Home' Greymouth Star : February 28th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Oscars officials are investigating an
embarrassing mix-up over the best picture
award, which eventually went to African-
American coming-of-age drama Moonlight,
after a ceremony studded with political jokes
and minor mishaps.
In a mistake that stunned the Dolby Theatre
crowd in Hollywood and a television audience
worldwide, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye
Dunaway at first said the winner was romantic
musical La La Land, the presumed best picture
As both films’ casts stood awkwardly on stage,
Beatty explained he had received the wrong
Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, which oversees the
ballots, confirmed the error.
“ We are currently investigating how this could
have happened, and deeply regret that this
occurred,” the professional ser vices firm said in
a statement while apologising to Moonlight, La
La Land, Beatty, Dunaway and Oscars viewers.
Two Pricewaterhouse-Coopers accountants,
Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, are tasked
with holding all 24 winner envelopes during the
ceremony, according to an article in Medium
published before the show. The pair was to stand
on either side of the stage, off-screen, and hand
envelopes to the respective presenters.
Just days before the Oscars, Cullinan told
the Huffington Post in an inter view that the
procedure for dealing with the hand-off of an
incorrect envelope, other than signalling to a
stage manager, was unclear.
“It’s so unlikely,” Cullinan said.
The best picture gaffe may have been unlikely,
but it was not unprecedented. In 1964, Sammy
Davis Junior was given the wrong envelope in
the category for best music score.
Officials from the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences were not available to
“Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all
time?” Stone, who won the best actress award
for her La La Land role as a struggling actress,
told reporters back stage.
While the best picture mix-up took top spot
in the evening’s embarrassments, the ceremony
was beset with smaller blunders.
During the “in memoriam” segment, the name
of celebrated Australian costume designer Janet
Patterson, who died last year, was accompanied
by a photo of Jan Chapman, an Australian
movie producer who is alive and well.
Also, Auli’i Cravalho, the 16-year-old actress
and lead voice in Disney’s animated film
Moana, was struck on the head with a flag
waved by a back-up dancer while performing
the best song-nominated How Far I’ll Go.
Moonlight, a tale about a young boy struggling
with poverty and his sexuality in Miami, also
brought a supporting actor Oscar for first-timer
Viola Davis won for her supporting role as a
long-suffering housewife in African-American
family drama Fences. The recognition for both
the actors and their films was a stark contrast to
the 2016 Academy Awards, when no actors of
colour were even nominated.
Moonlight producer Adele Romanski said
she hoped the movie would inspire “ little black
boys and brown girls and other folks watching
at home who feel marginalised. ”
La La Land began the evening with a leading
14 nominations and emerged with the most
wins at six, including for its score and theme
song City of Stars. Director Damien Chazelle,
32, became the youngest person in history to
win for best director.
Manchester by the Sea star Casey Affleck
was named best actor, winning his first Oscar
despite 2010 sexual harassment allegations that
resurfaced during awards season. Affleck denied
the allegations, which were settled out of court.
The best picture mistake during Hollywood’s
biggest night seemed to eclipse the prior
three hours of a show peppered with jokes
about United States President Donald Trump,
capping an awards season marked by celebrities’
fiery protests of his policies.
Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel fired off political
zingers and even tweeted at the Republican
president, getting no immediate response.
Several celebrities wore blue ribbons in support
of the American Civil Liberties Union advocacy
group, which worked to get Trump’s bid to ban
travellers from seven majority Muslim nations
blocked in US courts.
But for the most part, the speeches were mild
or made general pleas for tolerance rather than
direct attacks on Trump.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi was an
exception. His drama The Salesman was
named best foreign-language film, but Farhadi
boycotted the ceremony because of Trump’s
In a speech given on his behalf by Iranian-
American space expert Anousheh Ansari,
Farhadi said his absence was due to “an
inhumane law that bans entry into the US.
Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’
categories creates fear, a deceitful justification
for aggression and war.” — Reuters
Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, who
goes by the name of Abu al-Khayr al-
Masri, has been killed in a drone strike
in north-western Syria, a monitoring
“The sheikh is the deputy of Ayman
al-Zawhiri,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head
of the Syrian Obser vatory for Human
A United States drone is believed to
have carried out the strike near a military
base in al Mastoume in the countryside
of the province of Idlib, the obser vatory
The radical militants of Hai’at Tahrir
al-Sham (Levant Liberation Body)
posted a statement saying al-Masri was
killed in a “crusade coalition raid”.
The Hai’at Tahrir al-Sham is a newly
formed alliance led by the Fateh al-
Sham Front, the al Qaeda-affiliated body
formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
In the past two months, the US-led
coalition have conducted drone strikes
and air raids against al Qaeda linked
officials and targets in Idlib province.
Al-Masri had ties to senior al Qaeda
leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri
and the late Osama bin Laden, the
Pentagon statement added. — DPA
Bush backs ‘welcoming’ immigration, free media
The Philippines government has
condemned the “ barbaric” killing of a
German hostage by Islamist militants
who released a video purportedly
showing the execution.
“ We grieve as we strongly condemn the
barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap
victim,” presidential peace adviser Jesus
Dureza said overnight in a statement
following the release of the video on
various websites and chat groups.
In the video, the 70-year-old captive
wore sandals, grey pants and a black
t-shirt and slumped on a grassy lot while
a man held a sickle to his neck.
“ Now he’ll kill me,” the German man
His captors shouted “Allahu Akbar”
after the beheading, which was carried
out on Sunday after a ransom demand
deadline had passed.
The Abu Sayyaf group demanded 30
million pesos ($830,000) be paid by
Sunday afternoon or they would behead
are examining the video to assess
its authenticity, Foreign Ministry
spokesman Martin Schaefer said
He refused to comment on the details
of the case, such as whether a ransom
had been demanded.
The video “is not enough” proof that
the execution took place, Brigadier-
General Restituto Padilla, a spokesman
for the Philippines military, said.
The German man had been seized by
militants on November 5 from his yacht
in the southern Philippines. They shot
dead the man’s 59-year-old wife after she
Last year, Abu Sayyaf beheaded two
Canadian nationals. The Canadians were
abducted in September 2015 with a
Nor wegian man and a Filipino woman,
who were later both freed separately.
There is no confirmation of that
Nor way made a ransom payment for
their hostage’s release. The Philippines
government has a no-ransom policy and
discourages payments by other parties,
but has not been able to stop such
payments in past instances. — DPA
Former Republican United
States president George W Bush
diverged sharply from Donald
Trump’s new administration
today, saying he supported a
welcoming immigration policy
and praising the media as
“ indispensable to democracy ”.
In a wide-ranging inter view
with NBC’s Today show, Bush
also said he did not know if a
special prosecutors was needed
to investigate contacts between
Trump associates and Russia but
added, “ We all need answers.”
Bush, in some of his first
televised comments since Trump
took office, was asked if he had
seen signs Trump was trying to
close the rift in the electorate
after his divisive campaign against
Democrat Hillary Clinton. He
acknowledged his own presidency
from 2001 to 2009 began after a
contentious election but it was
“ hard to compare times”.
He said Trump is still in the
early stage of his presidency and
that Americans have “got to take
the man at his word”.
Asked whether he supported
Trump’s travel ban on people
from seven majority Muslim
countries, Bush said, “I am for
an immigration policy that is
welcoming and upholds the law.”
Bush, whose presidency was
shaped by the September 11,
2001, al Qaeda attacks on
America, also called for religious
“One of our great strengths is
for people to be able to worship
the way they want to or not
worship at all,” he said.
After the attacks, Bush had
made a point of supporting
Muslims and praising Islam’s
teachings as peaceful.
Trump has branded some news
outlets as “the enemy of the
people” but Bush said: “I consider
the media to be indispensable
to democracy, that we need an
independent media to hold
people like me to account.
“ It ’s important for the media to
call to account people who abuse
He said during his presidency
he tried to persuade Russian
to accept the concept of an
independent news media. “It ’s
kind of hard to tell others to
have an independent, free press
and we’re not willing to have one
ourselves,” Bush said.
Trump, the first Republican
president since Bush left office,
won the November presidential
election after besting 16 other
Republican candidates for the
party’s nomination, including
Bush’s brother Jeb.
His victory came amid
lukewarm backing from the
establishment wing of the party
including Bush and his father,
former president George H W
Bush, shunned him or offered
lukewarm support. — Reuters
Moonlight takes best picture
The last time the entire Sistine
Chapel was photographed for
posterity, digital photography
was in its infancy and words
like pixels were bandied about
mostly by computer nerds and
Now, after decades of
technological advances in art
photography, digital darkrooms
and printing techniques, a
five-year project that will aid
future restorations has left the
Vatican Museums with 270,000
digital frames that show
frescoes by Michelangelo and
other masters in fresh, stunning
“In the future, this will allow
us to know the state of every
centimetre of the chapel as
it is today, in 2017,” Antonio
Paolucci, former head of
the museums and a world-
renowned expert on the Sistine
Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes
include one of the most famous
gentle, bearded God reaching
out to give life to Adam.
The Renaissance master
finished the ceiling in 1512
and painted the massive Last
Judgment panel behind the
altar between 1535 and 1541.
The last time all Sistine
frescoes were photographed was
between 1980 and 1994, during
a landmark restoration project
that cleaned them for the first
time in centuries.
The new photos were taken
for inclusion in a new three-
volume, 870-page set limited
to 1999 copies and marketed to
libraries and collectors.
The set, which costs about
12,000 euros ($17,665), was
a joint production of the
Vatican Museums and Italy’s
Scripta Maneant high-end art
techniques included “stitching”
of frames that photographers
took while working out of sight
for 65 nights from 7pm to 2am,
when the chapel where popes
are elected is closed.
The project was known to
only to a few people until it
was unveiled in the chapel on
The set includes the entire
chapel, including the mosaic
floor and 15th century frescoes
by artists who have long
languished in Michelangelo’s
More than 220 pages are
printed in 1:1 scale, including
The Creation of Adam and
Jesus’s face from the Last
Each volume weighs about
9kg and fold-out pages measure
60cm by 130cm.
The old photos taken during
the last restoration were done
“ We used special post-
production software to get
the depth, intensity, warmth
and nuance of colours to an
accuracy of 99.9%,” Giorgio
Armaroli, head of Scripta
“ Future restorers will use
these as their standards,” he
said, adding that each page was
printed six times.
Brush strokes are clearly
visible as are the “borders”
delineating sections, known
as “giornate,” or days. Since
frescoes are painted on wet
plaster, artists prepare just
enough for what they can
complete in each session.
The photographers used a
10m portable scaffold and
special telescopic lens. The
results are now stored in a
Vatican ser ver holding 30
terabytes of information.
Sistine Chapel gets digital treatment for future restoration
Two 1:1 scale photographic books depicting Sistine Chapel are seen during a news conference in the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican.
Guided by cameras and radars, and
negotiating traffic and roundabouts, a
self-driving Nissan car took to the streets
of L ondon overnight for the Japanese
company ’s first European tests of an
Travelling at up to 80kph and moving from
local streets to a major multi-lane road, the
modified Nissan Leaf electric car showcased
the kind of technology many hope to be the
future of travel.
Britain has been wooing developers of
autonomous vehicles, hoping to grab a slice of
an industry it estimates could be worth
£900 billion worldwide by 2025.
It also recently announced changes to
allow for a single insurance policy to
cover motorists driving conventionally
and in autonomous mode, as it tries to get
regulations in place to encourage the uptake
of driverless cars from 2020.
Britain’s flexible approach to testing
autonomous vehicles helped Nissan pick
London for its first European tests, the director
of its research centre in Silicon Valley said.
“It’s not everywhere in Europe that we can
go and drive on the road,” Maarten Sierhuis
“ You don’t want to go to the most difficult
parts of London when you start. The system
has to be tested,” he said of the east of the
capital where the trials are taking place near
the Excel exhibition centre and London City
Nissan liaised with regulator Transport for
London and the police ahead of the trials,
supplying details of its route and the rules
it would follow, and was advised to keep a
full log that it would share in the event of an
incident, it said.
Nearly two dozen cameras, radars and lasers
are fitted on the top and around the side of
vehicle to guide its path.
A driverless car took to Britain’s streets for
the first time in the southern English town
of Milton Keynes in October last year but
travelled at a much slower speed. — Reuters
Driverless car takes to London streets
The self-driving Nissan Leaf in London.
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