World News

Spaghetti Western movie composer Ennio Morricone dead at 91 – The Denver Post

ROME — Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning Italian composer who created the coyote-howl theme for the iconic Spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and often haunting soundtracks for such classic Hollywood gangster movies as “The Untouchables” and the epic “Once Upon A Time In America,” died Monday. He was 91.

Morricone’s longtime lawyer, Giorgio Assumma, said “the Maestro,” as he was known, died in a Rome hospital of complications following surgery after a recent fall in which he broke a leg bone.

Outside the hospital, Assumma read a farewell message from Morricone.

“I am Ennio Morricone, and I am dead,” began the message. In the greeting, the composer went on to explain that the only reason he was saying goodbye this way and had requested a private funeral was: “I don’t want to bother anyone.”

During a career that spanned decades and earned him an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2007, Morricone collaborated with some of Hollywood’s and Italy’s top directors, including on “The Untouchables” by Brian de Palma, “The Hateful Eight” by Quentin Tarantino , “The Battle of Algiers” by Gillo Pontecorvo and “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso,” a nostalgic ode to the importance of movie houses in Italian small town life, by Giuseppe Tornatore.

The Tarantino film would win him the Oscar for best original score in 2016. In accepting that award, Morricone told the audience at the ceremony: “There is no great music without a great film that inspires it.”

In total, he produced more than 400 original scores for feature films.

His iconic so-called Spaghetti Western movies saw him work closely with the late Italian film director Sergio Leone, a former classmate.

Morricone practically reinvented music for Western genre movies through his partnership with Leone. Their partnership included the “Dollars” trilogy starring Clint Eastwood as a quick-shooting, lonesome gunman: “A Fistful of Dollars” in 1964, “For a Few Dollars More” in 1965 and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” a year later.

Morricone was celebrated for crafting just a few notes — like the four notes played on a miniature pan flute favored by a character in Leone’s 1984 movie “Once Upon A Time in America” — that would instantly become a film’s highly memorable motif.

That movie is a saga about Jewish gangsters in New York that explores themes of friendship, lost love and the passing of time, starring Robert De Niro and James Woods. It is considered by some to be Leone’s masterpiece, thanks in part to Morricone’s evocative score, including a lush section played on string instruments.

“Inspiration does not exist,” Morricone said in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press. “What exists is an idea, a minimal idea that the composer develops at the desk, and that small idea becomes something important.”

In a later interview, with Italian state TV, Morricone cited “study, discipline and curiosity” as the keys to his creative genius. “Writing music, like all creative arts, comes from a long path” along life’s experiences, he said.

“A great phenomenon of world music” was how Italian film director Dario Argento described Morricone, who scored five of his films.

In his late 80s, Morricone provided the score for “The Hateful Eight,” Tarantino’s 2015 70-mm epic and the first time in decades that he had composed new music for a Western. It was also the first time Tarantino had used an original score.

In accepting Morricone’s Golden Globe for the music in his place, Tarantino called him his favorite composer.

“When I say ‘favorite composer,’ I don’t mean movie composer. … I’m talking about Mozart, I’m talking about Beethoven, I’m talking about Schubert,” Tarantino said.

Italy’s head of state, President Sergio Mattarella, in a condolence message to the composer’s family, wrote: “Both a refined and popular musician, he left a deep footprint on the musical history of the second half of the 1900s.”

Morricone’s sound tracks, Mattarella said, “contributed greatly to spreading and reinforcing the prestige of Italy in the world.”

Morricone’s style was sparse, made of memorable tunes and unusual instruments and arrangements, and often stirred deep emotions.

His music punctuated the long silences typical of the Spaghetti Westerns, with the characters locked in close-ups, staring at each other and waiting for their next moves. The coyote howl, harmonicas and eerie whistling of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” became Morricone’s trademark and one of the most easily recognizable soundtracks in cinema.

Minutes before handing Morricone the Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2007, Eastwood recalled hearing for the first time the score of “A Fistful of Dollars” and thinking: “What actor wouldn’t want to ride into town with that kind of music playing behind him?”

It was a night to remember for Morricone, who had been nominated for Oscars five times (“The Hateful Eight” was his sixth) but until then had never won.

Born in Rome on Nov. 10, 1928, Morricone was the oldest of the five children. His father was a trumpet player.

After studying trumpet and composition at the Conservatory of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in the Italian capital, he started working as a trumpeter and then as an arranger for record companies.

“I started working on very easy kinds of music pieces for the radio, for television and then for the theater, and then little by little I started to compose the film scores,” he told the AP in 2016.

In 1961 he wrote his first score for a movie, a bittersweet comedy set in the final moments of Fascism called “Il Federale” (known in English as “The Fascist”). That decade also saw Morricone cooperate with Pontecorvo, first on “The Battle of Algiers,” the black-and-white classic depicting the Algerian uprising against the French; and later on “Queimada,” a tale of colonialism starring Marlon Brando.

Morricone received his first Oscar nomination for original score with “Days Of Heaven,” a 1978 movie by U.S. director Terence Malick. Beside “The Hateful Eight,” the others were for “The Mission” (1986), “The Untouchables” (1987), “Bugsy” (1991) and “Malena” (2000).

Shortly before his lifetime Oscar, Morricone joked that he would have been happy without the coveted statuette, saying “I would have remained in the company of illustrious non-winners.”

But he also made no secret that he thought “The Mission,” with its memorably sweet theme of “Gabriel’s Oboe,” deserved the Academy Award. That year, he lost to Herbie Hancock’s “Round Midnight.”

Morricone had recently composed music to be performed in Genoa’s Carlo Felice Theater later this summer in honor of the 43 victims of that city’s 2018 Morandi Bridge collapse, Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci said. The music will be performed on the eve of a ceremony inaugurating the bridge’s replacement, the mayor said.

Highly versatile, Morricone also orchestrated Italian pop tunes that include enduring classics, like one version of an eternal summer hit, “Sapore di Sale” (“Taste of Salt”), which was written by famed Italian troubadour Gino Paoli.

Another renowned maestro, Riccardo Muti, cited his “friendship and admiration″ for Morricone. Muti on Monday recalled that when he directed the composer’s piece “Voci dal Silenzio” (Voices from the Silence” ) the work elicited “true emotion” from the audience, both in Chicago, where Muti directs the symphony orchestra, as well as during a performance in Ravenna, Italy.

Muti called Morricone an “extraordinary” composer both for films and in classical music.

Asked by Italian state TV a few years ago if there was one director he would have liked to have worked with but didn’t, Morricone said Stanley Kubrick had asked him to work on “A Clockwork Orange.” But that collaboration didn’t happen because of a commitment to Leone, Morricone recalled.

Morricone is survived by his wife Maria Travia, whom he cited when accepting his 2016 Oscar. Married in 1956, the couple had four children, Marco, Alessandra, Andrea and Giovanni.

Sourcing & Methodology

Biographical material for this report was contributed by former AP correspondent Alessandra Rizzo.

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Longmont Post Office employee tests positive for coronavirus – The Denver Post

A Longmont Post Office employee tested positive for coronavirus, a United States Postal Service spokesman confirmed Monday.

“We are in the process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide,” James Boxrud with USPS said. “We believe the risk is low for employees who work at the Longmont Post Office, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available.”

Boxrud did not say what department the employee worked in at the office at 201 Coffman St.

Any employee with a positive coronavirus test result is required to report the result to their employer and isolate at home, said Chana Goussetis, spokeswoman for Boulder County Health.

Boxrud noted that both the Center for Disease Control and the United States Surgeon General have indicated that it is unlikely that the coronavirus can be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging.

“While the risk of transmission is very low on porous objects like mail, we do recommend that residents wash their hands after handling their mail,” Goussetis said.

Goussetis said that in any workplace where two or more people test positive or are considered probable, the health department staff “will help assess their preventive practices and provide support with infection prevention, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing strategies, and recommendations for employees.”

The workplace is asked to implement appropriate measures to control the spread of disease, provide regular updates to our team and submit a final report to us when 28 days have passed with no new illness at the workplace, she said.

“The safety and well-being of our employees is our highest priority,” said Boxrud. “To ensure the health of our employees, we are continuing to follow recommended guidance and strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

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World News

U.S. charges ex-Panama president's sons with bribery, money laundering

GUATEMALA CITY/PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors have charged two sons of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli in connection with bribery and money laundering linked to Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, according to a federal complaint unsealed on Monday.

Luis Enrique Martinelli, 38, and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli, 40, were arrested earlier in the day in Guatemala City as they attempted to board a flight to Panama, and face extradition to the United States, Guatemala’s police said in a statement.

A Martinelli family spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the charges.

But the family said in a statement following the arrest that it was working to ensure the sons have legal assistance in Guatemala and are able to transfer the proceedings to Panama.

Odebrecht has been at the center of a far-reaching Latin American corruption scandal uncovered in 2014, in which the company paid more than $700 million in bribes to government officials in various countries.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement the Martinelli sons are accused of having been intermediaries for the payment of about $28 million in bribes from Odebrecht to a high-ranking Panama official between 2009 and 2014, the period in which their father was in office.

The criminal complaint filed in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on June 27, described the brothers as “close relatives” of the official, without providing further detail.

The complaint also alleges that the pair managed secret bank accounts under shell company names to facilitate payment of the bribes, with many transactions made through U.S. banks.

Former President Martinelli and his successor, Juan Carlos Varela, were last week banned from leaving Panama while under investigation for money laundering in separate corruption cases.

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World News

GZERO VIDEO: Covid-19 threatens to push US and China even further apart

NEW YORK (GZERO MEDIA) – Who is to blame for the outbreak of the coronavirus?

The topic is an interesting one considering an unusual public spat between China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian and China’s ambassador to the US, Mr Cui Tiankai.

On March 12, Mr Zhao suggested in a tweet that the US military might have brought the virus to Wuhan.

When asked about Mr Zhao’s comments in an interview with Axios On HBO, Mr Cui opposed the theory, saying that such speculation is “harmful.”

The split amongst Beijing’s diplomatic corps is rare considering that the countries’ officials stick closely to the Communist Party’s official line.

But the blame does not matter as much as the global community’s response to the virus’ impacts, says American foreign policy expert Ian Bremmer.

The number of coronavirus infections has now exceeded 3 million, many countries have travel restrictions in place and economies are taking a hit.

“Millions have been forced out of work and this ongoing feud between superpowers is making it that much harder to come up with a unified plan,” he says.

The one thing that is certain is that the Covid-19 pandemic has only placed further strain on US-China relations in an already heightened moment of competition and rivalry between the two nations.

This GZERO media video is being shown here as part of a media partnership agreement with The Straits Times.

Read the latest on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and beyond on our dedicated site here.

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Fed bank branch president says US recovery may be levelling off: FT

BENGALURU (REUTERS) – Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank president Raphael Bostic said the US economic recovery is in danger of stalling due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases across many American states.

High-frequency data had shown a “levelling off” of economic activity both in terms of business openings and mobility, he told the Financial Times newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday (July 7).

“There are a couple of things that we are seeing and some of them are troubling and might suggest that the trajectory of this recovery is going to be a bit bumpier than it might otherwise,” he told the newspaper.

“And so we’re watching this very closely, trying to understand exactly what’s happening.”

California, Texas and Florida are all among two dozen US states reporting high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past week, an alarming sign of a virus still spreading largely unchecked throughout much of the country.

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World News

Japan warns of more heavy rain in flood-hit areas

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan warned of more heavy rain on the southwestern island of Kyushu on Tuesday as the death toll in flood-hit areas reached at least 50, with more than a dozen people reported missing.

“The rain front is expected to remain until the ninth (of July), and rain is expected over a wide front stretching from western to eastern Japan,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a regular press briefing, urging people to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

Japan on Monday issued a flood warning to more than half a million people living in three prefectures on Kyushu, including Nagasaki, Saga and Fukuoka. Police, Self Defense Force and Coast Guard units are conducting search and rescue effort, Suga said.

Images aired by public broadcaster NHK, showed swollen rivers, destroyed homes and roads covered in landslides.

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World News

Morning News Call – India, July 7

To access a PDF version of this newsletter, please click here here
    If you would like to receive this newsletter via email, please register at:
    11:00 am: Junior Finance Minister Anurag Thakur and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh
Kant at “FICCI FRAMES 2020” in New Delhi. 
    Nikita Singareddy, investor at early-stage VC firm RRE Ventures discusses
the pressures faced by healthcare systems due to the pandemic, the ways
healthcare is likely to change due to it and the impact tech investing can have
in responding this challenge. To join the conversation at 7:30 pm IST, click on
the link:
    • India reviewing around 50 investment proposals from Chinese firms -
    The Indian government is reviewing around 50 investment proposals involving
Chinese companies under a new screening policy, three sources familiar with the
matter told Reuters.
    • Mylan prices its generic remdesivir in India at 4,800 rupees per 100 mg
    Mylan said on Monday it would launch a generic version of Gilead's COVID-19
antiviral remdesivir in India at 4,800 rupees, about 80% below the price tag on
the drug for wealthy nations.
    • India tallies third-highest coronavirus cases but death rate low 
    India on Monday overtook Russia to record the world's third-highest number
of coronavirus infections at nearly 700,000, even as its hardest-hit state said
it will allow hotels to reopen this week.
    • China begins pulling back troops near site of India border clash, Indian
sources say
    China began pulling back troops from along its contested border with India
on Monday, Indian government sources said, following a clash between the two
countries last month in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
    • Probe into deadly south Indian gas leak finds LG Polymers negligent
    An investigation into a gas leak that killed 12 people at a plant run by LG
Polymers in southern India in May found the company was negligent and warning
systems were not working, the local state government said on Monday.

    • Vistara in talks with planemakers, lessors to delay taking delivery of
some aircraft
    Indian airline Vistara is in talks with planemakers and leasing companies to
delay taking delivery of some aircraft, the carrier's chief strategy officer
said on Monday, as COVID-19 hits demand for air travel.
    • Coal India workers strike cuts output by 56% - official
    A strike at Coal India cut production by 56% in the three days ending July 4
as workers oppose opening up coal mining to the private sector, a senior company
official told Reuters.
    • Lockdown cuts India's April tea output by 54% y/y-Board
    India's April tea output fell 54% from a year earlier to 39.02 million
kilograms (kg) as restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus
reduced plucking in the top producing north-eastern state of Assam, the
state-run Tea Board said on Monday.
    • U.S. pandemic aid program saved 51.1 mln jobs, but wealthy and connected
also benefited
    A high-profile pandemic aid program protected about 51.1 million American
jobs, the Trump administration said on Monday, as it revealed how $521.4 billion
in taxpayer cash was injected into small businesses but also into the pockets of
the rich and famous.
    • U.S. trade groups urge China to increase purchases of U.S. goods, services
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and over 40 trade associations on Monday urged
top American and Chinese officials to redouble efforts to implement a Phase 1
trade agreement signed by the world's two largest economies in January despite
pandemic-related strains.
    • Japan's household spending slumps by record as curbs hit travel, dining
    Japan's household spending fell at the fastest pace on record in May as
consumers heeded authorities' calls to stay home to contain the coronavirus
pandemic, pushing the world's third-largest economy deeper into decline.

    (As reported by NewsRise)
    • SGX Nifty nearest-month futures were 0.3% lower at 10,729.00.
    • The Indian rupee is expected to open higher against the U.S. currency,
tracking a Chinese yuan-led decline on the dollar.
    • Indian federal government bond yields are likely to trade largely
unchanged in early session ahead of a fresh supply of state debt. The yield on
the benchmark 5.79% bond maturing in 2030 is likely to trade in a range of
5.81%-5.86% today.
    • U.S. stocks rose sharply on Monday as a rebound in U.S. services industry
activity in June and expectations of a revival in China's economy boosted
optimism, helping investors look past a surge in new coronavirus cases in the
United States.
    • Asian shares hit a speed bump following a surge in the previous session.

    • The dollar nursed losses and riskier currencies added a fraction to
galloping gains, after better-than-expected U.S. services data provided the
latest boost to confidence in a worldwide economic recovery from the COVID-19
    • U.S. Treasury yields edged higher on Monday as investors focused on an
eventual economic rebound from the coronavirus, and as traders priced in
auctions this week that will increase the supply of the low-risk debt.
    • Oil prices cautiously rose in early trade with major producers sticking to
supply cuts, but gains were capped as U.S. coronavirus cases surged, potentially
hampering a recovery in fuel demand.
    • Gold prices edged higher, hovering near an eight-year high, as concerns
over surging coronavirus cases around the world kept bullion's safety demand
                   CLOSE        FII INVESTMENTS  EQUITIES         DEBT
 PNDF spot         74.69/74.72  July 6           620.73 crores    (128.80) crores
 10-yr bond yield  5.84 pct     Month-to-date    (3,338) crores   88 crores
                                Year-to-date     (21,851) crores  (1,06,871) crores
    (FII investment numbers are in Indian rupees. Source: National Securities
Depository Limited)​

    For additional data:
    India govt bond market volumes                 
    Stock market reports                
    Non-deliverable forwards data              
    Corporate debt stories               [IN CORPD]
    Local market closing/intraday levels [IN SNAPSHOT]
    Monthly inflows                      [INFLOWS RTRS TABLE IN]
    ($1 = 74.63 Indian rupees)

 (Compiled by Pranay Prakash in Bengaluru)

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World News

Melania Trump’s former aide to publish book

A former aide to Melania Trump has written a memoir about her 15-year friendship with the US first lady.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book, Melania and Me, is due out on 1 September.

In 2018, Ms Winston Wolkoff was reportedly forced out of the White House, amid allegations that she had been profiteering from President Trump’s inauguration.

But the former aide has said she was “thrown under the bus”.

She denied claims her company received $26 million (£20 million) in payments to help plan the 2017 ceremony and surrounding events, saying her firm “retained a total of $1.62 million”.

“In her memoir, Wolkoff chronicles her journey from their friendship that started in New York to her role as the First Lady’s trusted advisor to her abrupt and very public departure, to life after Washington,” according to a description of the book published by Vanity Fair.

The book, which will be on sale ahead of the November presidential election – when Mr Trump will take on Democrat nominee Joe Biden, is the latest controversial memoir involving the Trumps.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new book, The Room Where It Happened, portrays a president ignorant of basic geopolitical facts and whose decisions were frequently driven by a desire for re-election.

He accuses Mr Trump of wanting help from China to win re-election, while offering approval for China’s plan to build forced-labour camps for its Muslim Uighur minority. He also backs up Democrat allegations that sparked impeachment efforts against the president.

Meanwhile, the president’s niece, Mary Trump, is due to publish Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man later this month.

An Amazon blurb for the book says the author will set out how her uncle “became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security and social fabric”.

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World News

GZERO VIDEO: The old US-led order is gone

NEW YORK (GZERO MEDIA) – The world is less likely to return to the old US-led global order and it turns out, America may not even want to. 

American foreign policy expert Ian Bremmer says that the US’ interest in supporting an American-first unilateralist policy is eroding, due to ongoing domestic opposition, soaring unemployment rates and fewer gains from global allies.

“…American power internationally is also going to feel like it’s getting less from allies, not more. I mean, Nato is not aligned towards dealing with China, but China is the principle concern,” he said.

Mr Bremmer also noted that no matter who wins America’s 2020 presidential elections, the old geopolitical order led by the US will be hindered by its reliance on alignment with countries around the world.

An example of this is the weakening transatlantic relationship that is debilitated by Euro-sceptic and anti-establishment sentiments across Europe.

“The UK, as you know, has already left the European Union making it weaker, and the European Union itself is under a lot more strain…there are existential questions that come from coronavirus as to whether the EU will even still be in place in three years time…”

On the other hand, technology firms in the US will be the big winners coming out of the coronavirus crisis as an overwhelming amount of tech firms dominating the global economy are American.

This GZERO media video is being shown here as part of a media partnership agreement with The Straits Times.

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U.S. home solar installer Sunrun to buy Vivint Solar for about $1.46 billion

(Reuters) – Sunrun Inc (RUN.O) said on Monday it will buy Blackstone-backed peer Vivint Solar (VSLR.N) for about $1.46 billion in an all-stock deal, as the top U.S. residential solar installers look to solidify their market position.

The deal will also help Sunrun compete better with Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) SolarCity in a residential solar market, which, according to the companies, has reached only 3% penetration in the United States.

Vivint Solar shareholders will receive 0.55 of Sunrun common stock for each share held, representing a premium of 10.4% to Vivint’s Monday close.

The deal, unanimously approved by the companies’ boards, is valued at $3.2 billion including debt.

Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) owns a 55.84% stake in Vivint Solar, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The private equity company bought Vivint Solar’s parent, Vivint Inc, in 2012 for more than $2 billion. Vivint Solar went public in 2014.

The deal is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2020 and deliver annual cost savings of about $90 million, the companies said.

Credit Suisse Securities was the financial adviser to Sunrun, while Morgan Stanley and BofA Securities advised Vivint.

Vivint Solar in May reported an adjusted loss of $1.01 per share in its first-quarter results while withdrawing its full-year forecast. Sunrun posted a net loss of 23 cents per share for the same period.

Business Insider reported in April that Sunrun had laid off at least 100 workers and furloughed another 60 due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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