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1. Court ruling in JK Rowling Libel Case Challenged

Associated Newspapers has appealed against the ruling made in 2013 in a libel case brought forth by J.K. Rowling. Ms. Rowling brought forth the suit after the Daily Mail published an article with the title “How JK Rowling’s sob story about her past as a single mother has left the churchgoers who cared for her upset and bewildered.” As a part of court proceedings, Ms. Rowling was allowed to read a unilateral statement in open court. The court ruled that a monetary compensation, of an amount agreed upon by both parties, was to be paid (which Ms. Rowling promptly donated to charity), and a formal apology was to be published. Both forms of compensation were performed, and Ms. Rowling accepted the apology in January 2014.

  Associated Newspapers does not dispute that Ms. Rowling was entitled to make her statement in open court, nor does it dispute the proper compensations which it has put forth. The Associated Newspapers object to a number of terms and conditions in the proposed statement. The Irish Examiner reports:

Associated’s counsel, Andrew Caldecott QC, told Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Ryder and Lady Justice Sharp that Mr Justice Tugendhat’s ruling, in April last year, was a “most unsatisfactory precedent” and one, which if generally followed, would create difficulties for the offer of amends regime. Mr Caldecott said: “Although this appeal raises important issues, it in no way seeks to dilute or qualify the published apologies to Ms Rowling which she was properly and rightly entitled to.”

Mr Caldecott said that the whole purpose of a statement in open court was to attract wide publicity, which made it the more important that the statement was confined to, and accurately reflected, the pleaded claim.

Justin Rushbrooke QC, for Rowling, said that the appeal did not, as claimed, raise any important issue of principle or practice in defamation law, but was plainly misconceived and an “exercise in nit-picking”.

He said that only rarely should a defendant be permitted to dictate to a claimant what she was permitted to say in a statement in open court.

It was primarily a matter between the court and the party wishing to make a statement, and the proper arbiter of what was acceptable in a unilateral statement was the judge.   The judges are expected to reserve their decision to a later date.

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2. Emma Watson’s UN Speech at Davos

This morning, Emma Watson made a speech, in front of business and world leaders, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Having been very successful with her UN speech last September, Ms. Watson announced a new initiative to ending gender inequality, as a part of her HeForShe campaign. As a UN Women’s goodwill ambassador, Ms. Watson laid forth a plan for a year-long initiative called “IMPACT 10x10x10.” This new plan resolves to “to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality” according to The Guardian.

After her speech, Ms. Watson opened up her Twitter to accept and answer questions about her gender-equality campaigns.

Ms. Watson’s speech at Davos can be seen below:

 

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3. New “Casual Vacancy” TV show Book Cover

Little, Brown Book Group has released a new edition of J.K. Rowling’s adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. A picture of the cover was posted on The Casual Vacancy Facebook page, and can be seen below. The new book cover is being released to promote BBC One’s three-part mini series drama of the novel. The cover depicts Michael Gambon (Howard Mollison), Keeley Hawes (Samantha Mollison), Brian Vernal (“Fats”), and Abigail Lawrie (Krystal Weedon), clustered in a not-so-happy looking group against a “Pragford” backdrop. J.K. Rowling’s mini series has captured a couple Harry Potter cast members–Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), and Simon McBurney (the voice of Kreacher) who plays Colin Wall in the mini series.  The Casual Vacancy mini series will premiere this February in the United Kingdom. It is set to become an HBO special in the United States at a later date.  

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4. Leavesden Studio Announcement Coming Soon

The Harry Potter Facebook page recently posted a mysterious picture earlier this week. It showed the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London logo, captioned with “New Secrets will be Revealed! Announcement on 26th January.” The Pottermore Facebook page followed a day later posting a similar image, bearing the same logo over the picture of a wand, and the caption “Engorgio!” As many Potter fans know, “Engorgio” is a spell used to enlarge or expand things in the Harry Potter books. Fans now wait in anticipation to see what new surprises Leavesden’s expansion has in store. We will post updates on this breaking news here, on Leaky! Stay tuned!

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5. HPA Wins Four-Year Battle against Child Slavery

Recently, the HPA (Harry Potter Alliance) made us proud to be Harry Potter fans. The Harry Potter Alliance launched a campaign in October 2010, with the help of John Green, advocating against the use of sweatshop labor, specifically child slavery. The HPA were particularly focused on persuading Warner Bros. to stop producing Harry Potter chocolate and other candies, that were supplied to Warner Bros. by a company who received the grade of an “F” from Free 2 Work, an anti-slavery organization. This supplier provided Warner Bros. Harry Potter branded candy for Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and other Harry Potter shops. In alliance with Free 2 Work and Walk Free, the HPA petitioned the Warner Bros. to be open about the groups’ findings, and change their ways. The HPA made Howler videos, had plans to hang a Dark Mark above Warner Bros. Studios, and got in contact with J.K. Rowling’s lawyer, who made inquiries. Warner Bros. sent HPA founder, Andrew Slack, and HPA’s Harry Potter Global Franchise Development president, Joshua Berger, a letter stating that “By the end of 2015, and sooner when possible, all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent UTZ or Fair Trade certified.” The Washington Post reports:

Chocolate and candy play an important role in the “Harry Potter” books. After he leaves his abusive aunt and uncle to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry is boggled by the abundance of sweets his peers have access to; chocolate is a symbol of how Hogwarts will be the first place that really nourishes Harry’s body and his mind. And chocolate is big real-world business in the “Harry Potter” empire: You can buy Chocolate Frogs, one of the series’ signature sweets. Slack said. ” ‘Harry Potter,’ more and more, is becoming a classic, and one that children are growing up on, with all seven books having been written. It’s part of the culture. It represents righteousness, nobility, love, so much beauty and a place of safety that people go to, and moral authority. If the ‘Harry Potter’ brand were to move something like fair trade, it would be making a statement that not only is the ‘Harry Potter’ brand a cut above the rest but that [other franchises] have to catch up to it.” Warner Bros. thanking the Harry Potter Alliance for “your partnership throughout our discussions on this important issue,” and Slack and Walk Free both emphasizing their praise for the company. Like Warner Bros., the Harry Potter Alliance wants to keep J.K. Rowling’s creation in good standing. And like the alliance, Walk Free has an interest in finding new ways to spread messages about social justice and inequality. “In some ways, the flexibility of what the Harry Potter Alliance is doing is very useful,” he [Henry Jenkins, a professor of communication, journalism, cinematic arts and education at the University of Southern California] suggested. “It can form new kinds of alliances, it can again evolve over time as the cultural references change.

You may read more here.

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6. Tom Felton’s new Movie “Against the Sun” Premieres this Weekend

In just a couple of days, Tom Felton’s new movie, Against the Sun, will make its United States premiere. Tom Felton plays one of the three main roles, as a WWII fighter pilot who crashes into the ocean during a scouting mission, and finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with his two comrades. The three men must survive against the elements of the ocean without food or water.  The movie is set to release January 23, 2015. A trailer can be seen below, as well as a synopsis from IMDB.

 

A WWII pilot, bombardier, and radioman find themselves adrift on a lifeboat without food or water after being forced to ditch their plane during a scouting mission.

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7. Tom Felton joins Pottermore….As a Gryffindor

Earlier this morning Tom Felton tweeted that he had finally done it. He had finally joined Pottermore. He took J.K. Rowling’s Sorting Hat test, the official of all Sorting Hat tests, and was sorted into….Gryffindor. As J.K. Rowling mentioned in her new writing about Draco on Pottermore, Tom Felton is one of the nicest people anyone could ever meet–making him drastically different than the character of Draco that he portrays in the Harry Potter films. J.K. Rowling tweeted back at Tom, assuring him that the test was not faulty, saying, “I could’ve told you that years ago. I just didn’t want to spoil your motivation ;)”. Ms. Rowling stuck around twitter to answer a few more of fans questions, as she has been doing lately during her’s and Robert Galbraith’s writing breaks. Please hop on over to her Twitter to catch up on all of her wonderful replies.

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8. David Ryall, Elphias Doge Actor, Dies at 79

David Ryall, who played Elphias Doge in “Deathly Hallows: Part One,” passed away this Christmas. He was seventy-nine and had a career spanning over five decades.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this sad time.

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9. Merry (Happy) Christmas

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, as you unwrap your Weasley sweaters and Invisibility coats, we at the Leaky Cauldron would like to wish you a very Merry/Happy Christmas!

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10. Final Pottermore Gift: Order of Merlin

Alas, we’ve come to the end of Pottermore’s twelve days of gifts, and today, for the very last gift, we’re getting new writing from J. K. Rowling on the “Order of Merlin” award. You can read all about it on Pottermore.

From all of us at Leaky, have a very happy holiday!

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11. More Christmas presents from Pottermore!

Today it finally arrived. The rumored release of a major character’s life story appear to be true. As it gets closer to Christmas, J.K. Rowling gives us the gift of Draco Malfoy’s background. Hop on over to Pottermore to enjoy this excellent new writing from our favorite author!

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12. New Pottermore Gift: Inferi

New J. K. Rowling writing has gone up on Pottermore and this time she’s writing about the frightening Inferi! Go to Pottermore to see Rowling’s thoughts on these Dark creatures.

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13. New Pottermore Gift Discusses Rowling’s Thoughts on Vampires, Rowling Reveals That There Are Jewish Potter Characters Via Twitter

The latest Pottermore gift discusses vampires within the world of Harry Potter and finally puts to bed the old fan theory that Snape is a vampire. Previous Pottermore gifts have included new potions to make, as well as a Potions leaderboard in the Great Hall, and a new Potion badge.

J. K. Rowling also gave us some more info about the Harry Potter universe over Twitter yesterday, revealing that one of Harry’s classmates, Anthony Goldstein, is Jewish. Rowling went on to say that all faiths – barring Wiccans – are represented at Hogwarts.

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14. Third Pottermore Gift: History of Cauldrons

Today’s Pottermore Christmas gift takes us to the Potions classroom, where J. K. Rowling gives us some background information on cauldrons and tells us why she decided to put Snape in charge of Potions classes. Go to Pottermore to see today’s Potion-themed riddle and read new info from JKR!

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15. The 2nd Day of Christmas: Pottermore

For the 12 days of Christmas, or J.K. Rowling’s 12 days of giving the gift of new Pottermore writings, the second day leads us to Fred and George’s Weasley Wizard Wheezes. There, after solving today’s riddle, you will find new stories about Florean Fortescue and our very own Leaky Cauldron! Please visit Pottermore.com to read more!

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16. Pottermore Posts First Christmas Gift: New Writing from J. K. Rowling and 300 Galleons for All Users

Today starts off Pottermore’s Christmas celebration: from today until December 23rd Pottermore users will see new writing from J. K. Rowling, as well as additional “gifts.” Today, 300 Galleons were added to every user’s Gringott’s vault, and J. K. Rowling posted information on Cokeworth, the town that Lily Potter and Severus Snape grew up in.

Stay close to Leaky to see what other surprises Pottermore brings this holiday season.

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17. Robert Galbraith’s “The Cuckoo’s Calling” to be a TV Drama

Hours ago, J.K. Rowling tweeted for her dear friend, Robert Galbraith, to share the exciting news that his first novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, is to become a BBC 1 TV Drama. Our favorite author said that she shared Robert’s excitement, and thought it wise to share the news with her fan base as Robert is particularly silent. Rowling tweeted:

 

My friend ‘s first novel is going to be a TV drama on . He’s very excited, but expressing it with characteristic silence.

 

BBC 1 has not released any statement thus far, and the only information about the show is coming from Queen Rowling herself. Direct your questions to Twitter, and you may be lucky enough to get an answer from her.

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18. J. K. Rowling Donates Signed Copy of “The Silkworm” to Lumos Fundraiser

J. K. Rowling has donated a copy of “The Silkworm” (which is signed by both Rowling and Robert Galbraith!) to the Lumos fundraiser that hopes to create opportunities for children with disabilities to access education in Moldova. Anyone who donates will be entered to win this copy of “The Silkworm,” and multiple entries are allowed.

You can read more about Lumos and their current fundraiser here.

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19. J.K. Rowling releasing new Umbridge short story

Pottermore has announced that J.K. Rowling intends to give us a treat, instead of a trick, this Halloween. Our favorite author has penned new material to add to Professor Umbridge’s character profile on Pottermore. The new addition will be a 1,700 word back story of the infamous Dolorous Umbridge. The update post on Pottermore reads:

 

“Umbridge is not only one of the most malicious Potter characters, she is the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry. The new exclusive J.K. Rowling content provides a rich, 1,700-word back story about Umbridge’s life filled with many new details, as well as Rowling’s revealing first-person thoughts and reflections about the character.”

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20. Daniel Radcliffe Answers Fan Questions on Reddit

Dan Radcliffe participated in an AMA today on Reddit and answered fan questions about filming the Harry Potter series and more. You can see the questions and answers here, but please be advised that there is strong language throughout.

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21. Happy Halloween! New Umbridge Story from J.K. Rowling

As a Halloween treat, J.K. Rowling has released her new story detailing Dolores Umbridge’s personal history. The story can be found in the “Dolores Umbridge” chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. J.K. Rowling gives light to the parents Umbridge is so ashamed of, and tells of her back-stabbing climb up the ranks at the Ministry of Magic. Visit Pottermore now, to read the exciting full story!

 

Halloween is a very important holiday throughout the Harry Potter books–from a troll in the dungeon, to a Death Day Party, to the first Hogsmeade visit of the year. Halloween is cause for huge celebration in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. One can enjoy a great feast at Hogwarts, in a Great Hall decorated with Hagrid’s extra giant pumpkins. From all of us at Leaky, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween! Please share with us your favorite Potter Halloween stories below in the comments!

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22. Video: “Behind the Walls” by Lumos

J. K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, has posted a new video entitled “Behind the Walls,” which discusses the institutionalization of eight million children in Central and Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall, and underscores how many children in orphanages aren’t orphans. You can watch the video here, and find out more about Lumos here.

Many thanks to SnitchSeeker for the tip.

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23. Hot Butterbeer Now Sold at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando announced today that in addition to cold, frozen, and ice cream flavor guests at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can now drink butterbeer the way it was written in the books: hot!

Just in time for winter, this delicious new addition has the same alluring flavors of butterscotch and shortbread that have been so popular in the colder varieties. But the top-secret recipe has been fine-tuned just the right way to make it perfect as a hot treat.

Hot butterbeer can be found at Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head Pub on the Hogsmeade side, and at the Leaky Cauldron, the Hopping Pot, and the Fountain of Fair Fortune on the Diagon Alley side. You can read more here.

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24. J. K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech to be Published as an Illustrated Book

J. K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech (which you can watch here or below), which centered of the benefits of failure, will be published as an illustrated book on April 14th. The book will be called Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. All the profits from the book will go to Lumos, J. K. Rowling’s charity, and to help provide financial aid to students at Harvard.

 

The book will be illustrated by Joel Holland. You can read more here.

 

 

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25. “Half-Blood Prince” Moments Coming to Pottermore December 12th

The Pottermore Insider has announced that Christmas will be coming early to Pottermore and from December 12th to December 23rd Pottermore users will see a new “gift” each day. Galleons and new potions will be among the gifts, as well as new writing from J. K. Rowling on Florean Fortescue and Draco Malfoy:

We’re feeling extra generous this year, so we’re bringing you early gifts this Christmas. Starting Friday, December 12, we’ll be releasing a festive surprise for you every day at 1pm GMT (8am EST).

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