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Downton Abbey returns to offer comfort in today’s ‘whirlpool’ of turmoil | CBC News

Lady Edith is cheerful and contented — and that’s saying something, given how life has given the middle Crawley sister on Downton Abbey a considerable dose of heartbreak. So is Daisy, the under cook, who tells her sympathetic kitchen boss Mrs. Patmore: “I’m happy. I don’t often say it, but I am.” Lady Edith and Daisy end up revelling…

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Downton Abbey returns to offer comfort in today’s ‘whirlpool’ of turmoil | CBC News

Lady Edith is cheerful and contented — and that’s saying something, given how life has given the middle Crawley sister on Downton Abbey a considerable dose of heartbreak. So is Daisy, the under cook, who tells her sympathetic kitchen boss Mrs. Patmore: “I’m happy. I don’t often say it, but I am.” Lady Edith and Daisy end up revelling in their fortunate emotional state as the British TV period melodrama that brought them into living rooms around the world makes its much-anticipated return as a feature film, opening in North American theatres today. And in that, the movie goes some distance toward a goal its creators had of offering moviegoers some emotional succor against the backdrop of a planet in turmoil. “In a world that is lacking in certainty, I hope that, for the price of a cinema ticket, viewers will get two hours of comfort and reassurance in return,” creator Julian Fellowes told Harper’s Bazaar. “A bit of a rest from the whirlpool.”  That goal wasn’t lost on the actors who reunited for the big screen. Sophie McShera, as Daisy Mason, left, and Lesley Nicol, as Mrs. Patmore share a moment in the Downton Abbey kitchen. (Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features) “There’s so much uncertainty … and this is like an antidote to all the horrors that [are] going on,” Phyllis Logan, who plays housekeeper Elsie Hughes, said this week as she stopped off in Toronto to promote the film. Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore, also sees the film offering audiences more than escapism. “It does celebrate things that people do value, like being decent with each other and … being loyal to people and all those traits,” Nicol said during the media stop at Spadina Museum. “At heart, [these values are] very important and it feels in this world at the moment that some of the people in charge are not giving that any thought at all, and I think it reassures people.” Maybe we’re more aware Not that these times are necessarily more stressful than previous eras, but perhaps people are more aware of the turmoil in the world, when the next bad headline is right there waiting on the screen of your phone. “I don’t know if it’s so much the geopolitical world as it is the way modern media presents it to people,” said Michael Kennedy, a Downton fan and film and television director who also teaches directing at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to say today films serve as comfort more than in the past, but I think audiences seek it and need it more because they’re more aware of the anxiety and dangers that are out there in the world.” Phyllis Logan, left, who plays housekeeper Elsie Hughes, and Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore, were in Toronto this week to promote the Downton Abbey movie. (Michael Wilson/CBC) In the world of Downton Abbey, however, there isn’t a lot of anxiety or danger. The aristocratic Crawley family lives upstairs in the elegantly appointed big house (Highclere Castle in real life), with their loyal staff below stairs. Lives and loves unfold with a fair degree of melodrama. In one of the TV show’s soapier moments, Lady Mary had to sort out how to deal with the dead body of a handsome Turkish diplomat who succumbed to a heart attack while in bed with her, a story Fellowes has said is based on a real incident. In the case of the film, the central tenet is how a visit by King George V and Queen Mary to Downton Abbey in 1927 will affect everyone — upstairs and down. “In today’s time, that’s a fairly minor issue considering the slate of things that most people see in the news … and have to deal with every day, so I believe, yes [Downton Abbey] is providing a comfort and an escape,” said Kennedy, much like other popular films this year such as The Lion King or How to Train Your Dragon. That’s not to say Downton Abbey doesn’t give a nod to issues of its day that are more fraught — a police raid on an illegal nightclub where gay men gather offers the audience some moments of sober second thought. Maggie Smith, centre, as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, has lost none of her wit in the movie version of Downton Abbey. (Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features) Downton Abbey’s return comes more than three years after the series left TV with a boatload of awards and much praise for its high production values, but no promise of a return. Still, fans always hoped the aristocratic Crawleys and their downstairs staff would be back. When advance tickets went on sale last month, the movie had more sales than any other drama so far this year. Are you ready to return to Downton Abbey? This superfan is And when those moviegoers settle into their seats, they’ll be transported back to the familiar opening scenes and sounds of the clacking of a train down a track and the dinging of a service bell. Even in that familiarity, there can be some solace for the audience. “I think people become attached to these details and then are psychologically prepared to relax for an hour or two and be entertained and comforted by some of their favourite characters,” said Kennedy. Back in fine form Those favourites are all back in fine form in the movie, from Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham (and her zingers) to Mrs. Hughes and her now-husband, Carson, the retired butler who returns to give his downstairs guidance as the house prepares for the royal visit. Logan, left, stars as Mrs. Hughes, Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary Talbot and Jim Carter is Mr. Carson, the retired butler who returns to Downton Abbey as it prepares to host a royal visit. (Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features) “As a fan of the show, you’re rooting for the happiness of characters … from different backgrounds and different ages and different walks of life,” said Michael Rubinoff, co-producer of the theatrical juggernaut Come from Away. “And I think we like seeing that mirror reflected. We may not be an earl or a count or a member of the Royal Family, but perhaps we see ourselves in some of the other characters or in the working-class characters, regardless of class.” Logan said the cast has a character everybody can relate to, whether it’s Barrow, now the butler, or Lady Mary. “They were all developed over the years,” said Nicol. “We were on a journey, but the audience were on it with us for sure. [Fellowes] developed everybody’s story because he’s such a good writer and I think that’s what happened. People got hooked into what’s going to happen to them next.” Downton Abbey returns: The enduring charm of lavish living As much as Downton Abbey was praised for its writing, storytelling, lush costumes and scenes, it also faced its share of criticism during its TV run, from quibbles over historical accuracy to debate over its portrayal of class. Still, suggests Rubinoff, such criticism doesn’t diminish the entertainment value and any emotional response a show such as Downton can provide or provoke, even for a little while. “Whether you have questions about things that are factual — whether you say, oh it’s just entertainment and everything’s going on around it, you cannot deny an emotional response to … something that’s in the arts-related or entertainment mediums,” said Rubinoff.  “Those feelings are real.” Carson’s loyalty to Downton and the Crawley family is deep and steadfast, throughout the TV and movie versions of the story. (Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features) Of course, any happiness audience members might feel after seeing something like Downton Abbey may not last that long after they leave the theatre. “But it does allow you to engage with others in a certain way that might be more positive than if you hadn’t watched that … coming into your workplace and having a discussion about how much you enjoyed something,” said Rubinoff, who is also creative producing director of the Canadian Music Theatre Project at Sheridan. “That might just set a positive tone to the day or strengthen a relationship between colleagues or people. I think that’s a good thing.” Obviously, Rubinoff said, the Downton creators weren’t setting out to do a documentary. It’s a drama, more in that realm of soap opera. “But if you find something joyous, I think that emotional response should be embraced, and that’s good entertainment.”
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B.C. voters heading to the polls as snap election called for Oct. 24 | CBC News

After weeks of speculation, B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan has made official the worst-kept secret in the province: British Columbians are heading to the polls.  Horgan said Monday he had called an election for Oct. 24 after meeting with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and asking her to dissolve the legislature.”I’ve struggled mightily with this decision, and it did not come easily to me,” said…

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B.C. voters heading to the polls as snap election called for Oct. 24 | CBC News

After weeks of speculation, B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan has made official the worst-kept secret in the province: British Columbians are heading to the polls.  Horgan said Monday he had called an election for Oct. 24 after meeting with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and asking her to dissolve the legislature.”I’ve struggled mightily with this decision, and it did not come easily to me,” said Horgan, acknowledging the controversy of calling an early election during a pandemic.  But he said that, with COVID-19 expected to be a fact of life for the next year, an election made sense now.  “We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the 12 months … or we can do what I believe is always the right thing and ask British Columbians what they think.” The announcement comes after weeks of speculation that Horgan would call an election just over three years into his mandate, and it comes after six cabinet ministers announced their retirements in the past seven days. The NDP currently have 41 seats in the legislature, as do the opposition Liberal Party, while the Green Party has two. WATCH | B.C. premier announces Oct. 24 election: British Columbia voters will head to the polls on Oct 24. Some are criticizing the premier for moving forward early, but John Horgan says COVID-19 would have been a factor no matter when he called an election. 1:59 How did we get here? Horgan has led a minority government since July 2017 after his New Democratic Party and the Greens teamed up to defeat the Liberals in a confidence vote following a May election with no clear decision.  Since that time, he has led the province with the support of the Green Party — under a unique and formal agreement — and passed legislation setting a fixed election date for October 2021. The agreement also stipulated Horgan “will not request a dissolution of the legislature … except following the defeat of a motion of confidence.”   But, in calling the election, Horgan argued the province found itself in unique circumstances because of the pandemic and that the Green Party had also broken a rule of the agreement by introducing an amendment to a government bill without notification. “The issues of 2017 are not the issues of 2020,” said Horgan.  “What we did in the past is one thing, and what we need to do in the future is quite another matter.”  Horgan also repeatedly argued that an election would create more certainty for the province if one party had a majority government and the ability to make decisions without consulting other parties. “We need a stable government,” he said.  Up in the polls Horgan will attempt to become the first two-term NDP premier in B.C. history and heads into the campaign with his party up in the polls and with the highest personal approval rating of any premier in Canada, according to recent surveys by Angus Reid. In recent weeks, the B.C. Liberal Party and the Green Party have criticized Horgan for considering an election during a global pandemic. While British Columbia received plaudits for its initial containment of the virus, cases of COVID-19 have surged in recent months, and the effects of students returning to class are still not fully known.  The opposition parties quickly attacked Horgan for calling an election.  “Today, John Horgan chose politics over people,” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, who said his party will announce its platform and full list of candidates in the coming weeks. “The only reason for this general election is to try and secure the jobs of the NDP … it’s not necessary.” Horgan is seen after the news conference in Langford, B.C., where he announced the election. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press) Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau said she spoke with Horgan on Friday, and told him she and fellow Green MLA Adam Olsen would continue to support the NDP on legislation if an election was not called.  “When people are worried about their kids being back in school, when people are worried about their jobs, when people are worried about their housing, this is not a time where we put the interest of a political party ahead of British Columbians,” she said.   A number of longtime MLAs have said they won’t be seeking re-election, including NDP cabinet ministers Carole James, Judy Darcy, Shane Simpson, Michelle Mungall, Doug Donaldson, Claire Trevena and Scott Fraser. Liberals Rich Coleman and Linda Reid, and former Green Party leader Andrew Weaver have also said they will not run again.
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First man to climb Everest 10 times dies at 72

All the ascents to the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of the world’s tallest mountain between 1983 and 1996 by Ang Rita, who went by his first name, like many Sherpas, were made without bottled oxygen.The 72-year-old, who had suffered brain and liver ailments for a long time, died at his home in the Nepali capital of…

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First man to climb Everest 10 times dies at 72

All the ascents to the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of the world’s tallest mountain between 1983 and 1996 by Ang Rita, who went by his first name, like many Sherpas, were made without bottled oxygen.The 72-year-old, who had suffered brain and liver ailments for a long time, died at his home in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, his grandson, Phurba Tshering, said.Ang Rita was also known as the “snow leopard” for his climbing skills.”He was a climbing star and his death is a major loss for the country and for the climbing fraternity,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.The body will be placed at a Sherpa Gomba, or holy site, in Kathmandu, and cremated on Wednesday according to sherpa tradition, Ang Tshering said.Many other climbers have since surpassed Ang Rita’s feat, with one member of the community setting a record of 24 ascents.

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U.S. Justice Department threatens to strip federal funds from cities it says allow ‘anarchy’ | CBC News

World·NewThe U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets.New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have been identified as 3 cities that could lose fundingThomson Reuters · Posted: Sep 21, 2020 4:22…

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U.S. Justice Department threatens to strip federal funds from cities it says allow ‘anarchy’ | CBC News

World·NewThe U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets.New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have been identified as 3 cities that could lose fundingThomson Reuters · Posted: Sep 21, 2020 4:22 PM ET | Last Updated: September 21Police and protesters square off Saturday, July 25, 2020, near Seattle’s Central Community College. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for cities such as Seattle, which it claimed has allowed anarchy and violence on the streets. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press )The U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.In a joint statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler accused the Trump administration of playing politics and said withholding federal funds would be illegal. “This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The president is playing cheap political games with congressionally directed funds,” the statement said. “Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House.” Many cities across the United States have experienced unrest since the May death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. In some cases the protests have escalated into violence and looting, but the majority have been largely peaceful.  Protesters march in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. Last week, the DOJ urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity in American cities. (Mark Graves /The Oregonian via The Associated Press) The federal government has mounted a campaign to disperse the racial justice protests, including by sending federal agents into Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to bring charges. Last week, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity. Monday’s threat to revoke federal funds was the government’s latest escalation in its quest to curb the protests. It comes after U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month issued a memo laying out criteria to consider when reviewing funding for states and cities that are “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities.” The criteria include things such as whether a city forbids the police from intervening or if it defunds its police force. In all three cities, the Justice Department said, leadership has rejected efforts to allow federal law enforcement officials to intervene and restore order, among other things. In a press briefing earlier on Monday, New York City Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson promised a court battle if the Trump administration proceeds to cut off the funds. “The president does not have the authority to change the will of Congress,” he said. “We are preparing to fight this in court if, ultimately, he actually takes concrete steps to withdraw federal funds.”With files from The Associated Press
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