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Hollywood actors announce major walkout



Ben Whitehair, Frances Fisher, SAG president Fran Drescher, Joely Fisher, national executive director, and SAG-AFTRA members are seen at a press conference for the vote on a recommendation to call a strike (pic Agencies)

The Screen Actors Guild has announced it will go on strike, marking the start of the largest shutdown Hollywood has seen in 40 years.

The union wants streaming giants to agree to a fairer split of profits and better working conditions. The walkout means that 160,000 performers will stop work at midnight. The union is also asking for a guarantee that artificial intelligence and computer-generated faces and voices will not be used to replace actors.

Stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt left the Oppenheimer premiere as the strike began, according to director Christopher Nolan.

The SAG strike will begin at midnight Los Angeles time (08:00 BST). Picketing will begin an hour later outside the California headquarters of Netflix, before moving on to Paramount, Warner Bros and Disney.

According to a strike order published online by SAG, the walkout applies to those employed acting, singing or dancing, as well as stunt performers and those involved in puppeteering or motion capture work. The work stoppage also applies to a variety of background and promotional tasks.

On Wednesday, the union – officially known as the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA – announced that it was unable to come to an agreement with major studios. Its negotiating committee voted unanimously to recommend strike action. It means the vast majority of US film and TV productions will stop.

SAG members will be on the picket line on Friday morning, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said.He added that the strike “is an instrument of last resort”.

The group representing the studios, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, said that “a strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life”.  “The union has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry,” its statement added.

Fran Drescher, SAG’s president, said the strike comes at a “very seminal moment” for actors working in the industry.

“What’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labour,” she said, “when employers make Wall Street and greed their priority, and they forget about the essential contributors that make the machine run.”

A separate strike by the Writers Guild of America demanding better pay and working conditions has been going since 2 May. Some writers have turned to writing projects that are not covered by the contract between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The “double strike” by both unions is the first since 1960, when the SAG was headed by actor and former US President Ronald Reagan. The last strike by actors took place in 1980. A third union, the Directors Guild of America, successfully negotiated a contract in June and will not participate.

The beginning of the strike will mean that a vast majority of US film and TV productions will be forced to stop, adding to a list of projects that have already shut down or stalled because of the writers’ strike.

For films already in production, the stoppage means that a large portion of work will become impossible. Even in cases in which filming has already been completed, actors will be unavailable for re-shoots and other essential elements of the film making process.

TV shows that are still being filmed will also largely have to stop as actors become unavailable, although in some cases side deals could be struck between performers and producers to allow work to continue.

Top Hollywood stars will not be able to attend events to promote new and upcoming releases. Events including the Emmys and Comic-Con may be rescheduled or scaled back.

International events, such as the Toronto and Venice film festivals, will still go on, although SAG actors will be unable to attend as they do each year.

Several top Hollywood stars have expressed their support for a strike, including Barbie actor Margot Robbie, Meryl Streep and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.


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ODI World Cup 2023 winner to receive USD 4 million in prize money




As in 2019, the winner of this year’s ODI World Cup will be awarded prize money of USD 4 million. The ICC has allocated a total of $10 million for the tournament, which begins on October 5 in Ahmedabad.
Two million dollars have been set aside for the runner-up while the losing semi-finalists can also bank on a sum of $800,000.
The other six teams will exit the competition at the end of the group stages with $100,000 each, which essentially means everyone taking part in the World Cup are assured of this sum of money. The winner of each league match is also assured $40,000.

India qualified by virtue of being hosts while New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa progressed from the 2020-23 ODI Super League. Sri Lanka and the Netherlands came through the qualifying tournament held in June and July 2023.

This World Cup follows a simple round-robin format with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches. The top four will qualify for the semi-finals, to be played in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.

The defending champions England and the runner-up in 2019 New Zealand will kick off the competition in two weeks’ time. The hosts, India, will begin their campaign against five-time winners Australia on October 8 and then build up to the group stage’s marquee clash with Pakistan on October 14. The matches are spread across 46 days and 10 cities with the final scheduled on November 19 in Ahmedabad.

After the recent ICC decision to offer equal prize money for both men’s and women’s events, this sets the precedent for the next Women’s World Cup in 2025.


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Priyadharshani’s four-for the highlight as Sri Lanka cruise into Asian Games semis




Inoshi Priyadharshani picked up 4 for 10 (Cricinfo)
Inoshi Priyadarshani’s career-best returns of 4 for 10 backed up by a quick 32 from Anushka Sanjeewani helped Sri Lanka brush aside Thailand by eight wickets and advance to the semi-finals of the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Chasing 79 in the rain-reduced 15-overs-a-side quarter-final, Sri Lanka coasted to a win in 10.5 overs. Rain and a wet outfield had delayed the start of the game by close to an hour-and-a-half. Once the weather cleared, Sri Lanka opted to field under grey skies.

Udeshika Prabodhani found some movement in the air, but it was Priyadharshani who inflicted the early damage, accounting for four of the first five wickets to fall. She struck twice in her first over – the second of the innings – dismissing Suwanan Khiaoto and Natthakan Chantham. In her next over, she removed Nannapat Koncharoenkai before accounting for Naruemol Chaiwai with a smart caught and bowled.

At 37 for 6, Thailand were sinking rapidly but a 29-run stand between Chanida Sutthiruang and Phannita Maya arrested the slide a touch. Sutthiruang top-scored with an unbeaten 31 and was the only batter to get into double-digits as Thailand managed to reach 78 for 7 in 15 overs.

Chamari Athapaththu and Sanjeewani then made light work of the chase. They brought up their 50 partnership in the sixth over before Thipatcha Putthawong accounted for Athapaththu, who top edged a slog sweep.

Putthawong also removed Sanjeewani but the damage had been done by then. Thailand were not helped by their ground fielding; they committed a number of mis-fields and dropped chances. Harshitha Samarawickrama closed the game in the 11th over with a pull over deep square leg.

Sri Lanka will face Pakistan in the second semi-final on Sunday.

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 84 for 2 (Chamari Athapaththu 27, Anushka Sanjeewani 32, Harshitha Samarawickrema 14*; Thipatcha  Putthawong 2-21) beat Thailand 78 for 7 (Chanida Sutthiruang 31; Inoshi  Priyadharshani 4-10, Sugandika Kumari 1-13, Chamari Athapaththu 1-13, Kavisha Dilhari 1-14) by eight wickets

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Sri Lanka ratifies Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and expresses commitment to Nuclear Non-Proliferation




Sri Lanka reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by announcing its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at a press conference convened as part of the EU Article 14 Conference on the CTBT.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry who participated in this Press Briefing revealed that Sri Lanka’s ratification of the CTBT aligns with the country’s long-standing and consistent policy on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Notably, Sri Lanka was among the first signatories of the CTBT in October 1996, mere days after the treaty was opened for signature. The nation was also the 13th to sign a facility agreement with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in 1996, leading to the establishment of an auxiliary seismic station in Pallekale, Kandy.

During the briefing, Sri Lanka commended the relentless efforts of the Executive Director of the CTBTO, and the entire CTBTO team in promoting the entry into force of the treaty. The treaty has witnessed a steady increase in the number of state parties, showcasing global dedication to nuclear disarmament.


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