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Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings'-inspired series to bow in 2022

LOS ANGELES — (AP) — Start the countdown. An Amazon series inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” novels will premiere in September 2022. The date was announced Monday as filming in New Zealand concluded for the as-yet untitled series, which Amazon said will relate the...
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Zoom to pay $85M for privacy miscues at start of pandemic

Zoom will pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that weak privacy controls opened too many peepholes into the personal information of users and that it was too easy for outsiders to disrupt video meetings during the early stages of the pandemic. The proposed agreement must still be approved...
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Air travel hits another pandemic high, flight delays grow

DALLAS — (AP) — Air travel in the U.S. is hitting new pandemic-era highs, and airlines are scrambling to keep up with the summer-vacation crowds. Despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections fueled by the delta variant, the U.S. set another recent high mark for air travel Sunday, with more than 2.2 million people going through airport checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
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NFL Alumni, CDC fight COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy

Marshall Faulk's high school football coach died of COVID-19 early on in the pandemic. The coronavirus hit home for Rod Woodson when he and his family got sick and his daughter's boyfriend lost his father. They are two of 15 Hall of Famers among 40 current and former players who...
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Who Is America’s Choice To Permanently Host “Jeopardy”?

ABC’s long time quiz show “Jeopardy” has had several guest hosts since the death of beloved host Alex Trebek. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers QB), LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Star Trek: Next Generation), and past champion Ken Jennings have gotten most of the attention. However, there have been other guest hosts. A few worth mentioning are Former White House Communications Director and ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, television journalist Katie Couric, and actress Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory, Blossom, also a neuroscientist).
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US employers ratchet up the pressure on the unvaccinated

NEW YORK — (AP) — Employers are losing patience with unvaccinated workers. For months, most employers relied on information campaigns, bonuses and other incentives to encourage their workforces to get the COVID-19 shot. Now, a growing number are imposing rules to make it more onerous for employees to refuse, from outright mandates to requiring the unvaccinated to undergo regular testing.
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FEMA conducting test of Wireless Emergency Alert system on Aug. 11

WASHINGTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will conduct a national test of its Wireless Emergency Alerts and its Emergency Alert System on Aug. 11, according to agency officials. The test, in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission, will begin at 2:20 p.m. ET. Cell towers will broadcast text as...
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Colts' QB Carson Wentz out 5-12 weeks with broken foot

WESTFIELD, Ind. — (AP) — Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich couldn't wait to start working with quarterback Carson Wentz on the field. He'll have to wait at least five more weeks — perhaps longer. Just minutes after running his first training camp practice, Reich announced Wentz would miss five to...
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With evictions resuming, tenants scramble for assistance

BOSTON — (AP) — The eviction system, which saw a dramatic drop in cases before a federal moratorium expired over the weekend, rumbled back into action Monday, with activists girding for the first of what could be millions of affected tenants to be tossed onto the streets as the delta variant of the coronavirus surges.
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Germany to offer COVID-19 shots for all kids over 12

BERLIN — (AP) — Germany will start offering coronavirus vaccinations for all children and teenagers aged 12 and older, top health officials said Monday. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said after a meeting with the 16 German state health ministers that “we keep our promise: everybody who wants can get vaccinated in the summer — we have enough vaccines for all age groups.”
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New this week: 'The Suicide Squad,' 'Vivo' and Streisand

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. — The 2016 David Ayer-directed "Suicide Squad" may have been rock bottom for Warner Bros.'s DC Comics universe, but the follow-up/rebuild by James Gunn might be a high point. Gunn's "The Suicide Squad," which debuts Friday in theaters and on HBO Max, barely alters the title of the previous film and preserves some characters (Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Viola Davis' Amanda Waller). But Gunn has brought an entirely new comic energy to the highly violent, R-rated comic book adaptation, along with the same surprising if demented poignancy Gunn showed to the two "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies. In "The Suicide Squad," Idris Elba leads a heartfelt if extreme gallery of damaged souls on a dangerous mission.
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Hearing begins for lawmaker who shared rape accuser's name

BOISE, Idaho — (AP) — An Idaho lawmaker accused of violating ethics rules by publicizing the name of an alleged rape victim in disparaging social media posts — and then allegedly misleading lawmakers about her actions — said in an ethics hearing Monday that she did nothing wrong and claimed the allegations against her were politically motivated.
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SpongeBob, Patrick look-alikes seen during underwater expedition

There was no pineapple, but an undersea exploration vehicle captured some images of what appear to be a lifelike SpongeBob SquarePants and friend Patrick Star nearby. Researcher Christopher Mah was watching the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration video feed from the Okeanos Explorer when he noticed the resemblance of the animated characters to a couple of sea creatures.
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$1 trillion infrastructure bill heads for Senate debate

WASHINGTON — (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to speed up consideration of a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package Monday, promising that Democrats would work with Republicans to put together amendments. Formally the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the proposal clocked in at some 2,700 pages late...
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Pelosi, Black Caucus put pressure on Biden to halt evictions

WASHINGTON — (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday it's "unfathomable" that Americans will be ousted from their homes during the COVID-19 crisis, and backed by the Congressional Black Caucus intensified pressure on the Biden administration to immediately extend the nation's eviction moratorium. An estimated 3.6 million Americans are...
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Italy's Draghi puts key justice reforms to confidence vote

ROME — (AP) — A last-minute pledge by a former Italian premier that populist 5-Star Movement lawmakers would back a key justice reforms bill appeared to assure its passage during a crucial confidence vote set for Monday night. Italy’s current premier, Mario Draghi, decided to risk the government's survival by...
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Biles set to return to competition for balance beam final

TOKYO — (AP) — Simone Biles will at last return to Olympic competition Tuesday on Day 11 of the Tokyo Games. The 2016 Olympic champion pulled out of competition a little over a week ago to focus on her mental health, but will return for the balance beam final in what will certainly be the highlight of NBC's coverage.