Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On Sunday, Disney’s Zootopia won the Oscars award for the Best Animated Feature Film at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at Los Angeles. Pixar’s animated short Piper won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film and Disney’s The Jungle Book won for Visual Effects.

Others competing with Zootopia in the category were Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Disney’s Moana. This was the first Oscar for directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore who were previously nominated for, respectively, Bolt and Wreck-It Ralph.

In the acceptance speech, director Byron Howard said, “About five years ago, almost six now, […] we got this crazy idea of talking about humanity with talking animals in the hopes that, when the film came out, it would make the world just a slightly better place.” The Disney movie addresses several social problems such as racism, sexism, prejudice, stereotyping, and fear. The New York Times said the parental guidance (PG) rated movie was “Funny, smart, thought-provoking — and musical, too.”

Before announcing the award, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal said, “As a Mexican, as a Latin-American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us.” The movie was released in March, during the 2016 US presidential race.

In an interview with Variety, the directors of Zootopia said movies about bias and discrimination haven’t been Disney’s main focus, but during its production, “Things were not great in the world. […] It was more like we had our finger on something important right now and we really need to do our best to portray this as honestly as we can. Then with the election and the campaign, the real move towards governing by fear […] I don’t think we could have predicted it any closer with this film.”

With this win, the Walt Disney Company has won nine out of ten Best Animated Feature Film Oscars in the last decade, with Pixar Animation Studio winning six out of them. Zootopia also won Best Animated Film at the Annie Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.



Thursday, March 3, 2005

Margaret Wilson was appointed as Speaker of The House of Representatives. She becomes New Zealand’s first female Speaker of the House. She also rounds out the top positions within New Zealand being taken by women. All four of Governor-General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and the Speaker of the House are female.

Wilson was voted in with 64 votes. Clem Simich (National MP) received 37 and ACT MP Ken Shirley got five votes. The position has usually been appointed unopposed, but the other two candidates stood to protest at the lack of consultation by Prime Minister Helen Clark.Wilson takes over from Jonathan Hunt, who leaves to become the High Commissioner for New Zealand in London. Hunt will remain in the backbenches until early next month. Wilson was previously Attorney-General, a position that Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Michael Cullen now holds.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Plastic surgeon to the stars Dr. Frank Ryan has died in a car accident at age 50. It is reported that the Jeep Ryan was driving crashed over the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and landed on rocks. Lifeguards were first on the scene and unsuccessfully tried to rescue Ryan. It is thought that no other vehicle was involved in the incident.

Dr. Ryan, a celebrity in his own right, performed plastic surgery on several stars including Janice Dickinson, Gene Simmons, Shauna Sand and Adrianne Curry. He appeared on several television shows and became one of the first people to perform plastic surgery on television in 1995.

A representative for Janice Dickinson released a statement about the death of Ryan. She said “Janice is deeply, deeply anguished! She is stunned and wants the world to know what a genius Dr. Ryan was.”

Ryan was traveling with his pet dog at the time of the crash; the dog was found seriously injured in the ocean and was transported to a local veterinarian. Dr. Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In a continuing crackdown on tax evasion, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has alleged that brokers with a branch of RBC Dominion Securities, Canada’s largest brokerage company, helped clients set up accounts in the small European principality of Liechtenstein in order to avoid taxation on their wealth.

In affadavits submitted by the CRA, brokers with an RBC Dominion Securities office in Victoria, British Columbia, allegedly helped clients set up 16 offshore entities with a division of the LGT Group in Liechtenstein. While that is not a crime under Canadian law, auditors allege that the entities were used to help Canadians hide worldwide income. Thirteen individuals are either being audited or have made voluntary disclosures, admitting to tax evasion. The agency is presently investigating to see if there are any other individuals participating in this scheme. Regarding the inquiry, dubbed “Project Jade”, the CRA will only say that it was launched on information from a “confidential informant”.

RBC issued a written statement, saying “As a firm, we have never encouraged Canadians — not 25 years ago and not today — to set up entities in Liechtenstein, and we have never instructed our investment advisers to recommend that practice,” and “we comply with all CRA requirements. This means that we provide all our clients with the forms they need to meet their personal tax obligations, and also file reports with CRA that form the basis for reviews such as this.”

Three RBC employees are presently being investigated, with one remaining unidentified.



Thursday, May 31, 2007

In an unusual protest, British performance artist, Mark McGowan ate meatballs which were made from a Corgi, a breed of dog often kept by the Royal Family.

McGowan is protesting alleged cruelty exhibited by Prince Philip. The husband of Queen Elizabeth II is reported to have beaten to death a fox, during a fox hunt.

The event was broadcast live on a radio program hosted by Bob and Roberta Smith. Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, was also there and tasted some of the Corgi meatballs.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) seemed to approve of the protest: “The idea of eating a corgi will make many people lose their lunch,” said Poorva Joshipura, European director. “But foxes, who are hunted for so-called entertainment, are no less capable of feeling fear and pain.” McGowan said the corgi he consumed had died recently at a breeding farm and had not been killed for the purposes of the protest. It was minced with apple, onion and seasoning, turned into meatballs and served with salad, but McGowan said: “It’s disgusting. It’s really, really, really disgusting.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) claimed however that there was no evidence that Prince Philip had mistreated the fox or that it had suffered.



Friday, December 30, 2005

Contents

  • 1 Richard Niyonsaba
  • 2 Denial of food
  • 3 Background and Criticisms
  • 4 Sources

The Australian Centre for Languages, a company which has a multi-million dollar contract with the Australian government to provide refugee services, has been accused of breaching its duty of care following the death of a chronically ill child and allegations of failing to provide three women in their care with food.



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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, April 6, 2007.

In Ramadi, Iraq, a truck loaded with explosives and chlorine gas exploded when an apparent suicide bomber drove the truck toward a checkpoint. The police opended fire and the truck veered toward a residential complex where it detonated. At least 20 people were killed and scores more injured.

It is the sixth chlorine bomb in the Anbar region in the last two months.

Sources


Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged in a press conference that the Afghan government has been in talks with Taliban militants about a peaceful reconciliation for the war-striken country.

Karzai also ruled out any further deals with the Taliban to free Afghans or foreigners kidnapped by insurgents.

Related news

  • “Italy confirms swapping Taliban for Mastrogiacomo” — Wikinews, March 22, 2007

Sources


A European Union lawyer has sent a warning letter to the European Commission, warning that Ethiopian and Somalian government troops may have committed war crimes. The allegation is that under the AMISOM commander, civilians were attacked. The EU could be at risk of being seen as complicit, if it does not act to stop abuses, because it is providing funding to the Somali government.

Sources




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Singapore police arrested British author and journalist Alan Shadrake one day after the launch of his book about the country’s use of the death penalty.

Shadrake, 75, was arrested on Sunday morning at a hotel in Singapore and taken into custody by police on charges of criminal defamation, in response to a complaint lodged by the city-state’s Media Development Authority (MDA) over the contents of his new book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock. Separately, the Attorney-General served Shadrake with an application for an order of committal for contempt of court, accusing him of “cast[ing] doubt on the impartiality, integrity, and independence” of Singapore’s courts through his book.

Shadrake’s latest book discusses alleged “double standards” in the country’s application of the death penalty, and contains interviews with local human rights activists, lawyers, and former police officers, including retired Changi Prison executioner Darshan Singh; Singh later claimed that he had been “tricked” into the interview. In earlier media comments, Shadrake stated that he expected “trouble” but no concrete action from authorities over his book, lest they draw even more attention to its claims. Retailers took his book off shelves after inquiries by the MDA; a spokesman for the MDA stated that the book was not banned, but suggested that booksellers “seek legal advice to ensure that the books they sell do not contravene Singapore laws”.

Shadrake has written for a variety of newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph of London as well as the New Straits Times of neighbouring Malaysia. His previous book, The Yellow Pimpernels, told the tale of various attempts to escape from East Germany over the Berlin Wall. If convicted, he faces a two-year imprisonment and a fine.



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Republican John McCain has conceded the election to Democrat Barack Obama. After two years of campaigning, today United States citizens went to the polls to vote for the Presidency and for numerous Senate, House, state and local races across the country. The District of Columbia and at least 32 states had early voting before election day. By October 31, over 23 million people had voted by mail or at early voting locations. Of the approximately 6 million people of known party affiliation who voted early, 58% were Democrats and 42% were Republicans.

Record numbers of voters were expected to the polls on election day. There were reports of technical problems and long lines across the country. Heavy turnouts were reported in Indiana, Ohio, and Wyoming, among other states.

By 11:45 A.M. EST Obama is projected to have won 349 electoral votes to McCain’s 163 votes. The popular vote at this time was 62,992,553 (52%) for Obama, 55,796,823 (46%) for McCain.



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