George Clooney’s ‘Catch-22’ reflects on ‘insanity’ of war

Grant Heslov, from left, George Clooney, Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler, Ellen Kuras and Luke Davies participate in the "Catch-22" panel during the Hulu presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington on Feb. 11, 2019, in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Updated 12 February 2019

George Clooney’s ‘Catch-22’ reflects on ‘insanity’ of war

PASADENA, California: George Clooney, who returns to TV for the first time in 20 years with an adaptation of the classic novel “Catch-22,” said on Monday the Hulu series set in World War II aims to tell a timeless story about the “insanity” of war.
At a preview for reporters, Clooney said he initially resisted the idea of taking on Joseph Heller’s 1961 book about member of a US bomber squadron fighting the higher-ups in the military bureaucracy.
“It’s a beloved novel,” Clooney, who also served as executive producer and directed two episodes, said at a Television Critics Association event. “I didn’t want to get into the middle of that.”
He said he was drawn in because the writers “did an amazing job unspooling these characters” for the six-episode series that will be released on Hulu on May 17.
That allows the series to expand on Heller’s story, which Clooney said was meant “to make fun of all the red tape and bureaucracy of war and the ridiculousness of war.”
“I think it still plays,” he added. “All of us spend our days and nights worrying about those situations. This story is just reflecting on the insanity of it.”
“Catch-22” follows a US bombardier named Yossarian who is infuriated that the army keeps raising the number of missions he must fly to be released from duty. Yossarian’s only way to avoid the missions is to declare insanity, but the only way to prove insanity is a willingness to embark on more of the highly dangerous bombing runs, thus creating the novel’s absurd ‘catch-22.’
It was made into a 1970 movie directed by Mike Nichols with Alan Arkin as Yossarian.
“I think we all wake up every morning these days in this kind of shared global anxiety condition, and this novel is a beautiful distillation, or a prophetic distillation of that,” said co-writer Luke Davies.
Christopher Abbott stars as Yossarian and Kyle Chandler plays his commander, Col. Cathcart. Clooney originally planned to play Cathcart but instead took a supporting role as training commander Scheisskopf.
Clooney, 57, last appeared on television 20 years ago as Dr. Doug Ross in hit medical drama “ER.” He then built a successful film career with movies including “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Gravity” and “Up in the Air.”
The actor said he was happy to come back to television.
“I don’t care about the medium,” Clooney said. “I just care about the quality of the work and what we’re able to do.”


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

Updated 03 December 2020

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

  • Australia’s northeastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades

MELBOURNE: The health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem, is in a critical state and deteriorating as climate change warms up the waters in which it lies, an international conservation group said.
The World Heritage-listed site off Australia’s northeastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades.
Coral-bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 has further damaged it health and affected its animal, bird and marine population, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a report.
Such bleaching occurs when hotter water destroys the algae which the coral feeds on, causing it to turn white.
The union moved the reef’s status to critical and deteriorating on its watchlist.
Some activities which threaten it, like fishing and coastal development, can be tackled by the management authorities, the union said.
“Other pressures cannot be addressed at the site level, such as climate change, which is recognized as the greatest threat,” it said.
Progress toward safeguarding the reef under a long-term sustainability plan through to 2050 has been slow and it has not been possible to stop its deterioration, it said.
The turtle populations — including loggerhead, hawksbill and northern green — as well as the scalloped hammerhead shark, many seabird populations and possibly some dolphin species are declining.
Efforts to safeguard the reef are rising, however. HSBC and the Queensland government said in October they would buy “Reef Credits,” a tradable unit that quantifies and values the work undertaken to improve water quality flowing onto the reef.
Similar to the carbon offset market which incentivizes the reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the scheme pays landholders for improved water quality.