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The Woman Who Accepted The Oscar For An Iranian Director? She’s An Engineer From Plano

Lucy Nicholson
Anousheh Ansari is an Iranian-American engineer from North Texas. She and former NASA scientist Firouz Naderi accepted the Oscar for "The Salesman" Sunday night on behalf on Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Plano engineer accepts the award for “The Salesman”; Texas to hear arguments in same-sex marriage case; D-FW sees its hottest winter; and more.

You may know about the Iranian director who boycotted the Academy Awards Sunday night. It was one of many highlights from the 89th annual show. Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. But he wasn’t there to accept the award.

Farhadi’s absence was a silent protest against President Trump’s travel ban, which barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran. The ban was halted by a federal court last month. And the Trump administration is expected to issue a new order this week.


But even a story as big as this has a Texas tie. A Plano-based engineer was the woman who accepted Farhadi’s award on his behalf. Anousheh Ansari is an Iranian-American engineer, who made history in 2006 as the first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station, according to GuideLive. She is the CEO of Prodea Systems in Richardson. Those accomplishments are what got her to the Oscars, D Magazine reports. Listen to her read a statement from the director below. [GuideLive, D Magazine]

  • Same-sex marriage has been legal for almost two years, but Texas Republicans are still fighting it. The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments today in a Houston case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. Such policies have been in place since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. The Texas Tribune reports: “At the center of the Houston case is whether Obergefell, which legalized same-sex marriage across the country, requires the city and other governmental agencies to extend taxpayer-subsidized benefits to same-sex spouses of government employees.” [The Texas Tribune]
  • The Islamic Association of Collin County is moving forward with building a Muslim cemetery despite opposition from residents. Officials in Farmersville approved a conceptual plan Monday for the project just outside the town. The Islamic association presented a similar plan two years ago but never developed a more detailed proposal, The Associated Press reports. Muslim leaders say there are some five Muslim cemeteries in North Texas, and they need more space. Residents in opposition say the cemetery would lead to a mosque or a training center that would allow extremists into the region. [The Associated Press]


  • Dallas-Fort Worth just closed the book on the hottest February and winter season ever.  The  National Weather Service in Fort Worth considers meteorological winter to run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The average temperature for that time period this year was 53.8 degrees. February was even warmer. The average temperature was 60.6. Another record set this winter? There were 14 days that reached 80 degrees, according to the Star-Telegram. That breaks the previous record of 10 days set in both the winters of 1908-1909 and 2005-2006. Try to stay cool, North Texas. [National Weather Service, Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • What’s more fun for teenagers than eating and hanging out at Whataburger? Stealing the orange and white order numbers. That’s news to police in Cross Roads, a small Denton County town. “We have learned that it has become a game for area teens to be removing the plastic ‘order numbers’ from the restaurant when in attendance,” the Northeast Police Department said in a Facebook post. And the Whataburger off U.S. 380 has to keep replacing them, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. “Become a game?” one person commented on the post. “Lol. This has been happening for years.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]