April 12, 2023
Police document detailing President Bidens security information found on Belfast street
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – It was Northern Ireland’s largest security operation in a decade, a demonstration of local police power intended to protect a visiting VIP: the president of the United States. But sensitive details of the security operation unexpectedly spilled into public view on Wednesday when a man identified only as “Bill” discovered a police planning document lying on a Belfast street. The document, discovered near the hotel where President Joe Biden was staying, included the names and phone numbers of police officers involved in the operation, as well as the streets where they were deployed and other information such as street closures and security measures to detect hostile vehicles. “It sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true,” the man known as “Bill” said during an interview with The Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster. The discovery of the Police Service of Northern Ireland document triggered a security breach that embarrassed law enforcement officials but did not disrupt other carefully choreographed events on the first day of Biden’s three-day visit to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland . Further fueling concerns, the security lapse was uncovered as the terrorism threat in Northern Ireland had been raised to "severe" ahead of Biden’s visit. Biden departed Belfast as scheduled on Wednesday and traveled without incident to Dublin, where he will finish the remainder of his trip. Secret Service's future: Secret Service fights to shed politics, but Trump's indictment, 2024 election are major tests How did a security document end up on a Belfast street? The U.S. Secret Service downplayed the seriousness of the security breach and expressed its trust in local authorities. “While we do not discuss the specifics of any protective operation, the president’s movements were not affected by these reports,” the agency said in a statement. Jocelyn Keaveny, the Secret Service's special agent-in-charge of the Paris Field Office who is overseeing the Biden visit, called the Police Service of Northern Ireland a "dedicated partner" in the security effort. "The Secret Service relies on partnerships to provide the highest level of dignitary protection in the world," Keaveny said. "We remain grateful for their ongoing support during the president’s visit." How the document ended up on a Belfast street remains a mystery. But a law enforcement official who briefed reporters speculated that it may have fallen out of a local police officer’s pocket. What’s more, the security lapse illustrated how weeks of careful planning involving the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies can quickly be disrupted by something as simple as a misplaced piece of paper. The Northern Ireland security operation, code-named “Op Rondoletto,” involved weeks of planning and nearly 3,000 local police officers. The planning document, which carried the all-caps heading “OFFICIAL SENSITIVE,” didn’t include any information about the operations of the Secret Service , which oversees the president's security during foreign trips, or its security plan. 'Northern Ireland will not go back': Biden calls for sustained peace amid political unrest Most of Belfast's city center was barricaded off to residents during Biden's visit marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement , which ended three decades of civil war in Northern Ireland. Belfast is a city with a long history of violence. Just days before Biden’s arrival, police disrupted a potential bombing attack targeted for Londonderry, Northern Ireland, by members of the New IRA, a paramilitary group affiliated with the Irish Republican Army, according to The Belfast Telegraph. The report said there was no evidence to suggest that Biden was the target of the bombing plot but that the group intended to carry out the attack during his visit. Biden touched upon the city’s violent past during his speech Wednesday at Ulster University in Belfast. The president specifically mentioned the attempted murder of John Caldwell, a police detective who was shot in March. Northern Ireland law enforcement believe the attack was carried about by the New IRA. “Northern Ireland will not go back, pray to God,” Biden said. Secret Service has faced security challenges The Secret Service has faced its share of security challenges during the Biden administration, including successfully navigating the president's surprise visit to Ukraine in February ahead of the anniversary of Russia's invasion. The Ukraine visit was kept secret because of security concerns, part of an operation that the White House said had been ''meticulously planned" for months. Last September, when Biden traveled to London for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral , the Secret Service was forced to deal with an unusual demand when the British government advised dignitaries to avoid taking private transportation and said they would be escorted to the service in buses. When Biden travels, domestically or abroad, he typically arrives aboard Air Force One. If transportation is needed when the president's plane lands or circumstances do not allow him to take the aircraft, he travels in the heavily armored black presidential limousine known as The Beast or climbs aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter. In the U.K., it's not unusual for senior members of the Royal Family to be bused into crowded areas for important events. But the idea of the leader of the free world hopping a bus to a major event raised concerns not only about his own security but also about the safety of other leaders who would potentially be riding with him. In the end, the British government allowed Biden to take The Beast to the service at Westminster Abbey. Other world leaders shared a bus. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison, Collins @mcollinsNEWS, and Johnson @bykevinj
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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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