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Jordan Michael

What Michael Jordan in NASCAR could do for Bubba Wallace and racing – For The Win

Michael Jordan is coming to NASCAR. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, his presence in the sport is going to make a lot of noise. It’s an assist the struggling organization could definitely use, especially as many of its stars who transcended the sport have retired in recent years.

Jordan is teaming up with Denny Hamlin, a Jordan-brand driver and friend of his, to form a new NASCAR team starting in 2021, they announced Monday night.

In a statement, they said they purchased the charter team from Germain Racing, which makes Jordan the first Black majority owner of a full-time Cup team since NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in the 1960s and ’70s.

Although we don’t know the name of the team, its manufacturer or what number will be on the car — though No. 23 would certainly be an educated guess — its lone driver will be Bubba Wallace, who signed a multi-year deal.

Wallace has driven for Richard Petty Motorsports in his first three full-time seasons at NASCAR’s top level, but despite an improved performance this season, he’s still looking for his first victory. He announced earlier this month his plan to leave the team.

He previously said he wants a family-like team atmosphere but also a competitive car. And he told For The Win he thinks this deal can do both. He said:

“There’s a lot that’s still on the table to iron out and sort through. So it’s super important to me to feel a part of the team, but it’s also really important to go out and win races and be the best I can be. So as long as we set that up, there shouldn’t be any reason why this deal won’t be successful.”

This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.

🤘🏾

BW https://t.co/q5tCyiurpi

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 22, 2020

Wallace called the deal “a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” and he added in the release:

“Both Michael and Denny are great competitors and are focused on building the best team they possibly can to go out and compete for race wins. I’m grateful and humbled that Michael and Denny believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”

Hamlin tweeted: “Deciding on a driver was easy.” And following the announcement, Wallace received an abundance of support from those in NASCAR and the greater racing world, including Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton.

More from the announcement:

“Starting a race team has been something that Michael and I have talked about while playing golf together over the years, but the timing or circumstances were never really right,” said the 39-year-old Hamlin. “It just makes sense now to lay the foundation for my racing career after I’m done driving and also help an up-and-coming driver like Bubba take his career to a higher level. Plus, Michael and Bubba can be a powerful voice together, not only in our sport, but also well beyond it.”

Through 105 races in the No. 43 car, Wallace has nine top-10 finishes but just three top-5s, including being the runner-up in the 2018 Daytona 500 — the highest finish in the race for a full-time rookie.

In 2020, he’s had five top-10 finishes, and he came in fifth in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway in August.

Wallace is the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he skyrocketed to international stardom this summer because of his anti-racism efforts within and outside of NASCAR. He led the successful effort to get NASCAR to ban the Confederate Flag, and he ran a Black Lives Matter paint scheme earlier this season.

He’s also spoken out against police brutality disproportionally impacting Black people, worn a “Black Lives Matter t-shirt at the track before races and encouraged Black sports fans to support NASCAR.

Michael Jordan practices waving the green flag before the NASCAR All-Star Race in 2010. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Jordan said in a statement he’s a lifelong NASCAR fan. But he also recognized the impact this team could have on the mostly white sport and its recent efforts to be more inclusive. Jordan said:

“The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”

In addition to those opportunities, Wallace should have the resources for a more competitive or even winning car, between the sponsors he’s expected to bring with him, along with any new ones who may be eager to join the sport.

The potential for more sponsors and more fans in NASCAR seems monumental at this point.

Former NBA great Brad Daugherty is currently the only Black co-owner of a full-time Cup team, JTG Daugherty Racing. He’s also part of NBC Sports’ NASCAR broadcast team and said Jordan joining the sport never would have happened a few years ago.

Daugherty also called the new team a “big momentum shift for this sport culturally” and said that the “eyeballs are going to be incredible.” He continued, via NBC Sports:

“The opportunity for entrance into the sport will be made more available as far as people being aware of the availability to get involved in NASCAR as a fan or as a business. There’s just so many different areas that will light up just because of who he is and what he represents. His entire legacy creates opportunity for everyone.

“Now, we start talking diversity with what he’s able to do from a corporate standpoint and also just from a legacy standpoint with his brand. It’s going to be exciting.”

NASCAR needs a driver and personality like Bubba, and it needs the jolt of energy and new fans Michael Jordan will surely bring.

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Jordan Michael

Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin to field NASCAR Cup car with Bubba Wallace driving – ESPN

9:06 PM ET

  • Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Denny Hamlin is starting his own NASCAR race car team in partnership with Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Bubba Wallace as the driver.

Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and top contender for this year’s Cup title, made the announcement on social media. The team will be a single-car Toyota entry aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Eleven years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote. “Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level.

“Deciding on the driver was easy — it had to be Bubba Wallace.”

Hamlin said additional details would be forthcoming. Wallace is the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.

Jordan said he’s been a fan of NASCAR his whole life — his parents took his brothers, sisters and him to races while they were growing up in North Carolina.

“The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me,” Jordan said in a statement. “Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”

There’s been speculation for months that Hamlin was organizing some sort of ownership group, as he expects NASCAR’s business model to become more favorable for team owners when the “Next Gen” car is released in 2022. NASCAR rules prohibit a current driver from owning a team and driving for another, but Hamlin works around the policy with Jordan as the primary owner.

Jordan became a partial owner of the Bobcats in 2006 and bought the team outright in 2010, restoring the franchise to its original Hornets name. Hamlin has been a longtime season-ticket holder with courtside seats along the visitors’ bench.

Jordan has twice traveled to the NASCAR season finale to watch Hamlin race for the championship. Hamlin, who’s 39, is still seeking his first title.

Wallace, who has cobbled together about $18 million in sponsorship deals since he made social equality his platform, already said he’d leave Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season.

“This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career,” Wallace wrote in a social media post coordinated with Hamlin’s.

“I am grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”

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Brexit Michael

Brexit: Michael Gove says bill will protect ‘integrity’ of UK – BBC News

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Media captionMichael Gove: “What we can’t have… is the EU disrupting or putting at threat the integrity of the UK”

Michael Gove has defended plans to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement as a means of protecting the “integrity” of the UK.

The Cabinet Office minister said the UK was being “generous” with the EU over the Brexit negotiations.

The EU has threatened legal action over the Internal Market Bill, which ministers say will break international law in a “specific and limited way”.

PM Boris Johnson is urging Tory MPs to back it, after some raised concerns.

The bill, which will be formally debated in the House of Commons for the first time on Monday, addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol – the part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.

If this became law it would give UK ministers powers to modify or “disapply” rules relating to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland that will come into force from 1 January, if the UK and EU are unable to strike a trade deal.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the Commons the bill, which would go against the Withdrawal Agreement signed by the UK and EU, would “break international law in a very specific and limited way”.

But Mr Gove said the attorney general had said the proposal would be consistent with the rule of law – and that it was important to have an “insurance policy”.

He insisted the government was being “proportionate and generous” in its approach to the EU talks.

Mr Gove said: “These steps are a safety net, they’re a long-stop in the event, which I don’t believe will come about but we do need to be ready for, that the EU follow through on what some have said they might do which is, in effect, to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.”

While admitting it was a “crunch moment”, he insisted “we have got the support of our own MPs”.

No more ‘miserable squabbling’

The EU and UK have less than five weeks to agree a deal before Mr Johnson’s 15 October deadline – after which he says he is prepared to “walk away”.

Informal talks are due to resume on Monday, with the next official round of talks – the ninth since March – starting in Brussels on 28 September.

The EU says the planned changes must be scrapped or they risk jeopardising the UK-EU trade talks and the European Parliament says will “under no circumstances ratify” any trade deal reached between the UK and EU if the “UK authorities breach or threaten to breach” the Withdrawal Agreement.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Boris Johnson said he would not countenance “the threat of a border down the Irish Sea”

On Friday Mr Johnson had a Zoom call with about 250 of his MPs, in which he said the party could not return to “miserable squabbling” over Europe.

Conservative backbencher Sir Bob Neill, who chairs the Commons Justice Committee, said he was not reassured by the prime minister’s Zoom call. He is tabling an amendment to the bill to try to force a separate parliamentary vote on any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.

“I believe it is potentially a harmful act for this country, it would damage our reputation and I think it will make it harder to strike trade deals going forward,” he said.

And on Saturday, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood – who is chairman of the Defence Select Committee – also voiced his concern.

“I don’t want us to lose our way, to lose our reputation as a force for good, as an exemplar holding up the international rule of law,” he said.

“I’m afraid that’s where I find myself not wishing to support this particular bill, because it does mean that we would be challenging unilaterally a Treaty. And that goes against the principle of everything we stand for.”

Former Conservative party leaders Theresa May, Lord Howard and Sir John Major are also among senior figures urging Mr Johnson to think again.

‘Serious misunderstanding’

Both Ireland and the EU have warned that Mr Johnson’s plans pose a serious risk to the peace process rather than protecting the Good Friday Agreement, as the government claims.

Writing that it had become clear there might be a “serious misunderstanding” between the UK and EU over the Withdrawal Agreement, Mr Johnson said the UK must be protected from what he called a “disaster” of the EU being able to “carve up our country” and “endanger peace and stability in Northern Ireland”.

He said there was still a “very good chance” of the UK and EU striking a deal by mid-October similar to that previously agreed between the EU and Canada – which got rid of most, but not all, tariffs on goods.

But in a column in the Daily Telegraph, he accused the EU of adopting an “extreme” interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol to impose “a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea” that could stop the transport of food from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Mr Gove told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it would be “irrational” not to allow the transportation of food in such a way, which would happen if the UK was not granted third-country listing. Such a listing is needed for the export of food.

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Michael Waltz

Rep. Michael Waltz on Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination: ‘It’s incredible’ what he is ‘getting done comp… – Fox News

President Trump‘s accomplishments are “incredible” compared to the rhetoric you hear against him, Rep Michael Waltz, R-Fla., said Wednesday in reaction to the commander in chief being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace agreement.

Waltz told “Fox & Friends” he would love to see Trump receive the Nobel Peace Prize and if there is a “fair vote,” he could get it.

“President Obama got it for basically existing and blinking, so, if you look at the actual accomplishments — which really is the story of [Trump’s] presidency — you look at what he is actually getting done compared to all the rhetoric that’s out there, and it’s incredible,” the congressman said.

TRUMP NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE BY NORWEGIAN OFFICIAL, CITING ISRAEL-UAE PEACE DEAL

The nomination submitted by Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament, lauded Trump for his efforts toward resolving protracted conflicts worldwide.

“For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Tybring-Gjedde, a four-term member of Parliament who also serves as chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, told Fox News in an exclusive interview.

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“What we have seen is a wholesale shift under [President Trump’s] leadership,” Waltz said regarding how the president was able to broker the Israel-UAE deal. “I think you’re going to see more movement from Bahrain, from Oman and from other countries that realize that Israel is a liberal democracy that is here to stay — the greatest ally of the United States.

“This alignment that you’re seeing is vis-à-vis Iran, and the last thing those countries want is a repeat of the Obama-Biden years with a complete sellout of their security interests in the United States to the Mullahs in Iran so that is what is driving this alignment,” Waltz said.

Fox News’ Jon Decker contributed to this report.

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Cohen Michael

Michael Cohen book details Trump’s racism and toxic family dynamic – The Guardian

Michael Cohen published his memoir of his time as Donald Trumps fixer on Tuesday, greeted by a White House statement calling him a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, and a liar.
It was pointed ou…
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Michael Moore

Michael Moore says he ‘worries’ Biden won’t excite voters, ‘shocked’ he ‘swung to the left’ with Harris VP … – Fox News

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore expressed his concern that former Vice President Joe Biden won’t excite Democratic voters enough to defeat President Trump in November.

Moore, who was an outspoken supporter for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., appeared on MSNBC before the official kickoff of the Democratic National Convention and was asked to react to comments he made in 2019, warning Democrats that Biden was “this year’s” Hillary Clinton and that he was “not going to excite the base,” highlighting women, people of color and young people.

While the Oscar-winning documentarian conceded on Monday that Biden his polling best among voters ages 18-35, he still had reservations that the presumptive Democratic nominee can pull off a victory against Trump, who Moore famously predicted would win the 2016 election.

MICHAEL MOORE WARNS DEMS ABOUT A TRUMP REELECTION: ‘HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE’S DOING’

“Even your own poll today, the NBC poll, showed that [when] asked ‘Why are you voting for Joe Biden,’ 58 percent said because he’s not Trump. That’s the number one reason,” Moore told “The Beat” anchor Ari Melber. “So I look at that and I worry because people do need to get excited.”

The “Fahrenheit 9/11” director then weighed in on Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate.

“I was shocked that he picked Kamala Harris, frankly,” Moore said. “I thought for certain that he would swing to the right and pick Susan Rice. Instead, he swung to the left and picked Kamala Harris.”

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Moore’s description of Harris’ politics conflicts with descriptions made by some in the mainstream media, who have called the California senator a “pragmatic moderate” and a “small-c conservative.”

Back in May, Moore warned Democrats that Trump could win reelection.

“We need to behave as if he will win a second term,” Moore told “Real Time” host Bill Maher. “Anybody who right now says, ‘Oh no,’ you’re really part of the problem because you’re not taking this seriously. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He was just in Michigan this week. It’s the third time he’s been in Michigan in three weeks. He believes he’s going to somehow pull this off.”

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Cohen Michael

Michael Cohen offers preview of tell-all Trump book: ‘I know where the skeletons are buried’ – Fox News

Michael Cohen offered a taste of what to expect in his anti-Trump tell-all book “Disloyal, A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump.”

The book, which is set to be released in September, makes several provocative and salacious claims about his time as Trump’s go-to fixer and lawyer before he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations over hush payments made to women during the 2016 election who alleged having affairs with the then-GOP candidate.

“The President of the United States wanted me dead,” Cohen boldly declared in the forward of his book released on Thursday. “Or, let me say it the way Donald Trump would: He wouldn’t mind if I was dead. That was how Trump talked. Like a mob boss, using language carefully calibrated to convey his desires and demands, while at the same time employing deliberate indirection to insulate himself and avoid actually ordering a hit on his former personal attorney, confidant, consigliere, and, at least in my heart, adopted son.”

Cohen wrote that “the death threats had come by the hundreds” from Trump supporters after he agreed to cooperate in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, writing “All rats deserve to die, I was told. I was a lowlife Judas they were going to hunt down.”

ROSIE O’DONNELL SAYS SHE’S BECOME ‘PEN PALS’ WITH MICHAEL COHEN, VISITED HIM IN PRISON

“For more than a decade, I had been at the center of Trump’s innermost circle. When he came to my son’s bar mitzvah, a generous gesture that I found touching, he told my then thirteen-year-old boy that his Dad was the greatest and that, if he wanted to work at the Trump Organization when he grew up, there would always be a position for him. ‘You’re family,’ Trump said to my son and I. And I f—ing believed him!” Cohen exclaimed.

The former Trump fixer acknowledged he himself used to be a “demented follower” of the celebrity businessman and how he was “willing to do anything for him, including, as I vowed once to a reporter, to take a bullet.”

Cohen recalled the “enormous weight” he felt when he testified before the House Oversight Committee in 2019 and how responsible he felt playing “a central role in creating this new reality” that allowed “a clear and present danger named Donald Trump” to become president. However, he argued that both sides were wrong about whether or not Trump was “Russia-controlled” or that the entire investigation was a “witch hunt.”

“I knew that the reality was much more complicated and dangerous. Trump had colluded with the Russians, but not in the sophisticated ways imagined by his detractors. I also knew that the Mueller investigation was not a witch-hunt. Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything—and I mean anything—to ‘win’ has always been his business model and way of life,” Cohen explained. “Trump had also continued to pursue a major real estate deal in Moscow during the campaign. He attempted to insinuate himself into the world of President Vladimir Putin and his coterie of corrupt billionaire oligarchs. I know because I personally ran that deal and kept Trump and his children closely informed of all updates, even as the candidate blatantly lied to the American people saying, “there’s no Russian collusion, I have no dealings with Russia…there’s no Russia.”

JUDGE ORDERS MICHAEL COHEN RELEASED TO HOME CONFINEMENT, SAYS IMPRISONMENT WAS ‘RETALIATORY’ OVER PLANNED BOOK 

With his book, Cohen is hoping to “reintroduce” himself to the rest of the country.

“For more than a decade, I was Trump’s first call every morning and his last call every night. I was in and out of Trump’s office on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower as many as fifty times a day, tending to his every demand. Our cell phones had the same address books, our contacts so entwined, overlapping and intimate that part of my job was to deal with the endless queries and requests, however large or small, from Trump’s countless rich and famous acquaintances. I called any and all of the people he spoke to, most often on his behalf as his attorney and emissary, and everyone knew that when I spoke to them, it was as good as if they were talking directly to Trump.”

He continued, “Apart from his wife and children, I knew Trump better than anyone else did. In some ways, I knew him better than even his family did because I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man… He has no one he trusts to keep his secrets. For ten years, he certainly had me, and I was always there for him, and look what happened to me. I urge you to really consider that fact: Trump has no true friends. He has lived his entire life avoiding and evading taking responsibility for his actions. He crushed or cheated all who stood in his way, but I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them.”

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He vowed as he wrote serving his sentence at Otisville Federal Prison, “This is a book the President of the United States does not want you to read.”

Cohen was released from prison last month amid coronavirus concerns and was ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement. His sentence was supposed to end in November 2021.

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Cohen Michael

Michael Cohen taken into custody for violating terms of his early release from prison – CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has been taken into custody for violating terms of his early release from prison, his attorney Jeffrey Levine told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Levine said Cohen had been ordered to appear at the federal court in downtown Manhattan to convert his furlough to home confinement but was detained after failing to agree to the terms of the federal location monitoring for the Southern District of New York. He was put in custody in a lower Manhattan correctional facility.
Cohen, Levine said, had been presented with an agreement not to engage with the media through any medium including books — a restriction that would block the release of his forthcoming tell-all about his time working with Trump which he said was “close to completion” earlier this month.
“I’ve never seen any language like this in my life that would strip a person of their First Amendment rights to communicate with the media,” Levine said.
“We made our objections known to the probation officers and we asked what we can do to work it out,” he continued. Levine said he then “received an order and the US Marshals office came with shackles to shackle Michael Cohen.”
Sue Allison, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, told CNN Thursday that Cohen “refused the conditions of his home confinement and as a result, has been returned to a BOP facility.”
Cohen was also reportedly spotted eating at a New York City restaurant recently. When asked if that incident was related to his detainment Thursday, Levine told reporters outside the courthouse, “I would leave that to your viewers.”
“I think it’s probably the language in the agreement, which, again, I don’t know who gets stripped of their First Amendment rights, but it probably has to do with the optics of everything,” he said.
The episode comes after Cohen was released on furlough from prison in late May due to coronavirus fears.
Cohen was serving a three-year sentence in New York after pleading guilty to lying to Congress, tax charges and two campaign finance charges for facilitating hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump.
The President has denied having affairs with the women.
A vocal surrogate for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen often sparred with reporters and appeared on television to support his longtime client.
But a months-long investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York into Cohen exposed that he had acted with Trump and his allies, including David Pecker — the CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc. — to suppress potentially damaging claims against the now-President.
When pleading guilty to his crimes, Cohen implicated the President, telling a federal judge that he had made the payments “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, who prosecutors identified in court filings as “Individual 1.”
Cohen later refused to commit to not pursuing a possible book deal while testifying before members of the House Oversight Committee in February 2019.
As a result, he was served a cease-and-desist letter while in prison from Charles Harder, an attorney for the Trump Organization, requesting he stop working on the book, two sources previously told CNN.
Among the reasons cited by Harder, they say, is writing the book would violate a confidentiality agreement and a lawyer’s ethical and legal obligations, such as attorney-client privilege.
But, to this point, Cohen has pushed forward with his plans for the book and even floated a release date before the November presidential election.
“…anticipated release date will be late September,” he tweeted earlier this month.
This story has been updated with additional information Thursday.

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Keaton's Michael

How Michael Keaton’s Batman Can Revamp the DC Film Universe – Hollywood Reporter

Beyond the central event series, a number of miniseries fleshed out this world, creating a reality rich with possibilities, one that DC fans have hoped to see brought to life on the big screen one day, following an animated adaptation, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013), and a very loose adaptation on The CW’s Flash series in 2016.

There’s been plenty of speculation about the chance of the Flashpoint world coming to the DC movies, especially given the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan as Thomas and Martha Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), who are dead-ringers for Flashpoint’s depiction of Batman and Joker. Rumors pointing to Morgan’s reprisal of Thomas Wayne have circulated for months, as have fan hopes that Cyborg (Ray Fisher) would return. If the film incorporates the warring alternate versions of Aquaman and Wonder Woman, The Flash could be far more of an event film than previously expected, falling much closer to the character count and scale of Captain America: Civil War (2016) than Doctor Strange (2016) for comparisons sake. It would seem that Warner Bros. has seen the potential of having multiple iterations of its characters existing simultaneously, an area that DC Comics has thrived on for decades.

The comic book multiverse is the next “big idea” in superhero movies and television, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) leading the way, followed by The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths last year, and the upcoming The Flash and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. For Warner Bros., which has been in the superhero movie game the longest, there’s perhaps no better response to the dissenting opinions about the best and most accurate version of DC’s most iconic characters, than to allow all of them to exist simultaneously. This means Keaton’s Batman, Affleck’s Batman, Robert Pattinson’s Batman can all stand on equal footing. And if that’s the case, then hopefully this all-encompassing approach extends to characters beyond Batman.

So how will Keaton’s Batman fit in, and what role will he serve in the DC film universe? Burton’s movies will presumably exist within a separately established timeline, and perhaps the Batman from that universe will be brought into the current DC film universe by way of Miller’s Barry Allen. What’s interesting about this, is that it provides a means for Batman to continue to exist in the DC film universe established by Zack Snyder. With Zack Snyder’s Justice League arriving on HBO Max next year, and serving as Ben Affleck’s final turn as Batman, questions about the continuation of this franchise and continuity were raised given Affleck’s retirement from the role. While some fans suggested The Flash could provide the means for Pattinson’s Batman to join Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in future Justice League films, all current signs point to Reeves’ proposed trilogy being stand-alone akin to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. But now, it seems likely, given the word that Keaton’s Batman will be in multiple films, that any future team-ups between the JL will feature the Tim Burton version of Batman. So what happens to Affleck’s Batman? Well, Snyder’s original five-film arc had Batman sacrificing himself at the end. Perhaps the events of his death will be moved up, and he’ll fall victim to Darkseid, as he did in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis. This would give the character, and Affleck, a proper sendoff without creating a continuity conflict, or a world without a Batman.

Keaton’s Batman is expected to serve in a mentor role, perhaps showing up in Batgirl, a project also being penned by The Flash screenwriter Christina Hodson. It’s easy to imagine his role in this regard being similar to Bruce Wayne’s in the animated Batman Beyond, though Keaton, younger than that series’ Bruce Wayne, would likely still be able to get in on the action. It’s impossible not to wonder if Keaton’s role in the DC movie universe also promises a return of other familiar faces from Burton’s Batman films. As awesome as it would be, there’s a slim to none chance that Jack Nicholson would come out of retirement to portray the Joker once more, but the possibility of Michelle Pfeiffer returning as Selina Kyle seems possible given the actor’s interest in reprising the role over the years.

For decades it felt like Warner Bros. was only scratching the surface with its DC properties or playing catch-up, but now they have the opportunity to dig deeper than they ever have before, and tell stories impossible for Marvel Studios to tell in the same way. Warner Bros. has the benefit of multiple iconic versions of their characters, and rather than let that be a means to divide and confuse the goals of their cinematic universe, it’s now a means to celebrate its infinite possibilities.

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Kovrig Michael

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor: China charges Canadians with spying – BBC News

Michael Spavor (L) and Michael Kovrig (composite image)

Image copyright
AFP

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Michael Spavor (L) and Michael Kovrig have been held since December 2018

China has charged two Canadians with spying, more than 18 months after they were detained.

Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, have been held in China since December 2018.

Their arrests came just days after Meng Wanzhou – an executive of the Chinese giant Huawei – was detained in Vancouver, at the request of the US.

Canada called the arrests “arbitrary”, but China denies they were retaliation for Ms Meng’s detention.

Both men have been charged with “spying on national secrets” and providing intelligence for “outside entities”.

China’s court system is completely controlled by the Communist Party and has an almost 100% conviction rate once defendants are charged, notes the BBC’s Stephen McDonell in Beijing.

What is the timeline?

Meng Wanzhou – the chief financial officer of Huawei, and daughter of the company’s founder – was arrested on 1 December 2018 in Vancouver.

Her arrest was requested by the US, who accuse her of breaking Iranian sanctions. She is still fighting extradition to the US.

On 10 December, the Canadians were detained in China. They were formally arrested in May 2019, after which they had 13-and-a-half months to be charged.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused China of “using arbitrary detention as a tool to achieve political goals”.

Image copyright
Reuters

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Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou has been living in Canada under house arrest

How have they been treated?

Michael Kovrig’s employer, the Crisis Group think tank, says on its website that he has not seen a lawyer or his family since the detention, and that he only has “periodic consular visits”.

“Michael’s work has included meeting…Chinese officials, academics and analysts from multiple Chinese state institutions,” the Crisis Group said.

“He has attended numerous conferences at the invitation of Chinese organisations. He frequently appears on Chinese television and in other media to comment on regional issues.

“Nothing Michael does has harmed China.”

The Free Michael Spavor website, updated earlier this year, said he was “behind bars, without his family, and without access to lawyers”.

“Michael is an earnest, genuine, and impossibly fun person, who we believe has been detained in error,” the website says.

In April 2019, it was reported that both men were being interrogated for between six to eight hours a day, and were sometimes subject to 24-hour artificial lighting.

The Chinese government says the men are in “good health”.

China’s heavy hints over Meng Wanzhou case

Though the Chinese government has not absolutely, explicitly linked the cases of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig with Meng Wanzhou’s extradition proceedings in Vancouver, it has certainly given large dollops of nudge, nudge, wink, wink references making this connection.

At the foreign ministry’s regular press briefings, the various spokespeople routinely mention the fate of the Canadians and that of the daughter of Huawei’s founder in the same response, whether they’ve been prompted to do so or not by reporters.

The Communist Party’s media outlets have been more specific. Canada: if you want this former diplomat and businessman back, you know what you have to do… release Meng Wanzhou.

The problem, of course, is that in Canada, there is a separation of powers and an extradition treaty with the United States.

Even if the Canadian government thought there was a political element to the extradition request it received from Washington, it’s a matter for the courts there to decide whether her alleged activities might potentially constitute a crime in both jurisdictions – and they’ve decided yes, so the matter will proceed.

No such separation of powers headache in China, though. The courts here are completely controlled by the Communist Party and prosecutors enjoy a 99% success rate.

What is the latest with Meng Wanzhou?

Last month, a Canadian court ruled that her case could go forward.

A judge found the case met the threshold of double criminality – meaning the charges would be crimes in both the US and Canada.

Her lead defence lawyer, Richard Peck, argued that Canada was effectively being asked “to enforce US sanctions”.

A year after her arrest, Ms Weng released an open letter, detailing her life in detention at her home in Vancouver.

“Over the past year, I have learned to face up to and accept my situation,” she said. “I’m no longer afraid of the unknown.”

She also said she finally had time to “read a book cover to cover,” or “carefully complete an oil painting”.

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