TIME White House

Watch President Obama Sing ‘Amazing Grace’ at Slain Pastor’s Funeral

The commander-in-chief led the crowd in a passionate rendition of the traditional favorite

Near the end of his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney—one of the nine victims of last week’s fatal church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina—President Obama led the congregation and those assembled in a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Obama also called the late pastor a “man of God who lived by faith.”

TIME Disease

South Korea Authorizes Prison Time for MERS Patients Who Break Quarantine

Quarantine tent in Seoul, South Korea
Chung Sung-Jun—2015 Getty Images Visitors wearing masks walk in front of a health advisory sign about the MERS virus at a quarantine tent for people who could be infected with the MERS virus at Seoul National University Hospital on June 2 in Seoul, South Korea.

The country is in the midst of the worst outbreak ever seen outside of Saudi Arabia

South Korea tightened quarantine restrictions on patients at risk of being infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, declaring that those who defy orders or lie about their potential exposure are now subject to prison terms.

Health officials announced that violators could face up to two years in prison and a fine of 20 million won, or approximately $18,000. Currently, defying quarantine can result in a fine but not a jail sentence.

The new law, which grants greater authority to public health investigators, does not take effect for another six months. The latest tally for the disease reached 181 confirmed cases and 31 confirmed deaths since the outbreak began last month.

[New York Times]

TIME society

Selfie Sticks to Be Banned from Disney World Theme Parks

Disney Parks Christmas TV Special Pre-Taping
Handout—Getty Images Disney World

People may have to once again endure the horror of asking strangers to take pictures of them

Walt Disney World announced Friday that selfie sticks would be banned from its theme parks, in the wake of an incident that stalled a roller coaster at Disney California Adventure on Wednesday.

Previously, the elongated rods designed to facilitate picture-taking had been allowed in the parks themselves, but banned from rides and attractions.

“We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie-sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast,” Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.

The incident in California earlier this week, which halted the California Screamin’ roller coaster for nearly an hour, may have finally convinced Disney of the myriad problems the sticks can cause if allowed into parks.

Selfie sticks will join a list of restricted items that include skateboards, shoes with built-in wheels and wagons—presumably both covered and not covered.

[Orlando Sentinel]

TIME society

Here’s How a Selfie Stick Ruined a Roller Coaster Ride

A passenger's urgent need for a photo shut down a Disney California Adventure roller coaster for nearly an hour

The selfie stick, one of the great menaces of modern technology, briefly felled another American institution on Wednesday when the California Screamin’ roller coaster at Disney California Adventure was ground to a stop after a passenger used the elongated rod mid-ride. Passengers were reportedly stuck on the ride for less than an hour, according to a park spokesperson.

Though not banned from Disney California entirely, the use of selfie sticks on rides and other attractions is strictly forbidden for safety reasons.

[The O.C. Register]

TIME Media

Univision Drops Miss USA Pageant After Trump’s Mexico Remarks

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for  president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.
Victor J. Blue Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president during a rally Manhattan on June 16.

He's a part-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, which runs Miss USA

The aftershock from Donald Trump’s presidential announcement, during which he again voiced controversial views on immigration, continued to reverberate Thursday.

Trump said during his announcement that the U.S. “has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.” He then specifically mentioned Mexico, claiming drugs, crime and rapists are crossing the border into America.

Univision didn’t take that lightly. On Thursday, the company announced it would no longer be involved with the Miss Universe Organization, just two weeks before the Miss USA pageant was set to air. Trump, a part-owner of Miss Universe, which runs the Miss USA competition, seemed to confirm the split on Twitter:

Once known as the Spanish International Network, Univision is hailed as the first television network in the U.S. to broadcast primarily in a language other than English, and continues to broadcast almost exclusively in Spanish. It released this statement regarding the split:

Today, the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc. announced that it is ending the Company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants. At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.

Univision News and the local news division will continue to provide comprehensive coverage of all candidates, including Mr. Trump, to ensure our audience continues to have access to all points of view.

Update:

Trump later issued this statement:

[Deadline]

TIME Gaming

Nintendo Allows Same-Sex Marriage in Role-Playing Game

fire-emblem-fates
Nintendo

“We believe that our gameplay experiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate.”

A Nintendo videogame released in Japan on Wednesday and drops in the U.S. in 2016 will break new ground by including the option for same-sex marriage for the first time.

The characters in the popular role-playing game series Fire Emblem will be able to marry people of the same sex. Nintendo issued this statement to announce the decision:

“We believe that our gameplay experiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate and, at the same time, we will always design the game specifications of each title by considering a variety of factors, such as the game’s scenario and the nature of the game play. In the end of course, the game should be fun to play. We feel that Fire Emblem Fates is indeed enjoyable to play and we hope fans like the game.”

The gaming company had previously received criticism for not offering same-sex relationship options in its games. The new game will be called Fire Emblem Fates in North America and is playable on Nintendo’s handheld 3DS console.

[Japan Times]

TIME Sex

Condoms That Change Color In Contact with STD Win Tech Award

Condoms Teens Sex
Getty Images

The idea, which involves color-changing protection, remains in its very, very early stages

The old adage goes that teenagers think about sex constantly, but there are at least a few out there who have expressed a very keen interest in the particulars of safe sex.

Three British teens—two 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old—have proposed an idea for a new type of condom that could detect sexually transmitted diseases amongst intimate partners. The Washington Post explains:

There would be antibodies on the condom that would interact with the antigens of STDs, causing the condom to change colors depending on the disease…For instance, if the condom were exposed to chlamydia, it might glow green — or yellow for herpes, purple for human papilloma virus and blue for syphilis.

The proposal won the trio the top prize in the U.K.’s TeenTech Awards, and they have already reportedly been approached by condom companies.

The idea, however, is not without its imperfections. It seems unclear whether the STIs would be detected in just the user’s partner or also the user as well. In addition, there’s the awkward question of what would happen if the condom came into contact with two or more STDs—not to mention the logistical difficulties of figuring out a way to determine the color with sufficient opportunity to make use of those findings.

Nevertheless, if teens are going to think about sex, it’s tough to quibble with them spending more time thinking about ways to make is safer.

[Washington Post]

TIME France

Courtney Love Says She Was Attacked by Uber Protestors in Paris

And she'd like President François Hollande to do something about it

Trouble seems to have a way of finding Courtney Love, but this time she says it came armed with metal bats and rocks.

While in Paris, the 50-year-old musician said demonstrators protesting Uber attacked the car that she was riding in. The protests by taxi drivers against the ride-hailing company in the French capital have turned violent, prompting police in riot gear to fire tear gas into the assembled masses.

Love described the scene on Twitter:

Kanye West has yet to reply via Twitter to Love’s request for asylum.

Courtney later added on Instagram: “how on earth are these people allowed to do this? the first car was destroyed, all tires slashed and beat with bats, these guys trying to open the doors and the cops are doing nothing?? French Taliban? civil reform needed in France?? I want to go home.”

 

TIME movies

Ezra Miller Reportedly in Talks for Role in Harry Potter Spinoff

Ezra Miller and Olivia Thirlby at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.
Joe Scarnici—Getty Images Ezra Miller and Olivia Thirlby at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.

The 22-year-old actor may be joining Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

According to a report published in Variety, Ezra Miller is eyeing a role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spinoff of J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular eight-film Harry Potter franchise.

Miller would be joining Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, who has already been cast in the lead as Newt Scamander, and Katherine Waterson (daughter of Law & Order actor Sam Waterson). The 22-year-old actor, who was recently cast as The Flash and will make his debut in the role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, will be playing Kredan, an American with magical powers.

Fantastic Beasts will be set in New York approximately 70 years prior to the events of the Harry Potter series, and is based on a textbook taught at Hogwarts. David Yates, who helmed the final four Potter films, will direct and Rowling will write the script,

The movie is currently slated for release on November 18, 2016.

[Variety]

TIME Television

The ‘Next’ Seinfeld Has Already Been on TV for a Decade

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has more than lived up to the "no hugging, no learning" mantra since its debut in 2005

There is perhaps no journey in the world of television more quixotic than the ceaseless quest to find the so-called “next” Seinfeld. Whether it’s one of the show’s anniversaries or a new series that appears poised to take up the mantle (RIP, Mulaney), there seems to be a never-ending string of catalysts to search for the successor to the ‘Show About Nothing,’ which makes its grand arrival on Hulu on Wednesday.

This search is foolish. It is foolish for a lot of empirical reasons—most notably that searching for the “next” whatever in any medium of art is an inherently pointless exercise—but it’s especially foolish because the show that best fits the ‘next’ Seinfeld mold just wrapped up its 10th hilariously depraved season in February and has been on the air since before Hulu even existed.

When It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia debuted on FX on Aug. 4, 2005, inheriting the mantle left behind by arguably the most acclaimed sitcom of all time would have been the furthest thing from the mind of creator Rob McElhenney. McElhenney, along with co-stars Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, had secured Sunny’s series order at FX by shooting an episode on their own cameras for less than $200. The show’s first season featured just seven episodes, lacked any recognizable stars and scored ratings that could generously be described as middling. (Seinfeld also came from rather humble beginnings—it didn’t crack the Top 40 of the Nielsen ratings until its fourth season.) What Sunny had going in its favor was a scathing, confident sense of humor that couldn’t be found anywhere else on television.

Like the Seinfeld gang, the Sunny crew spends its days cooking up schemes and plots that have little hope of panning out. In a Season 9 episode of Seinfeld, the incorrigible George Costanza (Jason Alexander) thinks up a ruse to score himself a private, handicapped bathroom at his office. The episode ends with him being chased down the street in a motorized scooter by a group of cane-wielding octogenarians. When his battery craps out on him, George is forced to pick up his scooter and scurry away—only to run into his boss. In a Season 2 episode of Sunny, Dennis (Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) decide to quit working at Paddy’s Pub and go on welfare instead. In a matter of days, they end up addicted to crack and have to grovel for their jobs back. Even though both Seinfeld and Sunny revel in their characters’ depravity, they always make sure that their reprobates get exactly what they deserve in the end.

In a way, it’s hard to believe that Sunny didn’t draw more Seinfeld comparisons in its early years, but perhaps that’s simply because there weren’t enough people watching Sunny to make those comparisons. And, frankly put, people didn’t analyze and discuss TV with the same rigor that they do today. If they had, they likely would have noticed that Sunny took Seinfeld’s “no hugging, no learning” formula, threw it into a blender along with a healthy portion of debauchery and reckless abandon, cranked that blender to “HIGHLY EXCESSIVE” and then consumed enough of the resulting concoction to transform into a sort of sitcom Abomination. It was beautiful.

Seinfeld had been similarly pioneering. When the show arrived on NBC in 1989, it presented a network audience with a group of characters who weren’t anyone’s definition of “good people.” But at least, if the light was dim and you squinted hard enough, you could make out some semblance of redeemable qualities in Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer. Not so for the gang from Paddy’s Pub. Watching Sunny’s earliest episodes is somewhat jarring because the characters—particularly Sweet Dee—aren’t purely id quite yet. But by the time Frank (Danny DeVito) becomes fully involved after arriving in Season 2, the gang has lost any semblance of self-awareness. The goal wasn’t to see how funny they could be, the goal was to see how depraved they could be and still make you laugh. If Seinfeld personified bold comedy for the ‘Must-See TV’ era, Sunny did the same for television’s ‘Golden Age.’

The differences in prerequisites and presentation between those two eras also help explain why Seinfeld and Sunny aren’t often mentioned in the same breath. The former arrived on a major network with a near-bulletproof comedy pedigree. The latter was one of FX’s first comedies and its creator was a guy who had never written or produced before. Seinfeld was a multi-camera sitcom that preferred to make thinly-veiled references to illicit activities. Sunny was a single-camera comedy that displayed near-unprecedented eagerness to throw innuendo in fans’ faces, repeatedly and without mercy. But perhaps the most inexplicable difference between the two is the fact that in its seven seasons, Seinfeld was nominated for an incredible 68 Emmy Awards; Sunny has garnered just two in its 10 seasons—both for Outstanding Stunt Coordination, which is a little like nominating LeBron James for the Best-Tied Shoelaces Award. (On the other hand, writer David Hornsby did manage to turn the show’s lack of Emmy recognition into Sunny’s best Season 9 episode.)

Regardless of the hardware discrepancy, the two shows share an uncommon lack of reliance on premise. Of course there’s always a premise of some sort in each episode, but for both shows, it’s really just an excuse to have the main characters interact with one another and the boundless collection of weirdos that have a habit of wandering in and out of their lives. And despite a 294 combined episodes for the two series, nothing ever really changed in either one. Other sitcoms have marriages and children and at least some small semblance of growth, but Seinfeld and Sunny instead turned those tropes on their heads, creating long build-ups to nothing. Sure, George got engaged, but Susan was dead before they could tie the knot because she licked too many toxic envelopes. Sweet Dee (Olson Olson) spent an entire season pregnant but the baby disappeared, never too be heard from again, as soon as Olson had the child that compelled the on-screen pregnancy in the first place. Both shows relished an opportunity to paint themselves into an inescapable corner and then wriggle their way out of it in the most absurd way possible.

Now, thanks to Hulu, we all have the opportunity to stop searching for the “next” Seinfeld. We can watch as much of it as we want anytime we like. But if anyone is looking for the evolved version—or, more accurately, devolved version— of the ‘Show About Nothing,’ the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang has you covered (likely in something incredibly gross).

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