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‘Star Wars’ veteran Mark Hamill to finally receive star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Mark Hamill, also known as Luke Skywalker in the famed “Star Wars” franchise, will finally receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

The force will be with the original Luke Skywalker on March 8, as Hamill joins the ranks of Hollywood’s top icons on the legendary Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Calif. The “Star Wars” veteran will receive the 2,630th star on the walkway, according to Variety. The traditional Walk of Fame ceremony will take place on Hollywood Blvd. in front of the El Capitan theater. 

Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies, said in a statement, “’Star Wars’ fans will be over the moon that hearing their idol Mark Hamill is going to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We are proud to add this extraordinary actor to our historic Walk of Fame.”

The actor started out in the industry doing minor television spots, but landed his first film role as Luke Skywalker in George Lucas’ premiere “Star Wars” film in 1977. The series, which has spanned over four decades, has allowed Hamill to continue to reprise his iconic role. 

The 66-year-old actor made headlines in December after he revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that he disagreed with his character’s dialogue in the latest “Star Wars” franchise installment, “The Last Jedi.”

“I, at one point, had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision,'” Hamill said.

He later expressed his regret about criticizing director Rian Johnson’s creative decisions regarding his iconic character.

“I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public,” Hamill tweeted Tuesday. “Creative differences are a common element of any project but usually remain private. All I wanted was to make good movie. I got more than that – [Johnson] made an all-time GREAT one!”

Despite Hamill’s initial reservations, the movie has grossed more than $790 million at the box office and has received rave reviews from critics.

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report. 

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COVID-19: British pilot discharged from US hospital after 243 days of coronavirus treatment | UK News

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A British pilot punched the air with delight as he was discharged from hospital in Texas after being treated for coronavirus for 243 days.

Nicholas Synnott works for British Airways and was taken ill after arriving in Houston last March.

The 59-year-old was admitted to UT Health and Memorial Hermann Hospital in the city where he was placed on a ventilator and heart and lung machine.

He was treated there for eight months, with his wife Nicola, 54, by his side every day.

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Nicholas Synott. Pic:  ABC30
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Mr Synnott’s wife was by his side every day. Pic: ABC30

“Every organ of his body was affected by COVID-19. But yet, because his health was so good as a pilot prior to the illness, he could sustain all this and survive something as serious as this,” cardiologist Dr Biswajit Kar told ABC 30 News.

“We were firstly overwhelmed by the joy that someone this sick could make it.”

Mr Synnott was discharged before Christmas and is now back at home in Betchworth, Surrey.

Photos and video from the hospital showed him punching the air and hugging staff members as he walked down the corridor.

Mr Synnott told ABC 30 he was able to recover “with the support of my wife, and the thought of going back to my kids. It was a tough journey but, we’ve got where we are”.

The pilot said he would like to travel to Houston again to thank everyone who helped him and to visit the city’s zoo which he could see out of his window every day.

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New electric car battery can charge in five minutes | Science & Tech News

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A new electric car battery that can be fully charged in five minutes has been manufactured for the first time on a normal production line in China, based on designs by Israeli company StoreDot.

The breakthrough could address a significant concern for electric car drivers – the fear of running out of power during a journey, marooning the vehicle for a couple of hours while it charges.

“A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible,” said StoreDot’s chief executive, Dr Doron Myersdorf.

Dr Doron Myersdorf, CEO, StoreDot
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Dr Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot, said the innovation may overcome ‘range anxiety’

“But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates that it is feasible and commercially ready,” Dr Myersdorf added.

The company produced 1,000 sample batteries with its manufacturing partner Eve Energy in China.

These samples, which are compliant with Li-ion battery certifications, were manufactured on a normal construction line and will be used to showcase the company’s technology to other companies.

So-called “range anxiety” is the “number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles”, said Dr Myersdorf.

Fast charging lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is a significant problem for electronics manufacturers and developers, and companies from Samsung to Daimler have invested in StoreDot.

The company’s new batteries are designed differently to standard Li-ion ones, replacing the graphite with semiconductor nanoparticles based on germanium – though they hope to move to silicon in the future.

Because the speed of the charge is based on the battery rather than the charging point, StoreDot’s invention could have a significant impact on the adoption of electric vehicles, which are facing a bottleneck in countries such as the UK that have limited charging stations.

There are more than 30,000 points currently in the UK in over 11,000 locations, and around 10,000 charge points were added in 2019 alone.

But research by Deloitte suggests the UK will need to spend £1.6bn on 28,000 more public points for the estimated seven million EVs that will be on the road by 2030.

In 2019, there were 37,850 BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) registered in the UK – up 144% on the previous year, however they still only account for 1.6% of the market.

Hybrid electric vehicles – combing an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine – are currently more popular, making up 4.2% of the market share, but they are set to be phased out along with petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas: ‘I want to get South Asian stories influxed into Hollywood’ | Ents & Arts News

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas has told Sky News she is determined to get South Asian stories “influxed” into Hollywood.

The actress and activist spoke about representation on the big screen ahead of the release of her new film, The White Tiger, which is based on the 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga.

It tells the story of Balram Halwai (played by newcomer Adarsh Gourav), who narrates his humorous but dark rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India.

THE WHITE TIGER - Adarsh Gourav (Balram) in THE WHITE TIGER. Cr. NETFLIX .. 2020
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Gourav stars as Balram, a servant who narrates the story

Reviews ahead of the film’s release have been strong, and it has been touted as a possible outside contender for the Oscars.

Following Balram’s journey to becoming a driver for a wealthy couple, Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Chopra Jonas) who have returned to India from the US, it highlights the huge gap in the country’s class system.

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who stars in The White Tiger, wants to see more South Asian stories in Hollywood.

Chopra Jonas, who is also an executive producer on the film, says it is the kind of story we need to see more of on screen.

“I chased after this movie, actually, I read about it on Twitter,” she tells Sky News. “I had read this book about a decade ago. I was very excited and profoundly moved by it so when I read about the fact that it was being made by Netflix, I got my agents to call the producers and offered my services.

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“Pinky as a part has really developed in the movie but I really wanted to be an EP (executive producer) on this to offer my support. And my belief is to be able to get South Asian stories influxed into Hollywood.

“We don’t see enough representation in global entertainment, considering we’re one fifth of the world’s population. So I was very, very excited to offer my support to this movie.”

WHITE TIGER, Adarsh Gourav, as, Balram, Priyanka Chopra, Pinky Madam, in WHITE TIGER​. Cr., Tejinder Singh Khamkha.​/NETFLIX, ©, 2020
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Chopra Jonas, who plays Pinky, says she hopes the film will make viewers think about privilege

In the film, Balram makes himself indispensable to Ashok and Pinky, the will to serve ingrained deep within – but when an act of betrayal makes him really start to see the unequal system for what it is, he becomes determined to rise up, whatever the cost.

Chopra Jonas, a former Miss World who won the contest in 2000, is one of India’s biggest stars. She says she hopes the story will make people who watch the film think about privilege.

“I think that it’s a movie of self-reflection for the privileged to think about the rest of the world that lives in a completely different circumstance,” she said.

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One viewer who is already a fan of the film is her husband, singer Nick Jonas. The couple married in a lavish ceremony in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in 2018.

After seeing a preview, Jonas posted on Instagram to say the film was “unreal” and his wife’s performance “exceptional”.

Asked if her husband is her biggest supporter, Chopra Jonas said: “Well, I would like to believe that family does that for each other. He does love this film, though. He’s a very big fan of the movie, I have to say.”

The White Tiger is out on Netflix from 22 January

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