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Nearly all decisions to grant migrants asylum in Germany were justified, officials found after reviewing some 62,000 claims, according to a newspaper report. Hundreds of officials work on reviewing old cases.
www.dw.com | 9/19/19
A Berlin newspaper polled readers to ask for possible names for the zoo's new panda cubs. The top result? Hong and Kong. Now Germany's most popular tabloid is calling for the cubs' names to send a signal to China.
www.dw.com | 9/6/19
Police are investigating ex-Germany footballer Christoph Metzelder over the distribution of child pornography, the Bild newspaper reported. The player, who was part of two German World Cup squads, has not been arrested.
www.dw.com | 9/4/19
Rüdiger Böss, for over a decade one of the best-known and liked acquisitions executives in the international television business, is to join Constantin Film, Germany’s leading independent movie producer and distributor — responsible for the hugely successful “Resident Evil” franchise — and an increasingly important producer of international TV series. Until last year, Böss served […]
variety.com | 8/30/19
Refugees who return to Syria for holidays might lose their refugee status in Germany, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the Bild newspaper. Some newcomers simultaneously claim to be fleeing persecution there.
www.dw.com | 8/18/19
BBC Sport remembers Norway's 2-0 win over Germany in the 1995 final, a game reportedly watched on television by one in four Norwegians.
www.bbc.co.uk | 5/20/19

This weekend, a European phenomenon is back — though Americans may have to hunt for clips on YouTube or seek out a VPN and watch via another country’s home broadcaster.

The Eurovision Song Contest, a cross between “The X Factor” and the Miss Universe pageant that offers Yanks a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a culture that doesn’t have jazz and blues as the foundation of its pop music.

For those who’ve never seen — or even heard of Eurovision — before, here’s a quick primer to get you caught up.

Also Read: Taylor Swift on 'Taylor Swift Award' Win: 'I'm Really Super Relieved' (Video)

What exactly is this contest?
Eurovision began as an idea back in the mid-1950s as a way for Europe to come together after World War II had ripped it apart. It was a pretty revolutionary effort for its time. Television was still the Wild West of communications and the Olympics hadn’t yet become an international broadcasting event. Eurovision was one of the first major attempts to hold an event that people from a wide range of countries could watch. With that in mind, the organizers wanted each country to showcase a song that was indicative of their culture.

That sounds like a pretty noble goal.
Yes … but it was also very out of touch with what was happening with music at the time. Rock ‘n’ roll was beginning to take root and The Beatles would take the world by storm just a few years after Eurovision’s inception. This meant that Eurovision’s lineup of ballads and cultural pieces quickly felt antiquated compared to the rock revolution that was going on in the charts. And that was six decades ago … the entries would only get weirder from there.

How weird?
For starters, there was once a rule implemented on and off over the years stating that participants could only enter songs that were in their country’s main language. When that rule was in effect, some countries found a loophole: give the song a hook that involves complete gibberish. Songs with titles like “Boom Boom” and “Diggi-loo Diggi-ley” poured out while the home-language rule was in effect.

Then there are the artists themselves. As Eurovision has evolved, more and more ridiculous acts have come out of the woodwork. Finnish monster-rock bands, Russian grandmas and Latvian pirates are among the acts that have performed for a TV audience of hundreds of millions in recent Eurovisions. And that Finnish monster rock band actually won.

Also Read: Celine Dion's Brother Daniel Dies Just 2 Days After Her Husband

Jeez! So is this just some musical freak show?
Well … let’s be fair. While there’s always been some silly novelty acts, there’s also some solid bits of Europop on hand every year from genuinely talented folks. Sweden won in 2012 with “Euphoria,” a soaring dance track by “Idol” contestant Loreen that went multi-platinum in her country after her victory.

There’s also a small handful of top stars on the winners’ list you might recognize. ABBA used Eurovision as a launch pad to stardom in 1974 with their song “Waterloo,” and French-Canadian Celine Dion’s win in 1988 was her biggest claim to fame before “Titanic” came out. Quality — or at least creativity — does tend to win out at Eurovision.

OK, so how does this contest work?
First, all the countries have a national contest where they vote on which song will represent at Eurovision. The participants are divided up into two semifinals, with the exception of the host nation and the “Big Five” countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. — who automatically qualify for the final.  They are joined by the 10 countries that get the most votes in each semifinal. In the final, all 26 countries get three minutes to make a good impression, and then the whole continent votes “Idol”-style (not for their home country, of course), as do professional juries for each country.

Then the show transitions to a long procession of national “ambassadors” reading out who each country gave their votes to. The top 10 performers in each country’s vote get points, with 12 points going to the top vote-getter, followed by 10 and then eight down to one for the rest of the order. The same goes with the juries, but with 10 points going to the performer in first place.

And what does the performer with the most points win?
This trophy. Oh, and their country gets to host the competition next year.

What? No prize money? No contract? No vague promises of superstardom?
Nope. The winners do get their 15 minutes of fame and some success on the charts, but beyond ABBA and Celine, Eurovision winners almost never have long-term success. Again, Eurovision long ago moved away from the sort of music that leaves a lasting cultural impact.

Even now, a good chunk of the acts are homogenous power ballads that can blur together when performed in succession. Still, Eurovision is worth watching just for the spectacle of it all. The Disneyland-esque sweetness of the proceedings is charming, and the lack of stakes for the performers keeps it feeling light and fun rather than a battle for wealth, glory, and continental supremacy.

Also Read: 'Can't Stop the Feeling': Justin Timberlake Drops Catchy New Single (Video)

It has also made headlines in recent years that have allowed it to take steps beyond the realm of annual oddities like the Running of the Bulls. The winner in 2014 was gay Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, who performed as drag queen superstar Conchita Wurst. The victory transformed Conchita into an LGBT icon in Europe, even as Russian conservatives raged in fury and used the singer as an example of why Russia shouldn’t be a part of the EU. For all of Eurovision’s platitudes about tolerance and peace, this was a moment where those ideals were actually acted upon, even if it meant breaking the general tone of inoffensiveness.

If it’s supposed to be European, why is Australia a competitor?
It turns out that Eurovision has a major cult following in Australia, and they were invited to compete several years ago as a thanks for all the support down under. The expansion of the European Union means countries like Azerbaijan and Israel get to compete too.

So…if all these countries that aren’t strictly European are competing, does this mean we may be seeing the USA compete in Eurovision soon?
Eh…don’t count on it.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/18/19

The 2019 Cannes Film Festival is underway, but a big question on some attendees’ minds might not be about a movie at all, but a TV series. That’s because many festival-goers are probably scrambling to figure out, “How in the name of Westeros can I watch the series finale of ‘Game of Thrones’ on Sunday?”

Since HBO NOW and HBO GO are not accessible for U.S. subscribers while in France, TheWrap has figured out how “Game of Thrones” fans can watch the final showdown in real time without having to learn who ends up on the Iron Throne through social media.

And don’t worry, it won’t take a prayer to the Old Gods and the New. But it will take either an HBO Europe subscription or having the right hotel room — or a friend in the right hotel room — because a Cannes attendee can view the series finale at the same time it airs in the U.S. via the French provider OCS (Orange Cinema Series).

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Photos Show the Aftermath of Daenerys' 'Mad Queen' Rampage

So what you’ll need to do is check around to see if your hotel — or your friends’ hotels — is an Orange subscriber. If it is, then you can tune in to watch the episode on OCS City at 3 a.m. local time on Monday. There will also be a primetime airing at 9 p.m. local time, later that day.

If you happen to be an Orange subscriber yourself, then you can also stream the episode on demand after it concludes its linear debut.

The complete final season of “Game of Thrones” will also be available to purchase via digital download in France on Tuesday at midnight (overnight Monday) on iTunes, Orange, Canal+, Microsoft, Sony and Google.

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones': Euron Actor Pilou Asbaek on Why a 'Very Important' Scene Wasn't Shown on Screen

If you are subscribed to UK Sky Go and Now TV (a subscription-based internet television and video-on-demand service that is a division of Sky Limited), you can watch the finale on your devices in any country in the EU.

In Germany’s official guide from Sky, for example, it says Episode 806 will be shown locally at 3 a.m. (GMT+2) on Sky Atlantic, which is the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S. (9 p.m. ET). That means you’ll be able to access the episode via Sky Go and Now TV at that time. Sky will then air the series finale again on Monday at 8:15 p.m. local time.

If you don’t have a subscription to either of those services, but do subscribe to HBO Go or HBO NOW there is a way to connect to those platforms using a VPN.

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Breaks Series Viewership Record With Penultimate Episode

A VPN is a virtual private network that builds a secure tunnel between your device and the internet that allows you to mask your location. This way, you can “trick” the platforms into thinking you are still in the U.S. (for HBO) or in the U.K. (for Sky). It’s extremely safe and most VPNs provide a high-quality streaming experience.

To learn how to purchase a VPN, click here. VPNs are legal (in most countries, including France), but we should note that some ways in which these VPNs could conceivably be used, such as torrenting, would constitute an illegal activity (which TheWrap would certainly never condone). And of course, you should not stream “Game of Thrones” unless you’re paying, via subscription, to stream “Game of Thrones.” After all, using a VPN to stream anything breaches the terms of use of the platforms. Right, lawyers?

HBO tells TheWrap it is unaware of any planned finale viewing parties at Cannes. A spokesperson for the festival said all official screenings can be found in the Cannes program.

Of course, if this is all too much work for you: Fly home early, delete your Twitter app, or pray no one you talk to at Cannes reveals spoilers and wait until you’re back in the United States to watch the HBO fantasy series’ epic ending.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Photos Show the Aftermath of Daenerys' 'Mad Queen' Rampage

'Game of Thrones' Breaks Series Viewership Record With Penultimate Episode

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'Game of Thrones': Euron Actor Pilou Asbaek on Why a 'Very Important' Scene Wasn't Shown on Screen

www.thewrap.com | 5/15/19

Woody Allen’s film “A Rainy Day in New York” has been picked up for distribution in multiple European, South American and Asian territories, according to the New York Times.

On Monday, TheWrap reported that Italian distributor Lucky Red acquired the film for release in Italy on Oct. 3. The Times notes that A Contracorriente Films will now also release “A Rainy Day in New York” the following day on Oct. 4 in Spain.

A spokesperson told the Times that Filmwelt/NFP will release the film in Germany and Austria, and Filmwelt/NFP’s managing director Christopher Ott said in an interview with a German newspaper that they would be among the distributors bringing the film to Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and South America.

Also Read: Amazon Fires Back at Woody Allen Over Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Italian news reports said on Monday said that “A Rainy Day in New York” was also likely to be shown in France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Allen’s film was blocked for release in the U.S. after distributor Amazon Studios terminated its four-picture deal with the director after the resurfacing of old accusations that Allen inappropriately touched Dylan Farrow, his then-7-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. (Investigators found no evidence of abuse and Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations.)

In February, Allen responded and filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon Studios, claiming breach of contract. In April, Amazon pushed back and said it was “justified” in terminating the contract.

Also Read: Hollywood's Highest Paid Executives: Who Made Bank, Who Sank in 2018 (Updating)

Allen had also announced plans to shoot another film with the backing of Barcelona-based financing conglomerate Mediapro, which previously helped fund “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Midnight in Paris.”

“A Rainy Day in New York” stars Elle Fanning and Timothée Chalamet as two young people who arrive in New York and encounter rain and a series of unfortunate adventures. It also stars Rebecca Hall, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Suki Waterhouse, Liev Schreiber and Diego Luna. Many of the stars of the film, including Chalamet and Hall, agreed to donate their salaries from the film to Time’s Up and LGBT charities.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/9/19

HBO has acquired the U.S. television and streaming rights to the feature-length documentary “Diego Maradona,” the network announced on Wednesday.

The documentary, which will have its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, documents the trials and triumphs of the legendary soccer player. HBO plans to release the documentary, which was executive produced and directed by Asif Kapadia, on Sept. 24.

“Diego Maradona has long been considered the greatest footballer ever, and Asif Kapadia’s filmmaking perfectly captures every high and low of his transcendent career, from his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal to his awakening of Napoli, and more,” Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports, said. “We look forward to sharing this landmark documentary with both soccer and non-soccer fans alike.”

Also Read: Vincent Cassel Joins 'Westworld' Season 3

“My producers and I are delighted to be working with HBO on the release of ‘Diego Maradona’ in North America,” Kapadia said. “HBO stands for quality, and as long-term fans, we know we’re in great hands. Having spent three intense years working with my brilliant team of collaborators on the most complex charismatic character, Diego Maradona, I’m excited to see how the North American audience reacts. I hope this is the beginning of a long journey together with HBO and Diego.”

The documentary features video archives and personal photos as well as interviews with historians and journalists.

Maradona is an Argentine retired football player who had the nickname “El Pibe de Oro,” (“The Golden Boy”), due to his extreme passion and talent in the sport. He was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, and played professionally at Napoli and Barcelona. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup when Argentina won over West Germany in the final. In that World Cup, Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal became one of the iconic moments in soccer history

Also Read: HBO to Air Documentary on Criminal Justice Warrior Bryan Stevenson

“Diego Maradona” is an HBO Sports presentation in association with On The Corner and Lorton Entertainment. James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin produce, which executive producers are Kapadia, George Pank, Will Clarke, Julian Bird and Bil Bungay. For HBO, executive producers are Nelson and Bill Simmons. Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/1/19
The German government is to fund a massive 10-year modernization program, a newspaper has reported. The proposals could offer relief for commuters who have long complained about the tardiness of Deutsche Bahn trains.
www.dw.com | 3/24/19

President Donald Trump denounced MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on Thursday after the “Morning Joe” co-host called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “butt-boy” on air Wednesday for his defense of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

“If it was a Conservative that said what ‘crazed’ Mika Brzezinski stated on her show yesterday, using a certain horrible term, that person would be banned permanently from television,” Trump said in a tweet. “She will probably be given a pass, despite their terrible ratings.”

Trump also praised Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Germany, after he criticized Brzezinski on his own Twitter feed.

Also Read: Trevor Noah Looks at Trump, Schumer and Pelosi's 'Awkward Threesome' in the White House (Video)

“Outrageous. This is totally unacceptable & deeply disturbing. Sexualizing gay people this way is designed to control them & minimize our worth,” Grenell said, while also adding that he didn’t think much of Brzezinski’s walk-back.

“Accepting apologies is important. We all fail,” he said. “But I don’t see that you’ve actually apologized to gays? Your words demean, mock and therefore try to control whole groups by minimizing our humanity.”

Brzezinski did not appear on “Morning Joe” on Thursday, which her co-host Joe Scarborough attributed to a “long-planned family event.”

Also Read: Mika Brzezinski Misses 'Morning Joe' for 'Family Event' One Day After Butt-Boy Remarks

A rep for MSNBC declined to comment on Trump’s tweet. Brzezinski issued an apology on Twiter shortly after the show wrapped on Wednesday.

“SUPER BAD choice of words .. I should have said “water boy”… like for football teams or something like that.. apologize to @SenatorDurbin too! SO SORRY!” she tweeted.

On Wednesday, Brzezinski angrily reacted to a clip of Pompeo on “Fox & Friends” standing up for bin Salman despite evidence that has shown that bin Salman was intimately involved in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Also Read: Mika Brzezinski Apologizes for Calling Mike Pompeo a 'Wannabe Dictator's Butt-Boy'

“Why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now?” Brzezinski asked. “Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on ‘Fox and Friends,’ is that a patriot speaking, or a wannabe dictator’s butt-boy? I’m dead serious. I’m asking, are these the words of a patriot?”

It’s not the first time Trump has taken shots directly at Brzezinski. Last year, the president tweeted that he once saw Brzezinski at his Florida club after a facelift and that she was “bleeding badly.” The ensuring outrage sparked a news cycle that lasted several days.

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www.thewrap.com | 12/13/18
BUENOS AIRES — In another Hollywood studio deal unveiled at Ventana Sur, Sony Pictures Television has expanded its multi-territory deal on Marcos Carnevale’s “Inseparables” (Inseparable) to take in four new major territories: France, Germany, South Korea and Japan. Sony Pictures Television already holds all TV/VOD rights for Latin America and all rights for México, Chile and […]
variety.com | 12/11/18

“The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman’s next apocalyptic tale is taking shape: Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and Entertainment One (eOne) have signed an agreement to produce “5 Year,” an international series chronicling the final five years before a fatal meteor ends the Earth.

Per the project’s official description: From an original idea from Robert Kirkman, “5 Year”s different series will focus on how people across the globe choose to live after learning the world will end in the next five years, as a meteor rushes towards Earth. Each year will play out as a season, and while each version will have its own unique characters and stories, they will all follow the same timeline. Each version of “5 Year” will be a localized story set in the markets’ actual location and produced in local languages.

Also Read: 'Walking Dead' Mid-Season 9 Trailer: Oh, Good - Alpha and Beta Are Here (Video)

EOne and Skybound will co-produce the series, with eOne serving as financier and distributor. The new Skybound and eOne partnership includes previously-announced “5 Year” series set in Latin America — with producers Mixer and 360 Powwow — and in Korea — with streaming service Viki — and also covers installments of the series now in the works in Italy, Germany, Russia, China, the UK and more.

Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst will executive produce the project for Skybound.

“This is one of the most ambitious projects we’ve worked on, and also one of the most rewarding. Our work with all our partners around the globe continues to inspire our vision for this series and our commitment and passion for global storytelling. ‘5 Year’ is a fundamentally human story, meant to explore humanity’s capacity for good and evil in the face of the ultimate threat. eOne is a world class producer and distributor of television and they share our vision and ambition for this huge undertaking. We are very happy to have them as our partner,” said Bryan and Sean Furst in a joint statement.

Also Read: 'Walking Dead': So What's Gonna Happen With Negan After His Big Mid-Season Finale Moment?

“We couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to work on a truly innovative project that blends multiple, local productions seamlessly into a story as it happens globally. Robert’s talent for creating content universes and connecting with audiences through bold storytelling makes this partnership most exciting for us and we are thrilled to join forces with him and the Skybound team to bring a multi-level story like the 5 Year universe to audiences around the world. In Skybound, we have found a partner that shares our drive to create future-facing content with worldwide appeal that challenges conventions and spark imaginations,” said Peter Micelli, eOne’s Chief Strategy Officer, Film & Television.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Walking Dead': Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

'Walking Dead' Midseason Finale Loses 35 Percent of Last Year's Viewers

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www.thewrap.com | 11/27/18
The defense ministry is set to approve a plan to create 5,000 more Bundeswehr jobs than initially foreseen, according to a newspaper report. Whether officials can convince young Germans to sign up is another matter.
www.dw.com | 11/26/18