December 23, 2019
Eighty flood warnings remain in place on Monday morning after a weekend of downpours left parts of the south of England flooded. 
Devastating Floods Hit Homes In The South Of England Just Days Before Christmas
Pictures released on Sunday show desperate homeowners attempting to shield their homes in the days before Christmas, cars passing through high water, and people in a Kent caravan park being evacuated by dinghy. 
A yellow weather warning was in place across the south of the country for much of the weekend, following heavy rain during the week. Conditions are expected to improve on Monday, with little rain forecast, but in addition to the 80 flood warnings, 192 areas – stretching from the Lake District to the south coast – are still under Environment Agency flood alerts with residents being advised to plan accordingly. 
Around 90 properties were flooded over the course of the weekend – about 60 in the South East and around 30 in Devon and Cornwall.
The Environment Agency has advised people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through standing water as just 30cm of flowing flood water is enough to flood a car.This autumn rainfall records were broken for South Yorkshire, Nottingham and Lincolnshire, and the country as a whole saw its fifth wettest autumn since records began. The Met Office’s national outlook for the Christmas week ahead suggests there will be less in the way of rainfall, although spells of rain will arrive in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the far north of England. 
Elsewhere, the majority of regions will remain dry with sunny spells and early showers in western parts of England and Wales gradually fading. Some rain in Cornwall is expected later in the day, with windy conditions. 
Overnight clouds are expected to gather, bringing rain to much of England and Wales and showers in the south of the UK and parts of Scotland. There’ll also be some freezing fog in parts of Scotland. 
The Met Office have forecast rain for northern and central England, as well as north Wales, on Christmas Eve, with wind and showers in the south. 
The big day itself is forecast to be cold and bright, but becoming more unsettled throughout Boxing Day as rain and strong winds push east. By Friday it’s likely to be mild and cloudy, with rain mostly concentrated in the north west. Meanwhile, a group of politicians from flood-stricken regions of the UK have called on the government to invest in better flood defenced and set up a new emergency response unit, The Guardian reported. 
Leaders from northern areas hit by November’s severe floods told the paper that they wanted to see a “Cobra for the north” established. They also said there was a need for “multimillion-pound investment” for flood defences to avoid a “catastrophe of the same scale” happening again.Dan Jarvis, the elected mayor of the Sheffield City Region, told The Guardian that the government needed to establish a “Cobra for the north” that would be chaired by a cabinet minister and kick into action as soon as floods hit the region.
Cobra is the government’s emergency response committee made up of ministers, civil servants, the police, intelligence officers and others appropriate officials.
Jarvis said the PM had privately agreed to help convene a dedicated emergency response group to react quicker to flooding after he was criticised for his slow response to the devastation,  and added the new unit should be chaired by communities secretary Robert Jenrick.
The army was called in to assist stricken communities after towns and villages around Doncaster and Sheffield, and parts of the Midlands, were drenched by heavy downpours last month.Doncaster Council said more than 900 homes and businesses in the town were affected by the rain earlier this month.Simon Greaves, Labour leader of Bassetlaw Council, also told The Guardian that the system of allocating funding to flood defences was “rigged against” places such as Worksop in Nottinghamshire.
He added: “It would be a scandal if the government response to this crisis is simply devoted to a mopping-up exercise and a grant here and a grant there when actually there are people’s homes that need to be saved from flooding in the future.
“There will be a need for multimillion pound-investment for flood defences without any doubt if we’re going to avoid a catastrophe of the same scale.”
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “Recent flooding in Yorkshire had terrible consequences for people and businesses.
“This is why we are investing record amounts to help protect communities across the nation from the threat of flooding, using both natural flood management techniques and traditional defences.
“We spend money where it is needed most – with similar funding heading to high-risk areas across both the North and South of England.”Related... Eight Dead As Storm Elsa Batters Europe 'As Bad As It Gets': Australian Bushfires Reach 'Catastrophic' Levels There's Been A Norovirus Outbreak – Here's What You Need To Know
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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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