Olympic officials shoot down cancellation rumours amid coronavirus outbreak | Stuff.co.nz

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Tokyo Olympic organisers are trying to shoot down rumours that this year’s 2020 Games might be cancelled or postponed because of the spread of a new virus.

Japan has so far reported no deaths from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200 people in China. Japanese organisers have hesitated to say much for several days, but on Friday they addressed the rumours. So did the International Olympic Committee, which also has said little.

Olympic organisers have finally addressed rumours that the Tokyo Games could be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

The Olympics open on July 24, just under six months away.

“We have never discussed cancelling the games,” Tokyo organisers said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with the IOC and relevant organisations and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary.”

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* Coronavirus: How does NZ compare? 

* Coronavirus dooms Winter X Games 
* McCaw understands Olympics pressure 

Rumours of a cancellation have spread in Japan with reports that the Swiss-based IOC has met with the World Health Organisation about the outbreak. The WHO has called the virus a global emergency.

“Preparations for Tokyo 2020 continue as planned,” the IOC said in a statement. “It is normal practice for the IOC to collaborate with all the main UN agencies, as necessary, in the lead up to the games and this naturally includes the WHO.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speaking earlier in the week to the heads of 62 municipalities, warned about the dangers. Japan has also urged citizens not to travel to China.

“We must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it,” she said.

Rumours have spread online with thousands of comments on Twitter under the hashtag in Japanese “Tokyo Olympic Cancelled”.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, is pressing ahead with the construction of two purpose-built hospitals.

The IOC has faced challenges like this before, and carries insurance for such possibilities. It has cancelled Olympics during wartime, and faced boycotts in 1980 and 1984. It also held the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City just months after the 9-11 attacks in the United States.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus also cast a shadow over the run-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The larger problem for the Olympics could come with qualifying events in China and elsewhere being cancelled or postponed. International federations will have to reschedule events and Chinese athletes could present extra challenges and screening.

World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, announced earlier in the week it was postponing the world indoor championships in Nanjing, China, until next year. The event had been scheduled for March 13-15.

Travel, screening and allaying fears are certain to be more complicated if the outbreak continues. The 11,000 athletes expected to compete at the Tokyo Olympics will also face pressure to stay safe.

Sponsors and television networks who have invested billions of dollars will also try to keep the games on track.

Demand for Olympic tickets in Japan is unprecedented, exceeding supply by at least 10 times. Organisers say 7.8 million tickets are being issued for the Olympics.

Organisers say they are spending about US$12.6 billion to put on the games. But a national audit bureau says the costs are twice that much.

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Special screening of BBC series ‘This Country’ coming to Gloucestershire and tickets are completely free – Gloucestershire Live

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For fans of the Cotswold based hit TV show ‘This Country’ you could be in for a treat.

BBC Three is bringing the series back to its Cotswolds roots on January 23 – and tickets are completely free.

Fans will get to see the first two episodes of the new series followed by a Q&A with sibling stars Daisy and Charlie Cooper, producer Simon Mayhew-Archer and director Tom George.

Coming back to its Gloucestershire roots on January 23 in Cirencester the special screening will be hosted by BBC Points West Gloucestershire reporter Steve Knibbs.

Tickets to the event at Bingham Hall, Cirencester , will be allocated though a random ballot.

You can apply for tickets from 10am on January 3 to 10am on January 10.

Charlie Cooper otherwise known as ‘Lee “Kurtan” Mucklowe’ said: “We are so excited to have the screening of series three here in our hometown Cirencester , where the show was created.

“Some would call it a homecoming but the problem is we’ve never left. Big up the Cotswolds !”

This Country follows cousins Kerry and Lee ‘Kurtan’ Mucklowe through their quiet country lives.

The video will start in 8Cancel

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At the 2018 BAFTAs This Country won the award for Best Scripted Comedy and Daisy won Best Female Comedy Performance. More than 33 million people have requested the show on iPlayer.

The new series airs in early 2020.

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Stephanie Marshall, Head of the BBC in the West and South West, said: “We love bringing national series like This Country back to where they were made. It’s a way of thanking people in the area by giving them a sneak peek before the rest of the UK.

“Amazingly more than 4,000 people applied for tickets to the This Country screening last year.

“The BBC is committed to make more and more of its TV, radio and online content outside of London. In fact, more than 50 per cent of all our shows are now made outside of the capital.”

To apply go to the BBC Shows and Tours website here .

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Coronavirus spreads to more than 800 in China: First death outside epicentre | Stuff.co.nz

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China’s National Health Commission said Friday afternoon (NZ time) the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths.

The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicentre of the outbreak.

The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Many countries are screening travellers from China for symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation has decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, a step that can bring more money and resources to fight a threat but that can also cause trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage, making the decision a politically fraught one.

The decision “should not be taken as a sign that WHO does not think the situation is serious or that we’re not taking it seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “WHO is following this outbreak every minute of every day.”

The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that originate in animals before making the jump to humans.

Chinese authorities moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. While sweeping measures are typical of China’s Communist Party-led government, large-scale quarantines are rare around the world, even in deadly epidemics, because of concerns about infringing on people’s liberties. And the effectiveness of such measures is unclear.

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” said Gauden Galea, the WHO”s representative in China. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”

GETTY IMAGES
People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan

Jonathan Ball, a professor of virology at molecular virology at the University of Nottingham in Britain, said the lockdowns appear to be justified scientifically.

“Until there’s a better understanding of what the situation is, I think it’s not an unreasonable thing to do,” he said. “Anything that limits people’s travels during an outbreak would obviously work.”

But Ball cautioned that any such quarantine should be strictly time-limited. He added: “You have to make sure you communicate effectively about why this is being done. Otherwise you will lose the goodwill of the people.”

GETTY IMAGES
A resident wears a mask to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan.

During the devastating West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, Sierra Leone imposed a national three-day quarantine as health workers went door to door, searching for hidden cases. Burial teams collecting corpses and people taking the sick to Ebola centres were the only ones allowed to move freely. Frustrated residents complained of food shortages.

In China, the illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub. Local authorities demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged civil servants wear them at work.

After the city was closed off Thursday, images showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as people stocked up. Trucks carrying supplies into the city are not being restricted, although many Chinese recall shortages in the years before the country’s recent economic boom.

Analysts predicted cases will continue to multiply, although the jump in numbers is also attributable in part to increased monitoring.

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES
A Chinese passenger that just arrived on the last bullet train from Wuhan to Beijing is checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station.

“Even if (cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,” the WHO’s Galea said, adding, however, that the number of infected is not an indicator of the outbreak’s severity so long as the death rate remains low.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels.

China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. This time, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasised that as a priority.

Health authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, placing those believed infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes, with air passed through filters.

The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, now closed for an investigation. Experts suspect that the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but that it may also be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.

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Ogun: Abiodun, Akinlade react to death of Adeosun – Daily Post Nigeria

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Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and the governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) in the state during the last election, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, have mourned Hon. Saibu Adeosun.

The duo of Abiodun and Akinlade, in separate statements, described Adeosun’s death as a great loss to his family, friends and political associates as well as the All Progressives Congress in Ipokia Local Government and Ogun State in general.

DAILY POST reported earlier that Adeosun, one of the newly appointed 20 Local Government Caretaker Chairmen by Gov Dapo Abiodun has died. 

Adeosun was appointed alongside others to head Ipokia Local Government Caretaker Committee.

It was learnt that Adeosun, who was to be screened by the Ogun State House of Assembly today, died around 5 am on Wednesday.

Abiodun, while swearing in the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Mobolaji Ayodele Ojo and other Judges of the Court, observed a minute’s silence in Adeosun’s honour, praying that the good Lord comfort his family and grant his soul eternally rest.

“The death of the Chairman-Nominee for the Transition Committee in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, Saibu Adeosun Mulero, a few hours to his screening by the State House of Assembly came to us as a rude shock.

“He was such a diligent and resourceful grassroots politician, whose skills and astuteness would have helped the people of Ipokia move to a higher level of development.

“He will surely be missed by the party, APC, the good people of Ipokia LGA that he had plans to lead, and the Dapo Abiodun administration would miss his envisaged contributions to our model of inclusive and participatory governance, of which he was a disciple,” Abiodun said.

On his own part, Akinlade, who shares the same local government as Adeosun, in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Adelani Azeez, said, “It is with a heavy heart that we write to mourn the death of our brother and a member of our great party in Ipokia Local Government – Hon. Saibu Adeosun, who joined his creator this morning.

“Until his demise, Hon. Adeosun was a grassroot politician and an All Progressives Congress (APC) member.

“We did not wish for this untimely death, but God knows better and we implore Him to grant the family of the bereaved the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

“Hon. Adeosun’s death is a great loss to his family, friends, political associates, All Progressives Congress in Ipokia Local Government and Ogun State in general.

“Adeosun’s demise calls for sober reflections and it is a lesson to all of us that, from God we came and to Him we shall return someday.

“May Almighty God forgive his sins and grant him eternal rest.”

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Mo Abudu tears up during Screening of “Òlòtūré” at Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia

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EbonyLife blockbuster film was selected to screen at the world famous JCC Carthage Film Festival 2019 in Tunisia.

The festival was attended by executive producer, MO Abudu alongside some casts of Oloture, Omoni Oboli, Sharon Ooja and Omowunmi Dada.

The Oloture actors and producer arrived Tunisia earlier this week and the movie was screened yesterday.

Shortly after the screening of Oloture, MO Abudu tearfully gave a speech of how the movie emotionally affects her, as she announced that the entire profit gotten from Oloture will be used to help vulnerable ladies who have been victims of human trafficking.

Set in Nigeria, Òlòtūré is the story of a young, naïve Nigerian journalist who goes undercover to expose the shady underworld of human trafficking.

See the photos below

Watch MO Abudu’s speech below

View this post on Instagram

Good morning beautiful people and a happy new month. Every single time I watch Oloture it makes me cry. I hold back and fight back the tears, but I still find I cannot hold them back. Òlòtūré is a beautiful film, but it’s a hard-hitting film that deals with the harsh reality of human trafficking and prostitution. I have pledged to put our box office revenue back into fighting this horrid crime. I would like to thank the Carthage Film Festival for sharing our story with the world at the historical LE 4 EME ART last night. On stage here at the end of our screening with our director @KennethGyang and some of our lead cast @OmoniOboli, @SharonOoja and @Omowunmi_Dada. We release our full official trailer at 4pm today. Please lookout for it. We will commence our cinema run at some time end of 1st quarter next year. #OlotureTheMovie #ComingSoon #CarthageFilmFestival #Tunisia __ #SlideLeft to see the full video

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The Politician, God Help Us, May Be the Future of TV

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Everything we cant stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
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This week:

  • Wrapping our heads around The Politician
  • Living for the J. Lo moment. (J. Loment)
  • Employing our fashion expertise.
  • The best Emmys photos.
  • Wendy Williams has not seen Fleabag.
The Politician Is a Wild Binge… but Is That Good?

The Politician, the new Ryan Murphy series that hits Netflix on Friday, is a simple show. A boy named Payton, played by Ben Platt, wants to be class president and, one day, president of the United States.

Well, theres that. Theres also a bisexual love triangle, a suicide, a staged kidnapping, a murder investigation, Gwyneth Paltrow having an affair with Martina Navratilova, a deaf school principal, a whistleblower with cerebral palsy, a poisoning through cupcakes, a poisoning via BB gun, a staging of the musical Assassins, January Jones as a pill-popping former hooker, a performance of Joni Mitchells The River, a throuple featuring Judith Light, and a ghost mentor/therapist.

And thats all not to mention Jessica Langes role as a grandmother with Munchausen-by-proxy who poisons her granddaughter and tells her she has cancer.

That The Politician does SO MUCH is its fatal flaw, because scaled back to its core, to that simple logline, it is legitimately fascinating and provocative. Given the state of the world and the kind of behavior that isnt just excused, but rewardedand given who is, ahem, sitting in the White Housewhat kind of person would want to be a politician? What kind of ambition does that take? What does ambition mean, or require, in 2019? And what about us: What moral compromises are we willing to justify so that we dont have to be leaders ourselves? Its cynical and optimistic in warring ways that feel just about right given the mood of today.

Its a shame thats essentially drowned in the flood of constant lunacy. Its tonally all over the place. Respective elements of it are intriguing and occasionally fantastic. Platt is a captivating actor, capable of both Election-like camp and emotional rawness in equal measure. The storyline between him and Paltrow, who plays his mother, is remarkably tender, elevated all the more by the Oscar-winners stirring performance. And no one does big comedy with dame-like flair more skillfully than Jessica Lange.

But that the show doesnt seem to know what it is becomes clearer as the episodes continue and actors whose plot lines never meetlike Paltrow and Langeseem to think they are in entirely different shows. Paltrow is acting with the grounded sincerity of someone on a Murphy show like American Crime Story. Lange is doing broad, satirical work straight out of Glee. The large ensemble falls on the spectrum in between.

The truly remarkable thing, however, is that for how mixed and meh I feel about the series, I could not be more excited for a Season Two. The standout final episode of the show sets up a Season Two featuring Platt, Light, and Bette Midler. Other critics have wondered why the series didnt just start there.

And thats what makes this show such a captivating test case. Of the many reasons Im obsessed with the serieshello, did you catch that part about Paltrow and Martina Navratilova?the biggest is that its existence provides a window into what may be the next stage of television, at a time when the medium is in a curious stage of transition.

The Politician is Ryan Murphys first Netflix series, and he now has a massive $300 million deal with the streamer. The series is the first example of how a slew of celebrated TV auteurs will take advantage of the seemingly free rein and bottomless bank accounts they have access to while transitioning from networks to streaming services. (Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris first shows under their respective, massive Netflix deals have yet to air.)

With the streaming service apocalypse nighApple TV+, HBO Max, and Disney+, oh my!the ways in which these major names adapt to the new landscape is fascinating in its own right. And with The Politician especially, imperfect as it is, every decision, from the casting to the camera work to the tone and the themes merit dissection. From that standpoint, the show is as addicting as series get; its interesting to see what Murphy produces when the intention is to binge.

Is messy the new norm? Will people watch anyway? With so much content racing toward us, and as expensive and expensive-looking as that content is, is a series mere ambition and the promise of an interesting season two enough to merit endorsement? In the case of The Politician, were surprising even ourselves by voting yes.

The Jennifer Lopezaissance Is Here and Its Real

I cannot express to you how thrilling the Jennifer Lopez MOMENT we are having is for me. Her accolades for Hustlers? As moving to me as when I met my baby nephews for the first time. That she could win an Oscar? Sweet, sweet vindication for someone who loved every batshit second of The Boy Next Door and watched it twice in theaters, accounting for two of the three film screenings I bought tickets to that year. That, somehow, the news about her has somehow gotten even more exciting? I could cry.

First came the iconic moment that was her walking the runway at a Versace show in Milan in a replica of the jungle-print gown she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. It wasnt even that she looked so jaw-droppingly stunning in the dress, at age 50, or that she had the showbiz wisdom to celebrate the anniversary in that way. Its the way she wore it. (Watch it here.)

What I cant stop swooning over in the video is that not only did she wear the dress, but she also worked the runway like that. She didnt just come out with a knowing smile and wave at the audience while teetering around getting applause. She treated that runway walk like a job. Perfection.

And if you think Im being histrionic about any of this, well, gird your loins, babe, youre not ready for my ecstatic mania over the news that Lopez will be performing the Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Shakira. That is how you book a show, football people in charge of such things, whoever you are. I am not overselling it when I say that Lopez ranks among the most dynamic live performers in the business, whatever you may think about her music. (Want proof? Watch this video.)

That this will be taking place two days before Oscars voting ends is just *chefs kiss* magnificent. When her Best Supporting Actress competition is out shaking hands and answering bland questions at screening Q&As, Lopez will be setting the stage on fire on the biggest entertainment event of the year. Will such a blazing reminder of her breadth of talents win her an Oscar? Well, it wont hurt

Best Dressed at the Emmys!

I am not a fashion reporter, know nothing about labels and designers, and abjectly have no sense of style. But I am gay!!! So take it with that authority that I pronounce Mandy Moores red-carpet look at this years Emmys to be Best Dressed. I love it! She looks great! Sexy high-fashion first lady is a sensational look on her. Good for you, Mandy!

Speaking of the Emmys

The combination of these two photos taken after Fleabag swept the night, the first of creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the second of co-star Andrew Scott partying with A Very English Scandal winner Ben Whishaw, just about killed me.

And Speaking of Fleabag

Wendy Williams does not know what that is. Hey, not everyone has Amazon Prime. I dont know why, but this video makes me laugh so much. (Watch it here.)

What to watch this week:

Judy: What Rene Zellweger does in this film is astonishing.

Sorry for Your Loss: I bet you didnt know Facebook had an original series, or that its this good.

Abominable: It looks cute!

Transparent Musicale Finale: Judith Light sings a song called Your Boundary Is My Trigger. Out of its mind.

What to skip this week:

Transparent Musicale Finale: On the other hand, sometimes out of its mind is just out of its mind.

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At Least 2 Movie Theater Chains Ban Masks At ‘Joker’ Screenings

DENVER, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The Landmark Theaters chain will ban costumes and masks for moviegoers during screenings of the film “Joker,” it said on Thursday, following concerns expressed by families involved in a 2012 mass shooting during a Batman film in Colorado.

The Los Angeles-based chain, which runs 52 theaters in 27 markets, said it wanted customers to enjoy the film as a “cinematic achievement.”

“But no masks, painted faces or costumes will be permitted into our theaters,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

The film opens in theaters on Oct. 4.

Landmark joins the nation’s largest movie chain, Kansas-based AMC Theatres, which has banned masks in theaters since the Colorado massacre that killed a dozen and wounded scores, and re-affirmed that ban.

AMC, which runs more than 650 cinemas, reminded customers this week that while it allowed costumes, it did not allow masks.

“Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks, face paint or any object that conceals the face,” it said in a statement widely reported in the media, including Variety.

Landmark did not give a reason for its ban.

But it follows a letter from the families of some victims of the shooting at a 2012 showing of the Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, to Warner Bros., the studio behind the “Joker,” expressing concern.

Some of those at the midnight screening in the packed Aurora theater had been wearing costumes. The mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater multiplex owned by Cinemark USA Inc killed 12 and wounded 70.

The gunman, James Holmes, is serving multiple life sentences after being convicted of mass murder, despite pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

The new film depicts the mental breakdown of the Joker character, the nemesis of Batman in various movie, television and comic book adaptations, that leads to violence.

The families’ letter also urged Warner Bros. to end political contributions to candidates who take money from theNational Rifle Association and to fund gun violence intervention programs.

In response, Warner Bros. issued a statement of sympathy for the victims and their families, Entertainment Weekly said.

“Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic,” WarnerBros. said, media reported.

But the movie does not endorse real-world violence and does not hold up the Batman villain as a hero, it added.

Los Angeles police aim to step up visibility during the film’s opening weekend.

“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of public concerns and the historical significance associated with the premiere of the Joker,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

“While there are no credible threats in the Los Angeles area, the department will maintain high visibility around movie theaters when it opens.”

Aurora police have said Cinemark will not screen “Joker” at the Colorado multiplex, where they continue to provide enhanced security.

“We recognize this release may cause concern for the families, friends, first responders and beyond,” police said in a statement on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver, and additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Christian Schmollinger)

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African Futurist Nnedi Okorafor Tells an Immigrant Story in LaGuardia

Political reality finally inserted itself into the blissfully insulated world of San Diego Comic-Con. The Trump baby balloon bounced across the street from the convention center in San Diegos Gaslamp district. The Magicians actor Jade Tailor wore a Close the Camps shirt during her season 5 panel. Sen. Cory Booker cruised through and AOC comics were for sale.

Yet, searching the sprawling convention floor, youd be hard-pressed to find imagery more politically relevantor subversivethan the nine-foot-high poster for LaGuardia, a new graphic novel from African futurism writer Nnedi Okorafor. A pregnant Nigerian-American woman in a bright blue dress, fist raised and locks flowing like a banner, leads a bridge-closing protest shoulder-to-tentacle with extraterrestrial beings. Their picket signs demand rights for aliens, both human and of off-world origin.

After a single-issue run, Dark Horse Comics released the final, collected volume during last weeks San Diego Comic-Con. LaGuardia depicts an alternative present, where first contact with aliens is made in Lagos in 2010. The protagonist Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka is modeled both in appearance and biography after the author herself. After living for several years in Nigeria, Future returns to the United States to illegally transport a plant-based alien escaping civil war through New Yorks LaGuardia airport. Once in the city, she reconnects with her grandmother, an immigration attorney for people of all planetary origins. Before too long, the government announces a travel ban.

You have a world where aliens have come, and theyre not trying to kill us and eat us and take our resources. Theyve become Earthlings, Okarofor says. Some human beings react wonderfully to it, or some human beings just are cool with it, and then others cant deal with it. And then we have the United States becoming more conservative because of it.

Its not unusual for science fiction to anticipate reality, but its remarkable how every page of LaGuardia seems only 30 seconds ahead of the horrors playing out in the headlines, from DNA testing and social media vetting at the nations entry points to the chant of send her back at the presidents recent North Carolina rally. LaGuardia explores the concept of human-only discrimination at hospitals; meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates discussed healthcare for undocumented immigrants in their first televised debate.

Its disturbing, but at the same time, it feels great, because I feel like Ive tapped into the pulse of something, Okorafor says.

Yet this is a story that she has been working on for years.

Issues of immigration, issues of identity, all these things, theyre not new, and theyve been there for a long time, she says.

Okorafor talks and writes from experience. The graphic novel introduces Future through an extended scene at LaGuardia, where she queues up for screening along with aliens of all shapes and sizes, as well as a little white girl who yanks on her locks. At the checkpoint, she is pulled aside for a second screening by a security guard who asks invasive questions about whether the baby in her belly is human. The confrontation is ripped straight from an incident in 2009, when a TSA officer at LaGuardia took Okorafor to a private room to squeeze each of her four-and-a-half-foot locks for hidden contraband. Preoccupied with her hair, the officer missed the bottle of pepper spray that Okorafor had forgotten to remove from her bag. In LaGuardia, that misdirection allows the character to carry the alien through, undetected.

As an author, Okorafor travels a lot, and its become clear to her that airport and border crossings are more about control than safety.

Its the space between, a place of contention, a place of displacement, a place of fear, a place of identity, she says. Its where you become very aware of all the things that you are and what they mean, in the context of where you are. And depending on who you are, that place can feel very hot or it can feel very chill.

San Diego Comic-Con can also be such a space, where creators contemplate who they are and where they are in their careers. In earlier chapters of her life, Okorafor was a semi-pro tennis player and later earned a PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago, before becoming an award-collecting novelist. Okorafor has been attending Comic-Con on-and-off since 2010, wheb she was a speaker on The Black Panel, a forum for raising the profile of Black entertainment. This year was her first returning as a comic-book author.

In addition to writing LaGuardia for Dark Horses imprint Berger Books, Okorafor was tapped by Marvel to write Black Panther: Long Live the King and a spin-off about the Wakandan princess Shuri. In coming Comic-Cons, she may be back with even more prominent projects: shes adapting Octavia Butlers Wild Seed for Amazon and HBO is developing her novel Who Fears Death, with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin as a producer.

I am in chaos, organized chaos, wonderful, glorious, organized chaos, Okorafor says.

One could draw a straight line from Okorafor and LaGuardia to comics pioneer Will Eisner (after whom Comic-Cons awards are named) and his 1978 medium-defining graphic novel, A Contract with God. Okorafor pulled the book off a university library shelf at random, without knowing it was a graphic novel, and was immediately transfixed by the blending of prose and images.

But also it was telling this immigrant story, especially about Jews, Okorafor says of A Contract with God, and coming from a family of immigrants, my parents being immigrants, I could relate so well to that. And so this was a book that I read over and over and over again for years.

Thats how Karen Berger, the editor who oversees Dark Horses Berger Book imprint, remembers Okorafor pitching the project: A Contract with God, but with aliens in an African American community. In Bergers mind, Eisner raised the bar by writing stories for adults based on his own experiences as the child of immigrants.

The best works are when people have a personal connection, and theres something about a writers past, or the writers personality, the writers passions in the character they write about, Berger says. As a piece of immigrant fiction, LaGuardia really fills that space.

LaGuardia is also about resistance, in all its forms, whether it be protesting, legal work, or holding the line within the system.

There are many ways of fighting the battle and battles happen on multiple fronts, all at the same time, Okorafor says. This year, San Diego Comic-Con became one of them.

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