on February 23, 2014 1:50 AM
LOS ANGELES — After 85 years, Oscar is putting on his very first concert, and there are plans to televise future shows worldwide.
The motion picture academy will present a live Oscar Concert in the days leading up to the 86th annual Academy Awards that celebrates the year’s nominated music. The concert Thursday at UCLA’s Royce Hall will feature all five original scores performed by an 80-piece orchestra conducted by each nominated composer, plus performances of the four original songs up for Oscars this year.
The show is open to the public, with tickets at Ticketmaster for $75 or $100.
“We expect to have a full house very quickly because it’s really a one-of-a-kind concert,” said Charles Fox, governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ music branch. “It’s never been done before and it’s featuring some of the world’s best composers.”
While the inaugural Oscar Concert won’t be televised, Fox said the plan is to make the program an annual event broadcast on TV and cinecast — projected in movie theaters — across the globe.
“We hope it’s going to be an annual thing because every year there’s such a great level of quality music being written for film, and it goes out to the whole world,” he said.
The music at the Oscar Concert really will be one-of-a-kind: Each nominated composer is preparing a “suite,” a composition that uses elements from the film score, specifically for the show.
Each will also discuss their work onstage.
Imagery from the films associated with the music will be displayed on a big screen, but no film clips will be shown so there is no distraction from the performances, Fox said.
“The film is accompanying the music,” he said, “instead of the other way around.”
On the program: Five-time Oscar winner John Williams (who has an astounding 48 nominations) with “The Book Thief”; Arcade Fire’s William Butler and Owen Pallett with “Her”; 11-time Oscar nominee Thomas Newman with “Saving Mr. Banks”; Steven Price with “Gravity”; and five-time nominee Alexandre Desplat with “Philomena.”
As for the original songs, Jill Scott is set to sing Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2.”
“Let It Go” from “Frozen” will be performed by its writers, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Performers for U2’s “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela” and Karen O’s “The Moon Song” from “Her” will be announced soon, Fox said.
The nominated songs’ original performers, including Idina Menzel, who sings “Let It Go” in “Frozen,” are set to appear on the March 2 Academy Awards.
The Oscar Concert is “Oscar’s celebration of music,” Fox said, which sets a festive tone for show week.
“This is the lead-up to the Oscars,” he said. “It’s going to feel like it’s part of an Oscar show, but it’s just a preamble to help build up all the excitement.”
on February 23, 2014 1:45 AM
Several dogs and cats are available for adoption from the Indiana County Humane Society’s animal shelter along Rose Street and from Four Footed Friends along Beck Road.
At the humane society is Bruiser, a 2-year-old male boxer/pit bull mix, and Boo, a 1- to 2-year-old female white shorthair.
Call the humane society at (724) 465-7387 or Four Footed Friends at (724) 349-1144 for more information.
on February 23, 2014 1:40 AM
WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on Saturday called Penn State’s next president the “right person for the job” who brings a strong track record as a financial manager.
Eric Barron will be returning to Penn State from Florida State, where he has been president for four years.
“I think he’s going to do a good job. I think he’s the right person for the job,” Corbett said in an interview with The Associated Press at the National Governors Association meeting.
The governor said the university had “turned the page” from the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal and had learned from the experience.
He said Barron had “dealt with some issues Florida State had with the NCAA and he’s also known for making Florida State more financially efficient and I think that’s something Penn State has to do.”
Corbett said early in the process he urged the school’s board of trustees to act quickly in making the selection. The search process took 15 months.
But he said he had yet to talk to Barron about his hiring and looked forward to meeting with him soon.
“It took longer than I would have like to have seen but maybe they got somebody they wouldn’t have gotten if they had done it faster,” he said.
Barron will lead an institution with 98,000 students at 20 campuses and more than half a million alumni. The university has sought to address the legacy of longtime football coach Joe Paterno, whose statue was removed from outside the football stadium soon after Sandusky’s conviction in 2012.
on February 23, 2014 1:35 AM
WASHINGTON — When it comes to deciding whether airline passengers can use their cellphones in flight, federal agencies are sending different signals to consumers.
The Transportation Department, which regulates aviation consumer issues, indicated in a notice posted online Friday that it is considering retaining the 23-year-old ban on the calls, and asked for public comment.
Two months ago, the Federal Communications Commission voted to pursue allowing the calls. The FCC has responsibility for determining whether the use of cellphones in flight would interfere with cellular networks on the ground.
Polls show that many passengers, particularly frequent fliers, oppose allowing in-flight calls from passengers’ cellphones. Echoing their concerns, the Transportation Department said it believes allowing passengers to make cellphone calls “may be harmful or injurious” to others.
“People tend to talk louder on cellphones than when they’re having face-to-face conversations,” the department said. “They are also likely to talk more and further increase the noise on a flight, as passengers would not be simply talking to the persons sitting next to them but can call whomever they like.”
Some planes already have seat-back phones, but they are rarely used, the department said, adding that the concern “is not about individual calls, but rather the cumulative impact of allowing in-flight calls in close quarters.”
At the FCC, Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he wants to repeal the ban on cellphone use in flight, calling it restrictive and outdated. He also wants the airlines, not the government, to have final say on in-flight calling. He declined to comment Friday on the Transportation Department’s notice.
In an Associated Press-GfK poll three months ago, 48 percent of those surveyed opposed letting cellphones be used for voice calls while planes are in flight, while 19 percent were in favor and 30 percent were neutral. Among those who’d flown four or more times in the previous year, the rate of opposition soared to 78 percent.
Delta Air Lines told the government last year that 64 percent of its passengers indicated that the ability to make phone calls in flight would have a negative impact on their onboard experience.
The FCC has already received more than 1,200 public comments on its proposal, almost all of them opposed to lifting the ban.
“Nobody, absolutely nobody, wants to be the involuntary audience of another passenger’s telephone conversation,” one commenter said Friday. “It is the equivalent of torture to be forced to listen to the incessant prattling of a seatmate, compounded by the impossibility of escape.”
Among the most ardent opponents of lifting the ban are flight attendants, who worry that phone conversation will spark arguments between passengers and even acts of violence.
“Allowing passengers to use cellphones during commercial flights will add unacceptable risks to aviation security, compromise a flight attendant’s ability to maintain order in an emergency, increase cabin noise and tension among passengers and interfere with crew members in the performance of their duties as first responders in the cabin,” said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, responding to the department’s proposal. The association represents nearly 60,000 flight attendants at 19 carriers.
Congress, inhabited by some of the nation’s most frequent fliers, is also getting into the act. Lawmakers are pushing legislation to require transportation regulators to implement a ban on calls.
“When it comes to cellphones on planes, tap, don’t talk,” Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said last week as the committee gave bipartisan approval to his bill.
The FCC ban was adopted in 1991 based on concern the calls from planes might interfere with cellular networks on the ground, but technological advances have resolved those worries. In 2005, the FCC cleared the way for airlines to begin offering Wi-Fi in flight.
Last October, the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates safety, dropped its ban on the use of personal electronic devices such as tablets, music players and smartphones during takeoffs and landings as long as devices are set to airplane mode. Passengers can send email, text or surf the Internet when planes are above 10,000 feet in altitude.
The agency said it is no longer worried the devices will interfere with cockpit electronics. However, phone calls during all phases of flight are still prohibited under the FCC ban.
on February 23, 2014 1:30 AM
MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities captured the world’s most powerful drug lord in a resort city Saturday after a massive search through the home state of the legendary capo whose global organization is the leading supplier of cocaine to the United States.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, 56, looked pudgy, bowed and much like his wanted photos when he arrived in Mexico City from Mazatlan in Sinaloa state. He was marched by masked marines across the airport tarmac to a helicopter waiting to whisk him to jail.
Guzman was arrested by the Mexican marines at 6:40 a.m. in a high-rise condominium fronting the Pacific without a single shot fired.
Mexican officials late Saturday said he was apprehended with a man identified as Carlos Manuel Hoo Ramirez, contradicting earlier reports that he was arrested with a woman.
A U.S. official said that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Marshals Service were “heavily involved” in the capture.
Another federal law enforcement official said intelligence from a Homeland Security Department investigation also helped lead U.S. and Mexican authorities to his whereabouts.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the capture a “victory for the citizens of both Mexico and the United States.”
Mexican authorities, based on a series of arrests in recent months, got wind that Guzman was moving around Culiacan, capital of his home state for which the cartel is named.
Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam described an operation that took place between Feb. 13 and 17 focused on seven homes connected by tunnels and to the city’s sewer system.
He said they had Guzman in their sights several times during that period but were unable to mount an operation earlier because of possible risks to the general public.
The house doors were reinforced with steel, which delayed entry by law enforcement, presumably allowing Guzman to flee several attempts at his capture before Saturday.
Murillo Karam didn’t say how authorities traced him to Mazatlan.
A U.S. law enforcement official said members of Guzman’s security team helped Mexican and U.S. authorities find him after they were arrested earlier this month. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the case by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the DEA’s most-wanted list. His drug empire stretches throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. His cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last several years.
His arrest followed the takedown of several top Sinaloa operatives in the last few months and at least 10 mid-level cartel members in the last week. The information leading to Guzman was gleaned from those arrested, said Michael S. Vigil, a former senior DEA official who was briefed on the operation.
The Mexican navy raided the Culiacan house of Guzman’s ex-wife, Griselda Lopez, earlier this week and found a cache of weapons and a tunnel in one of the rooms that led to the city’s sewer system, leading authorities to believe Guzman barely escaped, Vigil said.
As more people were arrested, more homes were raided.
“It became like a nuclear explosion where the mushroom started to expand throughout the city of Culiacan,” Vigil said.
Authorities learned that Guzman fled to nearby Mazatlan. He was arrested at the Miramar condominiums, a 10-story, pearl-colored building with white balconies overlooking the Pacific and a small pool in front. The building is one of dozens of relatively modest, upper-middle-class developments on the Mazatlan coastal promenade, with a couple of simple couches in the lobby and a bare cement staircase leading up to the condominiums.
“He got tired of living up in the mountains and not being able to enjoy the comforts of his wealth. He became complacent and starting coming into the city of Culiacan and Mazatlan. That was a fatal error,” said Vigil, adding that Guzman was arrested with “a few” of his bodyguards nearby.
Vigil said Mexico may decide to extradite Guzman to the U.S. to avoid any possibility that he escapes from prison again, as he did in 2001 in a laundry truck — a feat that fed his larger-than-life persona.
“It would be a massive black eye on the (Mexican) government if he is able to escape again. That’s the only reason they would turn him over,” Vigil said.
on February 23, 2014 1:25 AM
KIEV, Ukraine — In a stunning reversal of fortune, Ukrainian opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko left imprisonment Saturday and spoke to a massive, adoring crowd, while her arch-foe President Viktor Yanukovych decamped to eastern Ukraine and vowed he would remain in power.
Protesters took control of the presidential administration building and thousands of curious and contemptuous Ukrainians roamed the suddenly open grounds of the lavish compound outside Kiev where Yanukovych was believed to live. Parliament, which he controlled as recently as a day earlier but is now emboldened against him, on Saturday called for his removal and for elections on May 25. But Yanukovych said he regards the parliament as now illegitimate and he won’t respect its decisions.
The political crisis in the nation of 46 million, strategically important for Europe, Russia and the United States, has changed with blinding speed repeatedly in the past week. First there were signs that tensions were easing, followed by horrifying violence and then a deal signed under Western pressure that aimed to resolve the conflict but left the unity of the country in question.
Tymoshenko, whose diadem of blond peasant braids and stirring rhetoric attracted world attention in the 2004 Orange Revolution, was both sad and excited as she spoke to a crowd of about 50,000 on Kiev’s Independence Square, where a sprawling protest tent camp was set up in December. Sitting in a wheelchair because of a back problem aggravated during imprisonment, her voice cracked and her face was careworn.
But her words were vivid, praising the protesters who were killed this week in clashes with police that included sniper fire and entreating the living to keep the camp going.
“You are heroes, you are the best thing in Ukraine!” she said of the victims. The Health Ministry on Saturday said the death toll in clashes between protesters and police that included sniper attacks had reached 82.
And she urged the demonstrators not to yield their encampment in the square, known in Ukrainian as the Maidan.
“In no case do you have the right to leave the Maidan until you have concluded everything that you planned to do,” she said.
The crowd was thrilled.
“We missed Yulia and her fire so much,” said demonstrator Yuliya Sulchanik. Minutes after her release, Tymoshenko said she plans to run for president, and Sulchanik said “Yulia will be the next president — she deserves it.”
Under the agreement signed Friday, Yanukovych faces early elections, but it is unclear when they will happen.
His authority in Kiev appeared to be eroding by the hour.
Yanukovych spoke on television in Kharkiv, the heartland of his base of support and ironically the same city where Tymoshenko was imprisoned. He truculently likened his opponents to the rise of Nazism in the 1930s and accused them of a putsch.
“Everything that is happening today is, to a greater degree, vandalism and banditry and a coup d’etat,” he said. “I will do everything to protect my country from breakup, to stop bloodshed.”
Ukraine is deeply divided between eastern regions that are largely pro-Russian and western areas that widely detest Yanukovych and long for closer ties with the European Union. Yanukovych’s shelving of an agreement with the EU in November set off the wave of protests, but they quickly expanded their grievances to corruption, human rights abuses and calls for Yanukovych’s resignation.
The conviction of Tymoshenko was one of the underlying issues driving the protests.
After the 2004 Orange Revolution helped bring Viktor Yushchenko to the presidency, Tymoshenko became prime minister. But when Yanukovych won the 2010 election, Tymoshenko was arrested and put on trial for abuse of office, an action widely seen as political revenge.
On Saturday, before Tymoshenko’s arrival, other opposition figures hailed Yanukovych’s deteriorating hold on the country.
“The people have won, because we fought for our future,” said opposition leader Vitali Klitschko to a euphoric crowd of thousands on Independence Square. Beneath a cold, heavy rain, protesters who have stood for weeks and months to pressure the president to leave congratulated each other and shouted “Glory to Ukraine!”
“It is only the beginning of the battle,” Klitschko said, urging calm and telling protesters not to take justice into their own hands.
Top EU foreign envoy Catherine Ashton welcomed the release of Tymoshenko as “an important step forward in view of addressing concerns regarding selective justice in the country.”
The president’s support base crumbled further as a leading governor and a mayor from the eastern city of Kharkiv fled to Russia.
Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesman for the border guard service, told The Associated Press that the Kharkiv regional governor and mayor left Ukraine across the nearby Russian border. Another service spokesman, Serhiy Astakhov, said the former prosecutor-general and former taxation minister were prevented from leaving on the order of unspecified law-enforcement agencies.
Russia came out Saturday firmly against the peace deal, saying the opposition isn’t holding up its end of the agreement, which calls for protesters to surrender arms and abandon their tent camps. Tymoshenko’s entreaty is likely to make the latter condition slow to be fulfilled.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday called his German, French and Polish counterparts and urged them to use their influence with the Ukrainian opposition to stop what he described as rampages by its supporters. European officials urged calm.
Ukraine’s defense and military officials also called for Ukrainians to stay peaceful. In statements Saturday, both the Defense Ministry and the chief of the armed forces said they will not be drawn into any conflict and will side with the people. But they did not specify whether they still support the president or are with the opposition.
In Kharkiv, governors, provincial officials and legislators gathered alongside top Russian lawmakers and issued a statement saying that the events in Kiev have led to the “paralysis of the central government and destabilization of the situation in the country.”
Some called for the formation of volunteer militias to defend against protesters from western regions, even as they urged army units to maintain neutrality and protect ammunition depots.
Anti-government protesters around the country took out their anger on statues of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, using ropes and crowbars to knock them off pedestals in several cities and towns. Statues of Lenin still stand across the former U.S.S.R., and they are seen as a symbol of Moscow’s rule.
The past week has seen the worst violence in Ukraine since the breakup of the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago. At Independence Square Saturday, protesters heaped flowers on the coffins of the dead.
“These are heroes of Ukraine who gave their lives so that we could live in a different country without Yanukovych,” said protester Viktor Fedoruk, 32. “Their names will be written in golden letters in the history of Ukraine.”
Maria Danilova and Yuras Karmanau in Kiev and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
• Sandy Dye, Glen Campbell
The Reschini Group is partnering with the Burns White law practice to host an event about controlling workers’ compensation costs on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The free event is titled “Take Control of Workers’ Compensation Costs: Best Practices for Business Owners and Management.”
Topics include experience mod, risk management, physician panels, return to work program and work comp litigation. The event will be held at the Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont.
“Workers compensation costs can overwhelm a business,” Joe Reschini, president of The Reschini Group, said in a release. “Yet there are many strategies for lowering these costs. We’re pleased to partner with Burns White to bring this information to businesses in Cambria County.”
The event will feature presenters from both The Reschini Group and Burns White who work with companies on workers’ compensation issues. Lunch will be provided. Business owners and managers of human resources, accounting and others responsible for managing workers’ compensation are welcome to attend. To register, contact Matthew Sinosky at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 322-5757.
Geri Johnson, an Edward Jones financial adviser in Indiana, is hosting an educational seminar to discuss timely market topics and potential solutions to help investors stay on track toward their financial goals.
The seminar will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Andrew’s Village in White Township.
The seminar is free, but space is limited. To make a reservation, call Johnson at (724) 465-0542.
Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada.
SAGAMORE — A revival service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Holiness Gospel Center in Sagamore. Speakers will be Pastor Kal Henry and Brother Rich Cope. For more information, call (724) 910-9125.