December 29, 2019

Hong Kong’s Economy Set to Contract in Fourth Quarter, Chan Says
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s economy is set to contract in the fourth quarter as the city reels from six months of violent social unrest, the financial chief said Sunday.“Based on the situation of these few months, it is inevitable that negative growth will continue,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in a blog post. “This means the government will be less flexible in using financial resources under an economic recession.”The increasingly violent pro-democracy protests have undermined Hong Kong’s economy, discouraging tourists from visiting and slashing retail sales. Although this weekend’s gatherings were relatively muted, a mass rally approved by authorities is scheduled for Jan. 1.Wednesday’s gathering is being organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, which has held some of the biggest rallies since unrest began. Smaller protests this weekend targeted a mall frequented by mainland Chinese shoppers and led to clashes with police.The number of mainland visitors, who comprise the biggest group of tourists in the city, has plunged by almost half during the unrest, while retail revenue has dropped by about a quarter.Chan said his budget speech to be delivered in February will focus on supporting business, safeguarding employment, reviving the economy and relieving social distress as the city also faces international turbulence such as protectionism and geopolitics. The “core competitiveness” of Hong Kong’s financial market including the banking and securities system, the dollar peg and free flow of capital remain robust and orderly, Chan said.Visitor ArrivalsVisitor arrivals from China fell a record 46% in October to slightly more than 2.5 million, less than half of the record set in January. The most recent data for retail sales in Hong Kong, once a mecca for shoppers, showed a 24.3% plunge, the biggest ever.In a separate statement, Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said the city’s institutional strengths such as the rule of law, clean government and a level playing field for businesses have remained strong and intact. The government will broaden its channels of communications with the public, listening and responding more to people’s views and concerns in the coming year, he said.The city is establishing an independent review committee comprising experts and community leaders to look into the causes and full circumstances of the social unrest, examining deep-seated issues including unaffordable housing and the wealth gap, Cheung said.The government has launched four rounds of relief measures since August, which will not solve the economic problems but could help businesses and Hong Kong people “stay afloat while we strive to heal our divided community and battered economy,” Cheung said.“The year 2019 has been a year of unremitting shocks and turbulence to our community and our economy,“ Cheung said. “The past six months have been tough for us, but we will soldier on.”The government forecasts an annual economic contraction of 1.3% for 2019. The unemployment rate rose to 3.2% in November, the highest level since July 2017. During the protests, more than 2,600 people have been injured, including more than 500 police officers, Cheung said.Multiple rail stations were vandalized, and almost 21,000 square meters (226,042 square feet) of paving blocks from walkways were ripped up and used to attack police officers, he said. More than 52,000 meters (170,604 feet) of street-side railing were removed and 740 sets of traffic lights were destroyed.While the social unrest has taken its toll on the economy, the divide between the government and activists is growing. The protesters initially demanded the withdrawal of a proposed extradition law that would have allowed fugitives to be sent to China to stand trial. By the time the bill was pulled months later, the demands had expanded to include more democracy and direct elections for the city’s leader.The perceived threat to Hong Kong’s autonomy from China’s expanding influence in the former British colony that was returned in 1997 has been central to the protests. Those fears were fanned further this week with the release of a video showing Chinese troops based in the city carrying out sea and air patrols in the waters of Hong Kong.The protesters have also shifted their focus to Beijing-friendly businesses, a lot of which have been vandalized and disrupted by demonstrators. Police said officers arrested 20 people on Saturday in the Sheung Shui district where about 150 people protested at a shopping mall near the Chinese border. The protesters targeted mainland shoppers, whom locals blame for buying up goods to resell in China, driving up prices and leading to shortages.Prayer RallyOn Sunday, a couple of hundred people gathered in Edinburgh Place, a square in the city center, for a “Pray for Hong Kong” rally. Buddhist monks led chanting and prayers for calm to return to society and the demonstrations remained peaceful.Lawmakers and government officials have so far been unable to satisfy the demands of protesters or to arrest the growth in the movement’s popularity. Last month, pro-government candidates were roundly defeated in district council elections, with almost 90% of seats going to pro-democracy candidates.Regina Ip, a member of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s top advisory body, said in an interview with Cable TV Sunday that some members of the Executive Council had offered to resign if it would help calm protesters down. Lam turned down the offer, saying the members were “on the periphery” of roles that would need to take responsibility. Ip didn’t say when the council members had made the offer.(Adds PLA video in 13th paragraphs, details on arrests in 14th)\--With assistance from Justin Chin.To contact the reporters on this story: Shirley Zhao in Hong Kong at xzhao306@bloomberg.net;Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at amcnicholas2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, ;Jeffrey Black at jblack25@bloomberg.net, Andrew Davis, Linus ChuaFor 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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