A major European conglomerate says one of its employees in South Korea has gone missing — along with $100 million.
Power and robotics firm ABB (ABB) announced Wednesday that it has “uncovered a sophisticated criminal scheme” at its South Korean unit. It only noticed the huge sums had been stolen after the employee of the subsidiary disappeared about two weeks ago.
The employee, who has not been identified, is suspected of forging documents and working with individuals outside the company to steal the money, ABB said. It’s working with local police and Interpol to investigate.
The embezzlement and misappropriation of funds is limited to South Korea, where ABB employs about 800 staff, it said. Other people could still come under investigation.
“We’re looking at every option,” ABB spokesman Domenico Truncellito said. “We are investigating externally and internally as well.”
He declined to provide more information about the missing employee or the investigation.
As a result of the theft, the Swedish-Swiss corporation said it expects to take a pre-tax hit of $100 million on its 2016 results. ABB reported net profit of nearly $2 billion last year on revenue of around $34 billion.
The company said it is trying to recover the missing money and is also pursuing legal and insurance claims in an effort to reduce the blow to its finances.
ABB, which employees roughly 132,000 people around the world, said the affair may delay the publication of its annual report.
And just like that, the Oscar race is over. (”Just like that” meaning “after months of tiresome campaigning and one of the most heated Best Picture debates in history.”)
Voting ended Tuesday, so there’s no more time to haggle over who will score Hollywood’s heftiest insignia. Having covered awards season since it began in September, here’s my humble take on who will win, and who should, at Sunday’s Oscars.
Nominees: “Arrival” / “Fences” / “Hacksaw Ridge” / “Hell or High Water” / “Hidden Figures” / “La La Land” / “Lion” / “Manchester by the Sea” / “Moonlight”
Will win: After months of festival buzz and precursor beacons, the two-pony “La La Land”/”Moonlight” battle found an 11th-hour challenger in box-office smash and SAG Awards champ “Hidden Figures.” If the Academy prefers navel-gazing escapism, it’ll be “La La Land,” a much-needed respite from our political horror show. But “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures” offer a social consciousness that “La La” can’t muster ― they are, in essence, more important movies. In the end, Hollywood loves Hollywood, and with a record-tying sum of nominations (14!), we’ll probably see a city of stars on Oscar night.
Should win: If Best Picture were truly about anointing the year’s best movie, the dynamic storytelling in “Moonlight” ― presented as three chapters in the life of a boy shielding himself from the world’s merciless strictures ― would win outright.
Nominees: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” / Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge” / Barry Jenkins, “La La Land” / Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea” / Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Will win: If “La La Land” is destined for Best Picture, the Academy might toss Best Director to Barry Jenkins (”Moonlight”). Gotta stay woke. But most signs point to Damien Chazelle (”La La Land”), who scored the predictive Directors Guild prize. Chazelle’s win would follow the Academy’s recent inclinations toward the category’s most technically ambitious nominee (Alejandro González Iñárritu for “Birdman” and “The Revenant,” Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity,” Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”). From its single-take freeway dance party to the culminating dream ballet, there’s no denying that “La La” is a dazzling swirl.
Should win: To combine the fractured triptych of “Moonlight” into a cohesive character study requires the utmost discipline. To make it a visually stirring sociological screed with a relatively small budget is a feat, especially for second-time director Barry Jenkins. If anyone should unseat him, it’s Denis Villeneuve (”Arrival”), a master of nerve-shattering extraterrestrial drama.
Will win: Isabelle Huppert has superseded Natalie Portman as Emma Stone’s key competition. The decorated French actress has never received an Oscar nomination, so a win for Huppert doubles as a de facto lifetime appreciation nod. But Stone grabbed the SAG Award, which best predicts the acting races. (Huppert wasn’t even nominated.) She’s also a charm machine whose movie is far less morally confounding than Huppert’s.
Should win: Isabelle Huppert’s work in “Elle” is a master class of subdued emotions and unconventional appraisals. But if there’s anyone who transformed on screen last year, it’s Natalie Portman. Her tightrope walk as a newly widowed Jackie Kennedy was both an impersonation and an impressionistic reading on an impossibly scrutinized historical figure. At every turn, she seemed close to combusting in all the right ways. Like Jackie herself, Portman held it together like someone who has mastered the art of performance. Actors dream of roles this rich.
Nominees: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” / Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge” / Ryan Gosling, “La La Land” / Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic” / Denzel Washington, “Fences
Will win: Casey Affleck has steamrolled through awards season, despite the media attention paid to his resurfaced sexual harassment allegations. Affleck grabbed just about every accolade, until the SAG Awards, which have correctly predicted this category for the past 10 years, threw its support behind Denzel Washington instead. Voters may not want to honor another alleged abuser, so bet on Washington, who’s made a lot of friends during his long tenure in Hollywood.
Should win: Ignoring Affleck’s alleged transgressions is a big ask, but it’s hard to argue that his mumbly turn as a grief-stricken janitor wasn’t one of the year’s first-rate screen performances. As a backup, Viggo Mortensen remains king.
Will win: If you’re going to bet the farm on one prediction, make it Viola Davis. She won a Tony for “Fences” in 2010, and she’s scored almost every major precursor prize for playing the same role on the big screen. It’s fierce work, snot hovering on her upper lip during teary confrontations with Denzel Washington. It helps that two previous losses make it seem like Davis’ turn, even if her role is too hefty for the supporting realm.
Should win: Frankly, every nominee in this category has done more interesting work elsewhere. I’ll give Davis the benefit of the doubt, despite the category fraud.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” / Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water” / Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea” / Dev Patel, “Lion” / Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”
Will win: Think of the Golden Globes and SAG Awards as auditions for the Oscars. Delivering a dynamic acceptance speech can galvanize support, which bodes well for Mahershala Ali, who gave one of the season’s strongest sermons the weekend that Donald Trump enacted his travel ban. Ali doesn’t appear in “Moonlight” that much, but he does the most with his screen time, humanizing the sort of drug-dealer character often reduced to clichés. If there’s an underdog out there, it’s Dev Patel. The “Lion” star scored the BAFTA a couple of weeks ago, and you never know how many babies Harvey Weinstein has kissed on Patel’s behalf.
Should win: Jeff Bridges is pretty Jeff Bridges-y in “Hell or High Water,” and the “Lion” script doesn’t let Dev Patel flex enough cinematic muscles. Toss them aside for a trifecta of surprising performances, none of which outpaces Mahershala Ali, who speaks magnitudes with the blink of an eye.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Nominees: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” / Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, “The Lobster” / Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea” / Mike Mills, “20th Century Women” / Taylor Sherdian, “Hell or High Water”
Will win: If there’s one “La La Land” win worth protesting, it would be this. Despite the movie’s charming flourishes, Damien Chazelle’s script is hardly its hallmark. But this is a tough category to predict because the Writers Guild Awards classified “Moonlight” (inspired by an unpublished play) as an original screenplay, whereas the Academy calls it an adapted work. Unless voters opt for an across-the-board “La La” sweep, this seems like Kenneth Lonergan’s game. A previous nominee for “You Can Count On Me,” Lonergan won the BAFTA and has a reputation as one of America’s finest writers, both onstage and on the big screen.
Should win: A vote for “The Lobster” is a vote for all the weird little movies that mainstream audiences don’t appreciate enough, and “Manchester by the Sea” boasts rare soul-stirring dialogue that mirrors humanity. But “20th Century Women” is a dream of a script, using mixed perspectives and the subtle passage of time to craft a feminist reverie.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nominees: Luke Davies, “Lion” / Eric Heisserer, “Arrival” / Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, “Moonlight” / Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, “Hidden Figures” / August Wilson, “Fences”
Will win: August Wilson won a Pulitzer for “Fences,” so what’s to say he wouldn’t score a posthumous Oscar for its script too? “Moonlight” and “Arrival,” that’s what. They won the Writers Guild prizes, and it’s hard to believe the Academy wouldn’t recognize the power of Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s delicate triptych.
Should win: It really feels like there aren’t many movies in the world like “Moonlight.”
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees: “13th” / “Fire at Sea” / “I Am Not Your Negro” / “Life, Animated” / “O.J.: Made in America”
Will win: “O.J.: Made in America” has 7.5 hours working for it ― how can anyone vote against something so sprawling? Working against it: arguments that the acclaimed examination of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, which also aired as an ESPN miniseries, is technically a miniseries. In that case, one of its thematic cousins ― “13th” or “I Am Not Your Negro” ― could seize its trophy. Both movies have seen a ton of positive press over the past few months, and “Negro” benefits from an 11th-hour theatrical bow that has proven lucrative.
Should win: What a doozy of a category ― and “Weiner,” one of 2016’s best movies, isn’t even nominated! “O.J.” is a feat of nonfiction storytelling, but few race documentaries are as bold and succinct as “I Am Not Your Negro.”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nominees: “A Man Called Ove” / “Land of Mine” / “The Salesman” / “Tanna” / “Toni Erdmann”
Will win: The much-loved “Toni Erdmann” seemed like a runaway until Donald Trump’s travel ban risked preventing “The Salesman” director Ashgar Fahardi, one of Iran’s most distinguished filmmakers, from attending the Oscars. Voters can resist Trump’s politics by rewarding Fahardi’s film.
Should win: Even without Trump’s disruption, “The Salesman” deserves this for its complex portrait of a decaying marriage.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Nominees: “Kubo and the Two Strings” / “Moana” / “My Life as a Zucchini” / “The Red Turtle” / “Zootopia”
What will win: “Zootopia,” a surprisingly topical movie about prejudice and racial profiling, made $1 billion at the global box office.
What should win: “Zootopia” is an acceptable choice, but the beautiful “Kubo and the Two Strings” raises the bar for animated movies.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees: Mica Levi, “Jackie” / Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land” / Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, “Lion” / Nicholas Britell, “Moonlight” / Thomas Newman, “Passengers”
Who will win: “La La Land” is a musical, and musicals tend to dominate the music categories. Imagine.
Who should win: Before the first frame of “Jackie,” Mica Levi’s score announces itself with haunting force. It twists the unconventional biopic into a psychodrama that plays like a horror piece. There’s nothing like it.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” from “La La Land” / “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from “Trolls” / “City of Stars,” from “La La Land” / “The Empty Chair,” from “Jim: The James Foley Story” / “How Far I’ll Go,” from “Moana”
Will win: Again, prepare for musical dominance, with a possible upset from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Moana” anthem, which could split the “La La Land” votes. “City of Stars” has always been front and center in the “La La” marketing, now playing atop television spots touting the movie’s awards glory. But “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” is more powerful, a Broadway-esque showboat that speaks to the story’s themes. Regardless, prevalence counts. Expect “City of Stars” to serenade its way to the Oscar stage.
By; Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, ContributorChief of Addiction Medicine
What The 2016 Oscar-Nominated Films Can Teach Us About Trauma And Addiction
We can indeed triumph over pain and “beat it.”
“Manchester By The Sea”
“I can’t beat it,” says Casey Affleck’s character in “Manchester by the Sea.” Lee Chandler tries to lead a simple life, but when he is forced to return to his hometown, we realize that he just can’t shake his past demons.
As a former doctor to homeless men and women now overseeing addiction efforts at Rikers Island, I have heard my patients, time and again, express the same heart-wrenching despair. And I’ve routinely witnessed the close relationship between traumatic events — divorce, death, unemployment, physical or sexual assault, poverty, incarceration — and alcohol or drug addiction.
Watching Affleck’s performance, the doctor in me wanted to tell the troubled janitor: “Get help. Go to therapy. Just talk to someone!” It soon becomes clear that there is no simple way to cure his pain. While he appears to be in control, post-traumatic stress regularly rears its ugly head. Lee escapes to a different city and cuts ties to family and friends until another tragedy brings him back. Lee re-experiences the unspeakably tragic death of his children through flashbacks. And he refuses ― or is unable ― to discuss it.
The death of his children in a fire caused by his own drunken hands cripples Lee into silence. He can’t make simple conversation, like chat up the neighborhood mom. Instead, he makes regular visits to the local watering hole, provoking fist fights with strangers. Lee doesn’t know how to cope. He turns, as many have, to liquor and violence. But why?
We don’t know whether he seeks counseling, although it doesn’t seem like he does. We do see, however, how the film skillfully explores the different ways trauma can impact different people. Lee’s ex-wife (played by Michelle Williams, who suffered the same devastating loss) finds a way to move on. She doesn’t forget the tragedy, but she is also not paralyzed by it. She remarries, has a child. Her wounds begin to heal. Maybe she opened up to those around her? Perhaps she went to counseling? What director, Kenneth Lonergan, shows us is that it IS possible to heal. Different people heal, in different ways, at different rates.
Barry Jenkins’ tender masterpiece, “Moonlight,” is a story that beautifully weaves together the interplay of trauma and addiction. We witness firsthand how poverty and a parent’s crack habit can contribute to a child’s developmental trauma. When Naomi Harris’ character, Paula, desperately pleads to her son “I need money, Chiron,” we can see that child’s need and desire for love and support become thwarted by a parent who is no longer in control.
Chiron is beaten up by schoolmates. His mother turns tricks to support her habit. And like the many men around him, Chiron also becomes incarcerated, likely drug-related. He, too, becomes a dealer. And the vicious cycle of addiction-related repercussions and trauma repeat.
Trauma has lasting physical, neurological and emotional consequences ― particularly when endured at a young age. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma results from an event or series of events that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening, with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s well-being.
People who experience trauma can sometimes develop self-destructive coping skills such as substance use, binging/purging, cutting or gambling. Exposure to traumatic events increases the risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD), according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
While the trigger(s) behind Harris’ cocaine addiction were unclear, according to SAMHSA, 55-99 percent of women with substance use issues reported a lifetime history of physical and/or sexual abuse. Young Chiron clearly loved his mother, but he was also ashamed. As were the family members of young Patrick’s alcoholic mother in “Manchester.” In fact, the latter was shunned from seeing her son, even deprived of supervised visits. It was decades before either character achieved any sense of recovery: Chiron’s mother went to rehab, and Patrick’s mother found sobriety through religion (though she seemed tormented by anxiety and possibly guilt, unable to even have lunch with her teenage son).
Jackie Kennedy ― and the entire world, through the power of television ― watched her husband shot to death, right before her eyes. When a bullet pierces his skull, we see fragments scattered in her lap. Words fail to capture tragedy of this magnitude.
In the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy ― played impeccably by Natalie Portman ― was pulled in a million directions. She needed to maintain her composure in the most public of spotlights while grieving her husband’s death. She planned an exquisite funeral procession, swore in the new president, comforted her children (“Daddy is with the angels”) and continued her stoic resolve. How did she do it?
Periodically throughout the film, Jackie is counseled by her priest, played by the late Sir John Hurt. But we also catch her popping pills and consuming alcohol. It was never clear what she was taking (anxiolytics? painkillers?) or for how long. But I think it’s safe to assume that the combination of pills and alcohol calmed her nerves, at least temporarily. In fact, her nightmares, alcohol use and suicidal thoughts were well-documented by biographers. Steely resolve in the face of tragedy comes at a price.
Addiction, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is a chronic medical disease impacting the brain, affecting motivation, memory and judgement. Relapse is expected. People often try to “self-medicate” with substances like drugs or alcohol, or behaviors (e.g., cutting, gambling, risky sex). These behaviors can affect others, as we saw with Lee Chandler, Paula and Jackie Kennedy.
But what’s underneath the pain? Often it’s sadness, anger, fear, frustration, confusion or emptiness. Addictive substances and behaviors can provide temporary reprieve but long-term, those initially “self-soothing” acts become uncontrollable.
As a physician, I’ve seen how the “system” ― medical, educational, correctional, political ― often stigmatizes addiction. Labels like rape “victim,” “alcoholic,” or “junkie” can thrust people seeking help even deeper into a well of inner turmoil. Language matters. And stigmatizing language not only propagates stereotypes but deters people from seeking care. But treatment can help if it addresses the physiological AND psychological aspects of addiction. In fact, once connected to the appropriate treatment and recovery services, most people get better and go on to lead productive lives. As a doctor who has cared for numerous patients with traumatic pasts and ongoing substance use, I have seen people GET BETTER.
So, what can you do? Lend a compassionate shoulder, a nonjudgemental ear, or provide some words of comfort. These efforts can go a long way to ease the suffering. Referral to a professional (physician, psychologist, counselor, rehab facilities) is always wise. In time, hurt can be replaced by healing and hope. We can indeed triumph over pain and “beat it.”
Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, ContributorChief of Addiction Medicine, NYC Health + Hospitals. Former Harvard doctor. Passionate about healthy cooking, mindfulness and fitness.
An international team of astronomers has discovered seven potentially habitable exoplanets — or planets outside our solar system — that could have liquid water on their surfaces, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature.
“The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when,” Thomas Kutcher, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said at a news conference today.
It is also a major step forward in answering the age-old question of “Are we alone out there?” Kutcher added.
Though it is unclear whether any of the newly discovered planets can harbor life, astronomers said all seven exoplanets could have liquid water — the key to life as we know it.
The newly discovered planets have been nicknamed “Earth’s seven sisters” and have masses similar to that of Earth’s, in addition to having rocky compositions like our planet, scientists said.
Three of the seven planets are considered to be in the habitable zone, which is the area around a star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water, researchers added.
Astronomers also pointed out that the newly discovered planetary system orbits TRAPPIST-1, a dwarf star that is much younger than our sun and that will continue to burn for another 10 trillion years — more than 700 times longer than the universe has existed so far.
That is “arguably enough time for life to evolve,” an article in Nature reported.
The star TRAPPIST-1 is about 39 light-years, or 235 trillion miles, away from Earth. It is located in the constellation Aquarius.
Astronomers noted that they are still awaiting the scheduled launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in 2018 to confirm what conditions — such as atmospheric composition and climate — are like on the exoplanets. The James Webb Space Telescope is expected to be significantly more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope can detect molecules like water, methane, ozone and oxygen — which can then help scientists determine a planet’s habitability and chances of harboring life, according to Nikole Lewis, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
The discovery of the new planetary system also suggests that Earth-sized planets are much more abundant and common in the Milky Way galaxy than previously thought, researchers said.
“With this amazing system, we know there must be many more potentially life-bearing worlds out there waiting to be found,” said Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The international team of astronomers that discovered the new exoplanets said they will be ramping up their efforts to locate and identify other planets around small stars in the vicinity of our sun through project Search for Habitable Planets Eclipsing Ultra-Cool Stars (SPECULOOS).
Additionally, NASA said it plans to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a space telescope that will spend two years finding planets orbiting over 200,000 of the brightest stars in the sky.
“The seven wonders of TRAPPIST-1 are the first Earth-size planets that have been found orbiting this kind of star,” said Michael Gillon, lead author of the paper published in Nature and the principal investigator of the TRAPPIST exoplanet survey at the University of Liege, Belgium.
Gillon added at the NASA news conference today that the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system is a very promising indicator for the search for life outside of Earth.
The study, the first to test people’s personalities in adolescence and again in old age, shows that compared to their younger selves, most people’s personalities in older adulthood are barely recognizable.
With unprecedented access, psychologists at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom investigated how character traits shift as people get older by following a cohort of Scottish adults from adolescence to old age. The findings, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, significantly challenge the idea of personality as a relative constant throughout life.
“It’s important to appreciate how rare these data are,” Dr. Ian Deary, a professor of differential psychology at the university and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post Wednesday. “The questions are not ideal and the ratings methods are not ideal, but the original sample is amazingly good and the time between ratings is unsurpassed.”
The researchers first accessed data from a study conducted in 1950, in which a group of teachers filled out personality assessments for more than 1,200 14-year-old students. These measured six basic personality traits: self-confidence, conscientiousness, perseverance, desire to excel, originality and stability of moods.
Then, in 2012, the researchers managed to track down students from the 1950 study. Of the 635 participants that they were able to locate, 174 agreed to take a personality test similar to the one they had participated in 63 years earlier.
The participants, who were now 77 years old on average, each filled out a personality assessment measuring the same six characteristics on which they were rated as teenagers. They also brought along someone close to them, who assessed the participant using the same personality scale.
Personality changes only gradually throughout life, but by older age it may be quite different from personality in childhood.
In comparing the then-and-now test results, the researchers were surprised to find virtually no overlaps. The only traits that had some mild constancy were stability of moods and conscientiousness, but the correlations weren’t strong.
The younger and older self seemed to bear no resemblance for each person. It was “as if the second tests had been given to different people,” the study’s authors noted.
“The longer the interval between two assessments of personality, the weaker the relationship between the two tends to be. Our results suggest that, when the interval is increased to as much as 63 years, there is hardly any relationship at all,” the researchers wrote in conclusion. “Personality changes only gradually throughout life, but by older age it may be quite different from personality in childhood.”
Still, the results were unexpected, considering that most other research shows personality traits to be relatively stable even across decades. Personality stability as a psychological construct can be traced back to William James, the father of American psychology, who said in 1890 that after the age of 30, the personality is “set like plaster.” Once we reach adulthood, he believed, our personalities are unlikely to change in any significant way.
Consistent with James’ views, research has shown personality plasticity ― a measure of how much our character traits change ― to decline as a person moves past young adulthood. The scientific evidence generally shows that personality traits are stable over long periods, Deary noted, and one study even found traits to be stable over more than 40 years.
But the new findings hint at the idea that personality may be more malleable than researchers thought. Of course, this data isn’t totally conclusive.
Comparing teacher assessments with later self-testing isn’t nearly as reliable as having the participants themselves take the same personality test at both ages. Plus, the sample size by the end of the study was relatively small. But the dramatic results nonetheless suggest that personality may be more malleable than we’ve acknowledged.
Considering also that our cells are replaced roughly every seven years, it starts to appear that as the decades go by, you really aren’t the person you used to be.
Despite the glitz, glamor, and prestige of the Academy Awards, the Oscar statue itself isn’t worth much of anything, monetarily speaking.
In a new video from Coinage, Time Inc.’s personal finance video company, it’s revealed that an actual Oscar is only valued at $10. The making of the statue costs $400, but before a trophy can be put up for bid, it must first be offered to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for just $10 — an Academy rule that was upheld in a 2015 court ruling.
Among the Oscar resale rule’s supporters is legendary director and Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg, who spent $1.36 million on Oscars belonging to Bette Davis and Clark Gable, only to donate them back to the Academy.