Thursday, October 17, 2013

Warner Bros.-Owned Producer of 'The Voice UK' Names New CEO

LONDON – U.K. TV production and distribution firm Shed Media Group, which is majority owned by Warner Bros., said Thursday that it has appointed Leanne Klein as CEO of its Wall to Wall unit.

She most recently served as creative director of Wall to Wall, which produces such shows as The Voice UK.

Klein replaces Alex Graham who will help with the handover of responsibilities until the end of the year. Graham will also remain "intimately connected with the company he helped found" by serving as an executive producer on the U.S. version of Wall to Wall hit genealogy format Who Do You Think You Are?, the company said.
Wall to Wall was named U.K. production company of the year at the annual Edinburgh Television Festival Awards this summer.
Klein has been at Wall to Wall since 1995 when she won an Emmy for directing her first series for the company, Baby It’s You. She has since then creatively overseen such shows as The Voice UK, Long Lost Family, Child Genius and Alfred Hitchcock biopic The Girl.
"Leanne is a brilliant creative television executive and she has Wall to Wall running through her veins," said Shed CEO Nick Southgate. "I’m absolutely delighted she’s agreed to take over from Alex. Alex is one of the titans of the independent production sector, but I can’t think of anyone better to fill his large shoes."

Said Klein: "I know I’m biased, but the fact that Wall to Wall makes such fantastic shows across...different genres – including a raft of returning hits – means, for me, there’s no production company in the U.K. that could be more exciting to run."

While she became Wall to Wall's creative director in March 2011, Klein first started working for the company in 1990 and joined it in a permanent role in 1995.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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Featherwood Halls--Players needed!

On a faraway island, a Gothic mansion lurks over the harsh, splashing seas. Founded by Vladmir Featherwood over two hundred years ago, Featherwood Halls is an academy for "gifted students." Those who have inherited their powers from their parents must attend here without question. The mansion has many dormitories and chambers, including a large dinning hall, a lounge when you first walk in, an ancient library, classrooms for students to learn their powers, and much more. The Featherwood family has its own quarters on the very top floor that overlooks everything. There is a large greenery, a lake with a waterfall, and a large arch of woods that surround the back area of the school.

Talon Featherwood, the principle this year, has secret powers of his own and is often found lurking through the halls on random occasions. He is unusually close with his two children. There are rumors that he means trouble, but there is no evidence that would suggest he is intentionally cruel. He is friendly with his students and teachers, and hosts winter balls, summer festivities, and other activities, but these may all just be an act..

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This Huge Solar Thermal Plant Makes Electricity Even in the Dark

This Huge Solar Thermal Plant Makes Electricity Even in the Dark

The primary complaint against solar power—that it, you know, requires the sun—is perfectly valid. But Arizona's new Solana Generating Station, the largest capacity solar thermal plant on the face of the Earth, has just provided a $1.4 billion counterpoint. Thanks to its massive molten salt reserves, this plant keeps producing power even after lights out.



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This Week On The TechCrunch Droidcast: HTC One Goes Max, LG Mindlessly Curves Glass

LG is following Samsung’s example in providing a curved glass smartphone that makes no earthly sense, HTC is offering a fingerprint scanner that no one needs executed poorly, and Mad Catz is entering the crowded Android console space – for which there is no proven demand.

The Android world has gone mad this week, and me and your host Chris Velazco are just trying to put the pieces back together. Join us as we try to divine the twisted psyche of the people who created these unnatural devices.

We invite you to enjoy weekly Android podcasts every Wednesday (or Thursday this week) at 5:30 p.m. Eastern and 2:30 p.m. Pacific, in addition to our weekly Gadgets podcast at 3 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific on Fridays. Subscribe to the TechCrunch Droidcast in iTunes, too, if that’s your fancy.

Intro music by Kris Keyser.

Direct download available here.

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What's News In The Rest Of The World

Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

The issue of migration into Europe has been in the news lately, and now there's a controversy in France after police seized a teenage girl who was on a school field trip and expelled her along with her family to their native Kosovo.

The French government says the Dibrani family's application for asylum was rejected – and they had refused to leave. Le Monde reported that several teachers at the school in Pontarlier published an open letter of protest over the manner in which the 15-year-old girl was taken on Oct. 9.

The family, who are Roma, a group that often faces discrimination across the continent, entered France illegally in January 2009. Their initial application for asylum was rejected that August; a subsequent appeal was rejected January 2011. Two months later, their request for review was rejected again. In September of that year, they were told to leave France, an order reaffirmed in February 2013.

The girl's father was detained first and expelled Oct. 8. Police then detained the rest of the family, but one of the girls was away on a field trip. Police met the school bus as it was returning and took the girl and expelled her, along with the rest of her family, from France.

The government of Socialist President Francois Hollande is coming under fire for the manner in which the expulsion was handled.

There's been much said in the U.S. about the impact of the suspension of some aid to Egypt, and the impact it has on U.S. standing in Egypt and the wider Arab world.

But what do Egyptians think?

In an interview with state-owned Al-Ahram, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy says the strain in relations between the two countries will affect U.S. interests in the region. He said:

"At the same time, I am not very worried about this unrest in relations. The Egyptian people will not hesitate to bear the consequences of such a situation in order to preserve their freedom of choice after two revolutions.

"In addition, this unrest will equally serve Egypt and the U.S. because both will reconsider and better estimate their relationship in the future."

Fahmy told the paper the U.S. will continue to maintain contact with Egypt because it is "the heart and mind of the Arab world" and, similarly, in the words of the newspaper, "Egypt realizes that the U.S. is a key world power."

We've told you about Kenya's current tussle with the International Criminal Court. That story continues to make waves in the East African nation, as both its president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, faces charges at The Hague-based ICC of instigating and financing deadly tribal violence in Kenya after that country's disputed 2007 election.

Naturally, this has not gone over well in Kenya – or in the continent as a whole. As NPR's Gregory Warner reported, leaders of the African Union asked the U.N. Security Council to suspend the case, and instructed Kenyatta to boycott his own trial if the U.N. doesn't answer its request to delay the trial by at least a year.

But that case at the ICC names another Kenyan, radio journalist Joshua Sangm, and the AU says it won't take up his case, the Kenya TV network reports.

The reason, according to Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, is: "that case is personal and until that situation changes ... it cannot be subject of discussion of the African Union." She noted that when Kenyatta and Ruto were charged they too were private citizens, but the situation changed upon their election victory in April.

It's an odd problem for politicians to have (and one that members of the U.S. Congress might have trouble understanding): You're so popular that your constituents don't want you to run for president. But that's the dilemma in Indonesia facing Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo.

The Kompas newspaper says Jakarta residents find the governor friendly and willing to hear the complaints of citizens. They worry that if he's named as a presidential candidate, his replacement won't be as good.

The governor, widely known in the country as Jokowi, is seen as a front-runner in the 2014 general election, though he hasn't personally committed to running.

More politics, this time from New Zealand – and this time a story we're more used to seeing.

Television New Zealand reports on the resignation of government minister John Banks who was ordered to stand trial for alleged electoral fraud. Here's more from the channel:

"The charges relate to donations from internet millionaire Kim Dotcom and SkyCity Casino towards Mr Banks' Auckland mayoral campaign against Len Brown in 2010."

Prime Minister John Key said Banks made the right decision to resign from his positions as associate commerce minister, associate education minister, regulatory reform minister and small business minister.

"He could have argued that he was going to gut it out because he claims strongly that he's innocent," Key said. "But realistically for a minister to be in the Government and defending potentially a fraud charge, I think, you know, he made the right decision to offer his resignation."

More background on the case:

"John Banks may well be wishing he had never met Kim Dotcom, a man he was once seemingly close to, and who donated $50,000 to Mr. Banks' failed 2010 mayoral campaign.

"It is alleged Mr Dotcom's donation and a $15,000 one from SkyCity were recorded on Mr Banks' electoral return as anonymous when in fact he knew who they were from - an offence under the Local Electoral Act. ...

"The nub of the case will be is proving John Banks knowingly filled in a false return. The onus is on the candidate to make sure the form is correct. But Mr Banks' lawyers will strongly argue that even if the report was false, which they dispute, Mr Banks had no knowledge of that."

In Brazil, O Globo reports on 56 arrests following protests that turned violent in Sao Paulo.

The newspaper's website said the protest, which was called by the students of the University of Sao Paulo, began peacefully but "ended with vandalism and trespassing."

The Associated Press said masked members of the anarchist Black Bloc threw gasoline bombs, rocks, bottles and wood at police.

Four police were injured. The newspaper said authorities did not record the cases of injured demonstrators.

The students were demanding better pay for teachers and affordable housing.

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PolicyMic Raises $3M, Betting That Millennials Want Substantive News And Commentary

policymicHow many younger readers really care about news and politics — as opposed to celebrity gossip, viral videos, and cat GIFs? Well, a site called PolicyMic is built around the proposition that readers under 35 are looking for something more substantive, and it just raised $3 million in new funding.

Co-founder and CEO Christopher Altchek argued that most existing sites aimed at a younger audience are "very much focused on lighter and more entertaining content," creating an opportunity for a competitor that's tailored to the same audience but tackles "meaty topics."Source:
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Ground employee arrested in LA airport ice blasts

In this framegrabbed image from APTN the entrance to the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles can be seen Tuesday Oct. 15, 2013. A baggage handler was arrested Tuesday in connection with dry ice explosions Sunday and Monday at Los Angeles International Airport after police stepped up patrols and increased its checks on employees. Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, was booked for possession of a destructive device near an aircraft. (AP Photo\APTN)

In this framegrabbed image from APTN the entrance to the Tom Bradley International Terminal in Los Angeles can be seen Tuesday Oct. 15, 2013. A baggage handler was arrested Tuesday in connection with dry ice explosions Sunday and Monday at Los Angeles International Airport after police stepped up patrols and increased its checks on employees. Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, was booked for possession of a destructive device near an aircraft. (AP Photo\APTN)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A baggage handler has been arrested following a police investigation into two dry ice explosions at Los Angeles International Airport.

Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, was booked Tuesday for possession of a destructive device near an aircraft. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Police had stepped up patrols and increased its checks on employees after the blasts took place Sunday night and then again Monday night.

Bennett took the dry ice from a plane and placed it in an employee restroom Sunday night and another device that was found on a tarmac outside the international terminal, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation who wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Police had previously said they didn't believe the explosions were an act of terror because of the locations of the devices and because people weren't targeted.

No one was injured in either incident, although some flights were delayed Sunday.

The incidents could be the work of a disgruntled employee due to an internal labor dispute, said Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who heads the department's counter-terrorism and special operations bureau.

Swissport recently agreed to acquire Servisair and the transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. An afterhours message seeking comment from Servisair was not immediately returned.

It wasn't immediately known what Bennett's motives were, but he was riding in a van with several others, including a supervisor, when he decided to plant one of the dry ice bombs, the official told The Associated Press. Those in the van were aware of the dry ice, the official said, but no other arrests have been made.

The bombs were made by putting dry ice in 20-ounce plastic bottles and could have caused serious injury to anyone in close proximity, Downing said.

One device exploded in an employee men's room Sunday night in Terminal 2. Remnants of an exploded bottle also were found that night on the tarmac area near the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but an employee threw it away. The same employee found an unexploded bottle Monday evening and then reported what he found the previous day.

While there are cameras in some of these restricted-access areas, Downing said there isn't as much camera coverage as in the public-access areas and investigators had been reviewing available video.

Dry ice is widely used by vendors to keep food fresh.

Associated PressSource:
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