HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Police in Zimbabwe have arrested an anti-government pastor after he circulated videos highlighting the country’s worsening economic problems.
Defense lawyer Harrison Nkomo says pastor Evan Mawarire, who last year organized the county’s biggest protests in a decade, has been charged with subversion.
Mawarire is to appear in court on Monday due to separate subversion charges linked to earlier anti-government campaigns.
The latest charges came after Mawarire posted videos that include images of long lines of people waiting for fuel. In the videos, Mawarire accuses the government of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe of being insensitive to the problems affecting the once-prosperous southern African country.
Mawarire fled to the United States last year after his involvement in protests. He returned in February and was charged with subversion.
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August.
Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and met with the coach. Boasberg says that wasn’t enough to protect students’ safety.
The recordings were broadcast on KUSA-TV in August, showing eight cheerleaders repeatedly being pushed into splits. In one video, a girl appears to cry out in pain and repeatedly asks her coach to “please stop.”
The former coach, Ozell Williams, was dismissed shortly after the videos became public.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water’s benefits in a cellphone game where users refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt.
The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available.
The dispute between the sports-drink company and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was settled in less than a day after Becerra filed a complaint in Los Angeles County.
Becerra’s complaint alleges the game, called Bolt!, misleadingly portrayed the health benefits of water in a way that could harm children’s nutritional choices. The game encouraged users to “keep your performance level high and avoid water,” with Bolt’s fuel level going down after drinking water but up after drinking Gatorade, the complaint alleged.
The settlement should serve as a warning to companies that falsely advertise, Becerra said.
“Making misleading statements is a violation of California law. But making misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it’s morally wrong and a betrayal of trust,” he said in a statement.
Gatorade agreed to the settlement but has not admitted wrongdoing.
“The mobile game, Bolt!, was designed to highlight the unique role and benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance. We recognize the role water plays in overall health and wellness, and offer our consumers great options,” spokeswoman Katie Vidaillet said in an email.
In addition to agreeing not to disparage water, Gatorade agreed not to make Bolt! or any other games that give the impression that water will hinder athletic performance or that athletes only consume Gatorade and do not drink water. Gatorade also agreed to use “reasonable efforts” to abide by parent company PepsiCo’s policy on responsible advertising to children and to disclose its contracts with endorsers.
Of the settlement money, $120,000 will go toward the study or promotion of childhood and teenager nutrition and the consumption of water.
The game was available in 2012 and 2013 and for a limited time in 2017.
GENEVA (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Switzerland on Thursday announced indictments of the leader of a prominent Swiss Islamic group and two other top members over alleged al-Qaida propaganda videos posted on YouTube. Contacted by phone in Bangladesh, one of the suspects rejected the case as “politically motivated.”
Attorney General Michael Lauber’s office alleges the three members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland violated Swiss laws banning al-Qaida, Islamic State and associated radical groups. His office and federal police have opened about 60 cases linked to alleged “jihadi-motivated terrorism,” mostly involving propaganda.
The indictments target ICCS President Nicolas Blancho, the group’s cultural production chief Naim Cherni, who is a German citizen, and spokesman Abdel Azziz Qaasim Illi, said Illi in a phone interview. Blancho and Illi are both Swiss citizens, he said. They all remain free.
“Our reaction is the same it has always been: It is a politically motivated act by the state prosecutor,” Illi said from Bangladesh, where he was taking part in ICCS efforts to help the Muslim Rohingya minority who have been fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar by the hundreds of thousands since Aug. 25.
“They know their case is weak,” Illi said of the prosecutors. Referring to ICCS, he added: “They are trying to defame the famous Islamic organization.”
The case was built around an interview that Cherni conducted in Syria in 2015 with Abdullah al-Muhaysini that has been posted on YouTube. The Saudi militant has been linked to an umbrella organization known as Jaish al-Fatah, or Army of Conquest, which is led by an al-Qaida affiliate. Illi called him a “rebel leader” and said links to al-Qaida weren’t confirmed.
Illi said authorities had tried and failed to have YouTube remove the interview video.
The attorney general’s said it asked the Swiss division of Google Inc. — YouTube’s parent company — to delete the interview two years ago and said it was “annoying” that it remained online.
“It is not in our power to delete it. It would be desirable if this were to change, particularly in the case of criminal proceedings such as this,” Lauber’s office wrote in an email. “This is a political question.”
The indictment comes nearly two years after Lauber’s office announced an investigation of what was then an unspecified German citizen accused of “having presented his journey to embattled regions of Syria in a video for propaganda purposes, without having explicitly distanced himself from al-Qaida activities in Syria.”
In a statement Thursday, the attorney general’s office said the videos were supportive of al-Qaida and had been “actively promoted via social media and at a public event” by all three suspects.
NEW YORK (AP) — It might seem odd to review the new Apple TV streaming device — one specifically designed to display super-sharp video known as 4K — without actually owning a 4K TV.
But in a way, that’s the point.
Most people still don’t have 4K TVs, so the new Apple TV model doesn’t offer them much. But if you’re an Apple fan and already have 4K, the choice is clear. The new Apple TV 4K is out Friday starting at $179, or $30 more than the regular model. It’s a small difference compared with the price of your TV.
It’s worth noting that alternatives to Apple TV are cheaper and equally capable at a basic level. All of the devices connect to a TV so you can stream most major video services on a big screen. Roku and Amazon have 4K models for less than $100 and non-4K versions for even less. Both are even ahead of Apple TV in being able to stream Amazon video now; it’s coming soon to Apple TV.
But none of the rivals will play movies or shows purchased from Apple’s iTunes, at least without clunky workarounds. To watch those on a big screen directly, you need an Apple TV. And Apple has just sweetened the deal on that front.
THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED
Apple’s embrace of 4K is significant, despite the fact that Roku, Amazon and other rivals beat Apple to that milestone. Apple often waits until there’s broad enough appeal for new technologies. That time is now, given growth in sales of 4K TV and more movies and TV shows released in 4K formats.
Parallel to that is the rise of high-dynamic range technology in television sets. HDR increases color range and produces brighter whites and darker blacks. Better contrast means details in bright scenes aren’t washed out. Apple TV 4K supports HDR, too.
PATH TO UPGRADES
4K is coming, just as high definition earlier replaced standard definition. The consulting company Futuresource says a third of TVs sold worldwide this year will be 4K capable, up from 25 percent last year. But people tend to keep TVs for many years, unlike high-turnover phones.
In demos with tech companies and visits to Best Buy, I find superior picture quality in 4K. Your couch needs to close enough to the screen to see the difference. My next TV will likely have 4K, but my 4-year-old Vizio HD TV still works fine (though I’m sure I just jinxed it).
ITUNES UPGRADES ITS VIDEO … AND YOURS
Many Hollywood blockbusters now have 4K versions of home video releases. Netflix and Amazon are also trying to make their original shows available in 4K. But many indie and older titles remain in HD; even older shows like “The Wonder Years” are still stuck in standard definition.
Fortunately, Apple isn’t making you choose now. If you buy something in HD through iTunes, you’ll automatically get the 4K version when it’s out. And if a 4K version is available now, it will cost the same as its HD counterpart. It’s never been clear why HD video is more expensive than SD when actors, directors and others behind the movies were paid the same.
Lots of people were peeved at how the music industry tried to get them to repurchase the same songs on cassette tapes, CDs and then digital files. I have a collection of DVDs and don’t feel like paying again for higher-quality Blu-ray or digital versions.
So Apple’s decision to treat 4K and HD the same is a good one. That only applies to iTunes, though. Netflix is charging extra for a plan that includes 4K, even when viewed on Apple TVs.
A word of caution: While the new iPhone 8 and iPad Pros unveiled this past June will support HDR, they won’t display 4K. Even the upcoming iPhone X falls short in that respect.
The new Apple TV gets a faster processor, which should make high-end games better to play. A new remote offers more precise motion control and a raised menu button to make it easier to orient yourself without looking. These features alone aren’t enough to justify an Apple TV 4K unless you’re a gamer. The non-4K version is getting the new remote, too. Picture quality is the same for both versions on regular HD sets like mine.
In any case, Apple TV — with or without 4K — will be most useful if you’re already tied into Apple’s system with iDevices and iTunes. Given that rival devices are cheaper, what you’re buying isn’t the device, but an experience — integration and syncing with all your other Apple gadgets. For instance, 4K video taken on an iPhone will play easily on an Apple TV 4K.
If you’re in that camp and are thinking of buying a new TV in the next few years, there’s a good chance it will be 4K, so you might as well choose the 4K version of Apple TV now. But if it’s longer, a better Apple TV will likely be out by then. The non-4K version will do just fine for now.
CHIBA, Japan (AP) — The Japanese video game industry is finding its way out of the doldrums by adapting new technology for decades-old titles. And that energy was evident at the annual Tokyo Game Show, which opened to media Thursday before opening to the public over the weekend.
“Our old fans used to play Japanese games, and those people are excited those games are coming back and they recognize them as Japanese-style games,” game creator Koji Igarashi told The Associated Press at the show in Makuhari Messe hall in Chiba, a Tokyo suburb.
“Truly game-like games” is the way Igarashi described the genres enjoying revival, including his side-scrolling role-playing games. His latest version will come with a 3-D movie section.
Although smartphones hammered the video-games market for some years, from about 2010, the companies have adjusted. After the dust settled, some of the games that stood the test of time turned out to be Japanese, such as “Monster Hunter” and “Resident Evil,” known as “Biohazard” in Japan, both from Capcom Co., the “Super Mario” series from Nintendo and “Gran Turismo” from Sony, to name a few.
Also helping are new consoles from the Japanese makers, such as the PlayStation 4 from Sony Corp. and the Nintendo Switch. More than 60 million PlayStation 4, or PS4, consoles have been sold since they went on sale last year. Switch sales already total some 4.7 million globally. Switch went on sale in March.
Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. initially scoffed at the threat from smartphones but did an about-face and began offering smartphone versions of their flagship games like “Super Mario” since 2015. “Pokemon Go,” featuring Nintendo’s Pokemon characters and played on smartphones, became a global hit.
Games are also taking on more features, such as massive online communities, as well as immersive virtual reality, not only leading to new kinds of games but also helping revive interest in old-style genres.
Igarashi compared that to the way Japanese movie-making has endured along with Hollywood films.
“We are just offering what we find as fun,” he said, noting that what he called his “Japanese idea of fun” can cross borders. “And we must never lose sight of that — what makes us truly us.”
In his latest game, “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night,” the player becomes Miriam, an orphan who awakens from a coma and battles demons as she tries to end a curse that is turning her skin to crystal.
Igarashi, known as “Iga” among game fans, produced the classic “Castlevania” vampire-action game series, which started in 1997, while at major Japanese game software maker Konami until he left three years ago to be on his own.
He has raised $5.5 million in pledged funding, mostly from the U.S., on Kickstarter for his Gothic-horror “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.” It is set to be playable on the Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Vita, when it launches in the first half of next year in seven languages, including Chinese and Italian.
Atsushi Morita, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan, Sony’s game division, said Japanese culture is at the root of visual story-telling that began with manga comic books, went on to animation and films and now allows for an interactive element in games.
Many people used to play games, Morita added, but they have stopped as they got older. But with new technology like the virtual reality headset that Sony has developed and an array of software products coming out, the time may be finally ripe for the Japanese game industry to reap the rewards, he said.
“We want people to once again remember and rediscover the fun of games,” said Morita. “We want people to re-experience that joy, that emotion.”
Square Enix Holdings Co. President Yosuke Matsuda said his company is putting out the 15th game of the longtime hit “Final Fantasy” series. Long lines were forming at its giant booth at the Tokyo Game Show for a chance to try it out.
“Japanese games are loved by the world,” he said.
Kageyama can be reached at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama