‘Handmaid’s Tale’ returns to television, darker and more chilling

Cast member Elisabeth Moss, who stars as Offred in the hit television series, poses at the premiere for the second season of the television series “The Handmaid’s Tale” in Los Angees on April19. (Reuters)
Updated 24 April 2018
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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ returns to television, darker and more chilling

LOS ANGELES: “The Handmaid’s Tale” returns to television this week with its chilling portrait of a near future where women are turned into second-class citizens seeming even darker and more prescient than ever.
That’s not by chance. As the Emmy-winning series moves away from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel, it delves further into how the US moved from democracy into a fictional totalitarian state called Gilead.
Here, pollution has caused widespread infertility, women are forbidden to read, cannot control money, and people spy on each other.
“We began Season 1 feeling we cannot let Margaret Atwood down,” said Warren Littlefield, one of the show’s executive producers.
“Then right after the (2016 presidential) election, as this pre-Gilead Trump administration unfolded, we felt the responsibility that we can’t let down America.
“We are storytellers, but our world that we depict is relevant and the themes are more relevant than ever before,” Littlefield added.
Season 2 starts on Wednesday on streaming platform Hulu, resuming immediately where Season 1 ended last June, with the pregnant Offred (Elisabeth Moss) taken away to face punishment for an act of mass rebellion by a group of handmaids in Gilead.
Pre-Gilead flashbacks show the undermining of human and civil rights, where women need their partner’s consent to get birth control, are pressured to be stay-at-home mothers, and gay people lose legal protections to face persecution.
It also gives viewers a first, terrifying glimpse of the book’s polluted colonies, where infertile or dissident women are sent to live in concentration camp-like conditions.
“There is a lot that we draw upon from the world we are living in,” Littlefield said. “The series tried to dramatize some of the human rights issues that we are experiencing in the world and understand, ‘How did that happen?’”
Season 1 premiered in April 2017 but production started long before Hillary Clinton lost her bid to become the first woman in the White House and Donald Trump was elected US president.
The TV series, striking for its handmaids dressed in red capes and white face-obscuring bonnets, won awards in its first season.
Canadian author Atwood remains as a consultant and producer as the second season moves beyond her book, which became one of the top 10 best-selling novels of 2017.
“Margaret is probably the biggest cheerleader for go, move, do not fear going past the book,” Littlefield said.


Woman refuses flood rescue unless her 25 dogs go too

An aerial view shows partially submerged houses at a flooded area in the southern state of Kerala, India, August 17, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Woman refuses flood rescue unless her 25 dogs go too

  • Dozens of military and coast guard helicopters took troops to high risk areas seeking people trapped on the roofs of submerged buildings
  • One a heavily pregnant woman Sajita Jabeel, 25, gave birth just after her rescue

KOCHI, India: A woman refused to leave her flooded house in India’s Kerala state without her 25 dogs, a rescuer said Saturday, as the death toll continued to rise.
The dogs were found cowering on beds in the flooded house with water rising when an animal welfare group arrived for a last-gasp rescue, said Sally Varma of Humane Society International.
The woman, who uses only one name Sunitha, was found by rescuers in Thrissur, one of the districts worst hit by floods in Kerala that have left at least 324 dead.
But she refused to leave her house unless her dogs, all strays or abandoned pets, were taken too, Varma told AFP.
“She sent back volunteers and rescue officials because they said they could not evacuate her dogs.
“She was just not willing to leave her dogs behind. She then managed to get in touch with us,” Varma added.
“When the rescue team reached her house, it was completely flooded and the dogs were huddled on beds.”
Sunitha, her husband and the dogs are now staying at a special shelter as the relief camps set up for the disaster refused animals.
Varma said she has started a fundraiser for Sunitha and her pets so a kennel could be built at her home after the floods recede.