December 20, 2019

Amsterdam’s Ghost Airport Grounded by Growth-Climate Clash
(Bloomberg) -- From its colonial trading days to reclaiming land from the sea, the Netherlands has a tradition of pushing the limits, but a public backlash over a planned airport suggests that many Dutch have had enough.With the opening of a second Amsterdam hub delayed by 20 months and counting, political fronts are hardening ahead of a crucial environmental-impact report expected in January. At the center of the dispute is whether the project is justifiable for a country of 17 million people, which already has some of the most intense land use in the world.Amid concerns over climate change and the emergence of flight-shaming, the issue is straining Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s complex four-party coalition. The Christian Union, the smallest group in the government, has raised the prospect of opposing the opening of Lelystad airport, located on reclaimed land 40 miles east of Amsterdam.“The Christian Union is not against aviation, but against nuisance for local residents and damage to the environment,” said Eppo Bruins, a lawmaker for the party. “We can only determine whether the airport can be opened if all information is on the table.”The 160 million-euro project ($178 million) -- backed by Rutte’s VVD party -- would add dozens of daily flights to the Amsterdam area. That could free space for KLM to continue international expansion at the city’s Schiphol hub, which has reached government-imposed capacity limits.A process of national soul-searching began after the plan suffered its first of three delays in April 2018. The latest hurdle is the risk to local eco-systems posed by nitrogen-oxide pollution from airplane exhaust. An independent government-appointed commission will deliver its verdict early next year, with the report likely to set off political wrangling in the run-up to elections in early 2021.“It’s sheer madness to facilitate a new airport in times of climate urgency,” said Suzanne Kroeger, a member of parliament for the environmentalist GroenLinks party, which is in the opposition. “Lelystad will be a failure.”As Schiphol passengers jostle through crowded terminals and planes queue up for takeoff amid the Christmas travel crush, Lelystad remains a ghost airport. The converted general-aviation airfield has traffic controllers, custom checks and kiss-and-ride parking signs, but no passengers.On a recent December day, the tarmac was occupied only by a small propeller plane, while a few construction workers performed minor work at the facility, which would still need months to open if and when it gets approval. The airport operator declined requests for an interview and a tour of the facility.The nearby city of Lelystad is hoping the situation changes soon. The capital of the province of Flevoland sits on land reclaimed in the 1950s and is keen on attracting business to the isolated area.“Lelystad has a cyclically sensitive economy,” said Janneke Sparreboom, the city official in charge of economic affairs. “The opening of the airport will make it more robust: more employment, more people coming to live.”National interests are tied to the site becoming a landing pad for low-cost carriers such as EasyJet Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc and freeing up headroom for Schiphol. Further expansion of Europe’s third-largest hub would help support KLM’s efforts to vie with carriers like Deutsche Lufthansa AG and IAG SA’s British Airways, according to Lelystad supporters.More than 23 million passengers flew via Schiphol and the other four national airports in the third quarter, according to the national statistics agency. That marks the highest number of quarterly air passengers ever measured, even though growth at the country’s dominant airfield was a mere 0.2%.The Netherlands has shown that it’s prepared to go to significant lengths to protect its aviation interests. Earlier this year, the Dutch government secretly accumulated a 14% stake in its flag carrier’s parent company Air France-KLM, sparking a spat with France over influence at the group.‘Indestructible Optimism’“One thing is very clear and without dispute: the importance of Schiphol as a hub,” said Mustafa Amhaouch, a lawmaker for the coalition Christian Democratic Appeal party, adding that Lelystad is “key” for the development of KLM’s home base. Limiting aviation isn’t a realistic option, and environmental concerns could be addressed by technology advances and the European Union’s Green Deal policies, he said.Opponents aren’t buying it, arguing that low-wage airport jobs and incremental development don’t justify the environmental cost.“It is unthinkable and unacceptable to open a new airport in this day and age,” said Leon Adegeest, head of a group that is seeking to block the opening. “The government would be smart in saying we are going to look into what is really best for society.”For Rutte’s party, that answer is already clear. Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen wants to push for the first Lelystad flights next year, despite the brewing controversy.“My optimism is indestructible,” she said.(Adds passenger details in 13th paragraph)\--With assistance from Samuel Dodge.To contact the reporters on this story: Ellen Proper in Amsterdam at eproper@bloomberg.net;John Hermse in The Hague at jhermse@bloomberg.net;Fred Pals in Amsterdam at fpals@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Chris Reiter, Iain RogersFor 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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