- - Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winehouse coroner resigns; inquest may be repeated

The coroner who oversaw the inquest into the death of singer Amy Winehouse has resigned after her qualifications were questioned, officials said Wednesday — raising the possibility the investigation may have to be held again.

Winehouse’s relatives said they were still absorbing the implications of the news and were seeking legal advice.

In October, Suzanne Greenaway ruled that the soul singer had died from accidental alcohol poisoning.

Ms. Greenaway had been appointed an assistant deputy coroner in London in 2009 by her husband, Coroner Andrew Reid. She resigned in November after authorities learned she had not been a registered U.K. lawyer for five years as required. She had practiced law for a decade in her native Australia.

“I appointed my wife as an assistant deputy coroner as I believed at the time that her experience as a solicitor and barrister in Australia satisfied the requirements of the post,” Mr. Reid said in a statement Wednesday. “In November of last year, it became apparent that I had made an error in the appointment process, and I accepted her resignation.”

Ms. Greenaway oversaw 12 inquests in Camden, the north London borough where Winehouse lived, and others in eastern London.

Mr. Reid said he was “confident that all of the inquests handled were done so correctly” — but offered to hold the inquests again if the families of the deceased want it.

Winehouse’s family said it had not yet decided what to do.

A security guard found Winehouse dead in bed July 23 at her home in Camden. The 27-year-old singer, known for her beehive hairdos and multiple-Grammy-winning album “Back to Black,” had battled drug and alcohol addiction for years.

Smithsonian honors Eastwood; theater to open on Mall

The Smithsonian Institution was to honor Clint Eastwood on Wednesday for his six decades of work in American film, with the actor and director cutting the ribbon to open a new movie theater to showcase film history at the National Museum of American History.

Mr. Eastwood was to visit the museum Wednesday evening to help dedicate the new Warner Bros. Theater as a space to present the history of Hollywood. Warner Bros. Entertainment donated $5 million in 2010 to renovate the museum’s old Carmichael Auditorium into a modern theater with 3-D projection capability.

The new theater gives the Smithsonian its first space dedicated to film history, museum spokeswoman Melinda Machado said. The 264-seat theater will be able to screen silent films and first-run movies.

“Films are an integral part of our culture and our daily lives,” said Marc Pachter, interim director of the museum.

Warner Bros. will help present four film festivals at the museum this year and into the future, Ms. Machado said. The theater will offer most of its programs free to visitors rather than charging for tickets as the Smithsonian Institution does at its Imax theaters.

On Friday, the museum will open a three-day film festival to highlight the work of Humphrey Bogart with free screenings of “Casablanca,” “The Maltese Falcon” and other films.

Movie costumes also are going on display at the museum, including those worn by Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and Mr. Eastwood, along with Harry Potter’s robe. The costumes are on loan from Warner Bros., along with animation drawings for Bugs Bunny and other memorabilia.

The 81-year-old Mr. Eastwood will be awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal for his distinguished contributions in film.

Haitian president names Sean Penn an ambassador

Actor Sean Penn has been named ambassador at large for Haiti in recognition of his humanitarian work since the 2010 earthquake.

The Hollywood star received the honor from Haitian President Michel Martelly at a special ceremony Tuesday evening at the National Palace, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Martelly thanked Mr. Penn for keeping the spotlight on the Caribbean nation.

The president joked that the “only downside” to Mr. Penn’s new position is that he can no longer call the actor by his first name; Mr. Penn will be called “Ambassador.”

Mr. Penn’s Haitian Relief Organization was set up a few months after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake to oversee a settlement camp where thousands of people displaced by the disaster lived.

Jolie, Pitt to present film in Croatia, Bosnia

Angelina Jolie and her partner, Brad Pitt, will visit Croatia and Bosnia this month for the launch of her directorial debut, a Bosnian wartime love story, a distributor said Wednesday.

The movie “In the Land of Blood and Honey” will have its official debut in Sarajevo on Feb. 14 and in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, three days later, according to Agence France-Presse, attributing the local distributor, Blitz Film.

The film already had a preview screening in Bosnia in late December, as a number of victims organizations in Bosnia had expressed concern that the film would not correctly present their plight.

Most of them eventually hailed the movie as objective and sincere.

The film tells the story of a Muslim woman and a Serbian man who have a fling before Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, only to meet again when the woman is the prisoner of a unit of the Bosnian Serb army commanded by her former lover. Though he is able to protect her at first, once he is transferred away, she suffers abuse and rape at the hands of the soldiers.

Bosnia’s 1992-95 war between its Croats, Muslims and Serbs claimed about 100,000 lives.

Tens of thousands of people were held in prison camps, where torture and abuse were commonplace. About 20,000 women were raped during the conflict, according to the government’s estimates.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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