Month: July 2019

McConaughey, Nolan offer sneak peek at ‘Interstellar’

SAN DIEGO – Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey came to Comic-Con unannounced and surprised attendees with a first look at Interstellar, but neither offered many details about the highly anticipated space adventure.

“I can tell you a lot, but I’m not going to,” McConaughey said at Thursday’s Paramount Pictures panel.

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In the Alberta-shot movie, the Oscar winner plays a pilot and engineer grounded in a dystopian land where all space exploration has ceased. His character is a widowed father of two who is given an opportunity to travel into the stars long after he gave up his dreams of flight.

“It’s by far the most ambitious film Mr. Nolan has ever directed,” McConaughey said before the director of Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy emerged on stage for his first Comic-Con appearance.

“We thought it’d be fun to come down and see what all the fuss is about,” Nolan said to raucous applause. “It’s an incredible event. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world.”

A lifelong sci-fi fan, Nolan was inspired to make Interstellar because he felt real space exploration had fallen off greatly in recent decades. When he was a kid, he said, becoming an astronaut was the highest ambition of any child.

“Growing up when I did, the idea of a journey that would take you not just through the solar system, not just through this galaxy but into a whole other galaxy, that’s as big a journey you can try to imagine telling on film,” the 43-year-old filmmaker said.

The moody trailer showed a spaceship launch with McConaughey and co-star Anne Hathaway in space suits travelling to another galaxy. In one particularly haunting scene, the pair is seen in peril amid raging waters on an alien world at the other end of a wormhole.

Nolan shot the film in IMAX from a script co-written by his brother, Jonathan Nolan. Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist who’s an expert in space and wormholes, helped the Nolans base their story on real-world research.

Christopher Nolan cited Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner as the films that influenced him most. He recalled watching Blade Runner with his family in London.

“We really have an ambition with this film, not to do what that one did because I don’t think anybody ever could, but to tell a similarly ambitious story in scope and scale,” he said. “That is to say I want kids today to be able to go with their parents and sit and watch this story unfold on an enormous screen and really feel engaged with it.”

Interstellar is set for release in November.

©2014The Associated Press

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Woman left porcelain dolls outside homes as ‘kind gesture,’ say police

WATCH: Police in Orange County, Calif., are investigating after a number of porcelain dolls were left outside the homes of girls they appear to resemble.

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TORONTO – Porcelain dolls that were left outside the homes of girls they reportedly resembled in California were intended as a “kind gesture,” according to police.

Officials in San Clemente, a city in Orange County, Calif., searched for the person who was responsible for leaving porcelain dolls on the front porches of at least eight families.

READ MORE: Police in California investigate dolls left at homes of girls they resemble

In a tweet Thursday, police said they have concluded a female adult who lived in the local community and attended church with many of the impacted families said she “left the dolls out of goodwill.”

The dolls were taken into evidence Tuesday after affected families voiced concerns over how the dolls resembled their daughters, all of whom were around the age of 10 and go to the same school or are active together.

No notes or threatening messages were attached to the dolls.

Porcelain dolls that were left outside the homes of girls they reportedly resembled in California were intended as a “kind gesture,” according to police.

Orange County Police

“Is it a prank? Is there some specific motivation?” said Lt. Jeff Hallock in an interview. “Obviously, there’s an indication by some the parents that the dolls resemble their daughters. We’re talking about children here.”

Photos of the dolls — one in a pink dress wearing a pink bow and small white bunny slippers and the other dressed in a blue outfit — quickly went viral.

The investigation is now closed.

– with a file from Andrew Russell, Global News

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Toronto police board to hear from Chief Bill Blair on his future – Toronto

TORONTO – The Toronto Police Services Board is expected to hear today from Chief Bill Blair on whether he will continue as head of Canada’s largest municipal police force.

If he plans to stay, the seven-member board will have 30 days to vote on a decision to renew his appointment.

Rob Ford wouldn’t comment on whether Blair’s contract should be extended, saying it wasn’t his decision.

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“That’s up to the police services board. I have no idea what he’s going to ask but that’s the police services board decision,” he told reporters Friday.

The mayor and Blair have had a tumultuous relationship since October 31 when the police chief said the police had retrieved a video of the mayor smoking what might be crack cocaine on a hard drive confiscated during the Project Traveller raids.

The mayor’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, spent the weeks following Blair’s announcement denouncing him and calling for his resignation.

Blair was designated the chief of police on April 26, 2005 and had his term extended unanimously in 2009. His term ends in April 2015.

Chief Blair was heavily criticized during the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto when he gave orders to detain nearly 1000 demonstrators and many called for his resignation.

Blair began policing as a beat officer in downtown Toronto 38 years ago, and continued to take on different assignments such as drug enforcement, organized crime units, and major criminal investigations.

Continue reading Toronto police board to hear from Chief Bill Blair on his future – Toronto

Flight AH5017: No survivors in Air Algerie crash, one black box found

WATCH: Three Canadian families are enduring the unbearable loss of loved ones who were on board Air Algerie Flight AH5017, which crashed Thursday in Mali. Vassy Kapelos reports.

PARIS – French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said.

Many of the passengers were scheduled to head on to Europe after the plane was due to arrive in the Algerian capital from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

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A Burkina Faso native, who works as a technologist at the Papineau Hospital in Gatineau, Que., tells Global News that he’s struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and their two sons, aged six and 13.

“It’s a very difficult time for me and for others,” said Mamadou Zoungrana.

Zoungrana emigrated in June 2012 and says he has been working to bring his family and start a new life in Canada. While visas for his family were ready back in February, Zoungrana said that he and his wife wanted to wait until their children were on their summer holidays before they came to Canada.

It was two years since Zoungrana last saw his family and he was happy he would soon be reunited with his loved ones.

“Everyone is gone,” he said. “…Gone without a trace.  I don’t know what to think about it.”

Zoungrana says he can only hope that his family did not suffer.

“I think about my kids, about the moment of the crash. If it was quick, then they wouldn’t have suffered.  But if it took time before they crashed and if I was there, it would have been better.  The kids would have cried ‘papa, papa.’  Their father was not next to them to help them.”

Canadians among the deceased

Among the Canadian passengers was Isabelle Prevost of Sherbrooke, Que., her partner said.

Danny Frappier said Prevost, 35, was on vacation in Africa and it was the family that was putting her up that first contacted him to tell him she was aboard the flight. Frappier said he tried to get information from official sources but that it came in dribs and drabs.

“We’re hoping there’s part of her body that can be repatriated, some kind of proof that she was really there, that she’s really dead, I don’t know.”

Terrorism hasn’t been ruled out as a cause, although officials say bad weather is the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all 118 people onboard, including five Canadians.

Troops guarding wreckage site

More than 200 troops are guarding the site before French accident and criminal investigators arrive Saturday in the area, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

READ MORE:  5 Quebec residents aboard Air Algerie flight

The debris field is in a concentrated area in the Gossi region of Mali near the border with Burkina Faso “in a zone of savannah and sand with very difficult access, especially in this rainy season,” Fabius said at a news conference in Paris with the defence and transport ministers.

The French army posted photos on July 25 showing the site of the crash of an Algeria passenger plane that was reported missing in Mali the previous day. Air Algeria AH5017 disappeared on July 24, carrying 118 people from Oaugadougou, in Burkina Faso, to Algiers.

EMA / Armée de Terre

French government officials, including the President Francois Hollande and Fabius, increased the death toll to 118, and raising the number of French killed to 54 from 51. Air Algerie and private Spanish airline Swiftair, which was operating Flight 5017, said Thursday there were 116 people onboard.

An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people – including five Canadians – crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighbouring Burkina Faso.

Global News

“We think the plane went down due to weather conditions, but no hypothesis can be excluded as long as we don’t have the results of an investigation,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL radio hours before the news conference with three other government ministers.

The pilots of the MD-83, which was travelling from Burkina Faso to Algeria, had sent a final message to ask Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rain, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said Thursday.

WATCH: Raw footage released of first responders at Air Algerie crash site

One of two black boxes has been found and was sent to Gao, a troubled city in northern Mali where remains will be sent for identification before being repatriated, Fabius said at Friday’s news conference. The Gossi region where the accident occurred, near the Burkina Faso border, is 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Gao.

A French contingent of troops is based in Gao, a government-controlled town. The vast deserts and mountains of northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists after a military coup in 2012.

French forces intervened in January 2013 to rout Islamist extremists controlling the region. A French soldier was killed earlier this month near the town of Gao, where French troops remain.

The intervention scattered the extremists, but the Tuaregs have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government. Meanwhile, the threat from Islamic militants hasn’t disappeared, and France is giving its troops a new and larger anti-terrorist mission across the region.

INFOGRAPHIC: Is 2014 the year of airline accidents?

French television showed images of the wreckage site taken by a soldier from Burkina Faso. The brief footage showed a desolate area with scattered debris that was unrecognizable. There were bits of twisted metal but no identifiable parts such as the fuselage or tail, or victims’ bodies. Scrubby vegetation could be seen scattered in the background.

A French Reaper drone based in Niger spotted the wreckage after getting alerts from Burkina Faso and Malian soldiers, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.

Burkina Faso soldiers were reportedly the first to reach the site. The country’s prime minister, Luc Adolphe Tiao, reviewed videos of the wreckage site and said identifying the victims will be challenging.

“It will be difficult to reconstitute the bodies of the victims,” Tiao said at a news conference. “The human remains are so scattered.”

Nearly half of the victims were from France and the disaster has hit the country hard.

“I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal,” Hollande said.

READ MORE: Sherbrooke woman among 5 Quebec residents killed in Air Algerie crash

Hollande has said that France will spare no efforts to uncover why the plane went down – the third major plane disaster around the world within a week. A Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down last week over war-torn eastern Ukraine. The U.S. has blamed it on separatists firing a surface-to-air missile. On Wednesday, a Taiwanese plane crashed during a storm, killing 48 people.

“There are hypotheses, notably weather-related, but we don’t rule out anything because we want to know what happened,” Hollande said. “What we know is that the debris is concentrated in a limited space, but it is too soon to draw conclusions.”

Cazeneuve also said on RTL radio: “Terrorist groups are in the zone. … We know these groups are hostile to Western interests.”

The plane, owned by Swiftair and leased by Algeria’s flagship carrier, disappeared from radar screens less than an hour after it took off early Thursday from Ouagadougou for Algiers.

The MD-83 had passed its annual air navigation certificate renewal inspection in January without any problems, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Friday. The European Aviation Safety Agency also carried out a “ramp inspection” – or unannounced spot check – of the plane in June without incident.

Santamaria also said a ramp inspection was done on the plane in Marseille, France, on July 22 – two days before the plane went down.

Ramp inspections “are limited to on-the-spot assessments and cannot substitute for proper regulatory oversight,” the EASA website says. “Ramp inspections serve as pointers, but they cannot guarantee the airworthiness of a particular aircraft.”

  – with files from Bryan Mullan, Global News

Continue reading Flight AH5017: No survivors in Air Algerie crash, one black box found

Flight MH17: Australia to finalize deal to secure crash site – National

WATCH: The bodies another 74 people who died when Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down over Ukraine arrived in the Netherlands , where forensic experts are working to identify the victims. Shirlee Engel reports from Amsterdam.

SYDNEY, Australia – Australia is close to finalizing a deal with Ukraine to send police and a small number of troops to secure the Malaysian plane crash site as part of a multinational team, the Australian prime minister said Friday.

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Australia has 90 federal police officers in Europe ready to be deployed to the site in eastern Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. Some of the officers could be armed, and would be accompanied by members of Australia’s defence force, he said.

READ MORE: 2 more planes carrying victims to fly to Netherlands 

Armed pro-Russian separatists control the area and have hampered investigators’ attempts to access the site.

Abbott stressed that the team, which would include countries that lost citizens in the disaster, would not be going in as part of a military mission.

“This is a humanitarian mission … with a clear and simple objective: to bring them home,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra, the nation’s capital. “Others can engage in the politics of eastern Europe. All we want to do is to claim our dead and to bring them home.”

All 298 people aboard the plane were killed when it was shot down on July 17, likely by a missile from territory held by pro-Russian rebels. Thirty-seven Australian citizens and residents were on board.

The urgency to secure the area grew after three Australian officials travelled to the crash site on Thursday and found more wreckage and human remains, Abbott said.

READ MORE: Canada imposes new sanctions against Ukrainian entities, Russian firms

“With these remains exposed to the ravages of heat and animals and to the continuing possibility of human interference, it’s more important than ever that the site be properly secured,” Abbott said. “Our objective is the remains can be recovered, that the investigation can go ahead and that justice can be done.”

Another 100 Australian police officers will be deployed to Europe in the next 24 hours, Abbott said.

The international police team would be tasked with ensuring a thorough search of the site so all remains are recovered and sent to the Netherlands for identification. The mission would be complete within a few weeks of arriving, Abbott said.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop presented an Australia-sponsored resolution to the U.N. Security Council that passed unanimously on Monday demanding that rebels co-operate with an independent investigation and allow all remaining bodies to be recovered.

©2014The Canadian Press

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