R.I.P. Studio Ghibli Director Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata, co-founder and director of Studio Ghibli, passed away on April 5. He died at the age of 82 due to lung cancer. His legacy includes works like Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko and My Neighbors the Yamadas. Takahata wrote and directed Grave of the Fireflies, a drama that follows a young boy and his younger sister’s struggles in Japan during World War II. It’s regarded as one of Studio Ghibli’s most renowned films.

North Korea is saying goodbye to nuclear weapons and wants to be friends?

First the Winter Olympics, now this? It seems like a peace dream may become reality. North and South Korean leaders met up at a historic summit to discuss a peaceful treaty that would put an official end to an almost 70-year war.

North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear weapons under the condition that the U.S. helps end the war and promises not to invade the country. The North will reportedly shut down its nuclear test site in May. Experts and journalists are invited to the watch party. A meeting including the U.S. is in the works, but the details are TBD.

The proof was in the pudding

80-year-old comedian and former sitcom star Bill Cosby was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He now faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of sexual aggravated indecent assault. Cosby’s conviction is a turning point in the #MeToo era.

A voice recast proves Disney has strict policies

Disney is not a company that takes scandals lightly. In Disney’s animated series Star vs. the Forces of Evil season 3 finale, Glossaryck, the indifferent riddle-speaking instructor to the title character, revealed a new voice. Original voice actor Jeffrey Tambor was under fire for sexual allegations. Tambor was replaced by Keith David, a veteran voice actor who has worked on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog as Dr. Facilier. Within the episode, the change is addressed when Star questions, “Is his voice different?”

During a Mewni Mayhem segment, The Roundtable’s Awestruck Vox gives a frank summary on the recasting. “The mouse does not have any time to play around. You mess up, you’re out of there. Just like how Louis C.K.’s cameo on Gravity Falls is redubbed. You ain’t getting no royalties, no paychecks, no nothing.”

People are screaming for A Quiet Place

John Krasinski a.k.a. Jim from The Office made a horror thriller film called A Quiet Place, and it premiered to rave reviews. The film follows a family trying to survive in a world of monsters with hypersensitive-hearing. If you try to talk or make a noise munching on snacks while the movie is playing, expect some hateful glares. It’s way too early to tell, but there are talks of award potential and a shift in the typical highbrow Oscar landscape.

There’s a problem with Apu

The Simpsons recently aired an episode sort of addressing the controversy over the offensive Indian character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Many fans and allies in the South Asian-American community weren’t happy.  Following the criticism, Hank Azaria, the white actor who voices Apu on the animated series, says he is “willing to step aside” from the role.

There is currently an Apu Screenwriting Contest hosted by producer Adi Shankar to crowdsource a “cure” to the problem. According to the website, the contest is looking for a screenplay that highlights the character of Apu and “in a clever way subverts him, pivots him, intelligently writes him out, or evolves him in a way that takes a mean spirited mockery and transforms him into a kernel of truth wrapped in funny insight aka actual satire.” If you got the writing chops and vision, enter here.

The Simpsons controversial character Apu Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and his nephew
Credit: FOX

Stay away from the lettuce

More people are getting sick from the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak. As of April 27, Florida is in the clear, but 98 people from 22 states have been infected so far. According to the Center for Disease Control, romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region may be the culprit. The CDC advises not to eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it’s not from this area of the U.S.

Puerto Rico lost power again

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico about seven months ago, and residents are still struggling. Puerto Rico experienced an island-wide blackout this month, which disrupted an already fragile infrastructure. Power was restored after a day yet 40,000 people still lack regular electricity month after Maria. Hurricane season, unfortunately, is just around the corner.

When life gets tough, some adults need a good cry closet

University of Utah art student Nemo Miller installed a cry closet in her school’s library for stressed out students during finals. The cry closet is filled with stuffed animals and offers students 10-minute secluded crying sessions. The concept was met with mixed reactions.

Tax Day was so taxing on Americans that they broke the website

Tax Day was April 17, but Americans who waited to the last minute to file taxes online received an extension after the IRS website crashed. By the time you’re reading this, if you haven’t done your taxes by now, you’ll want to get on that ASAP or you may face a penalty.

Mark your calendar for the next Tax Day, April 15, 2019. Come tax time, good money management comes into play. If you’re in need of getting your financial life in order, we’ve got a basic crash course for beginners. Learn more about our Financial Mess series.

No Starbucks coffee for you on May 29

Starbucks announced they will be closing 8,000 of its stores for one afternoon to give employees racial-bias training. Two black men were wrongfully arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Starbucks has admitted fault for the scandal, but will this small step be enough? Well, it’s up to the consumers to decide.

Say awe to the cuteness of the newest royal family member

Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed their third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles, on April 23. Kensington Palace announced, “The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.”

T-Mobile is finally putting a ring on Sprint

T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to a $26 billion telecom merger. The resulting company will keep the T-Mobile name and could be a force to be reckoned with against competitors AT&T and Verizon. There is nothing in the books yet as to how this merger will affect current customers, but T-Mobile CEO John Legere told CNBC, “Services are going to be broadened, prices are going to go down, speeds are going to go up.” It will be a waiting game then.

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