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Malawian boy saves famine-stricken village with wind turbine in Berlinale movie



Malawian boy saves famine-stricken village with wind turbine in Berlinale movie

Director and screenwriter Chiwetel Ejiofor and actors William Kamkwamba, Maxwell Simba, Aissa Maiga pose during a photocall to promote the movie “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” at the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) – A movie premiering in Berlin tells the true story of a young boy from a famine-stricken village in Malawi who studies books about energy then builds a wind turbine that enables farmers to irrigate their land.

Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” tells the story of William, an engineering enthusiast who resorts to secretly using the school library to learn when he is expelled from school because his father – a poor farmer – cannot afford to pay the fees.

The farm land around the village gets flooded, ruining the crops, and then later dries out, leaving people with hardly any food. Desperate villagers steal food from William’s family and they end up with just enough for one meal per day.

Less educated villagers doubt William’s turbine idea will work and his father initially refuses to give him the bike – one of the family’s few possessions – that he needs to make it, telling him to start helping on the farm instead of studying.

The father later gives in and William uses the bike, some wood and junk that he finds in a scrapyard to build the towering construction that powers a water pump. At the end of the movie, he climbs the turbine to see green plants shooting out of what was previously dry, cracked and barren land.

“I was struck and continue to be struck by just what an extraordinary achievement it was,” Ejiofor said. “What his story represents is really living in the solution, not living in the problems.”

The film is based on an autobiographical book with the same title written by the real-life William Kamkwamba. Kamkwamba said he hoped people who had not read the book would see the movie and learn about his story, adding: “They might get inspired by my work that I did, so I’m very excited.”

Maxwell Simba, who plays William, said he was struck by William’s determination to fight for what he believes in despite his difficult relationship with his father and despite being expelled from school.

“If you are really determined to go get what you want, then the universe has its own way of working out for you to achieve at the end of the day what you wanted to achieve,” he said.

Additional reporting by Swantje Stein; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Frances Kerry

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Lorraine Warren dies at 92; paranormal investigator inspired ‘The Conjuring’ films




Lorraine Warren dies at 92; paranormal investigator inspired 'The Conjuring' films

World-wide paranormal investigator and author Lorraine Warren, whose decades of ghost-hunting cases with her late husband inspired such frightening films as “The Conjuring” series and “The Amityville Horror,” died. She was 92.

Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera and grandson Chris McKinnell posted Friday on Facebook that Warren died in her sleep Thursday night at her Connecticut home. Phone messages and emails were left with several of Warren’s family members. Warren’s attorney, Gary Barkin, confirmed his client’s death via email to The Associated Press.


“She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul,” Spera wrote.

The Warrens founded the New England Society for Psychic Research in Monroe, Connecticut, in 1952 to investigate suspected hauntings. The group also posted of her passing on Facebook.

During their 61 years of marriage, Lorraine and Ed Warren investigated more than 10,000 cases in the U.S. and abroad, often writing about their experiences. Their unusual profession has been credited with sparking popular interest in the paranormal, as well as the television shows and films now dedicated to the subject.

“When nobody was really even talking about ghosts, they were just two people from Bridgeport, Connecticut, who came together and fell in love and Ed happened to have had a lot of paranormal instances when he was growing up and Lorraine was always the sensitive clairvoyant,” said Larry Dwyer, a staff writer at the Horror News Network, a website that covers the horror film industry. He said the couple realized they could use their “gifts” and Catholic faith to help people who believed they were being tormented by ghosts or demons.

Ed Warren died in 2006 and Spera now oversees the New England Society for Psychic Research. The organization’s website said Lorraine Warren had “decided to retire from active investigations regarding the areas of haunted homes and demonic infestations/possessions” but was still a consultant to the organization at the time of her death.

The Warrens’ work did receive criticism from doubters over the years. The New England Skeptical Society in 1997 said the Warrens’ “copious anecdotal evidence” of reports of hauntings vastly outnumbered their “low-grade physical evidence.”

Warren told The AP in a 2013 interview that she understood it was very difficult for people to accept she could see ghosts if they had never seen one themselves.

“I hope you never will,” she said. “I really don’t.”


The 2013 film “The Conjuring” is based on the couple’s investigation into alleged events at a Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s. Lorraine Warren visited the set during the filming. She also spent time at her Connecticut home with actress Vera Farmiga, who portrays Warren in the movie and its sequels. Farmiga expressed her condolences on Twitter Friday, saying she was “blessed to have known” Warren and “honored to portray her.”

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NFL’s Danny Amendola lashes out at ex Olivia Culpo after reports of her getting cozy with Zed




NFL's Danny Amendola lashes out at ex Olivia Culpo after reports of her getting cozy with Zed

Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola slammed ex-girlfriend Olivia Culpo in a lengthy Instagram post Friday following reports that the former Miss Universe was cuddling up to Russian-German DJ Zed at Coachella.


In the post, which has since been deleted, the 33-year-old slammed Culpo, 26, for her “fishbowl lifestyle,” explaining that he chooses to nail up picture frames of the people he loves the most inside his home to protect them from ridicule rather than post about them online.

“Olivia chooses and wants to be noticed on the internet and in Hollywood to make money,” Amendola said, claiming her need for media attention was hard for him to understand because he plays ball “for one reason and that’s RESPECT.”

Amendola said he and Culpo both made mistakes during the course of their “loving relationship” and mentioned their “crazy” sex life. The football star said Culpo often got angry with him for not posting about their romance on social media.

He added that he chooses to live outside the public’s critical eye even though he has “a whole cell phone of funny, embarrassing, sexy pics IG would love to have.”


“We’ve been off and on for a long time and have not been together as of late!” he wrote, concluding his post with a jab at media reports of Culpo with other men, including a video circulating of Culpo with Zed during Ariana Grande’s set at Coachella, E! News reported.

“Not sure what’s in the future but the only thing I care about is her HAPPINESS. And if that’s dancing with scrony [sic] little f—, so be it.”

Amendola signed a contract with the Lions in March after previously playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

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Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in NXIVM sex cult case




Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in NXIVM sex cult case

Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty on Friday in a widely publicized case accusing a cult-like upstate New York group of creating a secret harem of sex slaves for the group’s self-anointed spiritual leader.

Donning a beige blouse and blue pants, along with a blue and white scarf, Bronfman, 40, admitted in her plea in federal court in Brooklyn that she harbored someone who was living in the U.S. illegally for unpaid “labor and services” and that she committed credit card fraud on behalf of Keith Raniere, the spiritual leader of the group NXIVM.


The daughter of the late billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. — told the judge that she had wanted to help people through NXIVM but ended up dishonoring her family.

Clare Bronfman, left, arrives at Federal court with her attorney Mark Geragos in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, April 19, 2019. Bronfman has pleaded guilty to charges implicating her in a sex-trafficking conspiracy case against an upstate New York self-help group. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Clare Bronfman, left, arrives at Federal court with her attorney Mark Geragos in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, April 19, 2019. Bronfman has pleaded guilty to charges implicating her in a sex-trafficking conspiracy case against an upstate New York self-help group. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“Your honor, I was afforded a great gift by my grandfather and father,” Bronfman said. “With the gift, comes immense privilege and more importantly, tremendous responsibility. It does not come with an ability to break the law.”


She added: “For this, I am truly sorry.”

As part of a plea agreement, Bronfman agreed to forfeit $6 million in addition to paying restitution to unnamed victims. She faces up to 27 months in prison at her sentencing scheduled for July 25.

Last week, former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty in the same Brooklyn federal court to racketeering charges in relation to the cultlike group. Mack entered her plea shortly before jury selection was scheduled to start.


The plea means Bronfman and Mack will avoid going to trial early next month with Raniere, who is facing conspiracy charges alleging that his inner circle of loyalists created a secret society of women who were forced to have unwanted sex with him. Prosecutors say some of the women were branded with his initials as part of their initiation.

According to prosecutors, Bronfman had long been affiliated with NXIVM — giving away tens of millions of dollars of her fortune to bankroll Raniere and his program of intense self-improvement classes. She also paid for lawyers to defend the group against a lawsuit brought by its critics.

Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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