Items filtered by date: Saturday, 13 May 2017

Pennywise in "It" is Far, Far, Worse Than Just a Clown

The MTV Movie & TV Awards dropped the second trailer for Stephen King’s It film, set to debut this fall. We don’t see much more of Pennywise than we did in the first trailer, but we do get a ton more of the Losers’ Club bickering and discussing their classmates.

That’s the crux of Stephen King’s It — that the ancient evil creature haunting the Losers into their adulthood isn’t just a child-murdering clown. It has chosen the guise of a clown out of a twisted, misguided attempt to attract and stalk children. In King’s novel, the Losers understand this phenomenon better than the adults in their lives; after a hallucination session they initiate by inhaling smoke together, the Losers communicate with the all-powerful celestial deity in King’s novels. That god tells them It has been around since the dawn of time, and that Pennywise the clown was simply the form it took in order to entice Bill’s younger brother, whose arm It tears off in a gutter.

From King’s novel:

“Suddenly he thought he understood: It meant to thrust him through some wall at the end of the universe and into some other place (what that old Turtle called the macroverse) where It really lived; where It existed as a titanic, glowing core which might be no more than the smallest mote in that Other’s mind; he would see It naked, a thing of unshaped destroying light, and there he would either be mercifully annihilated or live forever, insane and yet conscious inside It’s homicidal endless formless hungry being.”

Of course, the Losers themselves have been socially forced into a codependent friendship because of their personal traumas, and because each of them is systematically targeted by the bullies at their school in Derry. In this new trailer, we see Bill and Bev — who end up together as adults — discuss how hanging out makes them all, by definition, “losers.”

It doesn’t simply attack all kids at night; the creature preys on children who feel lonely or rejected by their world. Once he kills Bill’s brother Georgie (arguably too good and simple for It’s usual taste), the creature uses Georgie’s body as a way to communicate with Bill. We see that horror show play out in the first trailer, in which It uses Georgie’s dead body like a meat puppet to scream at Bill.

It’s not 100% clear in King’s text why It keeps the Pennywise disguise on for so long, but this year’s reboot film will evidently play with the circus-like imagery as much as the original TV mini-series did. The inverted balloon pyramid we see in the trailer below is effectively frightening at face value, but when you consider that the Losers are watching an ancient evil’s attempts to design a trap they might like … well, that’s even more chilling.

It hits theaters September 8, 2017.

Source: /


Scandal Erupts After ‘Bloomberg News’ Links FBI Raid Directly To Trump Administration


An FBI raid of a harmless-sounding company blossomed into a full-fledged trail of swampy tracks that led directly back to the Trump administration. This week the FBI descended upon Strategic Campaign Group, a Republican campaign consulting group in Annapolis, Maryland, and then the surprises began.


The president of Strategic Campaign Group Kelley Roger told the Baltimore Sun that six FBI agents arrived at his company at about 8:30 a.m. carrying a warrant to search and seize records. They left about 4:30 p.m. carrying documents and a computer.

The company that the FBI raided is related to two of Trump’s campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. The latter continues to advise the president, according to Bloomberg News.

Strategic Campaign Group’s senior adviser Dennis Whitfield was political director at BKSH and Associates, which provided strategic government relations counseling. Paul Manafort and Roger Stone formed Strategic Campaign Group in 1996 according to Bloomberg, but left before Whitfield came on board.

Strategic Campaign Group and another company named Cambridge Analytica, which is a small data analytics organization are linked. Owner Robert Mercer supported Donald Trump. The Guardian reported that the president’s Chief White House Analyst, Steve Bannon sat on Cambridge Analytica’s board of directors and took over Breitbart with an investment of $10 million from Mercer.

The two men further linked their media empire when Bannon co-founded Government Accountability Institute with Mercer’s daughter. The company weaponized political narratives found through dark internet trawling.

According to PBS, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross represented bond holders [debt holders] in Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino in New Jersey. He could have foreclosed on the casino. Instead,  he found a way to tighten the casino’s budget, lower Trump’s debt, and ended up:

‘Avoiding a total collapse of his [Trump’s] real estate empire.’

Strategic Campaign Group and Donald Trump’s New Jersey casino Taj Mahal are also linked. The director of the political organization Kelley Rogers also worked for Penn National Gaming, a regional and major market gaming management firm.

In addition, Thomas Burke joined Penn National Gaming where he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Regional Operations in 2008, according to a Penn National Gaming press release. Before that, he held senior management positions at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Castle.

The Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly started looking into money laundering penalties levied against the Taj Mahal. In 2015, the Treasury Department hit the casino for money laundering.

That ties Trump to several investigations with one ugly bow.

By Gloria Christie, Bipartisan Report


  • Published in U.S.

Wal-Mart Picks Up Md. Invention In Quest For American-Made Products

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The largest retailer in the world is looking for the next hot idea from local entrepreneurs.

Devin Bartolotta has more on one Maryland invention flying off store shelves thanks to the open call.

We’ve all said at one time or another: “Why didn’t I think of that?”

It’s those kind of ideas — WalMart hopes to find from Maryland inventors.

The idea is this simple: paper tape printed to look like a road.

“PlayTape – it’s the world’s simplest toy!”

Made in different curves and colors, PlayTape turns any surface into a Hotwheels superhighway.

Andy Musliner came up with the idea 15 years ago at his home in Anne Arundel County – when he realized his son’s cars had nowhere to drive.

“So then I did a whole bunch of research on the toy industry, on tape, and 12 years later, I came out with PlayTape in 2014,” says Anyd Musliner, Founder and CEO of InRoad Toys.

But an opportunity with Wal-Mart fast-tracked Andy’s business on the road to success. It’s part of a $250 billion dollar commitment to buy American-made products and create jobs.

Wal-Mart buyers will be looking for the next big thing during an upcoming open call.

“We’re looking for innovation and excitement that will improve or better the lives of our customers and their families,” says Wal-Mart buyer Matthew Bertrand.

Andy’s Maryland-made PlayTape is now mass-produced and sold at stores all over the country.

“We’ve been able to accomplish things I never, ever dreamed of being able to do,” says Musliner.

A life-changing deal for one Maryland inventor, where the rubber — quite literally meets the road.

Wal-Mart’s open call is next month at headquarters in Arkansas.  They’ll be making deals with small companies on the spot.


-CBS Baltimire


  • Published in U.S.

Japan bank expresses support for PHL infra program

Japan-led Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) has expressed intent to support the government's ambitious infrastructure spending program, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Sunday.

In an emailed statement, the DOF said officials of MUFG led by Managing Executive Officer and CEO for Asia and Oceania Takayoshi Futae said they "want to work together" with the country's infrastructure spending and "will help further expand the development of the Philippines."

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Futae met during the 50th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) earlier this month, along with other officials such as MUFG CEO and Head of Asia Yasutaka Suehiro, and Head of Financial Institutions Frederic Cabay.

The government plans to pour as much as P8.2 trillion to finance the country's infrastructure needs over the next six years, with P860.7 billion allocated for big-ticket projects this year alone.

"We also want to develop medium-sized companies by encouraging them to partner with equally sized Japanese companies for more inclusivity in our development," Dominguez told the Japanese officials.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia earlier said the Philippines and Japan have already agreed to implement at least three mega infrastructure rail projects.

Japan also in January pledged a total of ¥1 trillion worth of ODA and private sector investments, aimed at creating business opportunities in the Philippines over the next five years.

The MUFG already has a presence in the Philippines, after acquiring a 20-percent equity stake in Security Bank Corp. through its commercial banking unit Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. —ALG, GMA News


iPhone 8 Leak 'Confirms' Apple's Expensive Secret

The iPhone is changing. 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the iconic smartphone range and Apple AAPL +1.40% will celebrate with a radical new design and significant feature upgrades. But the downside to all these changes is becoming ever clearer…

Following independent reports for NikkeiFastCompanyand famed Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, Goldman Sachs has become the fourth major source to state the so-called iPhone 8 (also referred to as the iPhone 7S, iPhone X, iPhone Edition and simply ‘iPhone’) will be the most expensive phone Apple has ever made.

Whereas previous reports said the iPhone 8 could cost $1,000, Goldman Sachs says this will be the starting price for the new range which will sit above incremental iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus updates:


"We expect the iPhone 8 to have 128GB and 256GB models priced at $999 and $1,099, respectively," said Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski in a research note seen by Business Insider.

The end result would be a 2017 iPhone line-up which the global finance giants believes will line up as follows:

  • iPhone 7S: from $649 
  • iPhone 7S Plus: from $769 
  • iPhone 8: from $999

Add-in sales tax and even an entry level iPhone 8 will cost well over $1,000. Of course the big question this raises is…


Will The iPhone 8 Be Worth It?

On paper at least the answer: quite possibly.

The good news is, despite the price hikes, Goldman Sachs’ report also confirms all the biggest and best changes Apple is expected to make to the iPhone 8. These include a massive new 5.8-inch OLED display, a “no bezel, all screen” design, removal of the home button, “biometric authentication” (position unknown), an A11 chipset and no 64GB option.

Goldman Sachs points out the OLED display adds $35 to the overall cost, plus “3D sensing” (possibly in the camera) adds $20 and faster memory adds $16-$29. This is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. Interestingly, despite some worryingly dull ‘Plan B’ leaks, Goldman Sachs says “we believe Apple has now locked down the design."

With a game changing (if flawed) Galaxy S8 already on the market and Google’s second generation Pixel 2 on the horizon, Apple needs to deliver with the iPhone 8. If it does, I suspect the company will be able to charge what it likes…

  • Published in Tech

2 NPA rebels killed in Zamboanga Sibugay

ILIGAN CITY — Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed in an encounter with government troops in Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday, the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said.

Capt. Jo-An Petinglay, the Westmincom spokesperson,  said soldiers under the Joint Task Force Zampelan, led by Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, encountered around 30 NPAs in Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday afternoon (May 13).

She said members of the 44th Infantry Battalion engaged in a firefight with the rebels belonging to the NPA’s “Feliciano Bravo” group at around 5 p.m. at Sitio Malagak, Barangay Guinoman,in Diplahan.


After the gunbattle, the soldiers found two dead rebels, and two high-powered firearms—AK47 and an M16 rifle. Soldiers also saw bloodstains in the area and on the route of the enemy withdrawal.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of the Army’s First Infantry Tabak Division, said the two rebels, identified only as Henry and Tibo, both of the Mindanao Regional Party Committee, were killed, Herrera said.

Two militiamen were also wounded in the clash.

Brigadier General Bautista, commander of the First ID, said the encounter happened after civilians and local officials reported the presence of communist rebels in Sitio Malagak in Guinoman.

On the government side, two local civilian volunteers were wounded during the firefight. The members of the 44th Infantry Battalion are pursuing the rebels and blocking their possible routes of escape.

“This is a positive result of the military’s continued engagements with the local populace and LGUs (local government units). The shared commitment of attaining peace with local authorities resulted to strong cooperation of the communities to report the presence of NPA members at Sitio Malagak,” said Brigadier General Bautista, Joint Task Force Zampelan head and commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division.

Meanwhile, a group of Marines also encountered NPA rebels in the mountains of Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat Province over the weekend. The Marines recovered one M16 rifle and four improvised explosive devices.

“I would like to congratulate the troops of the Joint Task Force Zampelan and the Joint Task Force Central for the laudable accomplishments,” said Lt. Gen. Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Westmincom chief.

“We would also like to recognize the overwhelming support received from the local government units and the communities. Truly, without these assistance, we will not be able to accomplish our mission easily,” he said.

“As long as we are together in this fight, we are sure to win over any kinds of threat that hinders communities to be peaceful and progressive,” he added.




'Go for truth,' Duterte says as impeachment rap moves in Congress

MANILA, Philippines  — Go for the truth.


This was the short reply of the usually outspoken President Duterte when asked about his expectations on the rolling out of the impeachment complaint against him at the House of Representatives.

"None. I expect them to go for the truth. Kung ano 'yung totoo, 'yun na 'yon (Whatever is the truth, then that's it)," Duterte told reporters in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano has filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte over the president's alleged involvement in the killing of thousands of drug suspects and for supposedly selling out the Philippines' national interest to China.

Lawmakers supportive of Duterte's impeachment need one third or 97 votes of the 292 House members to impeach him. If the president is impeached, the complaint will be sent to the Senate for trial.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has predicted that the complaint would be rejected, noting that the chamber is dominated by the president's allies.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said the chamber may start discussing the impeachment complaint on Monday.

The complaint has been transmitted by the Speaker's office to the rules committee, which will then forward it to the justice committee.

Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella has said that any act to remove Duterte from office would be "an attempt to subvert the people's will.

The chief of the president's legal team, Salvador Panelo, said the impeachment complaint would distract lawmakers from important issues.



Duterte envoy De Venecia proposes joint development with China

BEIJING, China – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's special envoy proposed the joint development of oil and natural gas resources by China and Southeast Asian countries in the disputed South China Sea.

Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue Jose de Venecia Jr made this proposal in front of world leaders on Sunday, May 14, at the Belt and Road Forum, a two-day event hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping himself

De Venecia said on Sunday, "It is obvious as members of the ASEAN family that today, with China, we must find ways and means to jointly develop the area's hydrocarbon potential to help lessen our common dependence on distant petroleum sources in the Middle East."

To prove such a proposal already had precedence, De Venecia cited the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU), in which the Philippines, Vietnam, and China agreed to conduct joint explorations in the South China Sea.

The JMSU was signed by the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the early 2000s. Back then, De Venecia was speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives – a post he held under two presidents, from 1992 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2008.

'Zone of friendship' sought

The JMSU, however, was criticized for supposedly putting the Philippine government at a disadvantage since up to 80% of the JMSU site was inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

In 2008, a petition was filed against the JMSU before the Supreme Court.

Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Santa Romana earlier said the Philippines should push for better trade with China "knowing the lessons of the Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking," among other things.

De Venecia insisted, however, that joint development of the disputed sea would turn the South China Sea into a "zone of friendship."

"Look at the potential for peace, excellencies, for the economic development in the heartland of the South China Sea," he said.

"Small sea ports, airports, oil pipelines, small tourism townships, and fishing villages, in the spirit of the Silk Road, can rapidly rise in the contested areas once converted into a zone of friendship," said De Venecia.

Proposing a 3rd route

Toward the end of his passionate speech, De Venecia also proposed the addition of a 3rd route in China's proposed 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, one of two components of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

This 3rd route would encompass the 250-year-old Manila-Acapulco galleon trade route. Such a route could expand the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to include Australia and Latin America.

"The proposed 21st century 3rd route, hopefully an enlargement of the Silk Road of China, will make China's celebrated Belt and Road Initiative almost globally inclusive," said De Venecia.

Duterte and his delegation are already in Beijing for the two-day Belt and Road Forum. However, he did not attend the opening ceremony where Xi and other leaders gave speeches.

His first BRI event will be the welcome dinner on Sunday evening, to be held at the Great Hall of the People. –


North Korea fires missile as China holds Silk Road summit

BEIJING, China — China opened on Sunday a summit to promote an ambitious global trade infrastructure project highlighting its growing leadership on globalization, but a North Korean missile test threatened to overshadow the event.

President Xi Jinping was preparing to host leaders from 29 nations for the two-day summit in Beijing when US and South Korean military officials confirmed that Pyongyang had launched a missile, whose characteristics were not immediately known.

Delegations from North Korea and the United States were expected at the forum, though not their leaders. Few Western heads of government made the trip.

The summit is showcasing Xi’s cherished One Belt, One Road initiative, a revival of the Silk Road that could cement China’s growing global clout on trade and geopolitics.

“This is indeed a gathering of great minds,” Xi said, addressing leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Xi hailed the initiative as “a project of the century” in a “world fraught with challenges”.

The Chinese-bankrolled project seeks to link the country with Africa, Asia and Europe through an enormous network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.

The initiative spans some 65 countries representing 60 percent of the world population and around a third of global gross domestic product. The China Development Bank has earmarked $890 billion for some 900 projects.

Xi did not address the North Korean missile launch at the start of the summit, but Beijing has warned its communist ally in recent months to avoid any new missile or nuclear tests.

North Korea relies heavily on trade with China for its economic survival, and US President Donald Trump has urged Xi to use that leverage to put pressure on Pyongyang.

Sunday’s missile launch “is absolutely an embarrassment to Beijing but it also shouldn’t be overstated”, Christopher Balding, economics professor at Peking University, told AFP.

“This will not overshadow (the summit) in an enormous way but it will absolutely continue to raise US frustrations with Beijing,” he said.

Balding said the US was “frustrated” that North Korea was also invited to the summit.


Respecting sovereignty

Xi focused his speech on his initiative, boasting that it represented a “road for peace” and a way to “forge partnerships of friendship rather than alliance”.

But he cautioned “all countries should respect each others’ sovereignty… and territorial integrity”.

Xi has defended globalization at a time when Trump has vowed to put “America First” when it comes to international trade and relations.

Europe, meanwhile, is mired in Britain’s looming EU exit. While the prime ministers of Spain, Greece and Italy accepted the summit invitation, German, British and French leaders stayed home.

Xi warned that “isolation results in backwardness”.

Belt and Road is seen as a practical solution to relieve China’s industrial overcapacity. But it could also serve Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions.

“In my view, Belt and Road is intended to create greater economic interdependence between China and its neighbors, which Beijing hopes will translate into increased political influence,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Xi Jinping wants China to become the dominant regional power in an essentially Sino-centric order,” Glaser told AFP.


Indian concerns

Some Belt and Road projects are raising concerns in certain countries.

India has voiced displeasure at the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a Belt and Road project aimed at linking northwestern China to the Arabian Sea.

The route cuts through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, disputed territory that India claims is illegally occupied.

Human Rights Watch raised concerns on Saturday about the treatment of people along the new Silk Road route in Central Asian nations with poor track records in infrastructure projects.

The US-based organization said Chinese authorities have “heightened surveillance and repression to prevent potential unrest that could impede” Belt and Road plans in the western Xinjiang region.


  • Published in World
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