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Hollywood Writers Guild Ends Strike Ahead of Final Contract Vote

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) said its members could return to work on Wednesday while a ratification vote takes place on a new three-year contract with Hollywood studios. 

Union leaders “voted unanimously to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, September 27th,” the WGA said in a statement on Tuesday. 

WGA members will have until October 9 to cast their votes on the contract, the union said. 

Film and television writers walked off the job in May in a fight for higher pay, protections that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence, and other issues. 

The writers appeared to have won concessions across the board, with raises over the three years of the contract, increased health and pension contributions, and AI safeguards. 

Under the tentative agreement, AI cannot be used to undermine a writer’s credit. Writers can choose to use AI when drafting scripts, but a company cannot require the use of the software. The studios also have to disclose to a writer if any materials they furnish were generated by AI. 

Spain Charges Pop Singer Shakira With Tax Evasion for Second Time

Spanish prosecutors have charged pop star Shakira with failing to pay $7.1 million in tax on her 2018 income, authorities said Tuesday, in Spain’s latest fiscal allegations against the Colombian singer. 

Shakira is alleged to have used an offshore company based in a tax haven to avoid paying the tax, Barcelona prosecutors said in a statement. 

She has been notified of the charges in Miami, where she lives, according to the statement. 

Shakira is already due to be tried in Barcelona on November 20 in a separate case that hinges on where she lived between 2012-14. In that case, prosecutors allege she failed to pay $15.4 million in tax. 

Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged the Grammy winner spent more than half of the 2012-14 period in Spain and therefore should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas. 

Spanish tax officials opened the latest case against Shakira last July. After reviewing the evidence gathered over the last two months, prosecutors have decided to bring charges. No date for a trial was set. 

The public relations firm that previously has handled Shakira’s affairs, Llorente y Cuenca, made no immediate comment. 

Last July, it said the artist had “always acted in concordance with the law and on the advice of her financial advisers.” 

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain since she started dating the now-retired soccer player Gerard Pique. The couple, who have two children, lived together in Barcelona until last year, when they ended their 11-year relationship. 

Spain tax authorities have over the past decade or so cracked down on soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their full due in taxes. Those players were found guilty of tax evasion but avoided prison time thanks to a provision that allows a judge to waive sentences under two years in length for first-time offenders. 

НАТО не супроводжуватиме вантажі з зерном у територіальних водах України – посол при Альянсі

«Думаю, реально – це тільки про супровід у територіальних водах самих держав-членів НАТО. Про територіальні води України не йдеться»

Чотири країни закликали ЄС перевірити українські зернові «коридори солідарності»

Представники міністерств сільського господарства Чехії, Угорщини, Польщі і Словаччини заявили, що частина транспортованого зерна залишається в таких країнах, як Польща, і шкодить місцевим фермерам, оскільки воно набагато дешевше, ніж місцеве зерно

David McCallum, Star of ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ Dies at 90

Actor David McCallum, who became a teen heartthrob in the hit series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in the 1960s and was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular “NCIS” 40 years later, has died. He was 90.

McCallum died Monday of natural causes surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital, CBS said in a statement.

“David was a gifted actor and author, and beloved by many around the world. He led an incredible life, and his legacy will forever live on through his family and the countless hours on film and television that will never go away,” said a statement from CBS.

Scottish-born McCallum had been doing well appearing in such films “A Night to Remember” (about the Titanic), “The Great Escape” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (as Judas). But it was “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” that made the blond actor with the Beatlesque haircut a household name in the mid-’60s.

The success of the James Bond books and films had set off a chain reaction, with secret agents proliferating on both large and small screens. Indeed, Bond creator Ian Fleming contributed some ideas as “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was being developed, according to Jon Heitland’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book.”

The show, which debuted in 1964, starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, an agent in a secretive, high-tech squad of crime fighters whose initials stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Despite the Cold War, the agency had an international staff, with McCallum as Illya Kuryakin, Solo’s Russian sidekick.

The role was relatively small at first, McCallum recalled, adding in a 1998 interview that “I’d never heard of the word ‘sidekick’ before.”

The show drew mixed reviews but eventually caught on, particularly with teenage girls attracted by McCallum’s good looks and enigmatic, intellectual character. By 1965, Illya was a full partner to Vaughn’s character and both stars were mobbed during personal appearances.

The series lasted to 1968. Vaughn and McCallum reunited in 1983 for a nostalgic TV movie, “The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” in which the agents were lured out of retirement to save the world once more.

McCallum returned to television in 2003 in another series with an agency known by its initials — CBS’ “NCIS.” He played Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, a bookish pathologist for the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, an agency handling crimes involving the Navy or the Marines. Mark Harmon played the NCIS boss.

McCallum said he thought Ducky, who sported glasses and a bow tie and had an eye for pretty women, “looked a little silly, but it was great fun to do.” He took the role seriously, too, spending time in the Los Angeles coroner’s office to gain insight into how autopsies are conducted.

Co-star Lauren Holly took to X, formerly Twitter, to mourn: “You were the kindest man. Thank you for being you.” The previously announced 20th anniversary “NCIS” marathon on Monday night will now include an “in memoriam” card in remembrance of McCallum.

The series built an audience gradually, eventually reaching the roster of top 10 shows. McCallum, who lived in New York, stayed in a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica when “NCIS” was in production.

“He was a scholar and a gentleman, always gracious, a consummate professional, and never one to pass up a joke. From day one, it was an honor to work with him and he never let us down. He was, quite simply, a legend, said a statement from ”NCIS” Executive Producers Steven D. Binder and David North.

McCallum’s work with “U.N.C.L.E.” brought him two Emmy nominations, and he got a third as an educator struggling with alcoholism in a 1969 Hallmark Hall of Fame drama called “Teacher, Teacher.”

In 1975, he had the title role in a short-lived science fiction series, “The Invisible Man,” and from 1979 to 1982 he played Steel in a British science fiction series, “Sapphire and Steel.” Over the years, he also appeared in guest shots in many TV shows, including “Murder, She Wrote” and “Sex and the City.”

He appeared on Broadway in a 1968 comedy, “The Flip Side,” and in a 1999 revival of “Amadeus” starring Michael Sheen and David Suchet. He also was in several off-Broadway productions.

Largely based in the U.S. from the 1960s onward, McCallum was a longtime American citizen, telling The Associated Press in 2003 that “I have always loved the freedom of this country and everything it stands for. And I live here, and I like to vote here.”

David Keith McCallum was born in Glasgow in 1933. His parents were musicians; his father, also named David, played violin, his mother played cello. When David was 3, the family moved to London, where David Sr. played with the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic.


В американському посольстві повідомили, що США передали Києву перелік пріоритетних реформ

«Цей перелік був наданий як основа для консультацій з урядом України та ключовими партнерами в рамках нашої незмінної підтримки України та її зусиль з інтеграції в Європу»

Чеський президент критикує можливість обрання Роберта Фіца прем’єром Словаччини

Президет Чехії Петр Павел критично ставиться до можливого обрання Роберта Фіца головою словацького уряду. Під час свого перебування у США, президент наголосив, що «у випадку обрання Роберта Фіца на парламентських виборах, відносини між Чехією й Словаччиною погіршаться».

На думку чеського президента, причиною такого ставлення є певні розбіжності у низці поглядів з Робертом Фіцом, зокрема, і щодо України. На відміну від підтримки президентом Чехії Петром Павлом боротьби України з агресією Росії, словацький політик виступає «проти подальшого озброєння України», закликаючи «негайно зупинити воєнні операції й негайно розпочати переговори про мир».

Стосовно членства України в НАТО Роберт Фіцо називає це «ризиковим фактором для миру у світі», словацький політик також наголошує, що відстоює «автономію Європейського союзу щодо закордонних політичних питань і питань безпеки». В той же час президент Чехії Петр Павел вважає, що «Україна після війни повинна вступити до НАТО». 

Голова нині найсильнішої популістської лівоцентристської партії «SMER-SD» («Курс» – Соціальна Демократія) Роберт Фіцо розкритикував погляди чеського президента, вважаючи їх «втручанням у передвиборчу кампанії перед виборами до парламенту». 

Вибори до парламенту Словаччини (однопалатний парламент, 150 членів – ред.) відбудуться 30 вересня. Парламент обирається на 4-річний термін.

Play by Ukrainian Director About War Back Home Debuts in Washington, DC

“My Mama and the Full-Scale Invasion,” a play by Ukrainian playwright Sasha Denisova, made its debut at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth theater earlier this month. The play was inspired by online chats its creator had with her 82-year-old mother who lives near Kyiv. Maxim Adams has the story. Camera: David Gogokhia.

МЗС відреагувало на повідомлення в ЗМІ про нібито обіцянку Україні вступу до ЄС в обмін на «повалення» уряду Польщі

Українська сторона жодних подібних пропозицій не отримувала, намірів втручатися у внутрішні справи Польщі не мала і не має