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The takedown of al-Baghdadi — here’s what happened – Global News

October 27th, 2019

READ MORE: Trump says the Islamic State’s leader is dead. What will the group do next?

A CELEBRATION AND A SECRET TWO-DAY SCRAMBLE

Events developed quickly once the White House learned on Thursday there was a “high probability” that al-Baghdadi would be at an Idlib province compound.By Friday, Trump had military options on his desk.By Saturday morning, the administration at last had “actionable intelligence” it could exploit.There was no hint of that interior drama as Trump headed to Camp David on Friday night to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Then he was off to Virginia on a brisk fall Saturday for a round at one of his golf courses.He teed off with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, in town for the World Series, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and David Perdue.Trump got back to the White House at 4:18 p.m. By 5 p.m., he was in a suit in the Situation Room in the basement of the West Wing to monitor the raid. They named it after Kayla Mueller, an American humanitarian worker abused and killed by al-Baghdadi.The rest of Washington had its focus on Game 4 of the World Series about to get underway a few miles away at Nationals Park.

2:12Trump: ISIS founder al-Baghdadi ‘died like a coward’

Trump: ISIS founder al-Baghdadi ‘died like a coward’

PANIC THEN DEATH

Moments after the White House team had gathered, U.S. aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 helicopters, took off from Al-Asad air base in western Iraq.Within hours, al-Baghdadi was dead.The first inkling that something was afoot came when villagers saw helicopters swooping low on the horizon.“We went out in the balcony to see and they started shooting, with automatic rifles. So we went inside and hid,” said an unidentified villager. Next came a large explosion — Trump said soldiers blasted a hole in the side of a building because they feared the entrance might have been booby-trapped. Al-Baghdadi fled into a network of underground bunkers and tunnels that snaked through the compound.The stout, bearded militant leader wore a suicide vest and dragged along three children as he fled from the American troops.Trump, happy to play up the drama, said that as U.S. troops and their dogs closed in, the militant went “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way” to his death.“He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down,” Trump said. “He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”

READ MORE: Years apart, Situation Room photos of Trump, Obama capture vastly different presidents

‘IT WAS HIM’

Al-Baghdadi’s body was mutilated in the blast, and the tunnel caved in on him. To get to his corpse, troops had to dig through debris.“There wasn’t much left,” Trump said, “but there are still substantial pieces that they brought back.”That’s when the military raid turned into a forensics operation — and the special forces had come prepared.They had brought along samples of al-Baghdadi’s DNA.The soldiers who conducted the raid thought the man who fled looked like al-Baghdadi, but that wasn’t enough. Various accounts had heralded his death in the past, only for him to surface yet again.This time there could be no doubt.

1:40Biden commends military involved in raid that led to al-Baghdadi’s death

Biden commends military involved in raid that led to al-Baghdadi’s death
Lab technicians conducted an onsite DNA test to make sure and within 15 minutes of his death, positively identified the target.“It was him,” Trump said.Al-Baghdadi’s body wasn’t all they retrieved.Trump said U.S. troops remained in the compound for about two hours after al-Baghdadi’s death and recovered highly sensitive material about the Islamic State group, including information about its future plans.After the American troops retreated, U.S. fighter jets fired six rockets at the house, levelling it.

READ MORE: One of Baghdadi’s top aides was key to his capture: Iraq security officials

THE BIG TEASE

Trump was so excited he couldn’t contain himself.He hinted of the successful military operation late Saturday by tweeting obliquely that “something very big has just happened!” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley announced the president would make a “major statement” Sunday morning.That sent reporters in Washington and the Middle East scrambling, and news organizations soon confirmed that U.S. forces believed they had killed America’s most-wanted man.

1:11U.S. Defence Secretary calls al-Baghdadi killing a ‘great day for America’

U.S. Defence Secretary calls al-Baghdadi killing a ‘great day for America’
It was a measure of the strained atmosphere in Washington that two top Democrats — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House intelligence committee — didn’t get a heads-up from Trump about the operation.Trump didn’t trust them to keep it secret.“Washington is a leaking machine,” Trump said. In this case, he said, “there were no leaks, no nothing. The only people that knew were the few people that I dealt with.”

THE REVEAL: ‘THE BIGGEST’

Trump chose the Diplomatic Room to make his big announcement on Sunday.In announcing al-Baghdadi’s death, he leaned into comparing the successful operation with the 2011 mission to kill 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

READ MORE: Who was ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

While bin Laden orchestrated the deadliest militant attack in U.S. history, the killing of al-Baghdadi — who helped the IS group at its height control more than 34,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria — was “the biggest there is,” Trump said.Reveling in the moment, Trump spent more than 45 minutes speaking and taking questions about the raid.By late Sunday afternoon, Trump’s reelection campaign was ready to turn the raid into political capital. It sent a text to supporters that said, “Trump has brought the #1 terrorist leader to justice-he’s KEEPING AMERICA SAFE.”

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Silicon Valley’s final season puts Pied Piper at the top, ready to fall down – The A.V. Club

October 27th, 2019

When Silicon Valley premiered in 2014, it felt like a natural extension of the satire Mike Judge had developed in projects like Office Space and Idiocracy. With wealth and technology consolidated in a hyper-insulated space, the tech industry was a breeding ground for eccentric character types, and ideas that sounded like a great idea to those who came up with them but sounded silly to anyone who wasn’t part of that bubble. And despite diminishing narrative returns over the years, it’s kept to that ethos, the team of Pied Piper encountering all manner of missteps and egos on their quest for success.

As the show heads into its final season though, the environment has changed. Start-ups like Uber and WeWork are losing billions in their rush to go public, turning into punchlines where once they were lauded as successes. There’s a new data breach lawsuit in the headlines almost ever other day. Mark Zuckerberg is regularly hauled in front of Congress to squirm as he attempts to mimic human emotions and his company is a frequent target of attorney generals. The perception of tech companies has gone from amusingly disconnected from reality to almost callously disinterested in humanity. The joke is no longer as funny as it used to be, because of the unpleasant feeling the joke is on us.

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But Silicon Valley has always had a eye for the trends and scandals of the tech industry—case in point, Russ Hanneman losing $300 million in his jeans pocket long before Gerald Cotten took $200 million to his grave—and Judge and company are now embracing the world that’s grown darker and more nihilistic in recent years. The battle for Pied Piper is no longer one of success, it’s going to be if Richard Hendricks and his friends will end their journey with their souls still intact. And if “Artificial Lack of Intelligence” is any gauge, the odds are not on their side.

To that end, Silicon Valley has gone back to Richard’s original consideration from the pilot, the idea that by starting his company he could break the mold. The opening monologue is a Thomas Middleditch showcase, beginning with the deer-in-headlights expression he’s perfected over six years and turning into an impassioned walk-and-talk as he explains to a United States Senate committee that the control and power of the tech behemoths is so great they can’t be brought to heel. Only his decentralized Internet, data access limited to its users, is the future. It’s a proud mission statement, one that’s almost undone by falling back in his chair, but at least that’s some assurance a human’s behind it.

Bold words to be sure, but they’re also in opposition to the new playing field that’s been drawn. Even moreso than the new office they found themselves in last year, Pied Piper’s new setup is vast and cavernous, a decision that Judge (in the director’s chair for the season premiere) showcases in the opening party as Richard and Jared are swiftly pulled apart by the hundreds of excited Pied Piper employees. They’re no longer in the grey area between start-up and legitimate company, a decision the creative team has thankfully embraced after stepping back from it so many times the last few years.

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Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Amanda Crew
Photo: Ali Page Goldstein (HBO)

And with more human involvement comes proof of Gilfoyle’s hypothesis that humans suck. Colin bringing K-Hole Games back to Pied Piper was the tipping point in last season’s finale, and now he’s turned into a breaking point when he admits that Games Of Galoo is gathering user data through their headsets. The blithe immorality of Neil Casey’s performance stands in stark contrast to Richard’s increased lividity, taking entirely different levels of comfort about lying to Congress not under oath. And with more time to stew, the less it becomes about his company than it does a personal affront to Richard’s authority—something that he’s taking with less and less grace each time it happens.

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It’s become a trope on Silicon Valley that Richard’s algorithm is an all-purpose solution to Pied Piper’s problems, and in the smartest move of the premiere it subverts that when Richard pairs it with Colin’s tech to aggregate his calls into a spiderweb of depravity. Rather than cowing Colin into silence, it sends him excitedly to his shareholders, presenting Richard’s blackmail attempt as the greatest data aggregation platform in the history of the medium. It’s the latest stark illustration of Silicon Valley’s nihilistic sense of humor, that everyone winds up being the systems architect of their own destruction and that there’s no level of shame high enough to keep someone from seeing an opportunity for profit.

If Richard’s losing the fight for his company’s integrity, he’s also losing what let him keep his own. With Erlich Bachman banished to an opium den—and T.J. Miller having zero chance of a final guest appearance, continually unaware that “benevolent benign maniac” is just another way of saying “piece of shit human being”—the core relationship of the show has grown to Richard and Jared. Ever since Jared showed up at the door of the house with a bottle of wine and a request to be a small part of what Richard was building, he’s been the moral center of Pied Piper, a series of increasingly dark reveals not obscuring his fundamental decency. (This week’s horrific analogy: “It’s like stealing from your pimp to pay for your friend’s appendectomy.”)

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Jimmy O. Yang, Josh Brener, Zach Woods
Photo: Ali Page Goldstein (HBO)

Now even that center is tested in what could become the true heart of the season. Jared’s so desperate to be close to Richard he allows this spiteful plan to go forward—complete with a botched “fuck you o’clock” joke—and disillusioned by his failure he drifts back to his old comfort zone of the incubator While it’s disappointing to see Silicon Valley reject another option to keep these marginal characters Big Head and Jian-Yang relegated to the margins, it sets up far more personal stakes as Jared offers his business development expertise to another socially maladjusted coder. If Jared truly cuts the cord with Richard, or even turns on him, those are stakes that feel even higher than Pied Piper’s future.

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While Richard wages the fight for his company’s integrity, his employees continue to demonstrate their lack thereof. The feud between Dinesh and Gilfoyle remains a steady delivery of mutual loathing, and it’s now ossified to the fact that Gilfoyle has found a way to excuse himself from it entirely by creating an AI program to respond to all of Dinesh’s gripes. Dinesh asking for his own AI to avoid dealing with people, and subsequently crashing the entire Pied Piper network when it interacts with his, is amusing mostly for the unintentional commentary on how repetitive their rivalry has become. And it also introduces an interesting sci-fi twist: how insane would it be if the combination of Richard’s algorithm, Gilfoyle’s server skills, and Dinesh’s craven self-centeredness, led to the end of the series with Pied Piper replacing Cyberdyne Systems as the company that brings about the end of the world?

Matt Ross
Photo: Ali Page Goldstein (HBO)

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If they do manage to end the world, they’ll at least have more of an impact than Gavin Belson at this point. He’s failed to crush Pied Piper so many times that he’s lost all sense of menace as an antagonist, and Silicon Valley appears to have reached the same conclusion. The developments of the last season means that Hooli, once the behemoth and cautionary tale to the scrappy upstart Pied Piper, is now consumed as an Amazon subsidiary. Matt Ross remains great at expressing how Gavin’s ideals and ego have become indistinguishable from each other, and his desire to keep the Hooli name leads to the best visual gag of the episode: so few employees left that he has lease the building to El Pollo Loco corporate, a poke in the eye that becomes literal when the new logo knocks off the last part of the old.

It says something that the two extremes for Pied Piper are giving birth to the new Skynet or sharing space with the market research team of Five Guys, and even more that neither of those options feel like they’re off the table. An ugly paranoia has descended over the world of big tech, and it seems like Silicon Valley is wholly content to drag its characters down into the muck with them. They just might pull a win out in this final season—it is what they do, after all—but for the first time, it’s starting to feel like a victory that might cost them everything.

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Stray observations:

  • Welcome back to The A.V. Club’s coverage of Silicon Valley! Glad to be back for the sixth and final round of system updates.
  • With a new season, time to play Spot the Opening Title Updates. I caught an Impossible Burger truck replacing the Soylent truck and an emphasis on Eaze delivery services.
  • Richard’s first guesses on what Dinesh’s t-shirt tribute is supposed to be are “licked ass” and “dicked ass.” Gilfoyle wonders why those are his first two guesses, but given how long Richard’s known them, guessing they’d give him a profane tribute makes a lot of sense.
  • If you ever see someone with a wearable chair, punch that person in the face.
  • The diagram of Colin’s conversations is one of the great Silicon Valley visual gags. Highlights include: masturbated in sporting goods store, crop-dusted coworker’s cat, used condom he had in wallet for five years, manscaped gooch, made out at dog park, said he’d fuck a dog if it was hot enough, shot fish in a barrel.
  • “He looks like a child in a custody hearing.” “Right, but you don’t feel sorry for him. You just want him to go away and not have any parents at all.”
  • “Hiroshima was an elegant implementation!” “I don’t think anyone agrees with you on that.”
  • “This is the cost of working with humans, Richard. They suck.”
  • “Do you need the real me for this conversation?”
  • “I know you’re my therapist. I was there when the court appointed you.”
  • This week’s closing track: “Easy Lovin’,” Freddie Hart.

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Ben Affleck Visits Ex Jennifer Garner’s House After Relapse: ‘He Owned His Mistake,’ Source Says – msnNOW

October 27th, 2019


Ben Affleck standing on a sidewalk
© Snorlax/MEGA

Ben Affleck was seen arriving at Jennifer Garner‘s home one day after appearing to be publicly inebriated at an event on Saturday night.

“You could tell that it wasn’t an easy thing for him, but Ben owned his mistake,” a source tells PEOPLE. “He said it happens, that he slipped up but that it won’t happen again. It was a smart move because now the story is basically over.”

“He looked tired,” the source adds.

A rep for Affleck did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The night before, the father of three, 47, was spotted attending the UNICEF Masquerade Ball in West Hollywood.

In a video obtained by TMZ of Saturday night’s event, Affleck seemed to have trouble walking while leaving his hotel for the ball. Photos from the night show the star wearing a dark suit and a Halloween skull mask over his face.

“Sobriety is difficult and elusive for everyone struggling with addiction,” a friend of Affleck previously told PEOPLE after the footage from the ball was published. “Ben has acknowledged he’s going to slip up from time to time. It was never as if this was simply behind him.”


a person wearing a costume: Ben Affleck | BG027/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
© BG027/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images Ben Affleck | BG027/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Hours ahead of the ball, the actor addressed having been in recovery for over a year on social media after cracking a joke about his personal life.

“But let’s be serious for a moment and talk about something that is actually important,” he wrote. “I have been in recovery for over a year and part of that is helping out others. @themidnightmission is an incredible organization that helps those in need with housing, training, development and recovery.”

“I’m making a donation today because there are people battling addiction every day that don’t have the resources and need help,” he continued.

Affleck, who’s been in rehab multiple times, entered rehab again in August 2018.

He stayed at the center, with only brief breaks to work out at home and attend business meetings, until October when he broke his silence about his treatment in an emotional statement on Instagram.

“This week I completed a forty-day stay at a treatment center for alcohol addiction and remain in outpatient care,” Affleck revealed in the Oct. 4 post. “Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”


Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck posing for a photo: Jennifer Garner; Ben Affleck | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
© Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Jennifer Garner; Ben Affleck | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Throughout his sobriety journey, Garner — with whom he shares three children, Samuel Garner, 7, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, 10, and Violet Anne, 13 — has been by his side. The two finalized their divorce in October 2018 three years after separating.

In a candid interview this March, Affleck told Today co-host Hoda Kotb that he’s thankful to have “wonderful” Garner, 47, as a co-parent. “When somebody’s the mother of your kids, they’re going to be the most important central person in your life and that’s good,” the Triple Frontier actor said.

A source told PEOPLE in August: “Ben’s relationship with Jen is strong. She’s really supportive of Ben, and they work very closely on parenting their kids.”

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Trump greeted by World Series fans with boos, chants of ‘lock him up’ – Global News

October 27th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump was greeted with boos and a smattering of chants of “Lock him up!” when he appeared on screen at the World Series in Washington on Sunday, even as he celebrated one of the biggest wins of his administration.

Trump appeared on a display screen at the Washington Nationals Park stadium between innings of the Game 5 matchup between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.

READ MORE: The leader of ISIS is dead, according to Trump. Here’s what you need to know

The president, along with First Lady Melania Trump and several lawmakers, appeared live on the screen as part of a video package thanking U.S. troops for their service.

1:57What the death of al-Baghdadi means for ISIS

What the death of al-Baghdadi means for ISIS

The hometown crowd cheered fans and soldiers displayed earlier on the screen, but there were boos and isolated “lock him up” chants when Trump appeared, according to a Reuters reporter in attendance and videos posted on Twitter.

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The frosty reception came on a day when Trump had announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group, in a raid by U.S. special forces in northwest Syria.

READ MORE: Here’s a step-by-step look at how a Trump impeachment trial might unfold

Trump won just four per cent of the vote in the District of Columbia in the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. capital is hosting its first World Series since 1933.

Trump did not throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game, as many previous presidents have done. That task fell instead to celebrity chef Jose Andres, who founded a non-profit group to feed disaster victims around the world.

0:58Trump did not inform Nancy Pelosi of ISIS raid, calls Washington D.C. a ‘leaking machine’

Trump did not inform Nancy Pelosi of ISIS raid, calls Washington D.C. a ‘leaking machine’

READ MORE: ‘SNL’ cold open features Alec Baldwin as Trump, Fred Armisen as Erdogan

Andres also cancelled plans to run a restaurant in Trump’s Washington hotel because of Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexicans, which led to a legal settlement.

© 2019 Reuters

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Motorcyclist in life-threatening condition after collision involving 18-wheeler truck in Scarborough – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

October 27th, 2019

Bryann Aguilar, CP24.com
Published Sunday, October 27, 2019 7:01PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 27, 2019 10:55PM EDT

A male motorcyclist has been critically injured after a two-vehicle crash involving an 18-wheeler truck in Scarborough.

Emergency crews were called to the area of Warden Avenue and Continental Place, north of Ellesmere Road, just before 6:30 p.m. for reports of a collision.

Toronto police Sgt. Edmund Wong said preliminary information suggests that the motorcyclist was travelling north on Warden Avenue when he collided with the truck that was going south and was turning left to Continental Place.

The motorcyclist, identified as a 46-year-old man from Durham, was rushed to a trauma centre in serious condition, Toronto paramedics said.

Wong said his condition was later downgraded to life-threatening.

The driver of the truck remained at the scene and is cooperating, police said.

The cause of the crash is unknown.

Police said the intersection is closed for the investigation.

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‘Watchmen’ Recap: Family Ties – Rolling Stone

October 27th, 2019

A review of this week’s Watchmen, “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship,” coming up just as soon as we play pirates and owls…

Second episodes are hard — especially when they come after memorable, high-concept pilots. Occasionally, a classic pilot will be followed by a classic second episode (Breaking Bad‘s “The Cat’s in the Bag…” comes to mind). But more often than not, second episodes feel like second albums or second novels: All the biggest and boldest ideas the creator had been saving up for years went into the debut. Then the second episode has to get by with lesser inspiration, while also doing a lot of the heavy narrative lifting that the pilot didn’t bother with because it just wanted to get your attention.

“Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship” — the title inverts the name of one of the paintings in Judd’s home, George Catlin’s “Comanche Feats of Martial Horsemanship” —  is by no means a bad episode of television. It has a number of marvelous individual sequences, and it’s important to moving various stories along. But it’s definitely the weakest of the six episodes HBO sent to critics prior to premiere, because you can feel it sweating in a way that tour de force premiere didn’t, and the way the ensuing episodes largely don’t.

We begin even farther back in time than the Tulsa Race Massacre that opened the series, as the German military’s propaganda arm tries to discourage black American soldiers serving overseas in World War I. “Do you enjoy the same rights as the white people do in America?” asks a letter that floats from airplanes above and into infantrymen’s hands. One of those soldiers is the father of the little boy who will, a few years later, just barely survive the massacre, and who appears to be Will, the elderly man who claims to have murdered Judd Crawford. This would make him 105 years old, as Will tells Angela that he is — a very advanced age to be able to do anything physically strenuous, let alone hang a much younger man to death from a tall tree. But Will always seems to be two steps ahead of Angela, and not just because he knows something she takes most of the episode to figure out: He is the grandfather she never knew.

Angela’s surprising discovery about her personal history seems a natural fit for this version of Watchmen. Two episodes in, the series is leaving a lot of holes in its own fictional history(*), even as it’s interrogating long-forgotten pieces of our own history, like the massacre. Will knows everything about his granddaughter, and she knows nothing about him; it’s as unnerving for her to realize as it can be to watch this show and get lost in the fabric of its alternate reality.

(*) HBO has set up a companion website called Peteypedia (the origins of the name will become clear next episode) that at the moment offers several PDFs that fill in certain gaps between the events of the comic and where the story’s at in 2019. It’s far from essential reading, but catnip for obsessives.  

Though Angela doesn’t learn Will’s full link to her until the episode’s end — with a little help from Henry Louis Gates Jr., who in the Watchmen reality is Treasury Secretary under President Redford — she can tell from their first encounter by Judd’s hanging tree that she shouldn’t just turn him into the rest of Tulsa PD for her boss’ murder. So our heroine spends much of the hour running a side investigation for reasons she can’t fully articulate even to herself, while we get more backstory on Angela’s friendship with Judd and the events of the White Night — which ended in the death of Angela’s partner, and Angela and Cal adopting Topher and his sisters. It’s all necessary information, but at times delivered in an ungainly fashion, like we’re Angela at the Greenwood cultural center, having to sit through Gates’ pre-recorded remarks before we can get to what we want.

And what do we want? Lunacy, for starters. Most of that comes from the Jeremy Irons corner of the show this time around, where the man who might be Veidt witnesses his servants’ performance of his play, The Watchmaker’s Son. What at first seems to be a Max Fisher-esque low-fi vanity production — albeit one featuring a prominent shot of the blue genitals of the actor playing Dr. Manhattan(*) — reveals itself to be much more in the aftermath. We find out that the servant who seemed to burn to death, in a recreation of the accident that gave Dr. Manhattan his powers, really did die — and that he, like all the other people on stage, is a clone. It’s not Rushmore with superpowers, but The Prestige with (more) superpowers. Why is it happening? What does it have to do with events in Tulsa? Damned if I know at this point, but damned if I’m not enthralled by every weird minute of it.

(*) New band name: Tom Mison’s Cloned Blue Wang. I called it. 

Mostly, though, we’re still in world-building mode. We meet presidential candidate Joe Keene Jr. (played by James Wolk, of “NOT GREAT, BOB!” fame), at Judd’s wake. At the same event, Angela investigates her late boss and discovers a Klan hood and robe — with a police badge attached, no less — in a secret closet. We get our first extended glimpse of American Hero Story, a show-within-the-show which focuses on the origin of Hooded Justice, the original costumed vigilante from the Watchmen universe, whose identity was never publicly confirmed. In the overwrought narration that plays out over the fictional episode, Hooded Justice asks, “So who am I? If I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t be wearing a fucking mask.”

That line plays out over close-ups of Angela’s face. Even when she’s not wearing a mask, she is masked. She keeps her true profession a secret from everyone but her husband and coworkers, though people like Keene can see through the lie. After she brings Will back to her bakery hideout while she figures out what to do with this man who may have murdered her friend, she steps into a vault and lets out a muffled scream, unable to reveal just how angry she is even in relative privacy. She’s investigating her boss, investigating the man who turns out to be her grandfather, entirely off on her own — playing costumed vigilante even outside the sphere of an organization where all the other cops are dressed as costumed vigilantes. She’s a mess.

The episode’s a bit of a mess, too, but it has that great World War I prologue and one hell of a conclusion. Angela prepares to turn Will in to the other cops, forced by physical circumstance to hug her grandfather just to get him out of the wheelchair and into her car, when his boast of having “friends in high places” proves literally true: A UFO with a magnet claw flies overhead to scoop up Angela’s car, and Will along with it. The German propaganda flier — which is the paper onto which Will’s father scrawled the “TAKE CARE OF THIS BOY” message — flutters into her hands the way it once did into her great-grandfather’s, leaving Angela struck dumb by everything that’s happened. We hear what sounds like the legendary bass line to Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” kick in, only for the vocals to be by the Beastie Boys. It’s not “Superfly,” but “Egg Man” — a cross-racial musical remix as part of a cross-racial remix from comic books to television. It shouldn’t fit together. Yet most of it does.

Some other thoughts, many of them comic book-related:

* The American Hero Story sequence where Hooded Justice crashes through a grocery store’s front window in an attempt to stop an armed robbery is shot and edited in a manner that is very evocative of the Zack Snyder Watchmen movie. Also, when Hooded Justice’s narration invokes War of the Worlds, it’s a reminder that Alan Moore wasn’t the first writer to come up with an alien invasion hoax.

* Angela finding the Klan robes in Judd’s secret closet is very much a nod to the sequence in the comic where Rorschach breaks into the apartment of murder victim Edward Blake and finds a hidden closet containing the costume that Blake wore as the Comedian.

* Still more strong evidence that Irons is playing Adrian Veidt: The Watchmaker’s Son script, which the Irons character wrote, contains the line, “As impenetrable as the Gordian Knot itself!” In the comic books, Veidt is obsessed with the story of the Gordian Knot, which could not be untied until, legend has it, Alexander the Great (a.k.a. the original Ozymandias) cut it in two with his sword. (“Lateral thinking, you see,” Veidt marvels. “Centuries ahead of his time.”)

* A newsstand was a prominent recurring location in the comic book, and here we see one in Tulsa manned by a vendor played by The Wire‘s Robert Wisdom. The vendor dismisses the periodic squid falls as a false flag, which is funny, given that the comic’s climactic alien squid attack was a false flag, orchestrated by Veidt to prevent nuclear armageddon.

* A newsstand is also a more viable business model in the show’s 2019 than in our own, since no one in the Watchmen universe has a cell phone, and possibly not the internet. Here’s producer/director Nicole Kassell explaining why smartphones are nowhere to be found.

* The heroes from the comics have all retired or died, but we see glimpses of their tech throughout. At Judd’s murder scene, a news cameraman swoops down in a flying rig resembling the one that Hooded Justice’s old ally Mothman used. And when Angela is poking around Judd’s closet, her goggles look a lot like Nite Owl’s — whose air ship, remember, was already used (and crashed) by Tulsa PD in the premiere.

* Topher’s floating magnet toy looks an awful lot like Irons’ castle, and/or like the castle we saw Dr. Manhattan building out of the Martian soil in the news photo featured in the premiere.

* Finally, when Cal is playing with the girls, their games and costumes reference the comic, from talk of pirates and owls to Cal wearing a ghost sheet.

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Economist argues Alberta government’s new budget adds up to tax increase – Calgary Herald

October 27th, 2019

Calgary-based economist Trevor Tombe Leah Hennel/Postmedia

A Calgary economist is arguing the provincial government is introducing a tax increase equivalent to a 0.3 per cent provincial sales tax with the release of Alberta’s 2019 budget.

A tax bracket and credit freeze announced by the province leads to a depreciation of tax credits and subtle push into a higher tax bracket, according to University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe. When he crunched the numbers, he found the pause on indexation will result in higher taxes for many Albertans.

“One can estimate how much of an effect this will have on overall personal income tax payments by Albertans, say by 2021 after some of these changes are fully phased in. I estimate the average cost is about $150 per family or a little over $300 million in total for the entire provincial budget,” said Tombe.

Tombe said the freeze will lead to “bracket creep,” which pushes people into a higher tax bracket even though their standard of living remains unchanged. This, ultimately, means individual taxpayers receive a tax increase.

When Canadians file their 2020 income taxes, Albertans will earn $19,369 tax free — the same basic personal amount as in 2019. Since 2001, that amount has risen with inflation, so taxpayers aren’t penalized for earning more as costs go up.

“For a sense of scale, the education tax credit removal and de-indexing of the tax system, approximately $311 million per year, is equivalent to about a 0.3 per cent sales tax. So if we were to raise the GST from 5 to 5.3 per cent it would generate for Alberta an equivalent amount of revenue,” said Tombe.

Since the budget’s release, government spokespeople have maintained the stance that there is no income tax increase. Shortly after the release, government spokesman Harrison Fleming said Albertans won’t be paying more in taxes.

“Income taxes have not been increased,” he said in an emailed statement last week. “If you earn the same amount of money next year, you will pay no extra income tax.”

When asked about the disparity between the government’s message and Tombe’s findings, Jerrica Goodwin, press secretary for the Ministry of Finance, sent a similar statement via email Sunday.

“Income taxes have not been increased. If you earn the same amount this year, you will pay the same amount in income tax as you did last year. Albertans will continue to pay far lower taxes overall than people living in other provinces. Albertans’ tax-free income is nearly 20 per cent greater than that of the next highest province, Saskatchewan, which employs a similar system.”

Tombe said he isn’t arguing that the province’s tax rates aren’t low since they’re the lowest in the country. But he wasn’t expecting the de-indexing of tax credits and brackets with this budget.

The impact this has on taxpayers is vastly different depending on how many tax credits a person claims. However, Tombe suggests the biggest impact will be felt by families with incomes between $60,000 to $80,000.

“Tax increases do decrease the deficit,” said Tombe. “This additional $300 million due to the changes in tax credits will shrink the deficit by that amount. The increase has a purpose and will mean that as a province we accumulate less debt. But we should recognize it is a change that exists and it does have a burden on families which might be worth paying to achieve the goal of a balanced budget.”

In 2019, Alberta had the highest personal amount tax-free. Saskatchewan residents are next, with a $16,065 personal amount, and Nova Scotia has the lowest threshold at $8,481.

However, some provinces with lower personal amounts pay lower tax rates on those earnings. British Columbians in the lowest tax bracket pay about five per cent on their earnings.

In 2019, Albertans who earn below $131,220 pay 10 per cent income tax. Earners in the highest income bracket pay 15 per cent on their earnings.

— With files from Janet French, Edmonton Journal 

sbabych@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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Man dies after falling into Capilano River while fishing with friends – CTV News

October 27th, 2019

Ian Holliday and Jen St. Denis, CTV News Vancouver
Published Sunday, October 27, 2019 3:00PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 27, 2019 8:06PM PDT

VANCOUVER – One man has died after he was swept away by the Capilano River Saturday afternoon.

The tragic accident happened Sunday afternoon as four friends, all in their 30s, spent time fishing on the North Vancouver river, said Peter DeVries, media liaison officer with North Vancouver RCMP.

When one of them got his line snagged, he tried to walk across the river, but lost his footing and was carried away downstream. His friend jumped into the river to try to help, but could not reach him in time, DeVries said.

“Luckily, the friend who went to help him was able to cling on to a rock and the other two friends were able to rescue him, but the fourth friend was washed further downstream,” DeVries said.

BC Emergency Health Services told CTV News Vancouver the call came in shortly before 12:50 p.m. Three ambulance crews responded, including one advanced paramedic team.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, witnesses said they had seen two people in the river, one of which had been swept away.

Fire crews worked quickly to search the river for the missing man, said Wayne Kennedy, deputy chief with the District of North Vancouver Fire Department. Firefighters also deployed a rescue boat in their search, he said.

The man who was swept away was taken to St. Paul’s Hospital in critical condition but has since passed away, DeVries said.

Kennedy said the incident serves as a reminder of the importance of taking safety precautions when enjoying the North Shore wilderness.

“Keep your personal safety in mind,” he said. “For the fisherman here today, the use of a personal flotation device could have been a difference-maker for the result that we had today.”

DeVries echoed that warning, adding that rivers like Capilano are powerful and dangerous, but can look deceptive on a beautiful sunny autumn day.

“It’s very important that people remember to take those safety precautions like wearing a life jacket any time you’re near the water,” DeVries said.

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Kylie Jenner Dresses Up Daughter Stormi in Her 2019 Met Gala Look for Halloween — See the Adorable Pics! – Yahoo Entertainment

October 27th, 2019
Kylie Jenner Dresses Up Daughter Stormi in Her 2019 Met Gala Look for Halloween -- See the Adorable Pics!Kylie Jenner Dresses Up Daughter Stormi in Her 2019 Met Gala Look for Halloween -- See the Adorable Pics!
The adoring mom couldn’t get enough of her little girl decked out in a purple red carpet costume.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Kylie Jenner’s little girl is an adorable lookalike for Halloween!” data-reactid=”22″>Kylie Jenner’s little girl is an adorable lookalike for Halloween!

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The cosmetics mogul and reality star took to Instagram on Sunday to show off her 1-year-old daughter Stormi’s glam Halloween costume, inspired by her own style at this year’s Met Gala.” data-reactid=”23″>The cosmetics mogul and reality star took to Instagram on Sunday to show off her 1-year-old daughter Stormi’s glam Halloween costume, inspired by her own style at this year’s Met Gala.

“My baby!!!!!!!!” Jenner captioned a super-cute slideshow of snapshots showing her daughter’s over-the top lavender look, along with a dozen purple heart emojis. “I cant handle this!!!!”

Stormi brought some real runway flair to the impromptu photoshoot, modeling her adorable costume, which included a long, silver-purple wig, and a shimmering dress with feathery purple fringe around the sleeves and the hem.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Stormi — whom Jenner shares with her ex, Travis Scott — looked adorably bewildered in the way that only a toddler can when decked out for Halloween.” data-reactid=”27″>Stormi — whom Jenner shares with her ex, Travis Scott — looked adorably bewildered in the way that only a toddler can when decked out for Halloween.

Meanwhile, Jenner stunned in her own right giving off serious mermaid vibes at the Met Gala in May, where the theme was “camp” couture.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Check out the video below for a look at Jenner's striking, perfectly purple 2019 Met Gala style.” data-reactid=”29″>Check out the video below for a look at Jenner’s striking, perfectly purple 2019 Met Gala style.

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Utah researchers discover link between certain brain cells and anxiety, OCD – KSL.com

October 27th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — Mental health is blamed for a lot of issues plaguing society these days, but scientists and biologists still know very little about what’s happening inside the brain that brings on problems in certain people.

A group of researchers at the University of Utah, however, may now have a clue.

They’ve identified a link between a group of specialized brain cells, called Hoxb8-lineage microglia, and obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety in mice.

Similar to humans, female mice are more susceptible to the anxiety-related diseases, though symptoms were observed in male mice, too. The discovery could lead to the development of drugs better suited to treat and/or prevent anxiety and OCD.

It opens up a new avenue for thinking about anxiety,” said Dimitri Tränkner, a lead author of the study and assistant biology professor at the U. “Since we have this model, we have a way to test new drugs to help these mice and hopefully at some point, this will help people.”

The findings suggest a link between biological sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and genetics, two major risk factors for anxiety-related disorders in humans, according to the study published this week in Cell Reports.

Until now, it was unknown whether this subset of microglia, which play a crucial role in brain development in the womb, had any other function at all. The new findings build upon previous mice studies conducted by Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi, also a lead author in the new research.

Capecchi had long suspected this subset of microglia was special in some way, but researchers didn’t pick up on certain behaviors related to anxiety, such as overgrooming, until this time around — it’s the first study to describe the role of microglia in OCD and anxiety in this way.

“We didn’t really know what to make of the fact that mice without Hoxb8 appear so normal, until we noticed that they groom significantly more and longer than what would be considered healthy,” said Capecchi, a distinguished professor of human genetics at the U.

To test whether sex hormones drove OCD and anxiety symptoms, Tränkner and his colleagues manipulated estrogen and progesterone levels in the mice. They found that at male-levels, the OCD and anxiety behaviors in female mice resembled the male response, and at female hormone levels, the OCD behaviors in male mice looked more like the female’s severe symptoms, and showed signs of anxiety.


Scientists want to help these people to get their lives back.

–Dimitri Tränkner


“We have a good understanding of how anxiety is produced in people,” but cannot do experiments in people, Tränkner said. “Of all models, I have great faith that mice are one of the best models, as they are so similar to people.”

He said some of the mice had significant hair loss, were more easily “stressed out,” or lost their natural fight-or-flight response mechanisms without the protective presence of the microglia in their brains.

It shows that the two phenomena are related.

Researchers have long suspected that microglia have a role in anxiety and other neuropsychological disorders in humans because this type of cell can also release substances to harm neurons.

“It’s surprising to see that (the microglia) are not causing it, but they can protect from it,” Tränkner said, adding that researchers and biologists now have an explanation as to why anxiety-related diseases are more common in women.

“This news should give hope … for many reasons,” he said.

Science has long tried to find solutions for people who deal with the life-altering mental illnesses, and Tränkner said this puts everyone that much closer to new drugs to treat them, particularly anxiety.

“Scientists want to help these people to get their lives back,” he said.

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Wendy Leonard

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