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‘Walking Dead’: Carl’s 10 Greatest Moments


'Walking Dead': Carl's 10 Greatest Moments

THR takes one last look at Chandler Riggs' performance in the AMC zombie series.

The end is nigh for the boy with one eye: Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), sentenced to death via zombie bite to the abdomen, will walk away from The Walking Dead during Sunday's midseason premiere.

Carl's death marks the most significant change from the Walking Dead comic books to date, as the character not only remains alive and well in Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's source material on which the show is based, but stands poised to some day take over the lead role if and when the day arrives that his father, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), is no longer around. The show will have to carve a new way forward, with Carl set to succumb to his infection by the end of the first new Walking Dead episode of 2018, called "Honor."

Who will take on Carl's role from the comics moving forward? There's so much still in the character's future for the show to explore, most intriguingly his key relationship with one of the most memorable sets of villains in the comic's lore.

"I was excited to do a lot of those storylines in the comics because there's a lot of really cool stuff," Chandler Riggs previously told The Hollywood Reporter, speaking in an interview published on the night his character's fate was revealed. "I'm more excited to do other things than The Walking Dead than I was excited about doing those things on Walking Dead."

Riggs' optimism about the future is surely emboldened by the work he already accomplished in his time on the show. As one of few characters from season one still active (at least for now), Carl has seen and done more than most others in the zombie apocalypse. With his exit looming, here's one last look at Carl Grimes' greatest moments during his time in the world of The Walking Dead.

10. Take No Prisoners

Carl started the series as a wide-eyed innocent, helpless in a hopeless world. By the end of the show's third season, however, Carl was taking matters into his own hands, gunning down one of the soldiers from Woodbury in the finale's climactic confrontation. It was a dark moment for Carl, but a necessary one for the next phase of his journey, as Rick worked tirelessly to bring his son back from the brink of a world gone mad.

9. Going Clear

The entirety of "Clear," the season three episode centered on Rick, Carl and Michonne (Danai Gurira) encountering Morgan Jones (Lennie James) for the first time since his appearance in the pilot, stands out as a highlight in Walking Dead lore. But Carl's storyline with Michonne in the episode — in which they both fight together to find some rare family heirlooms — is an unsung part of its success, not the least of which is because it was the first step in the unexpected friendship between Kid Grimes and his sword-swinging stepmom.

8. Assault on the Sanctuary

Carl was often impulsive, acting out against the wisdom of his elders. Case in point: Carl's impending demise, a direct result of abandoning his post in Alexandria. Before that final, fatal example, Carl's most memorable rogue mission took place in season seven, when he tried to single-handedly take down Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors. Mission failure, but it succeeded in bringing a few iconic moments from the comics to life.

7. The Last Stand

Another memorable scene between Carl and Negan, and quite likely their last: the confrontation between the two survivors at the gates of Alexandria in season eight's midseason finale. At the time, we didn't know Carl's offer to sacrifice himself for the safety of his people came with an asterisk, that his clock was already ticking down to zero due to the zombie bite. In hindsight, it's a haunting moment between Carl and his father's greatest adversary, one that's easily among the character's single most heroic moments.

6. Science Dog

Less of a Carl moment, and more of a Carl thing (and stuff): the "Science Dog" t-shirt he wears throughout the first season of the series. For those who aren't aware, Carl's shirt in season one is a direct reference to one of the earliest works by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman: Science Dog, a character who you pretty much already know everything about based on his name. It was an excellent Easter egg for fans of Kirkman's works and the Walking Dead comics in the early going of the show, and it's easily Carl's best clothing accessory all series long — with all due respect to the hat.

5. Becoming a Meme

Again, less of a Carl moment, and more of a meta moment involving Carl. In the aftermath of one of the single most brutal scenes in the entire series — the death of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) early on in season three — Rick and Carl share a tearful acknowledgment about what's just happened to the most important woman in their lives. It's a devastating scene, absolutely, but outside of the show, it's the source of some unexpected hilarity, in the form of a meme in which Rick slays Carl with awful dad jokes. Here's one example, and here's another. Fine, one more for good measure. The Walking Dead isn't best known for its sense of humor, so it's worth tipping the cap in those rare occasions.

4. Days Gone Eye

The biggest heart-in-the-throat moment involving Carl, his death notwithstanding, arrived at the midpoint of season six. In an attempt to escape an overrun Alexandria, Rick and the gang wore zombie guts to blend in with the surrounding walkers. It did not go so well for the Anderson family, leading to some violent pandemonium in which a stray bullet knocked Carl's eye clean out of its socket. The moment reads like it's Carl's last, thanks in large part to epic effects work from Greg Nicotero and his team.

3. The Great Pudding Caper

In the aftermath of the prison's decimation, Carl is left to defend his father, and fend for himself. As a result, he goes off on an expedition in which he battles a walker, loses a shoe, and gains a huge tub of chocolate pudding for his troubles. Carl eating pudding is the pinnacle of Carl memes, sure, but it's more than that. It's a great moment of levity at a time the show desperately needs it; after losing the prison, Hershel (Scott Wilson), and temporarily baby Judith, Carl pounding pounds of pudding on a roof with no one to witness except a lone walker was the exact thing we needed.

2. The Killer Within

Among the reasons why season three is often considered one of the best Walking Dead runs in the show's history, the early assault on the prison ranks high on the list — especially as it results in the end of two prominent characters, including Lori, a much earlier departure than her death in the comics. Carl's involvement in the moment is a big shock as well, as he's present at the time of her death, and even goes on to stop her from coming back as a walker. It's one of the most emotional and upsetting scenes in the series, one that derives much of its power from a young Chandler Riggs' work as Carl, and one that serves as a huge turning point for the character moving forward.

1. The End

Without getting into too much detail, Carl's final moments will stand out as his most memorable in the history of the show. His exit episode, "Honor," lives up to its title: it fully honors Carl Grimes and his impact on The Walking Dead, complete with what's easily Chandler Riggs' best acting in his eight seasons with the series. As a teaser: we may have already seen shades of Carl's final moments earlier this season. We'll leave it there for now, and will have much more to say after the episode airs.

What are your favorite Carl moments? Sound off in the comments below, and keep checking for more coverage.

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‘Unsolved’ Stars Theorize Why Tupac and Biggie’s Killers Were Never Caught


'Unsolved' Stars Theorize Why Tupac and Biggie's Killers Were Never Caught

Marcc Rose (left) and Wavyy Jonez

The series creators told THR they think they know who committed the decades-old murders.

USA's new true crime series, Unsolved, attempts to solve the decades-old murders of two of pop culture's biggest figures: Tupac and Biggie Smalls. In the process, the cast and creators told The Hollywood Reporter at the show's Los Angeles premiere that not only did they come up with what they believe actually happened, they also have their own theories as to why those crimes are still unsolved 20 years later.

"I think there's this presumption that, 'Well, it can't be that satisfying of a show because it's unsolved,' and I really don't think that's the case," creator Kyle Long told THR. "I really think we lay it all out there in a way that's interesting. We definitely show what conclusions some police officers came to and the audience will have to make up their mind."

Executive producer Anthony Hemingway, who directed the majority of the ten-episode series, went even further: "The show's themes deal with perception and how perception challenges your best judgment, and just reminds us that we need to stop and think about our actions. By watching the show unfold, there is so much clarity that comes and new information that we just had no idea [about]. … It'll show you the hard work that went into solving this case. You'll really get to see why it's unsolved, because we do solve it."

Tupac Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in late 1996, and Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in early 1997.

Unsolved lays out several reasons why the crimes remain unsolved, how they were linked and who could have committed them. But the actors have several of their own theories as to why the killers were never arrested.

"I think it's still officially unsolved because 20 years ago, people didn't care enough that two young black men were killed and it was swept under the rug for a bit," says star Jimmi Simpson, who plays Russell Poole, the LAPD detective tasked with finding Biggie's killer. "Then by the time it got into the hands of someone who was desperate to solve it, LAPD was giving him a hard time. Cut to 15 years later, half of the essential witnesses are dead and now we've missed our opportunity to legally solve it because of a mishandling, in my opinion, in the justice system."

Josh Duhamel, who plays Detective Greg Kading, the man tasked by the LAPD to solve the same crime a decade later, said he thinks there are several reasons why the crimes are still unsolved — and will remain that way.

"There's so much conflicting testimony. It would cost a tremendous amount of money. The guys who did it are dead. And it's just one of those things that would just take away too many resources, I think," he said. "It's unfortunate because I feel like these families deserve justice. But aside from some kind of a deathbed confession, I don't know if it'll ever be solved."

And the fact that many of the key witnesses and suspects are not alive doesn't exactly help matters.

"I think these crimes are unsolved because a lot of people are scared to speak up and try to get them solved," said Marcc Rose, who plays Tupac. "Aside from that, I feel a lot of people around that time who testified are no longer alive or maybe in prison. So it's really, really hard to try to put the pieces together."

Rose played the famous rapper briefly in the film Straight Outta Compton, but tackled the role again, this time for the entire series.

"In Compton, my job was to show him in the studio, how he felt with his music, his excitement, what went down between him and Dre, but I was so blessed with Unsolved. We got 10 episodes. So I get to show peel the layers back of who he was. You get to see the humanity between this guy. He's a human being. He's a brother. He's a son. You get to see the humanity, and the friendship between him and Biggie."

After walking the red carpet, the cast and crew gathered in VIP booths inside Hollywood's Avalon nightclub for a screening of the first episode. Following the screening, the club turned into a full concert venue as the screen lifted up to reveal a full band, and Wavyy Jonez, who plays Biggie in the series, performed a short set.

The afterparty-turned-concert continued with long sets from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony — a group that worked with both Tupac and Biggie, and paid tribute to both men in their set — and Busta Rhymes.

Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. premieres Feb. 27 on USA Network.

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The hidden sounds in ‘Star Wars’ revealed by its Oscar-nominated team


'Star Wars' sound designers reveal the secret sounds used to bring BB-8, porgs to life in ABC News documentary

PlayLucasfilm Ltd.

WATCH The Force of Sound: Creating sounds in galaxy far, far away

When a 16-year-old Matthew Wood applied for a job as a quality assurance technician in February of 1990, he had a suspicion who he might be working for. But he wasn’t sure he was qualified.

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Outside of playing a ton of video games, he had zero work experience and had never created a resume.

“I asked my dad, ‘What else should I put on my resume?’” Wood told ABC News. “He said, ‘Put some special facts about yourself.’ And I said, ‘Special Facts: In excellent health, living with parents.’”

Wood faxed his resume to a number in Nicasio, California, which a little sleuthing told him was either a dairy farm or — more likely — Skywalker Ranch, the mythical filmmaking campus owned by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.

“Somehow, they called me back,” he said.

Twenty-eight years later, Wood still drives the winding ranch roads, past vineyards and a pond dubbed “Lake Ewok” to reach his office. Since starting as a video game tester, he’s now worked his way up to supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound, the cutting-edge production company where hundreds of filmmakers come every year to edit and polish the soundtracks of their movies.

PHOTO: Oscar nominees Ren Klyce and Matthew Wood analyze the sound design of a scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.Evan Simon/ABC News
Oscar nominees Ren Klyce and Matthew Wood analyze the sound design of a scene in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

The team working with Wood and sound designer Ren Klyce recently completed work on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” garnering two Academy Award nominations. Klyce and Wood were nominated for sound editing. Klyce, David Parker, and Michael Semanick were nominated for sound mixing.

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While the whiz-bang visual effects by Industrial Light and Magic — or ILM — often get the most attention in a "Star Wars" film, Wood says sound design plays an equally important role in storytelling.

“Sound is an emotion, like a subconscious force,” Wood said. “You hear it and it’s a pure feeling. And we can get away with a lot of different things that can convey emotion that visuals can’t.”

The DNA of Skywalker Sound goes back to 1975, when Lucas hired now-legendary sound designer Ben Burtt to build a giant library of sounds for the "Star Wars" galaxy: blasters, lightsabers, droids, spaceships and wookiees.

The “The Last Jedi” script required the Skywalker Sound team to come up with effects for a variety of new alien creatures.

On a Skywalker Sound Foley stage, artists use a variety of props to perform thousands of sound effects that Wood describes as the “glue” of a soundtrack. Whenever a character picks up a lightsaber, flicks a switch or takes a step, it’s performed by a Foley artist to match the action on screen.

PHOTO: Foley artist Margie OMalley uses a wind chime to create the sound effects for the crystal critters in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.Connor Burton/ABC News
Foley artist Margie O'Malley uses a wind chime to create the sound effects for the crystal critters in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

Foley veterans Margie O’Malley and Ronni Brown discovered wind chimes that were perfect for the Vulptex, a fox-like animal completely covered in crystals.

PHOTO: Foley artists Margie OMalley and Ronni Brown create the sound effects fathier creatures in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.Connor Burton/ABC News
Foley artists Margie O'Malley and Ronni Brown create the sound effects fathier creatures in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

Sound editor Coya Elliot recorded Skywalker Ranch chickens that eventually became the seabird-like porgs.

PHOTO: A scene from the movie Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, 2017.IMDB
A scene from the movie "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi," 2017.
PHOTO: Vulptex in a scene from Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, 2017.IMDB
Vulptex in a scene from "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi," 2017.

“What’s so wonderful about sound is that when it is done right and when it is married to the picture in such a way, people just accept that what they’re seeing is making that sound,” Klyce said.

In some cases Klyce and Wood, working with director Rian Johnson, found ways to use near-silence to create certain emotional effects.

“We have multiple moments in the film when we really try to take it down into almost this vacuum, to this isolated moment of vulnerability and intimacy,” Wood said.

Many of those moments — like the “Force connection” scenes between Kylo Ren and Rey — Klyce credits to Johnson.

PHOTO: Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) uses the force to communicate with Rey through space and time in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.Disney/Lucasfilm
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) uses the force to communicate with Rey through space and time in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

“That came about first and foremost from wanting a sense of intimacy, and wanting a sense of, we’re going to connect these two through this weird interstellar walkie-talkie Force power," Johnson said. “What’s the simplest way that we can make the world go away so that these two are just separated by a few feet? And my mind immediately went to, OK, what if then the sound vanishes?”

“It was a fun process to go through,” said Klyce. “He was the one who drove that, you know? We get to take credit for it but really he created that.”

Johnson said one of those near-silent moments — he calls it the “Holdo maneuver” — was an idea he came up with when he was writing “The Last Jedi.”

“This Holdo maneuver is something that has arguably never been done in this world,” Johnson said. “This whole thing takes place in like a fraction of a second, communicating that it’s outside of time, this moment. The sound going away for that, and then only catching up with us once we cut to that big wide shot, seemed really enticing.”

PHOTO: Sound designers used silence for dramatic effect in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.Disney/Lucasfilm
Sound designers used silence for dramatic effect in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

Skywalker Sound also gets high marks from ILM visual effects guru John Knoll, who said the right audio helps “sell” the illusion of computer-generated scenes.

“Good sound helps add richness and believability to the images you are seeing and do a lot to convince your brain that what you are seeing is real,” Knoll told ABC News. “The sound of rending metal and cracking glass can create the illusion that you're seeing more detail in our crashing spaceship shot than there really was because our friends at SkySound are using a different pathway into your brain to convey that information."

PHOTO: Director Rian Johnson with Oscar Isaac and John Boyega on the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, 2017.IMDB
Director Rian Johnson with Oscar Isaac and John Boyega on the set of "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi," 2017.

Klyce said he’s not bothered when audiences don’t notice all of the team’s hard work.

“I think that it’s a good compliment,” he said. “If your work is invisible that means that you’re doing your job properly and that it’s actually working."

Johnson said it’s hard to describe just how much sound brings a movie to life.

“It doesn’t feel like a movie until you get that sound mix tuned in,” Johnson said. “And it’s hard to describe why. It’s kind of magical. It’s kind of what’s fun about it, I think.”

Skywalker Sound and Lucasfilm are both divisions of ABC’s parent company, Disney.

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2nd Russian athlete fails doping test at Winter Olympics


2nd Russian athlete fails doping test at Winter Olympics

PlayArnd Wiegmann/Reuters

WATCH Winter Olympics 2018: Everything you need to know about the Pyeongchang Games

A second Russian athlete has failed a doping test at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, days after a Russian curler had to hand back a bronze medal over a doping offense, reviving once again the doping scandal that has hung around Russia at the Games and hurting the country's chances of being reinstated for the closing ceremony this weekend.

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The Russian Bobsled Federation in a statement confirmed that Nadezhda Sergeeva, a bobsled pilot for the Russian women’s team in Pyeongchang, had tested positive for a banned heart medication.

The federation’s president, Alexander Zubkov, told The Associated Press that Sergeeva denied taking the substance and team doctors had not prescribed it. The federation said that Sergeeva, 30, whose sled placed 12th in the women’s competition on Wednesday, had passed a doping test five days earlier.

“Federation representatives at the Olympics are starting to prepare a defense,” Zubkov told the AP, saying they did not understand how the substance had appeared in Sergeeva's test.

PHOTO: Nadezhda Sergeeva (front) and Anastasia Kocherzhova of the Olympic Athlete from Russia in action during the Womens Bobsleigh Heats at the Olympic Sliding Centre during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games, South Korea, Feb. 21, 2018.DANIEL KOPATSCH/EPA via Shutterstock
Nadezhda Sergeeva (front) and Anastasia Kocherzhova of the Olympic Athlete from Russia in action during the Women's Bobsleigh Heats at the Olympic Sliding Centre during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games, South Korea, Feb. 21, 2018.

The federation did not specify what the medication in Sergeeva's sample was, but the AP cited Russian Olympic delegation officials that it was trimetazdine, a drug for treating angina and one that's included in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances. The drug has appeared in previous doping cases, the AP reported, noting that the Chinese swimmer, Sun Yang, an Olympic gold medalist, was banned for three months after testing positive for it in 2014. Yang said he had been prescribed it for a medical condition and had been unaware it was banned.

PHOTO: Yang Sun of China celebrates winning gold in the Mens 200m Freestyle Final on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Aug. 8, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Al Bello/Getty Images, FILE
Yang Sun of China celebrates winning gold in the Men's 200m Freestyle Final on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Aug. 8, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Sergeeva's failed test shed light again on the Russian doping scandal and marred an otherwise triumphant day for the country, whose skaters took gold and silver in the women's figure skating competition. Before the Games, Sergeeva had been a poster girl for the Russian team. Last year she appeared in a promotional video released by Zasport, the supplier for the Russian Olympic team's uniforms, in which she wore a sweater with the words, "I don't do doping" written on it.

But her positive doping test now cast further doubt on Russian hopes of being reinstated for the Games’ closing ceremony on Sunday.

The International Olympic Committee banned Russia from these Games as punishment for a coverup of systemic doping among its athletes, who are competing in Pyeongchang as neutrals. A small group of Russian athletes were allowed in under a special status — Olympic Athletes from Russia — after passing IOC vetting. Russia’s national flag and anthem have been forbidden from appearing throughout the Games.

Russian officials though had been holding out for a return to normality during the closing ceremony. The terms of the ban held out the chance for it to be lifted during the ceremony provided Russia had met its conditions during the Olympics, including ensuring anti-doping rules are observed and that banned athletes and officials were not permitted to appear at the Games.

The IOC is due to vote on Saturday whether to reinstate Russia’s national Olympic Committee, which would effectively mark an end to the punishments imposed on the country for the doping scandal.

But the implication of two Russian athletes for doping will increase the pressure on the IOC to keep the country out of the ceremony. The Russian curler, Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, was stripped of a bronze medal he won with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, after he accepted a partial suspension for failing a doping test. Krushelnitckii has denied taking the drug meldonium that was found in both his test samples, but acknowledged the positive test results and withdrew his appeal from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) before it could officially ban him.

Russian sporting officials and Krushelnitckii have loudly protested his innocence, alleging he must have had his drink spiked. Russia’s curling federation has asked the country’s law enforcement to investigate whether Krushelnitckii could have been sabotaged. A source involved in the curler’s defense told the newspaper Kommersant that Krushelnitckii could be a victim of “doping terrorism.” The International Curling Federation will now investigate the case and decide what punishment to impose on Krushelnitckii.

Coaches and other athletes have pointed out that curling is a sport in which doping makes no sense. The drug, meldonium, is also grimly familiar to Russian athletes — its banning by WADA in 2016 wreaked havoc on the country’s sports, with dozens of Russian athletes, including tennis star Maria Sharapova testing positive for it. Some coaches and athletes have insisted that it would be absurd for Krushelnitckii to have used it given its notoriety.

PHOTO: Russias Aleksandr Krushelnitckii brushes the ice surface during the curling mixed doubles round robin session between the U.S. and the Olympic Athletes from Russia during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, Feb. 8, 2018.Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images
Russia's Aleksandr Krushelnitckii brushes the ice surface during the curling mixed doubles round robin session between the U.S. and the Olympic Athletes from Russia during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, Feb. 8, 2018.

“I don’t believe that a young man, a clever man, will use the same doping which was so big the last two years. It’s stupid. But Alexander is not stupid,” Russian women’s curling Coach Sergei Belanov told The Toronto Star. “Sorry, I don’t believe it.”

An IOC spokesman, Mark Adams, told reporters this week that the case could impact the decision to reinstate Russia, saying it would be taken into consideration. There have been other doping cases at these Olympics; Japanese speed skater Kei Saito and Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic left the Games after failing tests.

Some had interpreted Krushelnitckii's acceptance of the suspension as a sign that Russia had struck a deal with Olympic organizers to muffle the scandal in return for reinstating the country for the ceremony.

Russia had appeared to be gearing up for the reinstatement, paying a $15 million fine to the IOC that was imposed for the doping scandal and which was a condition for lifting the ban. Some had also been encouraged by comments from South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, who thanked Russian sports officials at a reception this week, telling them the presence of Russian athletes had “made our games better.”

The Russian Bobsled Federation in a statement appeared to acknowledge that Sergeeva’s failed test could undo those hopes.

“The Federation and the athlete herself understand the measure of our responsibility and how what has happened can affect the fates of all the teams,” the federation said in a statement.

Russia's bobsled team had been heavily entangled in the doping scandal. The federation president, Zubkov, a former bobsledder himself, was given a life-time ban and stripped of two gold medals by the IOC for doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. Zubkov, along with four other Russian bobsledders, were among the minority of Russian athletes who the CAS still found to have committed doping violations when it overturned IOC bans for 28 Russian athletes ahead of the Olympics for lack of evidence. The CAS converted Zubkov's life-time ban to a one-off ban for this Olympics, but still ruled he had made a violation.

Krushelnitckii's disqualification had already prompted some to argue that Russia’s Olympic ban should continue. This week Richard McLaren, the Canadian lawyer whose investigation for WADA laid the basis for the ban, told the British newspaper the Evening Standard he felt the IOC had made a "huge step backwards" in fighting state-organized doping.

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CDC seeking $400 million to replace lab for deadliest germs


CDC seeking $400 million to replace lab for deadliest germs

The Associated Press
This Sep. 9, 2005, photo provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the then newly constructed 11-story Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory located at the CDC's Roybal campus in Atlanta. Thirteen years after building the state-of-the-art lab for the world’s most dangerous germs, the nation's top public health agency is asking for more than $400 million to build a new one. CDC is asking Congress for the money. Its officials say the current lab building in Atlanta is quickly wearing down, and cannot be upgraded without shutting down the facility for years. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

Thirteen years after building a state-of-the-art lab for the world's most dangerous germs, the nation's top public health agency is asking for more than $400 million to build a new one.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the current lab building in Atlanta is quickly wearing down, and cannot be upgraded without shutting down the facility for years. The lab investigates deadly and exotic germs like Ebola, smallpox and dangerous new forms of flu.

The agency disclosed its plans for a new lab on Friday.

The CDC lab is one of only eight U.S. labs with the security and safety features necessary to work with the highest-threat germs, said James Le Duc, director of one of them, the University of Texas's Galveston National Laboratory. Five of the eight are run by the federal government.

The lab is housed in a 400,000-square-foot concrete building located in the heart of the CDC's main campus. It uses eye scanners and other James Bond-like security measures to restrict access. Workers wear protective gear and there's a web of computerized systems that monitor workers, lock doors, and ensure that dangerous germs don't escape.

It opened in 2005 and cost $214 million, although the lab area that handles the most fearsome bugs didn't begin work until 2009. It replaced a CDC lab that had operated for 20 years. The architect firm that worked on it, HDR Inc., predicted the building would serve the CDC for 50 years.

Some experts said they are a little surprised CDC is talking about replacing the high-containment lab so soon.

"Having a lab being replaced after about 12 years seems unusual," said Stephen Higgs, director of the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University.

Some parts needed at the CDC lab are no longer made and engineers determined a new building is necessary because of the complexity of the systems, said Dr. Inger Damon, who oversees much of the lab work involving dangerous germs.

It will take four years to construct a new building and related infrastructure, so the money is needed now, CDC officials said. The CDC is asking Congress for $350 million for the lab and more than $50 million for related work. Government officials last week approached Congress about a plan to fund the CDC project with discretionary funds.

"The longer it takes, the more likely there will be a failure. And if there's a failure, we lose an essential line of defense" against disease threats, said the CDC's former director, Dr. Tom Frieden.

A number of problems have been reported over the years in the building, including a 2009 decontamination shower failure and a 2015 fire in a lower-level lab. But Frieden said overall the facility has performed well and the incidents were not the reason for the replacement plans.

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Lawmakers battle over bill to prevent breaching of dams


Lawmakers battle over bill to prevent breaching of dams

The Associated Press
FILE – In this Oct. 19, 2016 file photo, a man fishes for salmon in the Snake River above the Lower Granite Dam in Washington state. Three Republican U.S. House members from Washington state are criticizing Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for opposing their legislation that would prevent the breaching of four dams on the Snake River to help improve endangered salmon runs. (Jesse Tinsley /The Spokesman-Review via AP, File)

Three Republican U.S. House members are criticizing Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and other lawmakers for opposing their legislation that would prevent the breaching of four dams on the Snake River to restore endangered salmon runs.

The three Republicans from the state of Washington support a bipartisan bill that seeks to maintain existing dam operations until at least 2022.

Murray and two Democratic House members from the Seattle area are pushing an environmental study to examine alternatives for salmon recovery, including breaching one or more of the dams to aid fish migration to and from the Pacific Ocean.

"It's unthinkable that Seattle Democrats are putting politics over science when it comes to improving fish recovery efforts," Reps. Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler said in a release this week. "Millions of dollars have been spent studying these dams and improvements have been made to improve fish survival rates."

The skirmish is the latest in a decades-long battle that pits environmentalists against users of the Columbia-Snake river system.

Fish advocates blame the four dams, built in the 1960s and 1970s, with decimating iconic salmon runs in the river system. But supporters of the dams point to the benefits of hydropower and navigation provided by the dams, and say fish ladders and other methods of transporting salmon past the dams are helping restore the runs.

Murray sent a letter on Tuesday to Senate and House leaders criticizing Newhouse's bill that supports existing dam operations.

The letter, also signed by Democratic U.S. Reps. Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal, contends Newhouse's bill would circumvent a process to consider all uses of the river system. Managers must consider salmon recovery, fisheries, irrigation, navigation, power generation, flood protection and recreation, they said.

"The Columbia and Snake River system is essential to the Pacific Northwest's culture, environment and economy," the Democrats said.

In 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon of Portland, Oregon, ordered the new environmental review and a new federal biological opinion. The current biological opinion, created by federal agencies, states and tribes to protect salmon while operating the dams, does not do enough to rebuild endangered fish populations, the judge ruled.

The study is intended to evaluate the costs and benefits of multiple alternatives, ranging from no changes to removing all four dams. There have been 18 public meetings in the Pacific Northwest and more than 412,000 public comments have been submitted, according to the letter.

Simon also has ordered more water to be spilled over dams starting this spring, which is intended to help out-migrating juvenile salmon swim more quickly and safely to the ocean. Some critics of the decision say the spill would do little to help fish and could create high gas levels in the water that can harm juvenile fish.

The spilled water would otherwise be used for power generation, and will cost Washington residents $40 million in higher electric rates this year, Newhouse said.

"They claim to support clean renewable energy, while simultaneously working to destroy hydropower, Washington state's largest source of carbon-neutral, clean energy," Newhouse said. "Breaching the dams … should not even be an option."

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