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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri returned to Beirut Saturday evening after a trip to the United Kingdom, a statement from his office reported, with still no apparent solution on the horizon to the monthslong government formation crisis.

Brexit is a highly complicated and ongoing national issue for the citizens of the United Kingdom, so you know what that means: it’s time to dive in and make a movie about it! HBO Films has done just that, casting Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) as the man who spearheaded the Vote Leave campaign and Rory […]

The post HBO Made a ‘Brexit’ Movie With Benedict Cumberbatch, and the Trailer is Here appeared first on /Film. | 12/15/18

More than 30 million people lost their data connectivity on December 6, 2018, in the United Kingdom as O2's network suffered from a nationwide service outage. Based on several reports, the incident was caused by a human error at Ericsson, the telecoms supplier responsible for operating certain parts of the O2 network.

To compensate for the downtime and tarnished reputation, the O2 management is now reportedly seeking damages of up to a hundred million pounds from Ericsson. Considering the size of the claim, this incident clearly shows that the cost of human errors that lead to network downtime is much higher than traditionally accounted for.

At the same time, most service providers working on digital transformation initiatives continue to rely on manual work in many parts of their network automation processes. Based on discussions with dozens of service providers during 2018, incumbent network automation vendors such as Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia and VMware still continue to rely on text files and spreadsheets as part of their solutions.

As manual processes have been the norm in network management for decades, most organizations view automation from the Operating Expense (OPEX) point of view. To justify an investment into a solution that replaces a pair of human hands, the investment is commonly assessed by estimating the cost of manual labor and calculating the payback time for the required investment.

Yet as the recent O2 incident shows, the chances are that the real total cost of manual work is much higher. In a report published in mid-2017, Gartner estimated the average cost of network downtime at 5,600 dollars per minute including both the direct and the indirect costs.

Further considering that based on various estimates roughly half of the network downtime is caused by human mistakes, the salary and overheads paid for manual work are really just a tip of the iceberg.

SD-WAN – Business Case for Automating Manual Network Management Tasks

To provide a concrete example of how the economics of manual steps in network management play out, we decided to prepare a business case for a mid-sized service provider or a large enterprise. As manual mistakes in the source data used for network automation propagate the quickest, we decided to use Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) as an example.

Another reason to select SD-WAN is that edge computing is picking up momentum quickly. Yet leading solutions like Cisco Viptela, Nokia Nuage and VMware VeloCloud still often rely on excel spreadsheets and/or text files as the source for network data used in service activation. The risk of network downtime caused by human error is at its highest with these emerging technologies, as they allow the manual mistakes to propagate further and quicker than ever before in history.

The business case was based on the following assumptions:

  • The operating organization has 10,000 networks under management
  • The organization spends 12 network engineering man-years on manual tasks at the average cost of USD 75,000 per year including overheads
  • On the average, each network suffers one minute of downtime annually
  • 49% of downtime is caused by manual errors (Wireless Review)
  • The average total cost of network downtime is USD 5,600 per minute including direct and indirect costs such as lost reputation, lost business, lost productivity and so forth (Gartner)
  • The total investment in the network automation platform is 20 million dollars
  • The manual steps make 25% of possible automation use cases impossible, thereby reducing the expected ROI from 20% to 15%

Based on these assumptions, we were able to establish the following total cost for the manual work:

  1. Operating Expense (OPEX) spent on manual tasks: USD 900,000
  2. Foregone ROI due to manual steps in the process: USD 1,000,000
  3. Cost of network downtime: USD 27,440,000
  4. Real annual total cost of manual steps in network automation: USD 29,340,000

As we prepared these calculations in November 2018, we were initially skeptical about whether the outcome could really be true. But after the O2 incident at a cost of 100 million pounds, we realized our calculation seems to be very nicely within the ballpark.


While the finding that network downtime constitutes 93.5% of the real total cost of manual network management steps was a real eye-opener, these numbers reveal an even more interesting finding. That is, if one invests 20 million into automating the propagation of human errors, the chances are that the cost of downtime can greatly exceed the value of the actual automation investment itself.

As Digital Transformation marches on, it is not likely that this calculation will do anything to prevent technology megatrends such as cloud computing, edge computing or 5G from marching on. But what it does imply is that if one is serious about network automation, he should not leave any manual steps in an automated process regardless of what a traditional OPEX-based business case would seem to suggest.

Written by Juha Holkkola, Co-Founder and Chief Technologist at FusionLayer Inc. | 12/14/18
The Brexit Discussion Pravda.Ru staff Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey presents the discussions he had with citizens of the UK covering the main points of view on Brexit. Incredible reading. I spent three weeks in the United Kingdom recently, wandering around the cities and the countryside asking people for their opinion on Brexit. I have tried to be fair and present a balance of what I perceived were the main points of view, transcribing what I recorded, keeping the grammar as it was presented but trying to place the dialects and accents into readable English spelling. Let us read them together and try to reach a conclusion. The question was, simply, "Would you like to share your views on Brexit?"

On December 6th, the Australian Internet Parliament formally passed the "Assistance and Access Bill." This package includes a series of provisions which require tech firms to help the country's security agencies bypass encrypted communications in their systems. i2Coalition Executive Director Christian Dawson issued the following statement.

* * *

"The i2Coalition is disappointed to see this problematic bill pass. i2Coalition worked with a coalition of tech organizations to voice our concerns to the Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Parliament in a series of letters earlier this year, warning them of the ill-effects this bill could have to Internet safety as well as the digital economy, globally.

Strong, uncompromised encryption is the most vital tool we have to ensure the safety and security of Internet users, and governments should not require companies to undermine those critical tools. While we do acknowledge that the Australian Parliament made note that they will restrict requests to areas in which subverting cryptography will not create "systemic weaknesses" in the service's security, we are troubled by the lack of understanding that the core provisions of the bill itself create systemic weaknesses in our most important systems. At worst this bill creates a disaster for cybersecurity, and at best it causes extreme business uncertainty as to what constitutes their requirements under the law.

This is the first country within the Five-Eyes intelligence alliance, made up of Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, to take this kind of dangerous step. We need to fight diligently to make sure that the kind of wrong thinking that led to this bill's passage doesn't spread to other countries. As an industry, we will continue to work with legislators worldwide, law enforcement, security professionals, and associations around the world to find smarter ways to address the problems of law enforcement, without putting the security and stability of the Internet as a whole at risk." | 12/13/18
Middle East Airlines and Rolls Royce inked a $300 million deal Wednesday, marking the largest ever bilateral deal between Lebanon and the United Kingdom.
Five men were indicted Wednesday on charges that they hacked into the servers of production companies, and stole hundreds of films and TV shows, including “50 Shades of Grey” and “The Walking Dead.” The men are based in four countries — the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and India. Only one has been […] | 12/13/18

LONDON – Exiled Indian business magnate, Dr Vijay Mallya could face fraud charges in his homeland after a court here Monday ruled that he could be extradited from the United Kingdom. The 62-year-old,... | 12/12/18
We, the People of Britain, do not want Brexit The British public made a mistake two years ago, easily led by a campaign of false promises and lies. Today REMAIN would win 60%-40% at the very least. The United Kingdom is not a democracy nor is it run on democratic principles. We like to think so, we like to preach so but in fact our political system of first-past-the-post means that in England political parties outside the main two (Labour and Conservative)  as a rule do not get represented in Parliament (with the exception of a few Liberals and the Green Party), meaning that you can get twenty per cent of the vote and have nobody in Parliament to represent you.
Japanese power metal outfit Lovebites has posted a new song online entitled, "Pledge Of The Savior," which you can listen to below. The song comes from the band's sophomore full length album, "Clockwork Immortality," which was released worldwide today and has already topped the iTunes metal chart in the United Kingdom. Read More/Discuss on Metal
Before this picture perfect kid was a multitalented television star, she was just enjoying life with her famous family in Westminster, United Kingdom. Can you guess who she is? | 12/7/18
The body of a woman from the United Kingdom (UK) who was reported missing from her Jamaican home in Boscobel, St Mary, is believed to have been found in a shallow grave on the property on Sunday.The police say DNA tests are to be conducted to... | 12/5/18
Brexit: The UK's insult to democracy The government of the United Kingdom is hell-bent on leading its lemmings off the cliff, taking a leap into the unknown, ingorant of the disaster Brexit will be The British have brought us many quirky delights and many wonderful moments of entertainment. Good examples of these are the wonderful English breakfast, which is a bowl of cereals and milk, fried bacon and eggs and sausages, baked beans and mushrooms, toast, orange juice and coffee, a blast of calories which sends you way over your needs before you hit the bathroom for a shower and a shave.
It was a fairy-tale ending for a couple from the United Kingdom who got engaged this weekend in New York, then dropped the too-big band down a grate. | 12/2/18

Bajans may be worried about rising crime and violence at home, but if some researchers in the United Kingdom are accurate in their assessment, Barbados is on the list of the safest places in the world... | 11/30/18

What DC Comics character does Margot Robbie want to on screen with Harley Quinn? What did Aquaman have to remove in order to lower its rating in the United Kingdom? What storyline would entice Anthony & Joe Russo to come back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Who would Tessa Thompson like to direct a Valkyrie […]

The post Superhero Bits: ‘Young Justice’ Enhanced Editions, Margot Robbie Wants Poison Ivy in the DCEU & More appeared first on /Film. | 11/30/18
A deadly knife attack epidemic is overwhelming police forces across the United Kingdom and a $3.8 million-a-day drug trafficking business is partially responsible for the rising crime rate, a new report says. | 11/29/18
A United Kingdom (UK) political pressure group is insisting that apologies from Britain's Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, in and by themselves will not go far enough to erase the hurt that the hostile immigration policy, which gave birth to the... | 11/29/18
Lime launched in the United Kingdom today, starting with a group of dockless electric-assist bikes in a Milton Keynes shopping center. The San Francisco-based startup says it plans to expand into more UK cities over the next few weeks. As in other markets, users in Milton Keynes find and unlock Lime’s bikes, which use battery-powered […] | 11/27/18

Rebellion has purchased a facility near its HQ in the United Kingdom that will handle the developer†?s upcoming Judge Dredd TV show and Rogue Trooper movie. ... | 11/26/18

KINGSTON– The University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom has agreed to pay £200 million in reparation payments to the University of the West Indies. This was disclosed by Vice Chancellor of the UWI,... | 11/25/18
Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Sir Hilary Beckles has reported that The University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom (UK) has agreed to pay £200 million (approximately J$34 billion) of value in reparation payments to The... | 11/25/18
Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Sir Hilary Beckles has reported that The University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom (UK) has agreed to pay reparations for £200 million (approximately J$34 billion) taken from... | 11/25/18

Terry Rossio, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Shrek,” “Aladdin” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, was lambasted on Twitter on Friday for using the n-word in a tweet.

In the tweet, Rossio said that calling people who are opposed to vaccinating their kids “anti-vax” is like calling someone the n-word.

“My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a n—er and makes as little sense,” Rossio wrote. (He did not dash out the letters.)

Also Read: 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Writer to Pen Movie About Vaccine Scandal Surrounding Autism

My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a nigger and makes as little sense.

— Terry Rossio (@TerryRossio) November 23, 2018

Birth.Movies.Death news editor Scott Wampler was among those who weighed in, tweeting: “Guess who’s probably not writing the next ‘Pirates of the Caribbean'”

Disney did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Rossio, who was credited on the 1992 version of “Aladdin,” is also credited on the upcoming live-action remake, as well as Warner Bros.’s “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Warner Bros. also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Over the summer, Disney fired “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn after conservative critics surfaced old tweets in which he had joked about rape and pedophilia.

Rossio, in 2016, teamed with Dr. Jocelyn Stamat to acquire the film rights to “Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines — the Truth Behind a Tragedy,” by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

The book, published in 2010, details the events surrounding a 1998 paper in the British medical journal The Lancet, co-authored by Wakefield, that investigated whether there was a link between chronic enterocolitis and neuropsychiatric dysfunction in 12 children, most of whom had received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

In 2010, The Lancet retracted the paper after accusations of misconduct were leveled against the co-authors. That same year, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council, in the lengthiest trial in its history, revoked Wakefield’s medical license.

God, this is such a good point. I remember how American founders and citizens enslaved vaccine skeptics for decades. And then, even after freeing them, the government enshrined laws to marginalize vaccine deniers and to deny them wealth and opportunity. That's just history.

— Jeffrey Grubb (@JeffGrubb) November 23, 2018

Not just ignorant, but also racist (and with a super-heavy dose of whiny oblivious victimhood to boot). Reported and blocked.

— Shanvoter Loftis (@shannonloftis) November 23, 2018

There is no equivalent to the n word. None. Not in this country.

— Cara Berg Powers (@clbergpowers) November 23, 2018

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Disney Slammed for Adding White Character to 'Aladdin'

'The Lego Batman Movie' Director Chris McKay to Direct 'Jonny Quest' for Warner Bros (Exclusive) | 11/24/18
Dutch symphonic metal outfit Within Temptation has posted a video online recounting their recent tour of the United Kingdom. You can check it out below. The band has been touring in support of their new album, "Resist," which is set to be released through Spinefarm Records on December 14th. "Resist is a true milestone for us. If it wasn't for Re... Read More/Discuss on Metal

British Prime Minister Theresa May will return to Brussels for Brexit talks this weekend as the United Kingdom and European Union strive to do a deal in time for Sunday's summit of European leaders. ... | 11/21/18

A week after a New York Times report led Facebook to cut ties with conservative-leaning political consulting firm Definers, Facebook’s outgoing global communications vice president has taken the blame for hiring the outfit.

“Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the Communications team. That’s me,” wrote Elliot Schrage in an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch.

The Times reported a week ago that Facebook used the research firm to target competitors and critics over the last year. The campaign included trying to tie protesters to financier George Soros.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Says Stepping Down From Facebook 'Not the Plan'

Schrage, who described hiring Definers as a political necessity following the 2016 election, said in the memo that his team did indeed ask the firm to investigate Soros’ involvement in “Freedom from Facebook,” an effort to encourage people to stop using the platform. Definers concluded Soros funded “several of the coalition members,” Schrage said. Soros, through a spokesperson, told the Times last week that he has never specifically funded any activity against Facebook.

Schrage said also that he requested Definers target Facebook’s competition.

In the memo, Schrage also said Facebook did not ask Definers “to distribute or create fake news.” The Times did not report that Facebook made such a request, but it did say Definers promoted or disseminated articles and op-eds critical of companies and people who spoke out against Facebook.

Also Read: Facebook's Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied any prior knowledge of his company’s relationship with Definers, and said he learned about it from The Times’ report. In his memo, Schrage backed Zuckerberg, stating neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg were involved with hiring Definers. “Mark and Sheryl relied on me to manage this without controversy,” said Schrage.

In a follow-up memo, also obtained by TechCrunch, Sandberg thanked Schrage, but clarified that she oversees Facebook’s communications teams, and takes “full responsibility for their work and the PR firms who work with us.”

Schrage announced earlier this year that he intended to resign from Facebook. The company hired Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, to replace Schrage in October.

Also Read: Washington Post Media Critic Calls on Mark Zuckerberg to Step Down

Facebook and Definers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap.

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Stephen Colbert (and Bigfoot) Hijack Chris Wallace's President Trump Interview (Video)

Lou Dobbs Wishes Trump Could Have Just Ignored Court Order Restoring Jim Acosta's Press Credentials | 11/21/18
Half of the football fans in the United Kingdom have witnessed racism while watching football, a new global study finds. | 11/21/18
The organisers of Britain's biggest rock festival, Download has announced a further twenty four bands for next year's edition of the event. Joining headliners Def Leppard, Slipknot and Tool will be Slayer, in what will be their final show in the United Kingdom, fellow thrash metal legends Anthrax, Virginia favourites Lamb Of God, grunge legends Sma... Read More/Discuss on Metal
Brexit: The UK's understanding of Democracy The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland needs to sit down and listen to this lesson in Democracy and then apply it in a democratic process Unlike most people, I get the Brits and unlike most people, I have something in common with Theresa May - we both have a liking for cricket. Her, probably because she understands the mechanics of the game; me, because I find it hilarious that they break for sandwiches and tea, I find it unfathomable that a game can last for five days and curious that there are so many rules that it seems impossible to understand, while the bowling action, a classic example of British eccentricity, has me curled up in giggling fits as do the positions, for instance "silly mid on" and "backward short leg".

“If Beale Street Could Talk,” “You Were Never Really Here,” “Eighth Grade,” “First Reformed” and “Leave No Trace” have been nominated as the best independent films of 2018 by the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which announced its nominees on Friday morning in Los Angeles.

In one of the most evenly spread Spirit Awards fields ever, “Eighth Grade,” “First Reformed,” “You Were Never Really Here” and “We the Animals” each received four nominations, while “Beale Street,” “Leave No Trace,” “Private Life” and “The Tale” each received three.

“Madeline’s Madeline,” “Hereditary,” “Sorry to Bother You” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” each received two nominations.

Also Read: CMA Awards 2018: The Complete Winners List

Acting noms went to several presumed Oscar contenders, including Glenn Close for “The Wife,” Regina King for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Richard E. Grant for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and Adam Driver for “BlacKkKlansman,” along with Thomasin Harcourt Mckenzie for “Leave No Trace,” Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton for “Eighth Grade,” Daveed Diggs for “Blindspotting” and Carey Mulligan for “Wildlife.”

In the Best First Feature category, the nominees were “Hereditary,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “The Tale,” “We the Animals” and “Wildlife.”

To qualify for the Spirit Awards, a film must meet a variety of criteria, including having a budget of less than $20 million. It must also contain “significant American content,”  a requirement that can be fulfilled by having the film set and shot in the U.S. or by having U.S. citizens or permanent residents in two of the three creative positions of director, writer and producer.

Also Read: 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' Tops Critics' Choice Documentary Awards

This year, major Oscar contenders “Roma” and “The Favourite” didn’t meet the American-content requirement and were eligible only in the Best International Film category. They were both nominated in the category, along with “Burning,” “Happy as Lazzaro” and “Shoplifters.”

The Oscar-contending films that did not qualify for the Spirit Awards because of budgetary reasons include “Black Panther,” “Vice,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Widows,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Mary Queen of Scots.”

Spirit Award nominations are made by a variety of nominating committees rather than a vote of the entire membership. The final voting is open to all the members of Film Independent, which is a mixture of film professionals and movie fans who pay an annual fee.

Also Read: E's People Choice Awards 2018: Complete Winners List

Last year, three of the Spirit Awards’ five Best Feature nominees went on to receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture, while nine of the 20 acting nominees were also singled out by the Academy, including winners Frances McDormand, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell.

Since the Oscars expanded to more than five Best Picture nominees in 2009, there has never been a year in which at least one of the Spirits Awards nominees did not also receive an Oscar nom in the top category. The high was four films nominated for both awards, which happened in 2010 and again in 2014.

In the first 26 years of the Spirit Awards’ existence, its Best Feature winner only went on to win the Best Picture Oscar once, when “Platoon” did it in 1986. But beginning in 2012, the two awards agreed five times in six years, including four in a row from 2014 through 2017. That streak came to an end last year, when “Get Out” won the Spirit Award but lost to “The Shape of Water” at the Oscars.

Also Read: 'Minding the Gap' Leads All Films in Nominations for Cinema Eye Honors

This year’s nominations were announced at a press conference by Molly Shannon and Gemma Chan.

The 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23 and will be broadcast live on IFC.

The nominees:

Also Read: Glenn Close to Receive Icon Award From Palm Springs Film Festival


Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE
Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE


Christian Malheiros, SOCRATES

Glenn Close, THE WIFE
Toni Collette, HEREDITARY
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE
Carey Mulligan, WILDLIFE

Raúl Castillo, WE THE ANIMALS
Josh Hamilton, EIGHTH GRADE
John David Washington, MONSTERS AND MEN

Kayli Carter, PRIVATE LIFE
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
J. Smith-Cameron, NANCY


ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (given to one film’s director, casting directors and ensemble cast)


BURNING (South Korea)
THE FAVOURITE (United Kingdom)
ROMA (Mexico)

Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates & Jeremiah Zagar, WE THE ANIMALS
Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill & Julian Hart, AMERICAN ANIMALS
Anne Fabini, Alex Hall and Gary Levy, THE TALE
Nick Houy, MID90S

Diego Garcia, WILDLIFE
Benjamin Loeb, MANDY
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, SUSPIRIA
Zak Mulligan, WE THE ANIMALS

Christina Choe, NANCY
Jennifer Fox, THE TALE
Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By) and Laurie Shephard (Story By), BLAME

Richard Glatzer (Writer/Story By), Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland, COLETTE
Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE

Truer Than Fiction Award
Alexandria Bombach, ON HER SHOULDERS

Someone to Watch Award
Alex Moratto, SOCRATES
Ioana Uricaru, LEMONADE
Jeremiah Zagar, WE THE ANIMALS

Producers Award
Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams
Gabrielle Nadig
Shrihari Sathe

Bonnie Award
Debra Granik
Tamara Jenkins
Karyn Kusama | 11/16/18
The best sign that investors have had enough of the United Kingdom would be when both its currency and bonds weaken at the same time. | 11/16/18
The Windrush scandal engulfing Theresa May's United Kingdom government is a major self-made embarrassment because of its hostile environment immigration policy, according to Dr Desmond Jaddoo, co-chairman for the United Kingdom (UK) political... | 11/16/18
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley says that the Brexit agreement with the EU is the right one for United Kingdom. | 11/15/18
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Before this super excited Spice Girl fan was taking the stage as an international singing sensation, she was just another music lover about to pop in London, United Kingdom. Can you guess who she is? | 11/14/18
The Scottish wildcat, the last native cat in the United Kingdom, is endangered; fewer than 100 purebred specimens remain in the wild. | 11/12/18
We all look forward to seeing our favourite bands live in almost any setting. The most special though is when they're part of an impressive touring lineup. This Autumn, North Carolina's legendary Corrosion Of Conformity returned to the United Kingdom for a headlining tour, teaming up with British heavy metal flag bearers Orange Goblin, as well as f... Read More/Discuss on Metal
In the first six months of the year, police recorded 39,332 knife crime offenses – a 12 percent increase over last year – the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported. | 11/9/18
The United Kingdom’s defense senior adviser on the Middle East, Lt. Gen. John Lorimer, Tuesday concluded a two-day visit to Lebanon that emphasized his country’s support for the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Anna Kendrick’s sci-fi thriller “Stowaway,” from XYZ Films and CAA Media Finance, has closed sales in multiple overseas territories. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has bought rights to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and most of Asia. Additional territories sold include the Middle East to Falcon […] | 11/7/18

  A Barbadian who pleaded guilty to multiple child sex offences dating back to the 1980s, has been jailed in the United Kingdom. Born in Station Hill, Richard Riley, 66, of Kimberley Road in Stockwell,... | 11/5/18
Don’t stop “Bohemian Rhapsody” now, Fox’s Freddie Mercury biopic topped the international box office with $72.5 million. Rami Malek stars as Queen’s iconic frontman in the rock movie, which also dominated the domestic market with $50 million for a global start of $122.5 million. “Bohemian Rhapsody” opened in the United Kingdom last weekend with a […] | 11/4/18
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Before this festive face was getting recognized as an English-American actress, she was just another cute kid celebrating Halloween in Guildford, United Kingdom. Can you guess who she is? | 10/29/18

In the hilarious movie comedies of the immortal Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, many of the laughs come from watching the duo teetering on the brink, unaware that they’re about to crash their car or to have a floor give way under them or to drop a piano down a very tall flight of stairs.

“Stan & Ollie,” which explores the duo’s career in its final stages — as well as their ongoing off-screen relationship — does a lot of teetering on its own, although luckily it never topples. It’s a story about the serious side of comedians that never indulges in sad-clown sentimentality. It calls upon modern actors to recreate iconic film moments without falling prey to the many potential embarrassments of such restagings. And it intelligently explores the limitations of working partnerships, not to mention the elusive line between partnership and friendship, in a way that neither canonizes nor excoriates its famous subjects.

In other words, there are many moments in which “Stan & Ollie” could have, but doesn’t, drop the piano. It’s a testament to the extraordinary performances by Steve Coogan (as Stan Laurel) and John C. Reilly (as Oliver Hardy), as well as the screenplay by Jeff Pope (working from A.J. Marriot’s book “Laurel & Hardy: The British Tours”) and the direction from Jon S. Baird (“Filth”), that this funny, moving film becomes that rare show-biz biopic that doesn’t bury its subject in an attempt to praise it.

Also Read: eOne to Co-Finance Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly's Laurel & Hardy Biopic

Not that it’s really a biopic: the film does begin at the Hal Roach Studios in 1937, where Laurel and Hardy are the hottest comic duo in Hollywood. Even amidst their success, however, Stan thinks they’re being mistreated by Roach (Danny Huston); he considers playing hardball in their contract renegotiations or maybe even taking the duo to another studio, but the more easy-going Ollie — currently racked with debt after a string of failed marriages — would rather go along and get along.

The story then jumps ahead to the 1950s, where the heyday of Laurel and Hardy is now a fond memory. The two men embark on a tour of the United Kingdom, in the hopes of stoking a British producer’s interest in making a Robin Hood parody that Stan spends all his time rewriting. Oliver’s a lot heavier than he used to be, making the pratfalls and the dancing difficult, and at first, they’re chagrined that their tour manager Bernard Delfont (an amusingly oily Rufus Jones) has booked them in third-rate music halls and even sketchier hotels.

Also Read: Watch the Trailer for Orson Welles' Lost Film 'The Other Side of the Wind'

But as the duo commits to publicity stunts for the newsreel cameras, the audiences show up and the venues and the accommodations improve, and by the time they get to London, they’re playing the Victoria and staying at the Savoy, just in time to greet their wives — Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda) — who have traveled from the States to meet up with them. A former script girl and retired dancer, respectively, Lucille and Ida have a hilariously prickly chemistry; there could be a whole movie of Henderson and Arianda as a comedy duo of their own, getting on each other’s nerves but ultimately having each other’s backs.

Those British audiences still love Laurel and Hardy, but that affection is very much tinged with nostalgia; every fan they encounter says something along the lines of “I can’t believe you’re still doing these old routines.” And while that producer continues to dodge Stan’s calls, and Oliver’s knee bothers him more and more, things finally come to a head after their London opening night, in which the two old comics have the kind of brutal, cutting confrontation that only people who’ve worked together for decades can have: Stan reveals he still feels betrayed that Oliver didn’t stand by him in the fight with Roach, and Oliver responds that while Stan has always loved “Laurel & Hardy,” he’s never been much of a real friend.

Moments like this land because Coogan and Reilly have managed to make these screen legends into life-size human beings; they recreate the vintage comic bits perfectly, from Hardy’s wails of pain and huffs of exasperation to Laurel’s rubberfaced expressions and wide-eyed silliness, but it’s in the offstage, relatable moments that these characters truly come alive. (Makeup artist Mark Coulier and his team deserve praise for giving Reilly prosthetics that make him look like a much heftier man and not like an actor who is swathed in putty.)

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For film lovers, it’s a particularly excruciating brand of torture to watch inept modern-day mimicry of cherished cinematic moments, so it’s worth spotlighting the grace with which Coogan and Reilly perform, and Baird directs, classic Laurel and Hardy shtick. The film even suggests that Stan and Oliver would reflexively fall into performance mode as part of their daily life without hitting us over the head with it, and the current actors nail the timing and the physicality throughout.

Cinematographer Laurie Rose (“Overlord”) scores an impressive tracking shot early on as Stan and Oliver make their way past showgirls and centurions as they go from their dressing room to the set of “Way Out West,” but the film tends toward TV levels of brightness, even when the characters are in a damp boarding house or crumbling theater. Rolfe Kent’s score segues from silent-movie sprightliness to more somber themes, but like the rest of the film, it never overplays the more dramatic moments.

“Stan & Ollie” sees screen legends being cued to exit whether they want to or not, but it manages to do so without being dreary or lachrymose, like so many other films about fading Hollywood stars. It gives Steve Coogan one of his finest screen roles to date and for Reilly, it’s another triumph right on the heels of “The Sisters Brothers.” Whether you adore Laurel and Hardy or have never seen them in action, this film celebrates both the artist and the tenacity it takes to remain one.

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An unidentified donor has stepped in to help a 4-year-old boy from the United Kingdom get the potentially life-saving treatment he needs to battle a rare type of cancer.

Hannah Oliver-Willetts has been desperately trying to raise funds to help her son, Zac Oliver, who was diagnosed with near haploid leukemia in May, according to a donation page set up for the family.

The cancer is so rare that Zac is the only child diagnosed with the disease in the U.K. After going through three rounds of chemotherapy that may not sure him — with a particularly harmful fourth cycle scheduled for November — Zac’s parents found a successful treatment for their son’s cancer battle that has improved the likelihood of survival of patients by almost 80 percent.

But the treatment, called CAR-T therapy, is not yet available in the U.K, reports the BBC, which means the family will have to travel to the United States in order to save Zac’s life.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has offered to treat Zac, and while the hospital kindly slashed the price of the treatment from $1,250,000 to $625,000, the family worried about how they would be able to pay for the bill along with other expenses, such as traveling and flight costs, their donation page explains.

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While they were able to raise funds on their Just Giving page, it wasn’t until the family received a call from a generous stranger on Monday that their hopes were realized.

Hannah was phoned by a “mystery man” who said he was so moved by Zac’s story that he was donating $130,000 to the family to get their boy the help he needs. While they didn’t know whether to believe the stranger on the phone, the money appeared that same day.

“This is our dream, this is everything we wanted,” Zac’s grandmother, Annette Oliver, told Huffington Post UK. “It’s Christmas, it’s better.”

When Hannah asked who the man was, he simply replied that his name wasn’t necessary.

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“It doesn’t matter who I am, the most important person here is Zac,” he told Hannah, according to HuffPost.

The family has now met their initial funding requirement and are planning to arrive in Philadelphia before the start of November for Zac’s 17-week treatment. They are still accepting donations on their donation page to help with future doctors appointments for Zac.

“Hopefully, we will come back with a cured little boy who will get his life back,” Hannah told the BBC. | 10/20/18
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WME parent company Endeavor announced on Monday that it has hired former Under Armour executive Kerry Chandler as the entertainment company’s new chief human resources officer.

“As Endeavor continues evolving and expanding, the human resources function and its role in maintaining an environment where our employees have the support and resources to really thrive and seize opportunities become more important than ever,” Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuelsaid in a statement. “Kerry brings incredible experience across all of the key drivers in creating, and sustaining, this type of environment on a global scale.”

Before serving as chief human resource officer at Under Armour, Chandler held senior executive HR roles with Christie’s International, the National Basketball Association, Disney and ESPN, IBM, and Motorola, among others. Chandler takes over the role at Endeavor, replacing Carole Katz who is stepping down after 18 years with the company. Katz with retain an advisory role with Endeavor in the interim.

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Chandler will work across all of Endeavor’s sports, fashion and entertainment companies, which include WME, IMG and UFC.

“Endeavor has undergone an amazing transformation over the last several years, establishing a significant presence across all facets of media,” Chandler said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to become part of this company’s journey and have an opportunity to support such a passionate and driven team.”

Chandler began her career as an HR representative at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation before a series of positions with Exxon, Motorola, and IBM. A love for sports brought her to ESPN in 2000 where she served as a Senior Vice President, overseeing HR operations for the company.

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She later held several similar positions within the Disney family including a key role at Hong Kong Disneyland before transitioning to the NBA in 2007 where she rose to Executive Vice President. She then moved on to Christie’s before joining Under Armour as Chief Human Resources Officer in 2015.

Chandler has received numerous recognitions including being named a “Game Changer” among women in sports by the SportsBusiness Journal; one of “The Most Powerful Women in Business” by Black Enterprise; and BizWomen’s “Top 100 Business Women to Watch.”

Chandler is currently a member of the Human Resources Policy Institute (HRPI) and the Executive Leadership Council (ELC). She also serves on the espnW Advisory Panel, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the board of the New York Urban League. Chandler has previously served on the boards of the University of Exeter’s Center for Leadership Studies in the United Kingdom; the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC); Her Justice, an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of women who are victims of domestic violence; and the Senior Human Resources Forum of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, among others.

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