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J-Hope Becomes 2nd BTS Member to Join South Korean Army
Apr 18, 2023
J-Hope, a member of K-pop sensation BTS, entered a South Korean boot camp Tuesday to start his 18-month compulsory military service, becoming the group’s second member to join the country’s army. There was heated public debate in 2022 over whether to offer special exemptions of mandatory military service for BTS members, until the group’s management agency announced in October that all seven members would fulfill their duties. In December, Jin, 30 and the oldest member of BTS, became the band’s first member to enter the army after revoking his request to delay his conscription. South Korean TV footage Tuesday afternoon showed what they called a black minivan likely carrying J-Hope moving into the boot camp in Wonju, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Seoul. Hybe Corp., the parent company of BTS’ management agency Big Hit Music, later confirmed the 29-year-old singer entered the camp. Dozens of fans showed up near the base after arriving via rented buses wrapped with large photos of J-Hope and words hoping for his safe service. Authorities mobilized soldiers and police officers to maintain order, and there were no immediate reports of safety-related accidents. Big Hit Music had pleaded with fans, who call themselves the “Army,” not to come to the site due to safety reasons. “I love you, Army. I’ll see you again,” J-Hope, whose real name is Jung Ho-seok, said Monday in a message posted on the online fan platform Weverse, with photos of himself with a military buzz cut. Five other younger BTS members — RM, Suga, Jimin, V and Jungkook — are to join the South Korean military one by one in the coming years. That means the world’s biggest boy band is expected to reconvene as a group again a few years later. In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required by law to perform 18-21 months of military service under a conscription system meant to deter aggression from rival North Korea. The law gives special exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers if they have obtained top prizes in certain competitions and are assessed to have enhanced national prestige. K-pop stars and other entertainers aren’t subject to such privileges. That has caused an intense domestic debate over whether it was time to amend the law to expand exemptions to entertainers like BTS members. Jin, who turned 30 in December, had faced an impending conscription because the law disallows most South Korean men from further delaying their services after they turn 30. Lawmakers bickered over the issue at the National Assembly, while a series of public surveys showed sharply split opinions over possible service exemptions for BTS members. Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup said at the time that it would be “desirable” for BTS members to implement their duties to promote fairness in the country’s military service. Exemptions or dodging of military duties are a highly sensitive issue in South Korea, because the draft forces young men to suspend their studies or professional careers. Formed in 2013, BTS expanded its popularity in the West with its 2020 megahit “Dynamite,” the band’s first all-English song that made BTS the first K-pop act to top Billboard’s Hot 100. Hybe Corp. said in October that each member of the band for the time being would focus on individual activities scheduled around their military service plans. ___ Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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