusual travel adventures and experiences, such as spending the night in a haunted former state prison where Hollywood blockbuster movies are shot, world-class motorsports, skiing, hiking, biking, golf, and loads of other outdoor adventures attract families and visitors of all ages. Complete visitor information and free visitor guides are available at DestinationMansfield.com.

VIEWS

Opinion: Second Trump-Kim Summit Is a Possibility

By Donald Kirk

InsideSources.com

President Donald Trump is considering when to meet Kim Jong-un for their second summit after inviting Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for a second summit, this time in Washington.

Trump appears far more concerned about Putin than he is about Kim as a result of the furor over his remarks about the U.S. intelligence establishment while he and Putin were standing side by side after their summit in Helsinki.

Trump’s foes in the media, at think tanks and in the U.S. Congress have accused him of betraying his own country by appearing to sympathize with Putin over accusations of Russian “meddling” in U.S. elections. The criticism was so intense that Trump felt compelled to say that of course he would criticize Putin if Russian operatives were discovered to have attempted to influence the outcome of American elections.

That comment raises the question of whether Trump would want a second summit with Kim in view of the failure of the North Koreans to do a thing about “complete denuclearization” as promised in the statement that both of them signed after their summit in Singapore last month. Trump has said he would indeed like to meet Kim again but appears to have forgotten about North Korea while preoccupied with the ruckus over his meeting with Putin and also over a range of controversial domestic issues, including his efforts at closing the U.S.-Mexico border to immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Pressure on Trump to see Kim again is rising while the North Koreans do nothing whatsoever about getting rid of their nuclear program. Instead of showing signs of following through on the commitment to denuclearization, they appear to be raising one problem after another while demanding “concessions” from both South Korea and the United States.

The question now is whether the North Koreans will really make good on their promise to turn over the remains of 55 Americans listed as missing in action from the Korean War. That’s the number that an American official has told journalists the North Koreans say they are ready to transfer at Panmunjom on or before the 65th anniversary of the signing the truce that ended the Korean War on July 27, 1953. The North Koreans are thought to be holding an additional 145 sets of remains ready for transfer but are apparently going to turn them over in batches while demanding that the United States sign a “peace declaration” formally ending the Korean War.

The Americans are stunned by the latest North Korean demands while highly uncertain how to respond. U.S. negotiating teams have been meeting North Koreans at Panmunjom, following up on a meeting between American and North Korean major generals at which they agreed on the transfer of remains and also on setting up joint teams to look for what’s left of still more of the 5,300 Americans still listed as “missing in action” from the Korean War.

Whenever negotiators meet for follow-up “working-level talks” on details of the search for remains, the North Koreans reportedly ask about the “peace declaration” and also raise the topic of doing away with sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the United States after the North’s missile and nuclear tests. The North Koreans have not exploded a nuclear warhead since their sixth test last September, but the United States has said the sanctions have to remain in place until the North makes good on “denuclearization” — or at least takes steps in that direction.

Trump reportedly is thinking that the only way to get Kim to honor his commitment is to stage another summit, but he hardly has time while concerned about the disaster of his summit with Putin and then U.S. congressional elections in November. His overriding concern is that the Republican Party will lose its majority in both houses of the Congress and he may even face impeachment proceedings.

Forestalling such a disaster, Trump is now saying that he’s not setting a timeline for North Korean denuclearization, and he’s not even pressuring openly for return of the remains. He would be overjoyed, however, if the North Koreans would just return a few sets of remains so that he could claim a triumph for his diplomacy with Kim. The longer the impasse goes on with North Koreans, the more it appears that the North Koreans are retrenching on all that Trump and Kim agreed on, however vaguely, in Singapore.

If Trump meets Putin before the congressional elections, as he has made clear he would like to do, then he may be ready to see Kim again soon afterward. His closest aides, notably John Bolton, the hawkish national security adviser, are cautioning, however, that he and Kim will probably settle on another meaningless statement similar to the one they signed after their summit in Singapore last month.

The North Koreans have already signaled they are doing nothing about denuclearization with editorial attacks in their media, notably the party newspaper Rodong Sinmuin, accusing South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in of having been “rude” and “insulting” by urging both the United States and North Korea to move quickly in following up on the Singapore summit. Moon’s remarks, during a visit to Singapore this month, made clear he was not happy about the slow pace of action on the statement signed by Trump and Kim.

The North Korean media are saying not one word about “denuclearization” — further proof, if any were needed, that the North has no intention of getting rid of its nuclear program.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Donald Kirk has been a columnist for Korea Times, South China Morning Post many other newspaper and magazines. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Opinion: Studying Police to Improve Policing

By Gregory Clay

InsideSources.com

He has the high-tech infrastructure in place; now all he needs is the complete data.

Dr. Rashawn Ray, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, is leading a special project to study police officers and their daily work lives. Using Virtual Reality headsets, 3-D effects and computerized specialization, Ray and his students are measuring actions, reactions and interactions of police officers in Prince George’s County, Md.

Ray said police have the most dangerous job in America, which makes this project even more important. “It’s a highly stressful job, with long hours,” he said. “I don’t think most people realize what officers often have to deal with.”

It’s a sensitive project for sure, especially for the police officers themselves.

Ray and his team employ a litany of scenarios and simulations at Maryland’s sociology laboratory to measure officers’ heart rates, sleeping patterns, pulse elevations, eye movements and stress levels. The testing also examines implicit bias and police responses during various interactions.

For example, how do officers react when dealing with suspicious subjects as well as encounters along racial lines during car pull-over stops on the nation’s roads. And even situations involving those with autism and other mental conditions are analyzed versus confrontations with non-compliant or unresponsive subjects. For example, is a subject actually mentally ill or is he simply being defiant, and how to distinguish between the two.

If it sounds like a VR television show like something out of the “Six Million Dollar Man” experiment, it’s not. It’s also not about playing a “gotcha game” with police departments. Because as Ray explains, “Most of the data that already exists is on officers who do things wrong. But there is little or no data on the officers who do things right.”

That’s the other side of the equation in problem identification.

The testing began in March and will last through November. Afterward, Ray’s research group will submit its findings and recommendations to the police department. We all are waiting with an open mind.

Ray appeared on a recent panel discussion titled “Black Lives Matter: Race, state violence, and representation in the United States,” held at the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank in Washington.

Part of that discussion focused, of course, on the much-publicized spate of unarmed black men shot by police since 2014, as well as the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in 2012. The acquittal of Zimmerman in 2013 spawned the rise of Black Lives Matter, which has staged numerous national protests and marches since that controversial verdict five years ago.

Another segment of the panel illuminated the importance of social media and cell-phone cameras. “Give us a cellphone and we can capture the moment, in real time,” said panelist Nicol Turner-Lee, a fellow in the governance studies program at Brookings.

Cellphone video captured by ordinary citizens has given us visuals of several incidents that have gone viral while inducing national discussions in the process. Most notably, the heavily scrutinized Walter Scott case in North Charleston, S.C., in 2015. The unarmed Scott was fleeing (more like jogging) on foot when police officer Michael Slager shot him in the back.

“We have seen more indictments (of police officers) as a result of videos,” said panelist Chiraag Bains, an attorney who served in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Obama administration.

Bains cited the Walter Scott case, which resulted in officer Slager being sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder. “Chances are if there wasn’t a video,” Bains said, “there probably wasn’t going to be a conviction.”

And there were the statistics cited by panel moderator Vanessa Williamson, also a fellow in Brookings’ governance studies, a program that analyzes public policy issues, political institutions and their methods and processes.

One set of Brookings’ data indicated that from August 2014 to August 2015 (which incorporates the year after Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., sparking ugly riots and intense debates), at least 780 Black Lives Matter protests occurred in 44 states and 223 localities. And 14 percent of all U.S. cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants saw at least one Black Lives Matter protest in that period. “We also found that Black Lives Matter protests are more common in locations where police have previously killed more black people per capita,” Williamson said.

But suppose those killings can be reduced because of the analytical research being done by Ray, his students and Maryland’s computer science specialists.

And:

—Suppose officers show major sleep deprivation based on their distance from work.

—Suppose officers with military experience perform better than officers without.

—Suppose officers who live in the communities they patrol fare better than those who do not.

—Suppose officers with higher education make better decisions than police whose highest degree is a high school diploma.

—Suppose officers with more street/patrol experience perform better than officers with less experience.

Those are some of the variables being examined in Ray’s study; the results undoubtedly should be intriguing when they are finalized within the next six months or so.

And remember to maintain that open mind.

Said Ray, “We’re not about searching for bad apples within the police department. We are about accumulating data, analyzing it and making recommendations that we think will help police perform their jobs better.”

That should benefit us all.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Gregory Clay is a Washington columnist and former assistant sports editor for McClatchy-Tribune News Service. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, file photo, actress Carrie Fisher attends a special screening of, "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds," at Alice Tully Hall in New York. J.J. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015’s "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera’s core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/08/web1_121039573-0d10c0b5677c4fcfb48ae66dcc09a6fa.jpgFILE – In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, file photo, actress Carrie Fisher attends a special screening of, "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds," at Alice Tully Hall in New York. J.J. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015’s "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera’s core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

FILE – In this March 2, 2017 file photo, director-producer J.J. Abrams poses for a portrait to promote "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Lyceum Theatre in New York. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015’s "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera’s core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/08/web1_121039573-8c8c405d12c64369963af328a549c1b0.jpgFILE – In this March 2, 2017 file photo, director-producer J.J. Abrams poses for a portrait to promote "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Lyceum Theatre in New York. Abrams says he will use unreleased footage of Fisher in the next "Star Wars" film to give the latest trilogy a "satisfying conclusion." Lucasfilm and writer-director Abrams announced Friday, July 27, 2018, that footage Fisher shot for 2015’s "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera’s core trilogies about the Skywalker family. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP, File)

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