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The Atlantic Wire covers news, opinion and aggregates content on business, politics, entertainment, technology, global and national on the official site of The Atlantic Wire





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'Monsters University' Looking Like It'll Continue Pixar's Poor Sequel Streak 'Monsters University' Looking Like It'll Continue Pixar's Poor Sequel Streak

Monsters University
has us worried. Late Sunday evening reviews for the Pixar sequel, which comes out on June 21, began trickling out and they range from mixed to bad. The world may well survive a not-so-great follow-up to
Monsters Inc.
But we don't think our sense of nostalgia could bear similar treatment of the impending
Finding Nemo
sequel
In his review for
The Hollywood Reporter
, Todd McCarthy
points out that this is the
"third sub-par film in a row from Pixar, after
Cars 2
and
Brave
, suggesting that the brain trust in Emeryville has lost a bit of its edge." Not all reviews were that searing, but they do suggest that not all is right at pixar.
Justin Chang at
Variety
explains that
Monsters University
isn't "even attempting to scale the heights of Pixar past."
Alonso Duralde a

2013-06-10 16:18:04
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Trayvon's Voice, the Bicycle Bums, and a Video Zimmerman Needs You to Believe Trayvon's Voice, the Bicycle Bums, and a Video Zimmerman Needs You to Believe

Jury selection for George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial begins today, and in yet another controversial move seeking to prove their client's justification for self-defense, his lawyers have released a video that' allegedly one of the only recordings of Trayvon Martin's voice — and they claim it proves Martin wasn't, in fact, screaming for help in a 911 call. The video in question is actually a would-be piece of evidence that, like so much of the character assassination that has leaked ahead of the trial, Zimmerman's attorneys
have already had to apologize for
; after drumming up support for the defendant by claiming the footage showed Martin beating up a homeless man, Mark O'Mara and Co. were forced to admit that Martin just filmed two homeless men fighting over a bicycle. But now

2013-06-10 14:50:28
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Report: John Kerry Cleared His Schedule to Discuss Arming Syrian Rebels Report: John Kerry Cleared His Schedule to Discuss Arming Syrian Rebels

It looks like the U.S. government will give serious thought this week to arming Syrian rebel groups, days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's
forces re-captured the key city of Qusair
. Secretary of State John Kerry, according to
an AP report
, has pushed back his mideast trip this week because the White House is planning to discuss sending weapons to some rebel groups.
Kerry was
supposed to go to Israel and Palestine
to hack away at a peace plan for the region. But, perhaps because Syria's situation became even more pressing this week, the Associated Press's sources say that reported trip is off, for now. They're reportedly going to discuss at least two more drastic interventions in the conflict, with one much more likely than the other:
Arm the rebels:
Kerry et al. will discuss gi

2013-06-10 02:45:45
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Is Katie Couric Going to be CNN's New Katie Couric? Is Katie Couric Going to be CNN's New Katie Couric?

All of Katie Couric's best friends left for CNN, so it would make sense if she followed them to cable's problem child. And, according to
a new report in the
New York Post
, she might be joining the
poop cruise crew
of news fairly soon.
Page Six
reports Couric may join her old pal Jeff Zucker
at CNN, the network he ditched her to run in November 2012, after her ABC daytime talk show
Katie
wraps up its second season. Things have been in disarray since Zuck, also Couric's former
Today
producer, left the show.
The once unimpeachable Katie Couric is struggling on and off screen. The show's been a mess behind the scenes, according to Page Six. "Jeff’s departure left a void," a source told the
Post
. "Then they had four co-executive producers and the staffing decisions being made were poor.

2013-06-09 16:27:46
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Everyone Important Came Back for 'Veronica Mars' Everyone Important Came Back for 'Veronica Mars'

The most important pieces of the Veronica Mars inner circle are in place: the whole gang is going to be back together when that
Kickstarter-funded film
starts filming in nine days. Veronica's former boyfriends, best friends, and her always-reliable gumshoe dad are all on board for the movie.
Within the last 24 hours, ahead of a panel at the Austin Television Festival, we've had two pieces of very important casting news: Chris Lowell
will return as Stosh "Piz" Piznarski
, Veronica's less crazy, nice guy boyfriend from season 3. And, most importantly, that
Percy Daggs III will return
as Veronica's best friend, Wallace Fennel. We knew
Jason Dohring
, Enrico Colantoni and Kristen Bell - slightly crazy love interest Logan Echolls, Keith and Veronica Mars, respectively - were all slated to ap

2013-06-09 00:52:15
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This Is Pakistan's Answer to U.S. Drone Defiance This Is Pakistan's Answer to U.S. Drone Defiance

Pakistan's newly-elect prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, announced the country would no longer permit U.S. drone strikes on his country's soil during his first speech earlier this week. So when the U.S. openly defied him with another drone strike late Friday, he called the U.S. envoy in Pakistan for a little chat. What happened behind those closed doors, or what was said during the ensuing conversation, is unknown at this time. We know Sharif was "
protesting
" the drone strike that
killed nine people in north western Pakistan late Friday
. All we can know is this sternly worded statement released by Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "It was conveyed to the U.S. charge d' affaires that the government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes, which are a violation of Pakistan's sov

2013-06-08 19:25:24
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'Walking Dead' Is Getting Scarier Zombies 'Walking Dead' Is Getting Scarier Zombies

Today in showbiz news: Changes are coming to
The Walking Dead
, ABC orders a funny-sounding new show, and
The Purge
is already a hit.
According to an
Entertainment Weekly
interview with
Walking Dead
actor Norman Reedus (he plays The Arrowman, or whatever his name is), the fourth season of the show will somehow feature scarier zombies than we've had before. He told
, "They’ve introduced a way to make the zombies scary again. They’re terrifying. The new threat is just unreal." Hm. So... the zombies evolve? Or someone straps knives to them or something? They all start voting for Ron Paul? Exactly how are they scarier?? Might it just, be, sigh that they figure out how to run? I mean isn't that how zombies are modified these days? The
World War Z
movie has fast zombies while the book didn'

2013-06-07 23:47:18
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Jon Stewart Says Goodbye as John Oliver Butts in Jon Stewart Says Goodbye as John Oliver Butts in

Jon Stewart just wanted to say goodbye to his viewers before he took off for the summer
to direct a movie
. But his replacement, correspondent John Oliver, just
had
to get involved. Oliver even ruined Stewart's "Moment of Zen," putting some pens in an unfortunate place.
Earlier in the show, Stewart took some time to
explain the motivation
for making his film, based on the book
Then They Came for Me
by Maziar Bahari. Oliver starts June 10.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More:
Daily Show Full Episodes
Indecision Political Humor
The Daily Show on Facebook

2013-06-07 14:34:58
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The American Tourist in India Has ID'd Her Gang-Rapists but India Is No Safer The American Tourist in India Has ID'd Her Gang-Rapists but India Is No Safer

The American tourist who reported yet another gang rape in India early Tuesday morning, after she couldn't get a cab back to her guest house in the popular resort town of Manali, has already picked all three of her attackers out of a lineup following an extensive police lockdown. And while Indian authorities were efficient this time, the unfolding horror of the country's latest rape case isn't exactly making tourists feel any safer. "Investigators obtained a cellphone number believed to belong to the principal suspect and used it to track down the men,"
reports NBC News's John Newland
, citing a police official in the mountainous northern province and adding that all the three suspects will be taken to court, officially identified, and charged on Thursday afternoon.
The men appear to have

2013-06-06 14:45:30
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Police Say an American Tourist Was Gang-Raped in India Police Say an American Tourist Was Gang-Raped in India

Six months after the deadly gang rape of a 23-year-old in New Delhi set off a wave of protests and a little over three months after a Swiss cycling tourist was gang-raped in front of her husband in Datia, multiple reports out of the Indian mountain escape of Manali say a 30-year-old female American tourist was hitchhiking home late Monday night when she was allegedly driven to a secluded area and gang-raped by three men. Yes, it appears that India's rape crisis is still out of control.
"The woman cannot remember the number plate of the truck and she could not understand what the accused were talking about. They drove the truck to an isolated spot and raped her for nearly one hour," police inspector Abhimanyu Kumar said,
according to the Associated Foreign Press
. The woman,
according to t

2013-06-04 15:30:33
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Meet the Couple Accusing Each Other of Mailing the Latest Ricin Letters Meet the Couple Accusing Each Other of Mailing the Latest Ricin Letters

Everyone who writes letters laced with ricin is insane, for more than one reason, but these ones may take the cake. The absurd couple at the heart of the latest ricin investigation are almost as ridiculous as the duelling Elvis impersonator and the taekwondo instructor implicated in the last ricin plot.
Yesterday the FBI were focusing their investigation into the latest round of ricin-laced letters on Nathaniel Richardson,
a 37-year-old Army veteran
living in New Boston, Texas who still does contract work for the Defense Department. Similarly worded letters laced with ricin were received
by the President
, New York's
mayor Michael Bloomberg
and his gun control advocacy group. This was the second time in two months the President
was mailed something laced
with ricin. Richardon's wife al

2013-06-01 23:12:00
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Do You Buy Joseph Gordon-Levitt as The Situation? Do You Buy Joseph Gordon-Levitt as The Situation?

Yesterday we wrote about
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's attempt to promote
his directorial debut, which he also wrote, in character on Twitter. His Twitter persona as porn-addicted Jersey guy Jon Martello seemed strained. Now we have the trailer to see if he can pull off the persona on screen.
The idea behind the movie is that Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a Situation-type who only cares about his "body:"
His "pad:"
His "ride:"
His "family," which includes Tony Danza as his father:
His "church:"
His "boys:"
His "girls:"
And finally his "porn." That porn will become a problem when he starts dating Scarlett Johansson's character, who takes selfies.
Johansson, who is doing her take on
Mona Lisa Vito
, loves romantic comedies, and the two go to see one starring Anne Hathaway and Channing Tatum in

2013-05-22 23:09:26
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Reese Witherspoon Is Really Going to Space Reese Witherspoon Is Really Going to Space

Today in entertainment news: Reese Witherspoon's first sci-fi movie seems to be a go, Leo DiCaprio reteams with an old friend, and Steven Spielberg is adapting a video game.
Harvey Weinstein is currently charging around southern France buying up movies left and right, his latest Cannes acquisition being the sci-fi romance
Passengers
. That's the one that will star Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon as people falling in love in space. Now that distribution is locked down, it looks like this thing is actually happening! Reese Witherspoon is doing a sci-fi movie, with Keanu Reeves. And Keanu Reeves is playing a huge jerk, a guy who wakes up from cryo-sleep and doesn't want to wait out the rest of his life alone so he wakes up Reese Witherspoon too. What a jerk, right? Can't wait to see
Space

2013-05-21 23:41:01
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Nidal Hasan Has Earned $278,000 in Salary Since the Fort Hood Shooting Nidal Hasan Has Earned $278,000 in Salary Since the Fort Hood Shooting

To date, preparations for the trial of accused Fort Hood shooter
Nidal Hasan
have cost the government at least $278,000 — and that's just in the salary that Hasan received since the 2009 massacre.
NBC's Dallas affiliate, KXAS, reports
that Hasan, who at the time of the shooting was working as an Army psychiatrist, has continued to receive his salary for the past 42 months.
The Army said under the Military Code of Justice, Hasan’s salary cannot be suspended unless he is proven guilty.
If Hasan had been a civilian defense department employee, NBC 5 Investigates has learned, the Army could have suspended his pay after just seven days.
According to witnesses, Hasan
shouted "God is great" in Arabic
before opening fire, repeatedly
targeting soldiers that had already been wounded
. Thirteen

2013-05-21 16:29:20
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North Korea Tests Missiles for Second Day in a Row North Korea Tests Missiles for Second Day in a Row

North Korea fired a short range missile into the sea off its east coast on Sunday. It's the second day in a row the rogue nation fired short range missiles for no apparent reason. Seems a little wasteful, doesn't it?
South Korean officials
confirmed to Reuters
and
the Assoicated Press
that North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea for the second day in a row. North Korea
fired three short range KN-02 missiles
off the same coast on Saturday. It was mostly seen as
a cry for attention
. Today's firing must be the cherry on top.
Short range missiles can't for much further than 620 miles. And while the posturing about medium- and long-range nuclear warheads tightened tensions in the Korean peninsula in the first half of the year, North Korea's short-range missile testing is more

2013-05-19 16:28:34
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Robb Stark to Charm 'Cinderella' Robb Stark to Charm 'Cinderella'

Today in show business news: A
Game of Thrones
hunk gets a hunky role,
Jurassic Park 4
might be in trouble, TNT has another new show, and more Coen Brothers.
Ladies (and some gents), start your loin'gines, because your prince has arrived. Well, hm, actually your prince has already sorta been here. Richard Madden, who plays young lord Robb Stark on
Game of Thrones
, has just been cast as the Prince in Kenneth Branagh's live-action
Cinderella
. That's the one with Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother and
Downton Abbey
's Lily James as Cindy. Good for Robb Stark! His bastard brother Jon is always getting all the attention, even though Robb's the older one and the King of the North, so it's nice that this important role came along. Well, hm, "important" may be
something
of a stretch, se

2013-05-09 00:39:24
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Tom Hanks Turns the Real Somali Pirate Crisis into Oscar Bait in 'Captain Phillips' Tom Hanks Turns the Real Somali Pirate Crisis into Oscar Bait in 'Captain Phillips'

Welcome to Tom Hanks's 2014 Oscar campaign. Here is the trailer for
Captain Phillips
, the Paul Greengrass-directed, Hanks-starring take on the 2009 hijacking of the
Maersk Alabama
by Somali pirates. As is to be expected, most of the trailer focuses on Hanks as Phillips,
who was held hostage in a standoff
. Hanks does a Boston accent, in approximation of Phillips's
real-life voice
, and wears a greying goatee.
The trailer mostly shows the set-up of the pirates boarding the ship, giving us only a brief glance at what appears to be Phillips being held captive, the scenario that will presumably take up a large portion of the film. Until, you know, the SEALS step in.
Watch the trailer here:
Then compare Hanks' interpretation with footage of Phillips himself:

2013-05-08 21:14:55
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Belgium Diamond Thieves Rounded Up Just Three Months After Heist Belgium Diamond Thieves Rounded Up Just Three Months After Heist

Police in Europe
rounded up 31 people in three countries
on Wednesday and recovered most of the
$50 million in diamonds stolen from the Brussels Airport earlier this year, proving once again that most
daring and outlandish crimes are the hardest to get away with.
It took less than five minutes for a group of armed men
to clean out a cargo plane
parked at the airport in Belgium back on February, and the thieves
stunned authorities with their speed
and precision. But in an equally impressive display of
detective
work, just three months later the whole operation
and all of their accomplices are now behind bars.
The Belgian prosecutor's office says
they arrested 24 people in Belgium
who are connected the heist, plus six more in Switzerland and one in France, and all within the last day.

2013-05-08 13:15:54
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Second U.S. Cargo Plane Crashes in Central Asia Second U.S. Cargo Plane Crashes in Central Asia

For the second time this week an American cargo plane
has crashed overseas
, after a military jet has gone missing in Kyrgyzstan. The C-135 fuel transporter (like the one pictured refueling a stealth bomber above) disappeared from radar on Friday, shortly after taking off from a U.S. air base near the Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border. Kyrgyz emergency services
say the plane has crashed shortly after 2:30 p.m. local time
, but there is no word yet on casualties.
On Monday, a civilian operated-cargo plane
crashed upon take off from Bagram Air Base
in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members. The plane was
owned and operated
by a private company (and the crew were all U.S. civilians), but was
contracted to the U.S. military
The plane that crashed on Friday had
just left the Manas transit ce

2013-05-03 13:16:06
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The Bagram Airfield Crash Now Has This Horrifying Video Evidence The Bagram Airfield Crash Now Has This Horrifying Video Evidence

We still don't know much about the seven people who died when
a cargo plane crashed
Monday at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, but dashboard camera footage surfaced Tuesday morning
on the website LiveLeak
— and it provides more answers than you may even feel comfortable watching.
Warning:
You've probably seen something like this in
The Dark Knight Rises
Flight
, but this is a real and very scary plane crash — it's not exactly the stuff of
meteors
recorded from passing vehicles...
In the video, the plane ascends before veering off course. Eventually the fuselage becomes nearly perpendicular to the ground and quickly plummets into the airfield. The crash claimed the lives of seven crew members, according to a spokesperson for the plane's carrier, National Air Cargo. It remains unclear how

2013-04-30 18:35:44
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