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AP Emmy pundits call a win for ‘Succession,’ split on comedy

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AP Emmy pundits call a win for ‘Succession,’ split on comedy

So many TV shows, so few nominees who will end up clutching trophies at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

A total of 25 awards will be presented during the Sept. 12 ceremony, including in the glamour categories of acting and best comedy, drama and limited series. Past winners Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Bill Hader (“Barry”) are among the contenders.

The overall field is highly competitive, with an unprecedented twist: Netflix’s South Korean phenomenon “Squid Game” is the first non–English language drama to be nominated for an Emmy.

While predicting victors this year is like one of those daunting “Squid Game” contests, Associated Press Television Writer Lynn Elber and AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy foolishly soldier on.

DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: “Better Call Saul”; “Euphoria”; “Ozark”; “Severance”; “Squid Game”; “Stranger Things”; “Succession”; “Yellowjackets.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: “Severance,” the vicious satire of office culture could not have asked for better timing, just as many white-collar workers were making their first tentative steps back — and questioning why. It is just brilliant, unpredictable and haunting.

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Will win: Although both my innie and my outie think it should be “Severance,” the winner will be “Succession.” Not a bad step, just an easy one.

ELBER:

Should win: “Severance” captures the zeitgeist of worker discontent, but let’s consider “Squid Game” and its take on soul-destroying poverty. It’s wholly original and, yes, gruesome. That didn’t hurt four-time winner “Game of Thrones.”

Will win: “Succession” won the last time it competed, in 2020, and the antics of the rich and scheming Roy family are as engrossing a peep show as ever.

COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: “Abbott Elementary”; “Barry”; “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; “Hacks”; “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; “Only Murders in the Building”; “Ted Lasso”; “What We Do in the Shadows.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: The mockumentary “Abbott Elementary,″ a true workplace comedy in the vein of “The Office” or “Superstore.” How it is so specific to a group of underfunded teachers in Philadelphia and yet universal is the magic.

Will win: “Only Murders in the Building,” an uncontroversial and uninspired choice, as safe as an Upper West Side doorman building. Who can look at Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez and tell them they get no Emmy?

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ELBER:

Should win: Raise your hand if you know the answer. “Abbott Elementary” is the rare sitcom that clicked from the start, with its characters, stories and heart all in the right place.

Will win: “Abbott Elementary,” despite the odds against an old-school network entry winning against flashier cable and streaming rivals. It hasn’t happened since “Modern Family” won in 2014.

ACTRESS, DRAMA

Nominees: Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”; Laura Linney, “Ozark”; Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”; Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”; Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show”; Zendaya, “Euphoria.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: Linney hasn’t won for “Ozark” and she deserves it for going from dutiful wife to a cunning mastermind over the four seasons.

Will win: Oh, who richly deserves her first Emmy after four years of “Killing Eve.” Comer and Zendaya have their statuettes; TV academy voters will bid Oh goodbye with one, too.

ELBER:

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Should win and will win: Versatile, long-admired actor Lynskey gets her first Emmy for her role as Shauna, who has umm, meaty secrets. Zendaya’s second win for her gutsy work in “Euphoria” is deserved, but voters favor change in this category.

ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Brian Cox, “Succession”; Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”; Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Adam Scott, “Severance”; Jeremy Strong, “Succession.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: Scott for playing two roles on “Severance,” a worker bee and a grieving widow. The former “Parks and Recreation” star is here an everyman, just sputtering through his day, with damage lurking beneath the suit and tie.

Will win: Odenkirk, never nominated for “Breaking Bad,” should have at least one Emmy at home for “Better Call Saul.” Or Cox, who had a rip-roaring season on “Succession.”

ELBER:

Should win and will win: A category of heavyweights for sure, with all the above worthy. But Cox triumphs as the wily magnate scrabbling to control his empire and out-maneuver his equally venal brood.

ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES

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Nominees: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”; Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”; Elle Fanning, “The Great”; Issa Rae, “Insecure”; Jean Smart, “Hacks.”

ELBER:

Should win: Brunson’s idealistic young schoolteacher is endearing and, as she begins to learn how to survive bureaucracy, growing before our eyes. Plus, teachers deserve respect.

Will win: Smart. Back-to-back wins have become rare in the age of peak TV (read: unending stream of shows), but her portrayal of a veteran comedian refusing to say uncle reached new levels of vulnerability and grit.

KENNEDY:

Should win and will win: Smart, her character vicious in anger, driven in her career, but this season also sowing a maternal and soft side. Besides, her other Emmy for “Hacks” is lonely.

ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”; Bill Hader, “Barry”; Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”; Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”; Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”; Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building.”

ELBER:

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Should win: Can we get a twofer for Martin and Short, whose chemistry and playfulness makes the series? (With a nod to co-star Selena Gomez; her droll tolerance of the pair adds the perfect note.)

Will win: Hader’s portrayal of a hitman-turned-actor who can’t escape his past is the core of a viciously satirical, addictive brew. A third Emmy is his reward.

KENNEDY:

Should win: Hoult, playing a vain, unpredictable, glass-breaking, headbutting and unethical Peter III of Russia in “The Great,” sucking the oxygen from every scene. It’s a frat-boy role but hard to nail like Hoult. “Let us hope my seed has found purchase,” he says after an encounter with the queen, and I agree.

Will win: Hader. Everyone loves Hader.

LIMITED SERIES

Nominees: “Dopesick”; “The Dropout”; “Inventing Anna”; “The White Lotus”; “Pam & Tommy.”

ELBER:

Should win: “Dopesick” is a granular dissection of the roots of America’s devastating opioid crisis focused on both its victims and villains. Television at its relevant best.

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Will win: “The Dropout.” Let’s face it: Seeing a Silicon Valley’s high-flier brought down a peg or further is a guilty pleasure, and the story of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ spectacular fall is punchily told.

KENNEDY:

Should win: “The Dropout,” agreed, a rise and fall — as well as a trip back to her teenage years — so well told that viewers could almost feel sorry for Holmes, or at least understand how her fraud could happen.

Will win: “The White Lotus,” a satire of wealth, entitlement and privilege was this cycle’s lite “Big Little Lies,” and it was the splashiest show about rich white people being horrible, which weirdly all the nominees this time had elements of.

ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES

Nominees: Colin Firth, “The Staircase”; Andrew Garfield, “Under the Banner of Heaven”; Oscar Isaac, “Scenes from a Marriage”; Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”; Himesh Patel, “Station Eleven”; Sebastian Stan, “Pam & Tommy.”

ELBER:

Should win and will win: Michael Keaton, for his restrained portrayal of a small-town doctor who’s ensnared by opioids at incalculable cost, to him and his patients. The Oscar-winning star is a gift to the small screen.

KENNEDY:

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Should win: Isaac, who in “Scenes from a Marriage” whipsaws from being tightly controlled to impulsive, a little befuddled, liable to snap and always human as his heart broke.

Will win: Keaton, who always it seems is an underestimated talent, shining in a role perfectly suited to him: a sweet local doctor gradually understanding the horror he has helped create. A little too perfect, but, hey.

ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES

Nominees: Toni Collette, “The Staircase”; Julia Garner, “Inventing Anna”; Lily James, “Pam & Tommy”; Sarah Paulson, “Impeachment: American Crime Story”; Margaret Qualley, “Maid”; Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout.”

ELBER:

Should win: Qualley did justice to a rarely seen screen character — a struggling, blue-collar single mom — with a nuanced, breakout performance in “Maid.”

Will win: Seyfried, whose portrayal of an ill-fated Silicon Valley whiz kid in “The Dropout” was a pull-out-the-stops barn burner.

KENNEDY:

Should win and will win: We’ll no doubt see all these actors again at the Emmys, but this year it is all about Seyfried, who played a fraudster with a Yoda-loving, Mandarin-speaking, munching-on-a-scorpion and dancing poorly essence.

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For more on this year’s Emmy Awards, visit: www.apnews.com/EmmyAwards

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct Iranian attack involving hundreds of drones and missiles, calling the coordinated response a starting point for a “strategic alliance” of regional opposition to Tehran.

But Israel’s War Cabinet met without making a decision on next steps, an official said, as a nervous world waited for any sign of further escalation of the former shadow war.

The military coalition, led by the United States, Britain and France and appearing to include a number of Middle Eastern countries, gave Israel support at a time when it finds itself isolated over its war against Hamas in Gaza. The coalition also could serve as a model for regional relations when that war ends.

“This was the first time that such a coalition worked together against the threat of Iran and its proxies in the Middle East,” said the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

One unknown is which of Israel’s neighbors participated in the shooting down of the vast majority of about 350 drones and missiles Iran launched. Israeli military officials and a key War Cabinet member noted additional “partners” without naming them. When pressed, White House national security spokesman John Kirby would not name them either.

But one appeared to be Jordan, which described its action as self-defense.

“There was an assessment that there was a real danger of Iranian marches and missiles falling on Jordan, and the armed forces dealt with this danger. And if this danger came from Israel, Jordan would take the same action,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in an interview on Al-Mamlaka state television. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday.

The U.S. has long tried to forge a regionwide alliance against Iran as a way of integrating Israel and boosting ties with the Arab world. The effort has included the 2020 Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries, and having Israel in the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and works closely with the armies of moderate Arab states.

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The U.S. had been working to establish full relations between Israel and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack sparked Israel’s war in Gaza. The war, which has claimed over 33,700 Palestinian lives, has frozen those efforts due to widespread outrage across the Arab world. But it appears that some behind-the-scenes cooperation has continued, and the White House has held out hopes of forging Israel-Saudi ties as part of a postwar plan.

Just ahead of Iran’s attack, the commander of CENTCOM, Gen. Erik Kurilla, visited Israel to map out a strategy.

Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, on Sunday thanked CENTCOM for the joint defensive effort. Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia are under the CENTCOM umbrella. While neither acknowledged involvement in intercepting Iran’s launches, the Israeli military released a map showing missiles traveling through the airspace of both nations.

“Arab countries came to the aid of Israel in stopping the attack because they understand that regional organizing is required against Iran, otherwise they will be next in line,” Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s military intelligence, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said he had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and that the cooperation “highlighted the opportunity to establish an international coalition and strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran.”

The White House signaled that it hopes to build on the partnerships and urged Israel to think twice before striking Iran. U.S. officials said Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would not participate in any offensive action against Iran.

Israel’s War Cabinet met late Sunday to discuss a possible response, but an Israeli official familiar with the talks said no decisions had been made. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing confidential deliberations.

Asked about plans for retaliation, Hagari declined to comment directly. “We are at high readiness in all fronts,” he said.

“We will build a regional coalition and collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us,” said a key War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz.

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Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel that hit an Iranian consular building in Syria this month and killed two Iranian generals.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over, and Israel reopened its airspace. Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned that “any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The foes have been engaged in a shadow war for years, but Sunday’s assault was the first time Iran launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran said it targeted Israeli facilities involved in the Damascus strike, and that it told the White House early Sunday that the operation would be “minimalistic.”

But U.S. officials said Iran’s intent was to “destroy and cause casualties” and that if successful, the strikes would have caused an “uncontrollable” escalation. At one point, at least 100 ballistic missiles were in the air with just minutes of flight time to Israel, the officials said.

Israel said more than 99% of what Iran fired was intercepted, with just a few missiles getting through. An Israeli airbase sustained minor damage.

Israel has over the years established — often with the help of the U.S. — a multilayered air-defense network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats, including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

That system, along with collaboration with the U.S. and others, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already deeply engaged in Gaza as well as low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

While thwarting the Iranian onslaught could help restore Israel’s image after the Hamas attack in October, what the Middle East’s best-equipped army does next will be closely watched in the region and in Western capitals — especially as Israel seeks to develop the coalition it praised Sunday.

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In Washington, Biden pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would hold talks with allies. After an urgent meeting, the Group of Seven countries unanimously condemned Iran’s attack and said they stood ready to take “further measures.”

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s war in Gaza. In the Oct. 7 attack, militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also backed by Iran, killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Hamas welcomed Iran’s attack, saying it was “a natural right and a deserved response” to the strike in Syria. It urged the Iran-backed groups in the region to continue to support Hamas in the war.

Hezbollah also welcomed the attack. Almost immediately after the war in Gaza erupted, Hezbollah began attacking Israel’s northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

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Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michelle L. Price in Washington; Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran; Samy Magdy in Cairo; Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan; and Giada Zampano in Rome contributed to this report.

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

New York lawmakers are proposing rules to humanely drive down the population of rats and other rodents, eyeing contraception and a ban on glue traps as alternatives to poison or a slow, brutal death.

Politicians have long come up with creative ways to battle the rodents, but some lawmakers are now proposing city and statewide measures to do more.

In New York City, the idea to distribute rat contraceptives got fresh attention in city government Thursday following the death of an escaped zoo owl, known as Flaco, who was found dead with rat poison in his system.

City Council Member Shaun Abreu proposed a city ordinance Thursday that would establish a pilot program for controlling the millions of rats lurking in subway stations and empty lots by using birth control instead of lethal chemicals. Abreu, chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, said the contraceptives also are more ethical and humane than other methods.

The contraceptive, called ContraPest, is contained in salty, fatty pellets that are scattered in rat-infested areas as bait. It works by targeting ovarian function in female rats and disrupting sperm cell production in males, The New York Times reported.

New York exterminators currently kill rats using snap and glue traps, poisons that make them bleed internally, and carbon monoxide gas that can suffocate them in burrows. Some hobbyists have even trained their dogs to hunt them.

Rashad Edwards, a film and television actor who runs pest management company Scurry Inc. in New York City with his wife, said the best method he has found when dealing with rodents is carbon monoxide.

He tries to use the most humane method possible, and carbon monoxide euthanizes the rats slowly, putting them to sleep and killing them. Edwards avoids using rat poison whenever possible because it is dangerous and torturous to the rodents, he said.

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Some lawmakers in Albany are considering a statewide ban on glue boards under a bill moving through the Legislature. The traps, usually made from a slab of cardboard or plastic coated in a sticky material, can also ensnare small animals that land on its surface.

Edwards opposes a ban on sticky traps, because he uses them on other pests, such as ants, to reduce overall pesticide use. When ants get into a house, he uses sticky traps to figure out where they’re most often passing by. It helps him narrow zones of pesticide use “so that you don’t go spray the entire place.”

“This is not a problem we can kill our way out of,” said Jakob Shaw, a special project manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “It’s time to embrace these more common sense and humane methods.”

Two cities in California have passed bans on glue traps in recent years. On the federal level, a bill currently in committee would ban the traps nationwide.

“It ends a really inhumane practice of managing rat populations,” said Jabari Brisport, the New York state senator who represents part of Brooklyn and sponsored the bill proposing the new guidelines. “There are more effective and more humane ways to deal with rats.”

Every generation of New Yorkers has struggled to control rat populations. Mayor Eric Adams hired a “rat czar” last year tasked with battling the detested rodents. Last month, New York City reduced the amount of food served up to rats by mandating all businesses to put trash out in boxes.

While the war on rats has no end in sight, the exterminator Edwards said we can learn a lot from their resilience. The rodents, he said, can never be eradicated, only managed.

“They’re very smart, and they’re very wise,” he said. “It’s very inspiring but just — not in my house.”

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A small earthquake shook the Southern California desert Saturday near Coachella, where the famous music festival is being held this weekend. No damage or injuries were reported.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8, hit at 9:08 a.m. about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of Borrego Springs in Riverside County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Coachella. It struck at a depth of about 7 miles (11 kilometers), the USGS said.

A dispatcher with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said there were no calls reporting any problems from the quake.

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