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 • Headlines: Thursday, October 22, 1:45 PM   (More news)
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  The European Parliament announced Thursday that the Sakharov Prize for human rights and freedom of thought will be awarded to the democratic opposition in Belarus in December. The Belarus opposition has organized peaceful mass protests to fight for democracy following allegations of widespread fraud in the presidential election in August, according to the European Parliament. Protesters took to the streets after Aug. 9 polls showed that the authoritarian incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko had won a sixth term with nearly 80% of the vote against his main challenger, opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Ten days after the election, the European Council, the ruling body of the European Union, said it didn't recognize the results of the presidential election because it determined it was "neither free nor fair." The Lukashenko regime "responded with an unprecedented level of violence and repression, but Belarusian society did not give up and has continued to protest, even after many of the opposition leaders have been imprisoned or exiled," the European Parliament said in a statement. Belarus opposition representatives will be awarded the Sakharov Prize, consisting of a certificate and monetary award of 50,000 euros, on Dec. 16, during the plenary session of the European Parliament. Tsikhanouskaya "has become the emblem of this peaceful Belarusian revolution," according to profile of the 2020 Sakharov Prize laureate. She created the Coordination Council to facilitate the democratic transfer of power, which the profile said was an "initiative of brave women." Other Coordination Council representatives, who have "become the symbol of the opposition and offered hope to Belarusians," according to the profile, will also be awarded the human rights prize, including Svetlana Alexievich, Maryia Kalesnikava, Volha Kavalkova and Veranika Tsapkala. Representatives who have supported the women, including other political activists, human rights defenders, oppositions politicians and youth leaders, will also receive the prize, including Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Ales Bialiatski, Siarhei Dyleuski, Stsiapan Putsila and Mikola Statkevich. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, more commonly known as the Sakharov Prize, is named after Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and activist for disarmament, peace and human rights, Nobel Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989). The prize honors individuals and groups who have dedicated their lives to the human rights and made contributions to freedom of thought. It was awarded for the first time in 1988 to South African anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) and soviet dissident and author Anatoli Marchenko (1938-1986). Last year's winner was Uygur economist fighting for the rights of China's Uyghur minority Ilham Toti.
  Nintendo announced Thursday it will be releasing the first Fire Emblem game for the Nintendo Switch on Dec. 4. This will be the first time that the original Fire Emblem will be officially localized in English and released in North America. The title originally appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System and was not released outside of Japan. The game, fully titled Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, will be available to download digitally from the Nintendo eShop for $5.99 for a limited time. Nintendo will also be releasing a physical, 30th anniversary edition of the game for $49.99 that includes a Nintendo Entertainment System game box, a deluxe art book, a download code for the game and a Nintendo Power collectible. The new version of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light will come with enhancements such as a save-state function and a new rewind and fast-forward feature. Players in North America were first introduced to Fire Emblem characters such as Marth in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee. The series has gained popularity worldwide with Nintendo releasing the latest entry in the series titled Fire Emblem: Three Houses for the Switch in July 2019.
  Machine Gun Kelly is back with a new music video. The 30-year-old singer and rapper released a video Thursday for the song "Forget Me Too." In the "Forget Me Too" video, Machine Gun Kelly and Halsey play a couple in a dysfunctional relationship. The song is produced by and features Blink-182's Travis Barker on drums. "You want me to forget you / Okay, forget me too / You tell me you hate me, baby / Yeah, I bet you do / I'm keepin' you waiting / But I won't wait on you," Machine Gun Kelly and Halsey sing. "Forget Me Too" appears on Machine Gun Kelly's fifth studio album, Tickets to My Downfall, released in September. The album also features the singles "Bloody Valentine," "Concert for Aliens," "My Ex's Best Friend" and "Drunk Face." Machine Gun Kelly discussed working with Halsey in an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music this month. Machine Gun Kelly said it took Halsey only moments to write her verse. "It took her five minutes to write that verse, I could tell you that much," he said. "She was in it. That was the quickest feature session I've ever had in my life." Halsey released her third album, Manic, in January. She has since released the EP Collabs, featuring songs with Suga, Juice Wrld and other artists.
  South Korea says it is in discussion with the United States following the discovery of defects on a newly acquired Global Hawk drone. Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Thursday the drones purchased through the United States' Foreign Military Sales program were delivered after a quality review, but some flaws were found on the unmanned aircraft, South Korean news service Newsis reported. The statement from DAPA comes after South Korea's Air Force had disclosed "problems" with Global Hawk parts. The Air Force had said an oil leak was found in the landing gear of one of the drones. As part of a 2011 deal valued at $847.2 million, South Korea purchased four RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft. The first unit arrived in Korea in December, and the last unit was delivered in September, according to Yonhap on Tuesday. DAPA said the agency is working closely with the U.S. government and manufacturer Northrop Grumman to resolve the issues. The Global Hawk could give South Korea an advantage over the North. The aircraft can provide near-real-time coverage, using imagery and signals intelligence as well as sensors. The Global Hawk is capable of monitoring the entire area of North Korea, day or night, regardless of weather conditions, according to Newsis. South Korea is one of the top 10 buyers of U.S. manufactured weapons, and has imported $6.28 billion worth of U.S. weapons from 2014 to 2018, according to South Korea's Defense Agency for Technology and Quality, an organization under DAPA. MoneyToday reported Thursday Seoul's presidential National Security Council met to discuss the alliance with the United States, following a bilateral Security Consultative Meeting last week in Washington. President Moon Jae-in's aides may be concerned conditions-based transition of wartime operational control, or OPCON, may not occur before May 2022. Moon could be aiming for a completed transition before he leaves office. U.S. officials may not be in agreement to complete the transfer from the U.S.-led U.N. Command before then, according to South Korean press reports.
  A Taiwan student broke a Guinness World Record when he was able to bounce a soap bubble 290 times on his hand before it popped. Chang Yu-Te of Taoyuan said he became interested in bubble performance after seeing a video online of someone else attempting the record, and he started to practice for his own attempt. Guinness tweeted a video showing Chang's official attempt. He was able to complete 290 bounces with a single bubble, enough to capture the record.
  iCarly alum Nathan Kress is going to be a dad of two. The 27-year-old actor is expecting his second child, a daughter, with his wife, London Kress, after multiple miscarriages. Kress shared the news Wednesday on Instagram alongside a photo of himself with London Kress and their 2-year-old daughter, Rosie Carolyn. "Absolutely thrilled to announce that Baby Girl #2 is well on the way!! After multiple previous miscarriages, we can thankfully report that mom and baby are doing perfectly so far. Yet another reason to be excited for 2021!!!" he captioned the post. London Kress confirmed the news in a post on her own account. "After multiple miscarriages, you have been so carefully and specifically chosen," she told her unborn child. "It is YOU. NOW. We are over the sun, moon and stars excited to meet you!" "We know nothing is ever certain, but what is certain is that no matter what, you are being fully celebrated by mommy, daddy & your big sister Rosie!" she said. "We know that everything happens for a reason, & you are that reason, my precious one. We cannot wait to meet you, baby girl." Actresses Alycia Debnam-Carey and Trinitee Stokes, and dancer and choreographer Marinda Davis were among those to congratulate the couple in the comments. "Ahhhh!! Congratulations!! Sending so much love to you all," Debnam-Carey wrote. Kress and London Kress married in November 2015. The couple celebrated Rosie's second birthday in December. "You are a walking (sorry, sprinting), talking, singing, POWERHOUSE of a human being," Kress said on Instagram. "You are impossibly energetic, as spirited as the day is long, and your infectious personality charms every single person you meet. You still never stop moving, exploring, observing, absorbing. The world is just not enough." Kress played Freddie Benson on iCarly, which aired for six seasons on Nickelodeon. He has since appeared on Major Crimes and Hawaii Five-0.
  Wildlife officials in Florida are taking care of an unusual snake brought in by a woman whose cat dragged the serpent inside her home, leading to the discovery that the reptile has two heads. Kay Rogers said her daughter's cat, Olive, brought a snake into the living room of the family's Palm Harbor home and after rescuing the reptile from the feline they noticed the small snake has two heads. "Originally I thought my daughter was kidding when she said that. Then I saw him and was amazed, I had never seen anything like that," Rogers told WKMG-TV. The snake, a black racer that Rogers' daughter named Dos, is now in the care of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Research Institute. "This phenomenon, termed bicephaly, is uncommon but happens during embryo development when two monozygotic twins failed to separate, leaving the heads conjoined onto a single body. Both head's tongue flick and react to movement, but not always in the same way," the FWC said in a Facebook post. Officials said Dos would be unlikely to survive in the wild due to its pair of independent brains making it difficult for the animal to eat and escape from predators.
  Tom Holland released on Instagram Thursday the first photo of himself in costume as Nathan Drake in the upcoming Uncharted film adaptation. "It's nice to meet you, I'm Nate #uncharted," the actor captioned the image, which features Holland standing inside a destroyed building. Holland is wearing Drake's signature long-sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Uncharted, from director Ruben Fleischer, is set to arrive in theaters on July 16, 2021. Antonio Banderas and Mark Wahlberg as Drake's mentor and friend Sully also star. The film will feature Holland as a younger Drake and will give an origin story for the character. Uncharted is a video game series from developer Naughty Dog that appears exclusively on Sony's PlayStaton brand. The series follows Drake and his friends as he explores lost ruins and obtains ancient relics, much in the same vein as Indiana Jones. Fleischer joined the film adaptation following the exits of six other directors. Holland, best known for portraying Spider-Man in the Marvel cinematic universe, has been attached to the project since 2017. Nolan North, who voices Drake in the video games, posted on Instagram Thursday how he met Holland on the set of the film. "Thanks for the walkthrough on @UnchartedMovie. Couldn't be happier that you're Nathan Drake, @TomHolland2013. Good luck with the 'half tuck'," North said.
  Singer Alicia Keys and actresses America Ferrera and Kerry Washington will host the CBS special Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy next week. The network said in a press release Thursday that the one-hour special will air Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. EDT on CBS. It will also stream on CBS All Access, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. The special will feature appearances by Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Cobie Smulders, Coldplay, Condoleezza Rice, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, John Kasich, Kelly Clarkson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Natalie Portman, Shaquille O'Neal, Tan France, Wilmer Valderrama and other stars. Keys, Dan + Shay, Offset, Shawn Mendes and other artists are slated to perform. Every Vote Counts will honor and celebrate the power of voting. The special aims "to uplift the power of civic action" and "celebrate the precious value" of people's right to vote. "The purpose for this special is to remind and inspire all Americans of the power of their voice and their vote," Keys said in a statement. "It's a challenging time but we have the opportunity to continue to show up and shape the world we want to live in. " "In a democracy, every vote counts, so we want to encourage and uplift each other and remember we all have a say in the direction of our country because everyone's participation matters," she added. "Also, for many young people across the country, this is their first time voting so we want to make sure they understand the magnitude of this time and learn why this is one of the most exciting moments in the democratic process." Washington said she is "thrilled" to join Keys and Ferrera for the special. "For our democracy to work, every American's voice must be hard and every vote must be counted. We are so excited for this opportunity to celebrate democracy and our collective power when we all show up at the polls," she said. Other networks will air election specials ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, including Nickelodeon. Keke Palmer will host Nick News: Kids Pick the President on Oct. 27. In addition, many celebrities have encouraged voting in movie reenactments, parody videos and other special projects.
  Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says if he's elected, he will assign a panel of experts to study the U.S. Supreme Court and make recommendations about whether reforms are needed. Biden made the remarks in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, which will air on Sunday. CBS released a preview of the interview on Thursday. Asked again about whether he might "pack" the Supreme Court, expanding it to include more seats, Biden answered that the bipartisan commission would study a "range of reforms." Biden has been asked several times about the prospect of adding Supreme Court seats for ideological balance -- particularly after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Senate Republicans' rush to confirm President Donald Trump's third appointee, Amy Coney Barrett. During a town hall event last week, Biden promised he'd have a full answer for voters before Election Day. He'd previously declined to give a detailed answer over concerns it would take the focus off Republicans' efforts to confirm Barrett, despite their blocking President Barack Obama's nominee four years ago because it was too close to a presidential election. Neither Biden nor vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris have vowed to expand the size of the Supreme Court. In excerpts of the 60 Minutes interview, Biden suggested the bipartisan commission would make recommendations on the makeup of the high court, as well as other relevant issues. "I'll put together a national commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative," he said. "And I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it's getting out of whack." Asked by CBS News correspondent Norah O'Donnell if the commission would study expanding the high court, Biden said it would weigh alternatives that "go well beyond 'packing.'" "The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football; whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want," he said. "Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations." Trump and Senate Republicans have ignored Democrats' calls to let the winner of the Nov. 3 election choose the next Supreme Court justice. The Senate judiciary committee held confirmation hearings last week, and Thursday approved her nomination and advanced it to the full Senate for a final vote. Barrett's full Senate vote is scheduled for Monday, when she will need only a simple majority to win confirmation.

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