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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 12:36 PM
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Dune box office gets off to a good start worldwide - and bolsters hopes for a sequel

The early numbers are in: Dune’s international box office has yielded sizeable takings over the weekend – and indicates Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi blockbuster is set to do well on the big screen.

As per Variety, the staggered worldwide release of Dune has already collected $36m.

It may not seem like much, but it’s already proving a hit with limited capacity audiences in typically weak markets such as Russia, France, and Italy – and is not a figure to be dismissed in the pandemic era.

It remains to be seen whether the simultaneous launch on HBO Max will affect the box office elsewhere - but the early signs are good for a movie that is already pinning hopes on a sequel.

The director also echoed those thoughts in an interview with Total Film:

"[The studio] feel that it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have a Dune: Part Two, because they love the movie. They are proud of the movie, so they want the movie to move forward. And they still did half of it. So, you know, I’m very optimistic."

Dune has begun screening in some parts of the world, and will arrives to U.S. theaters and HBO Max this October 22nd.

At: https://www.gamesradar.com/dune-box-office-gets-off-to-a-good-start-worldwide-and-bolsters-hopes-for-a-sequel/

Gurney Halleck and Paul Atreides (Josh Brolin and Timothée Chalamet) make a quick getaway in Denis Villenueve's recent adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune.

Villeneuve has revealed hopes for a Dune trilogy, given that the 2-½ hour film only delves into the first half of the book.

"There is Dune’s second book, The Messiah of Dune, which could make an extraordinary film," the French-Canadian director added.

Argentina's president reshuffles cabinet after political crisis

Argentina's president Alberto Fernández announced a new cabinet on Friday in a bid to smother a political crisis that pitted him bitterly against his vice president this week after an electoral defeat in legislative primaries.

The reshuffle came one day after Vice President Cristina Kirchner wrote Fernández to demand one, deepening the crisis gripping the ruling coalition after their poor showing in mid-term primaries - in which the Front for All trailed the right-wing Together alliance by 9%.

Juan Manzur, the pragmatic Governor of Tucumán Province, will take over as Chief of Staff from Santiago Cafiero - who will in turn become Foreign Minister.

Outgoing Foreign Minister Felipe Solá, in Mexico for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit, was unceremoniously dropped ahead of the event, which begins on Saturday.

Four other ministers (out of 20) as well as the presidential spokesman, were also replaced - though Economy Minister Martín Guzmán and Production Minister Matías Kulfas were confirmed.

Due to the crisis, Fernández canceled his visit to Mexico for the CELAC summit and won't attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

At: https://www.wionews.com/world/argentinas-president-reshuffles-cabinet-after-political-crisis-413962

Argentine President Alberto Fernández walks in the Casa Rosada after a difficult week precipitated by last Sunday's unexpected loss in congressional mid-term primaries to the right-wing opposition.

Fernández's allies, who attribute the setback to lower turnout from the Peronists' working class base, agree that his center-left coalition doesn't need a cabinet reshuffle as much as a policy one.

Fernández is expected to announce a more vigorous social and labor policy in the coming days - including a possible return of Emergency Family Income payments, which helped mitigate the effects of the 2020 lockdown on the poor.

A reboot of teen vampire classic 'The Lost Boys' is on the way

Nothing is sacred, and that could explain why Warner Bros has plans to resurrect the 1987 teen vampire classic The Lost Boys.

Originally directed by Joel Schumacher, who passed away aged 80 last year, the horror-comedy is set to be reimagined with starring roles for Honey Boy’s Noah Jupe, and Jaeden Martell (of It and Knives Out).

Beyond the fact that it’s directed by filmmaker John Entwistle (The End of the F***ing World), with a script by Randy McKinnon, details about the reboot are fairly scarce.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, however, its setting — a fictional California beach town in the midst of being terrorized by a vampiric biker gang — is being updated for the modern day.

At: https://www.dazeddigital.com/film-tv/article/54210/1/a-reboot-of-teen-vampire-classic-the-lost-boys-is-on-the-way-noah-jupe

There will be blood: Protagonist Kiefer Sutherland and fellow vampires observe their next prey in Joel Schumacher's 1987 cult classic, The Lost Boys.

While details about the reboot are scarce, John Entwistle is set to direct - with young horror stars Noah Jupe and Jaeden Martell in the roles played by Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim.

Pope Francis defends Joe Biden from calls to deny communion over abortion stance

Pope Francis on Wednesday cautioned Catholic bishops not to get into politics, amid questions among conservative US elements of the church over whether pro-choice politicians like Joe Biden should be allowed to receive communion.

Francis said bishops must deal with those who support abortion rights with “compassion and tenderness.”

At the same time the pope reiterated strict church doctrine by calling abortion “murder” - even when done soon after conception.

Francis was speaking to reporters on his flight home from Slovakia, and was asked about the debate simmering among US bishops in the wake of the high-profile Texas abortion law - which Mr. Biden’s administration strongly opposes.

“The problem is not theological, it’s pastoral,” the pope said.

“How we bishops deal with this principle. We must be pastors, also with those who are excommunicated. Like God with passion and tenderness. The Bible says so.”

At: https://news.yahoo.com/pope-francis-defends-joe-biden-095350401.html

During his return flight from Slovakia on Wednesday, Pope Francis addressed the issue of communion to pro-choice public officials:

Citing historic atrocities committed by the church in the name of faith when it involved itself in politics, he asked clergy to “be pastors and not go condemning, condemning.”

Vermont sues 4 oil companies, alleges false info on climate

Vermont on Tuesday became the latest state to sue some of the country's top fossil fuel companies by alleging they misled the public about the impact their products have on climate change.

The state wants the companies to tell consumers that the use of fossil fuel products harms the environment, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said after the lawsuit was filed in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.

The warnings could be similar to those noting the danger of tobacco products or food products that include nutritional and calorie information, he said.

At: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Vermont-sues-4-oil-companies-alleges-false-info-16458396.php

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan (left) announces the state had filed a lawsuit against four fossil fuel companies alleging they misled the public about the impact their products have on climate change.

Donovan says the state would like the companies to put warning labels on their products in much the same way tobacco products carry warning labels.

US consumer prices rise 0.3% in August, lowest in 7 months

U.S. consumer prices rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% last month, the smallest increase in seven months and a hopeful sign that a recent jump in inflation may be cooling.

The August gain was weaker than the 0.5% increase in July and a 0.9% surge in June, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. It was the smallest increase since prices rose 0.3% in January.

While the upward march of prices appears to have eased last month, supply chains are still snarled especially for critical components like computer chips.

Consumer demand is easily outpacing supply, which will push prices higher.

Over the past 12 months, prices are up 5.3% - down slightly from two consecutive months averaging 5.4%, the strongest 12-month price gains since 2008.

At: https://apnews.com/article/business-prices-inflation-consumer-prices-2479b000e3cb1b2fbc73651dbf8c45fc

A motorist takes advantage of a price break at a Corpus Christie, TX, gas station yesterday.

Nationally, gas prices rose an average of 2.8% in August - though total inflation slowed to 0.3% for the month.

Argentina opposition leads in congressional mid-term primaries

Argentina's main opposition coalition held leads in congressional primary elections on Sunday, early results showed, indicating a strong challenge to the ruling Peronist coalition.

Nationally, and with over 90% of the vote counted, the conservative Together for Change coalition had a strong lead of 41% to 30% for the ruling Front for All in House races - and 45% to 29% in Senate races.

The primary vote, in which voting is mandatory, is an acid test for President Alberto Fernández's government ahead of the November 14 midterm ballot - where half the seats in the Chamber of Deputies are up for grabs, as well as one third in the Senate.

Over 34 million Argentines were eligible to vote, with turnout (over 70%) confounding pessimistic projections.

The government now faces a challenge to its majority in the Senate and its working majority in the Lower House - where it has a slim lead of some five seats over the main opposition party.

Were the results replicated in November, the Front for All would lose 9 of its 120 House seats, and 6 of its 41 Senate seats; Together for Change would add 2 to its 115 House seats, and 5 to its 25 Senate seats.

A lengthy recession, rampant inflation and rising poverty have hurt public support for the government, despite recent signs of an economic recovery and falling coronavirus cases.

GDP, which fell 10% in 2020, recovered 9.7% in the first half of 2021.

And a ramped-up vaccination program - 84% of adults have had at least one dose - similarly overcame a slow start, curbing new daily Covid-19 cases by over 90% since late May.

"We had 99 normal days - and then the pandemic struck," Fernández lamented during a recent interview.

At: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/argentines-head-polls-litmus-test-peronists-2021-09-12/

Argentine President Alberto Fernández enjoys lunch with his center-left coalition's lead congressional candidate for Buenos Aires, Leandro Santoro, after voting in today's mid-term primaries.

Today's vote bode poorly for Fernández administration - in its first federal electoral test against the right-wing opposition ahead of midterm elections on November 14.

The addition this year of some 3,000 polling locations helped keep turnout high, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

First came a quake in Mexico - then strange blue lights

Mexicans are sharing spectacular videos of bursts of blue lights seen streaking across the skies as a strong earthquake rocked the country's Pacific coast city of Acapulco on Wednesday.

The 7.0 magnitude quake struck some 11 miles northeast of the resort city in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

At least one person was killed, buildings were damaged and rockslides littered a major highway - but the temblor didn't cause widespread damage.

Felt some 200 hundred miles away in Mexico City, and lasting nearly a minute, residents fled into the streets as buildings swayed, sidewalks undulated and the blue lights burst brilliantly in the sky.

At: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/08/1035335407/first-came-a-quake-in-mexico-then-strange-blue-lights-people-feared-the-apocalyp


Yellen: U.S. on track to default on national debt in October

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday warned congressional leaders that the U.S. is on track to default on the national debt in October if the White House and Congress are unable to raise the debt limit.

In a Wednesday letter, Yellen said that the Treasury Department would likely run out of cash and exhaust “extraordinary” measures to keep the federal government within its legal borrowing limit at some point next month.

"Once all available measures and cash on hand are fully exhausted, the United States of America would be unable to meet its obligations for the first time in our history," Yellen said.

At: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/571237-yellen-us-on-track-to-default-on-national-debt-in-october

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifying in the Senate in June.

Yellen warned that failing to raise the debt ceiling - which was restored on August 1 - in a timely way, could by October result in the nation's first federal debt default in history.

Congressional Republicans are largely opposed to raising the ceiling on the $28 trillion federal debt - setting the stage for a showdown similar to the 2011 debt ceiling crisis.

Pinera decrees prompt new maritime limits dispute between Chile and Argentina

Two decrees signed on August 23rd by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera have renewed controversy regarding maritime boundaries between Chile and Argentina, following Chile's issuance of claims allegedly in violation of a 1984 treaty.

Piñera's decrees unilaterally extend Chile’s continental shelf east by more than 30,000 km² (11,600 mi²), to include part of the Atlantic Ocean maritime platform southeast of Cape Horn.

Around 5,500 km² (1,930 mi²) of that claim is disputed by Argentina.

“What Chile is doing is exercising its right and declaring its continental shelf,” Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry responded that Chile intended to seize “a part of the Argentine continental shelf and an extensive area of seabed and ocean, a maritime space that is part of the Common Heritage of Humanity.”

Chile's claim east of the 67º 16' meridian - into Atlantic waters - “clearly does not coincide with the 1984 Peace and Friendship Treaty,” Argentine authorities stated.

Argentina's maritime limits were approved in 2016 by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) - a ruling ratified by the Argentine Congress in 2020.

“Chile had numerous opportunities at a bilateral and multilateral level to express its disagreement specifically - and, having all the information to do so, chose not to do so,” Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá noted.

Piñera dismissed the Argentine claim as “unenforceable.”

The two countries' foreign ministries have agreed to discuss the dispute however.

Chile and Argentina - then under dictatorships - came close to war in the 1978 over three Beagle Channel islands - granted to Chile by the 1984 treaty in exchange for rescinding Atlantic Ocean claims.

At: https://en.mercopress.com/2021/08/30/new-limits-dispute-arises-between-chile-and-argentina

A map detailing Chile's new claims (lower right) south of Cape Horn.

The blue crescent outlines disputed Atlantic waters resulting from Chilean President Sebastián Piñera's August 27th decree - a claim Argentina contends to be in violation of a 1984 treaty limiting Chilean waters to the Pacific (in exchange for the Beagle Channel islands).

Piñera's right-wing coalition is lagging in most polls ahead of presidential elections this November.

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