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The Hollywood sign above homes in the Hollywood Hills.
Enlarge this image Mario Tama/Getty Images Hollywood crew members and major studios have averted a nationwide strike that would have shut down much of film and TV production. The tentative agreement must still be ratified by the union's members. According to IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the new three year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) includes giving a "living wage: for the lowest paid earners in the union, improved wages and working conditions for streaming, retroactive wage increases of three percent annually, increased meal penalties, daily rest periods of 10 hours, weekend rest periods of 54 hours" and "significant increases in compensation to be paid by new-media companies." In addition, IATSE reports that union workers will get Martin Luther King Jr's birthday added as a holiday. And the union says there are new diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. On IATSE's website, President Matt Loweb said, "This is a Hollywood ending. " Earlier this month, crew members in the union IATSE, voted to authorize a strike if they couldn't reach a deal with the AMPTP. They'd been negotiating over pay, work schedules and more since May. A strike would have effectively shut down much of the film and TV production in the country. The union announced today that they've reached a deal. At issue were quality of life issues and the health and safety of those who work behind the scenes in the film and television industry. That includes cinematographers, lighting technicians, makeup artists and the food workers who feed the casts and crews. In recent weeks, many have been sharing their stories on social media, where some have complained of grueling call times that cause sleep deprivation and little time to be with their families. Some were asking to be compensated more for productions that are streamed online and not released theatrically. They've been working with lower rates since 2009, when the streamers were just beginning. The arts and entertainment industries have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. According to a recent report by Americans for the Arts, 63% of artists and creative workers were unemployed at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Adblock test (Why?) [...]
Sun, Oct 17, 2021
Source: Headlines -NPR Category: TOP NEWS
Enlarge this image Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks to members of the media while departing the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 7. Manchin has reportedly told the White House that he opposes the key climate measure in Biden's multitrillion-dollar climate and social programs package. Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg via Getty Images President Biden had promised to halve U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, but an essential tool the administration planned to use to achieve that goal now appears out of reach. The New York Times reported Friday that Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat, has indicated to the White House that he opposes the key climate measure in Biden's multitrillion-dollar climate and social programs package. The president needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators in order to pass the measure through a process known as reconciliation. The program in question is the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would financially reward utilities that transition to renewable energy and penalize those which do not. Experts say that the program would sharply reduce greenhouse gas pollution tied to electricity generation — which today accounts for roughly a quarter of U.S. emissions. Manchin is at odds with his Democratic colleagues Manchin, who leads the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said during an appearance on CNN in September that energy companies are already transitioning to clean energy. "Now they're wanting to pay companies to do what they're already doing," he said. "Makes no sense to me at all for us to take billions of dollars and pay utilities for what they're going to do as the market transitions." Manchin's office did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday. Sen. Tina Smith, a Minnesota Democrat and champion of the clean energy measures, said in an interview with the Star Tribune newspaper that Manchin's characterization is "just not right." "In fact, what we're doing is we're providing utilities with support, so that they can rapidly add clean power without raising utility rates," Smith said. Ties to the fossil fuel industry Coal is a dominant industry in Manchin's home state of West Virginia. As of 2019, the state is the second-largest U.S. coal producer and relies on the fuel for 91% of its energy needs. The energy sector accounts for 6% of the state's employment, compared with a national average of roughly 2%. The senator also has personal financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. Last year, according to his public financial disclosure, Manchin received about $492,000 in dividends on stock from Enersystems, Inc., the coal business he founded in 1988, which is now controlled by his son Joseph. According to OpenSecrets, which tracks political fundraising, Manchin is the top recipient of donations from the oil and gas and coal mining industries this election cycle. After news broke of Manchin's reported opposition to the clean energy program, Smith issued a warning to the White House on Twitter. "Let's be clear: the Build Back Better budget must meaningfully address climate change," Smith said, using the administration's branding for the legislative package. "I'm open to different approaches, but I cannot support a bill that won't get us where we need to be on emissions," Smith said. "There are 50 Democratic senators. Every one of us is needed get this passed." Smith told NPR this month that she and Manchin have been in regular contact about Manchin's concerns. U.S. credibility is on the line In two weeks, world leaders will meet in Scotland for a major United Nations conference on climate change, COP26. President Biden and John Kerry, his climate envoy, have been working to build U.S. credibility on climate issues after years of inaction and climate change denialism. In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Kerry said that the administration's trouble passing its own climate policies hurts the effort to spur climate action abroad. "I'm not going to pretend it's the best way to send the best message. I mean, we need to do these things," Kerry said. He said that if Congress fails to pass significant climate change legislation, "it would be like President [...]
Sat, Oct 16, 2021
Source: Headlines -NPR Category: TOP NEWS
Enlarge this image A screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing on Saturday shows Chinese astronauts Ye Guangfu (from left), Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping waving after entering the Chinese space station. Tian Dingyu/Xinhua via AP Tian Dingyu/Xinhua via AP BEIJING — Chinese astronauts began Saturday their six-month mission on China's first permanent space station, after successfully docking their spacecraft. The astronauts, two men and a woman, were seen floating around the module before speaking via a live-streamed video. The new crew includes Wang Yaping, 41, who is the first Chinese woman to board the Tiangong space station, and is expected to become China's first female spacewalker. "We'll co-operate with each other, carefully conduct maneuvers, and try to accomplish all tasks successfully in this round of exploration of the universe," said Wang in the video. The space travelers' Shenzhou-13 spacecraft was launched by a Long March-2F rocket at 12:23 a.m. Saturday and docked with the Tianhe core module of the space station at 6:56 a.m. The three astronauts entered the station's core module at about 10 a.m., the China Manned Space Agency said. They are the second crew to move into China's Tiangong space station, which was launched last April. The first crew stayed three months. The new crew includes two veterans of space travel — Zhai Zhigang, 55, and Wang. The third member, Ye Guangfu, 41, is making his first trip to space. The mission's launch was seen off by a military band and supporters singing "Ode to the Motherland," underscoring national pride in the space program, which has advanced rapidly in recent years. The crew will do three spacewalks to install equipment in preparation for expanding the station, assess living conditions in the Tianhe module, and conduct experiments in space medicine and other fields. China's military-run space program plans to send multiple crews to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional. When completed with the addition of two more sections — named Mengtian and Wentian — the station will weigh about 66 tons, much smaller than the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs around 450 tons. Two more Chinese modules are due to be launched before the end of next year during the stay of the yet-to-be-named Shenzhou-14 crew. China's Foreign Ministry on Friday renewed its commitment to cooperation with other nations in the peaceful use of space. Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said sending humans into space was a "common cause of mankind." China would "continue to extend the depth and breadth of international cooperation and exchanges" in crewed spaceflight and "make positive contributions to the exploration of the mysteries of the universe," he said. China was excluded from the International Space Station largely due to U.S. objections over the Chinese program's secretive nature and close military ties, prompting it to launch two experimental modules before starting on the permanent station. This combination of photos screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docking with China's space station. Tian Dingyu/Xinhua via AP [...]
Sat, Oct 16, 2021
Source: Headlines -NPR Category: TOP NEWS