March 07, 2018
At least two people have been killed and eight others injured in anti-Muslim riots in a popular tourist district in central Sri Lanka as the government blocked Facebook and other social media services in an effort to quell the violence.
Sri Lanka blocks social media as deadly violence continues
Reports of an attack on a Buddhist temple in Abathanna triggered another day of clashes across Kandy district between members of the country’s mostly Buddhist Sinhala majority and police.
One man died from a heart attack after his shop was attacked and another person is thought to have been killed while trying to attack a mosque, according to police in Katugastota town and sources at the prime minister’s office said.
Groups of men wielding clubs, some covering their faces, were seen roaming the streets in at least five areas across Kandy on Tuesday as the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, arrived to meet police officials.
Police fired teargas as the rioting spread across the district on Tuesday night. Three officers were wounded in one area, Menikhinna, and seven people were arrested for breaking an indefinite curfew in place across Kandy, a police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekara, said.
Supporters of radical Buddhist nationalist groups have been blamed for days of arson attacks and vandalism against Muslim-owned properties in Kandy which have prompted the government to declare its first state of emergency since the end of the civil war era.
A witness in Abathanna said crowds including masked men had begun to congregate in the town around 9am on Wednesday morning.
“There was a story that a temple had been attacked last night, so these groups were going around, stoning and smashing windows of Muslim shops,” Ruwan Kulasekera said.
Police in riot gear fired bullets in the air and used teargas to clear the crowd, but there were fears people would return again after dark, he said.
Facebook and other social media services were blocked or restricted across Sri Lanka on Wednesday afternoon to prevent the spread of anti-Muslim posts the government said were helping to fuel the violence, which it has blamed on hardline Buddhist groups accused of bussing supporters into the district.
Harsha de Silva, the deputy minister for national policies and economic affairs, tweeted:
More than 150 homes, shops and vehicles were estimated to have been destroyed in riots on Monday and Tuesday, which were sparked at the weekend after a group of Muslim men in Digana town allegedly killed a Sinhala man. Sri Lanka’s Sinhala population makes up about three-quarters of the country’s total population.
Muslim-owned properties were attacked soon after the man’s funeral but the violence escalated after two hardline Buddhist monks with large social media followings and a history of inflammatory rhetoric arrived in Digana to negotiate the release of accused rioters.
When police refused, dozens of Muslim properties were set alight and a curfew was imposed in two towns in the district. On Tuesday morning the body of a 24-year-old man was pulled from one of the houses set on fire the previous day.
All schools in the district have been closed and the governments of the United States, Britain and Australia have issued travel warnings to their citizens.
Analysts said Buddhist nationalist groups had sharpened their anti-Muslim rhetoric since the end of the civil war in 2009. Four people were killed and many more injured in riots between Muslims and Buddhists in June 2015. Several Buddhist extremist leaders were accused of instigating the violence and are on trial.
Last week groups of people set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country after rumours that a Muslim chef was adding contraceptives to food served to Sinhala customers.
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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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