December 27, 2019

Balkan Tensions Flare as Montenegro Angers Serbs Over Church
(Bloomberg) -- Lawmakers in Montenegro passed a controversial bill on religion that may strip its biggest denomination -- part of the Serbian Orthodox Church -- of vast assets, and fan passions in a region still reeling from ethnic conflict.The former Yugoslav republic ignored objections from Russia and former ally Serbia as it adopted the law early Friday. The legislation requires religious communities to prove ownership over land and places of worship or see the property become assets of the state. At stake are hundreds of churches and monasteries, many built in the Middle Ages.Opponents of the bill held street rallies in several Montenegrin cities. At least 18 opposition deputies were detained by police for inciting violence, most of whom were released by Friday evening, while hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets of capital Podgorica and other cities in the Adriatic republic, state broadcaster RTCG reported. Police were also deployed around the parliament to keep angry opposition activists away from the building.“This law will cause a great rift in Montenegro and a war among its citizens,” opposition lawmaker Slaven Radunovic said during debate over the legislation, which ended in a brawl among parliamentarians as they voted. Parliament speaker Ivan Brajovic said he banned lawmakers of the pro-Serbian Democratic Front for 15 days for causing the fight.The legislation is backed by the political party of President Milo Djukanovic, who has dominated the tiny Adriatic nation of 620,000 for three decades, evolving over that period from a Communist to a pro-Western leader who brought the country into NATO in 2017 despite opposition from Russia. His government says it merely aims to sort out ownership rights.Serbian TiesBut it has outraged the faithful, clergy and opposition groups, which have held prior protests demanding protection of religious rights and closer ties with Serbia, from which Montenegro separated peacefully in 2006 after other parts of the former Yugoslavia broke up in bloodshed. The country’s pro-Serbia clergy has blasted Djukanovic as an atheist bent on a Communist-style crackdown.In a sign of worsening relations with former ally Serbia, Djukanovic’s ruling party described the opponents as “outdated leftovers of the retrograde, aggressive Serbian nationalism,” according to a statement.Serbia is concerned over the fate of “sacred sites” in Montenegro but will stick to diplomatic means to protect its ethnic kin and their heritage in the neighboring country, President Aleksandar Vucic said at an event broadcast on TV, reiterating earlier calls for restraint.More than 70% of Montenegro’s population is Orthodox Christian, including a minority loyal to a separate Montenegro Orthodox Church that was formed in 1993 and isn’t recognized by other Christian communities. The local branch of the Serbian Orthodox Church controls most holy sites, some of which attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and the resulting revenue streams.While Montenegro and Serbia aspire to join the European Union, the latter has no intention of being part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which bombed their territory in 1999 during the Kosovo War, and has sought to maintain warm ties with Russia. Montenegro said in 2016 that it had foiled a Russia-backed coup aimed at killing Djukanovic and preventing his nation’s accession to NATO.Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has called for respect of the “legitimate rights” of the largest religious group in Montenegro.(Updates with comment from ruling party in seventh paragraph, Vucic in ninth)To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Irina Vilcu at isavu@bloomberg.net, Torrey Clark, Jake RudnitskyFor 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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