Penny Marshall, the star of ABC’s “Laverne and Shirley” who became one of the most successful female directors in history at the helm of “Big,” “A League of Their Own” and a string of other hit movies, has died. She was 75.
The filmmaker died peacefully in her Hollywood Hills on Monday due to complications from diabetes, her publicist told AFP.
Marshall’s “heartbroken” family described her as a “tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”
“Big” star Tom Hanks, who has gone on to appear in a further 60-plus movies, winning two Oscars, led an outpouring of affection and sadness from Hollywood.
“Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx,” he tweeted.
There were message on social media from actors Mark Wahlberg, Bette Midler Billy Crystal, Viola Davis, George Takei, James Woods, Reese Witherspoon, William Shatner and Danny DeVito, as well as fellow directors Ron Howard and Kevin Smith.
Many of the tributes focused on Marshall’s unpretentiousness and easy humor, while others highlighted her iconic status among women aspiring to make their way in an industry geared toward men.
“Selma” director Ava DuVernay thanked Marshall for the “the trails you blazed,” while actor Josh Gad (“Frozen”) observed: “At a time when men dominated, #pennymarshall broke barriers as a director, giving us hit after hit.”
‘Born with a funnybone’
Born in New York’s Bronx borough, Marshall was the daughter of producer Tony Marshall and his tap dance teacher wife Marjorie, and a sister to legendary comedy director Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman”), who died in 2016.
She made her name as Laverne DeFazio on the TV sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” (1976–1983), earning three Golden Globe nominations, before making her directorial debut with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (1986).
She is probably best known in the movie world for directing Hanks in his breakout role in “Big” (1988), which became the first film made by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the domestic box office.
She went on to direct Robert De Niro and Robin Williams in medical drama “Awakenings” (1990), which was nominated for a best picture Oscar, before helming “A League of Their Own” (1992), starring Hanks alongside Geena Davis and Madonna.
Fellow New Yorker and US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer remembered a woman who “made us all laugh… made us all cry.”
“She paved the way for so many women in television. And, she was in a league of her own,” he said, recalling one of Marshall’s best-loved movies.
Marshall had a short-lived marriage with a football player she met at university in Albuquerque, with whom she had a daughter. She was married to Hollywood actor and director Rob Reiner for a decade, from 1971.
“I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her,” Reiner said.
Marshall’s family described her as “a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick.”
“We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true,” a statement read.
Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, whose films include “Last Tango In Paris” and “1900”, has died in Rome aged 77, Italian media said on Monday.
Considered one of the giants of Italian and world cinema, Bertolucci was the only Italian ever to win the Oscar for best film, snapping up the award in 1988 for “The Last Emperor.”
The biographical masterpiece about the last Chinese emperor won a total of nine Oscars, all of those for which it was nominated.
He acquired notoriety for his 1972 erotic drama “Last Tango In Paris” starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider which featured a controversial sex scene involving butter.
He had been wheelchair-bound for several years and won an honorary Palme d’Or for his life’s work at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Former festival president Gilles Jacob said he was saddened by the death of “the last emperor of Italian cinema, the lord of all epics and all escapades.”
“The party is over: it takes two to tango,” Jacob told AFP.
Born in Parma, northeastern Italy, in 1941, Bertolucci made films that were often highly politicized, dealing with workers’ struggles in “1900” or the fate of left-wingers in fascist Italy in “The Conformist”.
In “Last Tango in Paris,” Bertolucci acknowledged Schneider was not aware that Brando’s character would use butter as a lubricant during the scene in which the actor simulates anally penetrating his lover, played by then 19-year-old Schneider.
“The only new thing was the idea of the butter. It was this, I learned many years later, that upset Maria, and not the violence that was in the scene and was envisaged in the script of the film.
“It is both consoling and distressing that anyone could be so naive to believe that what happens on the cinema screen actually takes place,” he said of viewers.
Schneider, who suffered drug addiction and depression before her 2011 death, said four years earlier she had felt “a little raped” during the scene and was profoundly angry about it for years afterward.
When asked in 2013 how he would like to be remembered, Bertolucci told AFP: “I don’t care.”
“I think my movies are there, people can see them,” he said at a presentation of a 3D version of “The Last Emperor” to mark the 25th anniversary of its international release.
“And sometimes I laugh, thinking I will be remembered more as a talent scout of young girls than as a film director,” he said.
The list of starlets he discovered includes Dominique Sanda in “The Conformist” in the 1970s, the passionate Schneider in “Last Tango in Paris” (1972), Liv Tyler in 1996’s “Stealing Beauty” and Eva Green, who made her screen debut in “The Dreamers” in 2003.
Movie director Jonathan Demme, best known for “The Silence of the Lambs” has died at the age of 73, his publicist said on Wednesday.
Demme, who also directed the Oscar winning film “Philadelphia,” was suffering from esophageal cancer, publicist Annalee Paulo said in a statement. She said he died in New York on Wednesday morning surrounded by his family.
“Jonathan passed away early on Wednesday morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard, and three children. He died from complications from esophageal cancer,”Paulo said.
Demme’s most recent film was the 2015 comedy “Ricki and the Flash,” starring Meryl Streep as an ageing rocker.
New York-born Demme won the directing Oscar for the 1991 thriller “The Silence of the Lambs”, which also won Oscars for best picture and for its stars Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Demme’s work was wide ranging, including comedy and thrillers to groundbreaking fare like 1993 film “Philadelphia,” which was one of the first mainstream Hollywood movies to tackle the AIDS crisis. The movie brought an Oscar for Tom Hanks.
He also directed concert and music documentaries for the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney and Neil Young, the Talking Heads, and more recently, “Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids.”
Other notable films include the 2008 independent drama “Rachel Getting Married,” “The Manchurian Candidate” (2004) and 1988 comedy “Married to the Mob.”
Paulo said the funeral for Demme would be private and that in lieu of flowers the family had asked that donations be made to the group Americans For Immigrant Justice, in Miami, Florida.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun state has called on citizens who are loudly opposed to Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s reforms in the education sector to think again.
In a statement on Monday in Osogbo, from the party’s Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy, signed by its Director, Kunle Oyatomi, the party insisted that “no amount of reckless criticism of the state education policy can diminish its impact on educational development in the state”.
According to the party, “if critics and political opponents act blind and ignorant, intelligent and responsible people in the country and abroad have continued to acknowledge and appreciate Aregbesola’s achievements in that regard”.
One of such acknowledgements, the party said, came at the weekend, from the head of the Nigeria National Office of West African Examination Council (WAEC), Mr Isaac Adenipekun.
He also described as remarkable and revolutionary, the development in education infrastructure innovation and content that the Aregbesola-led APC government has effected in Osun in the last six years.
He also described the knowledge tablet (Opon Imo) as a great development which has enabled students that are writing Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) to overcome most of their difficulties.
“These achievements have resonated throughout the country and beyond,” the APC claimed, adding that, “it has even won awards internationally”.
“The people of Osun should therefore stand tall over these achievements. They should not allow selfish politicians, and misdirected interest groups to diminish their pride through false claims, designed by the opposition to scandalise the Governor
“History will vindicate Aregbesola and generations of beneficiaries of his educational revolution in Osun, will in future, curse those who today are trying to destroy the governor’s good work.
“Already, WAEC, through its head of a National Office, Mr Adenipekun has endorsed the project as the best in Nigeria.
“Many more people will do so in the months and years ahead to the shame and discredit of the opposition,” the party concluded.
The University of Maiduguri, has announced the postponement of all examinations originally scheduled to take place on Monday, following the suicide bombing attack that rocked the institution in the early hours of the day.
The postponement was revealed in a statement signed by the Director, Senate and Academic matters of the university, Filibus Yamta Mshelia.
Mshelia said the management’s action, followed the prevailing security situation in the campus.
According to the notice, examinations are however expected to resume on Tuesday, January 17.
“The University management has directed that all examinations scheduled to hold on Monday 16th January 2017, has been postponed to a later date.
“Examinations will resume as scheduled on Tuesday 17th January 2017,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the management has also urged students to remain calm and vigilant.
A suicide bomber had found his way to a mosque in the University staff quarters, killing himself, a veterinary medicine professor, identified as Aliyu Mani, and two others in the process.
Police has also foiled another attempt by a suicide bomber at Gate 5 of the university.
According to the Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, the bomb vest detonated, killing only the bearer.
The Senate says some agreement have been reached between the Nigerian government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU on some of their issues except one which borders on the earned allowances of lecturers.
This was made known by the Senate committee set up by the Senate President Bukola Saraki to address the industrial crisis embarked on by ASUU.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Education, Senator Jibrin Barau, spoke after a meeting that commenced about 12 noon and ended around 8PM.
He said that the academic union were going to make consultations with their members on the way forward and that the upper house was hopeful that they would return with good news.
ASUU embarked on the strike to protest the failure of the Federal Government to implement terms of the 2009 and 2013 agreements.
The ASUU Chairman for the University of Lagos, (UNILAG), Mr Adelaja Odukoya, explained the reasons for their decision to Channels Television.
He said the Federal Government had failed to deliver on its 2009 Agreement and 2013 MoU.
According to him, the government is owing over 800 billion Naira, funds which he said were meant to upgrade the university system, in attempts to make them globally competitive.
In a meeting of the Senate President with ASUU officials in Abuja, the Chairman of ASUU, University Of Uyo Chapter, Dr Aniekan Brown, told Channels Television that she was glad that the industrial action had enjoyed 100% compliance in line with the directive.
She also said that the strike was “informed by the inability of the federal government to honor the agreement reached with ASUU on a number of issues, which you already know.
“The most important, being that the public universities are still underfunded.”
President Muhammadu Buhari recently appealed to union of Nigerian university lecturers to give government more time to sort out the shortfalls in salary payment and other related issues affecting the education sector.
President Buhari made the plea at an event at the University of Ibadan.
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to give government more time to sort out the shortfalls in salary payment and other related issues affecting the education sector.
President Buhari made the plea as the visitor at the grand finale of the 68th Founders’ Day and convocation ceremony of the University of Ibadan which took place at the International Conference Center, Ibadan.
Represented by the Director, Tertiary Education at the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Fatimah Ahmad, President Buhari decried the standard of education which has left a vast majority of the people poorly educated.
Describing the trend as unhealthy and saddening, the President reiterated his administration’s commitment to revamping the sector.
Mrs Ahmad added that government was in dialogue with the affected unions and would continue to explore means of amicable resolutions.
A total of 442 graduates bagged doctorate degrees in various fields while three eminent Nigerians including business mogul, Aliko Dangote; writer and poet, Prof. Niyi Osundare and Ibadan businessman, Bode Amao were conferred with honorary degrees of the prestigious institution.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday said reducing interest rates “will do virtually nothing” in taking Nigeria’s economy out of a recession.
The apex bank also maintained that there is no quick fix out of the recession Nigeria is currently in.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had expressed hope that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would lower key interest rates.
“We would love to see the MPC reduce interest rates because we think in terms of business activity that would deliver greater results to Nigeria”, she told Channels Television in an exclusive interview.
However, speaking on Sunrise Daily, the Director, Monetary Policy Department of CBN, Mr Moses Tule said the MPC had to look at the fundamentals before taking the decision to maintain the rates at 14 per cent.
Mr Tule said a country like Japan has been in recession for more than ten years despite having an interest rate of less than 2 per cent, adding that the Bank of England has also reduced its interest rate from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent and “still nothing is happening, so the solution does not lie in the reduction of interest rates”, he said.
He also noted that despite the interest rate reduction in the past, the CBN has not seen “that response, in terms of growth in credit”.
He further noted that “we are not just in recession but we are in a stagflation, where growth has reduced precipitously to the negative and you have prices rising, so it is insufficient for the Monetary Policy Committee to just meet and say we are reducing interest rates to address a complex economic situation like stagflation”.
To get out of the economic quagmire Nigeria is in, Mr Tule said the “monetary policy, fiscal policy, trade policy, budget policy need to sit together in a retreat to fashion out comprehensively what the policy response is going to be.
“All the key policy parameters must be brought to the table to fashion out what the way forward is for the country”, he said, insisting that “you can’t clap with one hand”.
Mr Tule added that with the inflation rate at 18 per cent, a reduction in interest rate will lead to an increase in money supply which in turn means higher inflation, wondering “if the government has the resources to increase salaries when there is higher inflation.
“The current inflationary trend are not strictly monetary policy induced factors. Some are legacy factors that rose as a result of reforms, like in electricity tariff, petroleum pricing model and foreign exchange market”, he maintained.
Key Constraints To The Economy
Mr Tule, who maintained that the CBN is not averse to lower interest rates, however stressed the need for the government to correct the structural deficiencies inherent in Nigeria.
He added that an economy does not deliver low interest rates if it has key structural deficiencies like infrastructure, insisting that “these are key constraints to the economy.
“You cannot compare the infrastructural level to the structural deficiency in this economy with what you have in the UK, Japan or in the United States. If the UK went through a recession, which they are still going through and not completely out, Japan over the last ten years is being struggling with a recession, the European Union since 2007/2008 global financial crisis still going through a financial crisis and are not yet through despite putting all the policy arsenals, then for an economy like Nigeria, where there are key structural deficiencies, there is an urgent need to harmonize the policy reaction that would address this stagflation”, he maintained.
Mr Tule maintained that the issues are “deeper and comprehensive than the current solution kit that is on the table”, hinting that we are “misdiagnosing what the issues – stagnation or recession – are”.
The CBN had at the last MPC meeting in July raised the benchmark Monetary Policy Rate from 12 percent to 14 percent, while the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio were both retained at 22.50 per cent and 30 per cent each.
A Special Court Martial of the Nigerian Army has demoted the Director, 68 Reference Hospital, Yaba, in Lagos State, Major General Patrick Falola, to the rank of Brigadier General.
The demotion follows the conviction of the Major General who was accused of unlawfully admitting students for clinical training without due clearance from the army headquarters.
Major General Falola is said to have admitted international students from Espan Formation University, Cotonou in Benin Republic between July and September, 2016.
Delivering judgment in the case against Major General Falola, who is also a Commander of the Armed Forces Hospital in Kano, President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, sentenced the accused officer to a reduction in rank from Major General to Brigadier General on count one of the charge.
He was, however, discharged and acquitted of the second count of fraudulent misapplication of the hospital’s property.
Lawyer to Major General Falola, Wing Commander Enokela Onyilo-Uloko [Rtd], however, criticised the conviction, saying it was a premeditated attempt to taint the unblemished record of his client whom he described as a distinguished medical officer with outstanding records.
“On hearing of this kind of conviction, we know that it is based on nothing. There is no law, no instruction put on the ground by the armed forces that the senior officer needs to take permission from the higher authority before allowing such training.
“No such law or instruction was tendered in evidence, but they are saying that he should use his initiative.
“When there is no law criminalising an act, when that act is done, it does not amount to criminal offence,” the lawyer said.
He further vowed to appeal the judgment of the Special Court Martial.
However, the judgement of the Army Court Martial is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Army Council.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is in Nigeria on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa, using his time in the country to visit the Yaba technology hub in Lagos, meet with developers and partners and explore Nollywood.
Zuckerberg says he will also listen, learn and take ideas back to California on how Facebook can better support tech development and entrepreneurship across Africa.
One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria.
At CcHub Zuckerberg met with developers like Temi Giwa, who runs a platform called Life Bank that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria. Life Bank saves lives by mobilising blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in Nigeria, and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed.
After visiting CcHub, Mark Zuckerberg said: “This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria. The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.
“The first place I got to visit was the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in Nigeria”.
Meeting Developers At Andela
Mark then went to Andela, an engineering organisation that is building the next generation of technical leaders in Africa.
Andela is a business that recruits the most talented technologists in Africa and shapes them into world-class developers through a four-year technical leadership program.
In the two years since it was founded, Andela has accepted just over 200 engineers from a pool of more than 40,000 applicants.
Andela developers spend six months mastering a technical stack and contributing to open source projects before being placed with global technology companies as full-time, distributed teammates, working out of Andela headquarters in Lagos and Nairobi.
Earlier this year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invested in Andela after being impressed by the company’s innovative model of learning and its drive to connect the global technology ecosystem with the most talented developers in Africa.
The Director of Andela Lagos, Seni Sulyman, said: “We are excited and honoured to welcome Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos. His visit reinforces not only his support of Andela’s mission, but his belief that indeed the next generation of great technology leaders will come out of Lagos, Nigeria and cities across Africa.
“Andela has created a platform for passionate, driven software developers and engineers to break into the global tech ecosystem, but the barriers to entry are still very high. Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world, and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level”.
At the end of the day Zuckerberg stopped by an Express WiFi stand in Lagos owned by Rosemary Njoku. Facebook’s Express WiFi lets entrepreneurs like Rosemary set up a hot spot to help their community access apps and services built by local developers.
On plans to expound Express WiFi he said: “This week, we’re launching a satellite into space to enable more entrepreneurs across Africa to sell Express Wi-Fi and more people to access reliable internet. That means more connectivity and more opportunity for entrepreneurs like Rosemary everywhere”.
Zuckerberg’s presence has become the talk of the day in Nigeria’s commercial city, with lots of ‘welcome to Nigeria’ messages on his Facebook page.
In response to some of the messages, an excited Mark said: “Thanks for such a warm welcome”!