Birdman soars at Oscars

Birdman took home the Oscars for best picture and best director for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Eddie Redmayne won best actor for his portrayal of Prof Stephen Hawking and Julianne Moore was honored for her performance in Still Alice.

One of the night’s show-stopping moments was the performance of the winning song – Glory, from the movie Selma, by John Legend and Common, and their powerful acceptance speech.

* Full coverage from the Los Angeles Times is here.

* From Variety here.

* From Entertainment Weekly here.

* WORLD * Greece is set to present its list of reform proposals to its group of international creditors on Monday. If the plans are approved, the four-month loan extension agreed on Friday will proceed. If they are rejected, however, any deal could be dead.

As the ceasefire in Ukraine remains tenuous, but reinforced by a weekend prisoner swap, a bomb blast at a rally in the country’s second city, Kharkiv, killed two people including a police officer.

The Department of Homeland Security appeared to back away on Sunday night from an earlier warning by Secretary Jeh Johnson that anyone planning to visit the Mall of America in Minnesota should be “particularly careful” following an apparent threat to the location by Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab. Regardless of the actual extent of this particular threat, funding for the Department will be the subject of debate in the midst of a Congressional dispute over immigration.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott outlined proposed measures to strengthen his  government’s counter-terrorism efforts. “We will never sacrifice our freedoms in order to defend them, but we will not let our enemies exploit our decency either,” he said.

* BUSINESS * Honda said its president Takanobu Ito would step down in June. Bloomberg reported that “The carmaker’s worst quality issues in decades have derailed plans to introduce new models, led Ito to take a pay cut and triggered the projection of Honda’s first profit drop in three years.”

Valeant Pharmaceuticals agreed to buy Salix for about $10bn.

* POLITICS * Two former British Foreign Secretaries have denied wrongdoing after alleged “cash for access” revelations in a Channel 4 documentary which airs on Monday night, part of a joint investigation with the Telegraph.

The US Congress returns this week with no real clarity over the immediate way forward on an approach to countering Islamic State. President Obama is also expected this week to veto the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

* MEDIA * Digital natives “prefer reading in print,” according to the Washington Post. Michael Rosenwald looks at college reading habits, and writes:

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally.

* SPORTS * Joey Logano won his first Daytona 500 race, becoming the second-youngest winner in the race’s history. ESPN said the race ended with a “somewhat anticlimactic finish” after a backstretch crash on the final lap.



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