Eisenberg makes 'nerve-racking' UK stage debut with 'The Spoils'

LONDON Oscar-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg brings his self-penned play "The Spoils" to London audiences, making "a nerve-racking" stage debut in Britain which he regards as a theater mecca.The tragicomedy, in which Eisenberg also stars, showed off-Broadway last year and the production has transferred to the West End for a limited season.The 32-year old actor, known for "The Social Network" and more recently "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", plays Ben, a callous wannabe filmmaker, living in a comfortable apartment bought by his father. Staying with him is his friend Kalyan, a hard-working, earnest Nepalese immigrant studying business at New York University, who is played by "The Big Bang Theory" actor Kunal Nayyar.     When Ben's former school crush Sarah comes over for dinner with her partner Ted, tensions soon arise in the flat with Kalyan watching as his friend sets off on a path of self-destruction."What the play does discuss is kind of generational strife. My character is third generation American and I think he feels the kind of laziness of assimilation," Eisenberg told Reuters in an interview. "Kunal's character is a new immigrant from Nepal and struggling to make it in an exclusive world of ... privilege that he is not a part of. The play discusses those themes and how my character, in a way, has lost his meaning because he doesn't have to struggle."    Although no stranger to theater -- this is the third play the actor has written -- Eisenberg said he was worried about performing in the British capital.     "It is ... nerve-racking. I, very much, am in awe of the theater that's performed in London and actually all around the UK. It's really a kind of a mecca for theater, I would say more so than New York," he said.    "The Spoils" runs at Trafalgar Studios till August 13. (Reporting By Sara Hemrajani; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Richard Balmforth)

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Big cats removed from Thailand's infamous Tiger Temple

KANCHANABURI, Thailand Wildlife authorities in Thailand on Monday raided a Buddhist temple where tigers are kept, taking away three of the animals and vowing to confiscate scores more in response to global pressure over wildlife trafficking. The Buddhist temple in Kanchanaburi province west of Bangkok has more than 100 tigers and has become a tourist destination where visitors take selfies with tigers and bottle-feed their cubs.The temple promotes itself as a wildlife sanctuary, but in recent years it has been investigated for suspected links to wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.Wildlife activists have accused the temple's monks of illegally breeding tigers, while some visitors have said the animals can appear drugged. The temple denies the accusations.Monday's raid was the latest move by authorities in a tug-of-war since 2001 to bring the tigers under state control. Adisorn Nuchdamrong, deputy director-general of the Department of National Parks, said the team had been able to confiscate the tigers thanks to a warrant obtained a few hours before the operation. "We have a court warrant this time, unlike previous times, when we only asked for the temple's cooperation, which did not work," Adisorn told Reuters. "International pressure concerning illegal wildlife trafficking is also part of why we're acting now."Officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said they planned to confiscate and remove more tigers from the temple on Tuesday and send them to a state-owned sanctuary.Previous attempts to inspect the tigers have largely been blocked by the temple's abbots but in January and February wildlife officials removed 10 of the tigers. Thailand has long been a hub for the illicit trafficking of wildlife and forest products, including ivory. Exotic birds, mammals and reptiles, some of them endangered species, can often be found on sale in markets.The government introduced new animal welfare laws in 2015 aimed at curbing animal abuse, but activists accuse authorities of not enforcing the legislation properly. (Additional reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Tom Brady appeals 'Deflategate' ruling, extends fight with NFL

NEW YORK New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Monday asked a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its ruling reinstating his "Deflategate" four-game suspension, saying the decision runs contrary to federal labor law."The panel decision will harm not just NFL players, but all unionized workers who have bargained for appeal rights as a protection," his lawyers said in a motion filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.Brady, 38, was suspended after the National Football League (NFL) found underinflated footballs were used in the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in January 2015's AFC championship game. The victory propelled the Patriots to the Super Bowl, where they beat the Seattle Seahawks, giving Brady his fourth title. The NFL suspended Brady, twice the league's most valuable player, after a lawyer hired by the league to investigate the incident said the quarterback was "generally aware" two Patriots employees had conspired to deflate the balls, which could make them easier to grip.NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension in July, prompting a lawsuit from the players union. The quarterback has denied knowing about any plan to deflate footballs. In a split 2-1 decision last month, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a lower court's ruling that threw out his penalty.On Monday, which was the deadline for an appeal, the union and Brady asked for an "en banc" review, in which the court's entire roster of 13 active judges would rehear the case.The 2nd Circuit is known among federal appellate courts for rarely granting such requests. It has held only one en banc hearing since October 2013. If the court denies the motion, the players union could then appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.An NFL spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in New York overturned Goodell's decision in September, ensuring Brady could play the entire 2015 regular season. The judge found Brady did not have the required notice that he could face a long suspension for his alleged conduct. But the 2nd Circuit panel ruled the labor deal between the league and the union gave Goodell "especially broad" disciplinary authority.Brady's motion on Monday said Goodell's decision would undermine labor arbitrations everywhere and "runs roughshod over the rule of law."The union's legal team includes former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who appeared earlier on Monday on ABC to announce the appeal. Olson represented the players' union during labor negotiations in 2011 and also argued the two Bush v. Gore cases that arose out of the 2000 presidential election. (Additional reporting by Daniel Wallis and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alan Crosby)

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Canadian firefighters make progress against fire in oil sands region

CALGARY, Alberta Firefighters made progress against a wildfire in the Fort McMurray region of northern Alberta on Thursday as a shift in winds pushed it away from communities and oil sands facilities.The massive blaze has charred 505,000 hectares (1.2 million acres), up from 483,000 on Wednesday. On Thursday, it moved to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan, but Alberta wildfire officer Chad Morrison said cooler weather and rain would aid efforts to get it under control."We saw a trace of rain this morning, so that's actually helped our firefighting efforts," he added. Morrison said the burned area equals the total consumed in last year's entire fire season.The blaze, which hit Fort McMurray in early May, surged north on Monday. It forced the evacuation of 8,000 oil sands workers, destroyed a work camp and prolonged a shutdown that has cut Canadian oil output by a million barrels a day.Alberta's GDP is expected to take a hit as a result of the fire, the government said this week, and comes on the back of a two-year slump in global crude prices.Credit agency S&P lowered its debt rating for Alberta to AA from AA+ on Thursday, citing a weak budgetary performance and high debt. Morrison said the fire burned near Suncor Energy's base plant and the Syncrude facility on Wednesday, but fire breaks held and the threat has diminished.The joint-venture Syncrude project told customers to expect no further crude shipments for May, trading sources said on Thursday, extending a force majeure on crude production from earlier in the month.Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson declined to comment on deliveries. "We are not making any oil and will not have forecasts for some time," he said. Still, in an encouraging sign, Imperial Oil said on Thursday it had restarted limited operations at its Kearl site, which was unaffected by the fires. The return to full operations depends on a number of factors, including safety and air quality, it said.WILDFIRE MAY SLOW RETURNThe fire destroyed a 665-room lodge for oil sands workers on Tuesday, but officials said on Thursday there was no further threat to facilities. Even so, a mandatory evacuation order remains in place at 19 work camps north of Fort McMurray. The latest round of evacuations suggest production may be suspended for longer than companies and analysts had previously anticipated.Some of the 90,000 evacuees who fled as the massive blaze breached Fort McMurray may be allowed to return as soon as June 1, if air quality improves and other safety conditions are met.But Bob Couture, executive director of community and protective services for the Wood Buffalo region, said the wildfire could still potentially slow re-entry."As we see today, our weather has changed dramatically, however we know this beast and the conditions also change very quickly so we want to be prepared for anything," he said. The air quality health index, which usually stands between 1 and 10, was at 3 on Thursday morning but was expected to rise back above 10 on Thursday and Friday. (Additional reporting by Allison Martell and Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman)

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Medical records search warrant carried out in Prince case

A search warrant affidavit obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday revealed that a doctor who saw the late pop star Prince twice just weeks before his death and was at the musician's home when Prince's body was found had prescribed him medication.The document said Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg was at the star's Paisley Park Studios compound in suburban Minneapolis to drop off test results when Prince's body was found in an elevator on April 21. The affidavit said Schulenberg had also prescribed Prince medication, but did not specify what those medications were or whether the prescription had been filled. The search warrant was carried out on May 5 at North Memorial Medical Center.Health system spokeswoman Lesa Bader told the Los Angeles Times that Schulenberg no longer works for the system. Barb Stevenson, a spokeswoman reached by Reuters, said she could provide no information on the case. Schulenberg, whose name was misspelled in the documents according to the Los Angeles Times, also could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.Detectives also revisited Paisley Park on Tuesday as "a component of a complete investigation," the Carver County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Twitter, without providing further details. Prince died one day before he was scheduled to meet another doctor who specializes in addiction treatment for a "life-saving mission," that doctor's lawyer said at a news conference last Wednesday.California doctor Howard Kornfeld was first contacted by Prince's representatives on April 20, one day before the singer's body was discovered at his home, attorney William Mauzy told reporters. Prescription opioid medication was found at the scene, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation but who is not authorized to speak publicly. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Paul Tait)

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