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Star Wars studio boss booed at fans’ convention over lack of information on Star Wars: Episode 7

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Disney showcase sparks fans irritation after studio executive says he can’t reveal anything new about much-anticipated Star Wars: Episode 7

Hell hath no fury like a room full of disappointed Star Wars acolytes: a Disney boss at a high profile convention in California has been booed after admitting he had nothing new to tell fans about JJ Abrams’ forthcoming Episode VII.

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Speaking at the annual D23 event in Anaheim, during which the studio showcases clips and wheels out star talent from its upcoming slate, chief executive Alan Horn was met with a chorus of anger after an expectant crowd got little more than a series of previously made announcements such as the appointment of Abrams, tentative release dates and plans for future spin-off films. “I really wish I could tell you more. It will come soon,” he apologised.

Details about the new Star Wars trilogy, which Disney announced after purchasing all rights to the long-running series for $4.05bn in October, have been few and far between. Episode VII is being filmed in the UK early next year and is due to arrive in cinemas in 2015, with plans to release sequels every two to three years after that. Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt is overseeing the screenplay for the debut instalment, while Disney has revealed that The Empire Strikes Back’s Lawrence Kasdan and Sherlock Holmes’ Simon Kinberg will write two of the standalone films. The stars of the original trilogy, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Ford (Han Solo), have all been tipped to return to the series.

Fans have become used to titbits about upcoming films being leaked at conventions such as D23 and San Diego’s annual Comic Con, though it is rare for Hollywood executives to be booed for failing to come up with the goods. Ford himself signalled in a new interview with the New York Times that the constant flow of information about upcoming blockbusters from studios to filmgoers via blogs and fan conventions had become a negative.

Asked how Star Wars and Indiana Jones might fare in today’s fan-friendly environment, the 71-year-old said: “Everyone would be ahead of it, and everybody would know what it was, and it would be no fun at all.” He added: “But people still went to movies in those days. People went to movie theatres. It was a community experience, and that was part of the fun. Now people see a movie on their iPad, alone, with interruptions for snacks.”

Fans at D23 were mollified by the appearance later on Saturday by Angelina Jolie, who will take the lead role in the upcoming live action remake of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent. “Since I was a little girl, I was drawn to her. But I was also terrified by her, but she had this elegance and grace,” she said during a brief appearance in front of 7,500 Disney acolytes. There were also new clips from Marvel superhero movies such as Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as George Clooney sci-fi Tomorrowland and the Mary Poppins-themed Saving Mr Banks.

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Meanwhile, footage from a long-lost “mockumentary” made during the filming of the original Star Wars series and featuring Ford, Fisher and Hamill in costume emerged on YouTube. Return of the Ewok details British actor Warwick Davies’ supposed path to taking the role of Wicket in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

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There are 51 votes to approve calling witnesses in Trump impeachment trial: PBS

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After pieces of John Bolton's manuscript leaked to the press confirming President Donald Trump's bribery of Ukraine, Republicans have turned to support the witnesses they once opposed.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) both voted against witnesses and were leaning against them until Bolton's manuscript was leaked to the press after it was turned over to the White House for approval.

PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins tweeted Monday evening that the news tipped the scales and there were officially 51 votes to approve witnesses.

https://twitter.com/LisaDNews/status/1221951089647538177

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CNN

‘Give me a break’: CNN analyst explains why Trump defense of Rudy Giuliani was terrible

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While the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump paused for a dinner break, CNN analysts responded to the White House's afternoon defense of the president was by blaming the Biden family.

Political commentator Gloria Borger noted that Trump lawyer, Eric Herschmann, going after former President Barack Obama just seemed desperate.

"Give me a break," she said. "What does that have to do with any of this right now? His defense boiled down to, 'He did it, so what? He did it. He was trying to root out corruption.' But if he was concerned about rooting out corruption, why haven't we seen more of that? His defense was, 'He had a reason to do it. It's OK. Therefore it was in the national interest.' This wasn't just about Joe Biden."

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2020 Election

State Department retaliated against NPR by kicking reporter off Mike Pompeo’s plane: report

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The U.S. State Department appears to be retaliating against National Public Radio (NPR) after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suffered a caught-on-tape meltdown following an interview with NPR "All Things Considered" co-host Mary Louise Kelly.

According to PBS "Newshour" reporter Nick Schifrin, the State Department kicked NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen off of Pompeo's jet.

"State Department removes NPR’s Michele Kelemen from Sec. Pompeo plane--where she was scheduled for a pool radio rotation--during upcoming trip to London, Kiev," Schifrin reported.

AFP State Department correspondent Shaun Tandon blasted the move on behalf of the State Department Correspondent's Association.

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