Archive for February 4th, 2020

Why there is cancer ‘explosion’ in Nigeria, by Durosinmi-Etti – Guardian

February 4th, 2020


Francis Abayomi Durosinmi-Etti is a professor of radiation therapy and oncology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Durosinmi-Etti served as the pioneer Chief Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Hospital, Abuja. He worked at the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria between 1988 and 1995. Durosinmi-Etti, is now the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, a multi-billion-cancer centre established as a joint-venture partnership between the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and LUTH. The oncologist in an exclusive interview with The Guardian ahead of the World Cancer Day, February 4, 2020, said there is an explosion of cancer cases and deaths in Nigeria. He gave reasons for the menace and proffered solutions on how to stem the tide. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.

Several reports indicate that most cancer centres in the country are not working due to malfunctioning equipment. Until now, this centre was having such issues. What barriers would you say that you have broken in terms of establishing this centre? Or rather what have been the challenges?
The challenge is the fact that cancer is on the increase all over the world but much more in Nigeria. So much so that it will not be out of place if we say there is an explosion or whatever; it is of that proportion now. Virtually every day you see new cases or even somebody with cancer. Hardly is there any family now that does not have somebody or know somebody who has cancer.

Number two; facilities for managing cancer are very few in the country. So this service we have in here is of very good advantage. Number three, even where the facilities are available, cost of treating cancer is very expensive. It is not a child’s play. You are talking of curative treatment from radiotherapy to chemotherapy or even for radiotherapy alone, you will be thinking around N1 million.

Is it for one month or one week?
For the course of treatment, which is everyday for about three to five weeks except Saturdays and Sundays. If you say waoh, everybody will say waoh because not many of us including me can afford that type of money. But you find Nigerians when they go abroad they have to pay 15,000 or 20,000 pounds just as deposit and you pay for others like for consulting, 3,000 pounds, and some more money for follow up. So at the end of the day you would have ended up spending up to 30,000 pounds or some people went to America that came back in here. They charged them $125,000. But what we are offering here now can range with that quality of what they are getting in America and even people from America attested to that. Many Nigerians in the diaspora do come home and they are always here to help us and they commend the efforts we are making. We are not there yet but we are training and retraining. As I am talking to you, two of our staff are in Switzerland, two just came back, others are going. As I am talking to you, right in front of me is a letter for four specialists coming from America. This is their letter of invitation visa section to come to Nigeria. They are coming to help us for six days. That is two radiation-oncologists from America, medical physicist, a nurse and another professional. They are coming to help us, in this same place, in starting up our three-dimension high dose brachytherapy. That is the latest anywhere in the world and most accurate brachytherapy for treating cancers of the cervix that is the neck of the womb in women which is very common even aspects of breast cancer and even people with cancer of the oesophagus, instead of cutting off the neck of the oesophagus, and prostate cancer in men. So all these things are possible now and we need to train people on them and they cost money.

You said there is rise in cancer cases in Nigeria more than anywhere in the world, why?
Well a number of possibilities. Maybe people are becoming more aware. You know there are so many Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and everybody becoming involved. February 4 is World Cancer Day, it is going to be celebrated all over the world including Nigeria and we are going to be preaching, counseling people on how to prevent cancer, early detection, early treatment to achieve cure but more importantly prevention. So people are more aware, so they report earlier or they try to report earlier for treatment. The environment itself has not been very helpful.

Our environment itself has not been of help because there is so much pollution with carbon fumes all over the place- generators, car exhaust, fires here and there, all sort of things, people smoking all over the place. So those things exposes people to risks of having cancer. Some of our diets are to be blamed- people who eat moldy rice or eba. They think it sweeter when it is cold and moldy. It can cause cancer of the liver.

Our albinos, we have about four million albinos in Nigeria at the moment. The sun is their worst enemy. You can be sure surprised that an albino that is not exposed to the sun will not have cancer. But when he or she goes about selling akara or is in school or a farmer working under the sun, I can tell you 80 to 90 per cent that he or she is going to have skin cancer and those skin cancer can be very terrible especially on their faces and exposed part of the body; huge terrible lesions. So those things are things we can prevent.

Another big one is breast cancer but it runs in some families but can easily be prevented by people examining their breasts. When you get to certain age you can do some tests- go for annual check up. Another big one is cancer of the cervix- neck of the womb. It is second to breast. If you add the incidence to breast cancer, which is about 26.3 per cent to that from the cervix which is about 24.2 per cent that is almost about 50.5 per cent, that is over 50 per cent, of all the cancers in men and women. Then you talk about prostate in men, there seems to be an explosion of prostate cancer followed by cancer of the colon and rectum. These are things that we do not usually see in this part of the world but now we see them virtually everyday in people coming for treatment or for diagnosis.

Cancer of the lungs used to be uncommon. In my whole career, I have been in this field for 50 years; I have been in charge of cancer treatment for the United Nations International Atomic Agency, for the whole world for years. I trained in England at one of the best universities in Manchester, Christie Hospital in Manchester. In a week I will treat about ten cases of cancer of the lungs there, but in Nigeria in my entire career, about 40 to 50 years now, I don’t think I have seen more than 20 cases. But now we are seeing them almost every week, so something is wrong. Just like we are seeing rise in prostate cancer, something is wrong somewhere. It is either there is something we are taking because prostate cancer is hormone dependent. It either that we are taking something that increases the quantity of the hormone that exposes us to prostate cancer or something that we need to further investigate. Again we need to prevent prostate cancer by doing simple tests. You do your Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). We advise people to do it regularly especially people above 40 years. Anybody above 40 should do the test. It does not mean the person has cancer if the value is up but the person needs to do more tests. So cancer of the head and neck region is common. We have a child with cancer of the eye that we treated and the thing has virtually disappeared.

There are many more like that. We have cancer of the bone, cancer of the kidney. In fact you have cancer virtually everywhere in the body.
But what is important are those ones we say are common, we are seeing them so much now that it is getting to frightening level. But thank God a centre like this has come up. But a centre like this is like a drop in the ocean. We have about 200 million Nigerians and we have only one centre here with the best quality nationwide and whole of West Africa now, followed by National Hospital. But then we are not on the same level. I used to be the medical director of National Hospital Abuja, but they are very good there too. We have the latest technology. The other centres too where they have cancer facility are trying their best. It is not the fault of the doctors or the staff there, but it is what is available to them. So we need more facilities, we need to spend more and more on training the medics, which are the doctors, nurses, medical staff, radiographers, pathologist and all the whole team because cancer treatment is a multimodal and multidisciplinary form of treatment.

You don’t say because you are a clinical oncologist, then you know all the things. No it doesn’t work that way any more. People who are in separate fields, the physician, surgeons, gynaecologist, depending on where the cancer is, we all come together, work together, review the patients and the treatment we give to them and how the treatment would begin. We time and brand it sequentially and properly, this makes the thing smoother, or we start with chemotherapy drugs to kill the tumour. We think of how we can give the treatment.

Like that small girl with huge tumour on her eyes, it is gone and it was only chemotherapy that did that. But we know that is not enough because after sometime, if we are not careful it might just reoccur. So that girl still needs radiotherapy, which we will give.

But these things cost money, how many Nigerians can afford this money?
Everyday we see people here and there crying that they need this and that, they need treatment, you see some on television, which can be heart breaking. You wonder, what is going on in this country? Can we not look after our own patients?

So all those things are the problems, not only for us as doctors, or for someone like me as a cancer specialist, but for every Nigerian because no one knows who is the next. Whether you are rich or poor, a child or an adult, male or female, cancer does not know that one.

What are the solutions?
For me, the first is to identify the problem, which we have done, the cheapest thing is to prevent this from even coming and that is why public education is very vital.

Next you can preempt it. For instance, cancer of the cervix account for about 24.2 percent of all cancers and can be preeminently prevented and it is been done in developed countries because children under about nine years old, before they become sexually active, they get this injection called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which gives them immunity against cervix cancer.

Countries that have the means have mass vaccination of girls. The injection is expensive, it costs about $100 for one dose. But either we do it or we don’t do it, maybe it can be cheaper. But we need to prevent that sort of thing.

Other countries that have the means even give their young boys because this HPV is transmitted and we carry it all over our body and we give it to those women when we have sexual intercourse. That is why you find that women who have multiple sexual partners are much more prone to having cancer of the cervix and this is why we advise that women stay with their partners as much as possible to avoid more dangers.

Women should present for annual examination. They should do Pap smear, particularly when you are about 30 years old. There is what we call Visual inspection of cervix with acetic acid (VIA). It is currently more popular method of cervical cancer of screening test in low resource countries. So VIA can be done in low-resource countries for screening of cervical cancer as an alternative to Pap smear cytology. If you look in there, it doesn’t take 10 minutes. If you look in there, you get your cotton wool with acetic acid that is all over, you sprinkle it on the pelvis, on the neck of the womb, you are seeing through your speculums, within a few seconds or minutes, if you see acetowhite lesions, it looks whitish, that is any whitish area; that region is suspicious and can become cancerous, in another 10 to 15 years. But if you treat it right there and then, with what we call cryotherapy, just freeze it, you can cure that patient. All these things are there. Except people are aware, they are not going to put themselves forward.

So we need to reassure people that not everybody that has lump in the breast would have breast cancer. They shouldn’t be afraid because 80 percent of the lumps in the breast are quite harmless. But we don’t want lumps in the breast. It is either you remove them and make sure they are not cancerous. But some benign lumps would disappear. However, there is one we call breast mouse because it might be in one part of the breast today and then go to another part tomorrow.

Women should not be afraid. They need to present themselves for examination. Men too should check their prostate. Like I said, they must do something about it, at least have a PSA done or get your doctor to do rectal examination.

Another big issue is that of cost, and the economic situation in Nigeria. How do we address it? How much does it cost to treat prostrate, breast, cervical cancer?
Certainly, here now, for curative and that is if you want to cure the patient because there are two types, you want to cure or palliate, that is just to relief the symptoms.

We cure those that are early. We palliate those that are late. Palliation just means, maybe someone cannot breath probably because something is obstructing it, you can stop that obstruction, or maybe somebody is bleeding away somewhere, you can stop that bleeding, maybe somebody is in terrible pain, you can stop that pain; all sort of palliation until eventually the person dies, but they die with dignity.

But the curative ones, at least at the moment, depending on the tumour, we will be thinking of about N800, 000 to N1 million, which is cheap compared with what is obtained abroad, that is about 20, 000 pounds, almost about N20 million.

For someone with cancer of the cervix, it might be a bit more if it is early. You have to give her high dose of brachytheraphy, which we have here, now and then. We are going to start using that maybe from next month. We know what we do but we also want to be guided so that we are very sure.
Everything is ready and it is just to go. That will also cost money, in addition to having the radiotherapy from the existing machines.

We have three linear accelerators; those are high-powered radiation machines and systems for computerised planning, everything is in place and people are being trained.

How do we address this issue of cost since the treatment of cancer is not in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for the indigents and average Nigerians?
It is a big problem, I know the NHIS in fairness to them, they are trying to look into it now, but last year they paid for few cancer patients, but that is not significant enough. I don’t know what they are doing this year, but I know they are trying to help.

What they can do? There is no reason why the government cannot vote some money for this cadre of patients. I am the president of CEPAON, one of the top cancer organisations, Cancer Education, Prevention and Awareness Organisation of Nigeria.

We hold meetings annually and at one of our cancer summit about two years ago, one of our decisions, which is still being followed, and I think it is at the Senate now has to do with catastrophic cancer. I think they said they were going to give them I N4 billion. I don’t know how far it has gone, but if they can get something like that in the budget annually, that will be a great help and this fund is managed properly so that indigent people can benefit. People are really poor and I see them heart broken.

There are other private organisations and non-governmental organisations, like the very first cancer NGO registered in this country. It is the Cancer Aid Foundation, which I am one of the fellows that started it 31 years ago.

In those days, the organisation had been helping indigent patients. We are planning again now to see how we can reconstitute the board with eminent Nigerians. I am the executive secretary, I am prepared to step down and get eminent people. Some of the eminent people we had are dead, so we are trying to resuscitate this so that we have credible people, who would make sure – and vet these people that once they pass through some tests, we know that they are truly indigent, they can be assisted, instead of people suffering and dying.

But apart from that, I think even the government on its own, the easiest thing might be, maybe through the ministry of health, or somehow, get some funds and get credible people to administer those funds, making sure that people go through some tests and then they know that these people don’t have anybody to help them. At best they can subsidise the cost of treatment, but help is needed.

There is a myth that is going on now; they said Cannabis sativa that is marijuana could be used to manage cancer patients?
Yes it is true. Unfortunately I have not tasted marijuana so I don’t know, maybe there are some varieties.

But we actually use marijuana in treating some form of cancers. When you give cancer patients drugs, they become sick and vomit a lot and that helps a lot in controlling that. It also helps with their pain as well.

On a personal level, what should an average Nigerian do to prevent – basically, lifestyle issues, what do you recommend?
They should do everything in moderation. They shouldn’t smoke, but if they must smoke, they should moderate it. Alcohol causes cancer as well, but it must be in moderation.

Sex, particularly women, don’t change partners. Have only one partner, but if one is not enough for you, use condom so that you don’t get these diseases that cause cervical cancer passed on to you.

Check your breast also for any lump. Also the men, once you are 40 years old, a simple PSA test will do. All these things will really bring cancer rate down.


Rockstar Games founder Dan Houser leaves studio – BBC News

February 4th, 2020

Disney+ to launch in India through Hotstar on March 29 – TechCrunch

February 4th, 2020

Hotstar, a lesser-known Disney-owned service which has earned a name for itself setting global streaming records, is about to have a very busy next few months. Disney plans to bring its on-demand streaming service Plus in India through Hotstar on March 29, slightly sooner than expected, the company said Tuesday.

In an earnings call with analysts, Disney chief executive Bob Iger said the entertainment conglomerate will launch the service in one of the world’s largest entertainment markets at the beginning of the next edition of IPL cricket tournament, the most noteworthy event on Hotstar all year. He also revealed that Disney+ had amassed 26.5 million paying subscribers worldwide.

TechCrunch reported in November that the company was planning to launch its streaming service in India by the second half of the year, followed by its entry in Southeast Asian markets. We also reported that by end of Q1, the company was likely to raise the subscription price of Hotstar service, a Star India-owned service it owns as part of its acquisition of Fox.

Hotstar, at its peak, reported more than 100 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users last year. The service, which currently offers its premium offering for about $14 a year, also features shows and movies from HBO, ABC, and Showtime. It also offers an ad-supported free tier, which as of two years ago, included about 80% of the catalog.

Iger declined to share specifics about how much the company would charge for Disney+ featuring Hotstar, but said it will bring “two primary products” into India.

“One will be more premium in nature that will include the entire library of original programming and the other one will be more basic that will have the library and not the original programming priced for the market and launched at a very peak period of time for the IPL, the Cricket League,” he said.

“So we think it’s an opportune moment, we take advantage of the presence of Star in the market and the millions of subscribers that they also have, we take advantage of the sports tie-in and we use the interface and the technology that includes the billing that already exists to launch a service we believe under very, very optimal circumstances,” he added.

Hotstar competes with dozens of streaming services in India, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. In recent years, all of these services have made original series and movies for the Indian market. The most notable original series on Hotstar is the remake of “The Office.” Netflix’s monthly subscription tiers start from $2.8 (for mobile-only viewing), while Prime Video charges $14 a year. Apple TV+ costs $1.4 a month in India. 

Iger said the company will rebrand the premium tier of Hotstar to “Disney plus Hotstar. “We see this as a great opportunity to use the proven platform of Hotstar to launch the new Disney+ service in one of the most populous countries and fastest growing economies in the world.”

In an earlier earnings call, Iger said the company will expand Hotstar outside of India to launch Disney+ through it in Southeast Asian markets.


Aspiring musician charged after false coronavirus claim says he hoped to make viral video – CTV News

February 4th, 2020

TORONTO — An aspiring musician who allegedly stood up from his seat on a Jamaica-bound flight from Toronto and claimed he had contracted coronavirus says that he did it in hopes of making a viral video.

WestJet flight 2702 was diverted back to Toronto on Monday morning nearly two hours into the flight. The 243 passengers had to get off the plane where they started their journey hours after they boarded the aircraft.

In a statement, a spokesperson for WestJet, Morgan Bell, said law enforcement and medical officials were requested to meet the flight when it arrived back in Toronto.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our crew followed all protocols for infectious disease on board, including sequestering an individual who made an unfounded claim regarding coronavirus,” Bell wrote.

“Due to the involvement of law enforcement, as well as the privacy of our guests, we are not able to provide additional information about the incident at this time.”

When the plane arrived back at Pearson Airport, the man was assessed by medical officials and was deemed to be symptom-free.


WestJet said all of the affected travellers were moved to an extra flight scheduled to depart from Toronto to Montego Bay on Tuesday at 6:45 a.m.

Man says claim was ‘simply to make a joke’

Speaking to Newstalk1010 Tuesday evening, James Potok said that he decided to stand up and make the announcement in an attempt to film a viral video.

“It was simply to make a joke and to get what I thought was a viral video,” he said.

“I had my video camera on my phone and I asked for everyone’s attention and I just stated ‘I just recently came back from Wuhan province.’ I believe I might have said I’m not feeling to well. But, in retrospect that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, talk about a worldwide epidemic, especially evoke fear in people. That was never my intent.”

Potok said that at no point did he claim he had contracted or had been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV.

He told Newstalk 1010 that he regrets the fact that the plane was rerouted back to Toronto and said he feels terrible for the people who were inconvenienced.

Charges laid in connection with incident

Peel Regional Police confirmed the 28-year-old man from Thornhill, Ont. was arrested in connection with the incident. James Potok has been charged with one count of mischief and one count of breach of recognizance.

James Potok
Source: Facebook / Potok Philippe

They said they have had limited contact with Potok since the incident because police took his phone away.

Meanwhile on Twitter, Potok has been retweeting news stories about the incident. On Facebook, a post under his name reads “going viral goes BAD!” and links to a story about the flight.

Potok is scheduled to appear inside a Brampton courthouse on March 9.

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The kids are alright despite teacher strikes, union leader insists – Toronto Sun

February 4th, 2020

Public school elementary students are still getting an acceptable education despite being out of class two days a week due to teacher strikes, the head of the teachers’ union says.

Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), announced Tuesday that the rotating strikes would continue into next week and the foreseeable future now that talks with the provincial government have broken down.

“Based on the way we have approached this and other unions have approached it, quite frankly, there’s probably more days off school during, you know, inclement weather days or snow days,” Hammond said.

“It is certainly a position we don’t want to be in, we know that students, our members and parents don’t want to be in, but I would say to you that the school year is in no way jeopardized based on the way that we’re approaching this and implementing strike action.”

Strike days are exceeding the traditional number of snow days, but Hammond said he was just making the point that the school year is not in jeopardy and that his members are doing a great job ensuring students still get a good education.

Ontario governments usually legislate teachers back to work when an independent panel rules that the students might lose their school year, a conclusion that has typically come after teachers are out for a number of weeks in a row.

ETFO, like the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), have embarked on rotating strikes.

Hammond blamed the Doug Ford government for the breakdown in talks Friday, accusing it of springing last-minute concession demands that scuttled a possible deal.

The two sides were making progress on three or four key issues on Friday when the government’s negotiators suddenly tabled “impossible” options that they knew would be unacceptable to the union.

The government won’t commit to all-day Kindergarten, a special needs student fund negotiated in a 2017 agreement and a hiring process for occasional teachers, he said.

“Frankly, our negotiating team was absolutely stunned at the 11th-hour change in their position,” Hammond said. “This government is deliberately creating chaos in our public education system.”

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the teacher unions are after pay and benefit increases that exceed the government’s 1% cap for public sector workers.

“These negotiations are about wages and benefits,” Lecce said in an online post. “Let’s be under no illusions, it always always is.”

Hammond said “not for one minute” was salary discussed during last week’s three days of bargaining.

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Nvidia GeForce Now cloud gaming service becomes generally available – ZDNet

February 4th, 2020

Recommendation to replace higher-educated nurses with cheaper staff could backfire, nurses warn –

February 4th, 2020

Nursing experts say some cost-saving recommendations put forward in an external review of Alberta Health Services released Monday could lead to worse patient outcomes.

“I believe the recommendations they made are going to be counterproductive,” Mount Royal University nursing professor Cathy Carter-Snell said.

“I absolutely agree that costs have to be reduced … but making the changes the way they’re suggesting will actually, the research has shown, cause an increase in workload and increased costs indirectly in terms of length of patient stay and complications.”

The review of AHS, conducted by consultants Ernst & Young, contains 57 recommendations and 72 savings opportunities.

If every recommendation was implemented — which the health minister has said won’t happen, as recommendations include items like shutting down hospitals — AHS could save up to $1.9 billion per year, the review states.

One recommendation is to reduce the number of registered nurses (RNs) in favour of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or healthcare aides, or reduce staffing levels overall, which could save up to $322 million. 

Carter-Snell said while RNs are more expensive, they have two years more education than LPNs which helps with the complex multi-system problems many patients have — especially the elderly. 

She said a simple example is a situation where a patient appears to be going into shock. An LPN would know how to administer the fluids and monitor vital signs, but may not recognize a patient has a heart-valve problem which would change some details of the intervention — or lead to complications and further care being required.

“In our nursing homes and our long-term care beds, we’re taking our most complex patients … and we’re putting our least educated health-care professionals with them. They’re very caring and they work very diligently,” Carter-Snell said, but the same skill level just isn’t there. 

She also believes one cause of current high overtime costs could be due to RN positions being converted to LPN positions, increasing workload across the system.

“We’re already at peak workload,” she said, adding that she’s writing a letter to the health minister outlining her concerns.

Here’s how much is spent on health care, per capita, across Canada, according to Ernst & Young’s Alberta Health Services review. (Ernst & Young)

United Nurses of Alberta president Heather Smith also voiced concerns with the review.

She said some issues like reducing overtime have already been tabled during bargaining. 

“It’s very discouraging and I think will anger a lot of nurses and other health-care workers that the government seems to be using this vehicle to take aim at health-care and other public sector workers,” she said. 

“It’s not simply a matter of an accountant saying if we change this, we can get cheaper care. That doesn’t mean you’re getting better care. In fact, I suggest you won’t but you will get perhaps cheaper care.”

You have to pay [nurses] what the going rate is in the labour market.– AFL president Gil McGowan

Smith also pointed out that while health-care workers in Alberta are paid more than their counterparts in other jurisdictions, that’s true of many industries in the province. 

That’s a statement Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan agrees with.

“This notion that we can pay nurses, for example, what they get paid in New Brunswick, it’s ridiculous. You have to pay what the going rate is in the labour market — you’re not in a fantasy labour market,” he said. 

The review also found AHS has higher levels of staffing across all units when compared with leading practices and other provinces. 

Ernst & Young said the staffing level comparison looked at three factors: National Health Services benchmarks in the U.K., internal variation across AHS, and Ernst & Young’s experience with similar clients. That finding was validated by Canadian Institute for Health Information data in Ontario, B.C., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, a provincial spokesperson said in an emailed response.

AHS has said it is looking at all the recommendations and opportunities in the report and will develop a detailed plan by May. 

Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said any savings found will be reinvested in health services.

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Jay-Z on Why He & Beyoncé Sat During the Super Bowl National Anthem – E! NEWS

February 4th, 2020
Jay-Z, Beyonce, Super Bowl 2020


Jay-Z is setting the record straight after he and Beyoncé stirred controversy for remaining seated during the 2020 Super Bowl‘s national anthem presentation.

The rapper addressed the backlash during a lecture series Q&A at Columbia University on Tuesday night. Jay-Z—who co-produced this year’s halftime show and is a partner of the NFL—denied that by not standing up for Demi Lovato‘s performance, he and Bey were making a subtle political statement. 

“It actually wasn’t—sorry,” Jay-Z said, according to Page Six. If he had been sending a message, Jay explained, “I’d tell you… I’d say, ‘Yes, that’s what I’ve done.’ I think people know that about me.”

As he described it, “What happened was, we got there, we were sitting, and now the show’s about to start. My wife was with me and so she says to me, ‘I know this feeling right here.’ Like, she’s super nervous because she’s performed at Super Bowls before. I haven’t. So we get there and we immediately jump into artist mode… now I’m really just looking at the show. Did the mic start? Was it too low to start? …I had to explain to them [that] as an artist, if you don’t feel the music, you can’t really reach that level.”

Jay went on to say that he and Beyoncé were deep in discussion about how “proud” they were of Demi when the performance concluded. “…Then my phone rang. And it was like, ‘You know you didn’t…’ I’m like, ‘What?'”

The outlet reports that the Grammy winner also said they wouldn’t put daughter Blue Ivy Carter “in that position,” adding, “And if anyone who knows Blue … If we told her we were going to do something like that, you would have seen her attacking me 100 times. She’s the kid that gets in the car and closes the door and says, ‘Are we there yet, daddy?’ So she would say, ‘What time? Are we doing it? Are we doing it now? It’s 7:05, daddy… It’s 7:06.'”

Jay-Z, Blue Ivy

David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock

All in all, Jay assured those present at tonight’s event that he “didn’t have to make a silent protest” thanks to Jennifer Lopez and Shakira‘s fiery halftime show

“If you look at the stage and the artists that we chose—Columbian [Shakira] and Puerto Rican J.Lo—we were making the loudest statement,” he noted. 

Case closed, Hov. 

Watch E! News weekday mornings at 7 a.m. and don’t miss our 2020 Oscars: E’s Inside Guide special Thursday, Feb. 6 at 10:30 p.m.!


Samsung iOS app confirms the existence of new Galaxy Buds+ – Engadget

February 4th, 2020

Oscars 2020 predictions and snubs: Joker, Parasite, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – CNET

February 4th, 2020

Parasite recently won best film not in the English language at Oscars precursor the BAFTAs.

Warner Bros.

Will it be Parasite or 1917? That seems to be the major question surrounding the best picture category at this year’s Oscars, which will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9. With all the other major awards ceremonies behind us, the BAFTAs being the most recent, we can now deem our predictions educated and totally 100% accurate.

Well, at least we can be certain of one thing: Joaquin Phoenix will win best actor for his blistering performance as Arthur Fleck in Joker. Phoenix has swept the best lead actor categories across awards season, from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards to the BAFTAs.

1917 may have sealed the best picture win, having taken that award at the Producers Guild of America Awards. The PGAs have had the same top prize winner as the Oscars for the past decade, bar two exceptions. But don’t worry, Parasite is still in the race, having taken the SAGs’ top prize: best ensemble. As for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, they’ve pretty much left the chat.

Let’s do a quick rundown of who we think will win, taking into account BAFTA, PGA, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and SAG winners. We’ll also consider nominations in crucial Oscars categories that normally signify a top prize winner: writing, directing, acting and editing.

The Oscars will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 and will air on ABC.

Read moreHow to watch the Oscars 2020 and red carpet online | List of Oscars 2020 nominations


Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Andrew Cooper


Best picture

1917 — will win
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite — want to win
Ford v Ferrari

Despite lacking an editing nod (that didn’t hurt Birdman), 1917 has its nose in front, especially with the PGA win. Ultimately, The Irishman and Once Upon a Time have failed to pick up the top award in any of the preceding awards shows, and Joker, despite leading with 11 nominations, is a comic book movie. Comic book movies don’t win. In any case, we all know the tour de force that is Parasite deserves to win. Could its surprise SAG win offer hope this could actually come true? Given no one has a bad word to say about Parasite, the Oscars’ “preferential ballot” may work in the movie’s favor.

Best director

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite — want to win
Sam Mendes, 1917 — will win
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Mendes has a swathe of wins under his belt, most recently the BAFTA. Tarantino has never won, and it would be a disaster if he never did. But that being said, let Bong Joon-ho win.

Best actor

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker — will win
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story — want to win
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Joaquin Phoenix will win, but make him sing a rendition of Being Alive (Adam Driver did it in Marriage Story) before he receives the award.

Best actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Renée Zellweger, Judy — will win
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story — want to win
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Zellweger is swimming in best actress awards (her latest is the BAFTA), so it wouldn’t be surprising to see her transformative performance garner her first best actress Oscar. Scarlett Johansson deserves a mention for her impressive year, with standout performances in Marriage Story as well as Jojo Rabbit. Sadly, Awkwafina and The Farewell aren’t in the Oscars conversation, not even for best foreign-language film.

Little WomenLittle Women

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women.

Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures

Best supporting actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story — will win
Florence Pugh, Little Women — want to win
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Midsommar, Little Women, the upcoming Black Widow — even though Florence Pugh won’t win, she’s paved a huge career ahead of her. Dern is a shoe-in after taking the BAFTA on top of her SAG. Where’s Jennifer Lopez? If Hustlers had been directed by Martin Scorsese, this category may have upped its diversity.

Best supporting actor

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — will win, want to win
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Brad Pitt proved he’s still got A-list star power (and abs) in Once Upon a Time, having already taken the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA. Pacino and Pesci will split the vote for The Irishman, and Hopkins and Hanks haven’t really been in the conversation.

Best film editing

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Ford v Ferrari — will win
Parasite — want to win

Ford v Ferrari (which goes by Le Mans ’66 in the UK) is a sports movie with lots of fast cuts. Given it took the BAFTA and has no competition from 1917 (not nominated in the category), let’s go with that one.

Best original screenplay

Rian Johnson, Knives Out — want to win (tie)
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — will win
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite — want to win (tie)

While Joon-ho recently won the BAFTA, Tarantino has the edge after Globes and Critics’ Choice wins.

Best adapted screenplay

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Greta Gerwig, Little Women — will win, want to win
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker

The Oscars are still mulling around in the dark ages (with the BAFTAs) by failing to nominate a woman for best director. Instead, Greta Gerwig has a good chance of taking a conciliatory writing win, although The Irishman may be very close on her tail if it fails to score wins in the other categories.