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According to director James Cameron, the shoot of the third installment is 95% done


PHOTO: FILE

Film-maker James Cameron, in a recent dialogue with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the latter’s YouTube channel, revealed that the shooting for Avatar 2 has been completed, reported The Indian Express. Additionally, he also revealed that the third installment, which was being shot back-to-back, is done 95% too.

“So where we are right now, I’m down in New Zealand shooting. We’re shooting the remainder of the live-action. We’ve got about 10% left to go. We’re a 100% complete on Avatar 2 and we’re sort of 95% per cent complete on Avatar 3,” he said. Talking about the hassles the production faced due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Cameron clarified that while the release is delayed, shooting still had to be on schedule. “Well, Covid hit us like it hit everybody. We lost about four and a half months of production.

As a result of that, we’ve rolled around one more full year for a release in December of 2022,” he said. “That’s been announced already. Now that doesn’t mean I have an extra year to finish the film, because the day we deliver Avatar 2

, we’ll just start working on finishing Avatar 3.”

Cameron added that it was fortunate for him and his crew that they decided to film the Avatar sequels in New Zealand, like the original. New Zealand’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been exemplary and this allowed the Titanic director and his team to get on with filming in a safe environment.

“So we’re very lucky in that we chose this as our production site years ago. We made the first film here in New Zealand and it turns out, it’s ranked either first or second-best country in the world for its Covid response. We are able to operate and live a normal life here. So we are very fortunate,” he said.

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Former NS8 CEO Adam Rogas Arrested & Charged With Securities Fraud

Adam Rogas, co-founder of cyber fraud prevention startup NS8, who falsified financial statements to defraud investors has been arrested and charged with securities fraud.

The founder and former CEO of cyber fraud prevention startup NS8 Adam Rogas was arrested for securities fraud last week. Rogas, who also served as the CFO of NS8, abruptly resigned almost a week before his arrest by the FBI. However, Rogas, in his response to Forbes maintained that he resigned for family and personal reasons.

Jim Holborown, Vice President of Communications at NS8 told Las Vegas Review-Journal, “As a result, the board of directors has launched an internal investigation . As this is still an active investigation, we are not providing any detail at this point.”

Following his resignation, the company decided to lay off a chunk of its workforce citing financial reasons. “We got on and were told that our finances were not what we thought they were, and there would be layoffs,” said an unnamed employee to Forbes. As a result, the company was downsized, and almost 240 employees were suddenly out of a job.

 

Las Vegas-based NS8 provides an intelligence-driven platform for fraud detection. The company, launched in 2016, had only recently raised $123 million in Series A financing led by Lightspeed Ventures. In a statement, The Securities and Exchange Commission said Rogas allegedly misled investors by fabricating NS8’s bank statements to show millions of dollars in payments from customers. He presented the manipulated data to investors to falsely claim the company was generating revenue, which was non-existent.

“In the period from January 2019 through February 2020, between at least approximately 40% and 95% of the purported total assets on NS8’s balance sheet were fictitious,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.

 

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said,  “As alleged, Adam Rogas was the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.  While raising over $100 million from investors for his fraud prevention company, Rogas himself allegedly was engaging in a brazen fraud.”

In the June Series A round, Rogas apparently cashed in $17.5 million in the total financing proceeds.

The SEC and FBI uncovered the fraud through their investigation, which can result in a prison sentence for up to  20 years. FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said,  “It seems ironic that the co-founder of a company designed to prevent online fraud would engage in fraudulent activity himself.”

He adds, “We’ve seen far too many examples of unscrupulous actors engaging in this type of criminal activity, and we continue to work diligently to weed out this behavior whenever and wherever we find it.”

NS8 gave the following statement in view of Rogas’ arrest: “At this time, no one else has been charged and the company is cooperating fully with federal investigators. The NS8 Board of Directors has learned that much of the company’s revenue and customer information had been fabricated by Mr. Rogas. These events created significant cash flow issues for the company and required a significant downsizing impacting all of its employees. The remaining NS8 leadership and Board of Directors is working to determine financial options for the company and its stakeholders going forward.”

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At least 15 people were killed when a passenger van travelling in southern Pakistan crashed and caught fire, officials said Sunday.

The van was carrying passengers from Karachi to Hyderabad city when it struck an object and careered off the road late Saturday.

“The death toll in the unfortunate accident has reached 15,” Owais Shah, the transport minister of Sindh province, told AFP.

Five other people were injured, three of them critically, he said.

Most of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, said Faisal Edhi, head of the non-profit Edhi Foundation which runs the morgue the bodies were taken to.

Investigators were looking to see if a natural gas cylinder aboard the bus had contributed to the inferno.

Such incidents occur frequently on Pakistan’s roads, where speeding, dilapidated vehicles, and badly maintained roads all contribute to the accident rate.

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(FILES) This file photo taken on November 20, 2015 shows Chinese flags next to a worker clearing a conveyer belt used to transport coal, near a coal mine at Datong, in China's northern Shanxi province.
(FILES) This file photo taken on November 20, 2015 shows Chinese flags next to a worker clearing a conveyer belt used to transport coal, near a coal mine at Datong, in China’s northern Shanxi province.

 

Sixteen workers died and one is in a critical condition after being trapped underground in a coal mine in southwest China on Sunday, reported state broadcaster CCTV.

A conveyor belt caught fire in the early hours of the morning, state news agency Xinhua cited the government as saying, which produced dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Medics are fighting to save the life of the remaining survivor, CCTV reported.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, said the Qijiang district government on social media platform Weibo.

The facility, Songzao Coal Mine, is owned by state energy firm Chongqing Energy and located just outside the city of Chongqing.

Mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record and regulations are often weakly enforced.

At least 14 miners were killed in a coal and gas blast last December at a mine in southwestern Guizhou province.

In December 2018, seven miners were killed in Chongqing after the connecting segment of a skip broke and fell down a shaft.

In October the same year, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping the workers. Only one miner was rescued alive.

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In this file photo taken on November 29, 2016, the logo of OPEC is pictured at the OPEC headquarters on the eve of the 171th meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna, Austria. JOE KLAMAR / AFP
In this file photo taken on November 29, 2016, the logo of OPEC is pictured at the OPEC headquarters on the eve of the 171th meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna, Austria. JOE KLAMAR / AFP

 

OPEC faces a critical moment in its 60-year history with the coronavirus crushing crude demand and prices, discord among its members, and threats from a world seeking cleaner fuels.

Founded on September 14, 1960, by Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela who sought to control crude oil output, OPEC currently comprises 13 members including nations from Africa and Latin America.

The 60th anniversary “comes at a critical moment in its history”, UniCredit analyst Edoardo Campanella said in reference to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“Its ability to steer the oil market in its favour has never been put in question to the extent it is now,” he noted.

– ‘Relevant role’ –

The Vienna-based institution convenes for regular meetings to assess the state of supply and demand in the marketplace, and its pronouncements can still spark major price swings.

That ability has dimmed in recent years however, prompting it to join forces with ten non-OPEC producers including Russia to curb their collective output.

OPEC+ essentially wanted to counter surging energy supplies from shale rock in the United States and help clear a stubborn supply glut on world markets.

Today, OPEC pumps about one third of global oil — but OPEC+ accounts for almost 50 percent, giving it greater clout.

Carlo Alberto de Casa, trader at Activtrades, insisted that the cartel retains a “relevant” function in the market, dismissing talk the organisation was a “has-been”.

“They are slightly less influential compared to the past, also due to production of non-OPEC countries and new extraction techniques. But I still see a role for OPEC,” he told AFP.

This despite the larger OPEC+ in March failing to agree on a new strategy — with Russia refusing cartel kingpin Saudi Arabia’s request to cut their collective output and combat a virus-fuelled slump in crude demand.

In response, top global exporter Saudi slashed its prices and raised output to preserve market share in the face of Russian opposition.

The Saudi-Russian price war, in tandem with the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, sent oil prices off a cliff — and even caused New York’s light sweet crude contract to briefly turn negative in April — meaning producers paid buyers to take the oil off their hands.

After the unprecedented market crash, OPEC+ in May slashed up to a fifth of its output — a move that triggered a sharp rebound in crude prices to current levels around $40 per barrel.

Added to the supply backdrop, the United States, now the world’s biggest oil producer, curbed the pace of costly shale extraction.

Rystad Energy analyst Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, while noting that OPEC has lost market share in recent years, said the cartel still has an important role to play because it possesses the largest amount of accessible crude.

This meant that extracting its oil resulted in fewer carbon emissions, she said.

“I would argue that OPEC would become more and more important” in the future, she concluded.

AFP

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