July 08, 2023
Ukraine War’s 500th Day, Zelensky Shares Video of Visit to Snake Island
Russian forces launched a deadly strike in eastern Ukraine on Saturday as President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the 500th day of the war with a show of defiance, sharing a video of himself visiting a Black Sea island that has become a potent symbol of his country’s resistance to the invasion. In the kind of attack that has become painfully familiar, at least seven civilians were killed and 13 others were injured when Russian forces shelled the city center of Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region at around 10 a.m., Ukrainian officials said. Russian forces used cluster munitions in the attack, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general. The attack came just a day after President Biden said the United States would supply the weapon to Kyiv to battle Moscow’s entrenched forces despite qualms from American allies. At the scene of the strike were bloodstains, shattered glass and an overturned motorcycle. The midmorning assault was a grim reminder of the toll taken on Ukraine by 500 days of war. Mr. Zelensky paid tribute on Saturday to all those who have lost their lives, using the backdrop of Snake Island to underscore Ukrainian resolve. At the start of the war in February 2022, an audio recording captured Ukrainian border guards on the island, 20 miles off the coast of Odesa. Defying an order by a Russian warship to surrender, the guards responded with that became a rallying cry immortalized on stamps and on billboards around the country. In a video posted on Saturday, Mr. Zelensky honored the “heroes” who fought for Snake Island, calling the battle that ultimately last June “one of the most important” since the full-scale invasion. “Although this is a small piece of land in the middle of our Black Sea, it is a great proof that Ukraine will regain every bit of its territory,” Mr. Zelensky which showed him clambering off a boat and across a rocky landscape to lay blue and yellow flowers at a memorial. It was not immediately clear when the video was filmed: The Ukrainian leader was still a trip described in part as an effort to drum up support for his country’s bid to join NATO. But in keeping with the theme of defiance, he left Istanbul on Saturday with something of immense personal and symbolic value to many Ukrainians. Mr. Zelensky said on Twitter that five commanders from the country’s Azov Battalion, who defended last year during an 80-day Russian siege, would be returning home with him. The fighters’ fierce resistance from inside a sprawling steel plant made them national celebrities but also a valuable prize for the Kremlin when they surrendered to Russian forces in May. They were later sent to Turkey in a prisoner swap negotiated by Ankara. Mr. Zelensky had repeatedly pledged to secure their release along with all Ukrainian prisoners of war. “We are returning home from Turkey and bringing our heroes home,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday, sharing a video that showed him embracing the five men, who were later shown a phone with the footage from Snake Island. The move was a symbolic climax to a week of diplomatic meetings that ended in Turkey, part of a tour of NATO countries ahead of the alliance’s summit next week. The war has reshaped Ukraine’s relationship with the world, adding momentum to its bid to join NATO and turning Mr. Zelensky into a diplomatic juggernaut. He has used the global attention to help Ukraine push for billions in MILITARY aid to fend off Russian invaders, and his country, armed with Western-supplied weapons, is in the early stages of an intensely scrutinized campaign to take back occupied territory. Kyiv views membership in NATO as the ultimate guarantee of its security; its application in September to join the alliance was made against the backdrop of Russia’s full-scale invasion. While Mr. Zelensky has acknowledged that Ukraine , given that such a move would force the mutual-defense alliance into direct military conflict with Russia, he has repeatedly urged its members to set out a timetable for accession. In recent months, he has expressed hopes that next week’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, could provide clarity. With days to go before the meeting, Mr. Zelensky set out on a diplomatic offensive to press his case. He traveled to Bulgaria and the Czech Republic on Thursday and then Slovakia and Turkey on Friday, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a televised news conference early Saturday morning in Istanbul after his meeting with Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Erdogan said that “Ukraine deserves NATO membership with no doubt.” But President Biden, who is scheduled to attend the summit during a trip to Europe next week, has been with Moscow. He again told CNN in an interview set to be broadcast on Sunday that Ukraine’s acceptance into the alliance would most likely have to wait until after the war. “I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war,” Mr. Biden said, according to . At the same time, Mr. Biden defended what he called the “very difficult” decision , which are outlawed by many of America’s closest allies and which have been known to cause grievous injuries months or even years after fighting ends. Both Russia and Ukraine have used the weapons during the war. Officials in Kyiv welcomed Mr. Biden’s move, with Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, saying the weapons would “significantly help” and would only be used “in the fields” against Russia’s military, not in urban areas. “It is important to note,” he that Moscow’s forces have “been indiscriminately using cluster munitions from Day 1” of the invasion. That point appeared to resonate with many in Ukraine, where as people pointed to Russia’s use of cluster munitions there earlier in the war. Underscoring the continued threat, Ukraine’s prosecutor general said that cluster munitions were used on Saturday in the Lyman attack, which the authorities initially said had killed eight but later revised down to seven. Physical evidence reviewed by a New York Times journalist at the scene of the strike appeared consistent with the Ukrainian assessment that cluster munitions had been used. While some allies have objected to the U.S. decision to give Kyiv cluster munitions, Mr. Biden said depriving Ukraine of the weapons would amount to leaving it defenseless against Russia. He said it was a temporary move to tide Ukraine over until the production of conventional artillery rounds could be ramped up. “The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition,” Mr. Biden said in the . Ukrainian forces are about a month into their counteroffensive, a slow and bloody campaign aimed at driving Russian forces from the country’s south and east. Though bolstered by training and sophisticated new weapons from Western allies, Kyiv’s forces have , and has cost Ukraine an undisclosed number of casualties, along with some of its newest tanks and armored vehicles. While the counteroffensive rages, Russian forces have continued to fire missiles and launch drones on Ukrainian towns and villages. On the eve of the 500th day, the United Nations the deaths of more than 9,000 civilians — including more than 500 children — since the full-scale invasion, calling it a “grim milestone” in a war that “continues to exact a horrific toll.” It warned that the true number of dead was likely to be much higher. That toll climbed again on Saturday in Lyman, where not long after the strike trash collectors and the few civilians remaining in the city went about their day, seemingly accustomed to the episodes of violence that sometimes travel to their homes from the front line 10 miles away. Anzhela, an employee at a local shop who declined to give her full name for security reasons, said she was in the shop when the strike hit. “The walls saved us, so, thank God, we are fine,” she said, adding: “But outside, a man was wounded next to the shop. The man had just came out, and then what happened next we don’t know.” Just hours after the victims had been taken away, a second barrage of rockets hit the city center. The number of casualties, if any, was not immediately clear.
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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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