LOS ANGELES – Before he became Batman, Michael Keaton made his dramatic film debut in “Clean and Sober,” an unflinching look at drug addiction during the United States’ 1980s cocaine craze. Three decades later, he is ready to take on a similar theme. Ahead of next year’s superhero movie “The Flash” — in which Keaton plays an older version of Batman — he stars in “Dopesick,” a television drama about America’s newest drug epidemic: the opioid crisis. “I tend to not want to revisit anything,” said Keaton. “But this is societal, and has a much larger canvas or a bigger story to tell.” “It shines a...
Sandra Mason, the current governor-general, is set to be sworn in as president on November 30, the country's 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Calling the parliamentary vote a "historic milestone on the road to the Republic," the Barbadian government tweeted that its House and Senate had elected Mason, 72, on Wednesday.
In September 2020, Mason announced the break with Britain, saying "the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind."
"Having attained Independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance," she said.
When asked about the plans last year, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said it was "a matter for the government and people of Barbados."
Barbados -- which has a population of just under 300,000 -- was claimed by the British in 1625. It has sometimes been called "Little England" for its loyalty to British customs.
It is relatively prosperous, and a popular tourist destination: prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than a million tourists visited its idyllic beaches and crystalline waters each year.
The Caribbean's easternmost island is also well-known as the birthplace of superstar singer Rihanna, who is a Barbadian ambassador tasked with promoting education, tourism and investment.
© 2021 AFP
A former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced to 57 months in prison on Thursday for the fatal shooting of an Australian woman who had called 911 to report a crime.
Mohamed Noor, 36, was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in a case that shocked this Minnesota city and sparked outrage in the victim's home country.
Noor was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison on the murder charge but his conviction was overturned last month by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Kathryn Quaintance sentenced Noor on Thursday to 57 months in prison on the manslaughter charge -- the maximum allowable -- with credit for the 908 days he has already spent in custody.
Damond, a yoga teacher with dual US-Australian nationality, was shot after Noor and his partner responded in their police cruiser to a late-night report made by Damond of a possible sexual assault.
The 40-year-old Damond, who was barefoot and wearing pink pajamas, had approached their squad car after calling 911 twice to report a possible rape in the dark alley behind the home where she lived with her American fiance. No such assault was found to have occurred.
Quaintance said Noor had shot "across the nose of his partner" from the passenger seat of the police car and endangered the public when he killed Damond.
During his trial, Noor testified that he feared an ambush and shot Damond to protect his partner.
But prosecutors insisted the shooting was unreasonable and contrary to police department training policy.
Shot in the abdomen, Damond died at the scene.
'Went very much awry'
Her death came at a time of heightened tensions over officer-involved shootings in the United States and Quaintance -- without mentioning his name -- made a reference to the case of George Floyd, who was murdered in Minneapolis in May 2020 by police officer Derek Chauvin.
"The citizens of Minneapolis have now paid out $47 million in settlements for allegations of police negligence and malfeasance," the judge said.
"Why are officers more concerned about their personal safety than the safety of the public?," she asked. "Why should a civilian have to be afraid of approaching a squad car?"
"No one who heard the testimony in this case or who works in the criminal justice system can question the difficulty of a patrol officer's job or the dedication of the majority of the police and first responders," she said.
"But here, something went very much awry."
Fox News signed onto a legal brief asking an appeals court to reconsider its decision reviving a defamation suit filed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) against journalist Ryan Lizza.
Three Republican-appointed judges on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals revived the defamation suit against Ryan Lizzo and his former employer, Hearst Magazines, over a tweet he posted in November 2019 linking to an article he'd written for Esquire about Nunes' family dairy farm, and Fox News joined nearly three dozen media outlets in asking the court to reconsider, reported Vanity Fair.
"[If] permitted to stand," the amicus brief warns, "[the ruling will] lower the bar" for public officials "to state claims for defamation and encourage the filing of meritless defamation lawsuits by imbuing them with the power to stop subsequent critical speech."
The conservative network, which frequently hosts Nunes to discuss other lawsuits against media outlets and critics, was joined in the filing by Associated Press, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and numerous others.
"The wide array of news organizations getting involved — from legacy outlets...to newer entities like Vox Media, ProPublica, and Vice to non-traditional publishers like Substack — indicates how seriously major media players regard the outcome of the case," reported Politico, where Lizza now works.
The Nunes suit claims Lizza libeled him by tweeting the link to a story he had already sued over and had that case dismissed by a district court, but the appeals court revived some portions of the complaint by ruling the tweet was "republication" of the reporting -- which legal observers say is a break with previous case law.
"Journalists rely on a wide and long-standing judicial consensus that providing a reader with a hyperlink to an article does not republish it for purposes of a libel claim," the brief states. "They also rely on long-settled precedent holding that receiving a prepublication denial from the subject of a critical report does not, on its own, establish actual malice in publishing the report."
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