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New York Times Dismisses Two Controversial Reporters For Racial Slurs, Sham Podcasts

Anemic Jobs Report Reaffirms Pandemic’s Grip on Economy

With a gain of 49,000 jobs in January, and with few of those in the private sector, the labor market offers little relief to the nearly 10 million Americans who are unemployed.

U.S. throws support behind Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO

FILE PHOTO: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala poses outside a Nigerian diplomatic residence in Chambesy, near Geneva, Switzerland, September 29, 2020. REUTERS/Emma Farge/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday threw its support behind Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to head the World Trade Organization after a South Korean rival withdrew.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative made the announcement on behalf of President Joe Biden’s administration. Okonjo-Iweala had faced opposition from former President Donald Trump’s administration.

CanSino vaccine seeks emergency approval in Mexico: foreign minister

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – China’s CanSino Biologics Inc is formally seeking emergency use authorization in Mexico for its Covid-19 vaccine, Mexico’s foreign minister said on Friday, as the company seeks quick approval prior to wide-scale distribution.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter that the one-dose CanSino vaccine has been successfully tested on more than 14,000 volunteers in Mexico since last October.

Biden says he does not expect minimum wage hike to be in COVID relief bill

U.S. President Joe Biden waves as he arrives at Newcastle, Delaware U.S., February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday he does not expect his proposal for a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour to be included in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

“My guess is it will not be in it. But I do think that we should have a minimum wage, stand by itself, $15 an hour,” Biden said in an interview with the CBS Evening News.

Mexico's confirmed coronavirus death toll rises to 164,290

Health workers and patients are pictured at the maternity ward for mothers infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Maternal Perinatal Hospital “Monica Pretelini Saenz”, in Toluca, Mexico February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Luis Cortes

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s health ministry on Friday reported 1,368 new confirmed deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total in the country to 164,290.

Armie Hammer Dropped By WME Amid Controversy Over Social Media Posts

WME has dropped Armie Hammer as a client, Deadline confirmed Friday, the latest fallout from the actor’s controversial social media posts that were leaked online.

The news today comes after Hammer exited roles in a pair of projects. He was set to co-star opposite Jennifer Lopez in Lionsgate’s film Shotgun Wedding, but the studio said he asked to step aside amid the controversy, in which direct messages reportedly from Hammer and detailing disturbing sexual fantasies were leaked by anonymous social media account.

In a statement sent to Deadline, at the time, the star of The Social Network and Nocturnal Animals said, “I’m not responding to these bullshit claims but in light of the vicious and spurious online attacks against me, I cannot in good conscience now leave my children for 4 months to shoot a film in the Dominican Republic. Lionsgate is supporting me in this and I’m grateful to them for that.”

Josh Duhamel eventually was cast to replace Hammer in the action comedy.

Hammer also had been set to play Al Ruddy in the The Offer, the Paramount+ limited series about the making of the classic 1972 feature The Godfather. He exited that role January 28. The same day, it was learned he quietly left the star-studded cast of Gaslit, the Sam Esmail-produced Watergate series for UCP, which he left to do The Offer.

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Volition Entertainment Adds Luna Wise As Talent Manager, Will Help Develop And Produce Scripted And Non-Scripted Film/TV

Volition Entertainment has hired film and television manager Luna Wise as its newest addition.

Wise joins Volition under founder Ami Manning as their Los Angeles-based talent manager, bringing with her a roster of 25 up-and-coming actors who have appeared in numerous major studio films and network television shows. She will also be involved in Volition Entertainment’s subsidiary Dragonfly Productions, on the development end, helping to produce scripted and non scripted film and television projects.

Wise got her start in the industry as an agency intern, working under Keiko Nakamura in Tokyo, before moving up the ranks in the youth commercial division. Upon returning to the US, Wise crossed over into talent management.

Wise is extremely passionate about bridging the gap between Hollywood and its underrepresented and diverse actors and storytellers. She hopes to shine a spotlight on inclusive hiring in the industry’s executive branches and the immediate need for more green-light power positions led by POC.

Wise is set to produce an upcoming feature period drama about the life of Elizabeth Hudson Smith staring actress Nadine Jackson in the title role. Screenplay is by Gus Edwards, acelebrated playwright, author, and notable member of the Negro Ensemble Company.

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New York Times Dismisses Two Controversial Reporters For Racial Slurs, Sham Podcasts

The New York Times has severed ties with two reporters that produced some of its highest-profile work in the last three years.

Executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joe Kahn sent out memos Friday revealing the departures of Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science correspondent who reported on the pandemic, and Andy Mills, a producer for the podcast Caliphate that used a phony source.

Both had seemed to survive the disclosure of past misbehaviors. But an uproar from the Times staff and those outside the organization made their continued employment untenable.

McNeil reported used a “racist slur” while on a Times-sponsored field trip with students in 2019. Mills caused the media giant major embarrassment when the podcast series Caliphate largely relied on the assertions of a man who had no ties to the Islamic state.

Baquet and Kahn wrote that McNeil “has done much good reporting over four decades,” but added, “that this is the right next step.”

In the case of Mills, the errors in the podcast were attributed to “an institutional failing” by Baquet. Mills was later accused of bad behavior toward women in his previous employment at WNYC, New York’s public radio outlet.

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