October 28, 2019

John Conyers Jr., 26-Term Congressman Hit by Scandal, Dies
(Bloomberg) -- John Conyers Jr., a Democrat who was serving his 26th term in the U.S. House when he resigned from Congress after allegations that he sexually harassed employees, has died at age 90.Conyers’ death at his home in Detroit on Oct. 27 was confirmed by a family spokeswoman, the Washington Post reported. No cause of death of given.The representative from Michigan’s 13th district entered the U.S. House in 1965. During his tenure, he introduced legislation on civil liberties, voting rights and violence against Women while advancing the causes of black Americans by co-founding the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969.Conyers was the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving member of the House when, in November 2017, several former staff members accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Conyers denied any wrongdoing but announced his retirement several weeks later. He acknowledged agreeing to a $27,000 settlement in 2015 with a former aide who said she was fired because she rejected his sexual advances.Complicated Legacy“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” he said in an interview with a Detroit radio station. “This, too, shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to succeed him. Rashida Tlaib ultimately won the seat, becoming one of the first Muslim-American women in Congress.Tlaib called Conyers “our congressman forever” who “never once wavered in fighting for jobs, justice and peace.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the Detroit community and Congress mourn the loss of a civil-rights champion and public servant.“Chairman Conyers’ life was lived in service to achieving true equality in America,” Pelosi said. “His leadership made a difference in the lives of countless Americans.”Conyers, who handily won re-election contests over the decades, initiated the measure that created the national holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and employed civil-rights icon Rosa Parks for 23 years.For more than a decade, he pushed the U.S. National Health Care Act, which would provide taxpayer-funded treatment for all citizens free of charge. His vision for universal health care, similar to that of the U.K.’s National Health Service, went beyond President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Conyers saw as a platform to build toward a full single-payer health system.‘Never Wavered’The Conyers bill’s supporters, such as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, said it would save more than $200 billion a year.“I’ve been a champion of justice for the oppressed and the disenfranchised,” Conyers said in a letter to colleagues when he left office in December 2017. “I never wavered in my commitment to justice and democracy.”Conyers was known to snub opponents, refusing to debate them in election campaigns, and criticized his party when he disagreed with policies it advocated.Supporting Jesse Jackson’s presidential candidacy in 1984, he said the Democratic Party had “become stale and lifeless” with an “allegiance to a corporate order that owes little loyalty to national goals.” He called for a protest march on the White House after Obama cut a deal with the Republicans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in 2011.Nixon’s EnemyConyers was on the “enemies list” that President Richard Nixon’s administration compiled to target political opponents through tax audits and other methods in the early 1970s. The Michigan representative was later on the Judiciary Committee for the 1974 hearings on the Watergate impeachment process. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.Among other issues that Conyers spoke out against included Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War; the Republican push to impeach President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal; and the Republican drive to ban abortions in the District of Columbia in 2012.John Conyers Jr. was born May 16, 1929, in Detroit. He was the oldest son of Lucille Simpson and John Conyers, who worked at the Chrysler plant.During the Korean War, he served in the National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before attending Wayne State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1957.He then became a legislative assistant to John Dingell, the Michigan representative, for two years. Conyers became a partner in the law firm Conyers, Bell & Townsend and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to promote racial tolerance in the legal profession.Medicare LegislationAs a congressman, Conyers co-sponsored President Johnson’s Medicare legislation and the 1965 Voting Rights Bill. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he oversaw the Justice Department and the federal courts, and dealt with civil-rights and consumer-protection issues. He sponsored the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and introduced the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to improve the voting system after the presidential election in 2000 needed a recount to determine a winner.Conyers also wrote a 2006 report, “The Constitution in Crisis,” that outlined attempts by George W. Bush’s administration to manipulate intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He recommended censuring Bush.He and his wife, Monica, had two sons: John III and Carl. In 2010, Monica Conyers was sentenced to 37 months in prison for accepting bribes while she was serving on the Detroit City Council.(Updates with comments from Pelosi, Tlaib from seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Mark Niquette.To contact the reporter on this story: David Henry in Frankfurt at sgittelson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at tharrison5@bloomberg.net, Jodi Schneider, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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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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