Five-time 'Jeopardy!' Champ, Brayden Smith dies at 24 - The Daily Guardian
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Five-time ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ, Brayden Smith dies at 24

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Washington [US], February 13 (ANI): The five-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Brayden Smith, who appeared in the last episodes of the game show hosted by the late legend Alex Trebek, has died at the age of 24.
According to Fox News, the genius died last week on February 5, Friday. However, the news came out when the mother of the departed soul announced the same on Twitter on Saturday (local time).
She shared a picture of Smith featuring him on the game show’s set. Alongside the picture, she wrote, “We are heartbroken to share that our dear Brayden Smith recently passed away unexpectedly. We are so grateful that Brayden was able to live out his dream on @jeopardy.”
Fox News reported that the cause of death was not mentioned in his obituary.
According to the obit, Smith who was Alex Trebek’s last great champion of the game show, intended to attend law school with hopes of working as a lawyer for the federal government and recently worked as an intern at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., researching criminal justice reform issues.
He was deemed as a jack-of-all-trades who loved to read about political science, philosophy, economics, and history. Not only an expert in academics, but he was also good at sports and was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, was active in the Junior Classical League, and captained his school’s Quiz Bowl team to back-to-back state runner-up finishes.
Soon after Smith’s mother announced about the news of his departure, the official account of ‘Jeopardy!’ retweeted the statement and noted, “The JEOPARDY! family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith. He was kind, funny, and absolutely brilliant. Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed.”

According to the sources, the late champion was gearing up to compete in the popular game show’s ‘Tournament Of Champions’. (ANI)

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David Fincher to helm Netflix’s ‘The Killer’

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Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): Oscar-nominated director David Fincher, who had recently partnered with Netflix for his acclaimed biopic ‘Mank’, has reunited with the streaming service for his next feature film titled ‘The Killer’.
As per Variety, Michael Fassbender is in talks to star in the upcoming assassin drama. Andrew Kevin Walker, who has collaborated with Fincher on ‘Se7en’, ‘Fight Club’ and ‘The Game’, is writing the script for the forthcoming film.
Cean Chaffin will serve as producer for the film, which will focus on a cold-blooded assassin who begins to develop a conscience, causing him to emotionally crack. The story is based on a graphic novel by Alexis Nolent.
In November, Fincher signed a four-year film deal with Netflix. ‘Mank’, a black-and-white drama that chronicles screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz’s efforts to finish the script for the Orson Welles classic ‘Citizen Kane’, was released late last year and has been widely considered an Oscars frontrunner.
‘Mank’ marked Fincher’s first feature directing effort since 2014’s psychological thriller ‘Gone Girl’. In between, Fincher executive produced and directed the Netflix TV series ‘Mindhunter’, an FBI crime drama starring Jonathan Groff. (ANI)

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‘I like me better when I’m with you’: Mira wishes Shahid Kapoor on 40th birthday

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): As Bollywood’s handsome hunk Shahid Kapoor rang in his 40th birthday on Thursday, his wife Mira penned an adorable note for him on social media.
Mira hopped on to Instagram and shared two pictures wishing the star on his special day. The first picture is a selfie snap that features her kissing the ‘Kabir Singh’ star. Alongside the delightful picture, she explained how special does she feels while being with him.
“Happy 40th to the love of my life. Any wiser and I’m in trouble. Lucky me you don’t look it and lucky you, I don’t show it. I love you baby,” she wrote in the caption.

To wish him further, the mother of two posted a monochrome picture of the birthday boy that captures him coming out of a pool. In the caption, she wrote, “Shine on. Be one with the Light.”

The couple had tied the knot in a personal wedding ceremony in New Delhi in 2015 following which they welcomed two children – Zain and Misha.
Earlier in the day, Sasha’s younger cousin brother and actor Ishaan Khatter also shared a heartwarming birthday wish for him with an unseen throwback picture to mark the special day on social media.
Meanwhile, on the work front, Shahid will next be seen in ‘Jersey’, which also features Mrunal Thakur and Pankaj Kapur. The actor will be essaying the role of a cricketer in the film. It is a remake of a Telugu movie of the same name. He is also working for an untitled OTT project helmed by Indian filmmaker Krishna DK that also features Rashi Khanna in the lead. (ANI)

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Study discusses correlation between allergy seasons, pollens

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Washington (US), February 25 (ANI): Researchers in Munich during a recent study discovered how the length of allergy seasons in Germany are affected by pollen travelling far distances.
Allergy sufferers are no strangers to problems with pollen. But now – due to climate change – the pollen season is lasting longer and starting earlier than ever before, meaning more days of itchy eyes and runny noses. Warmer temperatures cause flowers to bloom earlier, while higher CO2 levels cause more pollen to be produced.
The effects of climate change on the pollen season have been studied at length, and according to some scientists, has grown by as much as 20 days in the past 30 years, at least in the US and Canada. But one important element is often overlooked – “Pollen is meant to fly,” said Dr Annette Menzel, Professor of ecoclimatology at the Technical University of Munich. “Transport phenomena have to be taken into account.”
Along with her colleagues, she studied the transport of pollen in Bavaria, Germany, in order to better understand how the pollen season has changed over time. “The transport of pollen has important implications for the length, timing, and severity of the allergenic pollen season,” said Dr Ye Yuan, a coauthor on the study.
Menzel and her team focused on Bavaria – a state in southeast Germany – and used six pollen monitoring stations scattered around the region to analyse data. Their results were recently published in Frontiers in Allergy. They found that certain species of pollen, such as hazel shrubs and alder trees, advanced the start of their seasons by up to 2 days per year, over a period of 30 years (between 1987 and 2017). Other species, which tend to bloom later in the year, such as birch and ash trees, moved their seasons 0.5 days earlier on average each year, across that same time period.
Pollen can travel hundreds of kilometres and, with changing weather patterns and altered species distributions, it’s possible that people are becoming exposed to “new” pollen species – meaning pollen that our bodies are unaccustomed to encountering each year.
While it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between local and transported pollen, the researchers focused on pre-season transports. So, for example, if pollen from birch trees was present at the monitoring station, but local birch trees would not flower for at least another 10 days, that pollen was considered to be transported from far away.
“We were surprised that pre-season pollen transport is a quite common phenomenon being observed in two-thirds of the cases,” said Menzel. As for why it’s important to understand how much pollen is from far away, Yuan said that: “Especially for light-weight allergenic [pollen], long-distance transport could seriously influence local human health.”
By examining another element besides simple pollen concentration, scientists can delve deeper into how exactly the pollen season is being affected by climate change. For example, Menzel said that the pollen season maybe even longer than estimated based on flowering observations by “taking into account pollen transport, as it has been done in our current study.”
While the Munich study did not track how far pollen was transported, and only differentiated between local and long-range transport (meaning pollen coming from outside Bavaria), it provides a crucial key in our understanding of annual pollen patterns. Yuan said that future studies should account for “climate change scenarios [and] land use/land cover changes.” He also added that citizen scientists may be able to contribute to pollen studies, who can help collect local observations and contribute to data collection.
It doesn’t look like the pollen season will shorten any time soon, but more research on the subject can provide a better understanding of global patterns and changes so that we can better address these issues in the future. (ANI)

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Ben Affleck reflects on playing an alcoholic in ‘The Way Back’

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Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): American actor Ben Affleck, who is a recovering alcoholic, recently opened up about playing the role of an alcoholic in the 2020 film ‘The Way Back’.
The actor played the role of Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star who walked away from the sport only to return to the game as coach of his alma mater’s team. Throughout the movie, viewers learn about the pain Jack has experienced from his battle with alcoholism, the end of his marriage, and the loss of his child.
Affleck recently reflected on the film and why it resonates with him. He said in a recent roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m a recovering alcoholic and I played an alcoholic in the movie.”
The actor added, “It’s really about grief and losing a child, which, thank God, I have not experienced, and is probably the worst thing you can experience. But also, a lot of it is about alcoholism.”
Affleck has publicly discussed his own battle with alcoholism and his sobriety journey in the past.
“Alcoholism, in and of itself, and compulsive behavior, are not inherently super interesting, but what is sometimes interesting is what you discover about yourself in the course of recovery and trying to figure out what went wrong, how to fix it, how you want your life to look and what kind of ethics you want to live by,” he continued.
Affleck said, “So yes, I’m an alcoholic. Yes, I had a relapse. Yes, I went into recovery again. And then I went and did that movie.”
Like his character, Affleck has also gone through a separation. In 2015, he and actor Jennifer Garner announced their decision to divorce. The former couple, who married in 2005 and share children Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel, officially filed it in 2017 and finalised their split in 2018.
The actor said, “But for me, the movie was much more about the fact that–whether it’s having lived enough years, having seen enough ups and downs, having had children and divorce–I’m at a point now in my life where I have sufficient life experience to bring to a role to make it really interesting for me.
He added, “I’m not good enough to just invent it from whole cloth, you know? I didn’t have to do research for the alcoholism aspect of the movie–that was covered. It was the Daniel Day-Lewis approach to that.”
In fact, Affleck, who has also written, directed, and produced a number of his own films, said it was an “easy adjustment” to return to acting in a movie made by someone else, in this case, director Gavin O’Connor and writer Brad Ingelsby.
Affleck said, “Although some things were hard about it, it was also kind of cathartic and reminded me why I love and started acting in the first place. Even with things that were emotional or upsetting in some way, I was thrilled and exhilarated at the end of the day.”
The actor is now putting extra thought into which projects he wants to pursue.
He said, “I’ll be 50 in two years. I have three children I want to spend time with, I have a life that I really enjoy, and I want to really love my work and tell these kinds of stories, with characters that are as rich as the ones that you all portrayed.”
The roundtable discussion also featured Sacha Baron Cohen, Delroy Lindo, John David Washington, Steven Yeun, and Gary Oldman. (ANI)

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Arjun Rampal shares appreciation post for his ‘Dhaakad’ team

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New Delhi (India), February 25 (ANI): Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal on Thursday shared an appreciation post for the team of his upcoming film ‘Dhaakad’ while announcing the conclusion of the current shooting schedule of the film.
The ‘Daddy’ actor took to his Instagram account and shared several pictures from the sets of his forthcoming film. In the series of snaps posted by the star, he can be seen posing along with crew members of the movie.
Appreciating his ‘Dhaakad’ crew, Arjun wrote, “Just superb!!!!! One of the most amazing team I have had the pleasure to work with. Thank you guys will miss you till the next schedule. #Rudraveer is one mad character. #Dhaakad is one hell of a film.”

The 48-year-old actor will be portraying the role of an antagonist named ‘Rudraveer’ in the upcoming action-thriller flick.
‘Dhaakad’, touted to be a world-class spy thriller, is being directed by Razneesh Razy Ghai and Kangana Ranaut will be seen playing the role of an officer in the movie.
The film, which is based on serious issues like child trafficking and crimes against women, will also star Divya Dutta in a pivotal role. (ANI)

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Disney+ sets premiere dates for ‘Loki’, ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’

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Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): Disney+ has a whole slate of new shows coming this spring, including some from the insanely popular Marvel and Star Wars universes.
As per Entertainment Weekly, the streaming service on Wednesday announced that ‘Loki’ starring actor Tom Hiddleston in the titular role, will premiere on June 11, this year.
The upcoming series, which takes place after the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame’, will follow Loki, the God of Mischief, as he steps out of his brother’s shadow. In addition to Hiddleston, it will also feature Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant.
Hiddleston previously teased ‘Loki’ during San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, telling fans his character has “a lot of psychological evolution” to work through.
“You guys saw Avengers, right? So he’s still that guy. And just about the last thing that happened to him was he got Hulk-smashed. So there’s a lot of psychological evolution that is still yet to happen. This is new territory, a new world, new challenges, and I cannot wait to get started,” he said, according to Entertainment Weekly.

During a Wednesday Q&A, Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige also gave an update on two other Marvel series coming soon to Disney+. ‘She-Hulk’ starts filming in a few weeks, and ‘Moon Knight’ will begin right after.
On Wednesday, Disney+ announced that the animated series titled ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ will debut on May 4, this year.
The show’s characters — the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch — were first introduced in ‘The Clone Wars’, which premiered in 2008 on the Cartoon Network and wrapped its final season on Disney+ last year.
Each member of the group possesses a singular exceptional skill that makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew. In the new series, the Bad Batch must find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War.

In addition to ‘Loki’ and ‘The Bad Batch’, Disney+ revealed the premiere dates for several other shows, including Monsters Inc. spinoff ‘Monsters at Work’ (July 12), the John Stamos-led basketball series ‘Big Shot’ (April 16) and the ‘Turner and Hooch’ reboot starring Josh Peck (July 16). (ANI)

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