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Mindy Kaling Gets Real About Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – HuffPost

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Mindy Kaling discussed “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” while promoting her partnership with Protein One.

It feels as if everyone and their mother is watching “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” the new Netflix show about decluttering. That includes Mindy Kaling.

The actress and writer made a funny reference to Kondo’s best-selling books and “spark joy” method of organizing on her show “The Mindy Project” in 2016. 

During the season 4 episode “There’s No Crying in Softball,” her character, Mindy Lahiri, remarks, “I did that Japanese decluttering thing where you hold something, and if it doesn’t bring you joy, you throw it out. I got rid of all my vegetables and the electric bill.”

So naturally, she checked out Kondo’s show after it premiered on Jan. 1. Kaling shared her thoughts on “Tidying Up” with HuffPost while promoting her new partnership with Protein One.

“I saw the first episode. She’s so adorable and seems incredibly wise,” said Kaling. “Her little, tiny dresses and cardigans. She looks like a Christmas ornament. I’m very taken by her.”

Kaling said she was struck by one thing about “Tidying Up” that she feels differentiates it from other decluttering and makeover shows. 

“When she came in and gave her advice, I thought, ‘Oh, she’s going to sit there and help them do their whole house.’ But then she just quietly disappears, and they have to do it themselves. And I think I’m much more used to the shows like ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ or ‘Queer Eye’ where they kind of do everything for you,” Kaling said.  

“And I thought that was very profound because even though it’s made for much less of a delicious before-and-after montage, I hope that’s how you actually learn how to make the change yourself, versus just having someone swoop in and then two weeks later, you’re a slob because you didn’t actually do any of it yourself,” she continued. “I thought that was very profound ― although I did wish the before and afters were a little bit more dramatic. But I was very transfixed by her. I mean, who wouldn’t be?”

So is Kaling going to start asking her 1-year-old daughter, Katherine, which toys spark joy for her?

“Oh, no!” she exclaimed. “I’m in that phase when you quietly in the dark of night take away toys that irritate you and like, put them in the garage. That’s what I’ve been doing.”

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Women In Animation President Shocked And Distressed By Skydances Hiring Of John Lasseter – Cartoon Brew

In light of this dangerous situation, WIA president Marge Dean wrote a letter that was published on Facebook this morning in which she said she was “shocked and distressed by the decision of Skydance to bring John Lasseter back into the community and reward him so well.” The hiring, she wrote, “triggered in me the same feelings that I’ve had in abuse situations. Fundamentally, I felt disregarded and trivialized.”

But she also said that it was futile to fight against Lasseter’s hiring. “I realized that we can’t control who corporations hire no matter how much we protest, make statements in the press, get companies to commit to zero tolerance for harassment, or the myriad other proactive things that are being done,” she said. “Fighting to keep work environments free of predators is important, but it’s not as effective a strategy as empowering women to take care of themselves and each other.”

Women in Animation president Marge Dean.
Women in Animation president Marge Dean.

Dean says that while it’s important to create safe workplaces, it’s more important for women “to speak up for ourselves and others” and “to engage in the discussion in places that we can have impact.” She said that women “need to get stronger both emotionally and physically [and] need to not be afraid.”

Dean said that rather focusing on misbehaving men, it would be better to focus on the “positive accomplishments of brilliant women,” specifically citing last week’s hiring of Margie Cohn as the president of Dreamworks Animation. She also stressed Women in Animation’s goal of having a 50/50% workforce by 2025, saying that “more women in a studio is the best prevention for harassment.”

Below is the full text of Dean’s letter:

Last week’s announcement regarding the hiring of John Lasseter by Skydance has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. While many have asked WIA to comment on the news, to be honest, I’d much rather talk about the amazing Margie Cohn who was just made president of Dreamworks Animation. I wish our attention could stay more on the positive accomplishments of brilliant women than the bad behavior of some men.

Like everyone else I was shocked and distressed by the decision of Skydance to bring John Lasseter back into the community and reward him so well. I went through a roller coaster of emotions that have taken a few days to sort through. The announcement triggered in me the same feelings that I’ve had in abuse situations.

Fundamentally, I felt disregarded and trivialized. Harassment has been allowed to exist (and some would say flourish) in the creative industries because talent always takes precedence over everything else…where the safety of an individual is deemed less important than the success of the greater goals; where the feelings of violation and fear are seen as an over-reaction to what has happened; where there is outright denial of someone’s very personal, painful experiences.

The single biggest effect of the events last year is that we saw men experiencing consequences for their bad behavior. We had never seen that on such a scale before. It empowered us and gave us hope that things could be different. The Lasseter decision seems to have weakened that giant step forward, and I felt panic that our progress was being undermined. The sense of security that women didn’t need to be afraid to be in the workplace was shaken.

When I came out the other side of being upset and pretty freaked out, I realized that we can’t control who corporations hire no matter how much we protest, make statements in the press, get companies to commit to zero tolerance for harassment, or the myriad other proactive things that are being done. Fighting to keep work environments free of predators is important, but it’s not as effective a strategy as empowering women to take care of themselves and each other.

Most stories that I’ve heard about sexual harassment happen in secret moments when no one else is around. Deniability is usually a key component. In talking with supervisors, I usually hear distressed and remorseful stories that they were unaware that something was going on under their noses. Companies are responsible for how they react after the fact–Do they believe the victim? Do they fire the perpetrator no matter how important he is to their bottom line? But what if we could stop it before it happens? What if we have an empowered workforce that will not allow the mistreatment to happen to themselves or co-workers? Maybe that would be more effective.

It’s critical that we take responsibility for protecting ourselves and our colleagues, especially for women. This will include requiring our employers to build safe workplaces, to have no tolerance for harassment, and to sacrifice their golden ticket if required. But more importantly, we need to speak up for ourselves and others. We need to engage in the discussion in places that we can have impact. We need to know what resources are out there for us. We need to get stronger both emotionally and physically. We need to not be afraid.

As an advocacy group, WIA is committed to pushing for a safe working place for all people in animation, especially women of all shades and people of color, and others who are easily targeted. If you are subjected to harassment and need information, you can find resources on our website: http://womeninanimation.org/sexualharassment

And as a final thought for those people who run studios and build animation production teams: if you really want to help fight sexual harassment (or just not get bad press anymore), then hire more women. If you have a workforce that is 50% female, those secret moments of vulnerability become harder to find. There will be more invested and aware eyes in the workplace. On the surface, WIA’s call to action of 50-50 by 2025 seems like it’s just about equity, but the truth is that a more balanced workforce will change everything, from the content that is made to the culture of the studios. More women in a studio is the best prevention for harassment.

And then, hopefully, we’ll get to talk more about the amazing women of animation and less about misbehaving men.

What we saw at a live taping of Foxs The Masked Singer

The Masked Singer is bizarre and a little bit tacky, but it’s also the most engrossing reality singing competition since The Voice debuted seven years ago.

Fox’s new show follows unidentified celebrities dressed in elaborate face-concealing costumes belting Top 40 hits in hopes of winning a grand trophy. It’s the American adaption of the Korean original King of Masked Singer where Ryan Reynolds famously sang “Tomorrow” from Annie dressed as a unicorn. It’s unclear if The Masked Singer will attract a similar cohort of A-List contestants, though it touts Grammy winners, Super Bowl champions, and Emmy nominees. But that’s part of the charm. Could they have actually booked Jack Black?

EW stopped by a mid-season taping on June 21, 2018, that was equal parts chaotic (the warm-up comedienne failed to fully energize the live audience) and thrilling (the costume designer deserves an Emmy for the ornate looks). Here’s what we saw.

It’s Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg’s world

Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg is joined on the panel by former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, singer Robin Thicke, as well as comedian Ken Jeong. Though Nick Cannon hosts, he stays on the side of the stage and doesn’t interact with the panelists who sit above the audience. The set-up doesn’t entirely work. They are a bit too far away from the action. You’d have to turn around to see their real-time reactions during the performances. But even from afar, McCarthy Wahlberg dominates with the best one-liners and biggest energy. Cannon, a former America’s Got Talent host, pales in comparison.

Come for the voices

Surprisingly, each contestant can actually sing. The audience came alive for the performances, watching the singers belt out hits like The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Lady Gaga’s “Diamond Heart,” and Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” Each singer is preceded by a video dropping little hints about their identity for the panelists who play a game of “Two Truths and a Lie.” They’re rarely ever right, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the voices that keep things interesting.

Stay for the costumes

One guest panelist, who hasn’t yet been announced, summed it up best when they said the show goes “from America’s Got Talent to America’s got freaks.” Everyone looked like they walked off the set of a Tim Burton film. There’s a steampunk Bee, a Liberace-inspired peacock, a futuristic Rabbit, and a monster that just might be the cousin of Sully from Monster’s Inc. (above). While lavish, the looks hindered many contestants from dancing across the stage.

It’s all about the reveal

No one knows who the celebrity contests are — not Cannon, not the panelists, and not even the producers or stagehands. That’s part of the excitement. Even Fox employees were on the edge of their seats waiting to find out who was sent home — Gigi Hadid? Paris Jackson? Kendall Jenner? The unmasking doesn’t actually occur right after the announcement. The singers are given time to head backstage to touch up their makeup and hair. But 20 minutes later, the reveal is still as satisfying after hours of guessing.

The Masked Singer premieres Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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Burning Bachelor style questions answered by wardrobe guru Cary Fetman

Remember that season of The Bachelorette when all of the guys were wearing scarves? Yeah, that was not Cary Fetman’s fault. As The Bachelor franchise’s chief wardrobe stylist, Fetman dresses the Bachelor/Bachelorette and host Chris Harrison, but he doesn’t provide any clothing for contestants. “I try to make sure that the cast can do what they need to do, and that’s why I never go near them,” he explains. (He does style the final two contestants for the finale.) As for Scarfgate, Fetman insists that his only involvement was stopping Harrison from adding to the neckwear chaos. “When Chris was wearing a scarf,” he says, “I’d take it off of him before he got in front of the camera.”

With that settled, rose lovers, read on for answers to some burning Bachelor style questions: What happens if two women are wearing the same dress? How many suitcases does it take to hold all of the Bachelor/Bachelorette’s clothing? And what kind of date does Fetman dread most?

What’s your style vibe for Colton?
He’s young and it’s kind of hard to not be doing some of the cooler prints this season, but at the same time [we’re] making him a little more sophisticated. Listen, he’s got an amazing body, he’s a great looking guy, and it’s not hard to just put him in something to wear. He likes shorts and printed shirts and things like that. He’s a rugged guy, but then the other day when he was in his tuxedo, he looked amazing. He can carry off both looks.

The women choose their own gowns for the cocktail parties — what do you think of the night-one looks?
You can see obviously the color of the night was red, you can see that rose-gold sequins were the look in the stores. There was a group [of women] in the beginning that were all wearing ruffles. We’re all captive to what the designers are doing in the stores where we can afford to shop.

Are you involved at all in what the women wear during the season?
I used to meet with them the night before and make sure that their clothes for the season didn’t have a lot of logos and stuff like that. Those days are gone where I even go in. My assistant went this morning to see if anyone needed anything steamed, and she said to me, “A couple of the girls are wearing the same dress.” Normally that would have been something I would have been having a fit about, saying, “No, one of them has to change!” But now we’re just letting [them do] whatever they want to do.

Do you go on the dates to style Colton?
I don’t go on the dates. I go and make sure that Colton’s taken care of in the morning, and either I or my assistant go at night to change him for the evening date.

You’re in charge of the Bachelor or Bachelorette’s entire wardrobe. How do you get all the clothes to where they need to be? Do you ship them ahead or bring everything with you?
I am the man that walks through the airport with all those suitcases. On a season [of The Bachelorette], I have probably like 14 suitcases with me. And with Colton, I’ll have about 8 suitcases. Don’t forget, it’s everything — it’s his underwear, it’s his workout clothes, if we’re going where we know he has a ski date, it’s ski clothes. When we’re traveling someplace cold, it’s a winter coat, a summer coat, you go from one climate to the other.

How long do you have to get the clothes ready before shooting begins?
We do a three-day fitting, and we fit everything.

What do you do if there’s a wardrobe emergency on a date, ripped pants or a broken zipper?
We just keep shooting. Accidents happen. A person splits their pants — you make a joke about it and you continue the night. It’s part of what life is and none of us take this that seriously, we really don’t. I think that’s why I started calming myself [about women showing up in the same dress], because this is life. You go into a party, there are only so many designers that we can all afford to buy, so the fact that girls are wearing the same kind of look is part of what a normal person would experience on the dating scene.

What is your least favorite type of date to style?
A date where I know they’re going to be either freezing or just really, really hot. When they’re uncomfortable and they’re hot and they’re getting sweat through their clothes and stuff, they feel like sh–, they look like sh–, and so there’s nothing pretty about it. Can we avoid it? Of course not. It’s part of our show. We do rugged things, we do sporty things. And if they’re so cold that I can’t get them to be comfortable, that’s just harder on me because I think to myself, “Damn, if I had just looked up one more thing, I probably could have found you something, an extra layer that could have gone underneath that.”

Were you dying watching poor Blake sweat so much during Becca’s finale?
He was so sweaty. It was so unbearably hot. It was like this side of Hell. Even she was hot. She also could not even walk, she had heels on. She kept insisting, “I can wear the heels.” She was finally like, “I’m taking my shoes off and walking across the sand.”

During Rachel’s finale [of The Bachelorette], she was looking stunning, she was wearing a $40,000 dress, feeling gorgeous, and all of a sudden [there was] a windstorm at that last second. It was insane. I’m watching sequins and hand-beaded crystals flying off and just threads blowing in the wind. A tree was falling over. There’s nothing you can do, you just keep shooting. You can’t stop — you could never recapture that moment of real life, so you just roll.

Who was your favorite Bachelor/Bachelorette to dress?
I’m like a parent. I don’t have favorites.

Do you have a least favorite?
Yes, not one I’ll ever tell. [laughs] I love each one for different reasons. Becca is the sweetest thing. Rachel just cracks me up. Rachel and I will crawl into bed together at my house — it’s now two years later, she still comes and stays at my house. She’s like, “I’m staying over for the night,” and the next thing I know it’s four days later. I’m like, “Are you ever going home?” And she’s like, “No, are you kicking me out?” Andi, still to this day — if she ever came to LA and the two of us did not get together, I’d beat her. And the boys, no different.

I’m the only one [on the show] who doesn’t need anything out of them, other than to [make sure] that they look good and they feel good. I’ve got nothing else to do. If you’re sad, I can listen to you be sad. I don’t need to make you happy. If you’re happy, I don’t need to make you sad. I can just be a real sounding board. You get this closeness that’s really hard when the show ends to say, “Okay, bye. Go enjoy your life.” Sometimes it happens, but for the most part, they all still check in with the old man to make sure that I still love them the most. Each season whether it be a girl or a boy, somebody will call and say, “Am I still your favorite?” “Yep. You know it!”

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We have had a lion attack: 911 call released from deadly mauling

“We have had a lion attack,” a woman calmly told 911 when a young, newly-hired intern was mauled at an animal center in North Carolina.

The lion was contained, the caller told 911, but the victim was “incapacitated,” according to the emergency call obtained by The News & Observer.

The deadly incident unfolded Sunday at the Conservators Center in Burlington when 22-year-old intern Alexandra Black was cleaning a lion enclosure with a husbandry team, the Conservators Center said in a statement.

PHOTO: Alexandra BlackCourtesy family of Alexandra Black
Alexandra Black

The lion “had been locked into a separate holding enclosure” but “somehow managed to enter the enclosure” where the team was working, killing Black, the center said. No one else was hurt.

The lion, Matthai, was euthanized by first responders, the center said.

PHOTO: Matthai the lion is seen here in this undated file photo.Conservators Center
Matthai the lion is seen here in this undated file photo.

It was not immediately clear how the animal escaped. The state is investigating what happened.

PHOTO: The Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., Dec. 30, 2018.WTVD/ABC11 via AP
The Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., Dec. 30, 2018.

Meanwhile, the center said its employees are “devastated” and “traumatized” by the death of “this vibrant, smart young woman.”

Black had worked at the Conservator Center for just 10 days, her family said.

PHOTO: An undated photo of Alexandra Black, who was attacked and killed by a lion at the Conservators Center in North Carolina.Courtesy family of Alexandra Black
An undated photo of Alexandra Black, who was attacked and killed by a lion at the Conservators Center in North Carolina.

Black loved animals and “died following her passion,” her family said.

“Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures,” her family said in a statement. “This was her fourth internship, because she really wanted to make a career of working with animals.”

“She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career,” her family said. “There was a terrible accident, and we are mourning.”

ABC News’ Chris Donato contributed to this report.

In unprecedented speech, Kim says N. Korea ready for another summit with US

Kim Jong Un says he is ready to sit down again with President Donald Trump — but also warned the United States against imposing more sanctions.

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During his annual televised New Year’s speech, the North Korean leader said he hopes a follow-up summit meeting will “produce an outcome welcomed by the international community.”

Kim and Trump met in June in Singapore for the first time in the history of the rival countries.

Donald Trump, Kim Jong UnThe Associated Press
Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un

But in the 30-minute speech on New Year’s Day, Kim also warned that North Korea may choose a “new path” if the United States continues to “break its promises and misjudges our patience by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure.”

In the months since the historic summit, leaders from both countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have been trying to negotiate a second meeting between Trump and Kim. Both countries, however, have been at an impasse about the progress of denuclearization.

Kim, meanwhile, also called for stronger ties with South Korea and announced a willingness to resume two inter-Korean cooperative projects in the North — Kaesong Industrial park and Mount Kumgang tourist resort — which had been halted due to strained relations.

PHOTO: In this undated image from video distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech.AP
In this undated image from video distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech.

Neither of those are currently possible for South Korea unless sanctions on the North are removed.

“Kim is hinting that if things come to worse, North Korea could go back to the economic-nuclear dual path,” Cheong Seong-chang, director of unification strategic studies program at the independent Seoul-based think tank Sejong Institute, told ABC News.

The North Korean leader is also indirectly demanding his neighbors to the South push the U.S. and U.N Security Council harder to lift sanctions in exchange for the two countries to resume inter-Korean cooperative projects, Cheong said.

Kim’s speech came against the backdrop of a new look with a modern setting — a carpeted library full of books, plush leather sofa and an armchair set with a mega-sized portrait painting of his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung hanging on the wall — a sharp contrast to his usual stiff public speeches at a podium in front of tens of thousands people who dutifully respond with thunderous applause.

“It looks like he wanted to show off” that he is ready and recharged to deal with the international community after the June summit, Cheong explained.

The new look also comes in the wake of three summits — two at the border town Panmunjom and the latest in Pyongyang — with South Korean President Moon Jae In, Cheong added.

“Up until even last year, he stood and read the New Year’s speech in a rather stiff and strong tone,” Cheong said. “But this time his voice was very calm and stable. It was unprecedented.”

ABC News’ Hakyung Kate Lee contributed to this report.

3 stabbed in New Years Eve terrorist attack in Manchester

A police officer was among three people stabbed on New Year’s Eve in Manchester, England, in what authorities are considering a “terrorist incident.”

The attack happened Monday just before 9 p.m. at the city’s Victoria train station, which is close to Manchester Arena. That’s where a suicide bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017.

“Last night we experienced a horrific attack on people out to simply enjoy the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Manchester,” said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

“That the incident happened so close to the scene of the terrorist attack on 22 May 2017 makes it even more dreadful,” Hopkins said.

The injuries to the victims, who were not identified, were serious but not considered life-threatening, police said.

PHOTO: Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester, England, on Jan. 1, 2019.Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester, England, on Jan. 1, 2019.

“My thoughts are with the couple, who are still being treated in hospital for their serious injuries, and with the brave British Transport police officer, who was also stabbed during the attack,” Hopkins added.

The officer has been released from the hospital, police said.

Officers tackled and detained a 30-year-old suspect shortly after the attack, police said.

PHOTO: Police restrain a man after he allegedly stabbed three people at Victoria Station in Manchester, England, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.Sam Clack/PA via AP
Police restrain a man after he allegedly stabbed three people at Victoria Station in Manchester, England, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May thanked first responders for their “courageous response.”

The suspect has not been identified or charged and is being held on suspicion of attempted murder.

There was not an ongoing threat stemming from the incident, said Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts, though extra officers will be visible on the streets and Britain’s official threat level is still set at “severe.”

Potts urged the public to come forward with any additional photos or video of the incident to help with the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Family of American detained in Russia for alleged spying concerned for his safety

The family of an American man arrested in Russia on spying charges has said they are certain he is innocent — and are worried about his well-being.

Paul Whelan was arrested Friday by Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, which said he was detained because he was conducting “spying activity.”

Whelan’s family said in a statement Tuesday that they are “deeply concerned about his safety and well-being.”

“His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected,” the statement read.

Whelan’s twin brother, David, told ABC News that Paul Whelan is 48 years old, a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Marines. Service records provided by the Marines show he served two tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2006. According to a statement from his employer, Whelan is currently the director of global security for BorgWarner Inc., a large American auto-parts supplier.

David Whelan told ABC News he can’t imagine his brother as a spy.

“He’s got a military background, he’s been in corporate security for years. He was former law enforcement. He was going to be very well aware of the risks of traveling in Russia,” he said Tuesday morning. “I just don’t see him putting himself in a position where he would be considered to break the law by a government like Russia’s.”

PHOTO: A woman walks on Red Square past the Kremlin after a night of heavy snowfall in Moscow, Dec. 6, 2018.Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images
A woman walks on Red Square past the Kremlin after a night of heavy snowfall in Moscow, Dec. 6, 2018.

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it had been notified by Russia of Whelan’s detention but that American diplomats had so far been unable to meet with him.

Last week, he was in Russia to attend the wedding of an old friend from the Marines, who was marrying a Russian woman, his family said. He had been staying at the upscale Metropol hotel in central Moscow and had been involved in the wedding party.

The group had toured city together, including visiting the Kremlin Friday morning, David Whelan said. That was the same day, Dec. 28, that Paul Whelan was detained.

The wedding was that night and his friends become concerned when Paul Whelan never appeared, his brother said. His friends hadn’t heard anything from Whelan since 5 p.m.

The silence “was very much out of character for him even when he was traveling,” the family said of Paul Whelan in the statement.

By Sunday, his friend filed a missing person report with the U.S. Embassy, according to David Whelan. The first the family heard of Paul Whelan’s whereabouts was when the FSB released its statement Monday announcing he been detained and accused of spying.

The FSB, which stands for the Federal Security Service, has not provided any more details about Whelan. The Russian government has not publicly provided any information on what Whelan is accused of or the allegations surrounding his arrest.

Whelan’s employer, BorgWarner, has collaborated for several years with Kamaz, Russia’s largest truck manufacturer, which is part of Rostec, a major state-owned conglomerate of strategic companies that produce defense technologies and armaments, among other products. There is no indication that this connection is related to Whelan’s arrest.

BorgWarner on Tuesday said it had no facilities in Russia and that Whelan had been on a personal trip.

A BorgWarner spokesperson told ABC News that as director of global security Whelan “is responsible for the security of our facilities, assets and people.”

“The company does not have any facilities in Russia. It’s our understanding that this was a personal trip. He was not there on business for BorgWarner,” the company said, adding that Whelan has worked there since 2017.

Prior to that, Whelan was employed by Kelly Services, a global temporary staffing agency, according to his brother.

“I can confirm that an individual named Paul Whelan worked for Kelly Services until February 2016. Kelly has yet to confirm whether this former employee is the same individual reported upon in the news stories,” Kelly Services told ABC News in a brief statement.

David Whelan said as far as he was aware his brother was more involved in physical security of factories and facilities, ensuring things like proper exits and preventing scrap metal from being stolen, rather than private intelligence or cybersecurity activity for the company.

He said his brother had visited Russia previously, traveling for personal and work reasons. Paul Whelan gave an interview to a Marine publication about a trip to Moscow in 2007 while he as on R&R leave during one of his tours in Iraq.

Paul Whelan was supposed to travel with the wedding party to St. Petersburg, his brother said, and was scheduled to fly back home on Jan. 6.

Whelan’s arrest follows another high-profile spy case involving the United States and Russia. A young gun rights activist named Maria Butina pleaded guilty last month to illegally acting as a foreign agent.

PHOTO: Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, April 21, 2013.AP, FILE
Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, April 21, 2013.

U.S. prosecutors accused Butina of trying to infiltrate the Republican Party through American conservative organizations, acting on behalf of a well-connected Russian banking official.

The Butina is loosely connected to the sprawling special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Robert Mueller’s prosecutors are still probing, but have already uncovered a plot by Russian intelligence agencies to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump and to undermine his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

PHOTO: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the Capitol, June 19, 2013.CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the Capitol, June 19, 2013.

Russia has claimed the Butina case is a fabricated witch hunt and has accused the U.S. of taking her hostage for political reasons.

John Sipher, a former veteran CIA officer who once ran the agency’s Russia operations, told ABC News he was suspicious of the Kremlin’s claims.

“You need to recall that the Russian definition of espionage and spying is extremely flexible and covers all sorts of things that we would not consider illegal in any way,” he said. “It is a law specifically written to allow [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to define it any way he wishes.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the top military staff in the Russian Defense Ministrys headquarters in Moscow, Dec. 18, 2018.Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, FILE
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the top military staff in the Russian Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Moscow, Dec. 18, 2018.

“It would be easy for him to arrest almost anybody and accuse them of espionage,” Sipher added.

El nuevo show de Cirque du Soleil es colorido, dinámico – y está lleno de tecnología

Un chico de pelo azul hecho a base de plumas inmerso en un mundo gris controlado por los dispositivos y la falsa fama intenta encontrar su verdadera identidad. En esa búsqueda hallará un mundo diferente: lleno de colores, de nostálgicos recuerdos de la infancia y de la libertad que permitirá romper las cadenas de la tecnología y la enajenación provocada por las redes sociales y los llamados reality shows.

Aunque la premisa de Volta, el espectáculo más reciente de Cirque du Soleil presentado en California, es un tanto apocalíptica, el resultado en escena es mucho más divertido, ameno y emocionante.

Y aunque hace una fuerte crítica a la dependencia actual de la sociedad en la tecnología, Cirque du Soleil hace mucho uso de ésta para poder llevar a un sano puerto –lleno de colores y actos impresionantes– a Volta y su protagonista de pelo azul de plumas.

El espectáculo comienza en el foro del que parece ser un reality show, con un personaje llamado Mr. Wow que elige y descarta a los concursantes. Entre acrobacias, bromas y contorsiones, el chico del pelo azul pasa por distintas escenas que incluyen a un experto en trucos de bicicletas, a un grupo de acróbatas que entran y salen de las múltiples ventanas de una estructura giratorias, varios actos aéreos y música en vivo. En un acto, por ejemplo, aparece un grupo de personajes vestidos de gris que caminan viendo sus celulares sin hacer caso de lo que pasa a su alrededor. En otro, el personaje principal recuerda su infancia ente proyecciones y acrobacias. Conforme el personaje halla su verdadera identidad, el escenario se llena más y más de color.

Las acrobacias, diseño del escenario, los vestuarios y los efectos especiales de Volta no decepcionan, como es común en los espectáculos de Cirque du Solei.

Planear y armar un show como Volta toma entre 18 y 24 meses. La producción incluye 128 empleados, de los cuales unos 40 están encargados de la tecnología, además de unos 50 artistas de todo tipo.

Cirque du Soleil presenta 18 espectáculos actualmente alrededor del mundo, entre ellos Volta y los que tiene fijos en ciudades como Las Vegas. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, que tiene sus orígenes en un grupo de artistas callejeros que se unieron en 1984, tiene su sede en Montreal, Canadá. De acuerdo con su sitio Web, sus espectáculos se han presentado en 450 ciudades en 60 países y han sido vistos por más de 180 millones de personas. La empresa emplea unas 4,500 personas, incluyendo a 1,300 artistas.

Volta incluye a 50 artistas de países como Estados Unidos, Canadá, Finlandia, Japón, Cambodia, China y Francia, incluyendo músicos, acróbatas y ciclistas de BMX. También hay una bailarina uruguaya, Rosina Gil, y los brasileños Raul Fernandes, Nivanildo Siqueira y la extraordinaria Danila Bim.

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En su acto, la brasileña Danila Bim cuelga de su cabello al hacer todo tipo de malabares aéreos.


Matt Baerd/Cirque du Soleil

El acto de Bim implica verla colgada de una larga cuerda desde el techo que va amarrada a una argolla que le rodea el cabello.

Karen Tushaus, asistente en jefe de vestuario, explica que para hacer los trajes de cada uno de los aristas –que en el caso de Volta tienen diseños muy variados: unos muy coloridos y otros muy grises y minimalistas– la empresa escanea en 3D en a cada persona en la ciudad de Montréal para hacerlos exactos a su medida. “Cirque du Soleil usa mucha tecnología y, por ejemplo, hacen sus propias telas y usan nuevas técnicas constantemente” dice Tushaus, quien es estadounidense de origen salvadoreño. Tushaus explica que la compañía incluso imprime los accesorios en 3D con materiales flexibles que se amoldan al movimiento de los artistas.

“Toda la tecnología que tenemos aquí es la más nueva en la industria del espectáculo”, dice el español Miquel Riera, coordinador de mantenimiento de la electrónica. En el caso del acto de Bim, en el que la arista está colgada casi del punto más alto de la carpa, Riera explica que requiere de una precisión extrema en el movimiento de los motores que controlan la cuerda. “Cada día nos aseguramos de que todas las cuerdas y todos los motores tienen el mismo punto de referencia de manera que la artista perciba cada movimiento, cada aceleración y cada velocidad como el mismo cada noche para tener el máximo de consistencia en cada movimiento”.

Riera dice que es muy importante que haya una estrecha relación y mucha coordinación entre los técnicos y los artistas. “El departamento técnico tiene que confiar mucho en ellos [los artistas], en que harán los mismos movimientos cada noche, tanto ellos tienen que confiar en el departamento técnico de manera que las luces siempre estén igual, de manera que los motores siempre se muevan igual, de manera que el sonido siempre empiece en el mismo momento”.

La puesta en escena de Volta incluye 25 luces robotizadas, 30 luces convencionales, 22 altavoces, 18 motores y sistemas hidráulicos de movimiento además de las computadoras, software y consolas que gestionan su desempeño. El show también incluye rampas paras las acrobacias en bicicletas BMX, pantallas de video inmensas, proyectores e, incluso, el uso de pantallas individuales en una escena que muestra a un grupo de gente usando su teléfono de forma enajenada.

Porque a pesar de ser una fuerte crítica a la dependencia actual en la tecnología, el nuevo espectáculo de Cirque du Soleil hace muy buen uso de ésta.

Volta se presentará en la ciudades californianas de San Francisco (desde ahora hasta el 3 de febrero), San José (del 13 de febrero al 24 de marzo de 2019) y San Diego (desde el 3 de abril). Después viajará a Chicago para presentarse allá a partir del 18 de mayo. Montar la carpa en cada ciudad toma siete días: cinco de montaje y dos de pruebas.


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Esta es la tecnología detrás de Volta de Cirque de Soleil



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Ricky Martin, icono gay y padre de familia

Ricky Martin ha recibido el año 2019 anunciando que ha sido padre de una niña, su primera hija con su esposo, el artista plástico Jwan Yosef. El puertorriqueño desveló la noticia en su cuenta de Instagram, en la que tienen 11,4 millones de seguidores, con una foto de la pequeña en la que se la ve agarrando los dedos de dos personas adultas que parecen corresponder al cantante y a su marido quien también ha publicado la misma instantánea.

“Nos emociona anunciar que nos hemos convertido en padres de una hermosa y saludable niña a la que hemos llamado Lucía Martin-Yosef”, escribió el cantante en su cuenta de la red social. “Esto ha sido sin duda un cumpleaños y celebración de la Navidad única en nuestras vidas”. Ricky Martin no ha especificado detalles de cómo, cuándo y dónde nació Lucía, pero sí ha expresado que toda la familia está feliz de darle la bienvenida. Martin es padre de dos niños de 10 años, Matteo y Valentino, a quienes tuvo mediante un vientre de alquiler.

“Tanto sus hermanos como Jwan y yo estamos completamente enamorados de nuestra beba y agradecidos de poder comenzar este 2019 con el mejor regalo que podíamos recibir, el regalo de la vida”, añadió el artista.

El cantante puertorriqueño Ricky Martin anunció en enero pasado que se había casado el pintor sirio de nacionalidad sueca Jwan Yosef, con quien mantiene una relación desde 2016. La estrella de Livin’ La Vida Loca y Vente pa’ca dio a conocer la noticia en declaraciones al canal estadounidense E! Entertainment Television. “Soy un esposo, pero vamos a hacer una gran fiesta en un par de meses. Ya les dejaré saber”, señaló Martin.

Siguiendo su habitual discreción, Ricky Martin fue reservado pero detalló que se llevaron a cabo todos los procesos necesarios para formalizar el matrimonio. “Intercambiamos votos e hicimos todos los juramentos que había que hacer. Firmamos todos los papeles que necesitábamos, el acuerdo prenupcial y todo lo demás”, explicó. Desde que contrajo matrimonio se venía hablando del deseo de la pareja de ser padres de una niña. Por eso el artista declaró hace unos meses: “La niñita bonita de papá tiene que venir. Es curioso, porque la manera en la que tenemos los bebés, me permite elegir el sexo. Así que las niñas están de camino”.


Ricky Martin y su novio Jwan Yosef, con Matteo y Valentino. J


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Ricky Martin y su novio Jwan Yosef, con Matteo y Valentino. J FILMMAGIC

Ocho años después de hacer pública su condición de homosexual, Ricky Martin se ha convertido en un icono y activista gay que presume de haber creado una gran familia. Fue en 2010 y a través de un comunicado en su página web cuando desveló su orientación sexual. El cantante puertorriqueño habló de sus dos hijos, Matteo y Valentino, como la principal motivación para contar que era gay, tras años en los que se dejó “seducir por el miedo, lo que fue un verdadero sabotaje” para su vida. Terminó esa carta aceptando la homosexualidad “como un regalo” que le dio la vida. Desde ese día el artista ha vivido abiertamente su condición sexual, apareciendo en público con sus parejas, hablando de ellas en las entrevistas, y mostrando su vida afectiva a sus millones de seguidores en las redes sociales. El cantante ha dedicado estos años a apoyar con el mismo esfuerzo los derechos de los homosexuales. Ha aplaudido en las redes la salida del armario de otros famosos y ha celebrado la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario en aquellos países donde se ha ido aceptando.

El cantante ha contado que desde que salió del armario se siente más querido que nunca. “Sí, probablemente la gente me quiere más porque yo me quiero más, y la gente lo percibe. Aceptar mi homosexualidad fue una cuestión de autoestima”, sentenció.

Tras anunciar su nueva paternidad son muchos los amigos que le han felicitado a través de las redes sociales, como los artistas Pablo Alborán y Alejandro Sanz pasando también por Laura Pausini.