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Stamp collectors split after USPS honors ‘foreign’ Harry Potter

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The loss-making US Postal Service (USPS) introduced Harry Potter stamps Tuesday, delighting fans of the fictional boy wizard but angering some philatelists who complain he’s not American.

The limited edition of 20 stamps feature images of Scottish author J.K. Rowling’s best-selling character “with the friends, heroes, villains and creatures that make up his world,” said USPS in a statement.

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Pitched at collectors, the stamps — unveiled at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida — went on sale online and at selected post offices.

“From improbable heroes and magical creatures to schoolroom antics and daring battles, the majestic Harry Potter stamps will inspire fans of all ages,” said USPS chairman Mickey Barnett.

Sales can only help the bottom line at USPS, which last week said it lost $5 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, the seventh straight year in which it incurred a net loss, despite an upturn in revenue.

“I know what is going on the Xmas cards this year!!” said one fan on the official Harry Potter Facebook page overseen by Warner Brothers, which as owner of the film rights collaborated with USPS on the stamps.

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Some stamp lovers, however, loathed the choice.

“Harry Potter is not American. It’s foreign, and it’s so blatantly commercial it’s off the charts,” said John Hotchner, former president of the American Philatelic Society, quoted Tuesday in the Washington Post.

“The attitude should be that stamps are works of art and little pieces of history,” echoed philatelic blogger Don Schilling, speaking to the Post. “They shouldn?t be reduced to the latest fads, (to) whatever’s going to sell.”

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Other US stamps issued this year featured American musical icons Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, and civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, along with a puffin, bobcat, muscle cars, “vintage seed packets” and a Christmas Madonna and Child.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

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