The Montana House has endorsed a bill that would let the public ask for an election to change local health boards’ actions.
- The State
Here’s where you’ll see some new brightly colored paint jobs to lighten up the area.
- The Daily Beast
Well Go USAIt was the final days of our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, when we were still trying to meet our $110,000 goal in order to make our independent movie The Paper Tigers. I received a letter from two of my aunties. They had no idea what the heck a Kickstarter was and probably have never done an online transaction with credit cards, but they knew we needed money fast. Stuffed in the envelope was $300 cash and a handwritten note in Vietnamese: “Bao, we hope this will help you achieve your dream. You represent the generations of Vietnamese who sought refuge and have passed safely through the golden gate of America.”While their cash gift didn’t officially count toward our Kickstarter goal (which we eventually met and surpassed), my aunties’ words carried a significant weight of its own. “You represent…”You represent our hopes and our dreams, the reason we escaped oppression and a war-torn home for safety and an opportunity to live. Here I thought I was making a goofy comedy about out-of-shape kung fu fighters who couldn’t touch their toes anymore, and now all of a sudden I have the weight of all my ancestors watching and judging to see if their sacrifice was truly worth it. So hey, no pressure.We had turned to crowdfunding and private financing out of desperation. Before then, we thought we could make our movie the old-fashioned way. You know the fairy tale. We waltz into a big Hollywood studio executive’s office and wow them with our moxie and our passion. They write a fat check to make our dreams a reality.We had a rude awakening. There were many noes. I guess they couldn’t understand the appeal of three-dimensional Asian and Black American characters carrying a crowd-pleasing, tragi-comic kung fu flick. And when there was genuine interest, one of the stipulations we actually got was to change the ethnicities of the main characters to white guys to make it more “marketable.” They needed names that you can take to the bank.There’s a list of usual suspects from the direct-to-video world that all these companies seem to pull from—the logic being that their name recognition automatically guarantees a minimum gross worldwide, regardless of the film’s quality. So, we thought that if we sensibly set the budget low enough, we could likely make our money back even without any big stars attached and still maintain creative control.We would make this point clear during every pitch, because in our mind, a lower budget minimizes risk, but that’s not how their math works. A production company once told us, “Look, if you bring on Bruce Willis, not only will your movie get sold right away, we can get you a $4 million budget easy. Or hey, how about you write a role for Nicolas Cage?” Now, I love Die Hard and Raising Arizona as much as the next guy, but we’re almost certain none of them actually read our script. Chloé Zhao Is Making History. But Hollywood Is Still a Nightmare for Asian Women.If you’re gluttons for punishment like us, getting these kinds of genius studio notes is delicious enough when we are spilling the tea, but the fact that they’d usually send their mid-level POC executives to be the messengers of whitewashing is a special chef’s kiss. As the saying goes: skinfolk ain’t always kinfolk. It ended up being a lot of hot-air advice from people who had no brown skin in the game. We said thanks, but no thanks.Mind you, we were on the grind long before the success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, which have proved the box office potential of films and stories featuring characters of color. In recent years there’s been a whole spate of studio movies and shows with diverse casts. And while it’s great that non-vanilla folk are starting to have a seat at the table, when we first set out to make our movie 10 years ago, we might as well have been treated as the waiter.Right now, “representation” is a buzzword used to bolster brands. Hollywood studios like to chest-puff their great strides in representation and diversity, but it’s usually in the form of a reboot or adaptation of well-known, pre-existing intellectual property. “Count Chocula? Hmm, sounds vaguely ethnic. How about a gritty, modern re-imagining—only now with 100% more color!”When “representation” is bandied about by a Hollywood studio, it usually means that we’ve been allowed to have a voice from the powers that be. So, you better be #Grateful for the platform, because they giveth as much as they taketh away. Just remember while you’re standing on this plank, Hollywood’s commitment to “representation” is fleeting and fickle. When that multi-million dollar “Suave Latino Count Chocula meets Taken” reboot flops, they’ll throw up their arms and say, “It was that devil Diversity’s fault! America’s just not ready to see so many colors on their screen.”Even when we turned to our own Asian American community for support, some would lecture us that we weren’t “representing” our people in the right way. Asian American men have been long portrayed as random ninja henchmen in Hollywood. And as much as Bruce Lee is seen as an iconic hero, there are many of us who have complicated feelings growing up in his shadow—constantly targeted and bullied or mocked with random cries of “waa-taaa!”Their fear was that yet another kung fu movie would set our progress backwards by reinforcing stereotypes. Even our lead actor Alain Uy shared with me his initial hesitance in taking up a role in a martial arts film, because if the movie was just and only that, he’d be forever typecast and written off—the kiss of death for a working actor. Well Go USA But with our story, I wanted to shine a light on the martial arts world beyond only vengeance and violence—there was also family, friendships, failures, jobs, and obligations.It’s easy enough to lump The Paper Tigers together with Mortal Kombat, Shang-Chi, or CW’s Kung Fu because of the martial arts genre (in fact, some folks who saw our trailer have mistakenly called us a Cobra Kai ripoff even though we’ve been working on this many years before). But those are existing franchises that everyone is aware of already. Ever see Warner Brothers or Disney ask you to back their Kickstarter?As an independent film, we have more in common with original Asian American stories like Better Luck Tomorrow, Saving Face, Searching, The Farewell, or Minari. These films were all made outside the studio system, having taken several years to find the right supporters and partners to make it happen. All our stories have strong themes of family and duty and fighting for safety and security. In fact, Minari and The Paper Tigers were the only Asian American films to screen at South Korea’s renowned Busan International Film Festival this year.We suddenly find ourselves in a country where my senior aunties are especially vulnerable to hate attacks. But I understand now what they meant when they wrote to me about “representing.” Their meaning went beyond just diversity-as-branding-tool or avoiding negative stereotypes. It means telling our story of survival. They gave me cash-money permission to tell my dreams. That’s not a weight on our shoulders, that’s wind behind our backs. “Don’t play to lose, son! We went into mass exodus and scattered halfway around the world—all for you. Whatever story that you tell from your heart, you tell our story. We made it here and we are not going anywhere.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Independent
‘It is ironic that we came to India for two weeks and he contracted it here,’ says Dr Rajendra Kapila’s widow
The government will bring some "vulnerable" Australians home after its travel ban ends next week.
- The Daily Beast
JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty ImagesBOGOTÁ—As Colombia concludes nine days of nationwide protests with hundreds of thousands of individuals taking to the streets, a dispirited government led by lame duck President Ivan Duque continues to cast aspersions that the marches have been premeditated, organized and financed by illegal groups involved in narco-trafficking.The concern is what comes after these declarations, as there is neither any sign that the protests—triggered at first by an unpopular tax reform bill—are diminishing in size or spread, nor that the government plans to de-escalate their militarization of towns and cities.“These actions were organized and financed by the FARC dissident groups and the ELN guerrillas,” said Minister of Defense Diego Molano on Sunday. “Amongst the criminal organizations, we have identified the following movements or groups: JM19, Luis Otero Cifuentes, Gentil Duarte, the escudos azules, and the escudos negros,” added Molano, referring to illegal armed groups involved in cocaine production and trafficking in Colombia.Colombian Cops Killed, Maimed, and Sexually Abused Protesters During Anti-Police UprisingPart of a tired strategy employed in Colombia which people now openly question, this laundry list of armed groups detailed by Molano has also been repeated by the president and the district attorney. But this narrative feeds into something even more worrying: the possibility that the government, with momentum now firmly with protesters, may declare a state of emergency.The move to declare a state of emergency, albeit drastic, would permit authorities to skip due process, control the flow of information, make arbitrary detainments, and further erode human rights. Local NGO Temblores has registered 37 homicides, 1,708 cases of police brutality, and 10 cases of sexual violence at the hands of the police since protests began on April 28, and international organizations like Amnesty International have called on authorities to guarantee the Colombian people’s right to peaceful protest.“They look like war warriors in the early ’90s casting about for a new enemy to accuse their political opponents of colluding with,” Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), told The Daily Beast. “For 50 years they delegitimize peaceful political opponents by accusing them of links to the FARC. Some got killed by paramilitaries—and it was certainly impossible to have a big broad-based protest.”Isacson added: “Now the big national guerrilla group is gone. But they’re still trying to stigmatize the protesters by tying them to guerrillas. It looks sort of ridiculous now because the new enemy is small, dispersed, and not very ideological.”Nightly running street battles in smaller towns, in addition to major cities, have led to the government miscalculating the extent of the resentment and polarization in the country. Images of bloodied citizens have flooded social media, footage of police tasering and killing protesters and ARVs popping off tear gas and flash-bang grenades into crowds have circulated on social media, prompting global outrage.“We are marching for equality and that the injustices, deaths and massacres are brought to an end in Colombia,” Luisa, a student protester in Bogotá, told The Daily Beast. “We’re marching for dignity, education and food.”The overarching belief amongst protestors is that the government is deaf to the needs of the people and out of touch with reality. Poverty levels rose to 42.5 percent of the population last year amid coronavirus lockdowns, further increasing longstanding inequities within Colombian society. The number of Colombians living in extreme poverty grew by 2.8 million in 2020.Although the discontent has led to the wanton vandalism and destruction of police stations and public transport systems over the past week, it finds its roots in profound issues. Protesters are demanding that the government commit to the 2016 peace accord with the FARC and prevent further massacres and killings of social leaders in the country. According to Colombian research NGO Indepaz, there have been 33 massacres and 57 killings in 2021 so far carried out by illegal armed groups, a problem that the government has failed to appropriately address.Other demands voiced by protesters include the outlawing of fracking, acting on rampant police brutality, and putting an end to the spraying of chemicals on coca plants across the country, which are harmful to humans and the environment.Instead of addressing these concerns, President Duque’s move has been to militarize the country, crack down on the democratic right to protest, and spin information suggesting that what is currently taking place in Colombia is little more than a “narco-terrorist” plot.It begs the question, who is calling the shots?“I think the government is talking to its base, which is becoming more radicalized as the protests are evolving,” Sergio Guzman, of Colombia Risk Analysis, told The Daily Beast. “I think they are waiting to see what sticks. This is because the reality sheds a negative light on them as they cannot address the facts.”While there may be ELN and dissident support networks members taking part in some of the vandalism, there is no evidence to suggest that they’re masterminding it or even commanding very many people.The question remains: If this cold war rhetoric is unsuccessful, then what comes next?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Daily Beast
Fox NewsIn what has become a commonplace occurrence these days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson addressed a controversy purely of his own making on Thursday night, this time regarding his dangerous and sloppy suggestion that dozens of Americans a day are dying from the coronavirus vaccines.How did he explain away the highly misleading and disingenuous speculation? Well, by blaming it all on President Joe Biden, of course.Carlson, who has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the highly effective vaccines, took his vaccine skepticism to new heights on Wednesday night when he cited a faulty open-sourced database dubbed a “a breeding ground for misinformation” to suggest that thousands of Americans have died from the shots.“Between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States,” Carlson exclaimed, citing the Center for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. “That is an average of roughly 30 people every day. So, what does that add up to? By the way, that reporting period ended on April 23, and we don’t have numbers past that.”While acknowledging that there’s been criticism of the VAERS database’s numbers and insisting he believes “vaccines aren’t dangerous,” Carlson still spent 15 minutes speculating that the federally authorized COVID-19 vaccines are leading to an untold number of deaths.“The actual number is almost certainly higher than [30 people every day], perhaps vastly higher than that,” he said at one point.Of course, Carlson never once noted that the CDC itself had analyzed the reports of deaths submitted to VAERS—which is nothing more than open-access data—and offered the following conclusion: “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.”Following a 24-hour period in which he was roundly criticized and fact-checked—including from his own Fox colleagues—Carlson issued his rebuttal. And he wanted his critics to know he was “just asking questions.” Oh, and it’s also Biden’s fault.“We looked up the numbers the Biden administration has gathered on vaccine safety. Then last night, we boldly read those numbers on television—the Biden numbers,” Carlson began with a mocking tone.“As we did that, we noted the administration’s reporting system for injuries—it’s called VAERS—has been credibly accused of being inaccurate,” he added. “We also noted that very same system has been used for a long time.”Once again insisting that “more deaths have been connected to the new COVID vaccines over the past four months than all previous vaccines combined” in recent years—again, something the CDC has thoroughly knocked down—Carlson claimed he was just seeking answers.“Very same system, very different results,” he said, adding: “How does this happen? So what is that explanation? We still don’t know. Instead of answering that simple and important question, the usual chorus of partisans started screaming and calling for censorship!”After mocking his critics for telling him the VAERS numbers are untrustworthy, he wanted to know why “hasn’t the Biden administration fixed its reporting system” and “what are the real numbers.”Carlson, meanwhile, ended the segment by flipping the indignation over his reckless speculation back onto his critics, insisting they are actually the ones who are doing harm to the public.“It’s fair to ask how much harm this medicine causes. No one has told us,” he declared. “Their position is, you don’t need to know the rate of injury! That doesn’t matter. Anyone who asks about harm is immoral. That’s what they’re arguing. If you ever find yourself arguing that, you will know for certain you have lost the thread. You are no longer arguing for public health. You’re doing something else entirely.”Carlson, of course, could just read the disclaimers when searching the database to realize that it’s not a typical government data source and the numbers don’t reflect direct causation.“Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” one disclaimer reads, while another warns: “The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Police in Thailand said Friday they have charged a U.S. citizen from the state of Colorado with murdering his pregnant Thai wife. Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, was interrogated Friday in the northern city of Nan where he had lived with Pitchaporn Kidchob, said police Lt. Col. Somkiat Ruam-ngern. Balzer was arrested Thursday in the northern city of Chiang Mai and confessed to killing his 32-year-old wife, said Maj. Gen. Weerachon Boontawee, chief of Provincial Police Region 5′s Detective Department.
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian citizens stranded in COVID-ravaged India will be able to return home from May 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as Sydney remains on high alert for a potential outbreak. Morrison stood by his decision to impose a biosecurity order barring flights to and from India, a ban that was backed by potential prosecution and financial penalties. The policy drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, expatriates and the Indian diaspora, but Morrison said it had worked to slow the rate of COVID-19 infections in people quarantined in Australia.
- Business Insider
Melinda Gates was upset and uncomfortable after she and Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein, The Daily Beast reports
Sources told The Daily Beast that Bill Gates' relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein "still haunts" Melinda.
To honor the second birthday of their son Archie, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have come up with an extra special way for their supporters across the globe to show their love by supporting a good cause. “We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honor of Archie’s birthday,” Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, wrote Thursday on their Archewell Foundation website.
BERLIN (Reuters) -The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be broken, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday, as social distancing measures and an accelerating vaccination campaign help lower the infection rate. "The third wave appears to be broken," Spahn told a regular weekly news briefing on Germany's pandemic management. The head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, Lothar Wieler, said the incidence of COVID-19 infections was falling across all age groups, and he was hopeful of soon controlling the pandemic in Germany.
- The Independent
‘I’m a vet ... f*** you all!’: Capitol riot suspect screams at judge and disconnects call during wild hearing, report says
Attempts to mute defendant were unsuccessful and he may face competency hearing and detention
- Business Insider
Chinese EV startup Nio is entering the international market - and plans to start deliveries in Norway in September
Nio said it would start EV sales in Norway with its Nio ES8, a seven-seater smart electric SUV, followed by its ET7 smart sedan.
He was abducted as a child by Uganda's LRA rebels, turning into one of its most ruthless fighters.
Raffaele Esposito, the 19th century Neapolitan credited with inventing Italy's most famous type of pizza, may be turning in his grave: Rome has a new vending machine which slides out freshly cooked pizzas in just three minutes. "It looks good but it is much smaller than in a restaurant and there is less topping," said Claudio Zampiga, a pensioner. People have been eating forms of flat bread with toppings for millennia, but it is generally accepted that pizza was perfected in Naples, where it was a street food for the poor.
Remnants of a large Chinese rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere this weekend in an uncontrolled re-entry being tracked by U.S. Space Command, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. The Long March 5B rocket blasted off from China's Hainan island on April 29 carrying the Tianhe module, which contains what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent Chinese space station. The rocket's exact point of descent into Earth's atmosphere as it falls back from space "cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry," which is projected to occur around May 8, Space Command said in a statement posted online.
DeGeneres shut down speculation that she was living with the "Friends" star because of "marital troubles."
- Associated Press
The United States has deployed a dozen additional warplanes to bolster protection of American and coalition troops making a final withdrawal from Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents step up pressure on Afghan government forces, top Pentagon officials said Thursday. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said F-18 attack planes have been added to a previously announced package of air and sea power — including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea and six Air Force B-52 bombers based in Qatar — that can be called upon as protection for withdrawing troops. U.S. officials said before the withdrawal began that they expected the Taliban to attempt to interfere, even as the insurgents continue pressuring government forces, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.
- Associated Press
Qatar's finance minister was being questioned over alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds in the energy-rich state after the attorney general ordered him arrested, state-run media reported Thursday. The detention of Ali Sharif al-Emadi is a rare move that analysts said could herald a larger campaign to increase transparency and root out graft in the sheikhdom. The Qatar News Agency said the attorney general had ordered al-Emadi detained but did not provide other details about the graft case involving the minister, who has held the post since 2013.
A wave of women streaming in bikinis - the 'hot tub meta' trend - has caused an uproar on Twitch, where critics claim it cheapens the platform.