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NASCAR to Resume Season May 17 with 7 Races in 10 Days 

NASCAR announced Thursday that it will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with the premier Cup Series racing three more times in a 10-day span.  NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific return to play plans since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March.  “NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community. NASCAR’s revised schedule goes only through May and has a pair of Wednesday Cup races, fulfilling fans longtime plea for midweek events. The first race is scheduled for Darlington, NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway, followed by a second race at the 70-year-old, egg-shaped oval track three days later.  Charlotte Motor Speedway will then host the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 to mark 60 consecutive years the longest race on the NASCAR schedule will be held on Memorial Day weekend. The track in Concord, outside NASCAR’s home base of Charlotte, will then host a Wednesday race three days later.  There will also be lower-tier Xfinity and Trucks series races at the two tracks. The North Carolina governor has said the the Charlotte races can be held as long as health conditions in the area do not deteriorate. “This has been a proactive effort to put our motorsports industry back to work and boost the morale of sports fans around the world, while at the same time keeping the health and safety of all who will be on site the top priority,” said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. He said “sports fans around the world need this, a return to some sense of normalcy with live sports on TV, and NASCAR is uniquely positioned to deliver it from a competition standpoint.” NASCAR has set guidelines to safely hold the events using CDC guidelines on social distancing and personal protective equipment. Only essential personnel will be permitted to attend the events, and cloth face masks will be required. The entire venue will be used to maintain distancing in garage stalls and where the haulers are parked.  NASCAR suspended its season March 13 with only four of its 36 scheduled races completed. The stock car series, heavily reliant on television money and sponsor payments, has vowed to complete its full schedule. The revised schedule for now stays at tracks within driving distance of Charlotte-based race teams and in states that have started reopening.  “Darlington is one of the most iconic and historic tracks in the sport and will be a tremendous backdrop when NASCAR returns to racing,” said track President Kerry Tharp, who noted the track will now have three Cup races in one season for the first time in its history.  Darlington is also scheduled to open the playoffs with the Southern 500 on Sept. 6. Because the track now has two additional dates, NASCAR will lose two Cup races from its other properties. The same goes for Speedway Motorsports, which gained one additional race so far and will have to forfeit one at another facility.  Almost all teams began returning to their shops this week with either a reduced initial workforce or in split shifts. Now that NASCAR has told the teams where it will be racing this month, they can start preparing cars suitable for the two tracks.  Although Florida and Texas invited NASCAR to compete in those states without spectators, the sanctioning body is holding off on scheduling events at tracks that require air travel and hotel accommodations. 

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Army Defends Decision to Have West Point Graduation

The Army’s top leaders on Thursday defended their decision to bring 1,000 cadets back to the Military Academy at West Point for graduation, where President Donald Trump is slated to speak, saying that despite the coronovirus risk students would have had to return anyway to prepare for their next duty assignment.
The announcement has been criticized as a political move to get Trump on stage at the academy, where he hasn’t yet given a graduation address. But Army officials said the students must return for final medical checks, equipment and training.  
“We can’t telecommute to combat,” Gen. James McConville, the chief of staff of the Army, told Pentagon reporters when asked about the decision, which forces cadets spread out across the U.S. to travel, risking exposure on public transportation, and then land in New York, a coronavirus hot spot.
Cadets have been home since spring break in March, with their return to school delayed because of the outbreak. Only the seniors will return, and the graduation is set for June 13.
Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, academy superintendent, said the students must return for medical and other required tasks that can only be done at the academy before they can be turned over as new officers to the Army.
He said the school will create a “safety bubble” around the cadets and build a staging base where they will arrive. All cadets will be screened and tested for the virus at the staging area and then separated into five groups that will eat and live separately. They will be quarantined for 14 days.
 
Williams said Keller Army Community Hospital at the base now has all the needed testing equipment, and was converted to be able to handle and quarantine virus patients.
Asked if cadets will face discipline if they can’t or don’t want to come back because of the virus, he said commanders will decide on a case-by-case basis.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a member of West Point’s Board of Visitors, said she expressed her concerns about the decision to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy in a call this week.
“Trump’s reckless decision to gather 1,000 Cadets at West Point for a speech puts our future military leaders at increased risk — all to stroke his own ego,” said Duckworth, a retired Army helicopter pilot, who served in the Iraq war and received a Purple Heart.
McCarthy told reporters the Army wants to have a “small, safe graduation ceremony” for the cadets to celebrate.
In contrast, the U.S. Naval Academy has announced it will hold a virtual graduation and postpone other traditional milestone events until large-scale gatherings are allowed. The academy’s superintendent, Vice Adm. Sean Buck, called it a difficult decision but necessary “to safeguard the health and welfare of the entire Naval Academy family and local community.”
The U.S. Air Force Academy opted to hold a scaled-down ceremony with hundreds of graduating cadets sitting in chairs eight feet apart on the school’s parade field, instead of in its stadium. The ceremony was closed to visitors.
West Point’s graduation ceremonies are usually held in May in a football stadium.

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Science & Health
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NASA Awards US Companies Contracts for Human Moon Landing

The U.S. space agency NASA has awarded contracts to three American companies to develop spacecraft to land humans on the moon by 2024. In a remote news conference Thursday, NASA announced it had selected Blue Origin, the space exploration company owned by Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, and owner and founder of Amazon; Dynetics, a subsidiary of research company Leidos that is based in the city of Huntsville, Alabama; and SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, and owned by businessman Elon Musk. NASA says the companies will compete to design and develop systems for the agency’s Artemis program, which has the goal of landing men and women on the surface of the moon for the first time since the 1970s. The project would also develop systems by 2028 that could be used for people to explore the solar system. NASA’s statement says the three commercial partners will refine their moon lander concepts through February 2021. The agency will evaluate which of the contractors will perform initial demonstration missions, and from those missions, NASA will select the final lunar lander. The Washington Post reports both NASA and the White House must still convince Congress to fund the program, which is projected to cost $35 billion through 2024. 

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Veteran Bollywood Star Rishi Kapoor Dies at 67

Veteran Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor died Thursday in Mumbai after battling leukemia for two years.   
 
The 67-year-old star, who made his debut as a child actor in “Mera Naam Joker,” (My Name is Joker) went on to win the hearts of millions of fans with a teenage love story, “Bobby” in 1973.
 
The news of his death was a double blow for the Bollywood Hindi movie industry and its tens of millions of fans – Kapoor passed away a day after another acclaimed actor, Irrfan Khan, succumbed to cancer.   
 
Kapoor had undergone treatment in a New York hospital for almost a year before returning to India last September. He was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday.
 
“The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertained to the last. He remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents,” Kapoor’s family said in a statement.
 
Kapoor was a third-generation actor in a famed Bollywood family that has played a dominant role in the industry.   
 
During a career that spanned nearly five decades, he made a mark as a romantic hero during his earlier films but transitioned to a much-acclaimed character actor in the past decade. He last starred in a film “102 Not Out” released in 2018.
 
Tributes poured in from veteran actors and his fans on social media. Bollywood’s most iconic star, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted “I am destroyed.”
 
“Multifaceted, endearing and lively, this was Rishi Kapoor,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.   
 
“This is a terrible week for Indian cinema, with the passing of another legend, actor Rishi Kapoor,” Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
 
With India in a strict lockdown due to COVID-19, Kapoor’s family appealed to the public to follow the rules in force and said “he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.”
 

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Economy & business/Showcase
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Уникальный рецепт паштета из куринной грудки. The unique recipe! Chicken pate from boneless breast

Уникальный рецепт паштета из куринной грудки. The unique recipe! Chicken pate from boneless breast.

Это блюдо необыкновенное! Это быстрый американский рецепт. Берем куринную грудку. У меня в этот раз 2 грудки. Режем на несколько частей и кладем в духовку. Добавляем туда же сыр Филадельфия оригинальный (у меня 250гр) и приправу. У меня это 1 пачка сухой. И все. Просто ставим на режим готовки или быстрый (3 часа) или долгий (6 часов). Достаем, измельчаем в комбайне и готово! Можете подавать с чем угодно. Завернуть в лаваши, блины, намазать на хлеб, печенье. Просто к рису, макаронным изделиям подать.

Приятного аппетита!
 

 
This dish is an extraordinary! This is a quick American recipe. Take the chicken boneless breast. I took 2 boneless breasts. We cut into several parts and put in Sloe Cooker (Crock Pot). Add the Original Philadelphia cream cheese there (I have 250g) and seasoning. I have it 1 pack dry of Ranch, the Original (Hidden Valley). And that’s all. We simply set up the cooking mode to either fast (3 hours) or long (6 hours). We take out, chop in the procesor (I use the Ciusinart) and that’s ready! You can serve with anything. Wrap in pita bread, crepes. It goes perfectly with fresh bread and cookies. Just serve with rice, pasta and etc.

Enjoy!
 
 
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Тыквенный суп. Идеальный суп для идеальной фигуры! Pumpkin soup. Healthy soup for the nice shape!

Тыквенный суп. Идеальный суп для идеальной фигуры! Pumpkin soup. Healthy soup for the nice shape!

Это очень полезный вегетарианский суп для тех кто хочет быть здоровым и красивым. Вам понадобится:
– 0,5 кг нарезанной квадратиками тыквы
– 1 мелко порезанная луковица
– 1 большой зубчие чеснока
– пучок зелени (укроп, петрушка)
– соль, перец по вкусу.
И немного сливок.

Подавайте с рубленной зеленью и различными семечками.

Приятного аппетита!
 

 
This is a very healthy vegetarian soup for people who want to be healthy and get a nice shape. You need:
– 0.5 kg diced pumpkin
– 1 chopped onion
– 1 large garlic cloves
– a bunch of greens (dill, parsley)
– salt, pepper to taste.
And a some cream.

Serve with chopped greens and various seeds.

Enjoy!
 
 
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Lack of ‘Black Widow,’ ‘F9’ Leaves Summer Movie Season Muted

The six-year fan campaign for a standalone Black Widow movie was paying off: At long last, a film would put Scarlett Johansson’s popular Avenger front and center. And, like many of Marvel’s biggest spectacles, it was set to open the weekend of May 1.  “Black Widow” was to kick off what promised to be a typically lucrative summer moviegoing season, which runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and generally accounts for $4 billion, nearly 40% of the yearly North American box office. And there was a lot more to look forward to: Tom Cruise’s return to one of his most iconic roles; a “Wonder Woman” sequel; original fare from Christopher Nolan and Wes Anderson, and more. Then the unthinkable happened.Now modern Hollywood is faced with a gutted summer season that at the very earliest will kick off months late — and even that is changing by the minute. On Monday, Judd Apatow’s Pete Davidson movie “The King of Staten Island” switched to a June 12 home video  release, following in the path of Disney’s “Artemis Fowl,” out on Disney Plus June 12, and Warner Bros.’ “Scoob!” available May 15.No blockbusters until JulyA few states are talking about allowing movie theaters to reopen soon — Texas as early as Friday. But no major blockbusters are set to open until mid-July. The first is Christopher Nolan’s thriller “Tenet,” a Warner Bros. film, which has ardently stood its ground on July 17. Shortly afterward, Disney plans to open “Mulan” on July 24, four months after its original date. And then comes “Wonder Woman 1984” on August 14, two months later than planned. It’s something, but it’s still a shell of what summer 2020 at the movies was supposed to be.  “We’re down 50% right now,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “If theaters open in mid-July it’ll offset some of the really disastrous models. But it would be naive to think that we’re going to make up all that box office.”Studios have depended on massive revenues from the summer months for decades, but in recent years they have discovered that movies can do blockbuster numbers in nearly any month.  That will be tested with Hollywood’s massively revamped schedule. Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” will open on October 16, “Black Widow” will get her day on November 6; and “Top Gun: Maverick” is now set for Christmastime.Some films abandoned 2020 entirely, including the “Fast and Furious” movie “F9”; the Dwayne Johnson-Emily Blunt adventure “Jungle Cruise”; and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which were all pushed to 2021.FILE – A person walks across a street as a marquee displays a message that a movie theater is temporarily closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, March 31, 2020, in downtown St. Louis.It’s not as simple as just allowing venues to reopen. Theaters need new movies to show and the biggest on the horizon, “Tenet,” is still almost three months away.”The movie theater industry is also a national one,” the National Association of Theatre Owners said in a statement. “Until the majority of markets in the U.S. are open, and major markets in particular, new wide-release movies are unlikely to be available.”The nation’s largest movie theater chain, AMC, which operates over 630 theaters in the U.S., said in a statement that in order to reopen it needs “a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited.”AMC said it would open in the weeks ahead of blockbusters like “Tenet” and “Mulan” using “creative programming” of previously released films.Eric Wold, a Wall Street analyst for B. Riley FBR, said there’s simply a lot of uncertainty about when theaters can open, what the guidelines will be and how moviegoers will respond.’There’s no rush'”Do you open now and show ‘Jaws’ and ‘Harry Potter’ and older titles? Or are people going to say, ‘I can watch that at home’?” Wold said. “I think [theaters will] be smart and wait. There’s no rush. You might as well wait until June and see how it goes and slowly open from there.”  Should restrictions stay in place longer, Wold said, the bigger chains have raised enough cash to last to at least until Thanksgiving for AMC, and even into 2021 for Cinemark, with no revenue coming in.  “Black Widow” will still have her day in the sun, even if it is in November, and all of the movies will eventually come out in one form or another. On Tuesday, theater owners and Universal squabbled over “Trolls World Tour’s” straight-to-video-on-demand strategy and what it means for the future of theatrical windows.  But perhaps the turbulence of the lost 2020 summer movie season will result in some strategic rethinking — at least that’s what film critic and “Unspooled” co-host Amy Nicholson hopes.”For decades, the major studios have wandered away from producing mid-budget comedies and adult dramas to gamble their money on gargantuan summer blockbusters,” said Nicholson. “I’d love to see the industry recover by greenlighting an eclectic slate of $5 million-to-$15 million flicks that could make moviegoing fun again. Time to swap out financial risks for creative risks.”

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‘Trolls’ Went Straight to Homes; Movie Theaters Fuming

The most controversial movie of the year is … “Trolls World Tour”? As innocuous as the rainbow-colored, music-blaring animated movie may seem, the digital release of the “Trolls” sequel has caused a storm to course through the movie industry. Just as the pandemic worsened and movie theaters were shuttering, Universal Pictures shifted the film’s release to video on demand, leading a charge straight through the theatrical window. Universal calls the “Trolls World Tour” digital release a success and suggests it may be the beginning of a sea change in how movies are released. Theater owners strenuously disagree. AMC Theaters, the largest chain in the United States, is signaling an all-out war, saying it will no longer show Universal movies.  While few anticipated a skirmish would come over a glitter explosion like “Trolls World Tour,” it has been long in coming. Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services have in recent years broken the industry’s traditional theatrical window of 72-90 days (and thus had their films excluded from major theater chains), and the major studios have sometimes been tempted to try their own luck and head straight to homes.  FILE – Jeff Shell, NBCUniversalOn Tuesday, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told The Wall Street Journal  that the digital release for “Trolls World Tour” has gone well enough to demonstrate the viability of direct-to-home releases. He promised that even once theaters reopen, “We expect to release movies on both formats.”  The Journal reported that in three weeks of $20 on-demand rentals, “Trolls World Tour” has grossed about $95 million. The studio, which normally splits sales approximately in half with theaters, pocketed about $75 million of that. A spokesman for Universal did not dispute those figures.  By comparison, 2016’s “Trolls” grossed $116 million in U.S. and Canada and $346.9 million worldwide. The sequel cost a reported $90 million to produce, not including marketing costs that likely exceeded $50 million.Pandemic-era fluke?Whether that performance constitutes a “hit” or merely an intriguing pandemic-era experiment has been the subject of much debate. Under stay-at-home orders, the country’s moviegoers are on lockdown. “Trolls World Tour” benefited by being the first such release during the crisis. And even in those extreme circumstances, it’s made significantly less than the original film did. The rentals may have also eaten into other “downstream” home entertainment revenue sources.  “Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a springboard to bypass true theatrical releases,” said John Fithian, president and chief executive of the National Association of Theatre Owners. He touted the irreplaceable “beloved immersive, shared experience” of seeing a film in a theater, adding that many families would have flocked to “Trolls” if “the world had not been sequestered at home.” AMC threatAMC Theaters went further. CEO Adam Aron said his company would sever relations with Universal, effective Tuesday. He insisted the policy would continue once theaters reopened, would apply to its venues around the world and “is not some hollow or ill-considered threat.” FILE – Adam Aron, AMC TheatersAron said AMC would do the same to any distributor that “unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us.”  He declared absent further discussions, “decades of incredibly successful business activity together has sadly come to an end.”Late Tuesday, Universal responded it was disappointed with the AMC and NATO statements.  “We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary,” Universal said, adding it would consider video on demand “when that distribution outlet makes sense.” Universal has been bolder than other studios. A day earlier, Universal said it would steer another upcoming release, the Judd Apatow comedy “The King of Staten Island,”  to on-demand. It also quickly brought movies like “The Hunt” and “Emma,” released in theaters just before the shutdown, to on-demand.Embracing streamingBut the studio isn’t the only one experimenting.  Warner Bros. will make the Scooby-Doo film “Scoob!”  available for digital rental next month instead of waiting for theaters to open. The Walt Disney Co. is steering “Artemis Fowl” to its Disney Plus streaming service. Other studios have simply sold movies to streaming services. Netflix acquired the Paramount Pictures comedy “Lovebirds,” once planned for a spring theatrical release.  Even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been forced to embrace streaming. On Tuesday, it announced  it will allow films without a theatrical release — long a hot-button issue for the Oscars — to contend at next year’s Academy Awards.  Meanwhile, theater chains are struggling with the losses incurred by an open-ended shutdown. AMC earlier this month issued a $500 million debt offering to keep itself afloat. It has furloughed some 26,000 employees as well as executives, including Aron.  But it remains to be seen if on-demand is a box-office replacement or merely a useful Band-aid in unprecedented times. Would a more expensive movie be able to compensate for $500 million in box office? Or $1 billion? For now, only the likes of “Trolls,” “Scoob!” and “Artemis Fowl” are testing the waters. The largest movies, including the Disney-Marvel release “Black Widow,” the James Bond installment “No Time to Die” and “Wonder Woman 1984,” are waiting it out.  Also on hold: Universal’s “F9,” which moved from this summer to next year. The other nine films in the “Fast & Furious” franchise have collectively grossed nearly $6 billion in worldwide box office.  
 

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