TIME obituary

Versatile Actor Eli Wallach Dies at 98

Honorary Oscar recipient actor Eli Wallach and wife Anne Jackson arrive at the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood
Honorary Oscar recipient actor Eli Wallach and wife Anne Jackson arrive at the 83rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2011 Lucas Jackson—Reuters

The New York City native held roles in more than 80 films over the course of his six-decade career

Eli Wallach, the prolific American actor who spent more than half a century working in film, has died at the age of 98.

Wallach began as a stage actor in the early 1950s but soon found his way to Hollywood. Between his first movie role in 1956’s Baby Doll and his last in 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, he found work in more than 80 films.

He was a “great performer,” Clint Eastwood said when presenting Wallach with an honorary Oscar in 2010, “and a great friend.” In 1966, Eastwood and Wallach co-starred in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, beginning a close friendship.

“As an actor, Wallach is the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wrote of him.

Wallach’s death on Tuesday was confirmed by his daughter Katherine.

TIME Law

Supreme Court News Blog Is Yet Again Denied Press Credentials

Two men talk as the sun rises over the Supreme Court in Washington
Two men talk as the sun rises over the Supreme Court in Washington on June 23, 2014 Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

Never mind the awards it has won or the influence it exerts — there is apparently a "conflict of interest" in SCOTUSblog's coverage

What’s particularly ironic — and maybe impressive — about SCOTUSblog’s 12 successful years covering the U.S. Supreme Court is that its reporters aren’t allowed in the courtroom on which they’re reporting.

Not through their employer, at least. The U.S. Senate has once again denied the blog’s appeal for press credentials at the nation’s highest court, citing a conflict on interest: Tom Goldstein, SCOTUSblog’s publisher, is the founding partner of a law firm that deals primarily in cases argued before the Supreme Court.

“Having found that SCOTUSblog fails the fundamental test of editorial independence, the committee looked no further at other questions raised by this application,” the Senate’s Standing Committee of Correspondents wrote in an open letter to Goldstein on Monday. “If SCOTUSblog were to take additional steps to separate itself from Goldstein & Russell and any other lawyer or law firm who is arguing before the Supreme Court, we would welcome a new application.”

Though it earned its journalistic chops as a source of news on the Supreme Court — its diligent coverage of Affordable Care Act hearings and opinion in 2013 earned a Peabody Award — SCOTUSblog also operates as a forum for legal scholars to offer analysis and opinions on judicial decisions.

To fortify its coverage, the blog has pushed for years to earn court press credentials. Its leading writer, veteran court reporter Lyle Denniston, also works for numerous other outlets, on whose press passes he has also relied for SCOTUSblog. Monday’s decision comes in response to Goldstein’s appeal of another credential rejection in April.

“All in all, the refusal by the court and the Senate to credential us have always seemed strange. No one seems to doubt that we are a journalistic entity and that we serve a public function. Winning the Peabody and other awards would seem to confirm that,” Goldstein wrote on the blog. “Credentialing the blog doesn’t give us any special power or recognition; it just makes our jobs incrementally easier. All in all, it doesn’t seem to make sense to impose burdens on us that are greater than those that apply to others who fundamentally do the same thing.”

TIME nature

Beachgoers Beware: The Great White Shark Population Is Growing Again

Great White Sharks
This undated photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a great white shark encountered off the coast of Massachusetts Greg Skomal—AP

There are over 2,000 living off the coast of California alone, according to recent studies

New research suggests that the population of great white sharks off both coasts of the U.S. is growing again after years on the decline.

One report ventures that there are over 2,000 great whites living off California — 10 times the amount estimated by a recent Stanford University study. On the other side of the country, scientists haven’t been able to conclude an exact population size, but estimations suggest that the sharks in the Atlantic are rebounding, after a significant drop in the 1970s and 1980s because of commercial shark fishing.

The upswing is likely the result of wildlife-preservation efforts over the past two decades, although conservationists are hesitant to celebrate the news. For one, the great white belongs to a group of aquatic species that typically struggle to recover from sharp declines in population. What’s more, their generally reclusive behavior often requires scientists to rely on guesswork when keeping tabs on them — and a dearth of historical information doesn’t help

“They’re back on the way up, but to be honest, I don’t think any of us know what ‘up’ is,” George Burgess, a Florida-based researcher, told Live Science. “The fact is, we have no real idea what [the population] was before we started screwing around with the environment on both coasts.”

TIME Theater

Opera Singer Fired After Homophobic Slurs Posted to Facebook Page

Singer performs during dress rehearsal of Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin at Vienna's State Opera
Singer Tamar Iveri performs on stage as Tatjana during a dress rehearsal of Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin at Vienna's State Opera March 3, 2009. Herwig Prammer—Reuters

She has placed the blame on her "very religious" husband

A seasoned opera singer from Georgia — the country, not the state — has been dropped from a major Australian opera company’s upcoming production of Otello in response to homophobic posts that appeared on her Facebook page.

Eighteen months ago, soprano Tamar Iveri’s account included some choice words regarding an anti-homophobia rally in Tbilisi, the capital of her homeland. These included comparisons between homosexuals and “fecal masses” and praise to compatriots who spat at the parade.

Long story short: a lot of people were upset, and some were upset enough to start an online petition encouraging the Australian government to kick her out of the country, and now Opera Australia has chosen to terminate her contract. She won’t be in next month’s production of Otello in Sydney, and a Brussels-based opera company has also excused her from its production of A Masked Ball next year.

Iveri, meanwhile, maintains her innocence, blaming her “very religious” husband for hacking her Facebook and posting the comments himself.

TIME Australia

You’ll Never Guess Which Country Is the Biggest Per Capita Contributor of Foreign Jihadists to ISIS

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12, 2014. © STRINGER Iraq / Reuters—REUTERS

It isn't in the Middle East or Central Asia or even in Europe. It's Down Under

A startling number of Australian citizens and residents have left the country to join jihadist factions in the ongoing crises in the Middle East, prompting the Australian government to launch a statewide effort to crack down on “home-grown terrorism” fostered within its borders.

“This is one of the most disturbing developments in our domestic security in quite some time,” Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told the Australian Broadcasting Service. “There’s a real danger that these extremists also come back home as trained terrorists and pose a threat to our security.”

Authorities believe that around 150 Australians are currently fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq and Syria, making the country the highest foreign per capita contributor to the violence. Many more have left the country for the Middle East in recent weeks, though their intent in doing so has not yet been determined.

“We will do everything we humanly can to stop jihadist terrorists coming into this country and if they do return to this country, we will do everything we reasonably can to ensure that they are not moving amongst the Australian community,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the Australian press on Monday.

Abbott’s government has thus far canceled a number of passports held by those Australians who have joined the conflict, and is working to fortify a border security system that has a history of being more permeable than desired. It was a “customs failure” last year that permitted convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf to escape the country with his brother’s passport and head to Syria and then Iraq, where he has had a hand in the recent mass executions of Iraqi soldiers.

As for the suspected or confirmed terrorists still at large within the Australian borders, the government has mulled over the idea of providing national intelligence agencies greater access to the country’s internet traffic — a potentially controversial move, considering the outcry over the government’s mobile data surveillance plan in 2012.

This is not the first time that Australia has taken note of the extremist diaspora out of the country. Last summer, TIME reported that over 200 Australians had joined militant groups fighting to unseat Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s ongoing civil war, and that Australian counterterrorism operatives had consequently begun collecting evidence against suspected combatants.

Still, the exodus persists, from Australia and elsewhere: the Economist reported earlier this month that as many as 3,000 foreigners may have joined ISIS forces. The organization and its satellite groups seem intent on making their chaos an international issue, actively soliciting support from Muslims across the world.

In a 13-minute propagandist recruitment video released last week, purported ISIS extremists stated that their fellow jihadists in Iraq and Syria hailed from countries as far afield as Bangladesh and even Cambodia, although some Cambodian officials have disputed the claim.

 

TIME

The Latest Transformers Has Its World Premiere in Hong Kong

Worldwide Premiere Of "Transformers: Age Of Extinction"
Rob Moore, Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg arrive at the worldwide premiere screening of "Transformers: Age of Extinction"at the on June 19, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Xaume Olleros—Getty Images for Paramount

Because China is where the money now is

On Thursday night, the latest installment in the Transformers film series had its world premiere in Hong Kong — a city where, eight months ago, director Michael Bay was blackmailed for thousands of dollars and later assaulted with an air-conditioning unit while working on the movie.

No hard feelings, though.

“The background,” Bay told TIME, when asked what struck him most about the city, gesturing at the skyline of Hong Kong Island from the red carpet. “And the people. The people are great.”

The film’s crew and cast (which includes Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer, all of whom were present for the premiere) first traveled to Hong Kong and mainland China for a few weeks last fall to film Transformers: Age of Extinction. It’s the fourth film in Bay’s billion-dollar franchise, and an effort to appeal to — and capitalize on — China’s burgeoning cinema audience. The series has already enjoyed unprecedented success in the country. Its third film set national box-office records when it opened in the summer of 2011 — ultimately grossing $163 million, the highest of any market outside North America.

In short, Bay, not shy of a little opportunism, saw a smart chance and jumped on it. When Paramount Pictures announced last April that the movie would be filmed and produced in China, its filmmakers stressed that it would not merely treat the country as a scenic backdrop, but rather rely on it as a guiding component of the story — making it even more palatable, maybe, for a Chinese audience.

“The film has a great deal to do with China. Effectively, China is a character in it,” Marc Ganis, president of Jiaflix Enterprises, a Hollywood-based company that distributes Western media in China, said in a statement last spring.

At that point, well-known Chinese actress Li Bingbing had already signed onto the film’s cast; pop star Han Geng, whom Bay described as “one of the most influential entertainers in China,” would follow suit in July. A state-broadcast reality show that aired in September chose four Chinese actors (out of a contestant pool of 70,000) to fill smaller roles.

All things considered, Bay’s shift in attention across the Pacific makes sense. China’s $3.6 billion box-office market is the world’s second biggest — larger than India’s and the U.K.’s combined — and is expected to surpass the U.S.’s by the end of the decade. While ticket sales languished in North America last year, China’s enjoyed a 27% jump. It is a country where an average of 13 new cinemas are built every day.

It should be said here that the popularity of the franchise in China, and Bay’s success there as a filmmaker, is something of an exception to the current rule. Only 34 foreign films each year earn distribution rights from the Chinese government; any picture beyond that quota that plays in China will earn a relatively meager stipend — a few hundred thousand dollars — and no revenue from ticket sales. There’s also the issue of strict censorship: Django Unchained was pulled from Chinese cinemas just “minutes” into its first screening because of on-screen nudity, according to the Telegraph. And anything politically subversive is, of course, off the table.

In a sense, Bay hacked the system. To ensure that the latest Transformers movie would play in China without any hassle, Paramount signed a “cooperation agreement” with both Jiaflix and the state-controlled China Movie Channel, agreeing to produce the film in the country, thereby earning the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television’s necessary support, and in turn get a release date for the film. Under the deal, Jiaflix, which is essentially China’s Netflix, will also stream more than 250 Paramount films to subscribers.

The in-country arrangement, according to a report by Quartz, will double what Transformers: Age of Extinction would have earned otherwise.

Perhaps that’s why in spite of all the grief and bruises he suffered while filming in Hong Kong last October, Bay seemed so enthused to be back for the premiere, grinning for photographers as he made his way down the red carpet. Seemingly oblivious to the oppressive humidity, and the thunderstorm that followed, his cast appeared to share his sentiments, at least while mugging for the press.

“This is such an amazing city, I just hope to come back and see more of it,” Wahlberg told TIME. “When I was here, I was working the whole time and didn’t get to see much.”

If the thousands-deep mob flanking the red carpet outside the Hong Kong Cultural Center on Thursday night is anything to go by, he’ll be welcome here anytime. Crowds of local teenagers, many still dressed in their school uniforms, struggled to push their way to the velvet rope separating them from the cast, whose pictures they snapped and praises they screamed.

“I used to see these actors on TV, and now I get to see them live,” C.J. Padua, a 15-year-old from Hong Kong, said while waiting for the red-carpet ceremony to begin.

He and his friend Nickson Kanthan, 16, debated the merits of the various Transformers films. Though they agreed that the third movie, the one that set Chinese box-office records, would be difficult to trump, they were biased toward the latest installment. “We almost have to love it because it’s set here,” Padua said. If Hollywood has played its cards right, plenty more blockbusters will be too.

TIME brazil

Amid the World Cup, a Violent Reminder of Brazil’s Discontent

A protester jumps over a fire barricade during a protest against 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, on June 19, 2014.
A protester jumps over a fire barricade during a protest against 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, on June 19, 2014. Rahel Patrasso—Xinhua/Sipa USA

One of the largest demonstrations over the course of the World Cup so far turned violent in São Paulo

Antigovernment riots, ostensibly calling for free public transit in Brazil, broke out in São Paulo on Thursday night, turning increasingly violent while the World Cup match between England and Uruguay ended on the other side of town.

More than a thousand people had gathered initially to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a successful protest against a transit-fare hike, Reuters reports. However, such transport protests are typically a flash point for deep-seated frustrations over poverty and government spending.

Though things were at first peaceful — as most of the recent demonstrations across Brazil over the course of the World Cup have been — the protest quickly escalated when groups of masked men began to set fires in the street and shatter bank windows.

It was one of the largest Brazilian protests during the World Cup soccer tournament thus far, and the first to become overtly violent, although a police spokesperson reported no injuries to either protesters or foreign soccer fans.

Most of the demonstrations in the past few weeks have sought to confront a government that protesters say pays insufficient attention to both public resources and its employees.

TIME Theater

The Guy Who Lied About Apple Sweatshops Has Stuff to Say About Women

Monalongist Mike Daisey
Mike Daisey photographed at Carroll Gardens Park in Brooklyn on July 9, 2012. James Patrick Cooper—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Mike Daisey's latest endeavor has returned him to the public eye, though the guy can't seem to catch a break

Mike Daisey is a self-described “monologist” who says he likes his work to be “provocative.” If you’re one of the 2.1 million individuals who tune into This American Life each week, you may know him better as the guy who made up a bunch of stuff about Foxconn factories in China in order to sustain his blistering indictment of capitalism.

Even though he defended his deceit — “the tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism” — he’s kept an understandably low profile since the otherwise docile Ira Glass essentially skewered him on-air two years ago in a rare retraction of the original program.

Daisey’s latest endeavor has returned him to the public eye, though the guy can’t seem to catch a break.

Next week, he will take to the stage in New York City to perform a monologue that will scrutinize, he says, “how our world is built on the subjugation and ownership of women, and how men perpetuate that violence every day.” He’s calling it Yes This Man, a play on the hashtag #YesAllWomen, which first surfaced on Twitter as a tool of solidarity after the recent mass shooting in Santa Barbara, Calif. (The young perpetrator released a misogynistic manifesto immediately prior to the attack.)

#YesAllWomen was in fact the original title of Daisey’s performance until a Twitter tempest forced him to admit that people were “genuinely hurt” by what they saw as insensitivity, or maybe just shameless topicality.

Rampant misogyny, according to Daisey, is an American epidemic and constructs an “untellable story” — one that he’ll try to tell, of course, because he’s, well, provocative.

“Daisey doesn’t try to speak for women,” the monologue’s description reads. “Instead he interrogates his own history and choices as a way of framing a human discussion about how it could be possible to live an authentic life where we actually see one another.”

His musings on the matter can be heard at Joe’s Pub in lower Manhattan, where he’ll be performing the monologue on June 25.

TIME Companies

American Apparel Fires Controversial Founder and CEO Dov Charney

American Apparel owner Dov Charney speaks during a May Day rally protest march for immigrant rights, in downtown Los Angeles
American Apparel owner Dov Charney speaks during a May Day rally march for immigrant rights in downtown Los Angeles on May 1, 2009 Mario Anzuoni—Reuters

The decision comes after an "investigation into alleged misconduct" prompted by years of negative publicity

American Apparel’s board of directors voted on Wednesday to strip chief executive officer, president and chairman Dov Charney of all three titles, citing an “ongoing investigation into [Charney’s] alleged misconduct.”

Charney will step down immediately and serve a contractual 30-day suspension, at which point his termination will be effective, Business Wire reported on Wednesday night.

“We take no joy in this, but the board felt it was the right thing to do,” said Allan Mayer, a director of the company, who will succeed Charney as as co-chairman of the board. “Dov Charney created American Apparel, but the company has grown much larger than any one individual, and we are confident that its greatest days are still ahead.”

Shares of the company–which has not reported profits in 16 out of the last 17 quarters–surged as high as 20 percent on Thursday morning. Many analysts noted that investors were heartened by the change in management.

“We believe investors will generally view this news positively, given perceived prior mismanagement and the potential for reduced future headline risk,” Roth Capital Partners told its clients, according to Reuters.

Charney founded the company in 1989 and took it public in 2006, but his leadership has been fraught with controversy. Several sexual-harassment lawsuits against him remain pending.

Director David Danziger will join Mayer as the company’s co-chairman. Executive vice president and chief financial officer John Luttrell will serve as interim CEO until the board decides on a replacement.

TIME Hollywood

Colin Firth Is Paddington Bear No More

Colin Firth arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York
Actor Colin Firth arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in Manhattan on May 5, 2014 Carlo Allegri—Reuters

The split was amicable, both Firth and filmmakers say, and the film is still on schedule for a Christmas release

Paddington Bear, the beloved anthropomorphized creature of children’s literature, will no longer be voiced by Colin Firth, the beloved English actor of stage and screen, in the upcoming film adaptation of the picture-book series. Though a replacement for Firth hasn’t yet been determined, the Weinstein Company still aims to release the project in the U.S. on Christmas Day as planned.

The actor’s split from the film was amicable, according to both Firth and director Paul King.

“We love the voice and we love the bear, but as our young bear came into being we agreed that the two didn’t seem to fit,” King said in a statement. “So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways.”

“It’s been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn’t have my voice,” Firth told Entertainment Weekly. “I’ve had the joy of seeing most of the film, and it’s going to be quite wonderful.”

Beyond finding a voice actor to replace Firth, work on the animated film is almost complete. Filmmakers released a trailer back in March — with Firth’s voice absent.

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