January 02, 2024
Lego announces new space-themed kits for 2024 including Mars base, rockets and rovers
Lego is blasting off into 2024 with a slew of new space sets that for the first time span several of its most popular themes. Lego has introduced new "Space" branding that is shared across the packaging for several of its well-established product lines. Between City, Classic, Creator, DREAMZzz, Duplo and Friends, more than a dozen building sets were released for sale on New Year's Day (Jan. 1), with another four Technic sets scheduled to follow in March. Most of the new sets are themed around futuristic missions to Mars (or other planets), a subject Lego has focused on before but also a departure from its most recent releases that were based on NASA missions, including the Perseverance rover , and the agency's Artemis Program aimed at returning humans to the moon. The exception among the new-for-2024 products is the Creator Space astronaut (item 31152 ; $54.99), which builds a spacesuit and maneuvering unit similar to (though not directly based on) the type worn by Bruce McCandless and other early space shuttle astronauts to demonstrate tether-less spacewalks. Related: Best Lego space sets 2023: NASA sets, spaceships and more LEGO City Space Base and Rocket Launchpad: $134.99 at Amazon This 1,422-piece kit lets the space explorer in your life build their own tower crane, spaceship, launchpad, truck, and alien planet setting complete with astronauts, ground crew and alien lifeforms. Best of all, it can be combined with any of the new Lego space kits coming out in 2024. Designed for boys and girls who are 9 years of age or older, the Space Astronaut is a "3-in-1" build, such that directions are included to reuse the same parts to also build a posable dog wearing a spacesuit and a futuristic "space viper jet." Even the astronaut has a slight sci-fi twist to it; rather than there being a person inside, lifting the helmet visor reveals a cockpit for a Lego minifigure to sit inside, making the spacesuit a hidden a mech (or mechanical suit). Seven of the new space sets are part of Lego City line. Though Lego City is mostly populated by the buildings and vehicles that you would expect from a sprawling urban center, it also has included some space-related sets, especially when themed to operating a launch facility or spaceport for the city's residents. In 2022, Lego worked with NASA to create a series of City sets that were based on the agency's Artemis program . Though not models, the builds shared enough details in common with actual and planned hardware to be marketed with NASA's logo and Artemis renderings on the boxes. Artemis is launching astronauts to the moon in order to learn what is needed to eventually send crews to Mars and further out into deep space. So perhaps the 2024 City Space sets are an extension of that future. The 2024 sets include a Space Construction Mech (item 60428 ; $10.99); a Spaceship and Asteroid Discovery ( 60429 ; $19.99); an Interstellar Spaceship ( 60430 ; $19.99); a Space Explorer Rover and Alien Life ( 60431 ; $34.99); a Command Rover and Crane Loader ( 60432 ; $84.99); a Modular Space Station ( 60433 ; $109.99; and a Space Base and Rocket Launchpad ( 60434 ; $134.99). Though still solidly science fiction, the "alien life" included in some of the sets is more organic in appearance then previous Lego aliens that tended to follow the classic little green (or grey) men approach. The City sets are recommended for children ages 6 to 8 and older, depending on the complexity of the build. For even younger space cadets, there is the new Duplo Space Shuttle Adventure ( 10422 ; $59.99), aimed at toddlers as young as 3 years old. The colorful kit includes a working winch and spinning propeller for little astronauts to encounter when repairing their rocket on a spacewalk. Lego Friends, which is intended primary for young girls, has two new space sets. The Mars Space Base and Rocket ( 42605 ; $79.99) features four rearrangeable "pods" dedicated to science, communications, growing food and relaxing, as well as an airlock. Mini-dolls Olivia, Julian and Aveline are also included, together with their "space cat" Jones. Back on Earth, there is also the Friends Stargazing Camping Vehicle ( 42603 ; $29.99), which has a buildable toy telescope, a 4x4 vehicle with camping trailer and self-folding tent, two mini-dolls, a dog and a hedgehog. Kids can use to the set's backdrop to create constellations and position planets in the night sky. The Jan. 1 sets are rounded out by a 450 piece Classic colorful brick kit, Creative Space Planets ( 11037 ; $34.99), which includes the parts for multiple small space-related builds, and Mr. Oz's Space Car ( 71475 ; $29.99), part of the LEGO DREAMZzz line that images what kids could build if they could harness the power of dreams. The "space car" is the most fantastical model among the new sets, but shares the same "Space" branding as the others released on Monday. For those looking for even more space in 2024, Lego has at least four additional "Space" sets coming in March. Technic will join the collection with its first sci-fi-leaning builds, but with the twist that NASA helped designing the Mars Crew Exploration Rover ( 42180 ; $149.99), Surface Space Loader LT78 ( 42178 ; $34.99) and VTOL Heavy Cargo Spaceship LT81 ( 42181 ; $109.99) coming on March 1. Also, just in time for the total solar eclipse that will cross North America on April 8, Lego Technic will also introduce the Planet Earth and Moon in Orbit ( 42179 ; $74.99), a working orrery perfect for demonstrating how and why eclipses occur. Two poly-bagged sets are out now: the Lego City Space Hoverbike ( 30663 ; $4.99) and a smaller, simplified version of the Lego Technic NASA Mars Rover Perseverance (30682) that was released in 2023. Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @ collectSPACE . Copyright 2024 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.
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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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