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Pete Shelley, co-founder of the great and influential English punk band Buzzcocks, has died, the BBC reports . According to Buzzcocks' management, Shelley died of a suspected heart attack Thursday at his home in Estonia. He was 63. | 12/6/18

Pete Shelley, the lead singer for British post-punk band the Buzzcocks, has died at the age of 63, TheWrap has confirmed. The BBC first reported that Shelley died at his home in Estonia on Thursday.

Formed in Manchester in 1976 by Shelley and Howard Devoto, the Buzzcocks are best known for their signature song, “Ever Fallen in Love.” Devoto left the band in 1977 and Shelley became the band’s chief singer and songwriter. A fictionalized version of the band appeared in 2002’s “24 Hour Party People,” a film that chronicled the Manchester music scene from the late ’70s through the early 1990s.

The Buzzcocks came of age with fellow British punk and post-punk bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols and fellow Mancunians, Joy Division. “Ever Fallen in Love” was ranked the Track of the Year by NME in 1978. The song has been covered by a variety of artists, including Fine Young Cannibals, Pete Yorn and Nouvelle Vague.

Also Read: Ken Berry, Star of 'Mayberry, RFD' and 'Mama's Family,' Dies at 85

Born Peter Campbell McNeish in Lancashire on April 17, 1955, Shelley’s impact on the English music scene has been long felt. The band’s high-octane sound incorporated punk and rich melodies. In addition to his work with the Buzzcocks, Shelley also had a prolonged solo career in the 1980s after the Buzzcocks broke up in 1981 due to a dispute with their then-label, Virgin.

Recently, the Buzzcocks celebrated their 40th anniversary, and are reissuing their first two albums, “Another Music in a Different Kitchen” and “Love Bites.” The albums are slated to be released on Jan. 25, 2019 on Domino Records.

The band had tour dates scheduled through August 2019 at the time of Shelley’s death.

“It’s with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks,” a tweet from the Buzzcocks official account reads. “Pete’s music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world. A more detailed statement will follow.”

Pete's music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world.

A more detailed statement will follow.

— Buzzcocks (@Buzzcocks) December 6, 2018

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Eighty-seven films have qualified in the 2018 Oscars race for Best Foreign Language Film, the Academy announced on Monday.

The number is five less than last year’s record of 92 entries, but significantly larger than the 60-odd qualifying films that were the norm only a few years ago. The 2018 race is also expected to be one of the most competitive in years, with a number of esteemed international directors and award-winning films competing for only nine spots on the shortlist and five nominations.

Los Angeles-based volunteers from all branches of the Academy will now watch all the eligible films at AMPAS screenings at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills and the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. This year, the Academy has made it easier to qualify to vote, dropping the number of films each voter must see from 17 or 18 down to 12 and eliminating the color-coded groups that made each voter choose from a specific group of films to which he or she had been assigned.

Also Read: Academy Makes More Changes to Open Up Oscars Foreign Language Voting (Exclusive)

The Mexican entry, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” is the clear frontrunner, since it is also considered a strong contender for a Best Picture nomination. (In Oscars history, six films have been nominated in both categories, the last one being “Amour” in 2011.)

But the Polish entry, “Cold War,” is the new film from Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign-language Oscar; it too is considered a likely nominee. So is the Lebanese entry, Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum,” a powerful drama about a young boy in the slums of Beirut who sues his parents for bringing him into the world.

Two other directors are recent winners in the category, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck with the German entry “Never Look Away” (his “The Lives of Others” won in 2007) and Laszlo Nemes for Hungary’s entry, “Sunset” (his last film, “Son of Saul,” won in 2016).

Also in the race: recent nominees Rithy Panh (“Graves Without a Name,” Cambodia) and Ciro Guerra (“Birds of Passage,” a Colombian film co-directed with his ex-wife, Cristina Gallego).

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Other strong Oscars contenders include Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning, which is vying to become the first South Korean film ever to be nominated; Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” the Turkish entry; Lukas Dhont’s “Girl,” which won the acting award in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes; and Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which took the best-actor award in Cannes’ main competition.

Entries from Ukraine, Egypt, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, the U.K., Spain, Paraguay and several other countries are also contending for the prize.

Malawi and Niger have submitted films for the first time.

Official Academy screenings will begin on Oct. 15 and run through Dec. 10. At that point, the six films that have received the highest average scores from the voters will advance to a nine-film shortlist, along with three additional films chosen by an executive committee.

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TheWrap has compiled a complete list of the qualifying films, with descriptions and links to trailers when available.

The list of qualifying films:

Afghanistan, “Rona Azim’s Mother,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director;

Algeria, “Until the End of Time,” Yasmine Chouikh, director;

Argentina, “El Ángel,” Luis Ortega, director;

Armenia, “Spitak,” Alexander Kott, director;

Australia, “Jirga,” Benjamin Gilmour, director;

Austria, “The Waldheim Waltz,” Ruth Beckermann, director;

Bangladesh, “No Bed of Roses,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;

Belarus, “Crystal Swan,” Darya Zhuk, director;

Belgium, “Girl,” Lukas Dhont, director;

Bolivia, “The Goalkeeper,” Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño, director;

Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Never Leave Me,” Aida Begi?, director;

Brazil, “The Great Mystical Circus,” Carlos Diegues, director;

Bulgaria, “Omnipresent,” Ilian Djevelekov, director;

Cambodia, “Graves without a Name,” Rithy Panh, director;

Canada, “Family Ties,” Sophie Dupuis, director;

Chile, “…And Suddenly the Dawn,” Silvio Caiozzi, director;

China, “Hidden Man,” Jiang Wen, director;

Colombia, “Birds of Passage,” Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra, directors;

Costa Rica, “Medea,” Alexandra Latishev, director;

Croatia, “The Eighth Commissioner,” Ivan Salaj, director;

Czech Republic, “Winter Flies,” Olmo Omerzu, director;

Denmark, “The Guilty,” Gustav Möller, director;

Dominican Republic, “Cocote,” Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, director;

Ecuador, “A Son of Man,” Jamaicanoproblem, director;

Egypt, “Yomeddine,” A.B. Shawky, director;

Estonia, “Take It or Leave It,” Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, director;

Finland, “Euthanizer,” Teemu Nikki, director;

France, “Memoir of War,” Emmanuel Finkiel, director;

Georgia, “Namme,” Zaza Khalvashi, director;

Germany, “Never Look Away,” Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director;

Greece, “Polyxeni,” Dora Masklavanou, director;

Hong Kong, “Operation Red Sea,” Dante Lam, director;

Hungary, “Sunset,” László Nemes, director;

Iceland, “Woman at War,” Benedikt Erlingsson, director;

India, “Village Rockstars,” Rima Das, director;

Indonesia, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” Mouly Surya, director;

Iran, “No Date, No Signature,” Vahid Jalilvand, director;

Iraq, “The Journey,” Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, director;

Israel, “The Cakemaker,” Ofir Raul Graizer, director;

Italy, “Dogman,” Matteo Garrone, director;

Japan, “Shoplifters,” Hirokazu Kore-eda, director;

Kazakhstan, “Ayka,” Sergey Dvortsevoy, director;

Kenya, “Supa Modo,” Likarion Wainaina, director;

Kosovo, “The Marriage,” Blerta Zeqiri, director;

Latvia, “To Be Continued,” Ivars Seleckis, director;

Lebanon, “Capernaum,” Nadine Labaki, director;

Lithuania, “Wonderful Losers: A Different World,” Arunas Matelis, director;

Luxembourg, “Gutland,” Govinda Van Maele, director;

Macedonia, “Secret Ingredient,” Gjorce Stavreski, director;

Malawi, “The Road to Sunrise,” Shemu Joyah, director;

Mexico, “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón, director;

Montenegro, “Iskra,” Gojko Berkuljan, director;

Morocco, “Burnout,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;

Nepal, “Panchayat,” Shivam Adhikari, director;

Netherlands, “The Resistance Banker,” Joram Lürsen, director;

New Zealand, “Yellow Is Forbidden,” Pietra Brettkelly, director;

Niger, “The Wedding Ring,” Rahmatou Keïta, director;

Norway, “What Will People Say,” Iram Haq, director;

Pakistan, “Cake,” Asim Abbasi, director;

Palestine, “Ghost Hunting,” Raed Andoni, director;

Panama, “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name,” Abner Benaim, director;

Paraguay, “The Heiresses,” Marcelo Martinessi, director;

Peru, “Eternity,” Oscar Catacora, director;

Philippines, “Signal Rock,” Chito S. Roño, director;

Poland, “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski, director;

Portugal, “Pilgrimage,” João Botelho, director;

Romania, “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” Radu Jude, director;

Russia, “Sobibor,” Konstantin Khabensky, director;

Serbia, “Offenders,” Dejan Zecevic, director;

Singapore, “Buffalo Boys,” Mike Wiluan, director;

Slovakia, “The Interpreter,” Martin Šulík, director;

Slovenia, “Ivan,” Janez Burger, director;

South Africa, “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, director;

South Korea, “Burning,” Lee Chang-dong, director;

Spain, “Champions,” Javier Fesser, director;

Sweden, “Border,” Ali Abbasi, director;

Switzerland, “Eldorado,” Markus Imhoof, director;

Taiwan, “The Great Buddha+,” Hsin-Yao Huang, director;

Thailand, “Malila The Farewell Flower,” Anucha Boonyawatana, director;

Tunisia, “Beauty and the Dogs,” Kaouther Ben Hania, director;

Turkey, “The Wild Pear Tree,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director;

Ukraine, “Donbass,” Sergei Loznitsa, director;

United Kingdom, “I Am Not a Witch,” Rungano Nyoni, director;

Uruguay, “Twelve-Year Night,” Álvaro Brechner, director;

Venezuela, “The Family,” Gustavo Rondón Córdova, director;

Vietnam, “The Tailor,” Buu Loc Tran, Kay Nguyen, directors;

Yemen, “10 Days before the Wedding,” Amr Gamal, director.

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The Oscars race for Best Foreign Language Film has kicked off with one past winner, another past nominee, a couple of esteemed international auteurs, a Palme d’Or winner and movies about drug runners, a transgender teen and, um, hot and sweaty troll sex.

Those are all in the first dozen-plus films submitted to the Academy by international film boards that have qualified to enter movies in the Oscars race. The first batch of submitted films range from this year’s Palme d’Or winner, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” to Lukas Dhont’s understated transgender character study “Girl” to Ali Abbasi’s “Border,” which energized Cannes audiences with its twisted tale of a woman who realizes she’s actually a troll.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the director of the German entry, “Never Look Away,” directed the Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others” more than a decade ago, while Colombian director Ciro Guerra was responsible for the nominee “Embrace of the Serpent” in 2015.

Also Read: 'Shoplifters' Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

Approved organizations or committees from each country must submit their film to the Academy by October 1. Volunteers from all branches of the Academy will then view all the qualifying films and vote for their favorites, with the top six choices moving to a shortlist along with three additional choices made by the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. Phase 2 committees will then determine the five nominees.

Last year, a record 92 countries submitted films to the Oscars.

Recently, longtime Oscars foreign-language chair Mark Johnson, one of the architects of the current process, opted not to return to the position he had held for 17 of the last 18 years. Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann are the new co-chairs.

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Here are the films that have been submitted so far, with links to trailers when available. An asterisk indicates that TheWrap has seen the film. We will continue to update this list as more films are announced.

Note: The foreign-language committee must still determine whether these films are eligible. The official announcement of qualifying films will take place in early October and may differ from this list.

“Crystal Swan” *
Director: Darya Zhuk

The first Belarusian Oscars entry in 22 years, “Crystal Swan” tells the story of a club kid and aspiring DJ in the mid-1990s who is desperate to escape the squalor of her newly-independent homeland for the promise of America. TheWrap’s Matt Donnelly called the film “tough but irresistible,” with a breakout performance from star Alina Nasibullina that hearkens back to the enterprising, unapologetic heroines of ’80s films like “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Working Girl.”
Subtitled trailer

“Girl” *
Director: Lukas Dhont

First-time feature director Dhont’s drama about a transgender teen was one of the hits of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, winning the Camera d’Or as the festival’s best first film and the Queer Palm as its best LGBT entry. Featuring a remarkable performance by Victor Polster, the film tells the story of an aspiring ballet student undergoing hormone therapy in preparation for gender confirmation surgery; in Cannes, TheWrap called it “a wrenching drama that you think is about finding acceptance until it threatens to become about the impossibility of that very thing.”
Subtitled trailer

Also Read: 'Girl' Film Review: Transgender Teen Drama Is a True Cannes Discovery

“Birds of Passage” *
Directors: Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra

Ciro Guerra directed the first Colombian film ever nominated for an Oscar, 2015’s “Embrace of the Serpent.” His new film, co-directed with his ex-wife Cristina Gallego, is a far cry from that mysterious black-and-white adventure; it starts out as an examination of the old customs of the Wayuu people of northern Colombia in the 1970s, but turns into a blood-soaked chronicle of the ways in which the drug trade transformed the country.
Subtitled trailer

“Take It or Leave It”
Director: Liina Triskina-Vanhatalo

A 30-year-old construction worker is faced with a life-changing decision when he learns that an ex-girlfriend is about to give birth to his child, which she doesn’t want to keep. Triskina-Vanhatalo’s drama is the 16th Oscar entry from Estonia since 1992, with only one of them, 2014’s “Tangerines,” landing a nomination.
Subtitled teaser trailer

Never Look Away / TIFF

“Never Look Away”
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has had a rocky last few years. He directed the brilliant “The Lives of Others,” which scored an upset victory over “Pan’s Labyrinth” at the Oscars in 2007, and then made his English language debut with the Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie debacle “The Tourist” in 2010. “Never Look Away” is his first film since then, and it returns to “Lives of Others” territory as it chronicles the life of an artist over three decades of post-World War II Germany.
German trailer (no subtitles)

Also Read: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's 'Never Look Away' Ahead of Venice

“Shoplifters” *
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Although Japan has 12 Oscar nominations, only two of those have come in the last 37 years, with the country often struggling to make the right submission choices. But Hirokazu Kore-eda is the most acclaimed filmmaker to represent the country in the Oscars race in years, and “Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Kore-eda follows a tightly knit family living in poverty and making ends meet through petty crime. “Not only does ‘Shoplifters’ skillfully entwine several disparate threads he’s explored over his prolific career,” wrote TheWrap’s Ben Croll, “it does so with the understated confidence and patient elegance of an artist who has fully matured.”
Subtitled trailer

“Wonderful Losers: A Different World”
Director: Arunas Matelis

One of the first two documentaries submitted in this year’s Oscar race, Matelis’ film chronicles the Giro d’Italia (or Tour of Italy) bicycle race from the vantage point of the cyclists at the back of the pack, and the medical teams who attend to the fallen racers.
Subtitled trailer

“Ghost Hunting”
Director: Raed Andoni

The third documentary to be submitted to the Oscars this year finds a group of former Palestinian prisoners re-enacting their brutal interrogations at the hands of Israeli security forces. The film by Raed Andoni, himself a former prisoner, won the top documentary award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
Subtitled trailer

I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians / TIFF

“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”
Director: Radu Jude

Romania is one of the countries that has inexplicably never landed an Oscar nomination despite a vibrant filmmaking scene (South Korea is another), and Radu Jude is trying for the second time to end that streak of futility. Three years after representing his country with the exceptional “Aferim!,” Jude returns with a blackly comic film about a modern theater director trying to stage a piece about the 1941 massacre in which Romania allied with the Nazis to kill tens of thousands of Jews in Odessa. The film recently won the top prize at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
Subtitled trailer

Also Read: 'I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians' Takes Top Honor at Karlovy Vary

“The Interpreter”
Director: Martin Sulik

Slovakia has submitted 22 films to the Oscars since 1993 – and seven of those have been directed by Martin Sulik, five more than any other Slovakian director. A road movie about two elderly men, one the son of a Holocaust victim and one the son of a Nazi killer, stars “Toni Erdmann” star Peter Simonschek and legendary Czech director Jiri Menzel.
Subtitled trailer

“Border” *
Director: Ali Abbasi

In Cannes, where it won the top award in the Un Certain Regard section, Abbasi’s movie became known as the “troll sex” film, because it features, yes, a couple of trolls having sex. But they can also pass for humans, making “Border” an allegory for how we treat outsiders. “It’s creepy and disturbing and freaking, with enough room to find whatever subtext you’re looking for,” wrote theWrap in Cannes.
Subtitled clip

Director: Markus Imhoof

In 1981, Markus Imhoof made “The Boat Is Full,” a drama about refugees in World War II that was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar; in 2013, he represented Switzerland in the Oscar race with “More Than Honey,” a documentary about honeybee colonies. “Eldorado” has things in common with both of those films: It’s also a documentary, but one that looks for common ground between today’s European refugees and the child that the director’s family took in during WWII.
Trailer (no subtitles)

The Wild Pear Tree / TIFF

“The Wild Pear Tree” *
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

This is the fifth time that Turkey has been represented by a film from the acclaimed auteur Ceylan, who was also responsible for the Turkish submissions “Distant,” “Three Monkeys,” “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” and “Winter Sleep.” But none of those have ever been nominated for Oscars and only “Three Monkeys” made the shortlist. “The Wild Pear Tree” focuses on an aspiring writer and recent college graduate who seems destined for failure; as usual with films from Ceylan, it is slowly paced and built around lengthy conversations – “a narrative of disillusionment,” in the words of TheWrap’s Ben Croll.
International trailer (no dialogue)

“Donbass” *
Director: Sergei Loznitsa

You have to give Ukraine credit for submitting a film that casts the country in the harshest light imaginable. Loznitsa is a virtuoso filmmaker of both narrative films and documentaries, and the episodic “Donbass” is part black comedy, part cry of rage over the violence and corruption that runs rampant in his country. In Cannes, Ben Croll called it “the uncompromised vision of a high-level international auteur.”
Subtitled clip

Also Read: 'Donbass' Review: Jarring War Film Reminds Us That No One Is Safe

“I Am Not a Witch” *
Director: Rungano Nyoni

One of the oldest films in the competition, the British entry screened in the Directors fortnight of Cannes in 2017, and won a BAFTA Award in February. The Zambian-born writer-director Rungano Nyoni visited actual camps for “witches” before making this magical-realist take on a young girl who is accused of having supernatural powers.
Subtitled trailer

“The Family”
Director: Gustavo Rondon Cordova

A selection in the Critics Week section of Cannes in 2017, Rondon Cordova’s drama deals with a father and son who are forced to go into hiding in Caracas after the 12-year-old boy runs afoul of a local gang.
Subtitled trailer

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Photo Credit: Ruudu Rahumaru Macajey is Jeremy Macachor–a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter based in Tartu (Estonia) by way of San Francisco’s Bay Area. His new album, Surfing The Air, maps the mental and emotional journey he experienced as he adjusted to life in a new country so far from home, and we’re excited to premiere the […]

The post Macajey, Surfing The Air appeared first on Impose Magazine.

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Concern as wild animals come ever closer to populated areas to find food in Finland and Estonia. | 5/29/18
In May, many people in Russia and other countries honor the memory of those who were killed in World War Two. Since the end of the bloodiest war in the history of mankind, a lot has been made to enhance security systems and prevent armed conflicts in the world. However, those systems were not perfect, but the balance was working. Today, however, it is collapsing rapidly. Presently, there are several international agreements that prevent worst-case scenarios, although it seems that they have been completely forgotten. Nevertheless, no one would have thought that May 2018 would be the time, when the world was standing on the brink of World War Three. This is terrible, of course, but this is the time that we're living in. I would say that this is the most intense time since the end of the Cold War. Here are the signs of the impending war On 2 May, NATO launched its military drills in Estonia and Latvia. The drills were the largest that NATO has held since 1991: as many as 3,000 troops from 16 countries took part in the event that closed on May 14. Estonia and Latvia share a border with the Russian Federation. In May and June, five military exercises will be held in Latvia. This activity is quite intense, and it gives Moscow every reason to believe that NATO is preparing for war right at Russia's doorstep. In June, the Baltic States will hold BALTOPS and Saber Strike 2018 drills. A US Armored Brigade will be deployed in Europe for the purpose - no less than 4,000 soldiers, nearly 90 Abrams tanks, Bradley combat vehicles, 18 self-propelled Paladin howitzers and other vehicles.This summer, Poland will host the largest event in the history of NATO - Anaconda 2018. This is going to be the largest exercise that the alliance is going to hold since the end of the Cold War:100,000 troops, 5,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and helicopters and 45 warships are said to take part. Such an army so near will, of course, make Russia wary. This year, the alliance will hold 80 joint exercises in Europe, mainly to train its preparations for war with Russia.Meanwhile, the conflict in the Donbass is getting hotter. Tensions escalate continuously, and the United States adds more fuel to the fire by deliberately supplying Javelin anti-tank systems for the  Ukrainian army. This is the first incident, when the transfer of deadly weapons took place. On May 1, the US State Department released a statement saying that the US military was moving to a new stage of operations in Syria. The US-led coalition includes the Syrian Democratic Forces and their mysterious "local partners." Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon ere also mentioned. The Islamic State* was not a big problem for Beirut, but now Lebanon is likely to become a battlefield that will be used by many countries, especially Israel and Iran.Officially, the mission is to destroy the remnants of the Islamic State*, but one should take this reason with a grain of salt. The terrorist group has been practically destroyed, and one does not require a major international coalition to counter the problem that has been practically solved by someone else. The situation in Syria is explosive, and the conflict may spark again after the recent missile attack on Syria.The above-mentioned military preparations take place at the time when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accuses Tehran of alleged fraud in the nuclear deal. The United States immediately stated that the evidence was "convincing." The Israeli parliament voted to give the prime minister the powers to declare war and launch a major military operation without the prior approval of his security cabinet.Donald Trump decided to pull out from the nuclear deal with Iran. The USA is to announce new sanctions that it is going to impose on Iran - the country that cooperates closely with Russia and Syria. All events taking place in Europe and Syria directly affect the security of Russia. A small spark is enough today to start an unstoppable flame of war. Such sparks have already appeared here and there. The so-called "Skripal case" is one of them. If you think you can add up to our list of signs of imminent war, you are welcome to speak your mind in the comments section below. Unlike in WWII, when the USSR was not the first country that Hitler attacked, today's Russia shares common border with NATO countries and those who dream of becoming its member. Pyotr Yermilin Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
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Israeli singer Netta Barzilai gives a cluck about empowering women.

Barzilai is favored to win the Eurovision Song Contest, a massive phenomenon overseas, with a #MeToo anthem of sorts that incorporates chicken sounds.

“People are really connecting with the clucking,” Barzilai told TheWrap. “It’s uplifting.”

Hundreds of millions of viewers around the world follow the Eurovision contest. Barzilai qualified for it by winning “HaKokhav HaBa L’Eurovision” (The Next Star for Eurovision), an Israeli reality singing competition. When it came time to record her entry, “Toy,” Barzilai decided to wing it (sorry) with the chicken sounds.

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The song includes lyrics like: “I’m not your toy, you stupid boy,” and “Barbie got something to say.”

“We knew we were creating something special,” Barzilai said. “But we never thought it would be this crazy.”

“We’ve been getting fan mail from the U.S. and even Arab countries, places that have nothing to do with Europe,” the song’s co-writer, Doron Medalie, told TheWrap. “The Eurovision usually has the same cliche-ridden themes about peace and love. There aren’t a lot of songs using toys as metaphors for men.”

The winner of the Eurovision contest will be named May 12.

Since its March release, the tune has garnered 18 million views on YouTube and another 4.5 million on Facebook.

Betting sites have Barzilai as the odds-on favorite to win, with “Toy” taking up the No. 1 spot with bookmakers according to ESC Daily, a site dedicated to covering the Eurovision contest “as the Olympic Games of music.”

“She’s light years ahead of of anyone else,” said Gal Uchovsky, who served as a judge on the show “Kokhav Nolad(A Star Is Born) for five seasons. “It’s a great song and it’s very current.”

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Estonia’s “La Forza,” which bookies rank second-most likely to win the contest, has 2 million views. The Czech Republic’s entry, “Lie to Me,” another favorite to win, has 3.7 million YouTube views.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, it came in 17th on the list of the most listened-to songs on iTunes in Spain, 36th place in Poland, and 46th in the Netherlands.

Started in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is the longest-running international singing competition, with more than 200 million viewers, according to organizers. It’s largely considered the precursor for singing contests like “American Idol” and “The Voice.”

The event, held in Lisbon, Portugal, also airs in the U.S. For the third consecutive year, the show will be broadcast on Logo. The Viacom network will carry the live finale on May 12.

The internet has made Eurovision popular well outside Europe. Last month, a Ugandan dance group, Spoon Youth, choreographed dance to “Toy.” It has more than a quarter of a million views.

It also got a super-Jewish Yiddish spoof by a singer calling herself  “The Kosher Diva.”

The winning Eurovision country also gets to host the following year’s competition. The honor doesn’t come cheap — Ukraine forked over about $24 million for last year’s event, according to the Kyiv Post.

But hosting the live event can boost a county’s image and tourism. Stockholm, which hosted the Eurovision in 2016, saw a boom in international visitors and generated about $30.5 million in revenue, according to the city, which it said was the equivalent to 175 full-time jobs.

Israel has won three times —  in 1978, 1979 and 1998. But there are no guarantees the 2019 Eurovision contest will be held in Jerusalem. Last year, the Italian song was favored to win, but ended up sixth after the final tally came in.

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Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump opened up the first new “SNL” episode in three weeks with a speed-run through recent Trump-news, with Baldwin as POTUS reading a prepared statement specifically to prove that yes, the president can read.

He was also finally straight with the American people, describing his presidency as “a four-year cash grab.”

Baldwin’s Trump met with leaders of the Baltic states for a press conference, but even as the event started, Trump was eager to leave. “Let’s make this quick because I’ve got more trade wars to escalate,” he said. “That’s why I added more tariffs on things like fireworks and finger traps.”

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Trump then introduced his counterparts from the Baltic States, listing them as “Estonia, Lithuania, and I wanna say Stankonia.” Trump further endeared himself to the other world leaders, saying, “Baltic Avenue was always my favorite, after Oriental Avenue, which you can’t say anymore. You have to call it China Street. So sad.”

“Before I turn things over to these freak shows here I’m going to read a prepared statement to prove that I can read. I hate this,” Trump continued, before quickly reading off the prepared statement — which started with, “Do not congratulate Putin.” “Oh wait,” Baldwin’s Trump said. “That’s a note for me.”

As soon as he was finished reading the statement, Baldwin’s Trump immediately congratulated Putin, just like the real Trump did, despite a real-life note reminding him not to.

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“First up a big congratulations to Vladimir Putin,” he said. “Nobody’s ever been tougher on Russia than I am, including Hitler.”

Trump then handed the reins of the event to the Baltic leaders while he zoned out, completely bored.

“Oh my god I’m already so bored,” Baldwin narrated for Trump’s thoughts. “I wish I was watching Roseanne, how great is that show. Roseanne loves me, she’s like a good Rosie O’Donnell.”

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Trump then took questions from journalists. He ducked answering about Stormy Daniels, admitted to hating Jeff Bezos because the Amazon CEO is richer and admits he’s bald, and talked about a caravan of immigrants in Mexico by describing the armored cars from the movie “Max Max: Fury Road.” He even called he immigrants “Mad Maxicans.”

When asked about whether he was worried his policies are ruining America, Baldwin’s Trump finally leveled with the nation.

“I am not worried at all, because here is the thing that no one else is saying and I’m the only one who’s willing to actually say this, ‘I don’t care about America,'” Trump explained. “Okay? This whole presidency is a four-year cash grab and admitting that will probably get me four more years, but I do not care about any of you. Okay? Basically, does that answer all of your questions?”

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Some 100,000 of Estonia's 1.3 million residents will provide blood samples to determine their genetic information in a programme funded by the state that aims to provide lifestyle advice.
The Vatican says Pope Francis will visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Sept. 22-25 as the three Baltic nations celebrate their 100th anniversaries. | 3/9/18
 A new micro VC fund backed by a host of well-known names in the Estonia tech scene is de-cloaking this week. Dubbed “Superangel“, the new fund is targeting a final closing of €20 million but has already raised €12 million. It will make pre-seed and seed investments of between €50,000 and €250,000 on average per company, up to €2 million including follow-on… Read More | 3/6/18
The Baltic News Service says Estonia and Russia have exchanged two men convicted of espionage at a border crossing between the two countries. | 2/10/18
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I know a few things, but I don't know much about Estonia. Here's everything I know: I know it's a Baltic state, a former Socialist republic. It's the homeland of Tommy Cash, a viral rapper who's made some really weird videos that I like a lot. The kids in the movie Encino Man tried to…