December 28, 2019

2019 saw most mass killings on record, US database reveals
Thirty-three of 41 incidents involved firearms, research shows, even as overall number of homicides fellThis year saw the highest number of mass killings on record, database records show, with 41 incidents claiming 211 lives in 2019 even as the overall US homicide rated dropped.According to the database complied by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, 33 of the incidents, defined as when four or more people are killed excluding the perpetrator, involved firearms.The 41 mass killings were the most in a single year since the database began tracking such events back in 2006. Other research going back to the 1970s shows no other year with as many mass killings. The second-most was 38 in 2006.Following deadly rampages in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in May; in the Texas cities of Odessa and El Paso, and Dayton, Ohio, in August; and in Jersey City, New Jersey, this month, the brutal yearly tally comes as the debate over gun-control and efforts to reduce access to 4m assault weapons in circulation appear stalled.On Saturday, the 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden renewed his calls for curbs on the military-style weapons, telling supporters in a funding email: “The American people may be running out of tears, but we cannot run out of strength and resolve to get something done.”But Biden remains an exception to the leading Democratic candidates in refusing to support some form of federal gun licensing.With some variations in detail, all, including Biden, have called for imposing stricter background checks and a federal ban on assault-style weapons. But only the former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has made gun control central to his policy platform, calling for a national gun licensing system, stricter background checks, as well as federal laws allowing courts to confiscate firearms from people considered dangerous.Those efforts come after a troubled year for the country’s most vociferous and powerful gun advocate, the National Rifle Association. Beset by executive infighting, the lobbying group faces a New York state investigation into claims that thousands of dollars were diverted to its board members.In terms of the number of fatalities, the 211 people killed in this year is still eclipsed by the 224 victims in 2017, when the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history took place at a concert in Las Vegas.California, with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, registered eight mass killings, the most in the country. Nearly half of US states experienced a mass killing.According to the database, most mass killings fail to make national news unless they spill into public spaces. The majority involve people who knew each other, family disputes, drug or gang violence or people with beefs that directed their anger at co-workers or relatives.According to the database, the first mass killing of the year occurred 19 days into the new year when a 42-year-old man took an ax and stabbed to death his mother, stepfather, girlfriend and 9-month-old daughter in Clackamas county, Oregon. The attack ended when police shot and killed the assailant.In many cases, what triggered the perpetrator remains a mystery, the database shows. The incident in Oregon was one of 18 mass killings where family members were killed, and one of six that didn’t involve a gun. Other weapons included knives, axes and arson. Nine mass shootings occurred in public spaces; others were in homes, workplaces or bars.“What makes this even more exceptional is that mass killings are going up at a time when general homicides, overall homicides, are going down,” James Densley, a criminologist and professor at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota, told the Associated Press. “This seems to be the age of mass shootings,” Densley said, expressing worry over a “contagion effect” spreading mass killings.“What fuels contagion is fear,” explained James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern. “These are still rare events. Clearly the risk is low but the fear is high.”The Associated Press contributed reporting
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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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