Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’ reboot trailer is super creepy: Watch

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity…” — now, with Jordan Peele at the helm. 

The first trailer for CBS’s new take on the legendary sci-fi series, The Twilight Zone, hit the web Thursday afternoon, revealing a stellar cast and a few vague plot points for where the dark anthology will be taking us this April.

While we’re thrilled to be getting a glimpse at the highly hyped project (and Peele’s creepy Rod Serling vibes), we have so many new questions. 

A brief list: Why is the cute boy from The Predator pulling a full The Shining? What is happening to poor, sweet Adam Scott? Where is Kumail Nanjiani’s non-existent dog? Is Archie Andrews’ dad the new Jim Hopper? Will Glenn from The Walking Dead be evil now? And how is this not happening sooner?!

Get ready to re-enter The Twilight Zone, streaming April 1. 

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‘The Haunting of Hill House’ renewed as anthology at Netflix

This mansion is cursed and all-consuming, literally.
This mansion is cursed and all-consuming, literally.

Image: Steve Dietl/Netflix

Netflix has conjured up a second season of last fall’s buzzy, spooky drama The Haunting of Hill House. 

It will be helmed once again by creator Mike Flanagan but don’t expect to see the Crain family at the center of Season 1 to be the focus. Season 2, titled The Haunting of Bry Manor, will comprise of an entirely different story based on Henry James’s gothic novella The Turn of the Screw. 

This essentially labels Hill House as a horror anthology. 

The streaming platform has also entered a lucrative multi-year deal with Flanagan and Trevor Macy. In addition to continuing The Haunting of Hill House, they will create new projects exclusively for Netflix under their banner Intrepid Pictures. 

“Netflix has been an important part of our story, and we’re proud to have worked with them on The Haunting of Hill House, not to mention Gerald’s Game, Hush, and Before I Wake,” Flanagan and Macy said in a statement. “They’ve enabled and supported a great deal of our work and we look forward to much more.” 

Based on the Shirley Jackson novel, Season 1 of Hill House garnered critical acclaim for its This is Us meets horror vibe.

It starred Carla Gugino, Timothy Hutton, Elisabeth Reaser, Victoria Pedretti, Michael Huisman, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Their characters, the Crain family, continue to be haunted by their experiences living in the Hill House for one brief summer. 

The exact release date for Season 2 aka Bry Manor is TBD but will drop sometime in 2020.

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Report: Pentagon official gave out $280K in fraudulent bonuses

A senior Pentagon official approved $280,000 in fraudulent bonuses to seven officials preparing to leave the department, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.

Ellen Ardrey was serving as the director of human development at the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a massive agency based in Springfield, Virginia that employs 14,500 people who provide situational intelligence on everything from counterterrorism and weapons of mass destruction to wildfires and Super Bowls.

According to the report, Ardrey allowed senior officials at NGA to downgrade their positions for one pay period, which in turn allowed them to leave the agency with a $40,000 early-retirement buyout incentive. Such “early out” packages can be quickly approved by agency directors like Ardrey for non-senior officials when an agency is going through downsizing, but must receive clearance from the undersecretary for defense for all senior officials.

After a two-year investigation that included interviews with 16 witnesses and the review of over 31,000 emails, the Inspector General’s office found that Ardrey had complained that the process to receive approval for buyouts for senior officials was “onerous” and “slow,” at one point telling leadership: “The juice ain’t worth the squeeze on this.” 

Instead, Ardrey suggested to senior officials that they downgrade their position for one pay period to speed up the process. She told investigators that she believed she was acting legally, and that there was no law or policy that prohibited her from temporarily downgrading senior officials in order to hasten their buyout packages. 

“However, DoD buyout incentive subject matter experts that we interviewed told us that Ms. Ardrey’s downgrade and buyout incentive plan for senior officials was ‘gross mismanagement,’ ‘improper use of government resources,’ ‘looks like a shell game just to get them the opportunity to get an incentive,’ and would only make sense ‘if somebody wanted to get around the onerous approval process … for senior officials,’” the report concluded. “We agree.”

In a response to the report, Ardrey wrote that she had previously conducted similar downgrades at another government agency, and that other employees at NGA had told her the process “was not prohibited.”

“The investigation’s preliminary conclusion is based on inference and opinion, with insufficient evidence to substantiate intentional circumvention of DoD policy,” Ardrey wrote. “The recommendations I developed … were consistent with policy and followed established authorities.”

Ardrey could not be reached for comment.

The investigation into Ardrey’s actions started in 2017 when four anonymous complaints were filed against her, according to the report. 

More: Sexual assault, harassment spikes at military academies, strategies fail to stem crisis

More: Pentagon Do-si-don’t: Selling Girl Scout cookies in office earns general a demerit badge

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Police say Jussie Smollett staged attack because he was dissatisfied with Empire salary

Jussie Smollett was dissatisfied with his salary on Empire, prompting him to pay $3,500 to stage the alleged attack on him, according to police.

On Thursday morning, hours after Smollett turned himself in on charges on filing a false police report, Chicago PD had a press conference to lay out their case. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson opened up the proceedings with strong words, calling Smollett’s actions “shameful” and saying he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote this career.” He further shared that the Empire star was behind the threatening letter that he had previously received and when that didn’t get the reaction he wanted, Smollett paid $3,500 to Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who he knew through the hit Fox series. Johnson says police now have possession of the check Smollett used for the payment. Detective Edward Wodnicki then went through the entire timeline, going inside the entire investigation. Smollett will be going in front of a judge at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Just over three weeks ago, the Empire star appeared to be the victim of a racial and homophobic attack in Chicago, where the Fox series films. But the narrative turned Saturday, when the Chicago PD confirmed that new evidence had “shifted the trajectory of the investigation.” New reports have said that the two original suspects, who have ties to Smollett through Empire, were prepared to testify Tuesday in front of a grand jury that they were hired by the actor to stage the attack, before a call from Smollett’s lawyers postponed the proceedings. But, that grand jury ended up taking place on Wednesday.

Upon the felony charge coming down against Smollett, his lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement, “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

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Wales v England: Eddie Jones tells his Six Nations visitors to relish Cardiff hostility

Jones has won four Tests out of four against Wales since taking charge at the start of 2016
Six Nations: Wales v England
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday 23 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

England coach Eddie Jones says his team have to relish taking on an entire nation when they play Wales in the Six Nations in Cardiff on Saturday.

Both sides have won their first two matches in this year’s tournament and share a fierce rivalry stretching back 131 matches and 138 years.

“We have to enjoy that, that is part of Test rugby,” Jones told BBC Sport.

“You feel the might of the country, because the whole country is behind them, not just the rugby people.”

England have won on their last two visits to the Principality Stadium, with 21-16 successes in 2017 and 2015.

On each occasion, they have had to overcome an intimidating environment, with England scrum-half Danny Care sharing stories of their team bus being head-butted and being sworn at on this weeks’ Rugby Union Weekly.

“We are going to enjoy the environment. How fantastic is it, the English going to Wales, 65,000 people there, all expecting Wales to win and us going there to play a brutal physical game, play smart rugby and come off victors?” asked Jones.

“They have been talking about how they have to stop players ripping other players’ heads off, how it is their biggest game ever, for us it is our most important game.

“We don’t have to worry about getting extra motivated, all we have to be is right for the game.”

Adam Jones & Joe Marler’s combined Wales & England XV

Despite England being odds-on favourites to win the match, with the bookmakers predicting a winning margin of between four and seven points, Jones insists Wales are dealing with more expectation.

“They have won 11 games in a row so they can create a Welsh record there if they win,” he added.

“Warren Gatland – one of their most famous coaches – is coaching his last game against England so it is a great chance for us to go down there and spoil the party.

“You read the papers it has all been about Wales. We are happy for them to carry that expectation and how they handle the burden of it.”

‘The best ball-carrier in world rugby’

Genge has been nicknamed ‘Baby Rhino’ at Leicester

Jones’ only serious selection decision in the wake of victories over Ireland and France in the opening two rounds was at loose-head prop where he has opted to start Exeter’s Ben Moon ahead of Leicester’s Ellis Genge, with Mako Vunipola out injured.

However, Jones believes 24-year-old Genge, who has made only six appearances since making his debut in May 2016, can bring a powerful ball-carrying presence to England’s pack in years to come.

“Genge is a great attacker. No-one carries the ball in world rugby better than him, he is gong to be a great player for us,” he said.

“We wanted an industrious prop at the start of the game, a good defensive prop, which Ben is. It suits us to have Ben start and Genge off the bench.”

England have also chosen to have the Principality Stadium roof open for the match. Wales secured a famous 30-3 win with the roof closed in 2013, but were denied their wish to play every match indoors in the 2017 tournament.

The away team must agree if the roof is to be closed.

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Antuanetta Mischenko: Ukraine’s protest pianist remembers Maidan

Antuanetta remembers when she climbed on top of a burned bus and sat down at a yellow and blue piano.

The 21-year-old was playing a concert, held in front of a barricade in central Kiev during the Euromaidan protests five years ago.  On one side of her stood crowds of protesters, many of whom had camped out for months in the square, and on the other were special police forces, whose shields formed a stark line.

People’s breath fogged in the freezing air. It was early February and the days brought snow and temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius.

She had chosen to play Chopin’s Etude Number 12, a classical music piece known as the Revolutionary Etude. She struck the first descending notes of the piece and began to play, her bright red boot pressing the foot pedal, her hands skimming across the keys.

Suddenly, there was a loud noise. From behind the police line, loudspeakers began to blast a Russian pop song. It tried to drown out her playing, but she did not stop.

“It was like fighting [or] boxing for me,” she recalls now. “I decided that if they want to fight with bad music, I must fight with them with my classical music.”

And she continued on.

Police vs the people

When Antuanetta was younger, playing piano was as much a part of her routine as showering or sleeping.

She began at five years old and had her first solo performance at seven. She played through all of school and into adulthood; at the time of Ukraine‘s 2014 uprising, she was teaching piano and studying at the National Music Academy of Ukraine, the most prominent music school in the country.

But she was not sure that it was really what she wanted to do.

“It wasn’t like my parents told me you must … but it was like if you do something every day, like wash your hair … you don’t think ‘won’t you wash hair or [not]’,” she says. “You just have to wash your hair, you have to eat, you have to sleep, and it was like I had to play piano.”

Antuanetta began playing piano as a child and later studied at the Petro Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Her academy’s white-columned building looked on to Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, and from there she watched protests unfold in November 2013.

Thousands of people, mainly students, gathered to protest against then-President President Viktor Yanukovich‘s decision to withdraw from a potential EU trade agreement in exchange for closer ties with Russia.

Antuanetta was at home in the early morning on November 30, when the government ordered roughly 500 special police to the square. They forcefully removed the protesters.

It was in response to this crackdown that the Euromaidan protests began. In the following days, hundreds of thousands of people occupied the square, calling for an end to government corruption and the resignation of Yanukovich.

‘A little country in our great country’

The square quickly became an organized settlement, with volunteers running centres that catered to the needs of demonstrators as they camped out for months along the streets, providing everything from food to medicine to clothes. A mainstage in the square offered entertainment and political speeches, and the streets leading into the square were barricaded and defended by voluntary soldiers.

“It was like a state, like a little country in our great country,” Antuanetta says.

In December, Antuanetta began going to the square after a friend convinced her to come. She was not sure what she could do to help, but was willing to try. Her worry had grown over the days, wondering what would unfold and what the future of her country would be.

People like music, people understand it, and when they could hear melodies which they know, it helps them feel like one person … It gives [us] our power.

Antuanetta Mishchenko

On Maidan, she spotted a piano. It was painted blue and yellow, its wooden frame exposed to the harsh weather.

Men were carrying it towards the barricade, perhaps to use as defence against the government’s forces. She was shocked, and asked them to stop. She did not know what she would do with the piano, only that she did not want to see it ruined, and they relented.

She decided to try playing for people, but did not anticipate the effect that her music would have. She chose Chopin’s Etude Number 4, and a group of protesters and journalists gathered around her. The song was quick and emotional. The crowd listened, and when she finished they asked her to play again.

She continued to play for about two hours before she told the audience that she needed a break to eat and get warm. An hour later she returned and, to her surprise, there were people waiting for her.

Hundreds of thousands of people occupied Kiev’s Independence Square to demand an end to corruption and the resignation of then-president Viktor Yanukovich [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Day and night on Maidan

She ended up playing on Maidan every day and night until February.

She played everything from folk songs to classical music to the national anthem. People would listen, sing together and talk to each other, and she received chocolates and flowers in appreciation.

For her, Ukraine has always had a strong tradition of music. Folk songs have long served as a symbol of national identity and woven themselves into the country’s classical music, which has been both shaped by and used in defiance of past Russian influences.

“People like music, people understand it, and when they could hear melodies which they know, it helps them feel like one person,” she says. “It gives [us] our power.”

It was through playing that she realised her purpose. “I saw that my music can help people and that I can speak and talk about important things from my music and from piano,” she says.

Protesters and special police repeatedly clashed during the protests [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Over the months, Euromaidan demonstrators and officials held negotiations and life continued in the square, with tensions tightening and relaxing.

In January 2014, the government passed a law that restricted free speech, banned protests and broadened government powers – it was soon after revoked, but incensed crowds.

“Those days were like a culmination,” Antuanetta says.

The concert held on top of the bus would be one of the last peaceful actions, taking place just 10 days before the most violent day of Euromaidan, in which crowds were shot at by special police from rooftops, and at least 80 people were killed.

When Antuanetta played on top of the bus, she was not scared. She had visited the barricade before, where sandbags and debris were piled up in defence.

She cannot remember the faces of the policemen when she played, or rather, she could not see them. “I have bad eyes and I didn’t have glasses, so I just didn’t see their faces,” she says laughing. “Maybe I wasn’t scared because I didn’t see anything!”

It was important for her that her 12-year-old student also play because she wanted to show the police that they meant peace, and that their demonstration had a place for people of all ages, young and old, as they asked for a better future for their country.

Her fear only came to her once she went home that night. It was not enough for her to hear about Maidan from the news; she felt like she needed to be there. She was worried about what would happen next.

‘After Maidan, I understood, I am a classical pianist’

Now at age 26, Antuanetta still works at a children’s music school and is a full-time concert pianist, travelling for performances and competitions throughout Europe and to the US and Singapore. She uses her music for social work, giving voluntary concerts or working with young musicians.

Last year, she played a two-hour concert in the coastal city of Odessa, and she thinks that people came because of her role in the protests.

“It was not so important for them what I play but it was important for them that I will play,” she says.

She has found what she wants in music, she plays Ukrainian songs as much as possible when she travels and loves introducing classical music to younger generations.

“I want to do music, not for professional people, but … for … people who don’t know who Beethoven is for example or … Tchaikovsky,” she says. “When I was young, I thought maybe I want to be a singer or a composer, or maybe, I want to be a fashion designer. And after Maidan, I understood that, yes, I am a classical pianist, and yes, I can help people, and yes, I want to do it till the end of my life.”

Several pianos were located on Maidan and were played in peaceful protest during Ukraine’s 2014 uprising [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Other cities have also placed pianos in their central squares, and people sent Antuanetta photos of their local piano. She says the piano grew more popular, with more folk musicians and pop or rock stars using them in their concerts. Classical music has become fashionable, as people remember when they were young and went to music school themselves.

“When I saw it, I was so happy and so proud that piano was something very important not only on Maidan and not only part of this political situation, but very important [in our] culture.”

Antuanetta does not know what happened to the pianos that were played during Euromaidan. There were several of them throughout the square; one found its home in the Maidan Museum in Kiev, and she believes that two were destroyed in the conflict.

Five years on, she still feels anxious passing Hrushevskoho Street, where the barricade was set up. It was the site of many clashes – by the end of Euromaidan, at least one hundred protesters and more than a dozen police were killed.

At concerts today, Antuanetta still plays Chopin’s Etude Number 12, the Revolutionary Etude, and a song that she composed during the protests. She had played them the most in the cold winter air on Maidan, and they continue to live with her.

“I play it not at every concert but I think at every second concert,” she says. “[After] five years, I think I can play it with closed eyes.”

Antuanetta now uses her music for social work, hoping to bring classical music to younger generations, and Ukranian music to the world [Courtesy: Kira Kuznetsova]

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Google Maps will show drug disposal locations

A bag of pills like this from a drug take back event can be dropped off at locations pulled up on Google Maps.
A bag of pills like this from a drug take back event can be dropped off at locations pulled up on Google Maps.

Image: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

In response to the opioid epidemic, Google Maps is adding a search feature meant to help people get rid of unwanted drugs.

Starting Thursday in a seven-state pilot, the navigation app will pull up drug stores and other sites that will dispose of drugs. You can type in “drug drop off” or “medication disposal” and nearby results from 3,500 nationwide locations will come up. 

The goal is to give people a safe way to get rid of drugs — and keep them out of reach of people who might become addicted to them. Google said 53 percent of prescription drug abuse situations start with drugs from family and friends.

Google is working with a number of businesses and organizations — including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Walgreens — to pull up disposal information for pharmacies, hospitals, and government buildings. 

How the new feature works.

Previously, Google Maps showed drop-off locations for National Prescription Take Back Day, but now it’s showing them — along with hours and other information — all year long. Google worked with Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania authorities to get accurate information on the app and is hoping to add more states to the search results.

Google says searches about opioids are on the rise and last month the specific search “medication disposal near me” reached an all-time high.


If you or someone you know needs help with a substance abuse disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through its national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

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