June 26, 2023
5 Takeaways From the Greek Election
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party who has presided over a period of economic stability and tough anti-migration policies in Greece, was sworn in on Monday for a second term as prime minister after that gave him a clear mandate for the next four years. The result made clear that Greeks, who endured a decade-long financial crisis, were much less concerned with scandals, including accusations of the authorities’ spying on their own people, or disasters such as of a boat carrying hundreds of migrants, than they were with Mr. Mitsotakis’s pledges to keep the country on the road of economic and political stability. Mr. Mitsotakis, a supporter of Ukraine who has maintained good relations with the European Union, has also vowed to stand up to pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who also recently won re-election. Here are some of the lessons from the results in Greece. Greece, led by Mr. Mitsotakis, has done the European Union’s unpleasant work of blocking migrants from reaching the continent with hard-line policies and reception centers that critics equate to prisons. Voters appeared to reward him for the significant reduction of arrivals in the country since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015. Revelations that the Greek Coast Guard has been by land and sea, and, more recently, not to immediately come to the assistance of a ship this month that ultimately sank, killing hundreds off the coast, have infuriated migrant advocates. But not Greek voters. On the campaign trail, Mr. Mitsotakis noted that the number of migrant arrivals was down 90 percent, from more than a million nearly a decade ago, and Greeks appeared more than willing to stomach the harsh tactics he employed. They apparently supported the patrols of the Aegean Sea and the extension of a European Union-subsidized fence along the country’s northern land border with Turkey, which Mr. Mitsotakis had linked to national defense. Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish leader, had sought to exert pressure and wrest concessions from the European Union by . One opinion poll last week showed that seven in 10 Greeks were in favor of the fence, which the previous conservative administration had pledged to extend by some 22 miles, to about 87 miles, by the end of this year. Spying on an opposition politician does not generally go over well in Western democracies. So when it was revealed last August that Greece’s state intelligence service had been , and subsequently journalists and others, analysts anticipated political fallout for Mr. Mitsotakis. When was found on some of the same devices, it seemed likely to explode into a full-blown scandal. Instead, Greek voters mostly shrugged. The , the leader of the socialist Pasok party, and of several others, was never directly linked to Mr. Mitsotakis, who had assumed greater authority of the intelligence service but repeatedly denied any knowledge of the monitoring. Heads rolled. Close advisers to Mr. Mitsotakis, including his nephew, fell on swords. And the scandal blew over. The reaction was endlessly frustrating for the leftist Syriza party, which sought to exploit the apparent espionage in part by trying, and failing, to to form an alliance of grievance with Mr. Androulakis and his Pasok party. In the end, the spying claims ranked close to the bottom of voters’ concerns in opinion polls, while the economy, Greek-Turkish relations and concerns about the health care system topped the list. What Greeks did care about, and significantly more than anything else, was the economy and stability. After a decade-long financial crisis that erupted in 2010, Mr. Mitsotakis persuaded Greeks that the country had made enormous strides under his watch and that he deserved another four years to finish the Job. He had to point to. Growth in Greece is twice the eurozone average. Wages and pensions have increased. Foreign investors have returned. Greek bonds, long at junk status, are now expected to be restored to investment grade, which will lower borrowing costs. Greeks preferred this path of stability rather than returning to Syriza, the party that was in power when Greece nearly crashed out of the eurozone in 2015. Speaking as preliminary results came in on Sunday night, Mr. Mitsotakis said he aimed to achieve more in a second term, to “transform” Greece and build a country with “more prosperity and more justice for all.” Deep economic problems, including rising costs and questions of inequality, remain, but Mr. Mitsotakis convinced the vast majority of Greeks that the way to address them was to keep on his conservative government’s path. The end of the last decade was marked by intense anxiety in the European establishment about populist and nationalist parties eroding the European Union from within. Although that fear has mostly passed for now, conservatives are making significant inroads in the bloc’s southern flank. In Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of the hard-right Brothers of Italy party is firmly in control, although many of the worst fears of liberals have . In Spain, polls suggest that could bring the conservative People’s Party to power, most likely with the hard-right party Vox as a coalition partner, an alliance that until recently seemed out of the question. And now in Greece, the landslide victory of Mr. Mitsotakis gives him a freer hand to impose his economic vision. But it also allows him to continue his crackdown on migrant arrivals, a policy that is detested by rights groups but is appreciated in Brussels, a reflection of just how much the status quo has shifted to the right on the issue. Exhaustion with migration is surely an important driver of the shift, but so is an overall reassertion of national identities, if not outright nationalism, after years of campaigning against meddling by the European Union. The return of Mr. Mitsotakis to power is not just a personal victory — it also elevates his family to something approaching dynasty status in Greek politics. His father, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, governed as a reformer as prime minister from 1990 to 1993 but left office as a divisive figure in a volatile period for Greek politics. His sister, Dora Bakoyannis, was mayor of Athens and a former foreign minister, and her son, Kostas Bakoyannis, is currently the capital’s mayor. Another nephew, Grigoris Dimitriadis, was Mr. Mitsotakis’s point man for the state intelligence service but quit in the wake of the surveillance scandal. The opposition sought to portray Mr. Mitsotakis as an arrogant, autocratic and out-of-touch elitist who was both a beneficiary and perpetrator of nepotism, but that did not seem to resonate with voters. “I will be the prime minister of all Greeks,” Mr. Mitsotakis said on Sunday night after preliminary results rolled in. “I will remain committed to my national duty without tolerating any arrogant or conceited behavior.” New Democracy took easily the biggest portion of the vote, with 40.5 percent, compared with 17.8 percent for Syriza in second. That allowed Mr. Mitsotakis to portray the victory as evidence that his party was the only dominant force in a now fragmented political landscape. “The strongest center-right party in Europe,” he said on Sunday night. But the marginalized far right had a good day, too, with a little-known nationalist party, Spartans, recording a surprisingly strong showing and comfortably crossing the 3 percent threshold for representation in Parliament, winning 4.6 percent of the vote. Spartans, backed by a jailed leader of the defunct neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, joined two other hard-right parties to claim 34 seats.
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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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