ABC is feeling very rebellious: The Alphabet network has given a straight-to-series order to Rebel, a new drama starring Katey Sagal (The Conners) and written by Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff.
The series, inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich today, follows Annie “Rebel” Bello (Sagal), a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. “She’s a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves,” per the official synopsis. “When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.”
The cast also includes John Corbett (Sex and the City), Andy Garcia (Ballers), James Lesure (Las Vegas), Tamala Jones (Castle), Sam Palladio (Nashville), Kevin Zegers (Fear the Walking Dead, Gracepoint),Â Lex Scott Davis (The First Purge) and Ariela Barer (Runaways).
“The work that Erin Brockovich does in this world is so powerful and so important that it almost defies description,” Vernoff said in a statement. “Erin works tirelessly for social, legal and environmental justice despite the lack of a formal degree. She inspires everyone she meets to become their own heroes, and somehow, she also keeps us laughing. It has been a tremendous honor to get to know Erin and to create a show inspired by her. I am thrilled to be working with a dream cast led by the extraordinary Katey Sagal with the incredible Tara Nicole Weyr directing.”
Rebel is slated to premiere on ABC in 2021.
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Six images from six decades
As Nigeria prepares to celebrate its independence anniversary, the BBC’s Nduka Orjinmo selects six images, one from each decade, that represent watershed moments in the country’s 60 years of self-rule.
1960s – The making of an African giant
After decades of British colonial rule, Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa took on the reins of power and led independent Nigeria’s new coalition government. The celebrations lasted for weeks in some parts of the country and for those present at the Race Course (now Tafawa Balewa Square) in Obalende, Lagos, on 1 October 1960, it was an unforgettable experience.
“Just before the stroke of midnight, they switched off the lights and lowered the British Union Jack,” Ben Iruemiobe, then a bright-eyed 16-year-old student who witnessed the raising of the Nigerian flag, told the BBC.
“Then at midnight, the lights were switched back on and the green-white-green stood majestically for all to see. This was followed by a volley of fireworks, then the military band played and we rejoiced,”
1970s – A civil war that killed millions
Seven years after independence, a civil war erupted as Nigeria’s eastern region tried to form the breakaway Biafra state.
The three-year conflict, which ended with Biafran surrender, resulted in the death of more than two million people, most of them women and children who died of starvation in eastern Nigeria.
US-based novelist Okey Ndibe, a child during the war, describes it as the defining event in Nigeria’s difficult history.
“The [government’s] main goal was achieved, but at grave human and moral cost.
“The ghost of Biafra continues to haunt Nigeria. Festering violence in the north-east zone, renewed agitations for Biafra, and demands by residents of the oil-rich Niger Delta for resource control, are consequences of Nigeria’s failure to use justice as the arbiter of public policies,” he told the BBC.
1980s – ‘Ghana Must Go!’
In 1983 the government of Shehu Shagari ordered more than a million West African migrants, most of them Ghanaians, to leave Nigeria at short notice as the country faced an economic downturn.
The red, white and blue chequered plastic bag that the desperate departing Ghanaians used to carry their possessions became known as “Ghana Must Go”. But now they are more often seen as a symbol of sleaze in Nigeria, preferred by corrupt politicians to ferry huge amounts of cash.
1990s – Democracy returns after years of military rule
After 16 years of brutal military rule, interrupted by 82 days of a civilian government in 1993, democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999. Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar transferred power to Olusegun Obasanjo, who had won nationwide elections.
The 1990s was a packed decade in Nigeria’s political history – including the annulment of an election by the military in 1993, the global condemnation of the 1995 hanging of nine environmental activists, among them Ken Saro-Wiwa by military ruler Gen Sani Abacha, and Abacha’s own death in 1998.
The handover to democratic rule was seen by many as a culmination of these three events. The 21 years since have seen the longest uninterrupted republic in Nigeria’s history.
2000s – ‘We are black, we are beautiful and we are in demand’
On 16 November 2001, when a group of women competed for the judges’ attention at the Miss World beauty pageant in South Africa only a handful of Nigerians were aware of the event.
But by the end of the day, millions in Africa’s most populous country had become familiar with the name of 18-year-old Agbani Darego – the first black African to be crowned Miss World.
“Prior to Agbani winning it wasn’t easy to get Nigerians and Africans to participate in pageants because they didn’t see themselves winning.
“But from having 20 to 50 participants we had hundreds of thousands who wanted to participate. Now the world wants African music, they want African dance. We are black, we are beautiful and we are in demand,” Ben Murrary-Bruce, a former organiser of Miss Nigeria, told the BBC.
2010s – The abduction of the Chibok girls
In April 2014, Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school in Chibok in Nigeria’s north-east, where there is still an insurgency.
Boko Haram had kidnapped many girls and women before but the abduction of the schoolgirls sparked a global campaign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
Bukky Shonibare, one of the leaders of the Bring Back Our Girls Group in Nigeria that protested relentlessly for government intervention to help free the girls, says the abduction greatly affected education in northern Nigeria.
“Children – boys and girls – became scared of going to school, and parents had to make a choice of either keeping their children alive or sending them to school.
“Efforts at achieving gender equality were greatly affected. Gains recorded [previously], especially around girl-child education, were immensely affected,” she said.
After six years, more than 100 of the girls are still missing.
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Oppenheimer: These 2 Stocks Are Poised to Surge by Over 100%
When it comes to the market’s wild swings, is the glass half empty or half full? Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus is taking the latter view.Despite the volatility that has ruled the market over the last few weeks, Stoltzfus actually likes what he’s witnessing in both the market and the economy. In particular, he points to U.S. companies that have been outperforming most other markets around the world as exciting plays, with the innovation in the U.S. reflecting a key component of his bullish thesis.“The U.S. is outperforming most of the markets around the world — whether it’s developed markets or emerging markets… We’ve taken out the froth that had come into the market in certain [mega cap] names. It may be a good opportunity to pick up some really good, high quality growth stories that are on sale right now,” Stoltzfus noted.Additionally, the strategist believes the S&P 500 could climb back to its September 2 high point, based on improving economic data. The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as an election outcome that is “friendly to the domestic economy, business, job growth and the taxpayer” could also push the index higher.Turning Stoltzfus’ outlook into tangible recommendations, Oppenheimer analysts are pounding the table on two stocks, with these pros seeing over 100% upside potential in store. Running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out exactly what makes them so compelling.Brickell Biotech (BBI)Focused on the development of innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of skin diseases, Brickell Biotech wants to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Given the potential of the company’s lead candidate and its $0.82 share price, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.Sofpironium bromide (SB), a prescription treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (AH, or excessive underarm sweating), is entering U.S. Phase 3 trials. This program will consist of two identical six-week studies, and will evaluate its ability to improve the condition per the objective (gravimetric sweat production) and subjective (HDSM-Ax) co-primary endpoints. Each is expected to last 12 months, and the first will kick off next quarter.Roughly 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from AH, with this condition interfering with daily social and professional activities. Currently, only 2.3 million receive prescription treatment, and some resort to invasive or permanent interventions like Botox, MiraDry or surgery.Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell argues that more conservative approaches could be used to meet these medical needs. He also believes the recent entry of Eli Lilly’s competing product, Qbrexza, represents a significant step forward. That said, there’s “room for improvement” with this anti-cholinergic approach.Looking at a U.S. Phase 2b trial, the highest dose of BBI’s SB gel (15%) demonstrated 46% greater sweat reduction per gravimetric analysis compared to the placebo, with significant reductions in a validated patient-reported outcome instrument seen at all doses. Based on the trial data, efficacy is over 50% better than Qbrexza per label, despite higher baseline severity. In addition, their safety profiles were relatively similar.It should be noted that BBI will market the drug to U.S. dermatologists through a specialty salesforce of 120 representatives. According to Gershell’s estimates, uptake by 110,000 patients per year (just 5% of the currently treated AH population) translates to $200 million in gross sales. The analyst adds that patent issuance could extend market exclusivity to 2040.Adding to the good news, on September 25, BBI announced that Kaken Pharmaceutical, its development partner, got the green light to manufacture SB in Japan for the treatment of AH. Japan is the first country to approve the candidate, with the launch expected later this year.To sum it all up, Gershell stated, “By virtue of its efficacy, tolerability, and antiperspirant-like application, we believe SB offers an attractive profile in a market that offers much room for improved solutions. We encourage risk-tolerant investors to build a position ahead of upcoming newsflow.”To this end, Gershell rates BBI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $5 price target. This target conveys the analyst’s confidence in BBI’s ability to surge 502% from current levels. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been published in the last three months. As a result, BBI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $5 average price target is identical to Gershell’s. (See BBI stock analysis on TipRanks)Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX)As for Oppenheimer’s other pick, Aldeyra Therapeutics works to bring new treatment options for immune-related diseases to market. Based on the solid progress of its pipeline, the firm has high hopes for this healthcare name.Representing Oppenheimer, analyst Justin Kim points out that he came away from a recent conversation with the CEO even more confident in ALDX’s long-term growth prospects. Pivotal studies on reactive aldehyde species (RASP) are slated for Q4 2020, evaluating the action of reproxalap, Aldeyra’s lead therapy designed to clamp down on overactive inflammation, on tear levels of RASP over a period ranging from 1-2 days to 28 days. “Based on Phase 2a results, we are confident in the ability to replicate results in Q4 2020,” Kim stated.Given the potential of dry eye disease (DED) in the near-term, the analyst expects significant investor focus to land on clinical trial execution (Phase 3 RASP studies and safety study), which would support a potential NDA filing by the end of 2021, in Kim’s opinion. “Despite some volatility in the shares, we see a solid setup emerging as the company initiates its Phase 3 RASP studies in dry eye disease (DED),” he said.Speaking to the potential of RASP as an accepted dry eye endpoint, ALDX has experienced “a watershed moment,” with it facilitating an expedited path to registration (from traditional sign endpoints) and greater likelihood of clinical trial success, based on reproxalap’s mechanism of action (MoA) as a RASP-trap, according to Kim.He added, “Moreover, agreement on RASP could have broader implications for a commercial launch in dry eye, a market that we believe will see segmentation as more therapies with targeted MoAs become incorporated into the armamentarium.”“We continue to be impressed by the progress in achieving a potential concurrent filing for dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), appreciating the importance of a differentiated dry eye agent with action also in AC. As the dry eye therapeutic landscape increases its options, we expect greater segmentation of the heterogeneous patient population potentially beginning with reproxalap’s positioning in ‘allergic dry eye’,” the analyst concluded. For the rest of 2020, focus is likely to stay on Phase 3 study designs (assay work/development), execution and the potential readout in DED, which could set the stage for a commercial launch in DED and AC in 2022.If that wasn’t enough, based on the broader pipeline of candidates targeting PVR, inflammatory conditions and COVID-19, Kim sees “a rich environment of catalysts for the shares over the coming 12-18 months.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Kim stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $15 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 110%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? Only Buy ratings, 2 to be exact, have been issued in the last three months. So, the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $23.50 average price target suggests 227% upside potential from current levels. (See ALDX stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Veteran GOP strategist predicts Trump’s debate performance will suffer thanks to tax bombshell
Calling the recent New York Times report showing that President Trump is saddled with debt and paid only $750 in taxes the year he ran for president the political equivalent of an “H-bomb,” veteran GOP political operative Mike Murphy predicted the president’s debate performance on Tuesday will suffer because he will spend “half the debate saying, you know, ‘I’m a billionaire.’”
And in an interview for the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast, Murphy also offered some advice for former Vice President Joe Biden: “Knowing how insecure Trump is, I’d open with a joke: ‘Hey, Donald, before we get started, if you need to borrow a few bucks, I brought a little for you.’”
A jab like that would, said Murphy, drive the president nuts. He said he fully expects Trump to have difficulty staying on message during Tuesday’s debate because he will be desperate to reestablish his bona fides as a billionaire.
“Trump hates, hates, hates to be seen as not a rich guy, and he has no sense of humor, like any good sociopath,” Murphy added. “I would not be surprised tonight if he spends half the debate saying, you know, ‘I’m a billionaire, I own this land that’s worth at least 10 times what I paid for it in Kansas.’”
On the same “Skullduggery” podcast, GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson said Biden should instead focus on the coronavirus pandemic. “I would spend more time on the coronavirus issue, because what people think about Donald Trump’s character has to be baked into the cake at this point,” she said.
Even after the revelations about Trump’s business record, Biden should emphasize the president’s handling of the pandemic because “that will rattle [Trump] more,” Anderson said. “When the stuff hit the fan and Donald Trump was in charge … Trump’s response is, ‘I closed the borders at the airports in January,’ and that’s kind of it. What has he done since then to help us overcome this virus? He doesn’t have a great answer, and I think Biden should just consistently nail him on that.”
Although he has been a top strategist for GOP candidates for decades, Murphy is now consulting for Republican Voters Against Trump, a group of former officials in Republican administrations who are mounting a campaign to defeat Trump and elect Biden. Murphy said the tax story is damaging to Trump not just because of how it affects him psychologically, but also in more concrete terms.
Trump is trailing Biden in election polling, Murphy said, and needs to win most of the voters who are still undecided. That will be harder to do now, he said, because every voter “can play the beer-and-pretzel game,” comparing their own tax bill with Trump’s — and most will have paid more than $750. The tax story also hurts the president by taking up media bandwidth he desperately needs to “get an offense going,” Murphy said.
Trump won’t be able to go on offense anytime soon, Murphy predicted. He also said the media’s focus on how Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s expected confirmation would change the court will be a damaging story for Trump in the coming weeks.
Trump has tapped Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of cancer on Sept. 18 and voted repeatedly to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Because Barrett has criticized the legal basis for the ACA in some of her writings, Murphy said it is likely that the weeks leading up to her Oct. 12 confirmation hearings will be overtaken by a relentless media focus on the potential loss of health coverage and protections for millions of Americans.
Murphy predicted Democrats will “go back to [their] best midterm election issue, which is ‘These sons of bitches millionaire Republicans want to rig the Supreme Court to take away your preexisting conditions.’”
“That is a laser sword,” Murphy said. “There are a lot of former Republican congressman from 2018 who can tell you about that one.”
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