As the jury president of this year's Berlin International Film Festival, it was up to Meryl Streep to answer the press' questions about diversity and the festival's all-white jury panel. However, Streep dismissed the criticism on Thursday by telling reporters, "We're all Africans, really."
The other members of the jury are German actor Lars Eidinger, British film critic Nick James, French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, British actor Clive Owen, Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher, and Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, The Associated Press reports. Together, Streep and the jury will award Europe's first major film prize of the year, the Golden Bear, as well as several Silver Bear awards.
"There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all we're all from Africa originally," Streep said. "Berliners, we're all Africans really."
Streep also defended herself against an Egyptian reporter who questioned if she understood films from North Africa or the Arab world by saying, "I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures."
Additionally, Streep insisted she was committed to the inclusion of "all genders, races, ethnicities, religions."
"This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that's an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions," Streep said. "So I think the Berlinale is ahead of its game." Jeva Lange
Muslim reporter describes the struggles of covering the election: 'Empathy felt like a one-way street'
Reporter Asma Khalid covered the intersection of demographics and politics for NPR during the 2016 presidential campaign, a job that became increasingly difficult as an identifiably Muslim woman. "Through tears, I told [my editor] that if I had known my sheer existence — just the idea of being Muslim — would be a debatable issue in the 2016 election, I would never have signed up to do this job," Khalid writes in a powerful essay describing her experience on the campaign trail.
Khalid, who grew up in Indiana, goes on to explain that her ability "to [make] white folks feel comfortable" was one of the most valuable tools for her work:
So, for example, whenever the Pledge of Allegiance was recited at a GOP event, regardless of whether I was balancing a laptop on my knees, a notebook in one hand and a microphone in the other, I instinctively stood up.
I noticed — sometimes — my fellow journalists didn't stand; they would finish the email they were writing. But I also knew I couldn't afford to give the people in the room any more reason to doubt me.
Later, with some of these same voters, I would share stories about how the pledge was recited every week in my school. And they would trust me a little bit more than before. [NPR]
But while "I always tried to understand their fears," Khalid writes, "so many times, this empathy felt like a one-way street." Read her entire essay, including the incident that made her realize empathy isn't always reciprocated, at NPR. Jeva Lange
When Donald Trump was given the designation of being Time's Person of the Year on Wednesday morning, he gushed about the "great honor," saying, "I've been lucky enough to be on the cover [of Time] many times this year, and last year."
As it turns out, Time's Trump covers tell their own sort of story — one that reflects Trump's unexpected victory on Nov. 8 and the about-face many critics have had to execute in order to take the former reality show host seriously as the next president of the United States.
It only takes three covers of Time to get the picture. Jeva Lange
— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) December 7, 2016
Pakistan International Airlines reports that one of its planes "disappeared" after it took off Wednesday afternoon from the northern city of Chitral on its way to Islamabad. The plane had more than 40 people on board and lost contact with the civil aviation authority around 4:30 p.m. local time, The Independent reports.
Local media reports that the plane crashed near a village and that rescuers are attempting to make their way to the site. Pakistan's interior ministry has reportedly dispatched a team of forensic experts who work with DNA to identify bodies. Jeva Lange
Today show host Matt Lauer put the heat on Donald Trump during the president-elect's Time Person of the Year interview Wednesday morning. Lauer pressed Trump on everything from why he reportedly sold his stock holdings last June to questioning why Trump just can't seem to stop watching Saturday Night Live.
"You seem to understand that perhaps having fights on Twitter would not be appropriate for the president," Lauer said at one point. "I have not seen you backing off fights on Twitter. In the time since you were elected, you've targeted the cast of Hamilton, The New York Times, China, Boeing, the media, and SNL."
Trump was on the defensive throughout — perhaps even a little unexpectedly, as he had started the interview off by calling the Time designation a "great honor." Watch Lauer keep Trump on his toes, below. Jeva Lange
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 7, 2016
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn's penchant for conspiracy theories has prompted growing calls for Donald Trump to drop him as national security adviser, and former CIA official Philip Mudd joined the chorus on CNN's Situation Room on Tuesday. "We have a history of remarkable servants in the Oval Office and in the Situation Room under Republican presidents," he told Wolf Blitzer, name-checking Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. "We transition now to a national security adviser in a political realm who argues that [an] opponent on the stump should be locked up in prison and who argues that a billion-plus Muslims should be grouped together."
"You want to tell me that we're going to transition in the Situation Room to reality and I'm watching a clown show — I've had it with this, Wolf," he said. "I want to see a transition from a campaign to a reality and I don't see it yet."
Time named Donald Trump as Person of the Year on Wednesday morning "for reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow's political culture by demolishing yesterday's."
"It's a great honor," Trump told the Today show. "I've been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year, and last year."
— TIME (@TIME) December 7, 2016
The president-elect beat out Hillary Clinton as well as Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, Russian President Vladimir Putin, musician Beyoncé Knowles, and others for the designation.
Time annually aims to select the person or idea that has had the greatest impact on the news and world in the past year, a tradition it has followed since 1927. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was Time's Person of the Year in 2015 due to her leadership in the Syrian refugee crisis and the Europe debt crisis. Jeva Lange
On Tuesday night, President-elect Donald Trump repeated his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and as Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with congressional Republicans, the big question was how long before the repeal takes effect, with options ranging from six months to three years. Also on Tuesday, the two major trade groups representing hospitals warned Trump and GOP leaders in Congress that repealing ObamaCare could cost U.S. hospitals $165 billion by 2026 and force "an unprecedented public health crisis."
When Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act over 14 months, they carefully balanced the needs of the various sectors in the health care industry, and the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals argued in a Washington, D.C., press conference that the flood of uninsured patients would cause massive losses at hospitals. If it repeals the law, the hospital industry said, Congress needs to step in with financial aid. The groups, citing a study, estimated that based on the only ObamaCare repeal law Congress has passed (and Obama vetoed), 22 million more people will be uninsured in a decade, and the strain to hospitals from those patients would be "unsettling," as FAH president Charles Kahn III said.
Republicans have put together a repeal vote that can pass with a simple majority in the Senate, avoiding a Democratic filibuster, but any replacement legislation would need Democratic assent. Peter Weber