Former NHL netminder Mike McKenna has loads of personal memorabilia, but he's still busy tracking down bits of his own history that were taken away in his NHL stops.
Former NHL netminder Mike McKenna has loads of personal memorabilia, but he's still busy tracking down bits of his own history that were taken away in his NHL stops.
"With my heart not being there to travel and play in these conditions, I unfortunately have to take a break in order to preserve myself mentally," Simon wrote on Twitter. A former Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Simon crashed out in the first round of this year's season-opening major in Melbourne after a 6-1 6-2 6-1 defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Raptors easily handled the Rockets to give assistant coach Sergio Scariolo his first NBA win.
Keith TaillonThis is the latest in our monthly series, The World's Most Beautiful Libraries.Walking into the library room of the Morgan Library & Museum, the eye is drawn upward. Three levels of colorfully-bound books, many priceless and irreplaceable, sit safely behind sumptuous walnut, bronze, and glass cases. The rich color scheme carries through to the ceiling, where artist Harry Siddons Mowbray depicts the various artforms alongside the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The room is dramatically dim, the only natural light pouring in from a solitary northern window. But this wasn’t the original plan. There are actually two more windows flanking the fireplace, buried behind the books.When J. Pierpont Morgan received the keys to his library in late 1905, this room was nearing completion. A single row of bookcases sat on the floor beneath vast blank walls; Morgan’s collection of tapestries were to be hung there. But Morgan’s appetite for books was insatiable, and in 1906 he ordered more cases installed. The tapestry plan was scrapped, windows were covered over, and the new cases were painstakingly built along with their requisite catwalks. Two spiral staircases were hidden within the walls so as to not disrupt the room’s purity of design. For Morgan, perfecting this library meant having a proper showcase for his cherished collections. For his architect, it meant perhaps much more.J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) was a titan of Wall Street and founder of United States Steel, the nation’s first billion-dollar corporation. Like many wealthy men of his day, he was an avid collector of rare and expensive items. He accumulated paintings and tapestries, but his keenest interest was reserved for books and manuscripts. He scoured the globe, enlisting a team of field agents to help him find new and interesting artifacts. By 1902, it was clear that his brownstone mansion could no longer contain his holdings. He enlisted famed architect Charles F. McKim (1847-1909) of McKim Mead & White to design a proper library next to his home on 36th Street in New York’s Murray Hill district. Keith Taillon Charles Follen McKim, of the firm McKim Mead & White, was enlisted by Morgan in 1902 to design a library next to his home on 36th Street. That building, which forms the core of the modern Morgan Library & Museum, was one of his last works and showcases his masterful restraint. A McKim biography written in 1913 by Alfred Hoyt Granger marvels at the library’s aesthetic success: “Here was an opportunity for every form of lavish expenditure, for this was the private toy of a multimillionaire who never discussed the price when gratifying his desires. In this building restraint and discrimination are carried to the nth power. These are the two characteristics which American architecture most sadly lacks, and in a careful and exhaustive study of the Morgan library as a whole and in detail, one strengthens the belief that no great architecture can exist without them.”The library’s exterior is made of Tennessee pink marble, constructed employing interlocking techniques such that virtually no mortar was used. Set back from the street behind an imposing gate, the entrance is flanked by stone lions sculpted by Edward Clark Potter (1857-1923), who would later produce “Patience and Fortitude,” the lions outside the New York Public Library’s main branch on Fifth Avenue. Construction on the Morgan Library was completed in 1906 after four years of intense secrecy and widespread curiosity. No members of the press or public were allowed inside, and speculation swirled as to what treasures hid within the building’s four-foot-thick walls.While the exterior was McKim’s domain, the interior was much more of a collaboration with Morgan. Jennifer Tonkovich, the Morgan’s Eugene & Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings & Prints, spoke with me recently by phone about the library’s history and design. “Morgan did have a say, especially in the interiors, because that would be where he would be spending his time.” Lamp stands, wall finishes, fireplaces, and couches were all chosen or approved by Morgan with McKim’s blessing. “There was a lot of trust in McKim with the architectural decisions, and I think Morgan really came to play with the aesthetics of the interior.”Morgan and McKim often sparred over interior design decisions, most notably in a bitter quarrel over a ceiling in 1905. McKim originally planned for a dome in Morgan’s study, but instead acquired a flat 16th-century wooden ceiling from his Florentine dealer. Morgan discovered the unapproved change during a site walk-through with painter Hunter S. Mowbry, who said of the episode, “the storm burst” and “we did the rest of the inspection under a thundercloud.” McKim actually left the project for some time after suffering a nervous breakdown, “in part caused by Morgan,” according to Tonkovich. “He was definitely not an easy client, is my understanding.”Designs changed regularly along with Morgan’s moods and tastes, and the building had to keep up with his ever-expanding collection of books and documents. The main library room, much-photographed today with its three levels stacked to the ceiling with books, was initially supposed to house just one level of books with Morgan’s tapestry collection hung above. “In fact, they covered up all but one of the windows there,” Tonkovich told me. “There actually are other windows and they’re all covered over with bookshelves.”Integral to the expansion of Morgan’s collection was his longtime librarian, Belle da Costa Greene (1883-1950). She was introduced to Morgan in 1905 while working at the Princeton Library by his nephew Junius who was a student there. Belle’s story is singularly fascinating, and will be featured in an exhibition being planned by the Morgan for its 2024 centennial celebration. Born Belle Marion Greener, she was the daughter of Richard Howard Greener, who was the first African-American person to graduate from Harvard. When he moved to Siberia, leaving his family behind in America, they changed their names and began to pass as white in society. Belle adopted the middle name “da Costa” to suggest Portuguese heritage and explain her complexion.Belle Greene stayed on at the Morgan for nearly four decades, overseeing its transition from private collection to public institution. “She’s just so extraordinary,” Tonkovich said. Following Morgan’s death in 1913, she was kept on by his son Jack (1867-1943), who expanded the library and opened it to the public in 1928.Greene became Morgan’s right hand in the library, coordinating purchases for him from around the globe, particularly in illuminated medieval manuscripts. One of the most extraordinary acquisitions made during Morgan’s lifetime came in 1910, when a bundle of 9th-century Coptic scripts was found in a desert well, untouched by hands or sunlight for a thousand years. “Museums like the Morgan exist to preserve these treasures,” Tonkovich said as she described the buried manuscripts to me. “And the fact that these manuscripts had survived centuries buried in a well before they were unearthed, and now they go out on view, and the public can see them, scholars can come consult them, is really extraordinary.” Keith Taillon Morgan was in Egypt in 1913, sailing up the Nile to Khartoum, when he fell ill and was rushed to Rome for treatment. He died there, 75 years old and one of the richest men in history. His will was vague about the fate of his library and its holdings: “He left his collections largely to his son,” Tonkovich explained, “saying to ‘make them available to the benefit of the American people,’ with no further explanation.” Thankfully for future generations of scholars, Jack Morgan fulfilled his father’s wish. Following his mother’s death in 1924, he demolished their brownstone mansion and built an annex in its place, doubling the size of the library with gallery and exhibition space. The new, expanded Morgan Library opened to the public on October 1, 1928.The Morgan Library has continued in its mission to make its collections available to the public through decades of cultural upheaval, expansion, and war. Its collections were scattered to the countryside for safekeeping during World War II, part of a mammoth wartime effort by New York’s cultural institutions, now largely forgotten. By the 1980s, the institution had outgrown its original buildings and purchased the neighboring brownstone mansion, formerly home to Jack Morgan, in 1988. A delicate glass atrium, the work of Bart Voorsanger, joined the buildings together in 1991.Once again in need of space and modernization, the Morgan enlisted architect Renzo Piano in 2002 to sketch out plans which would maximize its available space while preserving its landmarked original structures. Piano designed an airy glass polygon which fit into the courtyard between the McKim building, the 1928 annex, and the Jack Morgan brownstone, pushing the Morgan to the edge of its footprint. They also drilled 80 feet down into the lot’s bedrock, installing waterproof vaults for the collection’s most fragile and valuable pieces. “That was a really huge thing for us,” said Tonkovich, “in terms of professionalizing our collections storage, rather than just growing up in this warren of historic buildings.” Keith Taillon Today, the Morgan Library & Museum is truly more than a warren of historic buildings. It continues to make its incredible collection of books, documents, and artwork available to the public more than a century after his death. Hard work and planning by staff during the Coronavirus shutdown allowed the Morgan to safely reopen as soon as it was allowed. “Our staff really rallied,” Tonkovich told me, “and they have done an amazing job. I have been incredibly proud that we’ve been able to still welcome visitors, especially students. They’ve been able to come in and work on their projects. You know, it’s a different system but we’re still making it possible.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Over 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday following a two-day delay due to export procedures, offering a second inoculation option for the city. The Pfizer-BioNTech shots will be offered to about 2.4 million eligible residents from priority groups such as those aged 60 and above and health care workers. About 70,000 residents who have registered for Hong Kong’s vaccination program, which kicked off on Friday, will receive the shots developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac.
With VPNs and fancy dress, Myanmar youth fight 'turning back of the clock'For a generation used to freedoms that have come with democracy, going back to military rule is unthinkable Protesters hold posters during a rally against the military coup in Yangon. Photograph: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA
Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador strongly opposed the military coup in his country and appealed for the “strongest possible action from the international community” to immediately restore democracy, in a dramatic speech to the U.N. General Assembly Friday that drew loud applause from many diplomats in the 193-nation global body. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun began his statement saying he represented Aung San Suu Kyi’s "civilian government elected by the people” in November, and supported their fight for the end of military rule.
Time's Up launched #TIMESUPGlobes Friday, alongside a graphic that reads, "Hollywood Foreign Press Association: Not a Single Black Member Out of 87."
Harry’s interview with James Corden features among a wide range of stories on Saturday’s front pages.
We investigate a carefully crafted operation that the BJP uses, to create a narrative with the help of toolkits.
GettyThis is the latest in our twice-a-month series on underrated destinations, It's Still a Big World.Japan is an island country and of the many islands that make up the Empire of the Sun, my personal favorite is Sado aka Sadogashima, an emerald islet off the coast of Niigata Prefecture, in the northern part of the Japan Sea. It is blessed with beautiful white sand beaches, fine dry sake (nihonshu) and a long and interesting history. It was once where those who fell out of favor with the shogunate were temporarily exiled or banished forever. Perhaps, being sent there was a punishment in the past; going there now is a wonderful reward to yourself.What first took me to the island and what brings me back every few years is the Sado Island (percussion heavy) version of Woodstock known as the Earth Day Celebration. This stems from the fact that Sado Island is home to the world-famous Japanese drumming (taiko) ensemble KODO and the community that has sprung around them. Every summer since 1988, Earth Celebration (EC) has been held near Ogi city on the island. The celebration is a combination of international arts festival, street fair, and musical collaboration from artists all over the world. It is now the longest running music festival in Japan.KODO, if you don’t know them, are a legendary act and catching their performance on the island, their homebase, is an almost magical experience. In 1969, noted percussionist Tagayasu Den founded thegroup on this relatively unpopulated island. The members came from all over Japan--people who were disillusioned with urban life. They set up a commune, living and farming together, and ran a marathon daily.Den believed that for the members to perform well on the massive Taiko drums that they also had to be in peak physical shape. KODO drove in the point by giving an acclaimed performance in the US, in 1975, right after finishing the Boston Marathon. Their intense performances made them legendary. Even today, Kodo often performs in the traditional Japanese version of a loincloth, the fundoshi, inspiring thousands of women and men to gasp at their buns and abs of steel. Originally it was an all male troupe but as of June 2020, there were 34 performing members, which included nine women.The Earth Celebration has evolved into a massive event over the decades, but I find that it still retains much of its charm.I was there for the third year of the event in 1990 as a college student. I was dating a Taiwanese-American exchange student, lovely Anna L, who had also been playing with San Hose’ Taiko for several years. We camped on the white sands of Sobama Beach in a tiny tent, going to drumming workshops during the day, concerts at night, eating local food, and enjoying quiet nights, listening to the waves gently wash across the beach, while someone played bongos late into the evening. The water was crystal clear and it almost glowed blue when the sun refracted off it in the afternoon. The lack of city lights made the stars as visible as they would be in the best planetarium in Tokyo. It was one of the greatest and most romantic trips of my life. Ippei Naoi/Getty I returned to the island most recently in 2019, for two short days, and felt lucky to have been able to get tickets to see some of the concerts. Due to the popularity of the festival, tickets sell out very quickly after going on-line, so if you plan to go in August of 2022—this year is almost certain to be an on-line only event—book early.The concerts are usually held outdoors and the acoustics are wonderful. Be prepared to sit on the ground and be rest assured that almost anywhere you sit will give you a good view of the stage. The organizers are careful to regulate the number of tickets to keep the experience pleasant and spacious.I particularly enjoy the Taiko drumming workshops where you are given a chance to learn the basics of playing those massive percussive instruments, some of which are much taller than you or I could ever hope to be. You can especially feel the waves of sounds coming from the nagadō-daiko (long-bodied drum). They are made from hollowed-out Japanese cedar or other hardwoods, in a cylinder shape, with cowhide over the top and held down tightly with metal pins. It’s not hard to get the basic rhythm but maintaining it with the massive drumsticks in your hands is physically exhausting. The more subtle taiko drumming mimics the inhalation and exhalation of the human body, but the whole body movement required for a long performance is literally breath-taking.The sound of the drums are hypnotic.This is part of the joy of Sado Island; it’s not just seeing the sights, but hearing them—and feeling them. The soundscape of the island can be as enjoyable as the landscape. The local festivals are musical treats as well.If you’re going to the EC, Sobama Beach in Ogi town, is a wonderful place to cool off, and very close to the main venues. The long off-white sandy beach, a shoal, is far off the beaten path and stretches out for nearly four kilometers; there are no houses or hotels nearby. The water is usually crystal clear and is pleasantly cool but rarely cold. The Sobama campground nearby is free to use, and there are all the essential facilities nearby. If you feel like a hot-spring bath (not free), there are places within a short hike away. Hot showers and toilets are also available. The campground provides a wonderful place to watch the sun go down as well. During the festival period, it tends to fill up, so you might want to consider reserving a room at a Japanese inn on the island; prices are reasonable, the hospitality usually exceptional. One should also mention that the joy of camping on Sado can be diminished greatly if you are unlucky enough to encounter a typhoon.While you are in Ogi, you can also try your hand at riding a traditional washtub boat, known as a tarai bune. They are small round boats which hold two people plus the helms-person. If you board one at Ogi Port, for about $5, you can get a ten-minute guided tour of the turquoise waters. For $10 and a bottle of sake, I once got a fisherman to take me and a friend to the other side of the island but that only worked once; getting back took hours. The island is bigger than you imagine.Near the port, you can also visit Shukunegi, which was once a ship-building village, and is lovingly preserved. For those who plan to stay longer, you should visit the remains of Sado’s once booming silver and gold mines or the many famous Buddhist temples.If you’re a true connoisseur of the Japanese theatrical arts, visit the places where the grandmaster of Japan’s mystical Noh theatre, Zeami, lived temporarily on the island. Zeami was banished from the Imperial Court by the shogun Yoshimasa Ashikaga in 1434 and sent to Sado.He wrote a beautiful literary diary of his time there, Kintosho--“Writings From The Isle Of Gold”.It concludes with a poem that captures the quiet contemplative beauty of the place.Look on these wordsThe plover tracksOf one left on the Golden IslandTo last as sign, unweathered,For future generationsBe warned—it’s quite a trek to get to the island. You’ll need a plane, a bullet-train and a ferry to arrive at your destination, and probably will need to rent-a-car to really fully explore Sado. A bicycle can also do the trick.And if you really want to savor the sights and sounds, buy a smooth dry bottle of Hokuetsu sake, which has been made on the island since 1872, and take a leisurely stroll. You’ll eventually get where you want to go.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
When asked who would be a better player-coach between himself and Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet gave an interesting response. He also discusses Sergio Scariolo's NBA head coaching debut and what preparation was like without several members of the coaching staff.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists, Hunter Miska stopped 16 of 18 shots and the Colorado Avalanche held on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Friday night. The 25-year-old Miska was playing in just his fourth NHL game and nearly earned a shutout until the Coyotes scored two goals in the final two minutes. Arizona had a sleepy offensive performance until Phil Kessel scored with 1:36 left and Drake Caggiula added another one with 53 seconds left. That led to a tense exchange in the final seconds before the Avalanche fended off a final Coyotes offensive flurry. The Coyotes came into the game on a roll, becoming just the eighth NHL team to win consecutive games after trailing by at least three goals. They nearly pulled it off again in shocking fashion, but waited too late to get the offence started. Colorado jumped ahead 1-0 early in the second period on a power play when Mikko Rantanen scored from close range at the far post after a quick crossing pass from Kadri. It was Rantenen's eighth goal of the season. Arizona goalie Adin Hill made his first start of the season in place of the injured Darcy Kuemper, who was out with a lower body injury that happened during the team's win on Wednesday. Hill stopped 14 shots in the come-from-behind victory after replacing Kuemper. Hill played well again in a scoreless first period, stopping 11 shots, including a handful at close range. Things got chippy late in the first period when Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog slammed Arizona's Conor Garland to the ice. Both were assessed a minor roughing penalty. Colorado pushed ahead 2-0 early in the third when Andre Burakovsky beat Hill with a hard shot to the top right corner. It was his fourth goal of the season. The Avalanche put the game away later in the third when Kadri slipped his sixth goal of the season past Hill into the bottom left corner of the net. Kessel's goal was his eighth of the season. Hill stopped 25 of 28 shots. OUCH Linesman Brad Kovachik took a puck to the side of the head midway through the first period and had to leave the ice. The game went on with two referees and one linesman until he returned in the second period. UP NEXT The teams meet again in Arizona on Saturday night. ___ Follow David Brandt at www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports David Brandt, The Associated Press
The HC Bench has granted the sisters relief till the next hearing on 22 March.
The radio show host had dubbed BTS’s version of 'Fix You' a “blasphemy” and compared the band to COVID-19, describing them as “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well.”
Chinese officials have signalled that Beijing plans sweeping electoral changes for Hong Kong, possibly as soon as next week, when China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), opens in Beijing. WHAT IS BEIJING PLANNING? Xia Baolong, director of China's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, has said the electoral system in the global financial hub needs to be changed to allow only "patriots" to govern.
IFC MidnightThere’s no culture or faith that horror cinema has left untouched, and that goes for Judaism as well, be it with 1915’s The Golem, 2009’s The Unborn or 2015’s Demon. The Vigil is another work in that tradition, mining Jewish customs for a disquieting tale about unholy things that scream, claw, and corrupt in the dead of night. Writer/director Keith Thomas’ feature debut cannily filters its suspense through the prism of personal—and inherited—Jewish trauma, and given that it concerns a lonely, tormented man going mad while trapped inside a house, it also has a quarantine creepiness that amplifies its potency.Now available on VOD (following its debut at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival), The Vigil focuses on Yakov Ronen (Dave Davis), a young New Yorker whom we first meet at an evening get-together with fellow Jews who are striving to acclimate to everyday mainstream life now that they’ve fled their Hasidic communities of Borough Park, Brooklyn (à la the men and women depicted in Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s 2017 documentary One of Us, as well as in last year’s Netflix hit Unorthodox). One look at Yakov in the bathroom mirror, swallowing a pill and mustering the courage to join the group, is enough to convey his unstable state, which we soon learn is partly due to his bumpy transition into secular society. Having failed to get a job because he didn’t have a resume (which he then tried to write on loose-leaf paper), and still amazed at the fact that his smartphone has a flashlight, he’s a figurative babe in the woods, struggling to learn—and accept—the myriad aspects of this strange new world. ‘Cherry’ Sees Spider-Man Rob Banks, Shoot Up Heroin, and Fully Commit to a Very Messy MovieYakov is committed to his new path but hasn’t fully extricated himself from his ultra-orthodox ties, as evidenced by the fact that after this meeting (and his clumsy handling of a woman’s date proposal), he’s met on the street by old friend Reb Shulem (Menashe’s Menashe Lustig), a rabbi who wants him to sit vigil as a Shomer (i.e. watchman) for a recently deceased man named Ruben Litvak. As is Jewish practice, the Shomer must provide comfort to the dead by spending the night with them, reciting Psalms as a way to comfort their souls and protect them from evil spirits. Having just broken with his religious family and friends, Yakov has no interest in this job. Yet with no means of paying his rent, Shulem’s cash offer—which Yakov gets him to increase—is too good to pass up, and he begrudgingly accepts the task, figuring it’ll be merely a five-hour inconvenience.That other Shomers have already bailed on this gig (apparently out of “fear”) is the initial tip-off, to us and to Yakov, that something is amiss here, and The Vigil doesn’t waste time getting down to supernatural business. After meeting the spooky Mrs. Litvak (Lynn Cohen), and learning that her husband was a Holocaust survivor and recluse who never left his house and was estranged from his children and grandchildren, Yakov settles down for the night. Almost immediately, things take a turn for the worse, beginning with movement from beneath the sheet covering Mr. Litvak in the clan’s dimly-lit living room. Yakov takes a nap in an armchair beside the corpse and has a dream about a harrowing prior incident in which he and his young brother were assaulted by anti-Semites. When he wakes, he has a bizarre message on his phone: a video clip of himself, slumbering in the chair, shot by Mrs. Litvak, who’s seen caressing his hair and cheek.More unnatural events soon follow, including the appearance of another dead body lying in the kitchen, an unhelpful conversation with his therapist (Fred Melamed), and a drinking glass whose water suddenly turns dark and icky, causing Yakov to gag and choke on whatever it was he’d just consumed. Shortly thereafter, answers come to light courtesy of Mrs. Litvak, who reveals that she deliberately alienated her brood in order to protect them, as well as via an old home movie that Yakov finds playing in the residence’s basement. In it, Mr. Litvak states that he’s plagued by a Mazzik, an ancient parasitic demon that followed him home from the Buchenwald concentration camp and appears with its head turned completely around. Thomas has already provided glimpses of this WWII incident in an oblique prologue sequence, and he now has Mr. Litvak explain that the only way to prevent the Mazzik from gaining control of one’s soul is to burn its true face on the first night it appears—something Mr. Litvak apparently failed to do, resulting in his continuing damnation.Even after disclosing the nature of its insanity, The Vigil remains a consistently unsettling endeavor, thanks to patient camerawork that glides along Mr. Litvak’s in-repose body and through the house’s hallways like a specter stalking its prey, and portentous compositions that ask viewers to inspect them for signs of paranormal activity. Matching those sharp visuals is a soundscape that segues on a dime between malevolent din and ominous silence, the latter of which is routinely employed to nerve-wracking effect. Even when the action itself is somewhat familiar, Thomas’ enveloping aesthetics are chilling, and in the accomplished Davis, the film boasts a sturdy dramatic center of attention.Most inviting of all, however, is the writer/director’s depiction of his highly particular milieu, and the rules and rituals that govern it. Specificity is key to both the material’s scares and its empathy, which mounts as the film divulges more about Yakov’s anguish and guilt, and the way it makes him vulnerable to the forces intent on consuming him. The Vigil is a story about Jewish suffering, whether today or during the Holocaust, and how it feeds on its hosts, isolating, warping, and debilitating them. Moreover, it’s about the futility of trying to simply shun, or run away from, that distress. With efficient and unnerving skill, it melds traditional genre conventions with uniquely Jewish elements (for example, the tefillin, which Yakov dons toward the end of his ordeal) to paint a somber—and tentatively hopeful—portrait of the need to directly confront the past in order to overcome and escape it.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Habibu Iliyasu/AFP via Getty ImagesABUJA, Nigeria—Days before gunmen stormed a secondary school in Nigeria's northwestern Zamfara State and kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls, school authorities and local security agencies had been warned that there was danger looming in the town, particularly in the area where the school is located, according to local residents.On Friday, heavily armed militants seized at least 315 girls who were staying in the Government Girls' Secondary School in the town of Jangebe. The militants arrived on motorcycles at about 1:30am local time and marched the kidnapped girls into the nearby forest, leaving family members of the victims distraught and anxious. Residents said “strange men” had been patrolling the school area and intimidating local community members in the school’s vicinity days before the kidnappings took place.“All of a sudden we saw strange men on the street [leading to the Government Girls' Secondary School] at night acting as if there were vigilantes,” Danlami Umar, who lives near the school, told The Daily Beast. “They were stopping passersby and questioning them about where they were going.”The men had been occupying the neighborhood around the school for two days prior to the incident, harassing pedestrians and prompting residents to alert police officials of their activities.Officials Probe ‘Foul Play’ After Crash of Military Plane Close to Finding Abducted Nigerian Schoolboys“As soon as we reported them, they disappeared from the area,” said Umar. “We then told police officials to beef up security around the school area but that wasn't done.”But those living close to the school weren't the only ones to express concern about the security situation in the area. Some family members, The Daily Beast learned, had asked school authorities to close the boarding house and allow the girls to attend classes as day students because of growing reports of criminal activity in nearby areas. Their pleas fell on deaf ears.“People were complaining that their homes were being raided at night by gunmen and that their children are constantly being harassed by these hoodlums, so some parents asked that the school closed the boarding house just in case these criminals decide to one day visit the school,” Jibril Abubakar, whose niece attends the school but isn't among those missing, told The Daily Beast.“Unfortunately, someone in the school said the authorities couldn't close the dormitories on their own, claiming they needed to get approval from the state education ministry before doing so,” Abubakar added.Concerns about the safety of their children had forced some parents to prevent their kids from returning to their dormitories, instead having them attend the school as day students, according to Abubakar. The move might have saved more girls from being abducted on Friday.“Some parents saw this coming and did what was right by keeping their daughters away from the boarding house,” said Abubakar. “If not, we would have had more than 500 girls from the school missing today.”No group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday's abductions, which came more than a week after 42 people, including 27 schoolboys, were kidnapped in a similar attack on a government school in Nigeria's north-central Niger State. The boys have not yet been recovered.Nearly 24 hours after the Jangebe schoolgirls were seized, a joint operation involving the police and army has so far failed to identify their location. “There's information that they were moved to a neighbouring forest, and we are tracking and exercising caution,” Abutu Yaro, Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, said at a press conference late on Friday.Growing insecurity in parts of northwest and north-central Nigeria, especially after hundreds of schoolboys were kidnapped in Katsina State last December, has forced state governments in two regions to close boarding schools in vulnerable areas. The Zamfara government waited until Friday's abductions before taking similar actions. But for many in the troubled town of Jangebe, the move came too late.“If they had acted on time, the girls would have been with their families and no one would be begging the military to find their daughters,” said Abubakar. “This nonchalant attitude of government must stop.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
TAMPA, Fla. — After the buzzer sounded on the Toronto Raptors' victory, Kyle Lowry chased down the game ball to present to Sergio Scariolo -- a perfect ending to another bizarre night in the COVID-19 era of the NBA. After three decades of coaching that includes a pair of Olympic medals and a World Cup title with Spain, Sergio Scariolo earned his first NBA victory. But it didn't happen how he'd envisioned it. With Nick Nurse, five members of his coaching staff, and star forward Pascal Siakam sidelined on Friday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the 59-year-old Scariolo stepped in to guide the Toronto Raptors to a 122-111 victory over reeling Houston Rockets. Scariolo appreciated the gesture from Lowry. "Kyle is always extremely attentive to those details, the little things which really make a difference to make a team feel like a family, a group of people who are really taking care for each other and I really appreciate that," he said. Norman Powell poured in 30 points, while Lowry had a triple double -- 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists -- for the Raptors (17-17). Fred VanVleet added 25 points, while DeAndre Bembry had 13 and OG Anunoby finished with 11. Victor Oladipo had 27 points to top the slumping Rockets (11-20), who've lost 10 in a row for the first time since November-December, 2011. The Raptors announced that Nurse and most of his staff were out a few hours before tipoff, while Siakam was listed on the league's injury report shortly before tipoff. The fact the Raptors could go to the legendary Scariolo speaks to the depth of Toronto's staff. He guided Spain to gold at the 2019 World Cup, plus Olympic medals in 2012 and '16. Scariolo said he had little time to be excited on Friday. "It’s always like this, the other people are making you feel special because you are so focused on what you have to do, trying not to F-dot-dot-dot it up," Scariolo said with a laugh. "You don’t have too much time to think about your other emotions." He'd just come out of quarantine himself after coaching Spain in FIBA games in Poland -- an arduous trip home in isolation he said would be best summed up in "a book." “I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of games he’s been a head coach,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said about Scariolo. “But it’s unique, and he acknowledged that much, especially under the circumstances.” Coming off back-to-back losses to Philadelphia and Miami that snapped a four-game win streak, the Raptors started to pull away from the Rockets in the second quarter and, by the time Powell knocked down a three-pointer midway through the third, Toronto was up by 23. The Raptors led 95-80 to start the fourth. Houston pulled to within nine points with a 13-0 run that straddled the third and fourth quarter, and then sliced the difference to just six on a three-pointer by Eric Gordon with 4:28 to play. That was as close as Houston would come. VanVleet's three-pointer put Toronto back up by nine with 2:27 to play and the Rockets wouldn't threaten again. The Rockets haven't won since Feb. 4 at Memphis, and it's the first time in franchise history they've lost seven in a row on the road. Social media, meanwhile, was abuzz earlier in the day with jokes of Lowry potentially coaching. The six-time all-star conceded that it would have been great, but said that he wouldn't have subbed himself out and "I wouldn't wanna coach somebody like me." VanVleet joked that he'd make a better coach than Lowry. "(Lowry) is too emotional sometimes," VanVleet said, then added: "Nah, he was great tonight. Obviously his leadership has been a big part of what this organization has become, and that comes in many different ways. People always think it's like he's dictating every play, and every coverage, and it's not always that. He leads by example a lot. In a season rocked by COVID-19, the NBA has had to postpone 29 games so far for virus-related issues, but the Raptors had been lucky to have avoided any trouble until now. They're one of just four teams in the league that haven't had a game postponed. It's unknown how long the coaches will be sidelined but, on the plus side, the Raptors only have three more games before the all-star break. Assistant coach Jim Sann was on the Toronto bench Friday along with Mark Tyndale, assistant video coordinator/player development, and Jamaal Magloire, basketball development consultant. Webster said contact between Nurse and the bench during the game was not allowed under NBA rules. The Toronto coaching staff was already shorthanded given Chris Finch left the team earlier this week to become head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Adrian Griffin, Jama Mahlalela and Jon Goodwillie make up the remainder of Nurse's coaching staff. Webster said it wasn't clear at this stage if Siakam's situation was linked to the coaches. "The NBA is being extremely careful here," GM Bobby Webster said. "It’s early in what’s going on here, so I think we’re all being conscientious and not taking any risks. ... We’ll see what tomorrow brings us.” The Rockets jumped out to an eight-point lead on 52.9 per cent shooting in the first, but Toronto had closed the by the end of the quarter and trailed 31-30 to start the second. Lowry was a perfect 3-for-3 from long distance in a 10-point performance in the second quarter. Powell's driving layup capped a 20-10 run that had the Raptors up by 11. They stretched their lead to 15 before heading into halftime with a 67-59 advantage. The Raptors are back in action Sunday against visiting Chicago. Toronto then hosts Detroit on Tuesday before wrapping up its first-half schedule Thursday in Boston. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — The organization hosting the Golden Globes says it is developing a plan to recruit Black members after falling under sharp criticism for lacking diverse members. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association said in statement Friday that an “action plan” is under development to admit Black members. The group currently has 87 members who are journalists, but none are Black. Former HFPA president Meher Tatna told Variety in an interview that the organization hasn’t had a Black member in nearly two decades. The Mumbai-born board chair said she couldn’t recall when there had been a Black member, but she says the organization will keep trying. Some including Time's Up and presenter Sterling K. Brown are among those who have criticized the HFPA's lack of inclusion and diversity. The criticism comes just days before the Globes air live on Sunday. An HFPA spokesperson said it welcomes the opportunity to meet with groups such as Time’s Up and prospective Black members who are interested in joining the organization. “We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, TV and the artists inspiring and educating them,” the HFPA statement read. “We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.” Time’s Up took aim at the HFPA in a tweet saying “a cosmetic fix isn’t enough.” The activist organization also included the hashtag #TimesUpGlobes. Brown, an award presenter, posted the Time’s Up photo on social media with his own criticism. “For any governing body of a current Hollywood award show to have such a lack of voting representation illustrates a level of irresponsibility that should not be ignored,” he said. Brown said the HFPA must do better. He said the organization has a responsibility to show its “constituency is fully reflective of the world in which we live.” “And having a multitude of Black presenters does not absolve you of your lack of diversity,” he continued. “This is your moment to do the right thing. It is my hope that you will.” The HFPA said it welcomes journalists from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds based in Southern California that cover entertainment for foreign media. The organization says membership is majority female and more than 35% per cent of its members are from non-European countries across the world. The Associated Press
Dave Einsel/GettyAlmost fifty years ago, on a Sunday morning in late November 1974, a team of archaeologists in Ethiopia unearthed a three-million-year-old skeleton of an ancient early human. The remains would turn out to be one of the most important fossils ever discovered. That night Donald Johanson, the paleoanthropologist who discovered the fossilized remains, played a cassette tape of the Beatles and as the group listened to the sound of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” reverberate through the campsite a colleague suggested that he name the female hominin Lucy. She represented a new species—Australopithecus afarensis—and a visit to almost any major natural history museum in the world will give you the opportunity to see an artist’s rendition of how she appeared in her own time.Visit more than one natural history museum or flip through a handful of scientific textbooks, however, and you’ll quickly notice how much disagreement there is about Lucy’s physical appearance. No one can agree on what Lucy or “AL 288-1” looked like. Why is that? In a new article on “Visual Depictions of Our Evolutionary Past,” published this week in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, a team of scientists from the University of Adelaide, Arizona State, the University of Zurich, and Howard University set out to discover why this is and to compile their own, scientifically grounded, reconstruction.The differences in the depictions of Lucy are not small and, as the authors of the study show, reflect ideological biases about the past. For example, the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which is run by Answers in Genesis, depicts Lucy as a knuckle dragging ape. This is despite the fact that, as Adam Benton has discussed, there is a broad consensus among scientists is that Lucy was a biped who walked on two feet. As the authors of the new study write, “the decision to reconstruct this specimen as a knuckle-walker is an obvious error” but it has significance for whether we see Lucy as important evidence about our ancestors or “just an ape.”Even in less extreme cases, there are considerable differences in the way that artistic reconstructions show Lucy’s ribcage, facial features, hair, and skin tone. As Karen Anderson has written in an important work, the problem is widespread in hominin reconstructions, which “often convey inaccurate scientific information.” Maciej Henneberg, one of the co-authors of the study, explained to The Daily Beast that depicting a hominin’s body and face involves the reconstruction both of hard tissues (bones and teeth) and of soft tissues (muscles, skin, guts, internal organs, etc). Along the way, numerous decisions have to be made and these decisions, Henneberg told me, substantially affect how people relate to the reconstructed specimen (be it Lucy or another example). Facial features are especially important in this process, Henneberg said, because “Humans communicate by looking at each other’s faces, so we pay a lot of attention to faces of others. Thus, the reconstruction of the face of an animal or a human ancestor gives important personal information - the ‘first impression’ of the reconstructed individual. Incorrectly performed reconstruction may change public opinion about the reconstructed fossil specimen, for example reconstructing the face of a sophisticated human like the Neanderthal (who used jewelry, cared for injured people, cooked food) using ape-like muscles and skin, makes him into a brute.”“To make matters worse,” the authors argue, “most hominin reconstructions…[are] presented without any rigorous empirical justifications.” Even when those involved in reconstruction describe how they based their reconstructions of facial features and body proportions “this research has never been formally verified nor published in any scientific literature.” Ryan Campbell, the lead author on the study said via email, that the variability in how museums and textbooks depict ancient hominins “has occurred as a result of a lack of effort from the scientific community to hold soft tissue reconstructions to the same level of scrutiny as peer-reviewed scientific research. Most reconstruction methods are unreliable or are not used in favor of artistic interpretation.” A museum visitor might think that they are seeing a rigorous piece of scientific reconstruction but often artistic sensibilities take center stage.An additional problem with depictions of our biological ancestors is the way that they tend to present evolution as a kind of inevitable linear progression towards a particular Eurocentric goal. Rudolph Zallinger’s famous March of Progress illustration, which was commissioned by Time-Life books in 1965, is a case in point. Not only does the series of images present the erroneous idea of linear progress that eliminates variety, the progression “from animal to ape, to ape-man to the so-called “Negroid race” and then to the “Caucasoid race”” is wildly Eurocentric and racist. The same problems, Campbell and his team write, are implicit in more recent treatments. They argue that John Gurche’s reconstructions at the Smithsonian present a similar “linear progression” from one genus to the next that ends with a photo of Gurche himself, a man of European ancestry. “Consider,” the authors ask “how young, would-be academics of minority groups feel as they are readily encountered by not just unscientifically substantiated material, but material that echoes a history of racist attitudes toward groups that look like them. One could understand how visual material of this sort can discourage interest in science.”In their own reconstruction, undertaken over 6 years as a collaboration between the scientists and Cuban-American artist Gabriel Vinas, clearly explains the group’s decision making process. Vinas explained to The Daily Beast “For the image showing Lucy and Taung, we produced it to highlight how different choices in surface treatment, color, and hair quantity can differ immensely based on the whims of practitioners or their expert consultants which can result in the kinds of inconsistencies we see all over the world regarding these features.”Rather than relying upon “intuitive” methods of reconstruction, which the team found “too imprecise” they inferred muscle proportions from previous studies. They are transparent about the gaps in our knowledge. As Vinas told me: “Lucy’s cranial bones are almost entirely missing … ‘putting a face’ quite literally to the celebrity-status skeleton can seem like a minor form of procedural trespassing; in a way, ‘a white lie’ that parents are comfortable telling their children.” In Vinas and the team’s facial reconstructions Lucy is reconstructed with bonobo-like features while the reconstructed Taung child (another well-known set of remains) is shown with skin tone “more similar to that of anatomically modern humans native to South Africa.” The rationale for the difference in skin tone, we are told, is that scientists do not have “an empirical method for reliably reconstructing” the melanin concentration in austalopithecines. Some scientists may disagree with details of these reconstructions, but at least they (and we) know why these choices were made. Vinas added, “to remain intellectually consistent, we must say that none of these models or images in this publication should be touted as representative of the actual appearances of those individuals regardless of how technically impressive they are.”The larger problem of bias, Diogo Rui of Howard University told me, is not unique to facial reconstruction. “Human evolution is plagued by the use of both art, and scientist biases, and societal prejudices. They can relate to sex, or to gender differences, or to racist ideas.” The depiction of “cave men” with sticks, for examples comes from baseless Hobbesian views about the brutishness of the past. Images of the invention of fire, stone tools, of cave painting, Rui added, only depict men as involved in these innovations. The assumption, he told me, is that women were “passive players.” Such educational reconstructions “are hugely important,” he said because “they are the most direct, efficient tool to perpetuate enculturation, and thus systemic misogyny and racism.” Rui and his co-authors acknowledge the important role played by museums in generating excitement about scientific work and the role of artists in producing images of the past. They note, however, that “unless there are clear plaques and context giving aids revealing that the body and its proportions are speculative” images have the potential to mislead the public.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.