Anna Karina, iconic French New Wave actress, has died at 79

Anna Karina, the French New Wave actress who became an icon of the cinema in the 1960s and was the muse of Jean-Luc Godard, has died. She was 79.

The French culture minister announced her death Sunday on Twitter. French media said that the Danish-born Karina had cancer and died Saturday.

”Her look was the look of the New Wave. It will remain so forever,” Culture Minister Franck Riester tweeted.

“Anna Karina radiated. She magnetized the entire world,”′ Riester said, adding that ”French cinema has lost one of its legends.”

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French New Wave actress Anna Karina. Twitter / Franck Riester via Ministère de la Culture and Le CNC

Karina made seven films with Godard, her partner at the time, including the 1961 “Une Femme Est Une Femme″ (A Woman is a Woman), in which she played a femme fatale. For that, she received the best actress award at the Berlin Film Festival. Other cult Godard movies starring Karina included the 1962 “Vivre Sa Vie'” (Live Your Life) and the 1965 “Pierrot Le Fou.”

Karina captured filmgoers with her large blue doe eyes and acting and singing talents.

The French New Wave broke with traditional cinematic conventions to create a fresh approach to making movies, in keeping with the free-spirited times.

Godard wasn’t the only director with whom Karina worked. Jacques Rivette’s 1966 film “La Religieuse” (The Nun), adapted from the 18th-century French novel by Diderot, was initially banned. The story of a young woman forced into the convent by her mother, who had given birth out of wedlock, was revived in a restored version and presented at the 2018 Cannes film festival.

Born Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer in Denmark, she initially modeled and sang in cabarets before coming to France. She was reportedly discovered, and renamed, by Coco Chanel, then discovered by Godard.

Karina also worked, among other illustrious directors, with Luchino Visconti.

In a bold undertaking at the time, the actress later got behind the camera to make her own movie in 1973, “Vivre Ensemble” (Living Together).

Films that Karina has appeared in will be shown on the silver screen again with a retrospective of Godard starting next month at the Cinémathèque, a noted film institution in France which she had frequented.

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Jacques Chirac, French leader who challenged U.S. on Iraq war, has died

French President Jacques Chirac listens
French President Jacques Chirac listens to the french national anthem, April 3, 2007, in the southern town of Bayonne, during his last visit to the French Army’s Special Forces Regiment as president. Getty

Paris — Former French president Jacques Chirac, who led the country for 12 years from 1995 to 2007, has died at the age of 86. His son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux confirmed his passing, telling French news agency AFP that he “died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully.”  

“The French people, whatever their convictions, have lost a friend,” said former President Francois Hollande.

Chirac gained international notoriety near the start of his second term, when he stood up to President George W. Bush as the American leader pushed his case for war with Iraq at the United Nations.

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In early March 2003, Chirac vowed to use France’s veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council to block the U.S.-led efforts, because international atomic energy agency weapons inspectors had found no evidence that Saddam Hussein actually had weapons of mass destruction, as Mr. Bush’s administration contended.

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President George W. Bush, left, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, second left, Secretary of State Colin Powell, second right, and U.S. NATO Ambassador Nicholas Burns, right, listen as French President Jacques Chirac speaks at the opening session of the NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, June 28, 2004. AP

“I would say it’s a moral problem,” Chirac said in a TV interview at the time, “are we going to go to war when there may be a way to avoid it?”

His approval ratings in France soared to 90%. But the backlash from across the Atlantic was rapid and virulent. Many Americans shunned all things French; there were campaigns in Congress to rename French fries, “freedom fries,” and the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” was coined.

That anger at France from some parts of American society continued even after it became clear Saddam had no WMDs. For years, some Americans resented the fact that France had blocked a U.N.-led action, even as they recognized that the evidence presented by the Bush administration was outdated.

The hostility shocked the French, but Chirac stood his ground at the U.N. 

When President Bush began looking for ways around a U.N.-sanctioned military action, Chirac warned him: “Don’t go it alone.” But President Bush did, launching a U.S.-led but not U.N.-sanctioned invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Just a month later, U.S. officials were drawing up ways to punish France for getting in Washington’s way. Measures included trying to exclude France from discussions on how to handle Iraq in the aftermath of the invasion, and not awarding reconstruction contracts to French companies.

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Then-French President Jacques Chirac and Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker talk to then-President George W. Bush during a group photo with other members of the European Union, on Feb. 22, 2005, in Brussels. PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

By May, Chirac had had enough. Convinced France was the victim of an “organized campaign of disinformation” from within the Bush administration, the government tasked its ambassador to the U.S. to write to President Bush to ask him to set the record straight on accusations in the American media, coming from “official sources.”

The clash soured Franco-American relations for the next several years. However, it increased Chirac’s profile at home, as the French praised him for standing up to what were seen as bullying tactics from Washington.

But while the Iraq crisis gave Chirac high approval ratings for a while, by the end of his second term in 2007, his popularity had plummeted.

Despite having spent his adult life as an elected public servant – he was Mayor of Paris and Prime Minister before becoming the second longest-serving president – Chirac’s final days were beset by allegations of misuse of public funds.

Suffering poor health after what was reported as a minor stroke in 2005, the president started to slip quietly out of the public eye.

In December 2011, a Paris court found Chirac guilty of embezzling public funds. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s by then and wasn’t even in court. He was handed a two-year suspended sentence.

In 2016 he was hospitalized for a lung infection and his health reportedly continued to deteriorate in recent years, leaving him increasingly frail.

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New research sheds light on the day the dinosaurs died

For the first time, we have a detailed picture of what happened in the 24 hours after an asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago and caused dinosaurs to become extinct. A research team led by the University of Texas at Austin made the new discoveries using rocks found off the Yucatan Peninsula. They found that the blast ignited a chaotic day of fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis, which led to a prolonged period of global cooling.

The new research allows scientists “to get a really clear snapshot” of what happened that day, according to Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. “This is the most eventful day, almost in the history of the planet.” 

That snapshot is a grim one. Pitts said the asteroid was six miles wide – and that when it hit Earth, it created a crater 90 miles wide and 18 miles deep that blew 25 trillion metric tons of material into the atmosphere.  

The new research showed scientists that the impact “created a gigantic tidal wave that washed across this continent, and really changed the face of the planet in that location – or, really, changed the face of the planet overall entirely,” Pitts said.  

The spot where the asteroid struck is key, he said. “If the asteroid had not hit that particular location at that time, it could have been a very different outcome for the planet,” he said. “That particular impact region at that particular time created this world that we have now because it altered the planet … If it had hit somewhere else, we could have had a different planet.”  

The research also showed that the event isn’t isolated – and that another asteroid could strike.

There is good news: while smaller asteroids could still cause problems, Pitts is confident that a major asteroid isn’t headed toward Earth any time soon. “I’m confident there’s not a big one heading our way,” Pitts said. “And we’ve taken a very good assessment of what’s out there. Still more work to be done — but we know there aren’t any more planet killers out there in the next thousand years or so.”  

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Mohammed Morsi, ousted Egyptian president, has died

Cairo — Egypt’s state TV says the country’s ousted president, Mohammed Morsi, has collapsed during a court session and died. Morsi had been Egypt’s elected president following the death of Hosni Mubarak in 2012, but was deposed after a military coup in 2013 that installed General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi into power. 

The state TV says the 67-year-old Morsi was attending a court session Monday in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.

Morsi, a leader of Egypt’s largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in the country’s first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak. The military ousted Morsi in 2013 after massive protests and crushed the Brotherhood in a major crackdown, arresting Morsi and many others of the group’s leaders. Morsi had been imprisoned since his arrest and was previously sentenced to death for his alleged role in a mass prison break that took place during the 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak. 

Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi waves from inside the defendants cage during his trial
Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi waves from inside the defendants cage during his trial at the police academy in Cairo, Jan. 8, 2015. Getty

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