Denzel Washington and Sophie Okonedo in 'A Raisin in the Sun' on opening night at the Barrymore Theatre in New York, on April 3, 2014.
NEW YORK- Denzel Washington may be best known for his film roles, but the award-winning actor is dazzling theater critics in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's acclaimed 1959 play "A Raisin in the Sun."
"Heart-stopping," "a Broadway bulls-eye" and "nothing short of revelatory" are just a few of the accolades used to describe director Kenny Leon's production, which opened on Thursday at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
"It captures the play's passion, pathos and intelligence, without stinting on Hansberry's dry humor," the New York Post said.
Hansberry's story about a struggling African-American family seeking a better life after inheriting a windfall was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway.
Washington, 59, plays an ambitious chauffeur with big dreams of success but no business acumen to achieve it.
"Reprising Sidney Poitier's role, Washington is stunning as the dreamer-schemer Walter Lee Younger, whose frustration throbs at the heart of an American classic that is as deeply humorous as it is affecting," said the New York Daily News.
Trade magazine Variety described Washington's performance as a "triumph," while the New York Post said he was "incredibly believable."
Although the Academy Award winner for the 2001 crime drama "Training Day" and the 1989 Civil War film "Glory" is nearly 25 years older than Hansberry's original Walter, his energy and exuberance on stage is convincing.
"The performance is a personal triumph for Washington, who refrains from star-strutting to fold himself into a tight-knit ensemble of committed stage thesps who treat this revival like a labor of love," Variety said.
This was not Washington's first successful foray on Broadway; the actor picked up a Tony Award in 2010 for "Fences."
Washington leads an all-star cast that includes LaTanya Richardson Jackson ("Malcolm X," "Sleepless in Seattle) as his mother Lena, the strong, loving matriarch of the family.
British actress Sophie Okonedo, a best supporting Oscar nominee in 2005 for "Hotel Rwanda," makes her Broadway debut as his devoted wife, Ruth. Anika Noni Rose ("Dreamgirls" and "For Colored Girls" is his younger, intellectual sister Beneatha, a college student with dreams of attending medical school.
"LaTanya Richardson Jackson shows us the wit and grit that have sustained Lena; Sophie Okonedo, likewise, conveys Ruth's weariness and resilience to heart-wrenching effect," said USA Today.
The New York Times added: "Ms. Rose stands out as a revelatory Beneatha."
Although Washington is the star attraction, the Hollywood Reporter credits the ensemble cast for giving the revival its authentic feeling.
"The warmth as well as the frictions and frustrations of a real family ripple through this lived-in production, with an accomplished cast that nestles deep into every moment of humor, hope and sadness," it said.
Hansberry was the first African-American playwright to win the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. She died of pancreatic cancer in 1965 at the age of 34.
(This story was refiled to change "win" to "wins" in headline)
Wal-Mart representative demonstrates a Scan & Go mobile payment
application on a smartphone in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 19, 2013.
- Big retailers are muscling in on the likes of Visa, MasterCard and
Google in a fiercely competitive and growing mobile payment market that
promises to cut transaction costs and increase customer loyalty.
such as British supermarket Tesco and France's Auchan hope their
"digital wallets" - apps which allow users to pay with their smartphones
rather than cash or cards - will also give them more comprehensive data
about customers' shopping habits than ever before so they can target
They are joining a crowded market - banks,
card companies and tech firms like Google and Apple are all entering
the mobile payment business, each hoping their app will become the
industry standard. eBay's PayPal, well established in e-commerce, is
also experimenting with the technology.
to attract customers to their own services by giving discounts and
rewards to those using them, while also linking payments automatically
to loyalty schemes and offering features like saved shopping lists.
global market for mobile payments is forecast to grow about threefold
by 2017 to some $721 billion worth of transactions, with more than 450
million users, according to research firm Gartner.
growth could benefit retailers as the competition from a host of payment
providers should help drive down the fees stores pay to have
transactions processed - a service currently dominated by banks and card
firms Visa and MasterCard.
"We view merchants as
overall beneficiaries of the trend toward mobile payments," said Morgan
Stanley, which estimated retailers in developed countries spent up to
$150 billion in 2012 to accept card payments.
returns should justify any incremental investments required in enabling
mobile payments technology," it said in a report in January.
it is still unclear how the retail mobile payment market will develop,
with card companies and banks seen retaining a leading role in
processing payments even if physical cards become obsolete.
apps might struggle to take off as customers are unlikely to be willing
to use a variety of services for different stores, but the success of
Starbucks Corp in combining mobile payments with promotions shows big
players can succeed.
the world's biggest coffee chain, launched its mobile payment and
rewards app in 2011. It already has 10 million users and the firm said
this month it is looking for ways to expand the program beyond its own
"The mobile payments platform has given us a
higher degree of frequency and higher degree of loyalty and the question
is how can we leverage that beyond our stores," Starbucks Chairman and
Chief Executive Howard Schultz told CNBC television.
alternative path is also being explored in the United States, where
dozens of top retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy have
announced plans to set up a joint digital wallet service - the Merchant
Customer Exchange, or MCX - though no launch date has been set.
an attempt to create a mobile payment app universally accepted by
retailers has recently launched in Germany. Yapital, owned by e-commerce
firm Otto, has gone live in thousands of stores and also allows users
to pay online and make peer-to-peer transfers.
Chairman Nils Winkler expects just a few players to survive of the 200
initiatives now clamoring for attention in Europe, with apps tied to
retailers more likely to win out than those being developed by telecom
and card firms.
"The biggest success in this field will
be retail-based. PayPal is a good example that has grown tremendously
based on the retail success of eBay," he said.
"CLEAR BUSINESS CASE"
the world's third-largest retailer which pioneered the tracking of
customer behavior with its Clubcard loyalty card two decades ago, will
launch its digital wallet this year, as it also starts offering current
That is part of the British supermarket
chain's eventual plan to use smartphones - and its own-brand Hudl tablet
computers - to allow customers to navigate stores with their devices
and scan products to buy them as they shop.
Albizua, co-founder of UK-based retail consultancy eNova Partnership,
said her clients were ready to invest in overhauling outdated till
systems to enable mobile payments. "People spent the last five to 10
years fine-tuning their websites. Now they have time to focus on
French supermarket group Auchan,
Europe's fifth-biggest retailer, launched its "Flash and Pay" electronic
wallet about a year ago. It combines payments with coupons, loyalty
cards, receipts and a shopping list feature.
objective is to minimize costs. To have alternatives to existing
solutions. All other solutions try to make costs for merchants," Arnaud
Crouzet, Auchan head of global payments, told the Merchant Payments
Ecosystem conference in Berlin.
"It is difficult to imagine our data on our customers going through a third party," he added.
Centre for Economics and Business Research said there was a clear
business case for digital wallets in terms of reduced costs and improved
customer service and sales.
UK retailers could have
saved 463 million pounds ($770 million) in transaction costs in 2013 by
shifting to mobile payments from cash, credit and charge cards, it
Mobile payments could reduce queue length in
stores by speeding users through tills and cut the cost of handling
cash and card payments, it said.
Handling cash - which
accounts for over half retail transactions by volume in Britain - is
costly for retailers as it needs to be counted and guarded, costs
equivalent to about 2.5 percent of takings, compared with about 2
percent for processing cheques and 1 percent for debit and credit cards.
However Carrefour, the world's second biggest retailer after Wal-Mart, thinks shoppers need more time to be convinced.
the moment, cards are still a good solution, especially contactless
ones," said Frederic Mazurier, a vice-president for finance and risk
management at Carrefour Banque. "It is going to take quite a few years
A man stands among sunken fishing boats April 2, 2014, at the Riquelme Cove, in Iquique, northern Chile, after a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast. The quake killed at least six people and generated tsunami waves that may ripple as far as Indonesia.
IQUIQUE, Chile (AP) — Authorities in northern Chile discovered surprisingly light damage and just six reported deaths Wednesday from a magnitude-8.2 quake — a remarkably low toll for such a powerful shift in the Earth's crust.
President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of emergency and was reviewing the damage in Iquique, a northern coastal city of nearly 200,000 people near where the quake struck in the Pacific Ocean. A planeload of 100 anti-riot police was deployed along with 300 soldiers to prevent looting and round up escaped prisoners.
Thousands of people evacuated from low-lying areas were returning home after a spending a long night outside due to the threat of a tsunami. The government's mandatory order to leave the coast was spread through cellphone text messages and Twitter, and reinforced by blaring sirens in neighborhoods where people regularly practice earthquake drills.
The tsunami lifted fishing boats onto city streets and sunk others in the port of Iquique, but no other major damage from the sea was apparent. Chile's entire coast was initially subject to the mandatory evacuation order, which lasted nearly 10 hours in coastal communitiesclosest to the offshore epicenter.
The shaking that began at 8:46 p.m. Tuesday also touched off landslides that blocked roads, knocked out power for thousands, damaged an airport and started fires that destroyed several businesses. Some homes made of adobe were destroyed in Arica, another city close to the quake's offshore epicenter.
Shaky cellphone videos taken by people eating dinner show light fixtures swaying, furniture shaking and people running to safety, pulling their children under restaurant tables, running for the exits and shouting to turn off natural gas connections.
People are evacuated from their shelter after a tsunami alarm at Antofagasta city, north of Santiago on the southern Pacific coast, April 1, 2014.
Mining in Chile, which is the world's top copper producing nation, was not affected, althoughworld prices for the red metal jumped as the quake raised supply concerns because most of the Chilean mining industry is in the northern regions.
About 300 inmates escaped from a women's prison in the city of Iquique, forcing the closure of the border with Peru. Several dozen were quickly captured, officials said.
Bachelet, who just returned to the presidency three weeks ago, waited five hours after the quake struck to address her nation. It was not lost on many Chileans that the last time she presided over a major quake, days before the end of her 2006-10 term, her emergency preparedness office prematurely waved off a tsunami danger. Most of the 500 dead from that magnitude-8.8 tremor survived the shaking, only to be caught in killer waves in a disaster that destroyed 220,000 homes and washed away large parts of many coastal communities.
"The country has done a good job of confronting the emergency. I call on everyone to stay calm and follow the authorities' instructions," Bachelet tweeted after Tuesday night's temblor.
Reuters: Cristian Vivero
A military convoy travels along a road after a tsunami alarm at Iquique city, north of Santiago on the southern Pacific coast, April 1, 2014.
She put her interior minister in direct charge of coordinating the emergency response, and announced that schools would be suspended in evacuated areas while authorities assessed the damage.
The only U.S. impact might be higher waves Wednesday for Hawaii's swimmers and surfers, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor was centered in the Pacific Ocean 61 miles (99 kilometers) northwest from coastal Iquique. More than 20 significant aftershocks followed, including one of magnitude 6.2.
The quake was so strong that the shaking experienced in Bolivia's capital about 290 miles (470 kilometers) away was the equivalent of a magnitude-4.5 tremor, authorities there said.
But Tuesday night's quake was not the big one seismologists expect eventually.
Powerful Chile Earthquake Shakes Coast
"Could be tomorrow, could be in 50 years; we do not know when it's going to occur. But the key point here is that this magnitude-8.2 is not the large earthquake that we were expecting for this area. We're actually still expecting potentially an even larger earthquake," said Mark Simons, a geophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.
Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries because just off the coast, the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes cordillera to ever-higher altitudes. Nowhere along this fault is the pressure greater than in far northern Chile, an area known as the "Iquique seismic gap".
The USGS says the seismic gap last saw a major quake in 1877, when a magnitude-8.8 quake unleashed a tsunami that caused major damage along the Chile-Peru coast and fatalities as far away as Hawaii and Japan. Another quake of similar force hit just north of the area in 1868.
AP: Cristian Viveros
A fire burns at a restaurant after an earthquake in Iquique, Chile, April 1, 2014. A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off Chile's northern coast Tuesday night.
"This is the one remaining gap that hasn't had an earthquake in the last 140 years," said Simons. "We know these two plates come together at about 6, 7 centimeters a year, and if you multiply that by 140 years then the plates should have moved about 11 meters along the fault, and you can make an estimate of the size of earthquake we expect here."
The latest activity began with a strong magnitude-6.7 quake on March 16 that caused more than 100,000 people to briefly evacuate low-lying areas. Hundreds of smaller quakes followed in the weeks since, keeping people on edge.
Luis Andres Henao reported from Santiago. Also contributing to this report were Eva Vergara in Santiago, Michael Warren in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru.
Volunteers Frank and Rhonda Cook watch as the final body they recovered Sunday afternoon is lifted into a helicopter on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide near Oso, Wash.
OSO, Wash. (AP) — First there was a "whoosh." Elaine Young said she thought it might be a chimney fire, a rush of air that lasted about 45 seconds. But when she stepped outside there was ominous silence. Something felt very, very wrong.
And then she saw it. Behind the house, a suffocating wall of heavy mud had crashed through the neighborhood.
Frantic call after deadly landslide
Frantic call after deadly landslide
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Dark and sticky, the mile-long flow Saturday heaved houses off their foundations, toppled trees and left a gaping cavity on what had been a tree-covered hillside. In the frantic rescue, searchers spotted mud-covered survivors by the whites of their waving palms.
Now, days into the search, the scale of the mudslide's devastation in a rural village north of Seattle is becoming apparent. At least 14 people are confirmed dead, dozens more are thought to be unaccounted for or missing, and about 30 homes are destroyed.
Photos: Deadly landslide in Washington
Related: 18, 108, 176? How many missing from landslide?
"We found a guy right here," shouted a rescuer Monday afternoon behind Young's home, after a golden retriever search dog found a corpse pinned under a pile of fallen trees. Searchers put a bag over the body, tied an orange ribbon on a branch to mark the site, and the crew moved on.
It had been stormy for weeks, but warm sunshine offered a false sense of peace Saturday morning as weekend visitors settled into their vacation homes and locals slept in. Then came "a giant slump," said David Montgomery, an earth and space sciences professor at the University of Washington, describing the deep-seated slide resulting from long-term, heavy rainfall.
A scientist who documented the landslide conditions on the hillside that buckled had warned in a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of "the potential for a large catastrophic failure," The Seattle Times reported late Monday.
That report was written by geomorphologist Daniel J. Miller and his wife, Lynne Rodgers Miller, The Times said (http://is.gd/yodBQx). "We've known it would happen at some point," Daniel Miller told the newspaper.
Snohomish County Executive John Lovick and Public Works Director Steve Thomsen said Monday night they were not aware of the 1999 report. "A slide of this magnitude is very difficult to predict," Thomsen told The Times. "There was no indication, no indication at all."
Oso MudslideAP Photo: The Herald, Genna Martin
Brian Anderson, left, and Coby Young search through the wreckage of a home belonging to the Kuntz family on Sunday, March 23, 2014, near Oso, Wash.
Within hours of the mudslide, emergency crews were searching for life in a post-apocalyptic scene, dodging chunks of splintered birch trunks, half-buried pickup trucks and growing pools of water from the now-blocked Stillaguamish River.
Ed Hrivnak, who was co-piloting an aircraft that was first to arrive at the scene, said a lot of the houses weren't buried. When they got hit, "the houses exploded." He said cars were crushed into little pieces, their tires the only signs that they had been vehicles.
He said he saw people so thoroughly covered in mud that searchers could only spot them by the whites of their waving palms. His helicopter rescued eight people, including a 4-year-old boy, who was up to his knees in concretelike compressed mud.
The mud was so sticky, the rescuers were worried about getting stuck so the helicopter hovered about a foot away and the crew chief tried to pull him out. "He was suctioned in that mud so much that his pants came off," Hrivnak said.
Washington MudslideAssociated Press
Map locates mudslide in Snohomish County, Wash.
The boy was taken to a hospital and was reunited with his mom. Hrivnak said the boy's father and three siblings are still missing.
Friends and families immediately launched their own rescue missions.
Elaine and her husband, Don Young, picking their way through the devastation, heard tapping, a steady beat. They got closer and realized it was coming from their neighbors' buckled home.
Trapped in an air pocket, Gary "Mac" McPherson, 78, was banging away for help with a loose stick. The Youngs managed to pull him out, but family members said his wife, Linda McPherson, 69, a former librarian and school board member, did not survive.
Rescuers racing in fire trucks and ambulances screeched to a stop at the edge of the mile-square wasteland. Somewhere, someone was crying for help. When a team of firefighters waded chest-deep into the mud, they had to be rescued themselves, and the ground search was suspended overnight Saturday, with the death toll at three.
On Sunday, after geologists deemed the area stable enough to re-enter, another five bodies were found. By Monday, when another six corpses were located, exhaustion and despair were overtaking the early adrenaline and alarm.
Nichole Webb Rivera frantically texted her two adult sons, her daughter and her daughter's fiance in the area to make sure they were OK. She heard back from her sons, but nothing from the other two.
And no one has been able to reach Rivera's parents, who live in a house along the Stillaguamish River, smack in the middle of where the slide came crashing down. Relatives called around, but the somber reality soon set in.
"We've lost four," said Rivera, who grew up in Darrington, a logging town of about 1,400 people just to the east of the landslide.
Rivera has had no official confirmation from authorities. But when she saw an aerial photograph of Saturday's landslide, she knew her parents, Thom and Marcy Satterlee, and her daughter, 20-year-old Delaney Webb, and Webb's fiance didn't make it out.
"It sounds terribly morbid, but looking at it, I'm resigned," said Rivera, 39.
An American flag, salvaged unstained from the wreckage, had been draped over a buckled shed. "The situation is very grim," said Fire Chief Travis Hots, unshaven and with dark circles around his eyes. "We have not found anyone alive on this pile since Saturday."
Chain saws buzzed as friends and families cut toppled houses open on Monday. Buddy, a large chocolate Labrador, was pulled muddy and cut from under the ruins Sunday after a house was cut open. His owner has not been found.
McPherson, still hospitalized, abruptly a widower, asked his nephew Cory Kuntz to see if he could pull anything out of his home.
This March 23, 2014 photo, made available by the Washington State Dept of Transportation shows a view of the damage from Saturday's mudslide in Oso, Wash. At least eight people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and about 30 homes were destroyed.AP Photo: Washington State Dept of Transportation
A view of the damage from Saturday's mudslide in Oso, Wash.
A box of slides, some photos, files and his deceased aunt's wallet piled up. Kuntz glanced at the gap in the roof that his uncle was yanked through. Then he looked out at the confusion of muddy detritus that included the smashed remains of his own home as well.
"When you look at it you just kind of go in shock and you kind of go numb," Kuntz said.
Gail Moffett, a retired firefighter who lives in Oso and works at the hardware store in Arlington, said she knows about 25 people who are missing. Among them, Moffett said, were entire families, including people with young children.
Moffett said some of the people who are missing were working in the area Saturday morning.
"There's so much pain going on in the community right now," she said.
Darlene Elrod stood above the wreckage, scratching her head and just looking and staring in disbelief as she tried to orient herself and point out an entire neighborhood.
"It's gone," she said.
Mendoza reported from San Jose, Calif. Associated Press writers Phuong Le and Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle and Lisa Baumann in Arlington, Wash., contributed to this report.