February 15, 2019

Ben Affleck has finally explained why he's hanging up his cowl.

The actor confirmed on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he won't be returning as Batman in the upcoming 2021 film directed by Matt Reeves, saying that he "worked with a really good screenwriter" on the project but "couldn't crack it." Therefore, he explained, "I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it."

Affleck was at one point scheduled to direct The Batman, but Matt Reeves has since taken over. It had previously been reported that the film would star a younger version of the caped crusader played by a different actor, a report Affleck seemed to confirm by tweeting out a link to that story and saying he's excited for the film.

There was still, however, the question of whether Affleck could return in a future Batman film should Warner Bros. want to bring back the older version. That doesn't seem likely, though, as when Jimmy Kimmel asked Affleck whether it's true that he will "not be Batman again" — not simply that he'll be sitting out one film — Affleck appeared to confirm that this is the case.

This brings Affleck's portrayal of Batman to a conclusion after just two films, unless you count his cameo in Suicide Squad. Rumors had swirled over Affleck's possible exit for years, especially after Justice League faced a negative reception. But Affleck in 2017 denied these reports, saying he wouldn't be giving up the role anytime soon because "I am the luckiest guy in the world." Brendan Morrow

10:19 p.m.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office has ruled that George Floyd's death was a homicide, with Floyd experiencing "a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained."

Floyd, 46, died last week after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on his neck and kept it there for several minutes. The incident was recorded, and Floyd is heard saying, "I can't breathe."

The medical examiner's office released its report on Monday, listing Floyd's cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." The document said Floyd had coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, and there were "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." The office also cautioned that its finding is "not a legal determination of culpability or intent, and should not be used to usurp the judicial process."

Earlier in the day, the Floyd family released the results of a private autopsy it commissioned, which listed "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" as the cause of death. Attorney Benjamin Crump said there was also "neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain."

The officer who put his knee on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers who were on the scene have been fired, but not charged with any crimes. Catherine Garcia

9:16 p.m.

Police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse a crowd of protesters gathered at Lafayette Square across from the White House on Monday evening, in order for President Trump to pose for photos in front of the historic St. John's Church.

The crowd was cleared out right before Trump began speaking from the White House Rose Garden, calling on state and local governments to have law enforcement "dominate the streets" before he deployed the military.

St. John's was built in 1816, and on Sunday night, a fire was set in the church's basement; it was quickly extinguished by firefighters. After walking over, Trump posed for photos in front of the church, and briefly held up a Bible, telling reporters, "It's a Bible." He only stayed for a few minutes, and was joined by Attorney General William Barr, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Catherine Garcia

8:10 p.m.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) on Monday afternoon demanded that Twitter remove a message from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that called for the hunting down of anti-fascist activists.

In response to the protests against police brutality that have swept the nation, Gaetz tweeted, "Now that we clearly see antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" President Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and their allies have accused left-wing anti-fascist protesters of turning demonstrations into riots and engaging in destructive behavior, despite intelligence showing people from the far-right and far-left have been involved.

Murphy, who has been one of the leading voices for gun control since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, tweeted that Twitter needed to take Gaetz's tweet down "RIGHT NOW. The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

Twitter did not remove the message, instead adding a label to it that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." Gaetz had an odd response for Murphy, tweeting that "every real Democrat ran for president and you ran to Twitter." Catherine Garcia

7:25 p.m.

President Trump on Monday evening made his first remarks on the police brutality protests that have been taking place across the United States, avoiding the underlying issues behind the demonstrations and instead threatening to increase the military presence in cities around the country.

Trump said that governors and mayors must establish an "overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled," or else he will "deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them." He stated that he "strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers, that we dominate the streets," which is something that is already being done in at least 15 states and Washington, D.C.

Trump also called himself the "president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters," before declaring that "the nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa, and others." He accused these groups of committing "acts of domestic terror," and promised to "prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law" and mobilize "all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights."

The United States, Trump proclaimed, has "one beautiful law," and that is "the foundation of our prosperity, our freedom, and our very way of life." If there is "no safety, there is no future," he added, and Americans "must never give in to anger or hatred." Catherine Garcia

6:34 p.m.

A new outbreak of the Ebola virus has hit the Democratic Republic of Congo, with five deaths reported in the northwestern Equateur province, UNICEF said Monday.

This is the 11th Ebola outbreak to hit the country, CNN reports, and one of the victims is a 15-year-old girl. There are four other reported cases, and those patients are in an isolation unit at a hospital in Mbandaka. The deaths occurred between May 18 and 30, UNICEF said, and were confirmed as being Ebola-related on Sunday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still trying to end an outbreak that started in the eastern part of the country in 2018, which has resulted in 3,406 cases and 2,243 deaths, the World Health Organization said. Health officials said there have been no new cases in that outbreak over the last 21 days, which is the Ebola incubation period, and if there are no new cases after 42 days, they will be able to determine whether the outbreak is over.

Ebola is passed via bodily fluids, and the fatality rate can range from 25 percent to 90 percent, depending on the outbreak. This new outbreak comes as the country is also dealing with COVID-19, which has killed 72 people, and a measles epidemic, which has killed 6,779 people since last year. Catherine Garcia

6:05 p.m.

Numerous TV networks owned by ViacomCBS just went dark for more than eight minutes to pay tribute to George Floyd one week after his death.

MTV and Comedy Central were among the ViacomCBS stations that on Monday starting at 5:00 p.m. ET aired the words "I can't breathe" for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, alongside the sound of breathing, reports CNBC. A Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired and charged with murder last week kneeled on Floyd's neck for that length of time while Floyd said that he couldn't breathe, and his death has sparked nationwide outrage and protests.

A message at the bottom of the screen during the ViacomCBS blackout urged viewers to text "DEMANDS" to 55156, promoting the civil rights organization Color of Change.

ViacomCBS President of Entertainment and Youth Brands Chris McCarthy previously announced that "we will go dark across our brands and platforms to mark the time in which George Floyd was brutally killed as a tribute to Mr. Floyd and other victims of racism" in a employee memo, in which he also pledged to "use our platforms to shine a light on the realities of racial injustice and call for equality." Brendan Morrow

5:59 p.m.

An intelligence memo sent by the Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement officials around the country on May 29 warned that extremists groups may try to exploit protests in the wake of George Floyd's death, Politico reports.

The memo, citing the FBI, revealed that on May 27, two days after Floyd died in police custody, "a white supremacist extremist Telegram channel incited followers to engage in violence and start the 'boogaloo' — a term used by some violent extremists to refer to the start of a second Civil War — by shooting in a crowd." One of the messages reportedly encouraged potential shooters to "frame the crowd around you," the document said.

That wasn't the only warning found in the memo. It also said the FBI had information that "suspected anarchist extremists and militia extremists allegedly planned to storm and burn the Minnesota State Capitol." The definition of those groups was somewhat vague, with Politico noting the memo didn't specifically distinguish between left- or right-wing in this instance, despite the Trump administration's fixation on Antifa. Politico did suggest the description of the "anarchists extremists" seemed to hint at an association with the far left, while the "militia extremists" appeared to represent the far right. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

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