November 24, 2023
Families of hostages not slated for release from Gaza during current truce face enduring nightmare
By TIA GOLDENBERG (Associated Press) TEL AVIV, Israel — Ofri Bibas Levy has been haunted by nightmares since Oct. 7, when her brother, sister-in-law and their two young children were snatched by Hamas militants from their homes and dragged into the Gaza Strip. In those dreams she sees her captive relatives, all except for her brother Yarden. That subconscious omission may reflect her ordeal: Only Women and children are expected to be among the 50 hostages released during a four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that started Friday. All of the men, and many women, will remain captive in Gaza for now. It was not clear if all children were expected to be freed. Hamas on Friday freed 24 people, including 13 Israeli women and children, 10 people from Thailand and one Filipino. “It’s a deal that puts the families in a situation that is inhuman. Who will come out and who won’t?” Bibas Levy asked. “The children come out, but my brother and many other people stay?” Her relatives were not among those freed in the first release. The deal will bring relief to dozens whose relatives are captive — as well as to Palestinians in Gaza who have endured weeks of bombardment and dire conditions. But with some 240 hostages in militant hands, only a fraction of families will be reunited under the current arrangement. There is some hope that the agreement could be expanded: Israel has said it will extend the truce one day for every 10 hostages freed. But many families are expected to be left to endure the torment of not knowing the fate of their loved ones. The plight of the hostages — who include men, women, babies, children and older adults — has gripped Israelis. The captives’ families have embarked on a campaign to free their loved ones that has tugged at the heartstrings of many and ratcheted up pressure on the Israeli government to make concessions and secure deals for their release. That pressure and the families’ widespread public support could force the government into extending the cease-fire even though it has pledged to keep fighting once the current truce expires. Securing the freedom of all hostages, especially the soldiers among them, could prove difficult. Militants in Gaza see the captives as a critical bargaining chip in their war with Israel. The leader of Islamic Jihad, a militant group allied with Hamas, said Friday that Israeli soldiers who were taken wouldn’t be freed until all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel are released. Bibas Levy has put her life on pause to devote herself to fighting for her family’s release — her nephews age 10 months and 4 years were some of the youngest taken captive. The occupational therapist who moved out of a targeted southern Israeli community two months before Hamas’ attack, said she will keep battling until all her relatives return. Dani Miran — whose son Omri was taken hostage — has been distraught over his son’s well-being. With the unbearable uncertainty and without a sign of life for seven weeks, he is plagued by difficult thoughts. “My son is not on the list. He’s 46 years old. and I hope that he is in a health condition where he can cope with all the hardship that there is there, that they didn’t wound him, didn’t torture him and didn’t do things that are inhuman,” Miran said. For many families, the news of a deal has sparked a mix of emotions — grief in cases where they don’t expect their loved ones to be freed and hope that it may lead to further releases. “I wish that all of them would come back, and I believe that all of them will come back. But we must have patience, and just be strong,” said Yaakov Argamani, whose daughter Noa, 26, was taken captive, along with dozens of other young adults from a music festival that came under attack. Many families have said they cannot endure listening to the news because all the twists and turns of the negotiations are incapacitating. The current deal, brought about after weeks of fitful negotiations, appeared definite until a last-minute snag prompted a one-day delay. “It’s like a rollercoaster,” said Eyal Nouri, whose aunt Adina Moshe, 72, was among those released Friday. Earlier, Nouri had said that he did not expect her to be among those freed. Moshe’s husband, Said, was killed on Oct. 7. The nightmare for many won’t end even if their relatives are released, Nouri said. After the joy of the reunion, those freed will need to reckon with the trauma of their captivity, their dead loved ones, their destroyed communities and their country at war. “She has nothing. No clothes, no house, no husband, no town. Nothing,” said Nouri. Once she’s released “she’ll need to build her life from scratch, at 72 years old. Our lives are completely different.” ___ Full AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
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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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