WASHINGTON POST, VOICE OF AMERICA, YAHOO (USA)
LOS ANGELES - In case you missed it, the 85th Academy Awards took place last night. Life of Pi was the biggest winner of the night, scooping four golden statuettes. Here's what you need to know about this year's Oscars:
1. Daniel Day Lewis’ win for his portrayal of Lincoln means three oscars for the English-born Irish actor, making him the first actor to ever do so. Dustin Hoffman and Marlon Brando each only won twice. He dedicated his win to his mother and said that, “I don’t really know how any of this happened.”
2. Ben Affleck’s Argo, which won Best Picture, was criticized by Iranian media. The film is about the 1979 hostage crisis in the American Embassy in Tehran. The Washington Post reports that some criticized the way Affleck referred to Islamic Republic in his acceptance speech when he said, “I want to thank our friends in Iran who live under terrible circumstances.” Mehr News ran this headline: “After distorting history, Ben Affleck continues to show a bleak picture of Iran: Iranians live in terrible circumstances.”
3. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, presented the best picture award via video link. She's not the first political figure to do so this year, though - Bill Clinton made an appearance at the Golden Globes in January.
4. There were inappropriate remarks made about nine-year-old Best Actress nominee, Quvenzhane Wallis says Yahoo news. Online satire site, The Onion, tweeted that the girl was “kind of a c***” but the post was later deleted. Meanwhile, during the show, host Seth MacFarlane thought it would be okay to comment on her age: "To give you an idea of just how young she is, it will be 16 years until she's too old for Clooney." The remarks didn't seem to dampen her night - when her name was announced as nominee, she was very excited:
5. Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence fell on the steps going up to collect her award. Not the first time the 22-year-old has tripped on the way up to get a prize – this is the third time this awards season alone!
Best Picture: Argo - Ben Affleck
Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee - Life of Pi
Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day Lewis - Lincoln
Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Actor in a supporting role: Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
Actress in a supporting role: Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Foreign Language Film: Amour -Michael Haneke (Austria)
Best Original Song: Skyfall - Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Best Original Score: Life of Pi - Michael Danna
Original Screenplay: Django Unchained - Quentin Tarrantino
Adapted Screenplay: Argo - Chris Terrio
Animated Short Film: Paperman - John Kahrs
Animated Feature Film: Brave - Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Cinematography: Life of Pi - Claudio Miranda
Visual Effects: Life of Pi - Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
Achievement in Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran Anna Karenina
Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyle: Lisa Wescott and Julie Dartnell - Les Miserables
Life Action Short Film: Shawn Christensen - Curfew
Documentary Short Subject: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix - Fine Inocente
Documentary Feature: Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn - Searching for Sugar Man
Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.
At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.
The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.
The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.
Praying inside a Dutch mosque.
Broken trust in Islamic community
Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.
All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.
It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.
"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
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