UK business minister to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE reut.rs/3WEPhND
Day: May 21, 2023
ICYMI: Australians are flocking to switch to EVs, but the country has less than a third the number of public chargers for every EV on the road compared with the global average reut.rs/3MhkYru
The 10th installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise was off to the races this weekend, knocking “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” out of first place and easily claiming the No. 1 spot at the box office. “Fast X” earned $67.5 million in ticket sales from 4,046 North American theaters, according to estimates from Universal Pictures on Sunday.
It’s on the lower end of openings for the series which peaked with “Furious 7’s” $142.2 million launch, the sole movie in the series to surpass $100 million out of the gates. “Fast X’s” domestic debut only ranks above the first three. The last movie, “F9,” opened to $70 million in 2021.
But this is also a series that has usually made the bulk of its money internationally. True to form, overseas it’s on turbo drive. “Fast X” opened in 84 markets internationally, playing in over 24,000 theaters, where it earned an estimated $251.4 million. The top market was China with $78.3 million, followed by Mexico with $16.7 million. And it adds up to a $319 million global debut — the third biggest of the franchise.
Directed by Louis Leterrier (who took over from Justin Lin during production), “Fast X” brings back the familiar crew including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Jordana Brewster and adds several newcomers, like Brie Larson, Rita Moreno and a villain played by Jason Momoa. The ever-expanding cast also includes Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Helen Mirren.
Reports say the movie cost $340 million to produce, not including marketing.
Reviews were mixed for “Fast X,” the beginning of the end for the $6 billion franchise, which currently has a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. AP’s Mark Kennedy wrote in his review that, “It has become almost camp, as if it breathed in too much of its own fumes” and that it’s also “monstrously silly and stupidly entertaining.”
According to exit polls audienecs were 29% Caucasian, 29% Hispanic and 21% Black, and 58% were between the ages of 18 and 34. They gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.
In its third weekend, Disney and Marvel’s “ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ” made an estimated $32 million in North America to take second place. It’s now made $266.5 million domestically and $659.1 million globally.
Third place went to another Universal juggernaut, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which is now in its seventh weekend and available to rent on VOD. Nevertheless, it earned an additional $9.8 million in North America, bringing its domestic total to $549.3 million.
President Joe Biden on Sunday said he believes he has the legal right to invoke the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to raise the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling but does not have the time to do so.
Some fellow Democrats have been urging him to try to use that untested legal theory to bypass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and raise the borrowing limit.
Section Four of 14th Amendment, adopted after the 1861-1865 Civil War, states that the “validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”
Historians say that aimed to ensure the federal government would not repudiate its debts, as some former Confederate states had done.
But the clause has been largely unaddressed by the courts, and legal experts disagree about what it requires from Congress and the presidency.
Some, like Cornell University law professor Michael Dorf, say the “least unconstitutional” option would be for Biden to act on his own to protect the integrity of the national debt.
“That would mean borrowing money,” he said.
Any action by Biden would surely prompt a lawsuit.
It’s not clear who could bring a case. It could be difficult for any plaintiff to prove they had been harmed by the action — a legal concept known as “standing.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that individual lawmakers do not have standing to file such lawsuits, but Congress could potentially vote to say that it had been collectively harmed.
The high court could also opt to hear a challenge in the interest of quickly resolving the issue, as they have done with Biden’s move to cancel $430 billion in student debt.
Any case would be in uncharted legal territory.
The Supreme Court has ruled on the public-debt clause only once, in a 1935 challenge to Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to take the United States off the gold standard. The court ruled that the plaintiff, a bondholder, did not have standing to file the case.
Biden and Congress, meanwhile, would be under tremendous pressure to resolve the issue quickly – meaning any case might be irrelevant before it reaches the court.
The last time this was a front-burner issue in Washington in 2011 and 2013, prominent Democrats like former President Bill Clinton urged then-President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. But White House aides said they did not believe they had the legal authority to do so.
Biden on Sunday said he believed he did, but there was not enough time for that strategy to pay off before June 1, when the Treasury Department has warned that the government may not be able to pay all its bills.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sounded a similar note on Sunday.
Administration officials and economists have said that a default triggered by a debt-ceiling breach would roil the world financial system and plunge the United States into recession.
That immediate catastrophe might be avoided if Biden invoked the 14th Amendment.
But investors nevertheless could be spooked by the drama and demand higher interest rates to reflect the increased risk while the legal issues played out.
Governments should consider vaccinating poultry against bird flu, which has killed hundreds of millions of birds and infected mammals worldwide, to prevent the virus from turning into a new pandemic, the head of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said.
The severity of the current outbreak of avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, and the economic and personal damage it has caused, has led governments to reconsider vaccinating poultry. However, some, like the United States, remain reluctant mainly because of the trade curbs this would entail.
“We are coming out of a COVID crisis where every country realised the hypothesis of a pandemic was real,” WOAH Director General Monique Eloit told Reuters in an interview.
“Since almost every country that does international trade has now been infected, maybe it’s time to discuss vaccination, in addition to systematic culling which remains the main tool (to control the disease),” she said.
The Paris-based WOAH is holding a five-day general session from Sunday, and will focus on global control of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI.
A WOAH survey showed only 25% of its member states would accept imports of products from poultry vaccinated against HPAI.
The European Union’s 27 member states agreed last year to implement a bird flu vaccine strategy.
France, which spent about one billion euros ($1.10 billion) in 2021/22 to compensate the poultry industry for massive cullings, is set to be the first EU country to begin a vaccination programme, starting with ducks.
“It is our responsibility to use other tools that are now available such as vaccination. And this, for animal health, for public health but also to respond to societal challenges,” French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau said at the launch of the WOAH General Session.
Eloit said the EU move towards vaccination could prompt others to follow.
“If a bloc like the EU, which is a large exporter, starts moving in that direction, it will have a ricochet impact,” Eloit said.
The U.S. department of Agriculture (USDA) told Reuters on Friday that “in the interest of leaving no stone unturned in the fight against HPAI, USDA continues to research vaccine options that can protect poultry from this persistent threat”.
However, it still considers biosecurity measures to be the most effective tool for mitigating the virus in commercial flocks, it said in emailed answers.
The risk to humans from bird flu remains low but countries must prepare for any change in the status quo, the World Health Organization has said.
Eloit said vaccination should focus on free-range poultry, mainly ducks, since bird flu is transmitted by infected migrating wild birds. Vaccinating broilers, which account for about 60% of global poultry output, makes less sense, she said.
The H5N1 strain that has been prevalent in the current HPAI outbreak has been detected in a larger number of mammals and killed thousands of them, including sea lions, foxes, otters and cats.
($1 = 0.9084 euros)
Lily Gladstone, who grew up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and stars in Martin Scorsese’s study of white society’s treachery, said the director was a powerful ally in telling the world what communities like hers had always known.
In the film “Killers of the Flower Moon“, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Gladstone plays Mollie Burkhart, a member of the Osage Nation whose family members die under suspicious conditions in 1920s Oklahoma.
Because of his global reputation, Scorsese was uniquely placed to dispel the myths that have prevailed, she said.
“Who else is going to challenge people to challenge their own complicity in white supremacy … except for this man here? Other artists are doing that work – people listen to what this one says,” she said. “We need these allies.”
Referring to deceptions that have prevailed, Gladstone asked: “Why the hell does the world not know about these things? Our communities always have.”
In the film, Gladstone marries her white driver Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), whose uncle is the “King of the Osage Hills” William Hale (Robert De Niro).
Hale presents himself as a friend of the oil-wealthy Osage, while instigating their murders to cash in on the deaths.
The director, who filmed entirely on location in Oklahoma, said the more he learnt about the Osage, the more he wanted to put into the nearly four-hour film.
“I wanted to know everything I could about the Osage, and it’s overwhelming,” he said.
Chief Standing Bear, principal chief of the Osage Nation, said Scorsese had restored trust.
“My people suffered greatly. To this very day, those effects go with us. But I can say on behalf of the Osage, Scorsese and his team have restored trust and we know that trust will not be betrayed,” Chief Standing Bear told journalists in Cannes.