Passion Tropical http://pasion-tropical.com/ Wed, 27 Oct 2021 09:33:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://pasion-tropical.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/passiontropical-icon-150x150.png Passion Tropical http://pasion-tropical.com/ 32 32 Baldwin was told gun was ‘cold’ before movie set shooting https://pasion-tropical.com/baldwin-was-told-gun-was-cold-before-movie-set-shooting/ https://pasion-tropical.com/baldwin-was-told-gun-was-cold-before-movie-set-shooting/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 08:56:38 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/?p=3741

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — As a film crew and actors in Western garb prepared to rehearse a scene inside a wooden, chapel-like building on a desert movie ranch outside Santa Fe, assistant director Dave Halls stepped outside and grabbed a prop gun off a cart.

He walked back in and handed it to the film’s star, Alec Baldwin, assuring him it was safe to use because it didn’t have live ammo.

“Cold gun,” Halls yelled.

It wasn’t, according to court records made public Friday. Instead, when Baldwin pulled the trigger Thursday, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her.

The tragedy came nearly three decades after Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died in a similar case, and it prompted horrified questions about how it could have happened again. The executive producer of ABC’s police drama “The Rookie” announced Friday the show would no longer use “live” weapons because the “safety of our cast and crew is too important.”

Details of the shooting at the ranch on Bonanza Creek Road were included in a search warrant application filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators were seeking to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film “Rust,” as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist.

The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being acted, according to the records. Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.

It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.

Halls did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Associated Press was unable to contact Gutierrez, and several messages sent to production companies affiliated with the film were not immediately returned Friday.

The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.

“I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ ” Mitchell told The Associated Press. “This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”

Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.

Baldwin described the killing as a “tragic accident.”

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.

“He’s a free man,” Rios said.

Images of the 63-year-old actor — known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” — showed him distraught outside the sheriff’s office on Thursday.

Guns used in making movies are sometimes real weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but no deadly projectile. Even blanks can eject hot gases and paper or plastic wadding from the barrel that can be lethal at close range. That proved to be the case in the death of an actor in 1984.

In another on-set accident in 1993, Lee was killed after a bullet was left in a prop gun, and similar shootings have occurred involving stage weapons that were loaded with live rounds during historical re-enactments.

Gun-safety protocol on sets in the United States has improved since then, said Steven Hall, a veteran director of photography in Britain. But he said one of the riskiest positions to be in is behind the camera because that person is in the line of fire in scenes where an actor appears to point a gun at the audience.

Sheriff’s deputies responded about 2 p.m. to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls described a person being shot there, Rios said. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western “News of the World.”

Hutchins, 42, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film “Archenemy” starring Joe Manganiello. She was a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

On Tuesday, October 19, Hutchins uploaded a selfie video of herself riding a horse.

“One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off,” Hutchins said in a caption on the video.

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said “Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have worked with her.

After the shooting, production was halted on “Rust.” The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the dirty roulette website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

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Pandora Papers: The little-known Australian accountant exposed in one of the world’s biggest leaks https://pasion-tropical.com/pandora-papers-the-little-known-australian-accountant-exposed-in-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-leaks/ https://pasion-tropical.com/pandora-papers-the-little-known-australian-accountant-exposed-in-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-leaks/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 08:55:54 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/?p=3744

One of the world’s biggest data leaks has exposed how an Australian accountant made a fortune keeping his clients’ secrets away from prying eyes.

February is one of the coldest times of year in Moscow, and it was in that frigid month that Australian accountant Graeme Briggs touched down in 2015. He was there for a face-to-face meeting with a client.

Briggs took his seat at the upmarket La Maree seafood restaurant, minutes from the Kremlin, to join Herman Gref.

Gref was chairman of Russia’s biggest bank, SberBank, and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, having once served in his ministry. He needed Briggs’s help to protect his vast wealth.

Herman Gref (right) worked in Vladimir Putin’s government.(Reuters: Shamil Zhumatov and Sergei Karpukhin/La Maree/Sputnik)

Gref’s bank had recently been slapped with international sanctions after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by Russian-backed separatists. While Gref hadn’t been personally sanctioned, it still made him a high-risk client, the kind that would scare off most accountancy firms.

But not Graeme Briggs. A gifted accountant, Briggs and his company Asiaciti had made a fortune crafting trusts and financial structures to protect not only their clients’ money, but also their secrets.

Briggs has always managed to stay on the right side of the law. But the decision to play Russian roulette would backfire. After a series of suspicious multi-million dollar transactions, those secrets would start spilling out.

A massive leak

Details of the Moscow meeting between Graeme Briggs, a little-known Australian accountant, and a member of Russia’s business elite are contained in the “Pandora Papers”, one of the largest leaks of financial documents in history.

Since 2019, 11.9 million documents from 14 offshore providers have been leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the collective behind the landmark Panama Papers exposé.

Even by the ICIJ’s standards, this is big. If the documents were printed out and stacked up they would be four times taller than Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower.

Pandora Papers by the numbers.

Unlike past leaks, this time an Australian featured prominently. Just under 2 million documents have emerged from inside Asiaciti, the Singapore-based offshore accounting and advisory firm founded and led by Graeme Briggs.

They reveal in intimate detail how Briggs amassed a $62 million fortune, partly by helping high-risk clients keep their private financial dealings out of public view.

“I think [Briggs] is pushing the law as far as you can possibly push it,” says the ICIJ’s Gerard Ryle. “I don’t think he’s got any excuse for some of the clients he’s taken on.”

It’s estimated up to a tenth of the world’s wealth is parked in offshore tax havens, costing governments hundreds of billions of dollars in lost tax. Some of it is dirty money. The Asiaciti leak provides a rare window into this parallel economy, where the super-rich get richer through a secretive system open only to those who can afford it.

The ‘grandfather’ of the offshore industry

Graeme Briggs.
In the 1980s, Graeme Briggs helped Samoa’s offshore industry grow.(ABC/Supplied)

Graeme Briggs was always brilliant with numbers. The son of a dairy farmer, he went to school in the historic trading hub of Echuca, a small town hugging a lazy bend of the Murray River. To his mates, he was Briggsy.

“He was quite a clever boy, really good on his maths and that,” says Graham Peat, a schoolmate from Echuca High School.

Briggs began practicing as a chartered accountant at age 23. By 30, he had set up his own firm, Asiaciti. In the 1980s, Asiaciti started opening up shopfronts in small island nations where the tax laws for international business were loose and the confidentiality laws were tight.

Graeme Briggs

Graeme Briggs.
Graeme Briggs amassed a personal fortune from his accountancy firm.

Age: 75 years old
Estimated wealth: $62 million
Known assets: $10m in real estate, $4m rare pen collection, $400,000 worth of fine wine

To his clients, Briggs promoted one island nation that others had overlooked: Samoa. In the middle of the Pacific, a new tax haven was emerging, and he was helping it grow.

In one email obtained in the leak, a Samoan regulator described Briggs as the “grandfather” of the offshore industry. In another, Asiaciti bragged that Briggs was responsible for the “setting up of the structure and legislation of the Samoa offshore finance centre”. In other words, he assisted in creating the laws and regulatory framework necessary for the country’s industry of offshore banks and trust companies.

This close relationship saw Briggs appointed Samoa’s honorary consul in Singapore for 25 years until 2016.

Briggs travelled the world selling Samoa’s secrecy and tax laws, billing it as “an alternative to British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean jurisdictions,” according to a note following a marketing trip to Switzerland in 1998.

He began to devise and sell new financial products, making full use of the laws he had helped draft. These products took advantage of gaps in Australia’s tax laws at the time, allowing high net-worth individuals to effectively pay little or, potentially, no tax on their international earnings.

In the 1990s, Briggs began marketing the schemes and soon found an eager customer — a successful Sydney-based accountant called Vanda Gould.

A client investigated

Inside the barbed wire fence of Long Bay prison in Sydney, Vanda Gould spends his days dodging drug addicts andirty roulette d sex offenders.

“Because of my age, most people think you’re a paedophile,” he tells the ABC. “Particularly the drug people are very likely to have a swing at you.”

Gould, who is in jail for coaching a witness in his tax case, says he still dispenses the odd piece of prison-yard financial advice: “If people ask for my opinion, I give it,” he says.

Vanda Gould.
Jailed Sydney accountant Vanda Gould.(Nine/Fairfax: Quentin Jones)

The story of how Gould wound up in prison extends back to a chance encounter with Graeme Briggs at a conference.

“We got chatting, it wasn’t a very long chat,” Gould recalls. “You wouldn’t pick him out of a crowd, he’s no sort of body beautiful or something like that. But when you talk to him, he’s a genuinely decent sort of human being.”

The conversation soon turned to business. Briggs was spruiking a new product, a Samoan superannuation scheme, exempt from tax in both Samoa and Australia. Unlike a normal super fund, the money wasn’t locked up until retirement. It could be loaned back at any time.

In a 1993 letter to Gould, Briggs highlighted the loophole making it so lucrative. Despite the fact contributions to the Samoan super fund were “prima facie subject to Australian income tax of 47%”, the Australian Tax Office “has no jurisdiction to collect this tax [because] Western Samoa has no taxation treaty with Australia,” the Asiaciti memo said.

More from the Pandora Papers

World leaders identified in the documents by the ICIJ and its global partners:

Jordan's King Abdullah II.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II.(Reuters: Louiza Vradi)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Bought up to $US100m worth of property through secret offshore companies.

Andrej Babis.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis.(Reuters: Dawid Zuchowicz)

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Used shell companies to buy a French chateau.

Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.(Reuters: Tolga Akmen)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. He and his family secretly held offshore assets worth more than $US30m.

The memo from Briggs reassured Gould that the structure would provide “absolute secrecy and confidentially [sic]”.

Gould eagerly adopted the scheme and sold it on to his own clients, among them fund managers, investment bankers and family friends. He visited Asiaciti’s office in Samoa, which he says “provided all the support staff … and actually established the super fund”.

“They got the lawyers to prepare the deeds, they got every transaction that was entered into, they were integral to those transactions.”

Gould was making a lot of money. Then it all started to fall apart. The ATO saw through the way the structures were being used, demanding Gould’s customers pay $300 million in tax liabilities and penalties.

The leak reveals that Asiaciti was running a rearguard offensive back in Samoa. In September 2012 a senior Asiaciti manager wrote an “urgent” appeal to the attorney-general of Samoa, urging the government to join the Australian tax case involving Gould’s structures.

“If Samoa fails to register some form of protest at this gesture of contempt for its laws, there will be a major loss of confidence in every part of Samoa’s international banking industry,” the manager wrote.

In 2015, Asiaciti fought against moves to wind up one of the companies that Gould controlled, even after a federal court found Gould’s clients owed millions in tax.

“The Australian authorities have not shown themselves to be without error,” a senior manager said in a leaked 2015 letter to the Samoan financial regulator. “I respectfully suggest it would be even more detrimental to the industry for Samoa to become known for acting in a precipitate manner on the basis of allegations that are unsubstantiated, or which are ultimately rejected.”

These attempts failed. In a civil case, Gould was ultimately found by the federal courts to be controlling several overseas structures, and the tax office issued millions of dollars in tax assessments to Gould’s companies and clients.

From prison, Gould, a deeply religious Anglican, continues to insist that he followed the tax laws — and he doesn’t blame Asiaciti for what happened, saying he always acted on legal advice.

“Just watch this space,” he says. “God will ultimately vindicate me.”

The scalper and the Cook Islands

Kenneth Lowson.
Kenneth Lowson created a system for scalping tickets at scale.(Ken Lowson/Deena Deitrich/Roman Sebek)

It was March 2010, and in a high-rise suite of the Century building in downtown LA, Ken Lowson surveyed the world below. This was what success looked like.

“The 25th floor of the nicest building in the nicest section of LA,” he tells the ABC.

Lowson was a scalper, the self-described “Henry Ford of ticket resale”.

Lowson’s technique was using lightning-fast bots to bulk-buy tickets to popular events. Over more than a decade, he says he traded millions of tickets.

In 2005, U2 apologised to their fans at the Grammys after Lowson’s company snatched up most of the front-row seats to their Vertigo Tour. Lowson’s company made an estimated $25 million in profit from the business.

Then, one day, armed FBI officers charged into his office.

“They’re ordering us around, forcing my employees against the wall,” he says. “I got angry and I said, ‘What the fuck are you doing? Are you arresting us?’ They said, ‘We have a warrant. We’re the Feds.'”

But Lowson wasn’t worried he was about to lose all his cash. Years earlier, after the instinct to protect his wealth had kicked in, he had organised a meeting with his lawyer. And that’s how Lowson became a client of Asiaciti.

“I said, look, I want to protect my assets for my children, you know? And then he set up the thing,” he says. “I just did what [my lawyer] told me. He recommended a bank in Switzerland and he recommended the Cook Islands.”

Stashing cash in a Pacific paradise

The Cook Islands appear like flecks of dust scattered across a world atlas. Famous for their dive sites, these tropical islands also specialise in a key product sold by Asiaciti — “asset protection”.

A Cook Islands trust, properly established and maintained, is as secure as a bank safe — a place to park assets beyond the reach of creditors, family members, even government authorities.

There can be perfectly legitimate uses for trusts. But they can also be abused, like in this hypothetical:

A private jet.

This is James. He’s always wanted a private jet. But technically, he’s bankrupt.

James is bankrupt.

So you might think, no jet for James then, right? Not necessarily.

Money is sent to the Cook Islands.

James has been stashing his cash in a Cook Islands trust. The money he earns legally belongs to the trust, not to him.

The trust buys the jet.

If James asks, the trustee will direct the trust to buy the jet. It might even let him use it, say, whenever he wants.

But here’s the best part for James. If anyone comes knocking, saying he owes them money, on paper he’s still bankrupt. It’s the trust that owns the jet.

The asset is protected.

To get their hands on that asset, James’s creditors will have to sue in the Cook Islands, where the laws are skewed to favour the trusts.

Cook Islands trusts can also offer other “asset protection” features, like a “duress clause”, which enables the door to snap shut if the beneficiaries are sued or pursued by governments.

“Effectively, it’s like putting your money away in a locker and giving the key to someone else,” says professor Katy Barnett from the University of Melbourne Law School. “Then someone comes to you and sues you and you say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t open that.'”

Asiaciti turned those kinds of protections into a marketing angle. In promotional material slides from as late as 2015 for its Cook Islands trusts, Asiaciti told how two of its former clients jailed over a Ponzi scheme had stashed their money so far out of reach, even the US courts couldn’t touch it.

A postcard of the Cook Islands.
A Cook Islands trust can be a place to park assets out of reach.(Supplied)

Sitting in a jail cell in California, Ken Lowson’s Cook Islands trust with Asiaciti was probably seeming like a very good idea. There was just one problem. He needed US$1.25m in bail money to get out.

While the money was tied up in the Cook Islands trust, it was safe, but now Lowson needed that money to be released and posted as bail. The money was returned to the US and became the subject of a legal dispute involving his estranged wife. Lowson would never see his cash again.

In November 2010, Lowson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The leaked documents reveal for the first time how Asiaciti found itself facing a lawsuit, with accusations it released the money without a necessary signature. Sensing a threat to its reputation, Asiaciti settled the matter with Lowson’s estranged wife under a strict confidentiality deed.

The firm’s secrets were safe, for now. But Asiaciti was about to face a much bigger challenge.

Politically exposed persons

Graeme Briggs.
A Monetary Authority of Singapore inspection probed Asiaciti’s client list.(ABC/Getty: Tiago Baiao)

It was the morning of December 22, 2017, when a worrying email dropped into the inbox of an Asiaciti manager: “The Monetary Authority of Singapore Act will be conducting an inspection of [Asiaciti] … [which] will cover [Asiaciti’s] framework and controls for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism,” it read.

It was a serious problem. Singapore was where Asiaciti had made its headquarters, and the firm’s reputation rested on its ability to conduct business out of the financial hub.

After the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) inspectors entered Asiaciti’s head office, they uncovered some large and suspicious transactions. Behind those transactions were some concerning clients.

Offshore accounting firms that specialise in confidentiality, asset protection and low-tax jurisdictions can attract a special kind of client, known in the industry as PEPS — Politically Exposed Persons.

PEPs are mainly politicians, public servants or members of international bodies, but can also include their family and close associates. Because of their position, they come with heightened money laundering risks, and offshore companies need to monitor their activity closely.

Over the years, Asiaciti had amassed a sizable collection of them.

Eduardo Cunha.
Brazilian politician Eduardo Cunha.(Reuters: Rodolfo Buhrer)

Asiaciti’s clients included Eduardo Cunha, a Brazilian politician sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2017 for corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.

Thirukumar Nadesan.
Sri Lankan businessman Thirukumar Nadesan.(Business Today)

And there’s businessman Thirukumar Nadesan, a member of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s family. He’s been charged with misappropriating public funds and is yet to stand trial.

Du Shuanghua.
Chinese billionaire Du Shuanghua.(AP)

Du Shuanghua, a politically connected Chinese billionaire, who in 2010 admitted to paying a $9 million bribe to a Rio Tinto employee, was also an Asiaciti client.

Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
Nigerian senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.(People’s Gazette)

And then there was Nigerian senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who Asiaciti kept on as a client despite allegations he helped former Nigerian president Sani Abacha steal billions of dollars. The FBI is still trying to claw back the money.

Even as allegations about Bagudu’s wrongdoing mounted, Asiaciti continued to work with him, because he had never been convicted of a crime. Some of Bagudu’s alleged loot was held in trust accounts set up by Asiaciti. In 2014, Asiaciti froze the money to comply with an order obtained by the US.

Last year, the US returned $US311 million in assets looted during the Abacha regime to Nigeria, but is still chasing another $US177 million.

Asiaciti should have been regularly monitoring these high-risk clients to understand why they were setting up offshore structures, but what the MAS inspectors discovered inside Asiaciti Singapore appalled them.

They found in one year, half of Asiaciti’s high-risk trust accounts in Singapore were not being adequately monitored. Periodic reviews were not being carried out and even when they were, the recommendations were not followed up.

There had been inadequate probing into unusual transactions and a risk that Asiaciti products could be used as a conduit for illicit funds, no framework for assessing high-risk clients and “no concept” of examining their source of wealth.

As inspectors dug deeper, they began to focus on a group of Russian clients, including one particular PEP — Herman Gref.

The Russian problem

Three years after Briggs met Gref in Moscow, Asiaciti’s Russian client was becoming a liability. The inspectors were delving into his affairs, along with other well-connected Russians Asiaciti had on its books.

One other was Kirill Androsov, a former deputy chief of staff in Vladimir Putin’s government, now an investment banker with assets including the Chateau Gutsch, an upmarket hotel overlooking the cobalt blue waters of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne.

Kirill Androsov.
Kirill Androsov and the Chateau Gutsch, Lucerne, Switzerland.(Getty Images: Mikhail Metzel/Reuters: Denis Balibouse/Chateau-geutsch.ch)

Gref, Androsov and another Russian businessman were involved in tens of millions of dollars of transactions that flowed through a network of structures set up by Asiaciti. Due diligence checks on them had uncovered rumours of wrongdoing but nothing that had been substantiated.

MAS inspectors were scathing of the way Asiaciti had managed the risks around its Russian clients. They noted that a “series of circular fund flows — including some demonstrating no plausible economic purpose — were allowed to pass through the trust accounts managed by Asiaciti”.

At a confidential internal meeting in April 2019 Asiaciti staff discussed the firm’s Russian problem. They acknowledged “instances of inconsistencies and transactions that do not make clear economic sense”.

Asiaciti closed several accounts associated with Gref.

Androsov told the ABC he still does business with the firm. He categorically denied that any of his commercial dealings are in any way improper or unlawful.

Under new management

In July 2020, MAS fined Asiaciti $1.1 million for the breaches they found in their investigation. At the time Asiaciti released a statement saying it had fully addressed the issues and a “new management team” had enhanced its internal compliance and governance systems.

In a statement to the ABC, Asiaciti said it provided legitimate services to clients around the world. It said regulatory agencies were notified when issues were identified.

“We maintain a strong compliance program and each of our offices have passed third party audits for Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Financing of Terrorism practices in recent years. However, no compliance program is infallible”.

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The company says regulations in many countries have changed over time and there have been isolated instances where Asiaciti hasn’t kept up with the changes.

But in those cases, the company says it has worked closely with regulatory authorities to address any deficiencies.

“Our work is highly regulated and we are committed to the highest business standards, including ensuring that our operations fully comply with all laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate,” the company said.

These days, Graeme Briggs is retired from running Asiaciti’s day-to-day operations, and lives on an expansive vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula.

Like the fortunes of those he managed for years, much of Briggs’s wealth is held through a complex offshore company and trust structure.

Listen to the Background Briefing podcast Untouchable Assets, live now.

Credits

  • Reporting: Mario Christodoulou, Elise Worthington and Ben Sveen
  • Additional research and fact checking: Dunja Karagic, Patrick Begley and Echo Hui
  • Artwork, animation and design: Jack Fisher
  • Digital production: Matt Henry

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Andrew Scott and Ben Whishaw on Sexuality, Chemistry, and Imagination. https://pasion-tropical.com/andrew-scott-and-ben-whishaw-on-sexuality-chemistry-and-imagination/ https://pasion-tropical.com/andrew-scott-and-ben-whishaw-on-sexuality-chemistry-and-imagination/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 08:54:54 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/?p=3772

Andrew Scott wears Sweater by Prada.

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Hot Priest. The weapons-grade charisma that Andrew Scott deployed on season two of the Phoebe Waller-Bridge tragi-comedy Fleabag was so intense that the 44-year-old actor will forever be linked to those two words. But Scott, who began acting when he was a teenager growing up in Dublin, has also been a Hot Beatle (Lennon Naked), a Hot Supervillain (Sherlock), a Hot Danish Prince (Hamlet), a Hot Lieutenant (1917), and, most recently, a Hot Lord, in the period miniseries The Pursuit of Love. Up next, he’ll play a Hot Sociopath in the Showtime series Ripley, based on Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels. But first, he reconnects with his former costar Ben Whishaw for, you guessed it, a hot conversation.—BEN BARNA

———

BEN WHISHAW: I just finished watching The Pursuit of Love last night. It’s so wonderful. Have you watched it?

ANDREW SCOTT: I have, but I skipped over the bits that I’m in. I’ve seen some of the bits I’m in too, because you don’t want to be silly about it, but it’s so hard watching yourself. But I had a brilliant time working on it. We did it in the middle of the pandemic.

WHISHAW: I could tell that you enjoyed being in that world, and that you have a personal affinity with that world and that character. Do you seek out those affinities when you read a script?

SCOTT: I certainly did in this case. Having worked in the industry for a long time, you do realize that it’s about who you work with. Because you don’t make films alone. I’ve been really lucky in the past few years to work with people who I love as people. There’s something about Emily [Mortimer], who I know you know well—she’s just an incredibly special person.

WHISHAW: She reminds me of you, in that I feel extremely free with her. I feel like there’s nothing that can’t be said or discussed or laughed about.

SCOTT: There’s something about that attitude, particularly the idea of laughing at the world, that is very sensible. Nancy Mitford was writing around the time of the war and there are people in the world who, when the shit hits the fan, are able to say, “This is funny, you have to find the lightness.” And there are people who, when a catastrophe happens, it matches the inner sense of, “We’re all fucked, so we might as well just drown in our own negativity.” At the moment, I find that to see the world as a bleak place is admirable. We’re very worried about saying the wrong thing, and I do like that we’re not allowed to say whatever the fuck we want anymore, but I also think it’s important that we maintain a sense of the individual, and sometimes you have to say things that are audacious. That doesn’t negate being a kind person. It just means we are all doomed. Ultimately we are all going to die, so before we do, having a party is a wonderful thing.

WHISHAW: Absolutely. I know that you love Esther Perel. I looked her up on YouTube and she said something brilliant about how it’s a time when there’s a loss of eros. Because we’re all completely hyper-fixated on safety, the thing we can’t have is spontaneity and wild happenstance. Everything’s quite confined, isn’t it? I was wondering how you were dealing with that, because I know you are someone who, in your work and your life, thrives on that.

SCOTT: To be honest, I find it really difficult. At the beginning, I found it sort of wonderful that the illusion of freedom and choice is just that, and actually, we’re not in control. I liked the idea that there’s a different way of living. There are people who have had a very set way of thinking, myself included. But as the pandemic has gone on, I find it more difficult. I realized I’m very much a people person. I miss my tribe. I love the idea of being in a group of people who are doing the same thing, and I find the making of our work really hard. I find the fact that all the crew has to wear a mask really difficult. To try and break through the masks and fear, in order to create a playful atmosphere, is a really difficult thing to do. I know for both of us, theater is such an important thing, and the fact that it isn’t going on is hard. When you haven’t done a play in a while, you go, “I want to go back and play with that part of myself.” That sounds creepy, but even if you’re not doing it, the fact that it’s going on is comforting. I find it really scary and it fucks with your identity a little bit. But I love that idea of eros. I associate it with being a bit of dirty roulette sex creep, but actually, it just means playful. It’s energy and love of life.

Tank Top by American Vintage. Jacket by Dior Men. Jeans by Levi’s from Le Vif Boutique.

WHISHAW: I suppose it can mean all sorts of things, but it definitely has something to do with sex as well.

SCOTT: I think that’s true, because you can get everything delivered to you by a company and wear a tracksuit and survive. But something in you is muted and I find that really scary. It’s wonderful being in Italy at the moment because people really dress up here to go out. Life is to be celebrated.

WHISHAW: I’m going to blow smoke up your ass a bit. I can completely understand why you’d be missing work, because when I watch you, there’s an intensely alive quality. It sounds like such an obvious thing to say, but you’re completely open to the moment. I’m curious as to where that fearless quality comes from and if you’ve always felt that?

SCOTT: Acting is about playing. Once you’ve done all your work, and learned your lines, and you trust the people, you have a framework in which you can play, namely: good writing. That’s the thing I’m addicted to. When you’re making a movie your imagination is constantly interrupted, but there’s something about the theater where there are 800 people there who willfully put themselves in a darkened room in order to be transported somewhere, and you all go somewhere together.

WHISHAW: [Laughs] I was thinking of how we were probably very different then and also how different the world was. What do you think about the change that’s happened in you and in the world? Specifically in terms of being out, or being a gay man who is also an actor?

SCOTT: What I remember, clearly, is going to sleep in that dressing room between shows. Two little gay sleepers. It was really special because both of us had an opportunity to play a loving and beautifully written relationship. The fact that we were both gay was kind of usual. At the time, a lot of those parts were played by gay people in the theater, but not necessarily in film and TV. Or there was a bigger fear that you wouldn’t be able to play a range of parts. I don’t know if you’ve gotten advice on that front, like, “Just keep that low-key.” I remember us speaking a lot about that at the time. There weren’t very many out actors around, doing exciting work. Now there’s all different types of sexualities and genders, and I find that really exciting.

WHISHAW: There must have been some kind of assumption that if you cast a gay actor in a straight role, that required heterosexual women to find them appealing, that you wouldn’t be able to achieve that if you cast a gay actor, which is obviously insane.

SCOTT: Chemistry, which is what is required in order for people to believe things, isn’t about sex; it’s about something else. It’s what we were talking about earlier: eros, a sense of playfulness, an idea of imagination. One thing I do feel grateful to have is a sense of imagination. Whether that’s a sexual imagination, or something I feel.

Sweater by Prada. Jeans by Levi’s from Le Vif Boutique. Belt by A.P.C.

WHISHAW: It’s all fiction or a dream, anyway.

SCOTT: There is no real Batman! The pleasure is knowing the person is actually pretending to be somebody else. So surely, the idea that a gay person is pretending to be a straight person is even more fun. All things being equal, everybody should be allowed to play everything, but all things aren’t equal unfortunately, so that’s why representation is so important. But to be in the empathy game, and trying to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, is very honorable and necessary. That’s why I find it frightening when they say, “You have to stay in your lane,” because that’s not what the skill is. When I was a kid I used to read Empire magazine, and they had this article, “Things That People Will Believe in the Year 2050,” or something like that. It said something like, “Gay people can play leading parts in movies.” I remember thinking, “That probably won’t ever happen.” So the fact that I see it happening now—and I’m not saying the war is over, so to speak—without the same prejudice that existed before, is wonderful. I still maintain that talent is talent and I will never want anyone to get cast because it’s going to tick a box.

WHISHAW: You are a private person. How do you navigate that? Do you ever feel like you have to be a spokesperson or be banging a drum for a cause? Particularly as the world gets more insane and the problems mount up, do you ever think, “Should I be using this platform?”

SCOTT: I’m hesitant to do that. I do have that question, sometimes. If I had a public Instagram, that might have some influence, but everyone has an opinion now, and it’s pretty clear that I feel that I have a responsibility to be an authentic artist, without sounding too lofty about it. The kind of actors I admire never really say anything about anything. But that was a different time to a certain degree, and there was something about being private before that was very respectable. But I don’t want privacy to be a respectable disguise for being secretive and closed. I want to live in opposition to the way that I used to live, when I was struggling with sexuality and everything. I’m certainly private. I don’t want to speak to a journalist in the same way that I wouldn’t go up to somebody I didn’t know in a pub and say, “Listen, this is who I want to sleep with, do you want to know?” But I’m not particularly private with the people that I love. It’s not that I’m above speaking about things I feel passionate about, it’s just creating a balance, isn’t it?

WHISHAW: Despite what you said earlier about how weird it is to make things with masks and social distancing, how are you finding Ripley? Are you managing to have that connection with the other actors?

SCOTT: It’s a hard one, because in our version, he’s a very lonely character. You see him on his own quite a lot. I find that difficult, and I find not having the actors around as much as I would like to be difficult. But it’s an extraordinary character.

WHISHAW: Tell me more about him.

Sweater by Ermenegildo Zegna. Shorts from American Vintage.

SCOTT: There’ve been various iterations of the character, some of which I’ve seen and some of which I’ve avoided. When you’re playing those famous literary characters, you don’t want to just copy. I’m interested in the idea of what queerness is, and otherness, because that’s what I think it’s about. The reason he’s such an interesting character is you can’t quite place him.

WHISHAW: He’s almost like a ghost.

SCOTT: That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking, Ben! If Tom Ripley was in a gay bar, I’m not sure that he would fit in there. Nor do I think he’s a straight character. I think he’s a queer character, in the sense that he’s very “other.” What’s his relationship with sex, or death, or with family or friends? It’s interesting that a character is the sum of the parts that you don’t have to play. Why do you love Patricia Highsmith so much, by the way? And when did you read the books?

WHISHAW: I first read The Talented Mr. Ripley just after I left drama school, and then five or six years ago, I read them all in one summer. I love that world. I only feel sad that I’ve had that experience and can’t ever have it again. I have to wait until I forget what happens. There’s nothing politically correct about her. All the central characters are amoral, and behave in completely irrational, if not despicable, ways. It’s dark.

SCOTT: We are dark. There’s a trend in drama at the moment to make things accessible and make the characters accessible. What’s their backstory? What’s wonderful about Tom Ripley is that you have no idea. You sometimes hear about his backstory but you’re a bit like, “Is this made up?” Sometimes the reason we feel unnerved by certain people is because we don’t know their backstory. It’s necessary for us to have stories that are dark. Art is about showing us who we are, not who we should be.

WHISHAW: I couldn’t agree more.

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———

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80 Best Chat Lines with Free Trials: Your Guide to Chat Line Numbers for Free Phone Chat in 2021 | Paid Content | Cleveland https://pasion-tropical.com/80-best-chat-lines-with-free-trials-your-guide-to-chat-line-numbers-for-free-phone-chat-in-2021-paid-content-cleveland/ https://pasion-tropical.com/80-best-chat-lines-with-free-trials-your-guide-to-chat-line-numbers-for-free-phone-chat-in-2021-paid-content-cleveland/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 08:54:39 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/?p=3784

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No man is an island, as they say, which is why it’s all the more challenging to meet people on dirty roulette, and create real connections when you consider how messy the world is right now.

Thankfully, you can find people online to help light that proverbial spark. Sure, there are hundreds of social media sites, dating platforms, and hookup spots that you can visit, but let’s be honest: we aren’t meant to just communicate by clacking away at a keyboard.

It’s a good thing the best chatline numbers exist: they’re a place where you can talk via phone conversations, so finding new friends or partners is possible wherever you are. In this article, we show you the best dirty roulette chatline numbers for meeting people over the phone.

First Look: Best Chatline Number Free Trials

  1. LiveLinks: 866-951-0726 – Best free chat line
  2. RedHot Dateline: 877-355-1664 – Best for quick and easy phone chats
  3. Talk121: 866-838-5613 – Best for party line phone dates
  4. TangoPersonals: 1-800-810-8108 – Best for mobile phone dates
  5. FreeChatLine: 877-889-1209 – Best female callers on a chatline

Chatline Numbers Runner ups:

Do you want a larger selection of chatline numbers? We have you covered. Not all of these lines are always up and running, but the popular ones are worth a shot anyway.

  • Talk Cafe – 1-800-912-8222
  • Lavalife – 1-800-747-9022
  • Mega Mates – 1-888-634-2628
  • Acme Chat – 1-800-411-7878
  • MetroVibe – 1-877-390-6677
  • Live Talk – 1-800-444-LIVE
  • Lavender Line – 1-800-616-6152
  • FunChat – 1-855-386-2428
  • Axxes – 1-877-610-3555
  • Chat Line Dating – 1-877-599-4785
  • Quest Chat – 1-866-736-4100
  • The System – 1-509-876-5000
  • Social Voice USA – 1-844-706-5518
  • Two Talkers – 1-800-963-7792
  • QCChat – 1-800-405-1920
  • Grapevine Personals – 1-877-242-8810
  • Tango Personals – 1-800-810-8108
  • Black Phone Chat – 1-206-876-6227
  • My Mobile Line – 1-888-580-7070
  • Rodeo Chat – 1-800-436-7825
  • The Night Exchange – 1-866-917-8328
  • Latino Phone Chat – 1-866-979-7883
  • Latino Voices – 1-888-903-0505
  • Black Singlez – 1-516-279-1637
  • Telechat USA – Telechat USA

Best Chatline Numbers List

The best chatline numbers include the following:

1. LiveLinks (866-951-0726) – Best Free Chat Lines

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Pros:

  • Can be used with Google Voice or Skype
  • Decent free trial option
  • Efficient caller pairing system
  • Has nice privacy features

Cons:

  • Lots of trolls and prank callers
  • More male callers than females
  • System issue with voice recorder

Call now: 866-951-0726

If you’re looking for the best chatline numbers platform with a free trial period that you can actually enjoy before being charged for your chats, then LiveLinks is perfect for you.

Additionally, LL is one of the best chatline sites to use if you’re not looking for anyone in particular. By that, we mean you’re going to love this phone chat line if you’re just out for a casual chat with a random stranger, without any agendas like hookups or dating them.

That’s because you get a relatively large caller base from this chatline site, although you’re going to find that there are far more male LL users compared to women. Of course, as with most chatline numbers, you also find pranksters and trolls here, since this chatline is open to anyone who wants to use it.

However, with a bit of patience, you’re more than likely to connect to a proper caller who’d want nothing else than to have a nice convo with you about any topic under the sun, which is why LL is one of the best chatline numbers to check out.

Additionally, it provides its callers with convenience. You won’t need a landline here a la 90s household; it’s compatible with chat platforms like Skype and Google Voice as well.

As for the free trial period, you get 30 minutes, which is ample time for you to record your chatline greeting, and have a nice quick chat with someone over the phone. And if you enjoy it, you’d be hard-pressed not to sign up for an account and start paying for your chats.

However, LL takes a hit when it comes to their greeting recorder’s efficiency. There are instances where your greetings suddenly get deleted after a single chat with another caller, which leaves you stuck to re-record a new one. Once LL fixes this, though, then they’d definitely get damn near close to a fantastic chatline numbers site.

2. RedHot Dateline (877-355-1664) – Best for Easy Free Phone Chat

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Pros:

  • Registration is simple, easy, and free
  • Features 100 percent anonymity when calling
  • Numerous payment methods available
  • A user-friendly chatline number site

Cons:

  • Only available on desktop
  • Lots of regional restrictions

Call now: 877-355-1664

Since 2001, RedHot Dateline has been providing the world with one of the best chatline services. And it’s no surprise that it’s managed to not just keep itself afloat, but actually thrive after a couple of decades in existence. They provide you with both the best chatline numbers around, and an active community to meet and form friendships (or something deeper).

RHDL is a chatline numbers platform that puts your privacy in high regard and does so without sacrificing user experience when you visit them.

First off, whereas most chatline numbers are content with operating as if you were still stuck in the early 2000s, RHDL provides a refreshing touch to their site interface and chatline features by keeping them updated regularly. So much so, that you can’t easily tell that this company has been around for 20 years now.

Of course, it’s not just appearances that matter to RHDL, as they also provide you with some of the most convenient chatline features on any given site. This allows you to focus more on the potential connections you’ll make with the people you chat with.

As a chatline numbers site, RHDL allows you to choose your preferences by dividing their site into male and female-oriented callers, respectively. This determines whether you want to converse with someone of the same or opposite sex as you.

But what really makes this site stand out is how it places caller anonymity as one of its main priorities. This is one of the best chatline numbers sites—if not the absolute best—at giving you, the caller, security.

Because as much as you want to have a chat with someone you can share a bond with, it’s still of the utmost importance that you keep important details like financial and personal infos to yourself, unless you willingly provide these details.

RHDL also has a nice free trial period that allows you to test out some of their features, after which you’re going to need to pay for your chats by the minute. Registration with the site is free, though, and it’s a quick, easy process. With numerous payment methods available, you won’t have to experience any hassle making friendly chatter with your fellow RDHL callers.

Now, if only this chatline numbers site was available as a mobile app, then it would be close-to perfect!

3. Talk121 (866-838-5613) – Best for Free Party Line Numbers

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Pros:

  • Great party line chat service
  • Convenient and user-friendly interface
  • Great serious phone dating option

Cons:

  • Exclusive to U.S. callers
  • Needs more free trial offer details
  • More male than female callers

Call now: 866-838-5613

Talk121 is more than capable of providing you with some of the best service if you’re looking for a party line where you can chat with multiple people at once, and have a nice group phone date chat.

And far from being a one-trick chat line, Talk121’s party line communities are also some of the most diverse out there. They range from groups who focus on casual chats, to naughtier cliques that engage in some phone sex on the line.

To say that Talk121 is exclusively a great party line option would also be a mistake on our part. Its single chat line option where you can talk to strangers over the phone is more than adequate to give you a sizzling phone date.

As with their party line’s selection of individuals who are more than happy to engage in some fun convos with you, Talk121’s singles chat line also has a nicely diverse crowd. You can even find someone who’s willing to have a more serious type of phone dating relationship with you.

This particular chat line has a few weaknesses—but they’re nothing that would turn you away from all the great features that exist here.

First off, Talk121 is exclusively available to U.S. callers. So, if you want to have a phone hookup with someone from the great white North (Canada), or a hot barrio lady from South America, then you’re out of luck.

Additionally, Talk121 needs to better explain what their free trial offer includes. Because as it stands, they only have an obscure advertisement that says you get a “free trial” option when you sign up with them. Details would be appreciated.

Lastly, there are a lot of male callers here, so it’s going to take you some time and effort before you pair up with a female partner, if that’s what you’re into.

4. TangoPersonals (1-800-810-8108) – Best for Mobile Chat Line Numbers

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Pros:

  • Voicemail tool doesn’t slip up
  • Decent free minutes offered
  • Optimized for mobile users

Cons:

  • Membership rates are a bit expensive

Call now: 1-800-810-8108

Tango is perhaps the chat line that’s able to keep up with today’s needs the most among its competitors. That’s thanks to the fact that this particular company allows you to engage in phone dates and casual chats not just on your home phone line, but more importantly, on your mobile.

You can think of Tango as the top chat line when it comes to phone dating on the go. And one of the best reasons to use their service is that they have an impressive number of subscribers with an amicable ratio between male and female callers.

Even better, you’re going to find that Tango has less than the usual number of prank callers and trolls floating around their lines, so it makes finding the right phone date much easier.

As with most chat lines, they offer a free trial period that lasts for 30 mins., which is ample time for you to record your chat line greeting. Then you can hover the lines and check out the hundreds of callers available, and, ultimately, pair up with a random caller and have a short chat with them.

Additionally, Tango is available throughout most of the U.S., which is in line with their mission of providing you a handy option to engage in phone dates. And even though you might find their membership rates to be slightly higher than others out there, it’s very much a bargain when you consider all the great features that they offer you.

5. FreeChatLine (877-889-1209) – Best Female Chat Line

Pros:

  • Free membership option for females
  • Overall membership fees are affordable
  • Nice balance between male and female callers

Cons:

  • Not made for serious phone dates
  • Free trial period could be longer
  • Exclusive to heterosexual phone dates

Call now: 877-889-1209

FreeChatLine gains its edge over other chat lines out there by saving you from the trouble of having to rummage through huge numbers of poor phone date matches, wasting your time and money along the process. That’s because FCG doesn’t just randomly connect you to any horny john out there; they make sure that you get on the line with a female caller.

FCG has one of the best male-to-female caller ratios among other chat lines. And the company does this by offering women the chance to sign up for an account with them without having to pay any fees at all.

If you’re a guy, though, don’t worry: this chat line isn’t in the habit of gouging their callers. You’re going to find that they have one of the most affordable membership rates out there.

Oh, and before you ask: no, FCG doesn’t use professional phone sex operators to turn you on; these are private citizens who are just as promiscuous as you, and are looking for a safe and easy way to hook up using their phone.

However, we can’t say that you’re going to enjoy FCG if you’re not looking for women. This chat line’s setup is exclusively made for casual heterosexual phone dates, so you’re better off elsewhere if you’re gay or lesbian.

And speaking of casual phone dates, yeah, FCG is definitely not the line you want to go to if you’re looking for something romantic or, much less, serious. This is a chat line that’s exclusively made for flirting.

Lastly, the 30 mins they give you for free when you sign up with them might seem like a decent trial period, but with so many features and great callers on this line, you’re going to wish they added a bit more.

Best Chatline Numbers Runner-ups

  1. Nite Flirt – https://www.niteflirt.com/pid/30729752: rating-based chatline for dating
  2. Jet Doll – 1-800-538-3655: a chatline available for both men and women
  3. TalkToMe – 1-800-825-5866: offers chats in various languages
  4. Interactive Male – 888-928-0413: a gay chatline with nice features
  5. Local Hot Chat – 1-310-746-2366: has numerous phone lines available for chats
  6. Lavender Line – 1-800-616-6152: a great chatline option for lesbians
  7. Two Talkers – 1-800-963-7792: great option for phone dating
  8. Phone and Flirt – 800-381-5455: a chatline numbers platform full of younger callers
  9. Chat Line Dating – 1-877-599-4785: a top phone chat dating service
  10. Live Talk – 1-800-444-LIVE: great chatline option for serious conversations
  11. 1-800-Personals.net – 1-800-Personals: a convenient chatline option to post ads
  12. Desires Chat – 888-598-8336: a top chatline option for flirting with other callers
  13. Black Phone Chat – 1-206-876-6227: perfect chatline numbers site for Black people
  14. Flirt Free – 1-818-230-8331: a wonderful chatline geared towards female callers
  15. Howl Line – 1-888-655-6366: features naughty chatline users
  16. Friendsation – 877-448-8942: singles-oriented chatline
  17. MyMobileLine – 1-888-580-7070: a nice dating chatline for clean-cut callers
  18. AffairHub – 1-800-898-2428: features great private chatline options
  19. MegaMates – 1-888-634-2628: provides convenient phone chat account setup
  20. Talk Cafe – 1-800-912-8222: gives callers a nice chatline hub for potential dates
  21. Nightline Chat – 1-877-834-4044: features uncensored chatline conversations
  22. The System – 1-509-876-5000: a top LGBTQ+ chatline platform
  23. Lavalife – 1-800-747-9022: a nice chatline hub for uncensored convos

Best Chatlines FAQs

More info on chatline numbers includes the following questions from users like you from around the internet:

What Are Chatlines?

Chatlines are services that allow you to meet and talk with other people over the phone. These companies started to pop up in the 1990s and are still going strong today, with most services providing various channels to conduct voice conversations between you and your partner, such as your browser, Skype, or mobile phone, among others.

Chatlines come in various categories, which range from phone chat lines that focus on dating, to sex, and friendly chats.

How Do I Use a Chatline?

Although there are various ways that these chatline numbers sites and platforms work, the usual steps include:

1. You record a voice greeting that will then serve as your “calling card” for other callers.

2. Afterwards, most of these chatlines provide you with random voice greetings from other users, which you can listen to and determine whether you want to invite them for a private phone conversation, or go to the next voice greeting.

3. When someone you choose accepts your call, or you accept a call from someone who’s listened to your pre-recorded greeting and invited you to a private phone call, then you can simply chat away with your partner.

Are Chatline Numbers Safe to Use?

Chatlines have their own risks. Much like a hookup or adult dating site, you’re mostly going to be speaking to strangers here. As such, always remember to not give them any personal information, like your home address or financial details, unless you absolutely trust who you’re talking to.

Single Chatlines vs. Party Lines—Which One Do I Choose?

Single chatlines provide you with one-on-one conversations with other users/callers. On the other hand, party lines are group calls where you can speak and listen to more than one caller simultaneously.

Choosing which one you should go for depends on what kind of phone chat you want. If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, then going for a single chatline is for you. However, if you’re interested in meeting as many people as you can while you’re on the phone, then go with a party line.

Can I Use Chatlines for Free?

It depends on the chatline numbers site or service you’re using. However, most chatline companies provide their users with free trial periods that last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. Afterwards, you’re required to either opt for a membership, or be charged by the minute.

Free Chat Line Numbers Conclusion

Finding a nice conversation partner or a new friend shouldn’t be a problem with the best chatline numbers and sites that we’ve provided you here. Whether you’re looking for a casual chat, or using these services to perhaps meet a significant other, there’s a chatline number for you on this list.

Just remember to always keep yourself safe whenever you use one of these things. It’s always nice to meet someone new who you can have a nice personal connection with over the phone, but don’t forget that there are a lot of weirdos out there as well.

Enjoy your calls!

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More anonymity? Age checks are coming to the web https://pasion-tropical.com/more-anonymity-age-checks-are-coming-to-the-web/ https://pasion-tropical.com/more-anonymity-age-checks-are-coming-to-the-web/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 07:19:02 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/more-anonymity-age-checks-are-coming-to-the-web/

Errington (over 50) had to prove that they were old enough to watch “Space Is the Place”, which was a 1974 film with Sun Ra as the star. You had three options. Either enter your credit card information or upload a photo ID such a passport. Or, you could ignore the video.

He said that he had decided not to stress about dateblocker.com provides a dirtyroulette videos.

Protect children online

Due to increased pressure from parents and activists who believe that tech companies aren’t doing enough to protect kids online and the regulators who have been urging them to do so, governments and businesses around the world are making it easier for criminals to connect the internet. The digital age is undergoing tighter controls.

Japan residents must produce a document to prove their age in order to use Tinder’s dating app. Roblox is a popular game that requires players to upload some kind of government ID and a selfie to prove their identity. If they want to access the voice chat feature, they must also provide proof of citizenship. France and Germany have laws that prohibit pornographic websites.

The past two years have seen rapid changes that could lead to the loss of anonymity. Individuals could access large areas of the web anonymously since dial-up modems were invented and AOL chat room technology was introduced. Many people have created an entirely separate online character from their offline one.

Online communication and content consumption is no longer anonymous. It’s more like a visit to the bank. You have to prove your identity. Washington lawmakers called this month for new rules that would protect young people. This is after a former Facebook employee stated that they knew that certain products could harm teens. During a hearing Tuesday with executives from Snapchat’s parent company TikTok and YouTube, they reiterated their calls.

Critics of age controls

Age controls have been criticized for compromising privacy, curbing free speech and harming online communities. China has banned websites from ranking celebrities according to popularity this summer as part of a wider crackdown on those it considers the most popular. the negative consequences of celebrity culture for young people.

“Are there going to be more age verification?” Hany Farid from the University of California at Berkeley said that it is possible to see more age verification. She also called for safety measures for children. “Because there’s more pressure, there’s more awareness about how these technologies can harm children.

Farid however said regulators and business owners need to exercise caution. He stated, “We don’t want to make the problem worse than the solution.”

Requires birthdate

Many websites have required visitors to submit their birth date to view adult content. Visitors could sometimes submit their date of birth to view content intended for adults, but they didn’t have to show any proof.

Regulators no longer consider this sufficient. Some websites are required to prove the age of users using services that collect sensitive data, according to British child protection guidelines.

A European Union update of its rules for video- and audio services has required sites to protect minors. This could include checking age. Google stated that it would ask YouTube users it owns for their IDs or credit cards information in response to this change. They will then be able to watch adult-only videos. A Google spokesperson pointed to a August blog post where the company stated it was “looking for ways of developing consistent product experiences, user controls for children or teens around the globe” at the time that different regulators were enforcing stricter rules.

Facebook is considering similar options. In July, the company announced that it was developing programs that would detect signs that users might lie about their age. These could include messages that were sent by someone claiming to have been 21 and who received messages about their quinceanera. Pavni diwanji from Facebook, vice president of youth product, wrote that the company develops a variety of options for people to prove their age when they think they need more information. Facebook stated later that identification documents could be provided.

New age verification

Users will need to present government-issued ID or credit card credentials for many of these age verification initiatives. Some companies use or consider other options, like software that scans a person’s face in order to approximate their age.

Control critics fear that this requirement could force users into providing sensitive information to websites with limited resources to avoid hacking. Age checks offered by companies outside the country would also be vulnerable.

“Either way it’s still valuable data,” Daly Barnett (technologist, Electronic Frontier Foundation), a privacy advocacy group that promotes free speech and privacy, stated.

Privacy concerns

Many government agencies and businesses say that they have policies in place to protect privacy, such as limiting the time data is kept. The UK privacy regulator that oversees the new child safety code has stated this month, that websites should not use the most stringent age controls. For example, requiring a government identification is only necessary when the potential risk to a young child is just as great.

Roblox showed 10 teenagers prototypes while it was deciding the age verification method. Chris Aston Chen, Roblox’s senior product manager, said that the company had shown the prototypes while trying to decide which one to use.

One possibility required that players made a video call to each other, while another looked at government databases. Chen claimed that players chose to use government identities because it was practical and trusted. (Roblox’s product manager is a member in good standing of the New York Times Co.’s board of directors.

Roblox will also be able to block players that have been banned because of inappropriate behaviour in the voicechat feature. If they try to verify their age by using the same government document and reconnect using a new user account, they will be removed.

Chen said, “I believe that over time there will be a greater level of comfort, and expectation, almost to provide some sort of verification on a platforms for the greater good.”

Some services resist the control

Twitter allows users the option to disclose their date-of-birth, but does not require this. You can only view adult content if you click on a warning. But, you don’t have proof that your 18 or older.

“At Twitter’s core is the belief that there is immense value in the public discussion of people who can talk under a pseudonym.” Nick Pickles is senior director of global political strategy at Twitter. He said, “Nor does it need a large amount of personal data to be given before you can access the online services.”

Critics suggested that the change could prove embarrassing to some people. Barnett indicated that it is more common for posts related to lesbians and gays, bisexuals, and transgender people to be mistakenly labeled “adult” content, even if they’re not explicitly sexual.

Also, automatic facial analysis is less accurate for darker skin tones or women. Critics also fear that tight age controls could make life more difficult and dangerous for those like dirty roulette sex workers, political dissidents, or people who rely on anonymity online.

No part of the internet has more stringent age verification requirements than porn websites, which are frequently at the cutting edge technological trends. Canada, Poland, France, and Germany are all considering proposals that require porn websites to verify ages.

Julie Inman Grant who is Australia’s Electronic Security Commissioner said, “The internet was created for adults, by adults, and for adults.” She also has guidelines on age verification. “And I think the greatest challenge is to develop a system that shows that a child can sit behind a computer.

It isn’t known how internet users might react to age controls that are becoming more common.

YouTube had been telling Twitter users who were frustrated for months that it was requesting government IDs in response to new regulations.

One user tweeted: “I pay to youtube music. However, he requires me to upload my ID so he may verify my age before allowing my play of ‘in bloom.’ Nirvana.” The user said that he bought the track on tape at 12 years of age, which is close to 30 years ago.

YouTube’s customer care account responded, “This rule is applied to video-sharing platforms in certain countries.”

Errington said YouTube asked for a credit-card when he tried watching “Space Is the Place.” It is not his. He stated that uploading photo ID was not something he enjoyed.

“I wasn’t ready to share this information,” he stated. “So Sun Ra’s video remains mysterious.

(c), 2021 The New York Times Company

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Trisha Kehaulani Watson: We need to change the way we interact with nature https://pasion-tropical.com/trisha-kehaulani-watson-we-need-to-change-the-way-we-interact-with-nature/ https://pasion-tropical.com/trisha-kehaulani-watson-we-need-to-change-the-way-we-interact-with-nature/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 02:48:45 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/trisha-kehaulani-watson-we-need-to-change-the-way-we-interact-with-nature/

Skye Razon-Olds learned to climb from her ohana. Asked about it, she remembers a childhood on the island of Hawaii and her penchant for spending time on the aina or her family’s land.

The practice of rock climbing is not as widely referenced as hula or melee, but it makes a lot of sense as an important cultural practice. Pi’i pohaku, which means to climb rocks, or pi’i kuahiwi, to climb mountains, would have been a necessary skill to master in traditional Hawaii. The caves were a place known to Hawaiians for important bodies and items.

After finding that recreational rock climbing often ignored cultural considerations, Skye founded Kanaka Climbers, a non-profit organization that “aims to foster a more responsible and ethical outdoor recreational community in Hawaii.” We focus on providing vital and culture-based education around Hiking and Climbing.

This organization appears to be unique in its goal of focusing on culture-based hiking and climbing. Such a group is clearly needed, as the conflict over outdoor recreation has increased in recent years.

One site that has fallen victim to its popularity is the famous “Stairway to Heaven” hike, also known as Haiku Stairs, which is closed to the public. From neighbors having to put up with illegal hikers to town having to deal with (and pay for!) Adventurers setting up a swing and trampoline, what seemed clear was that the costs and burden of trail management were ultimately worth it. no potential benefit.

The uncontrolled bad behavior of stair walkers only underscores how many simply refuse to live by the adage: leave only footprints. And until residents and visitors commit to a drastic change in behavior that respects neighboring communities and preserves these special places, conflict will continue and more places of recreation will inevitably close.

One site that has fallen victim to its popularity is the famous “Stairway to Heaven”, also known as Haiku Stairs. Nick Grube / Civil Beat / 2013

The Hawaii Tourism Authority should take a hard look at managing visitor impacts. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and counties are too often left to manage and enforce funding. Not only does this place an undue burden on these agencies, it also places an unfair financial burden on the taxpayers who cover these expenses.

This is why, at least personally, I strongly support the monetization of visitor access to natural sites. No one comes here expecting free food. Why should the consumption of our natural and cultural resources be any different? And the proceeds from this monetization can help support nonprofits, like Kanaka Climbers, who work to protect important sites and educate the community.

Climbing as a culture

I remember being on a nearby island in 2019 and seeing caves that seemed impossible to reach without modern equipment. But by spending just a day with Skye, it became clear that access to such caves was not only possible for traditional Hawaiians; it was even common.

It was certainly celebrated. Queen Emma traveled to the mountains from Kauai to Kokee in 1871. The occasion was commemorated by the people of mele; the event continues to be honored by the Hui o Laka who hold an annual hula competition in Kokee to celebrate the historic event and educate people about it.

Accessing and maintaining mountain environments was an important part of traditional Hawaiian culture. The Hawaiians understood that their highlands were an essential source of fresh water and forest resources. For these reasons, such mountain hikes were not undertaken lightly, but rather with a deep sense of respect and responsibility.

Too often, the absence of signs of human presence or impact in mountainous areas leads to the mistaken belief that Hawaiians did not gain access to these areas. This is not true. Hawaiians were deeply concerned with accessing the mountains. The entry into the mountainous regions was carried out with care and protocol. Often no trace of human presence has been left.

Climbing as Kuleana

For families who participated in rock climbing traditions, rock climbing was often associated with particularly important responsibilities, such as conducting funeral practices and maintaining these burial sites.

Kanaiaupuni Razon-Olds learns to boulder on Oahu. Courtesy: Kanaka Cimbers

Burials are often located in caves. These remote locations helped protect these burials from future disturbance. These places were also the responsibility of families and practitioners, a responsibility passed down from generation to generation for a long time.

It is in this sacred tradition that Native Hawaiians like Olds operate. She is certainly not the only one to have inherited tradition and practice, but she certainly finds herself struggling with a modern world that often forgets to appreciate sacred spaces and traditions.

“When I climb, I smell the ‘āina. I smell my grandmother. I feel like my family, ”Olds said. “This is how I honor who I am and where I come from – it is a responsibility and a blessing.” Olds aims to work with agencies such as the Department of Lands and Natural Resources to ensure hikers and recreational climbers are aware of the spaces they visit and climb.

“Some of the most incredible sites are still present and preserved in our forests,” says Olds. “We have to make sure we protect them for the next generation. It is just too easy to destroy these places carefully created by our kupuna. With education, these historic sites that were created hundreds of years ago will be there for hundreds of years to come.

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Gwyneth Paltrow shocked by children’s ‘comprehensive’ sex education in elementary school https://pasion-tropical.com/gwyneth-paltrow-shocked-by-childrens-comprehensive-sex-education-in-elementary-school/ https://pasion-tropical.com/gwyneth-paltrow-shocked-by-childrens-comprehensive-sex-education-in-elementary-school/#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 01:00:40 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/gwyneth-paltrow-shocked-by-childrens-comprehensive-sex-education-in-elementary-school/
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The Goop founder is stunned by the graphic sex education her children received when they were in elementary school, claiming that sex education was “comprehensive on everything”.

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Gwyneth Paltrow is shocked that her children are getting very candid lessons about dirty roulette sex at school.

The actress and wellness expert stars in and executive produce a new Netflix series “Sex, Love & Goop“, in which she and five couples discuss love techniques and ways to rekindle romance, and she confesses to being caught off guard a few years ago when her children, Apple and Moses, told her what we had taught them.

In a new clip touting Paltrow’s upcoming appearance on Jada Pinkett Smithfrom the Facebook Watch series “Red table“she said,” They, in their elementary school in sixth grade, had the craziest sex conversation, it was amazing … all the way, like they had learned it all. I will never forget the face of Apple when she came home. ”

“(The teacher) told them everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything.”

Gwyneth admits she was upset that she missed the boat by educating the two on the delicate subject.

“They didn’t ask me,” she adds.

Meanwhile, in a podcast conversation with Dax shepard, the actress revealed that she almost died giving birth to her daughter Apple.

“I had two caesareans. My daughter was an emergency. It was crazy – we almost died. It was not right,” she said.

“Anyway, there’s a big scar on your body, and you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, that didn’t exist before (sic).’ And it’s not that it’s bad, or that you want to judge it, but you’re just like, “Oh, my god.” ”

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King of comedy Mort Sahl has died at home

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Sanya Malhotra and Varun Sharma break taboos in “Sasural Wonder Phool” https://pasion-tropical.com/sanya-malhotra-and-varun-sharma-break-taboos-in-sasural-wonder-phool/ https://pasion-tropical.com/sanya-malhotra-and-varun-sharma-break-taboos-in-sasural-wonder-phool/#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 23:02:48 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/sanya-malhotra-and-varun-sharma-break-taboos-in-sasural-wonder-phool/

Sasural Wonder Phool

Actors Sanya Malhotra and Varun Sharma have teamed up to lend their voices for an Audible original called Sasural Wonder Phool. The 10-episode series tells the story of a progressive family who run a sex clinic tucked away in the back streets of Delhi. Prashant Gambhir (voiced by Varun), the youngest doctor in the family, is looking for a suitable wife, but no respectable family wants to marry their daughter to a Dirty Roulette sex therapist. After being rejected several times, Prashant finally meets Ashima (voiced by Sanya). While Ashima is happy with this match, she ignores the profession of Prashant and his family, which leads to both comedy and complications. The Telegraph chatted with Sanya and Varun about this whole new experience and what they admire about each other as actors.

Sasural Wonder Phool had me in the title himself. Was it the same for you two? What made you sign up primarily for this?

Varun Sharma: It’s a new medium for me, as well as for Sanya. My sister really follows Audible and I jumped on it right away. This is a very progressive story and has some great messages. This is something very new and stimulating for me. We recorded from our homes during the lockdown, aur har cheez nayi thi. From how to soundproof his room and record it to a Zoom call with seven other actors … We had to figure out how to synchronize our performances. It was very interesting.

And like you say, the title is very catchy. When I told my mom I was doing a podcast called Sasural Wonder Phool, she was also intrigued. He has a certain zeal. Aur Sanya ke saath record karne ka mauka mil raha tha … toh main kaise chhodta? (Laughs)

Sanya Malhotra: Same for me, Varun! I have always wanted to work with Varun. We have now done a show on Audible and hopefully we can work on a movie very soon. Sasural Wonder Phool was beautifully written by Bodhi Tree Multimedia and directed by OfSpin Media Friends. It’s a great collaboration. Last year I really missed going on set and acting. And that was a refreshing take for me as an actor.

Audible sent me a very sophisticated setup for recording from home. I recorded the show for about seven days, for about five to six hours a day … and I was saying to my parents, ‘Hush! Ab paanch-chhay ghante koi kaam ya awaaz nahin karega ghar mein!‘ (Laughs)

It was such a wonderful experience. Dil khush ho gaya tha. As an actor, I was so satisfied. It’s very similar to comedy. You have to play, you can’t be flat … It’s just that you don’t have a camera in front of you, but you have a microphone that you have to play for. We recorded the show with seven wonderful actors and audio artists, and watching them work was a very enriching experience.

Varun, what about you and the sex clinics, at least on screen? Before that, you were part of the 2019 film Khandaani Shafakhana, with Sonakshi Sinha, which also dealt with a similar theme …

Varun: Oh yes! (Laughs) Sasural Wonder Phool has a totally different story from dirty roulette to this movie, but I’m happy to be a part of those progressive stories. We should shed light on these so-called taboo subjects. We tried to raise awareness, but in a very entertaining way. Agar hanste-hanste kisi ke dimaag mein woh cheez register ho jaaye, so that’s great. As an industry so loved and accepted around the world, we have the power to change the outlook.

How is this experience different from dubbing a movie?

Sanya: During the dub, we have a video reference. But in this one, it was acting without any visuals. As I was recording I felt something was right, but when I heard it again it felt flat. It’s a bit similar to dubbing, but just because you don’t see yourself doing it, it’s also a challenge. It takes a lot of imagination.

Varun: When you do a dub, you’ve already done that scene on set. Your reactions are also based on the reaction your co-star gives you during the shoot. But with a podcast, this is the first time you’ve felt and experienced it. For me, it took me a day or two to figure out my way through this medium.

How independent and technically sound has this experience made you?

Sanya: Not at all! (Laughs)

Varun: These are terms that are very far from our lives! (Laughs)

Sanya: Actually, before we started, we did some rough recordings. I’m pretty dumb when it comes to using technology! (Laughs) So for the first two or three days, it was always like, ‘Record hua ?! Shayad yeh records nahin hua! ‘ But in the end, we were so good that we decided to make our own music album! (Laughs)

Varun: One hundred percent, yeah!

So when is this happening? Or is it just limited to your imagination?

Sanya: In my case, even if that happens, it will take a lot of self-tuning (laughs).

Varun: I’m just a listener, I’m not a singer at all. But after each session, I sang. If you have a microphone in front of you, everyone will sing along invariably, no matter how bad your voice is! My mother even told me: “Bete, main tumse bahut pyaar karti hoon, lekin yeh tum mat karna!” (Laughs)

Do you both listen to audiobooks and podcasts?

Sanya: I usually listen to psychological stuff. I’m currently listening to David Hawkins’ Letting Go.

Varun: I’ll listen to mine first, then I’ll listen to other stuff!

Hope a movie with you two should arrive soon. What do you admire about each other as actors?

Varun: Sanya is a phenomenal actor, ya! In fact, just yesterday I was chatting with an actor friend about the kind of career chart she’s had so far and the kind of movies she’s made, that’s commendable. Even as a person. she is so sweet and down to earth. She is very nice. Anyone who has to do a scene with Sanya has to be very well prepared. She is so good! She has a wide range as an actress. And I’m a big fan of his dancing!

Sanya: Varun, I was on YouTube yesterday, and I saw your scene Chacha Nehru (by Fukrey), and it was a riot! You said you were a good listener, and I totally agree with that … it’s also a sign of being a good actor. Listening to your co-actors is a great asset to have. I was watching this scene and I thought, “He’s such a good actor!” And I’m not kidding! If anyone is reading this, please get us started together. And, of course, your comedic timing … you’re so good! Comedy is the most difficult to pull off on screen.

Varun: I actually didn’t even know I could do comedy. Before the movies, I did theater and acted in hardcore dramas like Ashwatthama and Seduction by Anton Chekhov. I always thought comedy was difficult, and Fukrey was my first attempt. I had no idea what I was doing, I was just happy that my mom could see me in a movie (smiles). I was just happy to make my debut in a movie made by a production house (Excel Entertainment) that had made Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. But when I finished shooting the film, I realized: ‘Arre, log toh hans rahein hain, unko mazaa aa raha hain.’ But even today, I don’t know how I’m doing!

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Boaters-photographers wanted for NASA’s water quality pilot project https://pasion-tropical.com/boaters-photographers-wanted-for-nasas-water-quality-pilot-project/ https://pasion-tropical.com/boaters-photographers-wanted-for-nasas-water-quality-pilot-project/#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 14:40:27 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/boaters-photographers-wanted-for-nasas-water-quality-pilot-project/

If you enjoy taking scenic photos from your boat, kayak, or canoe (who doesn’t !?), researchers might use your help for a new water monitoring project.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Md., Is looking for volunteers to use an app to take photos of the water and sky, as well as take water samples. The SERC wants photos to be taken at least 100 feet from shore, especially on the South, West, Rhode and Severn Rivers. Anyone with a boat, canoe, two-person kayaks, or even a long dock can help.

The Chesapeake Water Watch Pilot Project is a partnership between SERC and NASA with the help of river wardens and citizen scientists on the water. What does NASA have to do with water quality monitoring? Today, their satellites are so technologically advanced that they can capture changes in water quality on camera. Widely used in the Chesapeake area, the satellites could give researchers a comprehensive picture of chlorophyll a, water clarity, and colored dissolved organic matter. As the SERC explains, “These large-scale data sets from satellites would provide a better understanding of global environmental conditions to support aquatic life and economic and recreational activities. “

But the information collected by satellites must be verified with measurements from the ground. Citizen scientists are important for ‘field verification’, informing about adjustments that need to be made and even raising awareness of NASA’s environmental plans. By combining water level sampling with satellites providing large-scale snapshots of water quality, researchers will have the most complete picture of the health of Chesapeake Bay. As a pilot project, if the program is successful, it could potentially be used to monitor coastal waters around the world.

Volunteers and researchers can help with monitoring in some waters. First, volunteers take photos in the field using the Hydrocolor app, which analyzes the photos to give researchers measurements of turbidity and reflectance. Second, volunteers take water samples, which are then tested for chlorophyll, turbidity, and dissolved organic matter.

This data is analyzed and compared to the same information collected by satellites in space to help determine its accuracy.

All interested volunteer photographers / samplers should contact [email protected]. As always, but especially now that the water temperature is getting colder, wear your life jacket if you are going out on the water to help.

-Meg Walburn Viviano

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The virus cut off access to courts but opened the door to a virtual future https://pasion-tropical.com/the-virus-cut-off-access-to-courts-but-opened-the-door-to-a-virtual-future/ https://pasion-tropical.com/the-virus-cut-off-access-to-courts-but-opened-the-door-to-a-virtual-future/#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 14:18:05 +0000 https://pasion-tropical.com/the-virus-cut-off-access-to-courts-but-opened-the-door-to-a-virtual-future/

Spatial constraints related to COVID-19 have led judges across the United States to exclude or limit public and media participation in trials.

While Kelly’s trial, which ended last month with her conviction, a New York federal judge banned the press and the public from the courtroom because jurors were seated six feet apart in the gallery normally used by observers. Viewers could watch a live video stream in a busy courtroom, but it offered no view of the jury and only limited footage of the accused, witnesses and exhibits. At one point, prosecutors played a recording that jurors listened to through headphones, with no sound available to the press and the public.

The judge rejected a request from media groups, including the Associated Press, to allow pool reporters into the courtroom for much of the trial, letting in six reporters only when the verdict was announced.

A similar scenario occurred last week in Ohio, where a federal judge cited the pandemic while keeping the public away the courtroom for the trial of Yanjun Xu, a Chinese official accused of trying to steal trade secrets from US aviation and aerospace companies. There was no public access to the jury selection. Audio from the trial was shown to media in a conference room.

Overflow rooms are better than nothing, but often leave observers unable to see the full context of what is going on, such as the reaction of jurors as evidence is presented, New York lawyer Rachel Strom said, who represented the media in the R. Kelly case.

“We don’t know what we missed by not having anyone in the courtroom,” Strom said.

After the PA and other media filed lawsuits, a judge in Georgia only awarded two media pool seats in the courtroom just before jury selection began. in the trial of three white men accused of pursuing and killing Arbery. Graphic cellphone video of the shot dead 25-year-old black man sparked nationwide outrage last year, and the trial is closely watched as a referendum on how the legal system treats victims black. The judge has since allowed a third reporter and a photographer to enter the courtroom.

In another high-profile case, the press and the public were first allowed to listen to court proceedings remotely as pop star Britney Spears sought to end her father’s tutelage over her finances. But the Los Angeles County Superior Court struck down remote access after someone taped a hearing, and the court refused to reinstate it for a hearing in September when Spears was released of his father’s negligence. Instead, the court allowed more people into the courtroom.

USA Today recently asked the California Supreme Court order the restoration of remote audio for the public and the media.

“No one should have to risk their health to exercise their constitutional right of access by going to court and appearing in person,” USA Today said in its court record. He also suggested that the remote audio program should continue “even when the pandemic ends”.

The California request highlights how the pandemic has altered expectations about what is considered dirty roulette public access.

“As the courts reopen, they should seriously consider keeping a certain amount of remote access available to the public,” said Lin Weeks, an attorney at the Journalists’ Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Many courts now routinely use video conferencing in civil proceedings, for bail proceedings in criminal cases, and for family law disputes such as child custody and divorce cases. Some also use video conferencing to select jurors or to conduct full jury trials.

Judicial authorities say virtual proceedings have saved lawyers, jurors, litigants and defendants time and money, who no longer have to go to a courthouse, take time off work or go to court. organize childcare. Courts have also seen fewer no-shows among those called to virtual jury pools and, as a result, a greater diversity of juries.

“It’s been a lifeline as we tried to keep the justice system moving during the pandemic, but it’s also been transformational,” said Sean O’Donnell, Superior Court Judge for King County, Washington. , home of Seattle.

King County judges have conducted about 700 online trials, including about 50 with jurors. In a trial that O’Donnell presided over last week, the judge, lawyers, witnesses and jurors appeared on a 20-box Zoom screen that the public could see on YouTube. Two jurors were seated in clothes closets. One of them participated from his vehicle. Another was reprimanded by O’Donnell for removing his cat from view of the camera. A witness testified from Oregon, a few hundred kilometers away.

Despite these quirks, the virtual trial proceeded much like a regular trial, with lawyers taking turns interviewing witnesses and evidence documents displayed on the screen for all to see. There were even periodic breaks during which participants stood up and stretched.

The conduct of the trial also freed up space at the courthouse. To accommodate social distancing, in-person trials use up to three separate courtrooms – one for the actual trial, a second for the public to view from a distance, and a third for the jury to use during. breaks and deliberations, O’Donnell said. .

Across the Hawaiian island chain, the ability to virtually observe the courts has increased public access during the pandemic.

John Burnett, reporter for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, was unable to cover state Supreme Court or United States district court proceedings before the pandemic because it required a plane ride 50 minutes from Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, where its based in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Now he regularly listens to federal court cases by phone and watches State Supreme Court arguments on YouTube.

“I think they should become permanent things because let’s face it, we’re talking about public information here,” Burnett said. “If we can’t put our boots on the real pitch, at least if we can have a virtual pitch – it’s as good a substitute as we could hope for.”

___

David A. Lieb reported from Jefferson City, Missouri. Associated Press editors Russ Bynum in Brunswick, Georgia, Tom Hays in New York, and Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.

David A. Lieb, The Associated Press

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