October 13, 2023
Sunak says civilian safety must be ‘paramount in our minds’ in Israel-Hamas war
rime Minister has said has “every right to defend itself” from attacks but stressed that civilian safety must be “paramount in our minds”. Mr Sunak also said the UK was doing “everything we can to ensure the security of British citizens” after the Defence Secretary said it seemed “very likely” that there are British hostages in Gaza. Speaking to the media after talks with allies in Sweden, Mr Sunak highlighted how he had urged Israeli Prime Minister , during a conversation late on Thursday that caution was needed to “protect civilians” during its operation against Hamas militants that massacred hundreds of Israelis on Saturday. Palestinians have begun a mass exodus from northern Gaza after Israel’s MILITARY told them to evacuate ahead of an expected ground invasion. With around a million people in the affected area, the United Nations has warned that so many people fleeing en masse would be calamitous. But the Foreign Office urged Britons in Gaza to “follow Israel’s directive, if they are able to, but recognise this will be be challenging for some people”. The Prime Minister told broadcasters at the Joint Expeditionary Force summit in Gotland, Sweden: “Of course we should always — and we are always — having concerns of civilians paramount in our minds. “It is something I’ve discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu myself and underlined with what the Secretary of State from the United States (Antony Blinken) and the president (Joe Biden) have said, that of course Israel should take every possible precaution to protect civilians as they exercise their rightful ability to defend themselves against attacks like this.” Mr Blinken, during a visit to Israel this week, said it “matters” how Israel chooses to defend itself and pressed for civilians not to be harmed. US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin, during a press conference in Tel Aviv on Friday, said: “Terrorists like Hamas deliberately target civilians — but democracies don’t. “This is a time for resolve, and not revenge.” The war has claimed at least 2,800 lives on both sides since Hamas launched an incursion on October 7, with Israel placing the 25-mile Gaza Strip under siege and subjecting it to a torrent of retaliatory air strikes. Hamas said Israel’s heavy bombardment killed 13 hostages, including foreigners, held by the group. We are increasing our military teams across the region and making sure that we are doing everything we can to ensure the security of British citizens Defence Secretary told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he would treat Hamas’s claim with “caution” but “deep concern”. Three Britons are confirmed to have lost their lives during the weekend’s assault on Israel but reports have suggested at least 17 could be among the casualties. The Prime Minister said: “We are working very closely with the Israeli authorities and in contact with families to provide all the possible support that we can. “We are increasing our military teams across the region and making sure that we are doing everything we can to ensure the security of British citizens.” He said the Royal Navy ships he has sent to the eastern Mediterranean — part of a package of military support for Israel announced before his trip to Sweden — would be able to provide humanitarian assistance to those caught up in the conflict. Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels Lyme Bay and Argus have been deployed to the region, along with Royal Air Force surveillance aircraft and a company of Royal Marines. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has not ruled out Britain sending further assistance, saying London will provide “absolutely everything they need” in efforts to come to Israel’s “defence in their hour of need”. During his round of broadcast interviews, Cabinet minister Mr Shapps refused to criticise the siege on Gaza which is blocking water, food, medicines and electricity from reaching one of the most populated areas in the world. Tel Aviv has said its complete barricade of Gaza would remain in place until some 150 hostages are freed, with Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant vowing to “topple” Hamas and “wipe out” the group’s military capabilities. Mr Shapps said Israel’s practise of giving notice ahead of its missile strikes was “in stark contrast” to Hamas. He told BBC Breakfast: “I think Israel finds itself in a very difficult situation, and to be clear: Israel needs to act within international law just like any other nation… But Israel will also obviously need to deal with these Hamas terrorists. “Israel is giving due warning, but they are going after those terrorists, and we absolutely respect Israel’s right to do that.” Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme later, he said Hamas fighters were “hiding themselves within” the Palestinian population in Gaza and using them “as human shields”. Mr Shapps was repeatedly asked to explicitly say if the UK supports the evacuation order that the UN says Tel Aviv has issued. Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said it was “extremely worrying” that Mr Shapps was “seemingly unwilling to urge allies in Israel to reconsider this ultimatum”. He said: “The horrific mass killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas does not absolve the Israeli authorities of their obligations to respect international humanitarian law and to properly protect civilians in their military actions, and all UK politicians should be absolutely clear on this vital principle.” The fallout from flare-up of violence in the Middle East has been felt in Britain, with a four-fold rise in antisemitic incidents, according to the Community Security Trust, and a tripling of anti-Muslim cases being recorded by the group Tell Mama UK. Mr Sunak has condemned the “disgusting rise” in antisemitism in recent days and said intimidating behaviour and inciting violence or hatred will be met “with the full force of the law”. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the Government is working closely with a “small number” of Jewish schools, which have temporarily shut due to safety fears, to ensure they can re-open.
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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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