US brokers prospective flights between Serbia, Kosovo

BERLIN — U.S. diplomats on Monday oversaw the signing of an agreement between Serbia, Kosovo and German airline Lufthansa on the resumption of commercial flights intended to help improve economic ties between the Balkan nations.

Serbia and Kosovo have remained uneasy neighbours ever since their 1998-99 war that claimed more than 10,000 lives and left over 1 million people homeless.

Serbia continues to consider Kosovo part of its territory, although its independence has been recognized by about 100 countries, including the United States.

U.S. National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien said the ‘letter of intent’ signed in Berlin between representatives of the two countries marked a “historic deal,” calling commercial air links the “lifeblood of a modern economy.”

O’Brien said there have been no commercial flights between Kosovo and Serbia in 21 years. Currently, it takes over five hours to travel from Belgrade to Pristina overland.

The agreement was inked

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BBC chief Tony Hall to step down amid mounting challenges

LONDON — BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced Monday that he will step down from the helm of the U.K. broadcaster in six months after seven years in the job.

Hall said he was quitting so that a new leader can oversee a mid-term review of the BBC’s funding in 2022, and a renewal of its governing charter, due in 2027.

The announcement comes as the publicly funded BBC is facing intense political and public pressure amid a fast-changing media landscape and viewing habits. It has been criticized by both sides of the Brexit debate over its coverage of the U.K.’s impending departure from the European Union, and some in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government have suggested changing the BBC’s funding model.

The broadcaster currently is funded largely through a 154 pound a year ($200 a year) fee paid by every household with a television. It is not state-controlled, though

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James Dean revival spurs debate on raising the digital dead

LOS ANGELES — The men bringing James Dean back to life for a forthcoming film are aiming not just to give his digital likeness a role, but a whole new career.

Dean’s planned appearance in the Vietnam War movie “Finding Jack,” and the possibility of future parts, comes as digital de-aging and duplication of real actors has tipped from cinematic trick into common practice. And it’s giving new life to old arguments about the immortality and dignity of the dead.

“Our intentions are to create the virtual being of James Dean. That’s not only for one movie, but going to be used for many movies and also gaming and virtual reality,” said Travis Cloyd, CEO of Worldwide XR, who is leading the design on the Dean project. “Our focus is on building the ultimate James Dean so he can live across any medium.”

Legally, they have every right to do

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