December 24, 2019

Klobuchar Is Banking on Iowa Moderates. Her Problem: So Is Buttigieg
DIAGONAL, Iowa -- Amy Klobuchar was holding two loaves of bread.It was stop five on the second day of her post-debate bus tour, and she was in Diagonal, a tiny town of just more than 300 in the deep southwestern part of the state. A woman known for her fresh bread had brought some loaves as a gift. About two dozen people came to watch Klobuchar accept them. Later, on "Face the Nation," she boasted about getting "record crowds" in small towns.The following day, Pete Buttigieg -- in a suit jacket for a change -- stepped onto a makeshift stage at a high school gymnasium in Indianola, a city of 16,000 just south of Des Moines. It was his first stop on a two-day swing, and more than 1,000 people had showed up to hear him speak."Some folks on TV are starting to use the word 'front-runner' to describe our standing right here in Iowa," he said, with a touch of swagger.Of all the Democratic presidential candidates still in the race, it has been Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, and Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who have worked hardest and deepest to win over Iowa's more moderate Democrats, pitching themselves as Midwestern pragmatists who know how to prevail in red states. Both candidates know they have virtually no path to the nomination without a strong finish in Iowa, and in the six weeks that remain before the Iowa caucuses, it's likely their competition will only intensify.Both Klobuchar and Buttigieg offer messages about restoring unity in America. They speak about their ability to engage independents and Republicans. At campaign events, many attendees say both candidates are in their top tier.Yet if Klobuchar and Buttigieg have become the race's most talked-about moderate alternatives to former Vice President Joe Biden, the last weekend before Christmas was also a pointed study in the meaning of momentum. The race is still fluid in Iowa, but Klobuchar remains in a distant fifth place, behind the top four candidates: Buttigieg, Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.After an unusually spirited debate in which she took on Buttigieg directly, Klobuchar tried to capitalize on the fresh interest in her campaign with a 27-county bus tour. On Saturday, her events were energy-filled if still intimate, her crowds growing but nowhere near the hundreds that some top-tier candidates can draw to their town halls and rallies: Dozens of Iowans packed into a coffee shop in Creston for Klobuchar. They crowded into a back room in Osceola and sat with her at a local restaurant in Corning.But when a prominent endorser asked the audience in Osceola who had committed to caucus for Klobuchar, almost no one raised their hands."I don't think she closed the deal with me today at all," said Jerry Smith, 67, after the brief event concluded. "It gets right down to electability." He was still deciding between Klobuchar and Biden.His hesitancy underscored what is now Klobuchar's biggest challenge in Iowa: translating curiosity, even traction, into support on caucus night.Her campaign knows time is running out."Everyone always says, 'I like you; you're in my top three,' " Klobuchar said, at stop after stop. "We don't have time for that anymore."Recent polling shows Klobuchar on the rise but not nearly at a fast enough pace to eclipse the top-tier candidates. Polls of Iowa voters have been scarce in recent weeks, but those that exist have consistently shown her in fifth place, and an Iowa State University/Civiqs poll released last week showed her with 4% support.Still, among Iowa Democrats, expectations for Klobuchar have been rising for weeks. Aides see an opportunity for her to pick off moderate voters who are worried about Biden's age and Buttigieg's inexperience. They think she could attract women who want to vote for another woman but are concerned that Warren is too liberal.During her bus tour, she highlighted the endorsements she had received in Iowa, offering them as evidence of her strength but also as a matter of utility: If she must remain in Washington in January for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, these endorsers will double as active surrogates.But as Klobuchar and Buttigieg fight for the state's center-left, Klobuchar faces some challenges that Buttigieg does not.Though her campaign has doubled its field offices in Iowa and recently brought on Norm Sterzenbach, a veteran Democratic strategist in the state, her operation is still relatively small. She also lacks Buttigieg's fundraising prowess, which could hinder her ability to compete with deeper-pocketed candidates in the race.And scarred by Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump in 2016, some Iowans say they are wary of nominating another woman. David Lange, 58, who came to hear Klobuchar in Osceola, said he thought she had "a chance to win," citing her debate performances in particular. But though he said that he did not have any qualms about her, he voiced a broader concern: "I think there are still a fair number of people who won't vote for a woman."At the same time, Klobuchar is plain-spoken in prescribing ways out of what she sees as the country's ills, with a reach-across-the-aisle legislative record that continues to endear her to people in Iowa. She frequently leans on her wit, flecking her appearances with wry jokes -- about her hair, about Trump -- that often prompt appreciative laughs in return. In Creston, she began her remarks balanced on a step ladder -- a gesture, it seemed, for people in the back -- before professing a fear that she would fall off.Buttigieg, on the other hand, is a carefully honed case, so consistently earnest he can come across as monochromatic. In recent days, he has begun speckling his remarks with more populist themes, like the value of work."I am running to be a president for the guy who's up early in the morning in the dark scraping the windshield on his way to the first of the jobs that he is going to do over the course of the day," he said in Indianola. "Who's standing up for him?"His message, at once reliably patriotic and steeped with the conviction that America can do better, has lifted him to the top of recent polls in Iowa, where there is a heavy fixation on selecting a candidate who can beat Trump.At this point, he is also managing to do what Klobuchar is still working toward: turning a surge in interest into firm commitment."It's definitely Pete," said Brandon Marsh, 39, of Des Moines, who came to see Buttigieg in Indianola. "I think he has a good grasp on the world."Nancy Corkrean, 74, said she had decided about six weeks ago that she would caucus for Buttigieg."I like that he's middle of the road; he's all-encompassing; he's bringing us back together again," she said. "After I've been to one of his campaign events, I feel like we're healing again; we're getting back to normalcy."Her granddaughter, Sophie Stover, 19, of Winterset, showed a reporter her recently signed commit-to-caucus card, in Buttigieg's campaign colors of blue and gold. And Corkrean's husband, Pat Corkrean, 79, was getting there as well: He still liked Biden, but he was "75%" for Buttigieg now, too.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
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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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