Nats double down on commitment to coal, Joyce rants against wind and solar | RenewEconomy

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If there were any questions over the National Party’s commitment to the coal sector after the loss of Matt Canavan from the resources portfolio, they were quickly answered by new deputy leader David Littleproud who reasserted his party’s commitment to a new coal generator in Queensland on his first day in the job.

In an interview with ABC’s RN Breakfast program on Wednesday, Littleproud trotted out the three consistent assertions of the coal lobby; that you can reduce emissions using more coal, that more coal generation is necessary to lower electricity prices and that baseload power is a necessary feature of the future energy system.

Each of these three assertions have been repeatedly debunked, but it confirms that it’s business as usual in a Morrison cabinet that will continue to face internal divisions over a need to act on climate change and the fossil fuel advocates within its ranks.

It is understood that Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt is the front runner to take over Canavan’s former positions as the minister for resources and Northern Australia when new ministerial appointments are announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday.

Pitt himself has been an outspoken advocate for a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, so while Canavan – who liked to describe himself as “Mr Coal” – has exited the federal cabinet, the pressure to push forward with the Collinsville project is likely to continue.

Pitt has also been a strong supporter of a nuclear industry in Australia, and will have the backing of failed Nationals leadership candidate Barnaby Joyce, who again argued for nuclear power to be considered as part of Australia’s efforts to reduce emissions as part of a bizarre Facebook rant against renewable energy.

“We have to recognise that the public acceptance of wind towers on the hill in front of their veranda is gone, and the public dissonance on that issue is as strong as any other environmental subject,” Joyce said.

“If zero emissions are the goal then surely nuclear energy should be supported, but it is not. If wind towers are a moral good and environmentally inoffensive, why can’t we have them just off the beach at Bondi so we can feel good about ourselves while going for a surf? It would cause a riot.”

“Do you want a 3,000ha solar farm next door to you? Lots of glass and aluminium neatly in rows pointing at the sun. I am not sure others will want to buy that view off you when you go to sell your house.”

The coal industry might have lost its most enthusiastic advocate from the federal cabinet, but the Nationals were quick to show that it won’t lead to any changes on the party’s energy and climate change policies.

In his interview, Littleproud, who is also tipped to take on the now vacant agriculture portfolio, told the ABC that investments in new coal generators would help lower emissions and lower electricity prices.

“You need to make sure that you create an environment in the marketplace with a mix of renewables and coal-fired power stations, and if you can improve the emissions of coal fired power stations, you should make that investment if it means that we hit our targets and we reduce energy prices,” Littleproud claimed.

It has been well established for some time that the cheapest source of new electricity generation capacity are renewable sources like wind and solar.

A recent update to the CSIRO’s GenCost assessment of the costs of different generation technologies re-confirmed that new wind and solar are, by far, the cheapest sources of electricity generation. Even when additional storage is accounted for, prices of firmed renewables are competitive with fossil fuel generators when the costs of carbon emissions are considered.

Renewables are already helping to drive down electricity prices.

This week, the ACT, which has recently achieved its 100 per cent renewable electricity target, is also set to see an almost 7 per cent fall in its electricity prices this year, as the territory’s investments in wind and solar projects have helped deliver lower electricity prices for Canberra households, ensuring they continue to pay some of Australia’s lowest electricity prices.

But this also didn’t stop Littleproud asserting that it is possible to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while still embracing coal.

“You can invest in clean coal technology in and reduce emissions,” Littleproud said.

“I’m not disputing the science, what I’m saying is I’m not gifted academically to have that science background myself.” – @D_LittleproudMP when asked about his recent statement that he didn’t know if climate change was man made. #abc730 @leighsales #auspol pic.twitter.com/sFh44eNP2a

— abc730 (@abc730) February 4, 2020

Again, there are fundamental limits to how much emissions from coal-fired power stations can be improved. Even with a complete transition to the Coalition’s favoured high-efficiency low-emissions (HELE) coal power station technologies, the most generous estimates put the amount of emissions reductions at 20 per cent.

In his review of the National Electricity Market, chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel compared the emissions intensity of different generation technologies, showing that the HELE coal-fired power stations promoted by the Nationals will still produce 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced, and is only slightly below the NEM’s current average emissions intensity.

When the science, and the international commitments made under the Paris Agreement, are calling for governments to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, a 20 per cent cut in coal power station emissions is going to be grossly insufficient.

It’s a position that leaves the Nationals at odds with science, but also the business community which is undergoing an accelerating exit from the coal industry. This includes BlackRock, which manages USD$7 trillion (A$10.15 trillion) in investments, which announced in January that it was divesting its portfolios from thermal coal companies.

Littleproud argued for the need for “baseload” power, suggesting that coal-fired power stations are necessary, as Australia currently lacks sufficient levels of battery storage.

“We’ve still got to have baseload, the thing is that we don’t have battery storage to the capacity that we need to be able to keep the lights on,” Littleproud said.

With the emergence of new energy management technologies, a growing market for energy storage that is outpacing growth in coal generation in Australia, demand response platforms and the falling prices of renewables, the concept of baseload is quickly becoming outdated.

With system planners recognising the crucial role that a ‘flexible’ energy system will have into the future, pushing new inflexible baseload power stations, like a new coal generator, into the energy system will only be counterproductive.

Chair of the Energy Security Board, which has been tasked with redesigning Australia’s energy market in response to the widescale transformation underway in the energy sector, labelled Australia’s existing “baseload” generators as “dinosaurs”, singling out coal-fired generators Bayswater and Liddell saying that their inflexibility made them poorly suited to a future energy system.

There has been a surge of installations of large-scale battery storage systems, and new investments continue to be made in deploying storage projects, while coal-fired generators are readying to exit the market.

The renewed push from the Nationals for a new coal generator appears to have been bolstered by the findings of a $10 million feasibility study into a potential new coal-fired power station in Collinsville. The feasibility study was funded as part of the government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments initiative and has yet to be released publicly.

“Collinsville, there’s a there’s now a report that’s come back to say that that business case should advance and then obviously, that will be backed by the economics of it,” Littleproud told ABC’s RN Breakfast.

The saga of the Collinsville power station has been a source of tension within the Coalition party room. Outgoing resources minister Matt Canavan had been desperate to get the project off the ground, and confronted prime minister Scott Morrison when he thought progress on the proposal was progressing too slowly.

Those tensions continue to play out in the party room, with a fiery confrontation occurring during the first coalition party room meeting of the year, and after a summer dominated by bushfires and calls for stronger climate action.

Several Nationals members shouted down calls from moderate Liberal MPs, who called for the Morrison government to demonstrate that it was taking climate change seriously.

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BUK Emerges Top in Global Digital Challenge, Gets Facebook Honorable Mention – PRNigeria News

BUK Emerges Top in Global Digital Challenge, Gets Facebook Honorable Mention

Bayero University Kano (BUK) has emerged top four among world Universities in the just concluded Fall 2019 Peer-to-Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge.

The University emerged runner up after Masaryk University — (Czech Republic) – FakeScape, Middle East Technical University — (Turkey) – Kiz Basina, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (Philippines) – I AM MINDANAO, thereby defeating Haigazian University Lebenon, Lithuania Christian College International University, ABTI American University of Nigeria (AUN) and Lagos State University Nigeria, most of whom were defending champions.

This season, the top three teams will be presenting their campaigns at the end of March 2020 in Brussels, Belgium to a panel of senior leaders, policymakers and guests.

In an email to participating teams, the Programs Project Manager, Paige M. Blair stated that, “The variety, insight, and creativity of the campaigns this term were beyond impressive and made judging quite difficult. All schools are commended for the innovative ways they positively impacted their local communities.”

BUK’s campaign was themed “HeartUmight,” and it focused on ethnic based hate speeches as a bane on our collective unity and source of other divisive tendencies with a view to inspiring at risk youths and the silent majority into countering such narratives online.

As runner up to the finalists, BUK’s HeartUmight got a honorable mention from Facebook and a $500 Facebook Ad Credit to continue scaling their work online.

Speaking, the Faculty Coordinator of the program, Dr. Nura Ibrahim, who is also the Head of the Department of Information and Media Studies said, “We are glad we made impact and got recognized for the impact we made. Our long term aims were clearly mapped out from the outset and our vision is to create an online inclusive society where culture and diversity is unified.”

Also speaking, Dr. Muhammad Danja the Staff Adviser for the campaign and also a lecturer with the Department expressed enthusiasm about future of the campaign. “As a build up on our previous effort, we were able to look inwards and design ba campaign that will make impact, stand firm and scale up in line with the overall goal of the challenge, that was why we were able to defeat Haigazian and ABTI American University who were actually defending champions this term so I am optimistic we shall emerge finalist in our next outing.”

On his part, the team lead, Muhammad Dahiru Lawal a 300Level Student of the Department of Information and Media Studies explains that, “In planning our strategy for the Campaign, we discovered that apart from religious based hate speeches, ethnic based hate speech are basically the most dominant in our online trails as indicated by our research, hence we decided to design a campaign that is unifying.”

He further said that, “we had hoped to make the finalist but at least we made a difference by winning in our own way. This is not the end of the road.”
Facebook Global Digital Challenge, is geared towards making a social impact on internet behaviour especially as it involves posts and comments considered violent, debasing and inflammatory by the receiving party.

The P2P Challenge is sponsored by Facebook and managed by EdVenture Partners (EVP).

As at the end of the Fall 2018 term, the P2P Challenge has been implemented over 695 times at over 400 universities in 75 countries and 40 U.S. states. P2P has generated over 200 million combined online and offline impressions since its inception in spring 2015.

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He defied death and became a bodybuilding champ after surviving a stroke, Singapore News – AsiaOne

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Looking at his glistening eight-pack abs, firm pectorals, defined deltoids and thick biceps, you’d never imagine that Kellvin Lim, 46, once suffered from a stroke.

Five years ago, Lim was about to leave the house for work when he suddenly collapsed. His wife initially thought he was playing a prank on her, but it turned out he had suffered cerebral haemorrhage after two blood vessels burst in his right brain.

At the hospital, doctors had warned Lim’s family that the chance of surviving the surgery was only between five and 10 per cent, and he would risk dying or becoming a vegetable should the surgery fail. With no other option left, Lim’s family gave their consent.

He’s since crawled back from the brink of death to become the second runner up of the 2018 Fitness Ironman bodybuilding competition in the above 176cm category, and the runner up of this year’s competition in the above 40 years old category.

Lim recently accepted an interview with Lianhe Wanbao in hopes that his story would help motivate and encourage others going through a hard time.

Though his surgery was successful, he wasn’t able to move the left side of his body very well and depended on a wheelchair to get around. After he was discharged from the hospital, Lim found himself relying on his wife for many things.

“I used to frequently wet the bed. There’s a coffee shop below my place that’s just about 300 metres away but it would take me 15 minutes just to wheel myself over. It always felt as though people were looking at me and I became really depressed then,” Lim recounted.

However, he refused to accept fate. When he thought about his aquarium business and his three kids, it motivated him to push himself.

“No one else can help me, only I can help myself.”

He spent the next three years recuperating and undergoing rehabilitation. Still, he found himself rather plump and decided to actively visit the gym.

“I wanted to change myself, so in 2017 I got rid of all my bad eating habits and spent my mornings swimming and my evenings at the gym. I even hired a private trainer and lost almost 20kg that year,” Lim tells Lianhe Wanbao.

He recounts how it was a struggle for him to lift even a 5kg dumbbell in the beginning. Still, he got rid of his wheelchair and walking cane and forced himself to walk to the office every day as part of his training.

“A lot of times, when I was out of breath, I really felt like giving up. But thinking of my family and my business, I could only persevere.”

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7 takeaways from the CNN/New York Times Democratic presidential debate

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7 highlights from the Democratic debate - CNNPolitics

Westerville, Ohio (CNN)Polls show that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination. And on Tuesday night in Ohio, her 11 rivals acted like it.

And moderate candidates — some, like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, fighting to climb into the top tier; others, like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, just desperate to make the next debate stage — dropped the euphemisms and pressed their progressive foes in direct and sometimes personal terms.
Here are seven takeaways from Tuesday night’s debate:

    Warren under attack for the first time

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      Warren attacked from all sides on the debate stage

    Warren’s months-long march to the front of the polls finally put her in the position of being the most heavily targeted and scrutinized candidate on stage.
    Buttigieg and Klobuchar led the charge, assailing Warren over her answers on health care.
    Warren supports Sanders’ proposal for “Medicare for All” — replacing private insurance with everyone receiving coverage through a government-run plan. And while Sanders has acknowledged that Americans’ taxes would need to increase to pay for the plan, Warren refused to say whether the middle class’s taxes would go up — instead only saying that, because deductibles, premiums and co-pays would be eliminated, overall costs would decrease.
    Buttigieg accused her of dodging a yes-or-no question. “Your signature is to have a plan for everything, except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion dollar hole in this plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in,” he said.
    Klobuchar accused Warren of being dishonest. “We owe it to the American people to tell them where we will send the invoice,” she said.
    Warren later addressed the question of taxes, when former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke asked her — during a discussion about Warren’s proposed wealth tax and child care coverage — whether she would raise middle-class taxes. “No,” she said — but the moment was mostly lost amid cross-talk.

    Bernie Sanders won the night

    And it had nothing to do with what happened on stage.
    In the debate’s final moments, the Washington Post broke the news that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plans to endorse Sanders. CNN then reported that two other members of the “Squad,” Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, will do the same.
    The pick-ups are huge. Some Democratic strategists think that outside of the Obamas, Ocasio-Cortez represents the most influential potential endorsement of the 2020 primary race.
    It also comes at a key moment for Sanders. Warren’s months-long ascent, fueled in part by progressives as she advocated some similar policies to Sanders, was on display Tuesday night, when the rest of the field treated her as the front-runner. If Ocasio-Cortez had supported her, it could have been the beginning of the end of Sanders’ chances.
    Instead, he gets a major injection of energy — and sends the signal that he’s far from done yet.

    Echoes of 2016 as the front-runners fight

    politics

      Warren takes a jab at Biden while complimenting Obama

    For most of the night, as Warren wore the biggest target, Biden slipped into the background. That changed near the end of the debate, when the field’s top tier — Biden, Warren and Sanders — finally unloaded on each other.
    The question that loomed over their: Biden has a lengthy record — but is it one that’s in line with where the Democratic electorate is now?
    It began when Biden touted his record in former President Barack Obama’s administration, pressuring Republicans to vote for measures such as the federal stimulus package.
    “We all have good ideas. The question is who is going to be able to get it done? How can you get it done?” Biden said. “And I’m not suggesting they can’t, but I’m suggesting that’s what we should look at.”
    That’s when Sanders pounced, attacking Biden — in a moment that felt similar to the Vermont senator’s 2016 debates with Hillary Clinton — over legislation Biden had supported and Sanders opposed over the last three decades.
    “Joe, you talked about working with Republicans and getting things done. But you know what, you also got done, and I say this as a good friend,” Sanders said. “You got the disastrous war in Iraq done. You got a bankruptcy bill, which is hurting middle class families all over this country. You got trade agreements like NAFTA and (trade relations) with China done, which have cost us 4 million jobs.”
    Then Warren jumped in.
    Responding to Biden’s assertion that he is best able to get things done, she pointed to her role in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the Obama administration.
    Seemingly miffed to be denied a share of the credit, Biden interjected, nearly shouting, “I went on the floor and got you votes. I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it, so let’s get those things straight, too.”
    Warren responded by thanking Obama — but notably omitting Biden.
    “I am deeply grateful to President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law,” she said.

    Trouble for Biden?

    For the former vice president, fading into the background of a debate is a troubling sign because of what it suggests: that his foes view him as less of a threat than they once did.
    But just as the good news had come late for Sanders, the real bad news for Biden’s campaign came even later Wednesday night.
    In a scheduling oddity, reports covering the third quarter of 2019 were due in to the Federal Election Commission by midnight — an hour after the debate ended.
    Biden’s report revealed that his campaign ended September with just $9 million on hand. That’s far short of Sanders’ $33.7 million, Warren’s $25.7 million and Buttigieg’s $23.4 million — and is even below California Sen. Kamala Harris’ $10.5 million.

    A more aggressive Buttigieg

    7 highlights from the Democratic debate - CNNPolitics

      Buttigieg to O’Rourke: I don’t need lessons from you

    The South Bend, Indiana, mayor had made it obvious he planned to come out swinging. In the days before the debate, he’d launched an ad that was critical of Warren and Sanders over Medicare for All, criticized Warren’s grassroots fundraising strategy for the general election as being reliant on “pocket change,” and attacked O’Rourke over his support for mandatory buy-backs of assault-style rifles in an interview on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.”
    The exchanges with Warren over health care might be the night’s most memorable.
    But he also got a chance to tout an element of his own biography — his military service — in clashing with Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only other military veteran in the field, over her call to end “endless wars.”
    “The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this President of American allies and American values,” he said.
    Buttigieg also sharply criticized O’Rourke — at one point, in personal terms — over the former Texas congressman’s proposed mandatory buy-backs of assault-style rifles.
    7 highlights from the Democratic debate - CNNPolitics
    “You just made it clear that you don’t know how this is going to take weapons off the street,” he said. “If you can develop the plan further, we can have a debate. But we can’t wait.”
    O’Rourke responded that mass shootings are a “crisis” and that Democrats should make the case for farther-reaching gun control measures. “Let’s decide what we are going to believe in, what we are going to achieve, and let’s bring this country together in order to do that,” he said.
    Buttigieg shot back: “The problem isn’t the polls, the problem is the policy. And I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal.”
    “I don’t care what that meant to me or my candidacy,” O’Rourke replied. But to survivors of gun violence, and March For Our Lives, the gun control advocacy group founded by students after the Parkland, Florida, shooting last year, “that was a slap in the face to every single one of those groups,” he said. Moments later, the organization tweeted praise for O’Rourke’s position.

    Klobuchar, unleashed

    With the Democratic National Committee raising its fundraising and polling thresholds for the November debate, Klobuchar walked on stage facing the real possibility that this debate could be her last.
    Her response: Go hard at the Democratic primary’s most ascendant candidate, Warren.
    “The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done,” she said of Warren at one point, as she criticized her support for Medicare for All.
    Klobuchar’s performance on Tuesday stands in stark contrast to her first three debate performances, which were more muted.
    And there is a reason for that: After qualifying for the first four debates, Klobuchar is on the verge of not qualifying for the fifth Democratic debate in November. While Klobuchar has the required number of donors, she has yet to reach the polling threshold, something that her team believes she can boost with a well-reviewed debate.
    Then there’s the portion of her approach that’s in the eye of the beholder: One of her trademarks as a candidate — goofy humor — continued on Tuesday night.
    “Vladimir Putin is someone who has shot down planes over Ukraine, who has poisoned his opponent and we have not talked about what we need to do to protect ourselves from Russia invading our election,” Klobuchar said. “This wasn’t meddling. That’s what I do when I call my daughter on a Saturday night and ask her what she’s doing.”

    Yang’s ‘Freedom Dividend’ gets an airing

    Andrew Yang launched his presidential campaign in 2017 with a plan to give every American $1,000 a month to combat job losses and automation — and very little attention from media and voters.
    Almost two years later, Yang’s plan for a universal basic income, which he’s calling a “freedom dividend,” remains his signature policy proposal. But his impact on the race has increased dramatically — a reality that was on display on Tuesday night when the candidates on stage debated a universal basic income and job losses to automation in depth on national television.
    “We have a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month, it recognizes the work in our families and communities. It helps all Americans transition,” Yang said. “When we put the money into our hands, we can build a trickle up economy from our people, our families and our communities up. It will enable us to do the work that we want to do. This is the sort of vision in response to the fourth industrial revolution that we have to embrace.”
    Yang has talked about his universal basic income at previous debates. What made Tuesday different was that other candidates — some of whom largely ignored Yang in previous debates — began to seriously debate automation and a basic income.
    “I believe that we need to address a community being impacted by automation,” said former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
    “I agree with my friend Andrew Yang. Universal basic income is a good idea to help provide that security so people can make choices that they want to see,” Gabbard said.
      But what clearly cemented Yang’s rise is that the debate over universal basic income got him into a direct argument with Warren, who said the issue is broader.
      After the debate, Yang told CNN that Warren — who, with Biden, is at the top of the Democratic field — had asked him to send her details on his proposal. “She said she wanted to see the data,” he said.

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      The Emmy Awards Reflected TVs Future, While The Show Was Stuck In The Past

      Watching Sunday night’s Emmy Awards was a roller coaster. At times, it was exhilarating, with a string of history-making and surprising wins, especially the unexpected dominance of “Fleabag” over presumed front-runner “Veep” in the comedy categories. Yet it was also stomach-turning, with a series of questionable and downright embarrassing moments to fill the hostless ceremony, far less successful than the similarly hostless Oscars earlier this year.

      The dissonance between the Emmy awards and the show itself perhaps reflects TV’s broader existential crisis. So many of the night’s wins felt like they were embracing the future of television, honoring diverse performers and creators, and heralding shows that swing for the fences and reinvent the form. But the awards ceremony itself, overstuffed with worn-out bits and interminable montages, was a formulaic relic of the past.

      The biggest narrative of the night was the series of surprise wins for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag.” “Veep,” a perennial Emmy favorite, failed to receive what had been expected to be a coronation after the end of its seven-season run.

      But it was “Fleabag” that prevailed. In addition to its anticipated win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, it took home several surprise trophies, including Outstanding Comedy Series.

      Based on Waller-Bridge’s one-woman play, the Amazon Prime and BBC sitcom is a seamless blend of tragedy and comedy, punctuated by Waller-Bridge’s signature fourth-wall breaks. Told from an unabashedly feminist perspective, the show dares to make jokes about otherwise taboo topics like miscarriages, while also serving as a powerful meditation on grief, loneliness and uncertainty. “Fleabag” is among a number of inventive comedies, many of them created by women and people of color, that infuse their creator’s singular vision.

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      Phoebe Waller-Bridge poses with the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series for “Fleabag” during the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019. 

      On the drama side, Jodie Comer won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for “Killing Eve,” also created by Waller-Bridge. The BBC America drama, about the cat-and-mouse game between MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and assassin Villanelle, recenters the male-dominated genre of crime thrillers, telling it from the female gaze.

      The divisive “Bandersnatch,” the create-your-own-adventure episode of Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” which won for Outstanding Television Movie, also marked a new frontier for TV. Netflix is developing similar shows employing the format, including a forthcoming interactive special of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Other streaming platforms are also looking to adopt the formula.

      Netflix ended the night with 27 Emmys, while Amazon won 15, increasing the dominance of streaming platforms at the Emmys.

      Several history-making winners gave Sunday night’s ceremony some of its most memorable moments. “When They See Us” star Jharrel Jerome became the first Afro Latino performer to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, giving a poignant speech honoring the show’s subjects. Created by powerhouse director Ava DuVernay, the limited series is a searing and humanizing portrayal of the wrongfully convicted teenagers of color formerly known as the Central Park Five. Now, thanks to the series, the men are known as the Exonerated Five.

      “Pose” star Billy Porter became the first openly gay Black man to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, for Ryan Murphy’s FX series, one of the first mainstream shows to center transgender people of color. The series contains the largest recurring LGBTQ cast of any scripted show ever.

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      LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Billy Porter attends the The 71st Emmy Awards- Press Room at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

      “I am so overwhelmed, and I am so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day. James Baldwin said, ‘It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I had been taught about myself and halfway believe before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here,’” Porter said in his rousing acceptance speech. “I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.”

      The jubilant and poignant victories felt like they came from a TV universe separate from the ceremony itself. Aside from a few memorable presenter pairings (get Catherine O’Hara and Amy Poehler their own show, immediately), the awards show was a mess from the very beginning.

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      Amy Poehler and Catherine O’Hara speak onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. 

      There was a head-scratching introduction, with Anthony Anderson “saving” the show by enlisting Bryan Cranston to wax poetic about the power of television. There was montage after montage, including a bizarre “in memoriam”-like segment for shows that ended this year. The moment felt like an afterthought, playing second fiddle to segments that honored the series finales of “Veep” and “Game of Thrones.”

      Most befuddling of all, there was the official “announcer,” actor and comedian Thomas Lennon, who doled out a series of embarrassing and stale punchlines, awkwardly providing transitions before and after commercial breaks. At one point, he seemed to acknowledge the absurdity of the gig, giving up midway through another cringeworthy line.

      “Are the Emmys woke?” he began. “Or is that just something that was — this is why people don’t do this, because it sucks.”

      In an earlier bit, presenters Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel jokingly lamented the show’s lack of a host, and seemed to acknowledge that the formulaic role usually goes to white men like themselves.  

      “You know who the real victims are here? It’s us. This show sucks. It’s just sad. Hosting is the only thing we know how to do,” Colbert said. “Without a host, who would read the words, ‘You know my next guest from the hit series “NCIS: New Orleans”?’”

      “The next thing you know, they’ll start using Alexa to present the nominees,” Colbert joked, before the voice of the Amazon device announced Waller-Bridge as the winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

      The idea that future awards shows might be hosted by a robot is certainly extreme. But it serves as an acknowledgment that the Emmys, unlike their winners, are stuck in the past. Next year, the show should try to reflect the diversity and forward-thinking inventiveness of the winners, instead of doing them and the TV audience a disservice with a soulless slog of an evening.

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      Martin Freeman: The detectives moral dilemma drew me in

      The Sherlock actor on his new role as a real life police officer who broke the law to bring a double murderer to justice in A Confession

      crime

      No one who learns how the police got the killer Christopher Halliwell to confess can help but wonder what they would have done: break the law and face the consequences? Or toe the line? Actor Martin Freeman was no different when he watched interviews with the controversial investigating officer Det Supt Steve Fulcher back in 2011.

      Before you even realise it you are thinking, how would I have acted? says Freeman ahead of the broadcast next month of A Confession, an ITV drama series in which he plays Fulcher. I was hit by what a very high price Steve paid, and is still paying, for doing something, although not legal by every letter of the law, that you would be hard pushed to find anyone to say was terribly wrong.

      From the moment Fulcher arrested Halliwell on suspicion of kidnapping 22-year-old Sian OCallaghan the clock was ticking. The detective believed the missing woman might still be alive and so he did not wait for the suspect to have access to a lawyer, even though this would inevitably damage his career and any future court case.

      Certainly this drama makes you wonder if you could have been so brave, because who, with a life at stake, would really wish Halliwell had been given the opportunity to clam up? asks Freeman.

      OCallaghans short walk home from a Swindon night club in the early hours of Saturday 19 March 2011 should have taken her less than 15 minutes. But she never made it back. The polices first evidence that an abduction had taken place came when a text from her worried boyfriend was shown to have been received on her phone 12 miles away near the Savernake Forest at 3.24am. How had she travelled so far?

      On the following Wednesday, Fulcher and his police team suddenly called off a volunteer search of the area. They had tracked down the driver of a green minicab seen pulling up next to OCallaghan. He was Halliwell, a 47-year-old father of three.

      Halliwell was arrested in an Asda carpark as he attempted to buy a large number of paracetemol tablets. The next step should have been to caution the suspect during the short drive to Gablecross police station. Instead, Fulcher took Halliwell to Barbary Castle, an iron age hill fort, for hours of personal questioning.

      Christopher
      Christopher Halliwell who was eventually convicted for murdering two women. Photograph: Wiltshire Police/PA

      The strategy worked, although it did not save a life. Halliwell eventually revealed that OCallaghans body was buried near Uffington. The killer went on to reveal that another body, belonging to Becky Godden-Edwards, a 20-year-old missing for nearly a decade, was in a Gloucestershire field.

      Later Fulcher was accused of breaching the guidelines of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) and both Halliwells confessions were deemed inadmissible as evidence. In January 2014 the detective was found guilty of gross misconduct. He resigned from Wiltshire police that spring.

      The biggest tragedy is the women who died and their families. But this is an awful thing that happened to him, says Freeman. It was the wider implications of the policemans dilemma that drew him to the screenplay. Scriptwriter Jeff Pope agrees: This is not just about how the bodies were found. It is beyond that. It is about what we want our police to do.

      The detectives actions were largely supported by the family of OCallaghan and by Goddens mother, Karen Edwards, who is played by Imelda Staunton in Popes drama and who campaigned to change procedure laws, Pace, to give more protection to the police.

      Freeman and Pope admit there is no shortage of police procedurals on television but they argue this story is unique. There may be a disproportionate amount of cop stuff, but by sticking close to a true story you avoid cliches, Freeman says. Were living in a society where bad things happen and we all want bad people to be brought to justice – whether they are cops or robbers. Fulcher was deemed to be a bad guy by some people because he did not dot every i. It is the first time Freeman has played someone he has actually met and he found it an interesting prospect. Impersonation was never the plan, the actor says: I did put in a few mannerisms that were helpful and germane, but not if it meant railroading a scene just so I can show what research Ive done. The story is moving at such a pace, I cant stop to show people another thing I gleaned about Steve.

      Freeman was gratified, though, from an ego point of view, by the reaction of Fulchers family, who felt he had captured the man they know. There is a proviso, though. By Fulchers own admission, the man I met was not the man I would have met in 2010. I do know he was never fantastic at suffering fools. And that may, or may not, have been instrumental in what happened to him afterwards, since if I have rubbed you up the wrong way and you later see an opportunity to kick me in the nuts, you might take it. It is pretty beyond question he was a very good copper. And when people are very good at their job, sometimes people resent it.

      For Freeman, the role was a fresh chance to underline his versatility. Since his breakthrough lead role in The Office in 2001, he has dodged typecasting. When I was 30, I did have a fear of being locked in. I could easily have made a career of just doing lovable schmucks next door, he says.

      Freemans subsequent portrayal of Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit films and his high-profile stints playing opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock have also loomed large. Although Watson is an intermittent long-runner, on the whole I have managed to keep moving, he says.

      He hopes A Confession will give viewers a version of Fulchers story that stays near the truth: We havent made anyone into a demon or an evil idiot. Pope also wants his screen version to offer some cartharsis for the former detective, who has complained to him of the continued trauma of feeling that he is shouting out, but that no one can hear him.

      Halliwell was eventually convicted for both murders and is unlikely to ever be released from prison, but the case was deeply damaging for the detective. With luck, Pope feels, his series can provide a neater conclusion.

      There is no question of a second series and this finality is something Pope knows that Freeman values. I like things being finite, the actor agrees. With a cultural thing, I am always glad things end. They are supposed to end.

      A Confession will be on ITV in September

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