NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s glitziest film festival opened this week to fanfare and fury, as Indians protested the inclusion of Pakistani artists.
With a ceremony in Mumbai’s iconic and newly refurbished Royal Opera House, the celebration of Bollywood and international film kicked off Thursday amid the sober announcement that at least one screening was canceled.
The Pakistani classic “Jago Hua Savera,” or “Awake, It’s Dawn,” was dropped from the Mumbai Film Festival schedule after a local organization claimed it would cause public outrage.
Even a public plea from Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar could not stem the calm. Johar released a video message asking Hindu nationalist protesters to not disrupt the Oct. 28 release of his big-budget romantic drama “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” or “Difficulties of the Heart,” which features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in a small role.
“I beseech you to know one thing, that over 300 Indian people in my crew have put their blood, sweat and tears into my film,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to them to face any kind of turbulence.” Johar pledged to avoid using Pakistani actors or crewmen in future movies.
Tensions between Pakistan and India escalated last month after a deadly rebel attack on an Indian military base. India blamed Islamabad for backing the separatist rebels and providing them with training and arms. Pakistan denied the allegation, saying it offers only moral support to the rebels fighting for Kashmir’s independence or merger with Pakistan.
As the two governments trade increasingly acrimonious barbs, people in both film-crazy countries have moved to boycott each other’s films.
Pakistani cinema’s stopped showing Bollywood fare in their theaters weeks ago. And a blanket ban against showing Indian content on Pakistani television networks and radio stations took effect Friday. India’s government has not issued a blanket ban but said it would make such decisions on a case-by-case basis.
The Mumbai festival organizers this week said they dropped the Pakistani black-and-white classic “Awake” due to “the current situation.” Meanwhile, the regional political party Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti threatened to disturb any attempts to screen any film involving Pakistani talent.
Many of the Bollywood glitterati attending the festival criticized the outrage and said protests were not the solution.
“Of course you have to stand by the nation, but when it comes to a movie … there are so many Indian actors who have already put their blood and sweat into it, I think they ( protesters ) should think about it,” Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh said.
Film director Zoya Akhtar called out the hypocrisy of protesters shutting down films while ignoring the ongoing cricket matches involving teams from both countries.
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan also said the ruckus was “unnecessary,” and that film audiences should be free to decide what they want to see.
“People will see the film and decide for themselves, thank you very much,” Khan told reporters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political party along with state authorities in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, have issued statements assuring that violent protests would not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, the weeklong film fest was screening some 175 films, documentaries and short films from more than 50 countries at venues across west-coast city.
The lineup included Cannes’ prize winner, the British drama “I, Daniel Blake,” as well as other international films including Oliver Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu’s family drama “Graduation,” and Pablo Larraín’s “Neruda” about the life of the Chilean poet.
AP journalist Manish Mehta contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying his notorious stinginess, Donald Trump more than doubled his campaign spending last month compared to August. He burned through roughly $70 million as his standing in polls and among fellow Republicans dropped.
His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, spent even more — almost $83 million.
New finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission outlined their dramatically different approaches to the quest for the White House. Trump, while putting more money than ever into advertising, spent a fraction of the roughly $66 million Clinton poured into media buys.
Clinton’s payroll topped 800 people, coming in as her second-highest expense of the month, about $5.5 million. Trump paid roughly 350 employees and consultants. He has outsourced most of his on-the-ground voter contact to the Republican Party.
The New York real estate mogul has bragged until recently about his low-cost campaign and dismissed the need for television ads and polling services. But in September, he paid $23 million for commercials.
Perhaps a reflection of his newest campaign manager, pollster Kellyanne Conway, Trump appears to have a new interest in polling.
In August he paid Conway’s The Polling Company $130,000. Last month, he almost tripled his payment to her company, part of $1.7 million in September expenditures to five different polling firms.
Another big expense: Long-ago ousted campaign manager Corey Lewandowski received a total of $100,000.
Lewandowski was fired in June and quickly became a paid contributor to CNN. That hasn’t stopped him from collecting Trump campaign checks thanks to a contract. In September, his Green Monster Consulting firm collected what the campaign said was its final payout to him.
His firm took in about $540,000 over the course of the campaign. As a comparison, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, has been paid about $153,000 so far.
One of Clinton’s expenditures causes a double-take. Her campaign reimbursed employees who purchased $260 worth of products from Trump International Hotel in New York. That was for props — a tie, polo shirt and hat — in a Clinton campaign digital video highlighting that Trump doesn’t make all of his products in America. Indeed, the Clinton campaign line-item in the fundraising report reads: “Merchandise Not Made In America.”
September was the best fundraising month for both candidates. Of the $100 million Trump said he raised for his presidential bid and his Republican partners, about $55 million went to his campaign.
Clinton’s campaign said she raised $154 million, and her September filing showed about $74 million of that ended up in her campaign account.
Some outside groups active in the presidential race also filed fundraising paperwork on Thursday. Priorities USA, the chief super PAC backing Clinton raised almost $25 million. A $6 million chunk of that came from billionaire investor Donald Sussman.
Super PACs on the Trump side have been less fruitful in their fundraising. One of the groups, called Make America Number One, collected $2 million in September from Home Deport co-founder Bernie Marcus.
Follow Julie Bykowicz and Chad Day on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bykowicz and https://twitter.com/ChadSDay
PHOENIX (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama has emerged as perhaps the most effective Donald Trump critic in the Democrats’ lineup, and she’s done it without ever uttering two key words: Donald Trump.
In her six campaign trail speeches for Hillary Clinton, the first lady has never said the Republican nominee’s name. She’s talked about “this candidate” and dedicated much of her time to a searing indictment of his words and positions. But throughout her buzzworthy takedowns, Trump remains the man who shall remain nameless.
Mrs. Obama didn’t depart from her rhetorical dismissal of Trump in Phoenix Thursday. Her appearance in Arizona was a mission to crack open new territory in a GOP-leaning state polls show is now competitive.
The Clinton campaign and Mrs. Obama’s staff are reluctant to discuss motives for the obvious omission. But Mrs. Obama’s rhetoric shows her trying to balance her position as first lady — a figure long viewed as out of the political fray — while also holding little back in a race she clearly feels strongly about.
At the rally in Arizona, she referred to Trump dozens of times, but in the abstract. “When a presidential candidate threatens to ignore our voices and reject the outcome of this election, he is threatening the very idea of America itself,” she told roughly 7,000 raucous supporters at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Trump said he would withhold judgment on accepting the outcome of the election.
She also spoke in deeply personal terms, suggesting that Trump’s life in a Manhattan tower keeps him from seeing the humanity in people who are different from him. And that, she suggested, is why he speaks so harshly of African-American communities and insults Muslims, women, people with disabilities, Mexicans and more.
“Maybe that’s why he calls communities like the one where I was raised, ‘hell,'” she said. “Because he can’t see all the decent, hardworking folks like my parents.”
Political speakers are often coached to avoid using opponents’ names or titles, to deny them any measure of extra publicity or credibility.
It’s a time-worn demonstration of disdain by denial, said Mary E. Stuckey, a scholar of political oratory at Georgia State University. By marginalizing him personally, Mrs. Obama also aims to marginalize what he stands for as a candidate.
It may just be coincidence, but Mrs. Obama’s speech Thursday was at the downtown convention center in Phoenix where Trump issued a reaffirmation of his immigration policy proposals, which Clinton sharply opposes.
“Naming, of course, is a form of power. It defines things and makes them real,” Stuckey said. “To refuse to name is also to refuse to recognize something.”
But others see additional possible motives in Mrs. Obama’s rhetoric.
Where previous first ladies have typically played the role of loyal spouse and burnished their husbands’ records while campaigning, Mrs. Obama has taken a different tack, said Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush.
“Her speeches have been more political,” McBride said. “Her speeches at the Democratic National Convention and in New Hampshire last week were sharper, more targeted and more cutting than anything I’ve seen in a previous first lady.”
Mrs. Obama spoke at length at the Manchester rally about the release this month of a video from a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview, where Trump said into a microphone, which he didn’t know was live, that he used his celebrity to make sexual advances on women without their consent.
In the weeks that followed, nine women have accused Trump over the past 30 years of kissing and groping them against their will.
Mrs. Obama’s response was an effort to starkly refer to Trump as “this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. I can’t believe I’m saying that.”
Trump has made a habit of retaliating against his critics. The only time he has mentioned Mrs. Obama during the campaign has been to attempt to poke holes in her support for Clinton by reminding voters of the fierce fight for the 2008 Democratic nomination Clinton fought against President Barack Obama.
Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, has not followed Michelle Obama’s example. Speaking at Arizona State University Wednesday, she sprinkled Trump’s name throughout her 30-minute speech and a question-and-answer session with more than 500 supporters on the campus in Tempe.
That leaves some former Obama administration staff and others suggesting that the first lady finds Trump so objectionable that she refuses to utter his name as a way of denying him credibility.
“I wonder in some ways if she finds his politics and rhetoric so distasteful she can’t bring herself to say his name,” said McBride. “Clearly, there’s a great deal of passion in these speeches.”
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The alarm rings at 4:30 a.m., but only for a split-second. Tom Thibodeau has been wide awake for the last eight minutes, waiting for the buzzer to go off.
He unplugs himself from the matrix, where he has spent the last four hours downloading video of Rick Carlisle’s push offense, all 722 of Russell Westbrook’s pick-and-rolls last season and diagrams of Gregg Popovich’s plays after a timeout straight into his brain.
Or so goes the caricature of the NBA’s ultimate grinder, a reputation that has morphed from reality to apocryphal over Thibodeau’s three decades in the league. The snarling, growling, basketball savant so consumed by the game there seems to be little room for anything else in his life.
“I think that’s sort of the way it is today,” Thibodeau said with a hearty laugh. “You get put in some type of box. I’m like everybody else. There are a lot of other things that I enjoy doing also.”
Thibodeau insists he’s more than the basketball junkie that people cast him to be. In addition to visiting teams during his sabbatical last year, he also saw his family over the holidays for the first time in recent memory, took trips to Napa and St. Thomas and watched the occasional movie. He loves U2 and Bruce Springsteen and relishes a great meal with good company.
But now that the season is here, it’s time to work.
The Timberwolves brought him back to Minnesota — the place his NBA coaching career began 27 years ago — with the hope he can galvanize a promising young roster and end an interminable 12-year playoff drought. He arrived in Minneapolis in 1989 as a mullet-wearing, 31-year-old making the jump from Harvard. He returns as a 58-year-old coaching veteran, empowered by owner Glen Taylor as coach and president of basketball operations.
“I’m never going to apologize for working hard,” Thibodeau said. “I just don’t believe in that. I believe that when you make a commitment to do something, put everything you have into it every single day and then you let the chips fall where they may. It’s worked well for me.”
His ability to balance the patience it takes to construct the long-term vision he has for the organization with the win-at-all-costs mentality that made him a success with the Chicago Bulls will be crucial to the downtrodden franchise’s ability to pull out of the abyss.
“In some ways this is similar to when I took over in Chicago, when Derrick (Rose) was 22 and Joakim (Noah) was 25,” he said. “But how you pace the team, I think that’s one of the biggest challenges for a head coach.”
That Bulls team went 62-20 — a 21-game improvement over the previous season — and lost in the Eastern Conference finals. In Minnesota, he takes over a team that won just 29 games, but boasts a treasure trove of young talent including Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.
“I think he’s going to be great for the city, great for these young guys,” said Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, who along with Thibodeau is among the 10 new coaches in the league this season. “He’s going to make them into a serious threat in the West.”
In his first month coaching this team, there have been signs of the old and new Thibodeau. His practices are long and intense, but he has granted several days off for rest and even gave the entire starting lineup the night off on the second night of a back-to-back last weekend.
He is hilariously profane while storming up and down the sideline, but also laughs uncontrollably and cracks jokes while presiding as judge and jury over a competitive shooting drill in practice.
“He’s tough. But at the end of the day, this is our job. This is our profession,” said guard John Lucas III, who played for Thibodeau in Chicago. “This is what we do. All he asks of you is give him 100 percent. Take no possessions off. Help each other. Leave nobody on an island. Have your teammate’s back. And that’s the culture we’re trying to build here.”
It’s an all-business culture cultivated by Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden. The demands made of players here in the past — meeting with corporate sponsors or season ticket holders to try to spur interest in the team — have been significantly reduced to allow them to focus on basketball.
Hotels on the road have been upgraded and trips home in between spaced-out road games have been eliminated to give the team more bonding time.
And after a messy exit from Chicago plagued by mistrust between the coaching staff and front office, Thibodeau has established a unified management front in Minnesota. During big news conferences, he and Layden sit side by side. And Thibodeau has followed the lead of several other head coaches around the league by not permitting his assistants to do interviews with the media, an effort to make sure there is one message being delivered.
It’s all part of his mission to build a championship foundation in an organization that has advanced out of the first round of the playoffs one time in its 28-year history.
“I love the game so it’s not work to me,” he said. “I enjoy being part of a group and the camaraderie of being with a team. And I love the competition.”
Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In a story Oct. 19 about LeEco’s entrance into the U.S. market, The Associated Press erroneously reported the address of the company’s online store. It is LeMall.com, not LeWeb.com
A corrected version of the story is below:
China’s LeEco sets out to shake up US consumer tech market
Most U.S. consumers haven’t heard of LeEco, but the Chinese technology company is setting out to become a household name
By MICHAEL LIEDTKE
AP Technology Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Most U.S. consumers haven’t heard of LeEco, but the Chinese technology company is setting out to become a household name with smartphones and flat-screen TVs that undercut the prices of Apple, Google, Samsung and other industry stalwarts.
LeEco heralded its entrance into the U.S. market during a Wednesday showcase in San Francisco, where the company unveiled a sleek smartphone called the LePro 3 that will sell for $400 and an internet-connected TV with a 7-foot screen priced at $5,000.
LeEco positions the LePro 3 as an alternative to Apple’s latest iPhone and Google’s Pixel phone, whose prices both start at $650. LeEco is promising its giant TV, called the UMax 85, will be as good or better than other high-end home entertainment systems that cost $8,000.
Both the phone and TV will go on sale Nov. 2 in LeEco’s online store, LeMall.com. The company also is selling a smaller smartphone and smaller TVs with screens ranging from 43 inches to 65 inches.
Besides the phones and TVs, LeEco also is coming to the U.S. with a virtual-reality headset, a high-tech bicycle and an electric car in a challenge to Tesla Motors.
The company wants to bundle the devices with other services, including an online video package of shows and movies that ties into its origins as the “Netflix of China.”
LeEco, which stands for “Happy Ecosystem,” is branching out to challenge technology leaders who have been able to demand a premium for their products partly because they have been pleasing U.S. consumers for years.
“America is the most important global market for us,” LeEco CEO Jia Yueting said through a translator during a presentation. “Once we get the hearts and minds of U.S. users, we can move on to the hearts and minds of global users.”
Innovation in the U.S. has hit a “bottleneck,” making it an optimal time for LeEco to enter the market, Jia said in an interview with The Associated Press that was also translated. He envisions creating a platform that enables consumers to hopscotch from LeEco TVs to phones to cars to watch its video service and use other applications that that company plans to introduce.
The company is using the devices as “Trojan horses,” to deliver its digital services, said Gartner analyst Werner Goertz. “This is a general trend in the industry, and LeEco is a prime example of how companies are subsidizing hardware with ulterior motives.”
Google is similarly selling its new Pixel phone in an effort to drive more traffic to its search engine and other service, Goertz noted, though that device is being sold at a premium price. Amazon.com’s Echo, an internet-connected speaker that understands and responds to spoken language, also is designed to get boost sales at the company’s e-commerce site.
The expectations for LeEco are modest. The research firm Strategy Analytics projects that LeEco will sell about 25 million smartphones worldwide this year. By comparison, Apple had sold 214 million iPhones in the past year ending in June.
Other Chinese companies that tried to make a splash in the U.S. consumer electronics market have barely made a ripple.
But LeEco is making a major commitment.
During the summer, the company paid $2 billion for budget-TV maker Vizio, a well-known brand in the U.S. that sells in Costco and other prominent chains. It employs several hundred workers at its U.S. headquarters in San Jose, California, with ambitions to expand in Silicon Valley. Earlier this year, it spent another $250 million to snap up a 50-acre site in Santa Clara, California, where it has approval to build an office complex that could span up to 3 million square feet and accommodate about 12,000 workers. Jia plans to call the complex “EcoWorld.”
“They are not taking a half-baked approach,” Goertz said. “But I think they are going to be hemorrhaging money for the foreseeable future. The question is how long they can sustain this strategy?”
Jia, who has accumulated an estimated fortune of nearly $5 billion, will shoulder a huge chunk of any losses because he owns half of LeEco. He declined to say how much LeEco has spent in the U.S. so far.
“We are financially prepared to bring a new model and a new value for the U.S. consumers,” Jia said.
REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Nintendo has announced a new gaming system that combines a portable handheld device with a dock to use at home.
Nintendo Switch will be released in March. The gaming giant released a preview video of the console Thursday.
The company says the Switch features a dock to connect the system to a TV. Users can lift the device from the dock and use it in portable mode as well.
The Switch comes with detachable controllers. It also features single and multiplayer capabilities.
Nintendo says an exact launch date, price and more specifics will be released later.