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IRAN Releases Filmmaker Held For 6 Months Over Criticism

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Iran Releases Film Maker

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iran has freed an award-winning filmmaker six months after arresting him for criticizing the government, according to a pro-reform newspaper on Monday.

Mohammad Rasoulof, whose film “There is No Evil,” premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2020, is one of several prominent artists, athletes, and other celebrities detained recently for criticizing authorities.

In July, he was arrested for criticizing the government’s crackdown on protests in the southwestern city of Abadan in the aftermath of a deadly building collapse. After a 22-year-old woman died in the custody of the country’s morality police, nationwide protests erupted two months later.

Rasoulof was recently furloughed from prison and formally released, according to the Shargh newspaper, which is associated with the country’s reform movement, without specifying the dates or providing additional information. There was no official response.

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Iran Released The Actor Earlier This Month

They released famed director Jafar Panahi earlier this month after he was arrested in July after inquiring about the detention of Rasoulof and another colleague. Authorities also granted bail to Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who had been detained for criticizing the latest protest crackdown.

Iranians took to the streets in protest of the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish Iranian woman detained by moral police for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code. Protests turned into calls for the overthrow of the country’s ruling clerics, posing one of the most difficult challenges they have faced since taking power in the 1979 revolution.

According to Human Rights Activists, a group that has closely monitored the unrest, at least 529 protesters have been killed and nearly 20,000 arrested since the protests began. Official figures for those killed or arrested in Iran have not been released.

“There Is No Evil,” which tells four stories loosely related to the use of the death penalty in Iran, won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020. Rasoulof was unable to accept the award because of an Iranian government travel ban.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

 

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

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LONDON ROTHSCHILD — his family announced that Jacob Rothschild, 87, a financier and philanthropist from the legendary Rothschild banking line, died on Monday.

Jacob began his career in 1963 at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, before branching out to develop enterprises and charity organisations. His family paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Our father Jacob was a towering presence in many people’s lives, a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” a statement from his family stated.

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

“He will be buried in accordance with Jewish custom in a small family ceremony, and there will be a memorial at a later date to celebrate his life,” they continued, without revealing any other information.

According to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, the Rothschild family is worth approximately 825 million pounds ($1 billion). It donates millions of pounds to Jewish interests, education, and art.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of the political and cultural heavyweights who paid tribute to Rothschild. Blair lauded him as a “towering figure in Britain’s Jewish community” and praised his efforts to promote Middle East peace.

Jacob was born in Berkshire, west of London. He attended Eton College and studied history at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

After leaving the Rothschild Bank, he took over Rothschild Investment Trust, now RIT Capital Partners. He served as chairman of the business, one of the largest investment trusts on the London Stock Exchange, until 2019.

He also co-founded the then-J Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Mark Weinberg in 1980 and served as deputy chairman of what was then BSkyB Television, among other duties.

In the cultural sector, he served as chairman of the National Gallery of London’s board of trustees and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

The Rothschild Foundation, which manages the family’s former home, the country house Waddesdon Manor, announced that Jacob Rothschild’s daughter Hannah will follow him as chair.

Jacob was married to Serena for over 50 years until she died in 2019. They have four children (Hannah, Beth, Emily, and Nat) and several grandchildren.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

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Sony said on Tuesday that it will lose 900 jobs, or 8% of PlayStation’s global workforce.

According to a PlayStation news statement, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s layoffs will affect all regions, with its in-house London studio, which is responsible for the competitive singing video game “Singstar,” closing entirely.

“These are incredibly talented people who have contributed to our success, and we are very grateful,” said Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead.”

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

According to Bloomberg, the personnel cut comes after the business lowered its sales expectations for the year and Naomi Matsuouka, Sony’s senior vice president, stated that the PlayStation 5 console was nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Ryan stated in September that he would resign as president of Sony Group Corporation in March. Hiroki Totoki, the COO and CFO, will serve as interim CEO.

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

The incoming CEO will face an entire tech sector in turmoil, with industry giants laying off 5,500 staff in the first two weeks of 2024 alone.

Specifically, the video gaming industry has seen employment losses from 2023 into this year, with Epic Games slashing 830 workers last September and Tencent’s Riot Games laying off 11% of its workforce in January.

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

In his email to employees, Ryan echoed the leadership of those other game firms, saying, “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the company’s long-term sustainability and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

Sony Group Corporation’s (SONY) stock declined less than 1% after the announcement on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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NASCAR Teams Have Hired A Top Antitrust Attorney In Their Revenue Dispute. Here’s What It Means

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The NASCAR season has begun, with 38 races to select another stock car racing champion in the 76th season of the main motorsports series in the United States.

There is a significant issue for NASCAR and its teams: negotiations on a new revenue-sharing plan have stalled. In mid-February, officials from five teams notified The Associated Press that they had recruited renowned antitrust sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler as an adviser.

The action was a power play by the 15 teams with the 36 charters that ensured entry into every race, sending a message that they would not be intimidated in negotiations. Here’s what you need to know about this off-track battle worth millions:

Charters are comparable to NASCAR franchises, but the series can withdraw them at any time. The current market rate determines their worth, but the specifics are not publicised. Live Fast Motorsports reportedly paid $40 million for a charter that Spire Motorsports bought last year, a significant increase from the $6 million Spire Motorsports paid in 2018 when it became the first team to purchase a charter from another team.

NASCAR chose which teams were granted charters in 2016. Four charters have yet to be offered for sale and are being held by NASCAR for use if a fourth manufacturer joins the Cup Series.

The present pact expires after the season, and teams have been negotiating with NASCAR for two years to get a better deal, including making the charters permanent.

NASCAR stated it needed to finish a new media rights package first, and a new $7.7 billion broadcast rights agreement was revealed in December. NASCAR’s economic offer to the teams arrived shortly after that.

The five-person negotiation committee for the race teams told the Associated Press that NASCAR was clear: “We’ve been informed, ‘This is all there is; there is no flexibility.’ “That is not a negotiation,” said Curtis Polk, co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

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NASCAR’s Financial Health

NASCAR’s stability has ebbed and flowed for years, with significant emphasis on empty seats in the bleachers and viewing figures from season to season. The series has been through it all, and the TV contract is deemed significant.

According to a recent S&P Global Ratings report, NASCAR will continue to see strong growth in live attendance, sponsorship, and advertising-related revenue this year, and the new rights deal “provides good revenue visibility” until 2031.

The report also raised its credit rating for NASCAR, highlighting the series’ capacity to pay down debt while increasing revenue. This year, NASCAR’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation are expected to climb by 6% to 8%, according to Standard & Poor’s.

S&P also anticipates a positive cash flow of $135 million to $145 million, which could be lowered to $85 million following infrastructure repairs and utilised to reduce debt further.

Polk stated that the data demonstrates that NASCAR is financially solid and has had minimal difficulty repaying the almost $1.5 billion borrowed in 2019 to take its racetracks private.

“The rating agencies have upped NASCAR to a better rating based on the health of NASCAR,” Polk said in a statement. “NASCAR’s debt is now reduced to around $400 million. They repaid $1 billion in debt in less than five years.

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WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

The teams seek more than simply a bigger financial stake.

In addition to a rise in the proportion of the television rights deal, the teams want the charters to be permanent, as they are in other leagues. With so many of NASCAR’s top team owners in their 70s (Roger Penske turned 87 this week), they want their investments to be legacies for their families.

NASCAR has declined to contemplate making the charters permanent.

The teams also want to have a say in governance and foster a collaborative environment to generate new revenue prospects.

WHAT CAN TEAMS DO?
The teams are unaffiliated with NASCAR, which regulates the 38 races each year and provides payouts and cash from licencing, merchandise, and other sources. It also owns several top-tier tracks.

The teams wish to refrain from launching their breakaway series, noting CART’s downfall when Tony George removed the Indianapolis 500 and founded a competing league. Two open-wheel racing series could not be sustained. Thus, they merged in 2008 to form IndyCar. However, the damage had already been done: NASCAR bypassed what was formerly the leading US motorsports series during the split.

Currently, the teams do not intend to promote a race outside of NASCAR’s supervision. They want to strike a deal.

Teams could legally go on strike and cease turning up at the track, but it makes no financial sense, and NASCAR would most likely fill a field with teams from a stock car league it does not currently own.

Who is Jeffrey Kessler?
The attorney specialises in sports labour and antitrust conflicts. In 2021, he helped obtain a 9-0 victory at the United States Supreme Court in NCAA v. Alston, a significant issue on athlete remuneration. He also led the United States women’s soccer team in its winning fight for equal pay and lawsuits against the NBA and NFL’s current free agent rules.

Although employing Kessler could imply that the teams are considering litigation, the negotiating representatives said the attorney was hired to advise them during discussions.

The Race Team Alliance convened at Daytona International Speedway; NASCAR failed to attend, and the teams say NASCAR is no longer negotiating with them collectively. Instead, they feel NASCAR is attempting to communicate with teams individually to create division among what is now a unified front.

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WHAT IF A DEAL IS NOT ACHIEVED?

NASCAR could completely overhaul the eligibility system and develop its income distribution guidelines. NASCAR does not have a collective bargaining agreement for teams, and the RTA, founded to fight this struggle, is not a union.

The teams might file an antitrust lawsuit challenging NASCAR’s market dominance, arguing that NASCAR operates stock car racing as a monopoly.

But NASCAR has already won legal battles, including a 2009 case in which Kentucky Speedway failed to demonstrate that its refusal to host a Cup Series race constituted an illegal monopoly.

SOURCE – (AP)

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