Exonerated After Execution: Judge Tosses Teen’s Murder Conviction

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Seventy years after South Carolina executed a 14-year-old boy so small he sat on a phone book in the electric chair, a circuit court judge threw out his murder conviction.

On Wednesday morning, Judge Carmen Mullins vacated the decision against George Stinney Jr., a black teen who was convicted of beating two young white girls to death in the small town of Alcolu in 1944.

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North Korea-Based Thriller With Gore Verbinski And Steve Carell Canceled

Originally posted on Deadline:

EXCLUSIVE: The chilling effect of the Sony Pictures hack and terrorist threats against The Interview are reverberating. New Regency has scrapped another project that was to be set in North Korea. The untitled thriller, set up in October, was being developed by director Gore Verbinski as a star vehicle for Foxcatcher star Steve Carell. The paranoid thriller written by Steve Conrad was going to start production in March. Insiders tell me that under the current circumstances, it just makes no sense to move forward. The location won’t be transplanted. Fox declined to distribute it, per a spokesman.

Regency has other movies with Verbinski as part of a multiyear, multipicture deal, and they will focus on them. He moves on to A Cure For Wellness, an elevated horror film written by Revolutionary Road scribe Justin Haythe, and Passengers. There also is a large-scale action comedy scripted by Conrad. The…

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Pope Francis Played Key Role in U.S. – Cuba Deal

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President Obama meets with Pope Francis March 27 at

A personal appeal by Pope Francis played a key role in finalizing a deal to open relations between the United States and Cuba for the first time in 53 years.

The pope wrote a personal letter to President Obama this fall — something he’d never done before — and a separate letter to Cuban President Raúl Castro.

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Iran Unveils Monument to Jewish Soldiers Killed in War With Iraq

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Jewish community leaders and Iranian clergy attend ceremony honoring Jewish ‘martyrs.’

Iranian Jewish men pray at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue

Iranian Jewish men pray at the Molla Agha Baba Synagogue, November 2014.

Iran this week unveiled a monument to Jewish soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted from 1980 to 1988 and saw both countries suffer millions of casualties and billions of dollar in damage.

Jewish community leaders and a number of Iranian religious officials took part in the ceremony on Monday, according to Maariv’s website, NRG.

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Texas Theater to Show ‘Team America’ In Place of ‘The Interview’

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A still from 'Team America: World Police'

After Sony canceled the release of the North Korea assassination comedy The Interview, a Texas theater said it would swap the film with Paramount’s 2004 film Team America: World Police for one free screening.

“We’re just trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation,” James Wallace, creative manager and programmer at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Dallas/Fort Worth location, tells The Hollywood Reporter.

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Activists to Drop ‘Interview’ DVDs Over North Korea Via Balloon

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This story also appears in the Jan. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Whether or not North Korea is behind the Sony hack, Kim Jong Un better brace himself becauseThe Interview is headed to his country. Human rights activists are planning to airlift DVDs of theSeth Rogen comedy into the country via hydrogen balloons.

Fighters for a Free North Korea, run by Park Sang Hak, a former government propagandist who escaped to South Korea, has for years used balloons to get transistor radios, DVDs and other items into North Korea — not to entertain the deprived masses, but to introduce them to the outside world.

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Curiosity Rover Drills Into Mars Rock, Finds Water…and the First Discovery of Organic Compounds

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Curiosity Rover Drills Into Mars Rock, Finds Water

The hole drilled into this rock target, called “Cumberland,” was made by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity

NASA’s Curiosity rover is continuing to help scientists piece together the mystery of how Mars lost its surface water over the course of billions of years.

The rover drilled into a piece of Martian rock called Cumberland and found some ancient water hidden within it. Researchers were then able to test a key ratio in the water with Curiosity’s onboard instruments to gather more data about when Mars started to lose its water, NASA officials said. In the same sample, Curiosity also detected the first organic molecules it has found. Mission scientists announced the discovery in a news conference today (Dec. 15) at the American Geophysical Union’s convention in San Francisco, where they also unveiled Curiosity’s first detection of methane on Mars.

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