Female stars dominate Cannes festival jury

The President of the 2018 Cannes film festival Australian actress Cate Blanchett and jury members (From Top L to bottom R) Burundian singer and composer Khadja Nin, Chinese actor Chang Chen, American writer-director Ava DuVernay, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, French actress Lea Seydoux, French director Robert Guediguian and US actress Kristen Stewart. (AFP/Getty)
Updated 19 April 2018
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Female stars dominate Cannes festival jury

  • Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux are included in the jury
  • Organizers clearly felt the need to make a stronger gesture toward women in a year dominated by #MeToo

PARIS: Hollywood actresses Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart and Lea Seydoux will head a starry and majority-female jury at the Cannes film festival next month, the organizers said Wednesday.

American writer-director Ava DuVernay of “Selma” fame and Burundian singer and composer Khadja Nin complete the five women on the nine-person jury that will decide the top Palme d’Or prize.

Chinese actor Chang Chen, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve and French writer Robert Guediguian make up the rest of the panel alongside the great Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, who organizers said Tuesday would be one of the nine.

In a year when the #MeToo movement has dominated the headlines, and with only three female directors among the 18 in competition, the organizers clearly felt the need to make a stronger gesture toward women.


Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

An aerial photo of a road running through an palm plantation in Dumai, Riau, Sumatra island, Indonesia. (Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman/via REUTERS/File)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Unmapped roads raise risk to Southeast Asian rainforests — study

  • Researcher Alice Hughes found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
  • An average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Forests in parts of Southeast Asia face greater threats than previously thought because researchers often rely on data that ignores new roads, which are precursors to deforestation and development, a study shows.
The paper, published this month by the journal Biological Conservation, showed that an average of 75 percent of roads in five countries were missing from OpenStreetMap (OSM), a mapping platform widely used by researchers and academics.
“Large-scale forest clearance is preceded by the growth of road networks, which provide a stark warning for the region’s future,” the study said.
Author Alice Hughes, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, studied a total of 277,281 square kilometers by analyzing satellite images and maps showing forest loss and coverage, as well as agriculture concessions.
She found that roads have penetrated areas previously considered untouched and unreachable by vehicles.
“We are deluding ourselves that we still have large tracts of inaccessible, pristine forest, when the reality is highly-fragmented, very accessible forests,” Hughs said on Friday.
Her research examined road networks in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“In some parts of the region, up to 99 percent of roads on those global maps, which are used as the basis for a huge amount of further analysis, are not included,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Deforestation and development of forests in the area studied have occurred at a rapid pace since 2000, said Hughes, while maps used by researchers do not regularly update their road data.
“Most of the time these roads are just providing access to forests and up to 99 percent of deforestation is within 2.5 km of road,” she said. “They are clearly the access method.”
She added that the region urgently needs better protection and enforcement for its remaining forests.
Indonesia, which is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, introduced a forest clearing moratorium in 2011 to help reduce deforestation.
Hughes said the ban should be expanded beyond just land designated as natural, untouched primary forest to include all high biodiversity forests.
Hughes’ research methodology should be used to determine whether the same patterns exist in other parts of the world, said Christopher Martius, team leader for climate change at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research.
“It is surprising that nobody ever did that before, and it is shocking that the result shows we grossly underestimated the possible threat to tropical forests from road building,” he said by email.