Jennifer Aniston Just Broke a *Major* Record

Netflix should probably just rebrand to JenniferAnistonflix.

The streaming giant began the year with an $80 million splurge to keep Jen’s classic sitcom Friends through 2019, and just this past weekend she thrived on the small screen once more with Adam Sandler comedy Murder Mystery.

On Tuesday evening Netflix-run Twitter account Netflix Is A Joke reported that in just its first three days the comedy was watched from 30,869,863 accounts, which happens to be the biggest opening weekend ever for a Netflix movie. Interestingly, more than half of the views came from abroad, with 13,374,914 accounts viewing in the U.S. and Canada and 17,494,949 elsewhere in the world.

That being said, in this case quantity does not translate to quality. Though widely viewed, critics did not respond favorably to the film — it’s currently “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes with a 45% score. But for what it’s worth, The Guardian was kind of into it.

Aniston is taking her streaming service magic to a different platform for her next project, The Morning Show. The TV series, starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Billy Crudup, among others, is slated to premiere on Apple TV+ at some point this year.

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Lisa Rinna Flips Off Nicollette Sheridan on 'WWHL' After Twitter War Over Harry Hamlin

It’s the feud that just won’t die … and we’re not mad about it.

Bird’s the word for Lisa Rinna when it comes to her battle with Nicollette Sheridan.

Appearing on "Watch What Happens Live" on Tuesday night, the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star made her feelings about the "Desperate Housewives" diva very clear when asked about their Twitter war over Harry Hamlin.

ICYMI: Sheridan was none too pleased when, on "RHOBH" earlier this season, Rinna accused Nicollette of cheating on Harry with Michael Bolton when they were married in the ’90s.

Last night, a caller asked how Rinna felt "about the accusations by Nicollette Sheridan against your marriage." Sheridan, it should be noted, never actually said anything about Hamlin’s relationship with Rinna, simply calling the Michael Bolton narrative "fake news."

Rinna’s response: a sip from her rosé and the middle finger. "That’s how."

Host Andy Cohen noted that Sheridan started following him on Twitter "the other day," something which didn’t surprise Rinna in the least. "I bet she did," Lisa shot back, "She probably needs a job. Was that shady?"

Seriously though, how great would Sheridan be as an addition to the show? In addition to her history with the Rinna-Hamlin family, she was also previously married to Aaron Phypers, who’s currently married to Denise Richards. The drama!

In an episode that aired back in February, Rinna said, "The story is, [Sheridan] went to a Michael Bolton concert at the Hollywood Bowl … and left with Michael Bolton!" She claimed Harry was "in Canada" when it happened.

"FAKE NEWS! Harry and I ended our marriage nose to nose in Canada," Sheridan tweeted after a clip from the episode went viral. "Michael was a long time friend that was invited to our wedding…Happy Harry found happiness with housewife @lisarinna."

"Re Fake News! What’s it called when your wife of one year suddenly goes to bed with a pop singer?" Hamlin tweeted in response. "Two weeks after your mother dies?? I did a lotta stuff with my wife ‘nose to nose’ but ending our marriage was not one of them!"

Sheridan hit back, saying, "Do you really want the truth shared? I appreciate that you want to support your housewife’s FAKE NEWS narrative, but the end of our marriage had nothing to do with anyone other than us. Sad you still can’t own your part."

Rinna retweeted her response, adding, "Sweetie @IamNicollette You’re the gift that keeps on giving!" She also shared a since-deleted post on Instagram thanking Sheridan for "f–king Michael Bolton and cheating on Harry while married."

"Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" airs Tuesdays on Bravo.

celebrity clapbacks Harry Hamlin, Nicollette Sheridan and Lisa Rinna Have Twitter War Over Cheating Accusations

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Alabama college student athletes allegedly beat duck, left it to die in woods, officials say

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Two former Alabama college athletes were arrested after allegedly beating a duck with a baseball bat and leaving it to die, officials said.

Thomas “Landon” Grant and Jacob Frye, both 19, were charged after the May 5 incident in which a group of student baseball players who attended Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City allegedly snatched a duck after attending a party.

Thomas "Landon" Grant, left, and Jacob Frye, right, were charged with animal cruelty after they allegedly beat a duck with a baseball bat in May, officials said.
(Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department)

The students allegedly went to a pond, located on campus, and stole a white Muscovy duck, AL.com reported. Officials say they hit the duck with the bat, brought it to a nearby apartment, and placed it in a bag.

At that point, one of the students reportedly wanted to "put it outs of its misery," and allegedly beat the duck further, before throwing it away in a wooded area.

A coach was made aware of the incident shortly afterward and found the duck still alive in the woods. It was later euthanized, officials said.

A police investigation led to warrants against Grant, who was arrested May 31, and Frye, who turned himself in to police last week. Both men are charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's Freestyle Love Supreme coming to Broadway

Lin-Manuel Miranda is freestyling his way back to Broadway this fall!

During an appearance on Tuesday’s episode of The Tonight Show, the Hamilton mastermind announced he will be bringing Freestyle Love Supreme — the freestyle rap/improv/comedy group he co-founded — to the Broadway stage this fall. “Before Hamilton, before In the Heights, my first time performing in New York was with a freestyle hip-hop group called Freestyle Love Supreme,” Miranda told Jimmy Fallon on the late-night talk show, after an epic rap battle with Black Thought.

Originally featuring Miranda, Anthony Veneziale (Trauma, The Electric Company) and Thomas Kail, Freestyle Love Supreme kicked off while In the Heights was in the production stages (Kail directed that Broadway musical, as well as Hamilton). The stage-show version of the improvisational hip-hop group, Freestyle Love Supreme, made an Off Broadway appearance at the Greenwich House Theater earlier in 2019.

When it comes to the Broadway stage, the show will be produced by Kail, Miranda, Jenny and Jon Steingart (founders of Ars Nova), and Jill Furman (a producer of Hamilton) and made up of a rotating cast, leaving fans guessing as to who might pop up next. Core members include Veneziale, Andrew Bancroft, Arthur Lewis, Bill Sherman, Chris Sullivan, and Utkarsh Ambudkar, while the rotating cast is comprised of Miranda himself, Christopher Jackson, James Monroe Iglehart, Wayne Brady, and Daveed Diggs. Miranda will co-produce and occasionally make surprise appearances in the show.

Freestyle Love Supreme kicks off a 16-week run at the Booth Theater in New York City on Sept. 13, ahead of an Oct. 2 opening night.

Watch the clip above to see Miranda fit the words “flip flop,” “seared salmon,” and prescription sunglasses” into an impromptu rap.

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Facebook’s cryptocurrency calls for driver’s licences, stoking privacy fears

Australians will have to hand over their driver's licence to Facebook to use its new digital currency, as local regulators pledged to scrutinise the social media giant's plans to disrupt the payments sector as early as next year.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which regulates the corporate sector, urged the $US540 billion company to "come and talk to us" after Facebook and a consortium of 26 companies announced plans to enter the global financial system through its own crypto currency, Libra.

Australians will have to hand over their driver’s licence to Facebook to use its new digital currency.Credit:Facebook

The Reserve Bank said it is also closely watching developments. The competition regulator, which is investigating Facebook as part of a wide-ranging probe, the financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC, and a top privacy agency also expressed caution over Facebook's announcement.

Libra's accompanying digital wallet, Calibra, is expected to clash with the RBA's $1 billion new payments platform designed to eliminate transfers through cumbersome BSBs and account numbers.

Users of the system would have to hand over government-issued IDs, including driver's licences or passports "so people are who they say they are," according to Calibra's policy documents.

"Facebook and WhatsApp account information are also used when available to verify identity and prevent fraud," the policy states.

To comply with Australia's strict anti-money laundering legislation, the company could also be given access to electoral roll data to verify addresses if it is approved as a financial services provider.

While consumers are regularly required to hand over identification such as driver's licenses or passports when opening bank accounts and using other financial services, the requirement may be controversial given Facebook's chequered history on privacy and repated breaches of customer trust.

Calibra could circumvent the RBA platform by offering instant payments to more than 2.3 billion users world-wide on Messenger and WhatsApp. Calibra could also be used in bricks-and-mortar stores and by non-Facebook users as its own "pay-pass" style system after cash is transferred from conventional bank accounts.

Australia's financial intelligence unit, AUSTRAC, warned criminal groups will exploit technologies that can be used to launder funds and conceal illicit money from crimes such as drug trafficking.

"Businesses that exchange digital currencies need to consider their obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorism Financing program," a spokesman said.

Last week, AUSTRAC ordered an audit of high flying buy now, pay later service Afterpay amid concerns it had not complied with anti-money laundering and terrorism financing controls.

Facebook has been under a tide of regulatory scrutiny both in Australia and overseas after repeated data breaches left millions of users exposed.

The Libra announcement was met with immediate resistance from politicians in the US and Europe on privacy grounds.

The chair of the US House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters urged Facebook on Wednesday to halt progress on the platform until risks could be established.

"Facebook has data on billions of people and has repeatedly shown a disregard for the protection and careful use of this data," the congresswoman said.

The Office of the Australian information Commissioner said it would review the announcement and encouraged all organisations to build privacy by design into their businesses.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said consumers had to be appropriately protected.

"We’re actively watching developments," a spokesman said. "We encourage new businesses to come and talk to us if they think they will be providing financial services to Australians."

Facebook maintains the payment system would remain entirely separate from its social media network, which would only be used as a vehicle to transfer cash.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the not-for-profit platform would be "decentralised" and run equally by each of its members. The payment ecosystem would allow the companies involved, including Visa and Mastercard, to target developing countries where Facebook is growing but internet payments are less common.

Ernst and Young fellow for trust and ethics Clare Payne said there was an inherent lack of trust in the way big tech brands manage our personal data, "so to seek our finances as well, could be seen as a big ask".

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Credit:AP Photo

“There is much potential with blockchain and digital currencies, particularly to bring more people into the economy from emerging nations, however we must ensure that these people are protected and the systems in which they transact are trustworthy," she said.

The collaboration between Facebook and the other companies could also come under the scrutiny of the competition regulator. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it was aware of the announcement and will "monitor developments to see if any other competition concerns arise".

To join the association businesses have to stump up an initial $US10 million investment, have a $US1 billion market value and reach 20 million people a year.

Spotify, Uber and Vodafone are also among those who have signed up. Facebook plans on expanding the association to more than 100 by the time it launches in 2020.

With Colin Kruger 

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Russians, Ukrainian to face murder charges over downing of flight MH17

NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands (Reuters) – Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine which killed 298 people, in a trial to start in the Netherlands next March, an investigation team said on Wednesday.

The suspects are likely to be tried in absentia, however, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.

“These suspects are seen to have played an important role in the death of 298 innocent civilians”, said Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.

“Although they did not push the button themselves, we suspect them of close cooperation to get the (missile launcher) where it was, with the aim to shoot down an airplane.”

Dutch Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said in a letter to parliament the Netherlands had taken unspecified “diplomatic steps” against Moscow for failing to fully comply with legal requests or providing incorrect information.

The Dutch-led international team tasked with assigning criminal responsibility for the plane’s destruction named the four suspects as Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. It said international arrest warrants for the four had been issued.

Girkin, 48, a vocal and battle-hardened Russian nationalist, is believed to live in Moscow where he makes regular public appearances. He is a commentator on Russian and foreign affairs via his own website and YouTube channel.

“The rebels did not shoot down the Boeing,” Girkin told Reuters on Wednesday without elaborating.

Ukrainian authorities said they would try to detain Kharchenko, the suspect believed to be on their territory.

Related Coverage

  • Britain says Russia must cooperate fully with MH17 prosecution
  • Ukraine will try to arrest Ukrainian MH17 suspect: Interfax Ukraine

MH17 was shot out of the sky on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Everyone on board was killed.

RUSSIAN MISSILE

Most of those on board were Dutch. The joint investigation team formed by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine found that the plane was shot down by a Russian missile.

Last year Russian President Vladimir Putin called MH17’s downing a “terrible tragedy” but said Moscow was not to blame and there are other explanations for what happened.

The governments of the Netherlands and Australia have said they hold Russia legally responsible.

Asked if she expected the suspects to attend the trial, Silene Fredriksz, whose son Bryce was on the plane, said: “No, I don’t think so. But I don’t care. I just want the truth, and this is the truth.”

Moscow has said it does not trust the investigation.

“Russia was unable to take part in the investigation despite expressing an interest right from the start and trying to join it”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The investigation team said Girkin was a former FSB security service colonel who served as minister of defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) in the summer of 2014.

It said Dubinsky was head of the military intelligence agency of DNR, while Pulatov was head of a second department of the DNR military intelligence agency. Kharchenko was head of a reconnaissance battalion for the second department, it said.

Prosecutors have said the missile system that brought down the plane came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk.

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‘Murder Mystery’ Tops Netflix UK Chart As ‘Black Mirror’ & ‘When They See Us’ Stay Solid

Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s Murder Mystery has topped Netflix’s latest UK top ten list – coming a day after the SVOD service revealed that the feature comedy was watched by 30.87M viewers around the world.

The film, written by James Vanderbilt and directed by Kyle Newacheck, went straight to the top of the UK list after launching on June 14. The films follows a New York cop and his wife who while on a European vacation, get framed and are on the run for the death of an elderly billionaire.

Black Mirror moved down to second after topping last week’s list with mini-series When They See Us similarly moved down a spot to three.

New entries including Jessica Jones coming in seventh in the series list with Trinkets at eight, while Oprah Winfrey Presents: When They See Us Now made the docs list alongside Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan doc Rolling Thunder Revue. Awake: The Million Dollar Game made the reality list and Arabic teen drama Jinn made the foreign-language top ten.

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