The popular singer Ariana Grande, who has appeared in TV series such as “Victoria”, announced on Instagram that she is engaged to her lover and real estate agent Dalton Gomez.
Ariana Grande’s Instagram (arianagrande)
Ariana posted a photo showing a large medicinal diamond and pearl engagement ring and had a happy hug with her lover Dalton. The picture is marked with the message “forever, more”.
Ariana Grande’s Instagram (arianagrande)
Ariana Grande’s Instagram (arianagrande)
Instagram (arianagrande) from Ariana Grande
According to the American media “People’s Daily”, due to the continuation of the new coronavirus pandemic, the two began dating around January this year and spent time at Ariane’s home in Los Angeles.
Ariana appeared several times in the music video for the song “Stacked With You” released in May with Justin Beaver. An Instagram post reported on Ariana’s birthday party in June and the latest situation in December, showing her kiss with Dalton and showing off her good relationship.
The celebrity also sent many congratulatory emails to Ariana’s engagement announcement.
Justin Beaver’s wife and pop model Haley Beaver congratulated “Congratulations!” Singer Demi Robert congratulated: “All ringtones. I love you.”
Ariana, 27, has been dating the rapper Mac Miller and others who died in 2018.
He was engaged to comedian and actor Pete Davidson in June 2018, but the engagement was canceled in October of the same year.
After appearing on Broadway “13” at the age of 15, he became a regular performer in the musical “Victoria” (2010-2013) and became popular.
His first album “Your Truly” made its debut on the US Albums Chart with its overwhelming singing ability and won the 2013 American Music Awards for Best New Singer.
The latest album “thanks, next” released in February 2019 caused a huge sensation all over the world, and this song rose from number one to number three in the US charts.
The sixth album “Positions” was released in October this year. As an actress, she has appeared in the TV series “iCarly” (2011), “Sam & Cat” (2013-2014), and “Scream Queens” (2015).
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US to expand internet access to help Iranians evade state surveillance
Changes in internet access aims to ‘support for the free flow of information to the Iranian people’ after death of Mahsa Amini
The US Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance expanding the range of internet services available to Iranians despite US sanctions on the country, amid protests around Iran after the death of a 22-year-old woman in custody.
Officials said the move would help Iranians access tools that can be used to circumvent state surveillance and censorship, but would not entirely prevent Tehran from using communications tools to stifle dissent, as it did by cutting off internet access for most citizens on Wednesday.
“As courageous Iranians take to the streets to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, the United States is redoubling its support for the free flow of information to the Iranian people,” Deputy US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said.
“With these changes, we are helping the Iranian people be better equipped to counter the government’s efforts to surveil and censor them.”
Adeyemo added that Washington in coming weeks would continue to issue guidance.
Public outrage in Iran over Mahsa Amini’s death last week showed no sign of abating after days of protests in Tehran and other cities, with protesters torching police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday and reports of security forces coming under attack.
Amini, a Kurdish woman, was arrested by the morality police in Tehran for wearing “unsuitable attire” and fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would investigate the cause of her death.
Internet monitoring group NetBlocks on Thursday said a new mobile internet disruption has been registered in Iran, where access to social media and some content is tightly restricted. NetBlocks reported “near-total” disruption to internet connectivity in the capital of the Kurdish region on Monday, linking it to the protests.
Washington has long provided some internet-related exceptions to its sanctions on Iran, but Friday’s update to the general license seeks to modernize them, the Treasury said.
The new license includes social media platforms and video conferencing and expands access to cloud-based services used to deliver virtual private networks (VPNs), which provide users with anonymity online, and other anti-surveillance tools, according to a Treasury official who briefed reporters on the license on condition of anonymity.
The license also continues to authorize anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-tracking software, the Treasury said, and removes a previous condition that communications be “personal” to ease compliance for companies.
Asked how the expanded license would help Iranians if their government again shuts down internet access, a State Department official also briefing reporters said Iran’s government would still have “repressive tools for communication.“
The new license makes it “easier for the Iranian people to confront some of those oppressive tools,” the official said. “It doesn’t mean that they don’t exist anymore.“
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded to a tweet from Secretary of StateStarlink Antony Blinken about the new license on Friday with the comment “Activating Starlink,” a reference to the firm’s satellite broadband service – already provided to Ukraine for its fight against Russia’s invasion.
Musk said on Monday his company would provide to Iranians, and would ask for a sanctions exception to do so.
The Treasury official briefing reporters said Starlink’s commercial-grade system, which would involve sending hardware into Iran, would not be covered by the general license.
“That would be something that they would need to write into Treasury for,” the official said.
Ody Team is a qualified social media expert at Coding The Line, London. He had graduated from the University of Cambridge
British FM Liz Truss expected to be named as next prime minister
LONDON: Liz Truss is expected to be named leader of the governing Conservative Party and Britain’s next prime minister on Monday, poised to take power at a time when the country faces a cost of living crisis, industrial unrest and a recession.
After weeks of an often bad-tempered and divisive party leadership contest that pitted Truss against Rishi Sunak, a former finance minister, Monday’s announcement at 1130 GMT will trigger the beginning of a handover from Boris Johnson. He was forced to announce his resignation in July after months of scandal.
On Tuesday, the winner will travel to Scotland to meet Queen Elizabeth, who will ask the new leader to form a government.
Long the front runner in the race to replace Johnson, Truss, if appointed, will become the Conservatives’ fourth prime minister since a 2015 election. Over that period the country has been buffeted from crisis to crisis, and now faces what is forecast to be a long recession triggered by sky-rocketing inflation which hit 10.1 percent in July.
Foreign minister under Boris Johnson, Truss, 47, has promised to act quickly to tackle Britain’s cost of living crisis, saying that within a week she will come up with a plan to tackle rising energy bills and securing future fuel supplies.
Speaking in a TV interview on Sunday she declined to give details of the measures she says will reassure millions of people who fear they will be unable to pay their fuel bills as winter approaches.
She has signalled during her leadership campaign she would challenge convention by scrapping tax increases and cutting other levies that some economists say would fuel inflation.
That, plus a pledge to review the remit of the Bank of England while protecting its independence, has prompted some investors to dump the pound and government bonds.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies cast doubt last month on Britain’s next prime minister having room to make large, permanent tax cuts.
‘Second most difficult post-war brief’
Truss faces a long, costly and difficult to-do list, which opposition lawmakers say is the result of 12 years of a poor Conservative government. Several have called for an early election — something Truss has said she will not allow.
Veteran Conservative lawmaker David Davis described the challenges she would take on as prime minister as “probably the second most difficult brief of post-war prime ministers” after Conservative Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
“I actually don’t think any of the candidates, not one of them going through it, really knows quite how big this is going to be,” he said, adding that costs could run into tens of billions of pounds.
Truss has said she will appoint a strong cabinet, dispensing with what one source close to her called a “presidential-style” of governing.
First, she will turn to the urgent issue of surging energy prices. Average annual household utility bills are set to jump by 80 percent in October to 3,549 pounds ($4,084), before an expected rise to 6,000 pounds in 2023, decimating personal finances.
Britain has lagged other major European countries in its offer of support for consumer energy bills, which opposition lawmakers blame on a “zombie” government unable to act while the Conservatives ran their leadership contest.
In May, the government set out a 15-billion-pound support package to help households with energy bills as part of its 37-billion-pound cost-of-living support scheme.
Italy has budgeted over 52 billion euros ($51.75 billion) so far this year to help its people. In France, increases in electricity bills are capped at 4 percent and Germany said on Sunday it would spend at least 65 billion euros shielding consumers and businesses from rising inflation.
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Authorities directed to utilise all resources to control dengue
The authorities concerned of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) have been directed to utilize all available resources to control dengue and accelerate the ongoing anti-dengue campaign besides strictly monitoring anti-dengue activities in all Cantonment areas as September and October are very important regarding control of dengue.
According to Cantonment Executive Officer, Imran Gulzar, the authorities concerned had been directed that strict action in accordance with the law would be taken against negligent officials. He also informed that 17 FIRs were registered against the rules violators while several shopkeepers were also issued warnings during last week. Over Rs50,000 fines were also imposed for violating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the government to control dengue, he added.
He said September and October were very important for the control of dengue as most of the cases were reported during this period so the teams must focus on activities to ensure the elimination of dengue larvae.
The CEO said that anti-dengue surveillance activities, elimination of larvae, IRS Spray, and fogging was being carried out in Cantt areas while special teams on an emergency basis had also been constituted. He informed that anti-dengue teams visited Chamanabad, Masrial Road, Allahabad, Westridge Bazar, Afshan Colony, Gawalmandi, Koh-e-Noor, Mukaram Town, Qasimabad, Milatabad, Shahbaz Town, Naseerabad and other areas during last week and issued several notices.
He said that so far 54 FIRs had been registered while fines amounting to Rs315,000 were also imposed on the violators during this season. Anti-dengue spray was also conducted in over 430 houses, he added.
The CEO urged the residents to play their due role and remove stagnant water from rooftops and other places besides cooperating with the anti-dengue teams.
He said the citizens were also being educated and informed about the importance of sanitation, cleanliness, and preventive measures against dengue.
Lady health workers during the door-to-door campaign were visiting houses to educate the community, particularly females about preventive measures against the disease, he added. The main focus of the campaign was on public health education, he said and informed that the sanitary staff had been directed to ensure timely cleanliness and proper solid waste disposal in all areas.
The RCB teams were also visiting hotels, restaurants, workshops, tire shops, and junkyard godowns and apprising the citizens about dengue and adoption of maximum precautionary measures against dengue, he said adding, that the teams were also removing stagnant water and dengue larvae from several breeding sites. The vulnerable points were regularly being checked and special inspection was being conducted to check dengue mosquito larvae, he said.
The CEO urged the citizens to adopt precautionary measures and remove stagnant water from their homes and rooftops as most of the dengue larvae and the adult mosquito is found in air coolers water drums and scrap items.
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The Main Reasons For Bitcoin Drop
In spring-summer 2022, we became witnesses of the crypto market collapse. The first asset that crashed was Bitcoin. Its rate drop started in May 2022, falling below $40,000. Important to note that 6 months before the crash, the BTC rate reached its all-time high of $68,000. Today (as of August 2022), the BTC crypto prices live to show the level of $23,18. Such a significant BTC drop pulled the whole market down, so all other crypto asset rates followed this trend.
Let’s find out what was the reason for such a collapse in Bitcoin price.
Why Has Bitcoin Dropped?
There are several reasons why the BTC rate crashed:
- FED increased interest rates
- News background
- Binance’s temporal block for BTC withdrawals
The US Federal Reserve increased the interest rates by 0,50%. That was the most significant increase since 2000. Once the interest rate increase was announced, the BTC price grew to $40 000, but inflation caused a panic market mood, and crypto markets dropped.
News background has a significant impact on crypto prices. Since inflation has increased, many investors fear this is only the beginning and doubt the FED’s ability to manage inflation.
Binance technical problems. Amid overall market sentiments and increased inflation, there was another cause for the BTC drop: in June, the Binance exchange went through technical issues, and since the system was unstable, the platform blocked BTC withdrawals for a while. It also impacted the asset’s rate.
That were just a few main reasons for the Bitcoin price drop. However, we all know that the crypto market is cyclical – a bullish market trend replaces every bearish trend, and sooner or later, it will happen again.
In the meantime, we can take advantage of a total market drop, for it is an excellent time to buy crypto assets at lower rates and hold them long-term. You can use the WhiteBIT crypto platform for buying digital assets, trading or a long-term investment. The exchange offers a reliable crypto wallet and users’ accounts protection of several layers.
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Explainer: Why the Unification Church has become a headache for Japan’s Kishida
TOKYO, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Japan’s Fumio Kishida is expected to reshuffle his cabinet on Wednesday, as his party’s ties to the Unification Church have dented public support following the assassination of former premier Shinzo Abe last month.
Abe’s suspected killer bore a grudge against the church, alleging it bankrupted his mother, and blamed Abe for promoting it, according to his social media posts and news reports.
Around a dozen other lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have since disclosed connections to the church, which critics call a cult.
The church has confirmed the suspected gunman’s mother was a member. It says it has been vilified and members have faced death threats since Abe’s shooting.
Here’s why the church is an issue.
WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND?
The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, known as the Unification Church, was founded in South Korea in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon, an anti-communist and self-declared messiah.
Japan was one of the first destinations in its international expansion, where Moon’s conservatism aligned with the Cold War views of the ruling elite.
He launched the International Federation for Victory Over Communism group in the 1960s, building relations with Japanese politicians, according to church publications.
WHY THE LDP?
The church and the LDP share some views, opposing same-sex marriage and supporting revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution, said Eito Suzuki, a journalist who studies lawmakers’ relationships with religious groups.
The church built ties with politicians to attract followers and gain legitimacy, said Hiro Yamaguchi, a lawyer who has worked on cases against it. Politicians gained access to church members for help with campaigns, he said.
The LDP had no “systematic relations” with the church, Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi has said. It would cut off ties with the church, he said on Monday.
WHAT ABOUT ABE?
The church has said Abe was neither a member nor an adviser. He delivered a speech at an event hosted by a church affiliate last September, according to its website.
Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s younger brother and the incumbent defence minister, told reporters he received support from church members as campaign volunteers.
Former prime minister Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, was an honorary executive chair at a banquet hosted by Moon in 1974, the International Federation for Victory Over Communism said on its website.
Support for Kishida’s cabinet has fallen to the lowest since he took office in October at 46%, public broadcaster NHK said on Monday, with many poll respondents saying they wanted an explanation about ties to the church.
Kishida, who has said he has “no links” to it, said new cabinet members and new ruling party officials must “thoroughly review” ties with the church.
BIG IN JAPAN?
The church has some 600,000 adherents in Japan out of 10 million globally, and Japan is the church’s fourth-largest congregation, according to Ahn Ho-yeul, a Seoul-based spokesperson, although monitoring groups in Japan question the number.
Recruitment tactics include knocking on doors, targeting members’ relatives and approaching people outside train stations, former followers say.
Japan has been its biggest source of income for decades, the spokesperson said, partly due to the practice of trading religious items for donations.
These so-called spiritual sales by the Unification Church and other groups have cost followers nearly $1 billion and resulted in some 35,000 compensation claims since 1987, according to a lawyers group.
The church previously pledged not to solicit excessive donations after some members were convicted of illegal sales tactics following an investigation.
The suspect in Abe’s murder said the church persuaded his mother to part with around 100 million yen ($736,000), according to his social media posts and news reports.
Love and Relationship Horoscope for July 28/2022
Aries: Today is a great opportunity to try out some new ways of being with the person you like. Try new things, go somewhere you’ve never been before, and find a way to make the unusual a permanent part of your lives. Habit may quickly sour any relationship, but if you and your partner are open to the possibility of new experiences, you’ll both benefit greatly.
Taurus: Look at opportunities instead of problems. Today, you may be concerned about an upcoming situation that can potentially cause some disturbance in your love life. Instead of focusing on the potential for disruption that is ahead, try to see how you can make it better. Have a serious conversation with your partner and be confident that things will work out in the end.
Gemini: A decision to continue forward with a relationship that holds a lot of potential for the future is being hampered by feelings associated with a previous relationship. Even while this might be a passing phase, it is forcing you to give serious consideration to the question of what it is that you truly seek. Instead of being frustrated, be ready to let go of the past and embrace the life that lies ahead.
Cancer: Today, communication is more important than ever, particularly if you want to convey your thoughts to the person you care about the most. In order to get seen, you might need to take a chance, and you might also need to be a little bit different and express yourself in ways that will make you stand out and grab attention. Be prepared to think beyond the given and you will find success.
Leo: There is a good chance that today will be a day full with passion. You might expect your potential romantic partner to be in a good mood and eager to embark on an outing. You and that one particular person will feel reconnected after participating in this new activity together. The choice of the location is not important, but how you spend the time together will make a difference.
Virgo: It’s possible that you’re feeling down today because you haven’t heard from a love partner in a while. Because your phone hasn’t been ringing, you might think that your loved one no longer cares about you. Don’t get caught in this mindset. Being objective will show you that this is not the case. Most likely, your companion is stuck up with some personal issue and will contact you soon.
Libra: Being romantic is in your demeanour. It’s difficult to focus on your work when your mind keeps drifting back to past love affairs and wondering about what went wrong. It would be better for you if you used all of this energy to create something new in the present. Let your creative juices flow by writing or creating a piece of art. A jovial mood will lead to spectacular success.
Scorpio: You’ve been going through a lot of transitions as of late. Some of your previous goals are no longer essential to you, but in their place are some new ambitions that you have been working for. Your romantic partner and you need to have the same spirit of exploration and curiosity. You know you’ve found the proper person to be with when they get thrilled when you talk about your plans.
Sagittarius: Your connection gets deeper and more meaningful today. You have been keeping a close tab on the person you have you like while doing so stealthily. You might have believed that this relationship required a little bit more time to develop. You can see how the merging of two persons into a single entity is a natural path now. Have fun with this stage of your love life.
Capricorn: Get a grip on yourself and inject some element of the unexpected into your romantic relationships. You are aware of how wonderful it is when someone does something romantic for you that is completely out of the blue. Put yourself out there. Don’t hold back any longer; the time has come. Create a romantic atmosphere by focusing on your strengths.
Aquarius: Today, it would appear that the present is predominately influenced by the past. There is an idea that is starting to take shape, and you might want the assistance of your partner in order to formulate it into some kind of actionable strategy. By cooperating in this endeavour, you will provide yourselves a wonderful opportunity to take pleasure in the events that will inevitably take place.
Pisces: A few aspects about the way a relationship ended recently can make you question whether or not you’re being seen favourably by the people involved. Despite the fact that you have no control over how the other person will feel after a breakup, your desire to end things on good terms might be difficult to shrug off. Try to see whether an ex is still interested in rekindling their connection with you.
NEPRA reserves decision on Rs7.91/unit hike in power price
Power Division assures lifeline, protected consumers will not be affected
Johnson County sheriff accuses top county attorney of breaking the law
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Without providing specific details, Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden Tuesday accused the county’s top attorney, Peg Trent, of breaking the law.
It comes after the KSHB 41 I-Team obtained a memo Trent sent to Sheriff Hayden expressing concerns. They centered around the sheriff’s requests related to election security in the county.
“These requests give the appearance that the Sheriff’s Office is attempting to interfere with an election and to direct a duly authorized election official as to how an election will be conducted,” Trent wrote in the July 7 memo.
In the memo, Trent wrote that a meeting on July 5 was set up to discuss security cameras on election ballot boxes.
During the meeting, the memo said the sheriff asked about “prior election processes, challenged the integrity of elections in Johnson County, and requested that local law enforcement participate in the current election procedures.”
Hayden is now disputing Trent’s recollection of an election security meeting outlined in the memo.
“I whole-heartedly disagree with Ms. Trent’s recollection of events, as does every deputy who was present for that meeting,” Hayden said in a statement. “Furthermore, Ms. Trent and her office are knowingly violating their own laws: K.S.A. 25-2437. We will continue to deal with Ms. Trent until we reach a successful conclusion and ensure all election laws are followed.”
The I-Team has reached out to the sheriff’s office to get clarification about what portion of that statute they believe Trent and her office violated.
The statute focuses on the “transmission or delivery of advance voting ballots on behalf of another voter.”
“We have no intention of asserting ourselves into any election. That is illegal,” Hayden continued in the statement. “We have been requested by the Board of County Commissioners to provide security. We made suggestions to help with security. That’s as far as that has gone.”
Since last fall, the sheriff’s office said it received more than 200 tips alleging fraud in local elections. The sheriff’s office previously told the I-Team they had received more than 100 tips.
When the I-Team requested to see the tips that have come into the sheriff’s office, they cited an active investigation and refused to release them.
The I-Team contacted the Kansas Secretary of State’s office and the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office about the investigation.
District Attorney Steve Howe said his office has not been involved in the investigation and that nothing has been submitted to his office to review.
A spokeswoman for the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office said they’re aware of the sheriff’s “intent to investigate voter fraud related to the 2020 elections, although no warrants, subpoenas, or an official investigation has been opened by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.”
The I-Team continues to request an on-camera interview with Hayden, but has been told he is not available because it is an active investigation.
On Tuesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the county issued a statement on behalf of the chief counsel:
The chief counsel is under the authority, direction and supervision of the county commissioners. The chief counsel serves as the director of the Johnson County Legal Department and represents Johnson County departments, including the Johnson County Election Office. The Sheriff is a separate elected official and has his own legal counsel.
The Johnson County Sheriff has advised the legal department on July 15, that there is an ongoing criminal investigation regarding election integrity issues in addition to the sheriff’s verbal indication of a pending criminal investigation of 2020 election.
Further, the Sheriff’s Office indicates that the disclosure of communications between the Sheriff’s Office and the County Election Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners, or District Attorney’s Office would interfere with the investigation. As such, the county is unable to make additional comments.
We conduct elections according to state law. We stand by the integrity of Johnson County elections.”
Michael Mann’s Damaged Men
Michael Mann stood at the center of a long, sunlit room, scrutinizing a model of the Ferrari factory as it looked in 1957, thinking about how to improve its appearance. “This should be a pattern,” he said, pointing at the windows, “so that you have almost a musical rhythm, like, two-two-two-two-two, then it breaks, to drive your attention to the entryway.” Around him, a half-dozen collaborators listened closely. After Mann’s decisions were finalized, a construction team would be dispatched to a nearby site to build a replica of the 1957 factory.
It was a May afternoon in Modena, Italy, a small city in the north of the country. Mann was at the production offices of his 14th feature film, “Ferrari,” which will trace three months in Enzo Ferrari’s life, culminating with the 1957 Mille Miglia — an infamous, and tragically fatal, road race. That morning, Mann took the train up from Rome, where he spent the previous day auditioning 26 actors opposite Adam Driver, who will star in the film. “I looked at it as extra rehearsals,” Mann said. “A chance for Adam to start locking in the character.” Dressed for the summertime, Mann wore a roomy ombré button-up that bled from green to black, with white jeans and white Ecco sneakers. He spoke with the thick Chicago accent, full of bent vowels, that he has never lost despite living in Los Angeles for decades. This accent suited him in his 20s, when he drove a taxicab and worked in construction, and it confers on his directorial pronouncements a street-hardened authority.
Mann’s specialty is the meticulous construction of major Hollywood entertainments: big-budget epics and thrillers rich with genre pleasures, rigged with dazzling set pieces and heavy on movie stars like Daniel Day-Lewis (“Last of the Mohicans”), Will Smith (“Ali”) and Tom Cruise (“Collateral”). As interested as he is in making movies for mass enjoyment, though, Mann is by his own description “not a journeyman director — these guys who go from gig to gig to gig. I need a real compelling reason to do something.” Years ago, he spoke of his ambition to move more rapidly between projects, but when I mentioned this to him in Modena, Mann laughed. “I failed utterly in that plan,” he said.
There was, for one thing, the coronavirus. Mann was working in Japan when the pandemic hit, directing the pilot for the HBO Max series “Tokyo Vice,” about a young American crime reporter investigating the Yakuza. Shooting was barely underway when the virus halted production. At that point, it had been five years since the release of Mann’s last film, the underrated cybercrime thriller “Blackhat.” During this gap — one that “Ferrari” will finally close — he tried to bring several ambitious projects to life without success, facing the kind of disappointment all directors grow accustomed to, but perhaps especially those who make films that cost what Michael Mann films cost, and who insist on the complete creative control he insists on.
Mann’s artistic signature is to establish a core of painstaking realism, then create around it a heightened visual and emotional atmosphere that can edge, at times, into a kind of hallucinatory, macho camp. It’s an aesthetic Mann began exploring when he oversaw the epochal 1980s cop show “Miami Vice.” Since then, he has set forlorn peals of electric guitar over a parade of steely faces. He has filmed handsome men walking in slow motion in bulletproof vests, or gazing contemplatively at vast bodies of water that swirl in hypnotic abstraction, or striding beside private jets with sunglasses on. He has rigorously avoided comic relief, while allowing for moments of oblique humor, as when a hardened undercover cop announces, “I’m a fiend for mojitos.” He has scored sex scenes with the anguished rock of Audioslave. Somehow, it works: Chasms of unanswered yearning and alienation seem to roil beneath Mann’s images, and his movies lodge in the brain like fever dreams.
Mann enjoys a cultlike adoration of the kind typically reserved for directors further out on the fringes. His blockbusters have their ferocious partisans, as do his lesser-known pictures and outright bombs, which reliably come up for — and tend to reward — reappraisal. In 2014, the Criterion Collection put out a beautiful edition of his 1981 theatrical debut, “Thief,” helping to spark a broader re-engagement with Mann’s work that included retrospectives at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2016 and at the Museum of the Moving Image this spring. Film scholars devote books and podcast series to him. Underground clothing lines make coveted bootleg tees and caps in homage to his films. Among fellow directors, Mann’s admirers and acolytes include Alfonso Cuarón, Ava DuVernay and Christopher Nolan.
This February, Mann turned 79 and ushered in an improbably busy year. In April, his “Tokyo Vice” pilot made its debut, setting the show’s fleet feel and stark tone. Not long afterward, it was announced that the financing had materialized for “Ferrari.” And next month, in a particularly unexpected curveball, Mann will release his first-ever sequel, in the form of his first-ever novel, “Heat 2.”
Of Mann’s many movies, none have inspired the sustained obsession — in audiences, and in him — as “Heat.” Al Pacino plays a brilliant police detective named Vincent Hanna, and Robert De Niro plays a brilliant thief named Neil McCauley. They are mirror-image foils engaged in an operatic cat-and-mouse game that unfolds across the criminal netherworlds of Los Angeles, “heading simultaneously for a collision in which both cannot survive,” as Mann put it.
“Heat 2” spans nearly 500 pages, two time frames — before and after the events of the movie — and multiple continents. Rather than representing some larkish detour from the body of Mann’s work, the book drills down into themes that run throughout his filmography.
Vincent and Neil are archetypal Mann protagonists: damaged men who dedicate themselves all-consumingly to their work, chasing an exalted state where extreme capability becomes its own goal. Or, as a member of Neil’s crew memorably puts it, where “the action is the juice.” They derive profound meaning, exhilaration and sense of selfhood from what they do — even at the cost of deep dysfunction and unhappiness in other parts of their lives. In this way, “Heat” crystallizes one of Mann’s career-long preoccupations, paying tribute with one hand to the great American myths of roguish individualism while undermining those same myths with the other.
Mann told me that “Heat 2” took the better part of two years to complete. “I have no idea how to write a novel, OK?” he said. “I do know how to make very, very large movies.” But, he added, “when things are a little bit difficult for me, I’m on the frontier. And I perform better, in my own estimation, on a frontier.”
When Mann describes the path he took to filmmaking, he often mentions formative screenings in college of “Dr. Strangelove” and G.W. Pabst’s Weimar-era landmark “Joyless Street.” But on a couple of occasions, he has recalled an earlier, inexplicable thrill he got “just driving under a steel bridge on a rainy night” and looking up at its gargantuan span, or moving along “those caged iron bridges” around Chicago, their latticeworks cutting up the landscape into a multitude of flickering frames. This excitement wasn’t something that Mann associated with filmmaking at first, but it lingered in his eventual understanding of himself as an artist. If you’re an admirer of Mann’s movies — which exude a hard-hammered visual poetry and tell stories of men traversing liminal realms, searching for things just beyond their grasp — this is as perfect an artistic origin story as you could hope for. “I have an attraction to these twilight zones,” he said.
Time and again, Mann has set up camp on, and then blurred, the borders that separate documentary from fiction, genre from “prestige” drama, literalism from abstraction and the multiplex from the art house. This was true of “Thief,” a hard-nosed, Marx-inflected neo-noir about an expert Chicago burglar, played by James Caan. While shooting, Mann sprayed down the city’s nocturnal streets with tens of thousands of gallons of water, so that they took on an unreal, painterly glow — even as he enlisted a local thief named John Santucci to teach Caan how to breach real vaults onscreen using real techniques and real tools, in what feels like real time. And it was true of “Blackhat” (2015), a globe-trotting thriller that begins with a highly detailed and apparently highly accurate CGI visualization of the insides of microprocessors during a computer hack, captured at 12,000x magnification as they course with electrons — a sequence so extended it becomes trancelike.
“There is absolute beauty and visual joy, a dreamlike sensibility to his films,” Christopher Nolan told me, “but it’s all driven by the function of the storytelling, driven by the minutiae of his research and the extraordinary commitment to narrative detail. The aesthetics grow from that — I don’t know of any other filmmaker who does that.”
In Modena, I saw firsthand how Mann’s interest in creating uncanny dream worlds rests upon a foundation of extreme nuts-and-bolts authenticity. Discussing possible shooting locales for “Ferrari,” and how they would be decorated, Mann paid special attention to the wallpaper that would hang in the bedroom of Enzo’s wife, Laura. His production designer, Maria Djurkovic, had gathered some options. “This doesn’t do it,” Mann said, dismissing them all. He tapped a photo of the original pattern: “It’s the sparseness of the ribbons that really gets at a certain heaviness. And this green.” To Mann, famously demanding, it was crucial to get it right. “We think she died in this room,” he said.
Pinned to a wall behind him were several images of vintage Ferraris painted different screaming reds. He’d tasked his crew with making full-body 3-D scans of these vehicles, crafting perfect facsimile shells and fitting these with contemporary drivetrains capable of high-performance racing. Special recordings, Mann said, would capture the engine sound of period-accurate “small-displacement V12s running very high, this shriek, driving down narrow canyons through masonry, then suddenly they’re out in an open field.” He smiled. “It’ll feel like the air is being ripped apart.”
Mann is something of a Method director, building immersive worlds by first immersing himself in their grain. “I have all this data, real people, real language,” he told me. “It’s not stuff you make up sitting in a room in L.A.” During commentary recorded for “Thief,” Mann talks with Caan about how top-of-the-line vault doors are layered with both copper (“obviously a very soft metal”) and titanium (“very hard”), “so that, when you drill it, if you have a hard bit to cut through the titanium, it hits the copper, it’s going to bind up,” Mann says, extolling “the value of this kind of detail” in making a performance feel truly lived in.
Daniel Day-Lewis, who is one of Mann’s close friends, told me about spending several days with him in the Alabama wilderness before making “Mohicans,” living off the land together in a recreated “18th-century hunter-trapper course.” There, they learned tracking techniques and methods for laying trap lines. They also did “a huge amount of weapons training — black-powder weapons, principally,” Day-Lewis said, explaining that such firsthand experience “creates for each person involved, on both sides of the camera, a belief in the authenticity of what they’re reaching for.”
I’d heard a rumor that, for a short passage in “The Insider,” which dramatizes the true story of a tobacco-industry whistleblower and the “60 Minutes” producer he confides in, Mann sneaked into Baalbek, Lebanon, making financial arrangements with political leaders so he could shoot in the neighborhood where the events depicted actually happened — acting as a middleman, in effect, between Disney and Hezbollah. When I asked Mann about this, he laughed and shook his head. “What happened is, we were going to go to Israel to shoot it,” in the majority-Arab city Umm al Fahm, “and Disney told us, No, no, it’s too dangerous, you can’t go there.” Mann called the journalist Lowell Bergman, portrayed in the movie by Pacino. He asked him, “Can you get us into Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley?” And then he notified the studio of this new plan. He received a frantic response. “They said: ‘Are you out of your [expletive] mind? Go to Israel!’”
No sequence in Mann’s filmography makes the case for the virtues of authenticity as explosively as the showstopping bank robbery in “Heat,” which spills into a broad-daylight melee in Downtown Los Angeles. De Niro and Val Kilmer, who plays his protégé, underwent urban-combat training beforehand, proving such capable students that, according to Mann, Fort Bragg instructors later screened footage of Kilmer reloading his rifle to show cadets how it was done. Before filming, dozens of cars were pummeled at a shooting range with high-caliber rounds, and the crew fitted the holes with detonatable squibs, painted over with Bondo putty. During filming, they triggered the squibs in time with the actors’ guns, ripping open the munitions-accurate damage. Nolan calls “Heat” Mann’s masterpiece, and when we spoke, he singled out a “tiny detail during the bank robbery, where the money is stacked and wrapped in plastic, and they put it into the duffel bags, then use a razor to slash the plastic and bang it, so that it comes loose and takes the shape of the bag.” This moment flies by, but it “grounds the entire robbery in a technical reality that you respect and enjoy,” Nolan said. “You feel you’re watching a film about experts made by experts.” The sequence’s most indelible aspect is its terrifying sound. Mann recorded the gunfire — “full-load” blanks, containing the same powder charge as live ammo — not on a soundstage, as is common practice, but out on the streets, as it reverberated off the sunny steel-and-glass canyons onscreen.
Mann is committed to total veracity, it seems, except when the prerogatives of compelling image-making win out. While plotting the restoration of Enzo’s neighborhood barbershop in Modena, still open, to its 1957 appearance, he indicated an archival image and said, “Even if the real chairs were darker, I want them to look the way they look in this light.” Later that day, he told me, “all these decisions — every one means something, particularly when you’re dealing with interiors, because that character picked that lamp, picked that fabric, picked that curtain, picked that cheap radio.” He recalled the home décor of the serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, in Mann’s 1986 Hannibal Lecter movie, “Manhunter.” “He’s got the vertical control on his television so he can see the subcarrier frequency, because he thinks there’s a message in there. There are so many pieces of psychopathy that are manifested in the shape of a toaster. Really! It was, ‘Find me a psychotic kitchen chair.’”
He added, “You don’t dwell on these things when you’re shooting, but the audience sees it all.”
One pitch-black night when Mann was in his teens, he drove south from Chicago to a rural Illinois back road, turned off his headlights and floored the gas pedal — hurtling, for a few crazed seconds, into total darkness. He was full of a restless ambition that had yet to find its object, he said, and in “Heat 2,” he lends this quasi-existential stunt to the young Vincent Hanna. “He’s searching, he has that crazy vibration in the nerves running through his arm when he’s 18, saying, I’ve got to get the [expletive] out of here, wanting to move and go places and do things,” Mann told me. “I’m talking about myself, too, when I say that.”
Mann was born in 1943 into a secular Jewish family — “in the city,” he emphasized, noting wryly that “directors from the Chicago suburbs make comedies.” His father, Jack, was a Russian immigrant from Ovruch and a combat veteran of World War II. “He didn’t talk about it much, but it affected everything,” Mann recalled, describing “an absolutely loving man” who suffered from symptoms of PTSD long before it had a name. Jack ran a small supermarket for several years, before he was driven “out of business by a big chain that opened up a block and a half away. My younger brother and I, as amateur arsonists, one night tried to burn it down. We were angry. I think we succeeded in blackening the back door.”
Jack’s wartime experience left him with “a very dark view,” Mann said. Fighting in Germany, “he’d read in Stars & Stripes how American planes had bombed such-and-such a refinery, interrupting the supply of the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Then four, five weeks later they’d pass the refinery, and everything around it was bombed, but the refinery itself was untouched, because Shell wants to take control of it.” Jack returned to America with “a cynicism about systems,” Mann said, adding, “I totally inherited that cynicism.”
In 1969, Jack died from a pulmonary embolism, just 56. “It shattered my family,” Mann recalled, explaining that his mother, Esther, “made a different life for herself” — starting her own business and entering into new relationships — but “operating from the thesis that ‘the meaningful life I’ve lived is over. I’m not going to just drift into widowhood; I’m going to make a life for myself, but it’s all superficial.’”
No facile interpretive pipeline neatly connects Mann’s biography and the movies he makes. Whereas his filmography is littered with broken, solitary, state-raised men, he says his parents loved each other deeply, and Mann and his own wife, an artist named Summer, have been married since 1974, raising four daughters. “In a city that’s not renowned for child-rearing, he’s managed to raise this wonderful, solid family that’s so close,” Day-Lewis said of Mann, adding, “You go to their house, and it’s an oasis.” But the cynicism Mann inherited from his father can be felt everywhere in his films, and his interest in upstart heroes who assert themselves against powerful forces — mob bosses in “Thief”; predatory tobacco companies and cowardly media conglomerates in “The Insider”; and the U.S. government in “Ali,” his Muhammad Ali biopic — certainly doesn’t contradict the picture of the angry young kid seeking vengeance against the chain grocery that crushed his father’s market.
In the late 1960s, Mann enrolled in film school in England. “I was not going to Vietnam,” he said. He made short documentaries about the ’68 student protests and other social upheavals of the era. In 1979, he shot his first feature, the TV movie “The Jericho Mile,” on location at Folsom prison, where he cast inmates opposite trained actors and incorporated the prison’s distinct hierarchies and customs into the script, about a convict who becomes an Olympic-class runner on the yard. By this point, Mann’s focus had shifted to stories of determined individuals who perceive the workings of oppressive systems and — even if it comes at a ruinous price — insist on charting their own paths through them.
Mann has constantly evolved the look of his movies. His images have become less straightforwardly beautiful, his palettes increasingly leached of color, his framing less formal. Hand-held cameras drift, faces appear unfocused in extreme close-up and the digitally captured dark of nighttime degrades into extravagantly pixelated noise. But thematically he has remained consistent, returning continually to heroes who are peeled away from the dominant ideologies of what Mann has called “the normal range of human experience,” and, from this remove, come to see questions of selfhood, coercion and power more clearly than most of us.
‘Michael’s an unusual blend of things,’ Day-Lewis said. ‘He’s an intellectual, but he thinks like an engineer, and he has the spirit of an artist.’
Often, these characters’ worldviews are forged in prison. In a 2017 interview, Mann recalled the lasting impression of meeting convicts decades earlier who devoured philosophical texts, not with the abstract curiosity of “undergraduates,” but because they had “fundamental questions that they wanted answered, like: ‘How should I view my life in time? What’s property?’ They’ll read Kierkegaard, and Sartre and Marx and Engels. You encounter it with people that have sixth-grade educations, who become quite astute in this raw kind of way.” Frank in “Thief,” Neil in “Heat” and the hacker Nick Hathaway in “Blackhat” all share versions of this pedigree.
Mann told me about a particularly memorable encounter he had inside Folsom, making “Jericho Mile”: “I had one guy in Black Guerrilla Family, weight lifter, 6-foot-2, dangerous guy doing a life sentence. I said, ‘Hey, I’d like you to play such-and-such a role.’” The inmate rebuffed him, explaining, “ ‘I’d be allowing you to appropriate the surplus value of my bad karma,’” Mann said. “He wasn’t trying to impress me with big words. He was serious. He’d read Marx and Engels and knew about surplus value, and he was here because karma put him here.”
Like many of Mann’s protagonists, I remarked, this man seemed to have a bird’s-eye view of his position amid various superstructures. Mann nodded. “If you’re an experienced convict,” he said, “you have a systems analysis.”
The day after I visited the “Ferrari” production offices, Mann picked me up in the lobby of my hotel, and we walked down Modena’s cobblestone streets to get some lunch. He moved spryly, dodging the delivery trucks, mopeds and bicycles that whizzed around us. I’d heard that Mann keeps detailed daily journals going back decades, and at our table he set down his own voice recorder next to mine, along with a thick Mnemosyne notebook bulging with color-coded Post-it notes. “Glass of wine?” he asked.
Neil McCauley, like so much in Mann’s movies, is rooted in real life. In the 1970s, Mann befriended a Chicago detective, Chuck Adamson, who told him a story about getting coffee years earlier with a notorious local robber — the real McCauley. During this encounter, the two adversaries acknowledged a wary but genuine mutual respect, and made it known that, in any future confrontation, each was ready to shoot the other dead. In 1964, Adamson was part of a detail that gunned down McCauley in the street.
Inspired by that story’s tense, fateful symmetry, Mann began writing “Heat” in the late 1970s. In 1987, he turned a truncated version of his script into the pilot for an unproduced NBC series, which eventually aired as a TV movie under the name “L.A. Takedown.” This is mostly worth watching today in order to appreciate the vastly superior achievement of “Heat,” which Mann was finally able to make at the proper scale in 1995 — six months of preproduction, 107 days of shooting, 95 locations, $60 million budget — after the success of “Mohicans.” It was De Niro and Pacino’s first time sharing a movie screen.
So, as unexpected as it was to learn that Mann was publishing a novel, it wasn’t shocking that he was returning to the world of “Heat.” Its characters had been with him some 15 years before he made the movie, and they still captured his imagination some 30 years later. “I always wanted to do more with these people’s lives,” he said.
K-ELECTRIC MAKES CHANGES TO TARIFF STRUCTURE
KARACHI: K-Electric has made to the rates of electricity and tariff structure that will be effective from July and applicable nationwide including on consumers in KE’s service territory, Karachi’s power supplier said in a statement.
The changes include the non-extension of relief for zero-rated industries as well as the relief on peak-hour electricity consumption for industrial consumers. The retailer tax with revised slabs has been introduced for commercial consumers.
Non-Time of Use residential consumers will also see a revision in their applicable tariff along with a change in the methodology for their calculation.
Protected and Unprotected Consumers
As per SRO 1004 dated 7th July 2022, the tariff rates and slab structure for a tariff of unprotected non-ToU residential consumers (i.e. consumers with a sanctioned load below 5kW) have changed.
“Protected” consumers, as per tariff terms proposed by GOP under its Power Subsidy Rationalization Plan and by NEPRA as those non-ToU residential consumers with monthly electricity usage of 200 units or less, consistently for the past 6 months. All other non-ToU residential consumers fall in the Unprotected category.
Previously, category of unprotected consumers we were provided the benefit of one previous slab in their billing (i.e. their billing was done in two slabs), which has now been removed. Consumers in the unprotected category will now only be charged on one slab in which their units fall. Accordingly, tariff rates have also been adjusted downwards to minimize the impact on consumers.
Industrial Customers Bills
Industrial consumers were previously being provided a relaxation by the Government of Pakistan, allowing them to utilize electricity during peak hours at the same rates as off-peak hours. That relief was allowed until June 2022 and accordingly with no further extension. Peak rates would now be applicable to industrial consumers as well.
Similarly, zero-rated (or export-oriented) industries were being provided electricity at a fixed rate of USD 9 cents/unit, which was applicable till June 2022, and has now been removed. Now, these industries will be charged as per applicable tariff rates to normal industrial consumers.
In addition to the above charges, it must also be noted that routine charges under FCA will be applicable in July bills within KE’s service territory.
Retailer Tax for Commercial Consumers
Per the Government of Pakistan Finance Act 2022 applicable across the country, retailer tax on unregistered retailers has been revised and effective from 1st July 2022. For consumers on commercial tariff, a minimum fixed tax of PKR 3,000 will be charged for bills between PKR 0 and PKR 30,000. Monthly bills between PKR 30,001 and PKR 50,000 will be taxed PKR 5,000, while those with monthly bills above PKR 50,0001 will be taxed PKR 10,000.
Important to note that inactive income taxpayers will be charged twice the taxable amounts.
Further, these taxes will apply even if the consumer’s premises are not in use.
Fuel Charges Adjustments (FCA):
Unprecedented hikes in the price of furnace oil and RLNG were translating into higher costs of electricity production for utilities, and higher costs of electricity for consumers as well. Under the tariff mechanism determined by NEPRA, incremental costs of fuel are recovered from consumers in their bills via Fuel Charges Adjustments (FCA) after the regulator’s scrutiny and approval. Within the decision for FCA, the regulator also states in which month FCA is to be charged. For example, the FCA of March 2022 was charged in the month of June 2022.
Accordingly, in its determination for the month of April 2022, NEPRA has allowed KE to charge PKR 5.2718 per unit for units consumed in April ’22 to be billed in the month of July 2022. Further, NEPRA has allowed the FCA for May ’22 to be recovered in two parts with PKR 2.6322 per unit charged in July and the remaining PKR 6.8860 per unit in the bills of August ’22. This means customers will see two entries for FCA in their July bills i.e., FCAs for April and May, respectively.
Speaking about the changes, Spokesperson KE stated “We understand that our consumers may have a number of questions about these revisions. To assist them during this time, we have updated our website with frequently asked questions. To reiterate, these changes are introduced under the governing laws of the Government of Pakistan and the rules of the regulatory authority NEPRA and are applicable across the country.”
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