DPW public hearings scheduled to discuss proposed water rate increases, assistance

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works will begin hosting public meetings this week to answer questions and share information about proposed water rate increases and a financial assistance program.

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At 9:48 p.m. on Thursday, Jose Jimenez became the 25th person to be executed in the United States in 2018.

Jimenez was convicted of a 1992 murder; his execution had originally been scheduled for August, but the Supreme Court of Florida issued a stay that was later lifted.

Jimenez' sentence, carried out by lethal injection, comes as a new report describes an ongoing decline of capital punishment in the U.S.

It's hard to fathom that the same Sony Pictures that, in 2012, decided the best way to expand the appeal of its live-action Spider-Man franchise was to start over with lesser movies, has now become smart enough to put its resources into a superb new — really new — Spider-Man cartoon. Maybe someone in a Culver City boardroom got bit by a radioactive MacArthur Fellow.

In the post-cataclysm future depicted by Mortal Engines, inhabitants of a steampunk city seek and collect pop culture relics and "old tech" from the 21st century. That's apt, since this visually lively but narratively inert movie is also assembled from such debris. The story derives from a young-adult fantasy novel, but most of the scenario echoes Star Wars, Mad Max, The Terminator or Howl's Moving Castle.

If Beale Street Could Talk opens with a quote from James Baldwin and a slow, sweeping violin score that will be heard many more times. Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) walk along the edge of a New York City park, with greenery on one side and highways and cityscape on the other. Their clothes are coordinated in yellow and navy as if they belong to one another. The details of this outdoor world soon melt away, leaving only close-ups of the actors' faces. They are looking into each other so deeply that nothing else exists.

In the Lebanese movie Capernaum (the title translates to "chaos," an apt description of the world of the film), skinny, sad-eyed Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) is 12 years old, though he's so tiny he could pass for eight.

He's running and playing with other kids in the streets of Beirut under the opening credits. Once those credits are done, we watch as he's led past TV reporters into a courtroom, where he barely comes up to the waist of the soldier who's brought him. He looks firmly at the judge who asks him why he's there.

"I want to sue my parents," he says.

Lars von Trier has danced with the devil for most of his directing career, making films that embrace the worst in human nature. But in The House That Jack Built, the devil finally becomes him. This is a serial-killer movie that's also a personal confessional, centered on a man who fancies himself an artist but can't seem (or doesn't want) to understand the difference between creation and destruction. It's a real piece of work, and it's often genuinely upsetting, but von Trier's taboo-bursting noisemaker is as brilliant as it is ghoulish.

Paul Rozin has been studying the psychology and culture of food for more than 40 years. And he's come to appreciate that food fills many of our needs, but hunger is just one.

"Food is not just nutrition that goes in your mouth or even pleasant sensations that go with it," he says. "It connects to your whole life, and it's really a very important part of performing your culture and experiencing your culture."

Virgin Galactic says it has reached a rather lofty milestone.

During a test flight Thursday morning in Mojave, Calif., a pair of pilots flying the company's SpaceShipTwo spacecraft hit an altitude of 51.4 miles. That height clears the 50-mile threshold that is sometimes considered the boundary of space.

Some of the best stories begin at home — and in fact, that's where Tony DiTerlizzi got the idea for his latest book. The Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator, perhaps best known for The Spiderwick Chronicles, is taking a big leap into the unknown with his first Christmas book, The Broken Ornament.

French authorities say the man suspected of launching a shooting attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market that killed three people and wounded 13 others was slain by police Thursday, ending an extensive two-day manhunt.

The suspect had evaded police since the attack Tuesday night, despite a massive search involving hundreds of police and soldiers.

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