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[VIDEO] State Department Blames Criticism of U.S. Ransom Payment to Iran on…the Media 

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The State Department admitted Thursday that the US would not hand over $400 million in cash to Iran until it released four American hostages — two weeks after President Obama insisted the payment was not a “ransom.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked at Thursday’s press briefing: “In basic English, you’re saying you wouldn’t give them $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?”

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“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.

In an Aug. 4 press conference, President Obama said the opposite.

“We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future,” the president told reporters, speaking of the Jan. 17 payment and hostage release.

Families “know we have a policy that we don’t pay ransom. And the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high-profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we’re looking in the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage, and saying to them ‘We don’t pay ransom,’ defies logic,” Obama added at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prime Instant Allen: Woody Allen to Create a Television Series for…Amazon?

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“I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas, and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that Roy Price will regret this.”

Angela Chen reports: Amazon.com Inc., fresh from its Golden Globe wins for its original show “Transparent,” has signed filmmaker Woody Allen to write and direct his first television series.B7PdXL_IAAE5r4f

“I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas, and I’m not sure where to begin. My guess is that [Amazon Studios Vice President] Roy Price will regret this,” Mr. Allen said in a news release about the project, which is still unnamed.

[An outbreak of mockery ensues at Twitter ]

Amazon has commissioned a full season, with half-hour episodes available on its Prime Instant Video. The will be the first television project by Mr. Allen, who has worked on films such as “Annie Hall” and “Midnight in Paris.” He has won four Oscars.

On Sunday, Amazon’s “Transparent”—about a California family whose father comes out as transgender—took home two Golden Globes at the 72nd annual awards: best musical or comedy TV series, and best actor in a musical or comedy series for actor Jeffrey Tambor. This is the first Golden Globe win for an Amazon show. Read the rest of this entry »


China: Hollywood Movie Studios Still Face Headaches

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With more and more foreign films now being allowed into China, and potential revenues that can be earned having risen to 25% (from as little as 13%), one might think that doing business in China is getting easier for Hollywood.

But that’s simply not the case. Read the rest of this entry »