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Ayman's blog

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Afghan and foreign special forces raided a Taliban prison in southern Helmand province on Sunday and rescued at least 30 people, according to army and provincial officials.
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen challenged the United States on Sunday to cut all aid after it announced it was ending funding for a general election next year in response to the dissolution of the main opposition party, media reported.
BEIJING (Reuters) - China`s military on Sunday launched a website inviting the public to report leaks and fake news, as well as illegal online activities by military personnel, the latest step in a push to ensure Communist Party control over the internet.
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chileans vote for a new president on Sunday, with billionaire conservative Sebastian Pinera the favorite to win, although a crowded field of leftist challengers are likely to force a December runoff.
شنت مقاتلات أميركية غارة جوية على مواقع لتنظيم داعش في صحراء ليبيا فجر أمس، وذلك للمرة الأولى منذ سبتمبر (أيلول) الماضي، وقتلت «عدداً من عناصره»، وسط تساؤلات حول مدى تنسيق الولايات المتحدة من عدمه مع السلطات الليبية قبل تنفيذ هذه الغارة.
ونقلت شبكة «فوكس نيوز» أمس عن مصدر بوزارة الدفاع الأميركية، أن طائرة دون طيار نفذت ضربة جوية في صحراء بوسط ليبيا، وقتلت عدداً من عناصر «داعش»، وسط توقعات من مسؤولين أميركيين بأن تتواصل الضربات الجوية على ليبيا.
كشف النائب شوان الداودي نائب رئيس كتلة الاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني بمجلس النواب العراقي، عن رفض رئيس الجمهورية فؤاد معصوم إرسال قوات رفض مقترحا من قيادة «الاتحاد الوطني» بإرسال جزء من الفوج الخاص بحماية مقرات رئيس الجمهورية إلى طوزخورماتو، وهي قوة كردية من البيشمركة حتى يطمئن الكرد النازحون هناك بوجود قوات تحميهم مما سيساعد على عودة هؤلاء النازحين وتأمين سلامتهم.
وعزا الرئيس رفضه إرسال تلك القوات إلى أنه «لم يستشر بهذا الأمر، وثانياً لأنه يخشى حصول فراغ كبير في حماية مقراته ومكاتبه».
شدد رئيس مجلس الوزراء اليمني الدكتور أحمد عبيد بن دغر، على ضرورة سرعة تنفيذ المشاريع الخدمية التي وجهت الحكومة باعتمادها لتخفيف معاناة المواطنين.
استخدمت روسيا، فجر السبت، حق النقض (فيتو) ضد مشروع قرار مقدم من اليابان لتمديد ولاية الفريق الأممي المشترك (الآلية المشتركة) المعني بالتحقيق في استخدام الأسلحة الكيماوية في سوريا لمدة شهر واحد.
وأعلنت الولايات المتحدة نيتها «الكفاح من أجل العدالة» في سوريا بمفردها، إذا فشل مجلس الأمن الدولي في التوصل إلى موقف مشترك تجاه المسؤولين عن استخدام الكيماوي، وأعلن مندوب إيطاليا لدى منظمة الأمم المتحدة، سباستيانو كاردي، أن مجلس الأمن سيواصل العمل في أقرب وقت للتوصل إلى موقف موحد بخصوص التمديد لبعثة التحقيق في استخدام الكيماوي في سوريا.
يلتقي وزراء الخارجية التركي مولود جاويش أوغلو والروسي سيرغي لافروف والإيراني محمد جواد ظريف اليوم في مدينة أنطاليا جنوب غربي البلاد في إطار التحضير لقمة ستجمع رؤساء الدول الثلاث من المقرر عقدها الأربعاء المقبل في مدينة سوتشي الروسية لبحث الأزمة السورية والتطورات في المنطقة.
تواصلت التحقيقات التي تجريها الأجهزة القضائية والأمنية في لبنان، لكشف ملابسات حادثة الاعتداء على ممتلكات مواطنتين سعوديتين في بيروت، واتخاذ الإجراءات القانونية بحق المعتدين. بينما أفادت وزارة الداخلية اللبنانية بأن «الخلاف عائلي وغير مرتبط بالتداعيات السياسية». لكنّ رئيس الحكومة المستقيل سعد الحريري، أكد في تغريدة على صفحته على موقع «تويتر»، أن «الاعتداء على أي مواطن سعودي أو على ممتلكاته، هو اعتداء على سعد الحريري وعلى بيت الوسط (منزل الحريري في بيروت)، مع يقيني بأن المعتدين هم جماعة مشبوهة لا هدف لهم إلا الفتنة».
أفادت مصادر متقاطعة بأن قوات النظام السوري وحلفاءها سيطروا على القسم الأكبر من مدينة البوكمال، آخر معاقل تنظيم داعش الواقع على الحدود مع العراق. وساهم الدعم العسكري الروسي المكثف للقوات المهاجمة بتحقيقها تقدماً كبيراً خلال يومين، إذ أعلنت وزارة الدفاع الروسية عن تنفيذ 6 قاذفات استراتيجية روسية السبت، «قصفاً جماعياً عنيفاً» على مواقع تابعة لتنظيم داعش في مدينة البوكمال وريفها.
ويبدو أن القاذفات الروسية استفادت من اتفاق «منع الصدام» بين الجيشين الأميركي والروسي لدى قصفها شرق سوريا الذي يعتبر منطقة نفوذ للطيران الأميركي والتحالف الدولي.
CAP-HAITIEN/PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Haiti`s president on Saturday heralded the re-establishment of the country`s military after 22 years, a divisive issue in the impoverished Caribbean nation which has a history of bloody coups and political instability.
نبّهت الهيئة التحضيرية لـ«حركة المبادرة الوطنية» اللبنانية إلى «تعرض أمن لبنان وأمن الدول العربية الأخرى، ومنذ سنوات، لعدوان مستمر من جانب الحرس الثوري الإيراني، والميليشيات التابعة له، وعلى رأسها (حزب الله)»، ودعت إلى نهضة وطنية «لصون الطائف والدستور والعيش المشترك، والتصدي لممارسات الاختلال والإخلال بالأمن الوطني والعربي».
يتحضر لبنان الرسمي للتعامل مع أسباب استقالة رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري بعدما تم التركيز طوال الفترة الماضية على شكلها. فمع إعلانه من الإليزيه أنه سيشارك في احتفال ذكرى الاستقلال في بيروت، انتقل المسؤولون اللبنانيون للبحث في السيناريوهات المقبلة.
وكان الحريري، وفور وصوله أمس إلى العاصمة الفرنسية قادماً من الرياض، أجرى سلسلة اتصالات هاتفية بكل من الرئيس عون ورئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري ومفتي الجمهورية الشيخ عبد اللطيف دريان. كما تلقى اتصالات من رئيس «اللقاء الديمقراطي» النائب وليد جنبلاط ورئيس حزب «القوات اللبنانية» سمير جعجع ورئيس تيار «المردة» سليمان فرنجية.
أثنى أيمن الظواهري، زعيم تنظيم القاعدة الإرهابي، على الدكتور عمر عبد الرحمن، الزعيم الروحي لـ«الجماعة الإسلامية» في مصر، الذي توفي داخل محبسه الذي قضي فيه 24 عاماً بالولايات المتحدة في فبراير (شباط) الماضي، قائلاً في شريط فيديو جديد: «عبد الرحمن رفض التخلي عن مبادئه مقابل إطلاق سراحه».
بينما قال الدكتور خالد الزعفراني، الخبير في شؤون الجماعات الإسلامية بمصر، لـ«الشرق الأوسط»، إن «الهدف من فيديو الظواهري، هو مغازلة شباب الجماعة الإسلامية في مصر للانضمام لـ(القاعدة) الذي يعاني من الترهل الآن».
فتحت السلطات المصرية معبر رفح البري أمام حركة المسافرين الفلسطينيين في كلا الاتجاهين، بعد إغلاق دام عدة أشهر جراء الأحداث الأمنية في شمال شبه جزيرة سيناء، وذلك لأول مرة تحت إمرة السلطة الفلسطينية منذ أكثر من عشرة أعوام.
وأشرفت حكومة التوافق الفلسطيني على عملية فتح المعبر وإدارة العمل فيه، وشوهد ضباط أمن يتبعون لجهاز الأمن الوطني الفلسطيني، التابع للسلطة الفلسطينية، داخل المعبر لأول مرة منذ يونيو (حزيران) 2007، بعد سيطرة حركة حماس على القطاع عسكريا آنذاك. فيما وجدت عناصر أمنية من حكومة «حماس» سابقا خارج المعبر لتأمين وتسهيل حركة مرور المسافرين المتوجهين إلى المعبر.
توقعت مصادر كردية أن تصدر المحكمة الاتحادية العراقية غداً (الاثنين) قراراً نهائياً حول إلغاء الاستفتاء الذي أجري في إقليم كردستان والمناطق المتنازع عليها في العراق، وكل ما يترتب عن ذلك الاستفتاء، في وقت أكدت فيه المصادر المحلية أن «السلطة في إقليم كردستان ستمتثل لقرار المحكمة وستعلن التزامها بقرار الإلغاء».
ويظهر من الإجراء أنه أشبه ما يكون بمخرج من الانفصال الذي أدى إلى تداعيات دولية وإقليمية واسعة.
جدد الرئيس المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي تأكيد عدم السماح بـ«المساس بحصة مصر من مياه النيل»، ومشدداً على أنه «لا يستطيع أحد» التأثير على مصدر المياه الرئيسي بالنسبة للبلاد.
وقال السيسي، أثناء افتتاحه عدداً من مشروعات الاستزراع السمكي بمحافظة كفر الشيخ (دلتا مصر)، أمس، إن «مياه مصر موضوع مفيهوش كلام (يقصد غير قابل للنقاش)»، وأضاف مخاطبا المصريين: «أنا أطمئنكم، ونحن تكلمنا مع الأشقاء في السودان وإثيوبيا منذ البداية عن 3 عناصر منها (عدم المساس بالمياه) وكنا نقول إننا نتفهم التنمية وهي أمر مهم، ولكن في المقابل المياه تساوي بالنسبة لنا (ليس فقط تنمية) ولكن حياة أو موت لشعب».
The remains of Mungo Man

The remains of the first known Australian, Mungo Man, today begin their return to the Willandra area of New South Wales, where they were discovered in 1974. They’ll be accompanied by the remains of around 100 other Aboriginal people who lived in the Willandra landscape during the last ice age.

قتل 12 انقلابياً، بينهم قيادي مع 7 عناصر حوثية في نهم، بينما قضى 4 آخرون من عناصر الميليشيات الانقلابية على الأقل، وأصيب آخرون في مواجهات مع أبطال الجيش الوطني بمديرية مقبنة غرب محافظة تعز، وفقاً لما نقله موقع الجيش اليمني «سبتمبر نت» عن مصدر ميداني. وأكد أن المواجهات اندلعت عقب محاولة تسلل للميليشيات الانقلابية باتجاه مواقع الجيش الوطني اليمني في عزلة القحيفة بمقبنة، مصحوباً بقصف مدفعي وتغطية نارية كثيفة.
ولفت المصدر إلى استمرار الاشتباكات لساعات، انتهت بإفشال محاولة التسلل، وإجبار المتسللين على الفرار.
أكد الدكتور عبد الله الربيعة المستشار بالديوان الملكي المشرف العام على مركز الملك سلمان للإغاثة والأعمال الإنسانية خلال لقائه في العاصمة الإيطالية روما أول من أمس المدير التنفيذي لبرنامج الأغذية العالمي ديفيد بيسلي، «أهمية حيادية العمل الإنساني والحرص على عدم إقحام الأمور السياسية فيما يخص العمل الإنساني».
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Hopes that 44 crew members of a missing Argentine navy submarine may be alive rose when the defense ministry said the vessel likely tried to communicate via satellite on Saturday as a search mission was underway in the stormy South Atlantic.
استمرت الحملة الرافضة لاستدعاء ومساءلة الإعلامي اللبناني مارسيل غانم للتحقيق معه على خلفية استضافة الصحافيين السعوديين إبراهيم آل مرعي والزميل عضوان الأحمري.
اتهم «الائتلاف الوطني السوري» المعارض قوات النظام، بارتكاب مجزرة جديدة، نتيجة القصف الجوي للأحياء السكنية، في بلدة مديرا في الغوطة الشرقية بريف دمشق، فيما ارتفع عدد القتلى من المدنيين إلى 23، جرّاء القصف الجوي والمدفعي أمس على مدن وبلدات الغوطة.
في حين تنطلق اليوم، في القاهرة، أعمال الاجتماع الطارئ لوزراء الخارجية العرب، بدعوة من المملكة العربية السعودية، لوحت جامعة الدولة العربية بإمكانية التصعيد ضد «التهديدات الإيرانية» للأمن والسلم العربي، ولم يستبعد السفير حسام زكي مساعد الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية، في تصريحات لـ«الشرق الأوسط»، اللجوء إلى «الأمم المتحدة ومجلس الأمن، نظراً لخطورة الموقف وتهديد إيران للأمن والسلم العربي والدولي».
لم يبخل الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون على رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية سعد الحريري الذي استضافه في قصر الإليزيه أمس، بصفته رئيساً للحكومة اللبنانية، وفق ما أكده في مؤتمر صحافي في السويد أول من أمس، بمظاهر الضيافة والترحيب له ولعائلته.
HARARE (Reuters) - The leaders of Zimbabwe`s ruling ZANU-PF party will meet on Sunday to approve the dismissal of President Robert Mugabe, the only leader the southern African nation has known since independence 37 years ago, two party sources have said.
A skull found at Qumran. (Archaeology-of-Qumran/CC BY SA 3.0) Two scrolls from the Dead Sea Scrolls lie at their location in the Qumran Caves before being removed for scholarly examination by archaeologists.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is regarded as one of the greatest archaeological finds in history. Almost as interesting as the content of the texts themselves has been the question of who created and cared for them. A recent analysis of skeletons found near the site and dating to the same time period suggests the common assumption of an enigmatic religious group known as the Essenes may be correct.

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have opened an investigation into the U.S. prosecutors who brought charges against a Turkish gold trader facing trial in New York, state media said on Saturday, after Ankara said the case was based on fabricated documents.
DUBLIN (Reuters) - As the public face of the Irish Republican Army during its bombing campaigns, then peacemaker and mainstream politician, Gerry Adams has been a defining figure of Northern Ireland`s 50-year journey from sectarian torment to relative stability.
LONDON (Reuters) - Buckingham Palace issued a new photographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip on Saturday to mark their upcoming 70th wedding anniversary.

Archive footage of Mahienour al-Massry in court.

Rights lawyer and activist Mahienour al-Massry, along with Bread and Freedom Party member Moatasem Medhat, were detained Saturday during a court hearing in the Alexandria on charges of participating in unauthorized protests against the Tiran and Sanafir maritime border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to local reports.

The two Alexandrian activists will be held in detention pending a final verdict by the court, which is scheduled to be issued on December 30.

Three other defendants, identified as Bread and Freedom Party members Asmaa Naeem and Zeyad Aboul Fadl, in addition to Walid al-Emary, member of the Dostour Party, did not show up for the court date and were thus not detained.

The case dates back to June when protests were organized following the ratification of the maritime border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia which saw the sovereignty of the Tiran and Sanafir islands transferred to Saudi Arabia.

The two islands, located in the Red Sea to the east of the Sinai Peninsula and the west of the Arabian Peninsula, have previously been administered by Egypt but Saudi Arabia has also laid claim to them. In 1949, Saudi Arabia allowed Egypt to occupy the two islands “for defense purposes” following the establishment of the Israeli state.

Mahienour al-Massry, recipient of the Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Award, has previously been arrested and put on trial for her political activities. In December 2013, she was detained for protesting in solidarity with torture victim and revolutionary symbol Khaled Said, as well as in 2014 for participating in other unauthorized protests.

She was sentenced in 2014 to two years in prison and fined LE 50,000 for violating Egypt’s protest law, and then again in 2015 to one year and three months in prison for, according to the court, “assaulting security forces and attempting to storm” a police station. Her prison sentence was however later reduced to six months and she was eventually released after her lawyer appealed the sentence.

She has also been jailed during former president Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Sinn Fein`s Gerry Adams is to step down next year as party leader after 34 years in a move that will complete a generational shift in the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), he told his party on Saturday.
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT (Reuters) - A court in Alexandria has ordered the detention of leading rights activist Mahienour el-Massry over charges of illegally protesting in June against the Egyptian government`s decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.
An accord that tried to curb attacks in rebel-held areas has been seen as a crucial step in ending the long civil war. But increasingly, that deal is failing.
RAMALLAH/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Palestinian officials expressed surprise on Saturday at a U.S. decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington unless the group enters peace negotiations with Israel, and said they would not surrender to blackmail.
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe`s ruling party will dismiss President Robert Mugabe on Sunday and reinstate Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice-president he fired, two party sources told Reuters on Saturday, as ecstatic crowds celebrated the expected downfall.

Tony Fernandes Fabrice Bregier Airbus AirAsia

  • AirAsia is the best low-cost airline in the world.
  • CEO Tony Fernandes wants to shift the airline`s business towards e-commerce.
  • AirAsia has also launched a payments platform called BigPay.
  • Fernandes believes the first class cabin is going away within five years.

Sixteen years ago, Tony Fernandes, with a small group of intrepid entrepreneurs, took over a failing Malaysian Government-owned airline for 0.25 and the promise to assume its 11 million in debt.

Since then, AirAsia has helped bring affordable flying to the masses in South East Asia.

In the process, the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based company has become one of the most disruptive forces in commercial aviation history while making the always affable Fernandes a rockstar in the business world.

What started as a two-plane operation has now expanded to a fleet of more than 150 Airbus A320 jets with another 200 aircraft on order.

And for the past nine years, AirAsia has been named the best low-cost airline in the world by Skytrax and its reviewers.

Recently, Fernandes spent a morning with the Business Insider at our headquarters in New York. Our conversation touched upon several topics including the company`s future endeavors in e-commerce, AirAsia`s move towards fintech, where the airline industry is going, and advice from his mentor Sir Richard Branson.

AirAsia is betting big on e-commerce

For the airline`s next great adventure, Fernandes wants to move AirAsia`s revenue model beyond simply selling tickets and into the world of e-commerce. With an ample supply of customer data, AirAsia wants to anchor its new e-commerce operation around the sale of duty-free goods.

Air Asia Farnborough"So when you book your ticket (online), we`ll offer you the chance to buy duty-free and you can pick it up on the plane or at the airport," Fernandes told us. "It gives our customers much more time to browse and potentially we can create a marketplace for shops to put content on our website."

According to Fernandes, the average passenger has an hour to an hour and a half to shop at the airport. With the online shops, AirAsia passengers can shop 365 days a year with personalized recommendations.

Further, Fernandes wants to use the airline`s fleet to transport goods purchased to destinations throughout Asia, thereby creating a logistics business.

"If you take Amazon, they started with a website and great distribution, now they are buying planes," Fernandes said. "We`ve got the planes and we`re working backward."

Of course, AirAsia`s e-commerce revolution won`t get off the ground without retrofitting its fleet with high-speed Wifi, a process that`s currently underway. It`s an element of the passenger experience Fernandes admits had been lacking onboard his flights.

The airline is focused on getting rid of cash

These days, cabin crew on board AirAsia flights wear several hats, among them salesperson. But due to the nature of AirAsia`s network that spans the entirety of Southeast Asia, cash poses a major problem. Which is why Fernandes is excited to jump into the financial technology (fintech) business.

"We`re so excited about the fintech revolution," Fernandes said. "We hate cash. It`s a pain for our cabin crew. FX is a super pain. It leads to fraud. It tempts my crew to do things they shouldn`t do."

AirAsia Airbus A320As a result, AirAsia launched a new payment platform called BigPay that will allow the airline`s customers to buy products through their smartphones. According to Fernandes, the platform is built with group travel in mind. Which means it will allow people to share bills and transfer money to one another.

Initially, BigPay will also be available with a pre-paid card, but Fernandes and his team are working to make it more app-focused using QR codes and near-field-communications.

There will be a currency exchange feature as well.

"We think our customers are being ripped off by banks," Fernandes said. "If you were traveling to Bali, [Indonesia] from Da Nang, Vietnam and wanted to exchange your Vietnamese Dong to Rupiah, we would facilitate that for you at a much lower rate."

BigPay currently works with 10 currencies, but Fernandes expects to up that figure to 14.

Ultimately, the AirAsia boss believes BigPay will be able to expand beyond the airline ecosystem and into mainstream retail.

Where AirAsia and the airline industry are headed

Even though AirAsia is thriving, the airline won`t be expanding beyond its bread and butter low-cost economy model. When asked if AirAsia is looking to offer a low-cost, long-haul business-class-only product like La Compagnie, Fernandes quickly shot down the idea.

"No, not while I`m at AirAsia," he told us. "I think focus is key and we`re good at what we do and [long-haul business-class-only] is a different model."

(Although AirAsia`s low-cost long-haul subsidiary, AirAsia X, does offer premium flat-bed seats on select flights.)

AirAsia X Airbus A330With that said, Fernandes understands the reasoning behind a dedicated business-class airline and is baffled by why airlines would offer so many different cabins on board a single aircraft.

"Airlines were crazy to have first class, business class, premium economy, and economy on one friggin plane," Fernandes said. "That`s four business models on one plane."

"You don`t have Four Seasons hotels with budget rooms and super suites, they basically have one standard, but with bigger rooms," he added.

Instead, the AirAsia boss believes market segmentation in the future will see airlines specialize in one or two particular products.

"I`ve always said airlines will eventually become low-cost carriers and business class," he proclaimed.

According to Fernandes, we will see the end of the first class cabin within the next five years. In addition, the economy cabin on full-service airlines could disappear altogether with dedicated low-cost carriers taking over that segment of the market. This means traditional, full-service airlines could be left operating flights with only business and premium-economy cabins.

The best advice Sir Richard Branson told him during the early days of AirAsia

During the mid-1980s, Fernandes spent several years as the financial controller for Virgin Communications. Through the years, he`s become known for his close friendship with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

But Fernandes makes it clear that he has no ambitions to become Asia`s Branson.

"Everyone thinks I want to be Richard, but I can confirm to Business Insider that I don`t," he said. "I have no preconception of going on a balloon at 36,000 feet nor do I have any intention of going to the moon."

While at Virgin Group during the early days of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Fernandes told Branson that his decision to go into the airline industry was crazy and advised him to sell Virgin Records. It`s something Branson remembered during the early days of AirAsia.

Tony Fernandes Richard Branson"One of the first people to call me up when I started AirAsia was Richard who said, `I thought it was really stupid to start an airline`," Fernandes said jokingly.

As far as advice goes, it was pretty simple, yet profound.

"He just said have fun and make it a fun place which we`ve tried to do," the AirAsia Group CEO added. "But we would have done that anyway."

"Virgin was very informative in my whole cultural experience in that it was a fun place, it was a place where there were no suits, it was informal and ideas and innovation are encouraged," Fernandes said."That rubbed off on me."

According to Fernandes, this open and innovative culture has defined the company`s success. For example, AirAsia encourages its employees to design their own uniform choices and to show off their personality as individuals.

"If they`re comfortable coming to work, they`ll be happier and more themselves," he said.

SEE ALSO: Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is challenging Airbus and Boeing to step up their game

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Jim and Andy Francois Duhamel Netflix final

  • The Netflix documentary "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond" is a behind-the-scenes look at Jim Carrey`s journey to become Andy Kaufman in the movie "Man on the Moon."
  • Carrey was in character as Kaufman for the entire four-month shoot both on screen and off.
  • "Jim & Andy" director Chris Smith spent eight months editing the 100 hours of footage for the movie and two days interviewing Carrey about the experience.


It’s fitting that Spike Jonze would call documentary filmmaker Chris Smith to take on the task of sorting through 100 hours of footage of Jim Carrey, being in character as Andy Kaufman, throughout the filming of the 1999 movie “Man on the Moon.”

Smith has made a career looking at unique people and their passions. The movie that put him on the map was “American Movie,” which came out the same year as “Man on the Moon.” It gives an inside look at the often hilarious journey of an aspiring filmmaker named Mark Borchardt, as he tries to make a low budget horror movie. Then there’s the last movie Smith made, 2009’s “Collapse,” in which he profiles the controversial theories of police officer-turned-reporter Michael Ruppert

man on the moon universalAfter years of Jonze trying to convince his friend Carrey to show him some of the footage of him as Kaufman behind-the-scenes on “Man on the Moon,” he recently finally got a glimpse and was blown away.

That led to Jonze getting Vice, where he is the creative director, involved in producing it, and Smith to be the director in early 2016.

“Spike just called out of the blue and explained what the project was and I think to his credit it was really his enthusiasm that made it happen,” Smith told Business Insider over the phone this week. “I don’t know if I would have seen the potential the way that he did.”

Smith admitted he didn’t really know Jonze personally before the call, outside of running into him at events over the years, and through mutual friends. And he certainly didn’t run in the same circles as Carrey, as the director had taken a break from filmmaking the last five years, and spent most of his time on a farm in England. But the three got on the phone and after some chatting agreed that they all wanted team up to tell this story.

The role Carrey trained his whole life to play

At the time of shooting “Man on the Moon,” Carrey was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He had one of most successful years any actor in Hollywood has ever had, with huge hits “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Mask,” and “Dumb and Dumber” all opening in 1994. It instantly made Carrey an A-lister and led to roles in “Batman Forever,” “The Cable Guy,” and “Liar Liar.”

Turning to more serious fare by the end of the 1990s, like "The Truman Show," Carrey saw Kaufman as the role he’d been training his whole life to play. And he went all in. For the entire "Man on the Moon" shoot Carrey was in his Kaufman character on and off set. And it was all captured on a digital camera that followed him.

Jim and Andy Netflix finalThose moments included Carrey walking around as Kaufman’s most famous character, Latka, from the TV show “Taxi;” harassing professional wrestler Jerry Lawler when he came to set to film the scenes depicting Kaufman’s feud with him in the early ‘80s, when Kaufman would wrestle women; and being Kaufman’s vulgar alter ego Tony Clifton, who when Carrey was portraying him, would show up drunk on set. One time Carrey showed up to work on the back of a motorcycle with a group of Hell’s Angels, and even went to the offices of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment one day, which is located on the Universal lot where “Man on the Moon” was made, and demanded to see the legendary director (Spielberg wasn’t there).

All this went on for the four-month shoot, while the movie’s director Milos Forman, and the cast that included Paul Giamatti and Danny DeVito (who worked with the real Kaufman on “Taxi”), looked on in shock.

After “Man on the Moon” wrapped, the footage of Carrey’s behind-the-scene antics, shot by Kaufman’s former girlfriend Lynne Margulies, went into the possession of Kaufman’s former writing partner Bob Zmuda. For over a decade the footage was just another Hollywood story brought up at parties.

Jonze wanted the legend to become available to all. He got Zmuda to license the footage to them, and Smith was handed a digitized version of the dozens of MiniDV tapes the footage was on.

When Jim Carrey says he wants to do something, who is going to stop him?

“We ended up working on the material for a good eight months before we did the interview with Jim,” Smith said. “There was a lot of talk about us interviewing everyone that was involved [on ‘Man on the Moon’], but I was really interested in just Jim’s perspective and what the toll this film took on him mentally.”

Smith’s end result is the entertaining and touching documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton,” which Netflix bought and will air beginning Friday.

Chris Smith Spike Jonze Jim Carrey Christopher Polk Getty finalThe movie is not just a look at Carrey at his most bizarre, but also a look at how Carrey’s rags-to-riches life before making it big in Hollywood was the perfect training to take on the Kaufman persona.

As Smith had hoped, there’s only one current-day interview, and it’s Carrey, who recounts the experience with a clarity and vulnerability that amazed Smith.

“We shot with Jim for two days,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but there was so much because his insights were so far reaching. He articulates so well this idea of losing yourself for four months and wondering if you can really walk away from yourself and come back.”

Carrey admits in the movie that after playing Kaufman it took a while to for him to get back to being just Jim.

“That experience had a big impact on Jim,” Smith said, who was surprised when Carrey told him that he didn`t miss anything from making “Man on the Moon.”

“I think there’s oddly a lot of life lessons in this movie and I think one of them is just this idea of not holding onto things from the past but actually moving forward,” he said.

But why go through all of this? Did Smith feel he got from Carrey exactly why he went through all this to portray Kaufman?

“I personally think he really tried to do justice to Andy’s legacy and I think he really felt that this was the right way to do that,” Smith said. “When Jim Carrey says he wants to do something, who is going to stop him?”

“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond” is available now on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: How a harsh criticism turned "Coco" into Pixar`s most uniquely made movie yet

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NOW WATCH: The most underrated foods — according to Anthony Bourdain and Danny Bowien

Bill Gurley, benchmark capital, sv100 2015

  • Tech venture capitalist Bill Gurley thinks Silicon Valley `unicorns` are growing up and realizing they need to be profitable.
  • But he also said that recent tech IPOs like Snap Inc.`s will lead private unicorns to possibly delay going public out of fear.


Silicon Valley`s most valuable startups are realizing that they need to "grow up," according to longtime tech VC Bill Gurley.

"As many of the unicorns mature in age, many are coming to the recognition that they need to grow up, get profitable, go public, or do something along those lines," Gurley said during an interview on CNBC on Friday, referring to the `unicorn` startups that are valued by private investors at 1 billion or more.

"This silly notion of we’re going to stay private forever is not going to play out in a positive way," he warned.

Gurley`s perspective has some bias. As a venture capitalist who invests in startups, he needs those startups to IPO (or get acquired) so that he can reap his returns. But as the tech IPO market regains momentum after a slow 2016, and in the wake of a few high-profile tech flameouts this yearGurley`s words come at an important time for startups considering their next steps.

Gurley`s venture capital firm, Benchmark, is best known for its early investments in companies like Uber, Snap, Twitter, and eBay. Gurley was a member of Uber`s board until Benchmark helped force the removal of ex-CEO Travis Kalanick earlier this year.

"2017 has been a very difficult year," Gurley said on CNBC when asked about Uber. "And it’s been one where we’ve been working quite diligently behind the scenes to try to move things forward for the company." Benchmark sued Kalanick in August amidst a power grab for Uber`s board seats that ultimately led to the hiring of now-CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Afraid to play in the public markets

Since Khosrowshahi came on board, Uber has publicly committed to aim for a 2019 IPO.

The fate of tech companies entering the public markets this year has been mixed. Video streaming company Roku has seen its stock more than double since going public in September. And enterprise tech company`s SendGrid jumped 14% on its IPO this week.

But the most high profile IPO of the year has not fared so well. Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat, has gotten crushed and is trading well below its 17 IPO price.

When asked about the dismal debut of Snap, one of Benchmark`s investments, on Wall Street earlier this year, Gurley said the event could cause other unicorns to be afraid of going public — a move he compared to graduating from college to professional sports.

"I think you’re going to see a large number of unicorns who were afraid to play on Sunday, afraid to play in the public markets, that didn’t get their act together in time," he said. "Didn’t get profitable. Didn’t understand unit economics and hurt the value of the equity as a result."

You can watch Gurley`s full interview on CNBC`s website.

SEE ALSO: Snap has spent 352 million on acquisitions this year — here are all of the startups it`s bought so far

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NOW WATCH: Zillow and Hotwire founder Spencer Rascoff led his startups through major crises to massive profits

Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, and Aspirin. These over-the-counter drugs are essential to our daily body pains. But are we really using the right one for a headache? 

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Ukraine has summoned the Polish ambassador in Kiev after Poland denied entry to a Ukrainian official in an escalation of a diplomatic spat over the two neighbours` troubled past.

Photo Credit: Ahram Online

Following the publication of an article in The New York Times Tuesday claiming that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking advise from Egypt’s notorious Mubarak-era Interior Minister Habib al-Adli, the Saudi embassy in Washington is now denying the claim.

Relying on testimonies from unnamed Egyptian officials, the newspaper said that “The former Egyptian security chief, Habib el-Adli [is] said by one of his advisers and a former Egyptian interior minister to be advising Prince Mohammed”.

It went on to say that it had spoken to Saudi embassy spokesperson Fatimah Baeshen who allegedly said that “the embassy could not confirm or dispute” the reports.

Through his Twitter account, Director of Communications at the Saudi embassy in Washington Saud Kabli refuted the allegations, saying that they are “categorically not true”.

On allegations related to the former Egyptian security chief Adli advising us: we expressed surprise and said “we would check and revert.” How did that become: “the embassy could not confirm or dispute?” We can now confirm that @NYTBen ‘s claim is categorically not true.

— سعود كابلي (@saudkabli) November 16, 2017

Habib al-Adli served as former President Hosni Mubarak’s Interior Minister from 1997 to 2011 and was infamous for the brutal torture methods he sanctioned.

In April, he was sentenced to seven years in prison over corruption charges, with the court accusing him of embezzling billions of pounds of state funds during his time in office.

The sentence came less than a month after Hosni Mubarak himself was freed from detention following his acquittal of charges of being involved in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Al-Adly submitted an appeal against his seven-year verdict, which in May was rejected by the court. Since then, the whereabouts of the former minister has been unknown and he is considered a fugitive from justice by Egyptian authorities.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla CEO Elon Musk surprised everyone and unveiled a new Roadster on Thursday evening. 

After unveiling the company`s first big-rig, Tesla had its new Roadster driven out of the back of the semi-trailer. 

The sports car will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds, making it the fastest production car ever made, Musk said. 

Here`s a closer look at the newest Tesla vehicle. 

SEE ALSO: Tesla just unveiled its first electric semi — and it looks like a spaceship

Musk said the car would have a top speed of about 250 mph.



It will feature Plaid mode, which will enable it to do 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds.



What`s more, it will do a quarter-mile in 8.9 seconds and ...



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Best Buy employees

On Black Friday — the most hectic day in retail — there are plenty of things store associates would love to tell shoppers.

But, whether it`s because there`s just no time or for fear of repercussions, there are some things they can`t tell you.

And some of these things, while perhaps controversial, could end up being a service to shoppers or the workers themselves, if only someone would just say something.

So we asked a number of Black Friday workers to weigh in on the one thing they`d love to tell customers but can`t.

We`ve anonymously included some of the more constructive thoughts here:

SEE ALSO: Here`s what it`s really like to work retail on Black Friday

DON`T MISS: 19 things bartenders wish people would stop doing

The deals are usually the same all day

"You`re stupid if you think waiting in line at midnight means you`re going to get a better price than waiting a few hours and coming later." 



And they tend not to be that great

"Honestly, none of the discounts are worthwhile. A majority of the time, sale electronics are last year`s or older models."



Consider what your time is worth

"The time you spend waiting in line could have been used to work and pay the extra cash for the item you want."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A visit by Zimbabwean army commander Constantino Chiwenga to China would not normally be seen as unusual, given Beijing`s status as Zimbabwe`s largest foreign investor and longtime ally.
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe`s ruling ZANU-PF party will meet on Sunday to dismiss President Robert Mugabe and reinstate the vice-president he dismissed, Emmerson Mnangagwa, two party sources told Reuters on Saturday.
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Whipping winds and 20-foot waves in the South Atlantic continued to hinder a frantic search for an Argentine submarine with 44 crew members on board, the navy said on Saturday, as authorities readied a mission to comb the sea floor for signs of the missing vessel.

R2D2 and Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens

  • The educational toy company littleBits is trying to roll out the hot new toy for the holidays.
  • Its `Droid Inventor Kit` lets kids build their own versions of R2D2 from "Star Wars" while letting parents feel like their children are learning to code.
  • The company may be writing the new playbook for a kids media strategy, as it eschews TV for YouTube and kid influencers.


LittleBits, a startup that makes toys that combine elements of Lego-like building and electronics and coding, is trying to turn its new product into the must-have toy for the holiday shopping season: the Droid Inventor Kit. The kit lets kids build their own tricked-out R2D2 droid from the Star Wars movies.

"We see this as Lego for the 21st century," said founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir. She`s describing the company`s products, but might as well be referring to how littleBits is going about marketing the toy. 

Whereas Lego and most other industry giants continue to rely on TV ads to spur kids to nagging moms and dads about putting their toys on their lists for Santa, littleBits is eschewing TV ads on kiddie cartoons entirely.

Instead, it`s opting for a heavy dose of YouTube ads, social media posts, and videos created by kid influencers. The media strategy is recognition of the rapidly changing media landscape, where the rules of marketing are constantly being upended 

Here`s how littleBits plans to break out during the cluttered holiday toy wish list bonanza.

chewykids

Forget Nickelodeon and Saturday Morning Cartoons

Even as kids become heavy consumers of digital media, many toy makers have kept their ad budgets anchored to 30-second ads on TV – as there`s a general skittishness about marketing to kids on the web.

LittleBits says the only way to tell its story was on social media. 

"TV wouldn`t be my first choice," said Peter Dille, head of marketing, who joined littleBits over the summer from Sony. "Kids are not watching the same ways they used to."

Go long on digital

LittleBits on Wednesday is debuting out a new cinematic, two-minute ad on YouTube, featuring kids cast deliberately to look like Star Wars characters like Rey meeting for an underground building rebellion:

 "Next to the toy giants, we have to be really smart," said Trevor Guthrie, founder of the marketing agency Giant Spoon, which oversaw the littleBits holiday ad plan. "For this product, we knew we had to show kids at play. In a 30-second spot, there would be too much going on."

Get kid influencers

LittleBits worked with the web video firm Fullscreen to broker deals with child YouTube stars like EvanTube, who`s known for unboxing toy videos. Since August, this clip has generated over 700,000 views.

 LittleBits has released several other kid influencer videos to date – including What`s Inside and Kyle`s Toy`s and Games, with a handful more planned before the holidays.

"This allows you to have this great moment with kids and parents," said Guthrie. "It`s not just an ad in front of content, you actually become the content.

A few years ago, for a different product, littleBits planned out an influencer campaign featuring the likes of comic YouTubers such as Magic of Rahat and – PewDiePie (who was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after making a series of very questionable videos). "We looked at the buy and pulled out the night before," said Bdeir. "There was a lot of misogynist content out there."

This year, the company stuck with squeaky clean kid influencers.

 

Even though kids don`t use Facebook and Instagram, their parents do. So use them. 

 

Something is happening. In every town. In every street. A Droid Inventor movement is brewing... link in bio! #InventorsWanted #StarWars #ForceFridayII

A post shared by littleBits (@littlebits) on Sep 1, 2017 at 6:47am PDT on

 There`s also content on sites like Fatherly and even ads on podcasts. And of course, where the parents shop: The droid kit is being promoted at Walmart and on Amazon.com. It`s landed the coveted number 2 spot on Amazon`s holiday toy list. 

And of course, blend a 40-year old iconic brand with a massive parenting trend

Not only did littleBits land a licensing deal for Star Wars months before the much anticipated "The Last Jedi" hits theaters, but littleBits toys are promoting themselves as being good for kids` coding skills when every parent is obsessed with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics)

"This is really in the sweet spot of millennial parents," said Guthrie.  

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We got our hands on Starbucks` limited-time-only `Zombie Frappuccino` — here`s the verdict

Roku stock nasdaq

  • Roku has tripled since going public in late September, spiking on Monday after reporting sales that beat Wall Street estimates.
  • Traders betting against Roku have lost more than 100 million since the company`s initial public offering.


When it comes to television these days, it never pays to bet against the cord cutters.

Traders in the newly public Roku are finding that out the hard way.

They`ve piled into wagers against the company as the stock — which started trading on September 27 — has tripled in price. That surge to 42 a share from the initial public offering price of 14 has resulted in 108 million in mark-to-market losses for short sellers, according to data compiled by the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners.

That includes a 48.5 million loss on Monday alone as Roku shares climbed by as much as 28%, riding the momentum of a better-than-expected earnings report, S3 data shows. With sales that beat Wall Street estimates, Roku is giving investors confidence it is making progress on its plan to evolve from a commodity hardware company into an advertising business.

While short interest — a measure of bets that a stock will fall — has multiplied since Roku`s IPO, it surprisingly has stayed mostly unchanged in November. To S3, this means traders haven`t been taking profits on short positions, which in turn suggests that the recent move higher is due to outright bullish sentiment. That`s a good sign for a company like Roku, which is navigating a crowded field of digital competitors.

And if you`re looking at Roku`s elevated price and thinking now`s a good time to get short, you may be sorely disappointed. S3 points out that the number of shares available for lending is starting to dwindle, which is driving up costs.

"If shorts begin to eat into this tight inventory and increase their positions we can expect stock borrow rates to increase quickly," Ihor Dusaniwsky, the managing director of predictive analytics at S3, wrote in a client note.

Trader attention will now shift to full-year 2017 results. Roku says it`s now on track to bring in 500 million in sales this year, which would be a 20% increase from 2016. If they`re unable to achieve that, it would lead to relief for struggling short sellers.

For reference, here`s a breakdown of Roku short positions:

Screen Shot 2017 11 14 at 8.36.37 AM

SEE ALSO: Tech stocks once again look unstoppable

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the iPhone X could make Apple a 1 trillion company

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