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Bell Media promotes new shows about a couple struggling with parenthood and real estate agents selling haunted houses – Toronto Star



A new comedy about real estate agents who handle haunted houses and a music documentary series are among the original programs touted by Bell Media at its virtual “upfront” presentation Tuesday.

The annual showcase for media and advertisers, held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also highlighted the previously announced “Children Ruin Everything.” About a couple with young kids trying to reclaim a piece of their old lives, it was created by “Beaverton” and “Schitt’s Creek” writer Kurt Smeaton, and counts “Letterkenny” producer Mark Montefiore as an executive producer.

Also new to CTV, Bell Media’s flagship channel, is the renamed “Holmes Family Effect,” in which celebrity renovator Mikes Holmes and his kids transform the working spaces of organizations doing good in their communities.

CTV will also host new seasons of old favourites, including “Transplant,” “Jann,” “The Amazing Race Canada” and an all-star season of “MasterChef Canada: Back to Win.”

“Corner Gas Animated” will return to CTV Comedy Channel; “Wynonna Earp” will be back on CTV Sci-Fi Channel and “Letterkenny” returns to Crave.

Among the new originals, “The Surrealtor” is about specialist realtors who handle haunted and possessed houses, while docuseries “This Is Pop” promises to “tell the untold stories of the most pivotal moments in pop music history.”

Bell Media also announced two new shows for its Discovery Channel, “Chasing Monsters” and the original series “Mud Mountain Haulers.”

And a raft of new documentaries are coming to Crave and CTV, including “Buffy Sainte-Marie: Power in the Blood”; “Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me”; and “Inconvenient Indian,” profiling Indigenous author Thomas King.

None of these shows have air dates attached to them. The same is true for the new shows announced as part of CTV’s fall lineup on Tuesday.

CTV announced just three new series for fall, including a new comedy from hitmaker Chuck Lorre, the man behind “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon” and “Two and a Half Men,” among others.

The scarcity of new shows is afflicting all broadcast networks these days. With the pandemic shutting down production in March, fewer shows are being picked up, plus nobody knows for sure when the chosen shows will air.

The Lorre comedy joining CTV is called “B Positive.” It stars B.C. native Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) as a therapist and divorced father who needs a new kidney, and Annaleigh Ashford (“Masters of Sex”) as the woman from his past who offers hers.

The other new shows include “Filthy Rich,” a comedy starring Gerald McRaney (“House of Cards”) and Kim Cattrall (“Sex and the City”) about the patriarch of a Christian TV network whose family discovers after he dies that he had three illegitimate children; and the game show “Supermarket Sweep,” hosted by Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”).

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Which shows are you excited to watch this fall?

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PA police: No formal reports of suspicious white van in social media posts – Prince Albert Daily Herald



Prince Albert police are investigating concerns expressed in several social media posts about a suspicious white van.

According to a news release, the police have not received any reports about the incidents circulating on social media. One post claims the driver of a white van followed them from north of La Ronge to Prince Albert, whereas others say a man driving a white van raped and dumped a young girl outside of Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Despite no formal reports of these events, police launched an investigation into the potential suspicious activity.

This included checking a white van parked in an alley in the city. Officers found no evidence of suspicious activity involving the vehicle.

Police also followed up with agency partners to determine the reliability of the information in the posts, receiving no results.

“The Prince Albert Police Service is interested in hearing from members of the public should they have credible information involving this alleged incident,” read the release.

Residents that spot suspicious or illegal activity are asked to call the police service directly at (306) 953-4222. For emergencies, dial 911.

The police service said its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are not monitored 24/7 and the public shouldn’t use these accounts to report a crime.


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Iran judiciary may halt protesters' executions after social media storm – BBC News



Iran’s judiciary has suggested it might halt the executions of three young men convicted in connection with November’s mass anti-government protests, following a social media campaign.

The Persian hashtag #do_not_execute was used five million times after it was announced on Tuesday that the Supreme Court had upheld their death sentences.

Many celebrities backed the campaign.

On Wednesday night, the judiciary said its chief would consider any request from the men to review their sentences.

Lawyers for the three men also were reportedly told that they could for the first time examine the court papers and evidence against their clients.

Iran is the world’s second most prolific state executioner after China.

Despite having to deal with the Middle East’s biggest outbreak of Covid-19, which has killed more than 13,000 people and deepened an economic crisis, the Iranian authorities have not stopped trying capital cases and carrying out death sentences.

Early on Tuesday, two Kurdish men were executed in Urumieh prison in West Azerbaijan province.

Diaku Rasoulzadeh and Saber Sheikh Abdollah, who were in their early 20s and 30s respectively, had been on death row since 2015. They were convicted of planting a bomb at a military parade in Mahabad in 2010.

Their lawyer told BBC Persian they were innocent and that no evidence was presented at their trial other than confessions extracted under severe torture.

Amnesty International said the two men were “the latest victims of Iran’s deeply flawed criminal justice system, which systematically relies on fabricated evidence”.

Hours later, the Iranian judiciary’s spokesman confirmed that the death sentences of the three anti-government protesters had been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi, who are all reportedly in their 20s, were arrested during November’s unrest, which was triggered by the government’s decision to raise the price of petrol.

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Millions of Iranians poured into the streets of cities and towns across the country to protest against poverty, inflation and economic mismanagement. They were met with violence by security forces and hundreds were killed.

Amnesty International said the three men sentenced to death in connection with the protests underwent “grossly unfair trials”.

“Their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were ignored and ‘confessions’ extracted from Amirhossein Moradi without a lawyer present, reportedly through beatings, electric shocks and being hung upside down, were relied upon to convict them of ‘enmity against God’ through acts of arson and vandalism,” it added.

The social media campaign to halt their executions was joined by many prominent figures both inside and outside Iran.

The footballer Masoud Shojaei posted on his Instagram page: “I am asking Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi: Please be merciful with these three Iranian young people. Please stay their execution because of their families and people’s request.”

The actor Shahaab Hosseini wrote: “Swearing on the prophet of kindness and compassion, please stop the executions of these three young people.”

US President Donald Trump also called for the executions to be stopped.

Iran’s judiciary also announced last month that Ruhollah Zam, a dissident journalist and founder of the influential Telegram account AmadNews, had been sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on earth”.

One of the accusations he faced was encouraging people to participate in anti-government protests in 2017 and 2018.

Zam was based in Paris, but he was lured to Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence service and then kidnapped and taken back to Iran.

Iran’s government has not offered much help to those affected by the economic crisis, and the country’s leaders have expressed concern about future unrest.

Many Iranian human rights activists believe that by carrying out executions and sentencing protesters to death the leaders are hoping to scare people away from returning to the streets.

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Judge denies media request to unseal files on Saints owner –



A judge has denied a request by news organizations including The Associated Press to unseal court records involving the mental competency of billionaire Tom Benson when he rewrote his will to give his third wife ownership of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans sports franchises.

The news outlets argued public interest in the 2015 case had been heightened by revelations this year that Saints executives engaged in a behind-the-scenes public relations campaign to help the Archdiocese of New Orleans contain the fallout from a clergy abuse crisis.

“Legitimate questions are being raised about the connection between the team and the local Roman Catholic Church,” attorneys for the news organizations wrote in a court filing.

But Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Kern Reese said Benson’s right to privacy remains sacred even after his 2018 death, and that freedom of the press must be balanced against those considerations.

“I don’t think we have the right as a society to go picking through his medical history,” Reese said.

The news organizations, which also included CNN, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, agreed that Benson’s medical information should remain shielded but asked that other testimony from the eight-day proceeding be made public.

James Gulotta, an attorney for Benson, said that could result in a “misleading view of what took place” in the case.

“I think the news media is barking up the wrong tree,” he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the news organizations intended to appeal the ruling.

Reese had closed his courtroom throughout the 2015 trial, known in Louisiana as an interdiction, saying secrecy was needed to protect Benson’s medical privacy rights and confidential information about the business operations of the NFL and NBA clubs.

The case involved explosive claims brought by Benson’s heirs that the billionaire’s third wife, Gayle, manipulated Benson into rewriting his will and isolated him from his friends and family.

Reese dismissed the lawsuit following eight days of testimony, ruling Benson was mentally sound when he ousted his estranged daughter and grandchildren from ownership positions with his teams.

Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic with close ties to Archbishop Gregory Aymond, inherited Benson’s business empire and has defended the Saint’s public relations work on behalf of the cash-strapped archdiocese, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Aymond served as a witness to the signing of the will that cut out Benson’s estranged heirs.

The Saints acknowledged giving church leaders advice on how to handle media attention surrounding the 2018 release of a list naming more than 50 clergy members “credibly accused” of sexual abuse. The team and church leaders have opposed a request by the AP to release thousands of internal emails documenting the public relations work.

Gayle Benson testified during the 2015 interdiction proceedings, but attorneys for Benson argued the trial had “nothing to do with the Archdiocese.”

But the news organizations argued that “there has been a continuing public interest in the ownership of the Saints” that increased “because of the actions of Saints personnel under Mrs. Benson’s ownership in assisting the Archdiocese of New Orleans.”

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