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Marvel reveals next star-studded superhero films at Comic-Con

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Marvel unveiled its bumper slate of new superhero movies Saturday, wheeling out a who’s who of Hollywood stars and prompting a collective meltdown at Comic-Con as it ended frenzied speculation over the most lucrative franchise in film history.

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Rachel Weisz were brought on stage in San Diego to join Marvel film stalwarts such as Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in the upcoming — and sure to be multi-billion-grossing — movies.

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“I can spend 90 minutes talking about what we’ve done or I can spend some time talking about what we’re about to do,” said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, drawing rapturous screams from thousands packed into the world’s largest pop-culture fan convention.

Giant screens in Hall H then revealed a timeline of forthcoming films and television shows scheduled for the two years including new outings for popular characters such as Thor, Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Loki.

Feige also confirmed sequels to “Black Panther,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Captain Marvel” without providing details.

He finished the show — the most anticipated of the four-day event — by announcing that Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali will front a “Blade” reboot.

The Marvel films have collectively grossed over $22 billion at the global box office.

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The studio’s most successful film “Avengers: Endgame” is set to overtake James Cameron’s “Avatar” as the highest grossing movie of all time “in a matter of days,” said Feige.

Jolie and Hayek will front ensemble film “The Eternals” in November 2020, which will feature the franchise’s first deaf superhero.

It will be followed in February 2021 by “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the first Marvel superhero film to be led by an Asian actor.

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Mega-budget shows to air on Disney+, the new streaming service from Marvel’s parent company, will include “Wandavision” starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, and Tom Hiddlestone’s “Loki.”

Marvel’s next round of new films will kick off with Johansson’s “Black Widow” in May next year. Early footage showed Johansson’s character battling with her sister in a Budapest apartment building.

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Later in 2020, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will reprise their roles for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

Benedict Cumberbatch will also return for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” in May 2021.

Feige additionally teased the arrival of other popular comic characters, saying there was “no time to talk about” productions of “Fantastic Four” and “Mutants” — seemingly references to franchises acquired by Disney in its purchase of 21st Century Fox including the popular “X-Men” films.

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World of slime: Here’s why President Trump likes to hang out with bottom-feeders and crooked lawyers

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Donald Trump has been a real estate developer, a TV show host, a casino owner, a politician and more. But through it all, there has been one constant: Trump has surrounded himself with sleazy characters. Oddly enough, those are exactly the people who helped propel him to becoming the 45th president of the United States.

That's the thesis of the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo, titled aptly enough, "The Fixers: The Bottom-Feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President." I spoke with Rothfeld during a recent edition of Salon Talks about the book, a veritable encyclopedia of the unsavory characters that have made Trump who he is, alongside some new reporting.

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How corporate lawyers made it harder to punish companies that destroy electronic evidence

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In the early 2000s, a series of civil lawsuits against giant corporations illustrated the disastrous consequences that could ensue if a defendant failed to provide electronic evidence such as company emails or records. In one suit against tobacco giant Philip Morris in 2004, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler concluded that the company deliberately deleted troves of emails that contained incriminating information. She fined the company $2.7 million for the breach, levied $250,000 fines against each of the company supervisors found culpable and barred them from testifying at the trial.

Big corporations rallied for changes and got them. In 2006, the rules that govern federal litigation were changed to create a “safe harbor” that would protect companies from consequences for failing to save electronic evidence as long as they followed a consistent policy and, when put on notice of imminent litigation, preserved all relevant materials.

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John Bolton had concerns about Donald Trump’s favors to autocrats: report

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Former national security advisor John Bolton privately told the US attorney general last year about concerns that President Donald Trump was essentially granting favors to autocrats, The New York Times reported Monday.

It said the revelations, concerning the leaders of China and Turkey, come in an unpublished book manuscript by Bolton.

The same manuscript says Trump told Bolton that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until officials there helped to investigate his political rivals, the Times previously reported.

Those allegations have roiled Trump's impeachment trial that is ongoing in the US Senate.

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