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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 296)

Conservatives Seek Immediate Purge Of Voters In Wisconsin

Westlake Legal Group 5e0e2b1924000041245a4c3e Conservatives Seek Immediate Purge Of Voters In Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative law firm on Thursday asked a judge to find the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt and fine its members $2,000 a day until it immediately purges more than 200,000 voters from the rolls, a move Democrats are fighting in the key battleground state.

A judge last month ordered the purge of voters who may have moved and didn’t respond within 30 days to notification sent by the elections commission in October. The bipartisan commission has deadlocked twice on attempts by Republicans to do the purge immediately while an appeal to the court order is pending.

Rick Esenberg, leader of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty that brought the lawsuit, said the commission must purge the voters now. The judge in December ruled that the commission was breaking state law by not removing voters who did not respond to the October mailing asking that they confirm their address.

“Court orders are not suggestions,” Esenberg said on WISN-AM. “They are not rendered inoperative by the fact that you filed an appeal.”

Esenberg filed a motion Thursday in Ozaukee County Court asking the judge to fine five of the six commissioners $2,000 a day for being in contempt of the order. The motion does not name one of the three Republicans on the commission who was not on the panel when the legal fight began. Commission spokesman Reid Magney had no immediate comment. Gillian Drummond, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which is defending the commission, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The affected voters come more heavily from Democratic areas of Wisconsin, a key state in the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump narrowly won the state in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes and Wisconsin is expected to again be one of the most hotly contested states this year.

Democrats fear forcing voters whose registration was nullified to re-register would create a burden on them and hurt turnout. Republicans argue that removing the voters would ensure that the rolls are not full of people who shouldn’t be voting.

Esenberg’s group has asked that the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court immediately take the state’s appeal of the case. The case is currently before a state appeals court. The commission has asked the appeals court to put the original ruling on hold, but it has not yet acted. The Supreme Court has not said yet whether it will take the case.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin also has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the purge. That lawsuit argues that it would be a violation of constitutional due process rights to deactivate the registrations of the voters without proper notice.

The elections commission in October mailed about 232,500 voters to tell them records indicated they had moved and they needed to verify that the address where they were registered to vote was current. Of those, about 209,000 have not requested continuation at their current address or re-registered at another one.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

At SoftBank’s Jewel in India: ‘Toxic’ Culture and Troubling Incidents

Westlake Legal Group 00oyo5-facebookJumbo At SoftBank’s Jewel in India: ‘Toxic’ Culture and Troubling Incidents Venture Capital Start-ups SOFTBANK Corporation Oyo (Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd) India Hotels and Travel Lodgings Corporate Social Responsibility Budget Travel Agarwal, Ritesh

NEW DELHI — Oyo, a start-up that offers budget hotel rooms, has grown into one of India’s most valuable private companies and aims to be the world’s largest hotel chain by 2023.

But at least part of Oyo’s rise in India was built on practices that raise questions about the health of its business, according to financial filings, court documents and interviews with 20 current and former employees, as well as others familiar with the start-up’s operations. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the company.

Oyo offers rooms from unavailable hotels, such as those that have left its service, according to the company’s chief executive and nine of the current and former employees. That has the effect of inflating the number of rooms listed on Oyo’s site.

Thousands of the rooms are from unlicensed hotels and guesthouses, its executives have acknowledged. To deter trouble from the authorities over the illegal rooms, Oyo sometimes gives free lodging to the police and other officials, according to nine of the current and former employees and internal WhatsApp messages viewed by The New York Times.

Oyo has also imposed extra fees on hotels and declined to pay the hotels the full amounts they claimed they were owed, according to interviews with hotel owners and employees, emails, legal complaints and other documents viewed by The Times. Some hotel operators have sought to file criminal complaints against Oyo, which said it withheld payments primarily over the hotels’ customer service issues.

“It’s a bubble that will burst,” said Saurabh Mukhopadhyay, a former Oyo operations manager in northern India who left the company in September.

It would also be another black eye for SoftBank, which is Oyo’s biggest investor and owns half the start-up’s stock. Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s chief executive, has hailed Oyo as a jewel of his company’s $100 billion Vision Fund, even as he recently wrote off billions of dollars on other investments like WeWork.

“This is the only company which went global at this scale from India,” Satish Meena, a senior forecaster for the research firm Forrester in New Delhi, said of Oyo. “But as of now, there are serious doubts about the business model.”

SoftBank declined to comment.

Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo’s chief executive, acknowledged in a recent interview that some of his company’s room listings included hotels that it no longer worked with. He said Oyo left those listings up and marked them as “sold out” as it tried to woo the hotels back.

Aditya Ghosh, Oyo’s head of India operations, also said in an interview that many hotels lacked required licenses, leaving them vulnerable to the occasional government raid. He denied that Oyo gave free rooms to officials.

Mr. Ghosh dismissed what he called “noise” from hotels about extra fees and nonpayment of bills. “The disagreement is about the penalties we charge on customer service failure,” he said.

He added that nearly 80 percent of Oyo’s employees had been at the company for less than a year, so training has been a challenge. “We have just grown very, very fast,” he said.

Founded in 2013 by Mr. Agarwal, then a 19-year-old student, Oyo set out to organize India’s budget hotels, which have traditionally been small, family-run enterprises. The company coaxes the hotels to become Oyo-branded destinations that list exclusively through its website; it then markets those rooms online to travelers and takes a cut of each stay. The start-up also runs some hotels itself.

Oyo is trying to expand globally and now offers more than 1.2 million rooms in 80 countries, including the United States. It employs more than 20,000 people and has raised more than $2.5 billion in funding. Mr. Agarwal has become a business star, hobnobbing with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

But as Oyo has grown, its losses have mushroomed. The company expects to lose money through at least 2021, according to recent government filings. Some efforts to expand in countries like Japan have flopped.

In December, SoftBank and Mr. Agarwal put another $1.5 billion into Oyo to accelerate its expansion. The funding, negotiated over the summer, valued the company at $8 billion.

At the same time, two other big investors, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, reduced their holdings. The venture capital firms, which both hold board seats at Oyo, sold $1.5 billion of their stock — about half their stakes — to Mr. Agarwal. He borrowed money to buy the shares and paid the venture firms a price that valued Oyo at $10 billion.

Lightspeed and Sequoia declined to comment.

The current and former workers said that Oyo was never an easy place to work but that pressure increased over the last year.

Mohammad Jahanzeb Gul, who joined the start-up in January 2019 and supervised 23 Oyo properties, said that during the nine months he was there, he sometimes spent all day and night in front of a computer to meet deadlines.

“The culture is really very toxic,” he said.

Mr. Mukhopadhyay, who began working at Oyo in August 2018, said employees were under so much pressure to add new rooms that they brought hotels online that lacked air-conditioning, water heaters or electricity. He and eight others said their managers had asked them to engage in a monthly shell game of briefly inserting these unavailable properties into Oyo’s listings — complete with fake photographs — to help impress investors.

Mr. Ghosh, who left the India job this week and joined Oyo’s board, said that some hotels open in stages and that “there is no padding.”

Saurabh Sharma, who worked for Oyo from 2014 to 2018 as an operations manager, said the company sometimes deliberately withheld payments from hotel owners — a practice that half a dozen other current and former employees also described.

In some cases, they said, the start-up wanted to squeeze the hotel owners into renegotiating contracts that it deemed unprofitable. In others, Oyo wanted to save money and figured that most owners would not press for full payment.

“If 1,000 people shout, we will pay 200,” Mr. Sharma said Oyo managers had told him.

In a police complaint filed in November, Betz Fernandez, owner of the Roxel Inn in Bangalore, said Oyo owed him $49,000 and acted with “intention to cheat and cause wrongful loss” by charging him for nonexistent guests and refusing to pay the contracted minimum monthly payment. Oyo said the dispute was in arbitration.

Oyo’s oversight of its workers was also sometimes so lax that employees brazenly stole from it, said four people who were involved in the start-up’s fraud-fighting efforts.

Because Oyo hotels are popular with unmarried couples looking for places for their trysts, one scheme involved workers at properties run directly by the start-up colluding to keep the guests checked in after they left. The workers then cleaned and resold the rooms for cash to other guests and pocketed the money, the people said.

Oyo has conducted surprise raids at some properties, seizing employee cellphones and checking rooms and records for evidence, they said.

An Oyo spokeswoman said it investigates all fraud accusations and had in some instances fired employees.

Executives have also asked employees to paper over troubling incidents, some workers said.

Mr. Mukhopadhyay said that one night last June, a long-term guest at an Oyo-run property in Noida, near New Delhi, called him. She said three men had raped her in her room.

The next morning, Mr. Mukhopadhyay and another Oyo employee were summoned to the police station, where they pleaded with the guest not to register a formal complaint. Oyo’s legal team also instructed them not to tell anyone about the incident because it could hurt the company’s image, he said. The guest withdrew the complaint and moved out.

In a telephone interview, the guest confirmed Mr. Mukhopadhyay’s account. Oyo disputed some details and said any decision to file a complaint was up to the guest. The Noida police said they had no record of a complaint.

To placate the authorities over unlicensed properties, Oyo managers also gave the police and other government officials free rooms on request, current and former employees said. They said the details were recorded in dedicated WhatsApp groups, one of which The Times reviewed.

Mr. Ghosh said, “We do not encourage or involve ourselves in any kind of bribery or graft.”

Mr. Mukhopadhyay said Oyo’s growth practices contributed to his decision to leave.

“There’s something called integrity,” he said. “I can’t compromise on that.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

At SoftBank’s Jewel in India: ‘Toxic’ Culture and Troubling Incidents

Westlake Legal Group 00oyo5-facebookJumbo At SoftBank’s Jewel in India: ‘Toxic’ Culture and Troubling Incidents Venture Capital Start-ups SOFTBANK Corporation Oyo (Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd) India Hotels and Travel Lodgings Corporate Social Responsibility Budget Travel Agarwal, Ritesh

NEW DELHI — Oyo, a start-up that offers budget hotel rooms, has grown into one of India’s most valuable private companies and aims to be the world’s largest hotel chain by 2023.

But at least part of Oyo’s rise in India was built on practices that raise questions about the health of its business, according to financial filings, court documents and interviews with 20 current and former employees, as well as others familiar with the start-up’s operations. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the company.

Oyo offers rooms from unavailable hotels, such as those that have left its service, according to the company’s chief executive and nine of the current and former employees. That has the effect of inflating the number of rooms listed on Oyo’s site.

Thousands of the rooms are from unlicensed hotels and guesthouses, its executives have acknowledged. To deter trouble from the authorities over the illegal rooms, Oyo sometimes gives free lodging to the police and other officials, according to nine of the current and former employees and internal WhatsApp messages viewed by The New York Times.

Oyo has also imposed extra fees on hotels and declined to pay the hotels the full amounts they claimed they were owed, according to interviews with hotel owners and employees, emails, legal complaints and other documents viewed by The Times. Some hotel operators have sought to file criminal complaints against Oyo, which said it withheld payments primarily over the hotels’ customer service issues.

“It’s a bubble that will burst,” said Saurabh Mukhopadhyay, a former Oyo operations manager in northern India who left the company in September.

It would also be another black eye for SoftBank, which is Oyo’s biggest investor and owns half the start-up’s stock. Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s chief executive, has hailed Oyo as a jewel of his company’s $100 billion Vision Fund, even as he recently wrote off billions of dollars on other investments like WeWork.

“This is the only company which went global at this scale from India,” Satish Meena, a senior forecaster for the research firm Forrester in New Delhi, said of Oyo. “But as of now, there are serious doubts about the business model.”

SoftBank declined to comment.

Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo’s chief executive, acknowledged in a recent interview that some of his company’s room listings included hotels that it no longer worked with. He said Oyo left those listings up and marked them as “sold out” as it tried to woo the hotels back.

Aditya Ghosh, Oyo’s head of India operations, also said in an interview that many hotels lacked required licenses, leaving them vulnerable to the occasional government raid. He denied that Oyo gave free rooms to officials.

Mr. Ghosh dismissed what he called “noise” from hotels about extra fees and nonpayment of bills. “The disagreement is about the penalties we charge on customer service failure,” he said.

He added that nearly 80 percent of Oyo’s employees had been at the company for less than a year, so training has been a challenge. “We have just grown very, very fast,” he said.

Founded in 2013 by Mr. Agarwal, then a 19-year-old student, Oyo set out to organize India’s budget hotels, which have traditionally been small, family-run enterprises. The company coaxes the hotels to become Oyo-branded destinations that list exclusively through its website; it then markets those rooms online to travelers and takes a cut of each stay. The start-up also runs some hotels itself.

Oyo is trying to expand globally and now offers more than 1.2 million rooms in 80 countries, including the United States. It employs more than 20,000 people and has raised more than $2.5 billion in funding. Mr. Agarwal has become a business star, hobnobbing with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

But as Oyo has grown, its losses have mushroomed. The company expects to lose money through at least 2021, according to recent government filings. Some efforts to expand in countries like Japan have flopped.

In December, SoftBank and Mr. Agarwal put another $1.5 billion into Oyo to accelerate its expansion. The funding, negotiated over the summer, valued the company at $8 billion.

At the same time, two other big investors, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, reduced their holdings. The venture capital firms, which both hold board seats at Oyo, sold $1.5 billion of their stock — about half their stakes — to Mr. Agarwal. He borrowed money to buy the shares and paid the venture firms a price that valued Oyo at $10 billion.

Lightspeed and Sequoia declined to comment.

The current and former workers said that Oyo was never an easy place to work but that pressure increased over the last year.

Mohammad Jahanzeb Gul, who joined the start-up in January 2019 and supervised 23 Oyo properties, said that during the nine months he was there, he sometimes spent all day and night in front of a computer to meet deadlines.

“The culture is really very toxic,” he said.

Mr. Mukhopadhyay, who began working at Oyo in August 2018, said employees were under so much pressure to add new rooms that they brought hotels online that lacked air-conditioning, water heaters or electricity. He and eight others said their managers had asked them to engage in a monthly shell game of briefly inserting these unavailable properties into Oyo’s listings — complete with fake photographs — to help impress investors.

Mr. Ghosh, who left the India job this week and joined Oyo’s board, said that some hotels open in stages and that “there is no padding.”

Saurabh Sharma, who worked for Oyo from 2014 to 2018 as an operations manager, said the company sometimes deliberately withheld payments from hotel owners — a practice that half a dozen other current and former employees also described.

In some cases, they said, the start-up wanted to squeeze the hotel owners into renegotiating contracts that it deemed unprofitable. In others, Oyo wanted to save money and figured that most owners would not press for full payment.

“If 1,000 people shout, we will pay 200,” Mr. Sharma said Oyo managers had told him.

In a police complaint filed in November, Betz Fernandez, owner of the Roxel Inn in Bangalore, said Oyo owed him $49,000 and acted with “intention to cheat and cause wrongful loss” by charging him for nonexistent guests and refusing to pay the contracted minimum monthly payment. Oyo said the dispute was in arbitration.

Oyo’s oversight of its workers was also sometimes so lax that employees brazenly stole from it, said four people who were involved in the start-up’s fraud-fighting efforts.

Because Oyo hotels are popular with unmarried couples looking for places for their trysts, one scheme involved workers at properties run directly by the start-up colluding to keep the guests checked in after they left. The workers then cleaned and resold the rooms for cash to other guests and pocketed the money, the people said.

Oyo has conducted surprise raids at some properties, seizing employee cellphones and checking rooms and records for evidence, they said.

An Oyo spokeswoman said it investigates all fraud accusations and had in some instances fired employees.

Executives have also asked employees to paper over troubling incidents, some workers said.

Mr. Mukhopadhyay said that one night last June, a long-term guest at an Oyo-run property in Noida, near New Delhi, called him. She said three men had raped her in her room.

The next morning, Mr. Mukhopadhyay and another Oyo employee were summoned to the police station, where they pleaded with the guest not to register a formal complaint. Oyo’s legal team also instructed them not to tell anyone about the incident because it could hurt the company’s image, he said. The guest withdrew the complaint and moved out.

In a telephone interview, the guest confirmed Mr. Mukhopadhyay’s account. Oyo disputed some details and said any decision to file a complaint was up to the guest. The Noida police said they had no record of a complaint.

To placate the authorities over unlicensed properties, Oyo managers also gave the police and other government officials free rooms on request, current and former employees said. They said the details were recorded in dedicated WhatsApp groups, one of which The Times reviewed.

Mr. Ghosh said, “We do not encourage or involve ourselves in any kind of bribery or graft.”

Mr. Mukhopadhyay said Oyo’s growth practices contributed to his decision to leave.

“There’s something called integrity,” he said. “I can’t compromise on that.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Rapper Lexii Alijai dead at 21, reports say

Westlake Legal Group lexii-getty Rapper Lexii Alijai dead at 21, reports say Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/genres/hip-hop-rap fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 66e263b6-0a66-53d4-9339-5f060dcc4643

Rapper Lexii Alijai has died at the age of 21, according to multiple reports.

The young musician, whose real name is Alexis Alijai Lynch, died on Wednesday.

Singer Kehlani, who featured Lexii in her popular songs  “Jealous,” reacted to the news on Wednesday in a series of heartbreaking tweets. She referred to Lexii as her “little sister.”

RAPPER JUICE WRLD DIES AT 21 AFTER LANDING IN CHICAGO ON FLIGHT FROM LOS ANGELES

“jus got the worst f–kin news ever. my heart is BROKE. F–K,” Kehlani tweeted.

“i keep typing and backspacing you knew what you meant to me everyone knew what you meant you were so special bro i seen you right thru it all i seen u thug it out lex imma miss you so bad you was about to get everything you always talked about RIP MY BABY I LOVE YOU LEX 4L,” the singer wrote in another tweet.

Lexii was from Saint Paul, Minn. and was featured in songs from rappers Drake, Meek Mill, Nas, and more.

CANADIAN RAPPER BVLLY KILLED IN CHRISTMAS EVE SHOOTING IN ONTARIO

Lexii’s cousin, LaMycha N Jett, wrote about her passing in a Facebook post, according to Entertainment Tonight.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“They say don’t question God, but damn why you baby. This thing called life is crazy as hell,” Jett wrote (via Entertainment Tonight). “My heart is broken 💔 the tears won’t stop. I’m trynna hold it together… I love you more then you’ll ever know. I can’t focus, I can’t concentrate, I’m numb, I literally can not breath. Rest easy baby… 😘 You gained your beautiful wings… Lexii Alijai. Please keep our family in your prayers.”

Lexii reportedly put out her first full-length album titled “Growing Pains” in September 2017. A cause of death has not yet been released.

Westlake Legal Group lexii-getty Rapper Lexii Alijai dead at 21, reports say Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/genres/hip-hop-rap fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 66e263b6-0a66-53d4-9339-5f060dcc4643   Westlake Legal Group lexii-getty Rapper Lexii Alijai dead at 21, reports say Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/genres/hip-hop-rap fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 66e263b6-0a66-53d4-9339-5f060dcc4643

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Major ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Mysteries Finally Answered

Warning! “Star Wars” spoilers below!

Just when you thought you had all the “Star Wars” mysteries figured out, “The Rise of Skywalker” comes along, and now…

… and another… and another…

In closing out the main nine-film “Star Wars” storyline, “The Rise of Skywalker” offers surprising reveals: Rey was actually the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine. But now fans are left pondering a number of conundrums: Why didn’t we learn more about how Palpatine survived? Why did Rey and Kylo kiss? Also, what was going on in that Jannah and Lando scene?

You’ve got questions, and “The Rise of Skywalker” editor Maryann Brandon has answers.

Brandon’s had to keep certain “Star Wars” secrets for years, ever since she was an editor on 2015’s “The Force Awakens.” So when she jumped on the phone recently with HuffPost, she was glad to finally be able to chat.

During the conversation, it became evident that some questions don’t have official answers that can be gleaned from the movie.

What was Finn trying to tell Rey? Brandon says she wants to leave that up to the audience. If Palpatine was Rey’s grandpap (Grand-Palp?), who was her grandma (or, put another way… who the heck had a relationship with Palpatine)? Brandon doesn’t know, but she figures it’s someone “badass.”

“I’m guessing behind every evil emperor there’s a bigger, badder evil empress,” Brandon said.

But those aside, there were plenty of mysteries the editor could shed some light on, so without further ado, here are some of the answers to your biggest “Star Wars” questions:

Why Rey and Kylo kissed.

When Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo (Adam Driver) snogged, it was the kiss heard around this galaxy and those far, far away. The moment made Reylo fans shout for joy and detractors just shout. According to Brandon, there was a lot of back-and-forth about whether the scene would happen at all. She cut a lot of different versions of “should they/shouldn’t they,” she said.

“I always said, ‘The movie will tell us whether they should kiss or not. We will know by the time we get to the end of our process, if it should happen.’ And I felt it should, and [director J.J. Abrams] agreed with me, and other people who saw the film agreed.”

Brandon praised the performances in the scene, especially the moment Kylo Ren smiles, the first time the character has smiled in three movies.

“I know it’s not for everybody,” she said of the kiss. “I know there will be people who wish they hadn’t, but this is a film that was never going to please everyone, and I think that the reviews are kind of reflective of that. The things that certain people love, other people hated. And that’s the phenomenon of ‘Star Wars.’”

Why Kylo died.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0e0b0f2400009f245a4c0e Major ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Mysteries Finally Answered

Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd. Kylo Ren probably wishing he had an umbrella.

After using the Force to heal Rey and getting that infamous smooch, Kylo Ren disappears. But… why? Did he die from wounds incurred during the fight with Palpatine? Was Rey’s breath so bad it killed him? Maybe there aren’t a lot of Tic Tacs in space?

According to Brandon, dental hygiene wasn’t a factor. In order to save Rey, Kylo had to give up all that was left of his life force.

“He got his redemption, I think, in a lovely way. And right after he disappears, [his mother] Leia disappears. I’d like to think that they’re together,” she said.

Why we don’t hear many details about how Palpatine survived.

The opening scenes with Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) were “tricky” in terms of how much of the character’s backstory to explain, how much to show of him and what he wanted, Brandon explained.

“It was kind of a delicate balance and went back and forth a lot about how much we wanted to reveal,” she said. “Some scenes changed quite a bit, the way that we wanted to present it to the audience. In the end, we ended up showing a lot less of it than we started with.”

There was originally “a little more information about it, what was keeping [Palpatine] alive,” but, Brandon said, “it seemed to go off topic.”

“There was so much information in the film and so many characters that we wanted to have an audience concentrate on. I think we felt we didn’t want to clutter the film up with things you didn’t need to know,” she said.

Why Palpatine lost.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0e0c7b24000053245a4c12 Major ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Mysteries Finally Answered

Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd. Rey doesn’t have time for Palpatine’s nonsense.

In the movie, Palpatine says if Rey kills him, his spirit will enter into her, and he’ll win. But she does kill him. So why doesn’t he actually win? Also, could Rey have just unplugged that big machine that was keeping Palpatine alive? 

“She can’t,” Brandon said to the suggestion that Palpatine could just be unplugged. “She can’t kill him in anger.”

The whole reason Palpatine lost is because Rey didn’t strike him down in hate. By ending Palpatine the way she did, reflecting his Force lighting back at him, Rey was able to avoid playing by Palp’s rules.

Why Snoke was revealed as a clone.

Fans have been wondering about Former-Supreme-Leader Snoke’s mysterious background since “The Force Awakens.” Where did he come from? Why does he look the way he does? Has he ever heard the word “moisturizer”?

“The Rise of Skywalker” finally gives us some answers. A scene showing multiple Snokes held in glass containments seems to suggest he was a clone used by the Emperor, which Brandon confirms.

“I just think that came up as a visual effect that we thought would be really fun for an audience, to create a visual that would tell that whole story,” she said. “I believe that’s successful. We didn’t have to change a lot of dialogue. You just see one shot […] and you kind of get it. I love stuff like that. We can just have a moment where you just see something in the background and you go, ‘OK, I totally get that.’”

Why Rose didn’t get a ton of screen time.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0e126025000079bad319eb Major ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ Mysteries Finally Answered

Disney and Jonathan Olley /Lucasfilm Ltd. Rose, wondering where her scenes went in “The Rise of Skywalker.”

The role of Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) in “The Rise of Skywalker” is noticeably reduced from “The Last Jedi,” and Brandon said that came down to Abrams choosing to tell a different story.

“There were a lot of characters in the film, and because J.J. wanted to make this film about a journey of the three main friends and then Rey’s conflict with Kylo Ren, it became very hard to service a lot more characters,” Brandon said. “She’s an important character in the Resistance, and we tried very hard to show that in the film, and I think we did, but the film just really couldn’t handle much more character stories.”

The editor said she went to Rose a few times at the end of the movie to make sure she was given her due.

“We all love Rose,” Brandon said. “And we want to make her character sing. And that’s why she’s in the end battle. And I cut to her a few times in the end battle because I know she’s a fan favorite, and I wanted to show her being involved.” 

What was going on in the scene between Jannah and Lando. 

<img class="image__src" src="https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5e0665f525000063a4d31494.jpeg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale" alt="Lando is the man-do. (Not the Mando, though.)”>

Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is a smooth guy. That’s not up for debate. What can be questioned is what’s going on in the scene between him and newcomer Jannah (Naomi Ackie) at the end of the movie.

In the scene, Lando offers to help Jannah, a former stormtrooper, find out where she came from. At first, it seems sweet. Some interpret it as a fatherly figure offering help. But the internet is where sweet intentions go to die: There are those who think perhaps Lando is hitting on Jannah rather than just being a good dude. 

According to Brandon, you need to get your minds out of the gutter.

“I don’t think it ever occurred to any of us that he was hitting on her. I think it was always fatherly, you know, help you find your way home,” she said. “Yeah, it never went that way.”

Why there was no FinnPoe.

Among the many deaths in “The Rise of Skywalker” was the demise of FinnPoe, the theory/fan dream that Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) would end up in a relationship together. The idea has been around since “The Force Awakens,” but Brandon apparently hadn’t heard about it until now.

“Because I’m cutting it together, I’m kind of taking it at face value, and I’m not reading as much into it as an audience. And maybe that’s just my nature. I don’t know,” she said. “But I think, again, they’re best of friends. There is a kind of brotherhood there where they understand each other, and they’ve got each other’s back.”

As for any future love between the two, she says, “That’s really up to Lucasfilm if they want to make that sequel.” 

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New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, wife Amy, announce they are expecting their first child

New York Yankees star Gerrit Cole and his wife Amy announced Wednesday they are expecting their first child.

Cole and his wife posted two photos on Instagram to make the announcement. In one photo, Amy Cole is holding two small Nike sneakers with Gerrit on her left. In another photo, Amy Cole is holding a tiny shirt, which read “Baby Cole coming soon.”

DON LARSEN, FORMER YANKEES PITCHER WHO THREW ONLY WORLD SERIES PERFECT GAME, DEAD AT AGE 90

The two said their son is due in June.

It’s been a rewarding month for Gerrit Cole.

MLB SAYS IT IS COMMITTED TO PROTECTING MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS

He and the Yankees agreed to the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history in December. The two sides agreed to a nine-year, $324 million deal.

Cole also came one game from winning a World Series. The Houston Astros lost the series to the Washington Nationals in October.

He finished second in the American League Cy Young Award voting and led the majors with 324 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA.

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Cole’s deal with Yankees tops Stephen Strasburg’s deal with the Nationals. On Dec. 9, Strasburg signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with Washington which was the richest contract for a pitcher at that time. It only took a little over a day for that record to fall.

Westlake Legal Group AP_-Gerrit-Cole New York Yankees' Gerrit Cole, wife Amy, announce they are expecting their first child Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb fox-news/person/gerrit-cole fox news fnc/sports fnc article 656e9966-eccb-5379-b773-dc64b44098a9   Westlake Legal Group AP_-Gerrit-Cole New York Yankees' Gerrit Cole, wife Amy, announce they are expecting their first child Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb fox-news/person/gerrit-cole fox news fnc/sports fnc article 656e9966-eccb-5379-b773-dc64b44098a9

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Patriots football staff have no link to filming of Bengals’ sideline: report

Westlake Legal Group NFL-Bill-Belichick5 Patriots football staff have no link to filming of Bengals' sideline: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc article 0cab95c2-5ce1-5446-b749-42f616ce74d4

The New England Patriots have maintained that the filming of the Cincinnati Bengals sideline earlier in the season had no connection to football operations and it appears they are going to be proven right.

The NFL is winding down its investigation into the latest scandal surrounding the Patriots and there has been no evidence that the football side of the organization had any link to the video, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The league’s probe also didn’t show that there had been an effort to gain an on-field advantage, according to the report.

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A Patriots film production crew was caught filming the Bengals sideline as the team was taking on the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 8. The Patriots admitted the filming took place but denied that the football part of the franchise was using the game footage. The franchise said it was for a web series show called “Do Your Job,” which was profiling an advanced scout.

David Mondillo, the videographer in question, was suspended, according to the Boston Globe. He said in a statement “it never occurred to me that my actions and the actions of my crew would be misconstrued.” Mondillo said he’s an 18-year veteran of video producing.

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Later in the month, FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer revealed video showing the Bengals security guard confronting the Patriots’ videographers over the sideline filming. The videographer said he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to film the sideline and asked the security guard if he could delete the footage.

Glazer reported that the Bengals security brought over NFL security, which confiscated the video and gave it to the league.

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According to The Washington Post, the Patriots still face a hefty fine and a loss of draft pick.

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Westlake Legal Group NFL-Bill-Belichick5 Patriots football staff have no link to filming of Bengals' sideline: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc article 0cab95c2-5ce1-5446-b749-42f616ce74d4   Westlake Legal Group NFL-Bill-Belichick5 Patriots football staff have no link to filming of Bengals' sideline: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/new-england-patriots fox-news/sports/nfl fox news fnc/sports fnc article 0cab95c2-5ce1-5446-b749-42f616ce74d4

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Texas judge rules hospital can remove baby Tinslee Lewis from life support, family has week to appeal

A Texas judge has denied a family’s request for a temporary injunction in the case involving their 11-month-old daughter, who has been hospitalized since birth at Cook Children’s Medical Center, opening the door for doctors to remove the baby from life support.

Tinslee Lewis was born with Ebstein’s anomaly and has been in the hospital since her February birth. Ebstein anomaly, according to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, is an abnormality in the tricuspid valve, which separates the right atrium from the right ventricle, and affects normal blood flow. In some cases, the disorder can cause the right atrium to swell, or “even cause congestive heart failure.” For Tinslee, it has caused additional health issues resulting in chronic lung disease and chronic pulmonary hypertension, according to Fox 7 Austin.

While her care team argues that she is suffering and her health “will never improve,” her family argues that she needs more time to heal.

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However, in the latest ruling in the monthslong court battle, judge Sandee Bryan Marion sided with the hospital and said that a request for a temporary injunction filed by Trinity Lewis, the girl’s mother, was “denied,” acknowledging in her decision the hospital’s pledge to keep the girl on life support for an additional week so that the family could appeal the decision.

“During the hearing, defendant announced in open court that it would take no action to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from Tinslee Lewis for a period of seven days from the date of this court’s order to allow plaintiffs to file a notice of appeal and a motion for emergency relief with the appropriate court of appeals, and it is so ordered,” Marion said in the ruling.

The girl’s case first came to light in November after the family was first granted a temporary restraining order by a different judge that prevented the hospital from removing the then-9-month-old from life support. That judge, Tarrant County Juvenile Court Judge Alex Kim, was then removed from the case after the hospital filed a motion questioning his impartiality and saying he had bypassed case-assignment rules to designate himself as the presiding judge. In December, Marion took on the case and said she would allow more time for Trinity Lewis to seek alternative care for her child before issuing a new ruling on Jan. 2.

BABY BORN WITH RARE HEART TUMOR TO UNDERGO LIFE-SAVING SURGERY IN US AFTER FUNDRAISER GOES VIRAL

Her care team at Cook Children’s Medical Center has argued that her condition will not improve despite the several surgeries she has already been subject to, but her family argues that with more time she will recover.

“I want to be the one to make the decision for her,” Trinity Lewis said, about removing her daughter from life support.

Under the Texas Advance Directives Act, the hospital is allowed to withdraw life-sustaining treatment 10 days after determining a patient is in an “irreversible condition.” On Oct. 31, the hospital informed the family of their decision, setting off the current back-and-forth court battle.

Westlake Legal Group texas_right_to_life_handout Texas judge rules hospital can remove baby Tinslee Lewis from life support, family has week to appeal fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/healthy-living/health-care fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox news fnc/health fnc c3881303-8053-5e9f-a8e5-ab02e7bd3315 article Alexandria Hein

Tinslee has been hospitalized since her birth in February.  (Texas Right to Life Handout)

The hospital explained in a statement that they had already taken several steps in attempting to find another care center willing to take Tinslee on as a patient, but had no success despite contracting as many as 20 facilities.

“Tinslee Lewis is a beautiful baby who has captured the hearts of many at Cook Children’s since her premature birth nine months ago,” a statement from the Cook Children’s hospital said, according to CBS DFW.

“In the last several months, it’s become apparent her health will never improve,” the statement continued. “Despite our best efforts, her condition is irreversible, meaning it will never be cured or eliminated. Without life-sustaining treatment, her condition is fatal. But more importantly, her physicians believe she is suffering.”

“To maintain the delicate balance necessary to sustain Tinslee’s life, and to prevent her from pulling out the lines that are connected to the ventilator, doctors have had to keep her constantly paralyzed and sedated,” the statement said. “While Tinslee may sometimes appear alert and moving, her movements are the result of being weaned off of the paralyzing drugs. We believe Tinslee is reacting in pain when she’s not sedated and paralyzed.”

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The family has seen much support from Right-to-Life groups in Texas and beyond, including two non-profits who reportedly say at least two medical centers were reviewing the case to see if they could take Tinslee on as a patient, according to CBSDFW.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group texas_right_to_life_handout Texas judge rules hospital can remove baby Tinslee Lewis from life support, family has week to appeal fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/healthy-living/health-care fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox news fnc/health fnc c3881303-8053-5e9f-a8e5-ab02e7bd3315 article Alexandria Hein   Westlake Legal Group texas_right_to_life_handout Texas judge rules hospital can remove baby Tinslee Lewis from life support, family has week to appeal fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/healthy-living/health-care fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox news fnc/health fnc c3881303-8053-5e9f-a8e5-ab02e7bd3315 article Alexandria Hein

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Couple who got engaged at KFC in South Africa just celebrated ‘the wedding of our dreams’

Westlake Legal Group KFCBucketIstock Couple who got engaged at KFC in South Africa just celebrated 'the wedding of our dreams' Michael Bartiromo fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/lifestyle/weddings fox-news/lifestyle/relationships fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 662303a9-7870-5ce8-906a-ddd40688e6e1

A couple in South Africa will soon be enjoying the honeymoon of their dreams thanks to some Christmastime generosity from a jolly old bearded fellow.

We’re talking, of course, about Colonel Sanders.

Hector Mkansi and Nonhlanhla Soldaat, who became viral sensations after getting engaged in a South Africa location of KFC, officially tied the knot on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Thaba Eco Hotel in Johannesburg. But while KFC South Africa has already pledged to fund the couple’s honeymoon in New York — and live-streamed the actual wedding on social media — it was local well-wishers and corporate sponsors who helped to fund their New Year’s Eve nuptials.

FLORIDA NEWLYWEDS TOSS A COIN TO DETERMINE THEIR SHARED LAST NAME

As reported by South Africa’s The Star, the groom’s suit was purchased and donated by Black Coffee, a popular South African DJ, and the bridesmaid dresses were donated by actress Tsholofelo Matshaba.

Dozens of corporate sponsors also pitched in to pledge their wares or services, including but not limited to Bride & Co (which designed the bride’s custom-made gown), Le Cruset, Land Rover, Puma, Woolworths, Amstel, Coca-Cola, Viceroy, Krispy Kreme, Jameson and Polo, to name just a few.

“Mzanzi [South Africa] gave us a chance to have the wedding of our dreams,” the couple said in a statement provided to The Star. “We are grateful to everyone who pledged and the millions of South Africans who supported us.”

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Footage of the couple’s engagement first began making the rounds in November, after which KFC South Africa asked for help identifying the lovebirds.

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“Please help us find this beautiful couple,” KFC South Africa wrote in a Twitter post. “DM us any leads, there might be a Finger Lickin’ Good surprise in it for you too … We love love.”

Within hours, the couple was identified.

And while some users took to the comments to poke fun at the man’s proposal venue, the majority of the reactions celebrated their happy moment.

“Brought tears to my eyes, they look so in love!!” one wrote.

“Never judge anyone’s standard of living. This must be a dream come true, beginning of happy life,” another said.

Mkansi and Soldaat, meanwhile, were already married, but were never able to afford anything but a small traditional ceremony, he told CNN.

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Gerren Keith Gaynor contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group KFCBucketIstock Couple who got engaged at KFC in South Africa just celebrated 'the wedding of our dreams' Michael Bartiromo fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/lifestyle/weddings fox-news/lifestyle/relationships fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 662303a9-7870-5ce8-906a-ddd40688e6e1   Westlake Legal Group KFCBucketIstock Couple who got engaged at KFC in South Africa just celebrated 'the wedding of our dreams' Michael Bartiromo fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/lifestyle/weddings fox-news/lifestyle/relationships fox-news/food-drink/food/fast-food fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article 662303a9-7870-5ce8-906a-ddd40688e6e1

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Gorgeous image shows magnetic ‘ropes’ around the whale galaxy

A beautiful image of the “Whale Galaxy” shows thin, rope-like filaments of the galaxy’s magnetic field.

The spiral galaxy’s disk of stars is in pink, while the filaments, in green and blue, protrude outward, according to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which released the image.

“This is the first time that we have clearly detected what astronomers call large-scale, coherent, magnetic fields far in the halo of a spiral galaxy, with the field lines aligned in the same direction over distances of a thousand light-years. We even see a regular pattern of this organized field changing direction,” said Marita Krause, of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn, Germany, in a statement.

NASA REVEALS GALACTIC ‘FIREWORKS’ IN STUNNING NEW IMAGE

Westlake Legal Group magnetic-ropes-image Gorgeous image shows magnetic 'ropes' around the whale galaxy fox-news/science/air-and-space fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 21845ca7-ec7e-53e3-92d7-4cc1417dd0b9

The image above depicts a “Whale Galaxy” in all its glory. (Composite image by Jayanne English of the University of Manitoba, with NRAO VLA radio data from Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo and Marita Krause of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy)

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The image was produced by combining data from multiple observations with the Very Large Array’s giant dish antennas arranged in various configurations to show both large structures and finer details within the galaxy.

The galaxy, which is known as NGC 4631, is 25 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, according to scientists.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Westlake Legal Group magnetic-ropes-image Gorgeous image shows magnetic 'ropes' around the whale galaxy fox-news/science/air-and-space fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 21845ca7-ec7e-53e3-92d7-4cc1417dd0b9   Westlake Legal Group magnetic-ropes-image Gorgeous image shows magnetic 'ropes' around the whale galaxy fox-news/science/air-and-space fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 21845ca7-ec7e-53e3-92d7-4cc1417dd0b9

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