December 30, 2019

Lev Parnas Pushes to Share His Info With House Intel
Lev Parnas, a former Rudy Giuliani associate charged with financial crimes, is looking to share more material with congressional investigators, according to a letter his lawyer has sent to a federal judge. The letter, filed in court on Monday evening, indicates that the committee first tasked with helming the impeachment inquiry is gathering additional evidence about Trump World. In the letter, Parnas’ lawyer Joseph Bondy said the Justice Department will share materials with his client on Tuesday that it seized from his home and at his arrest. The materials include documents and the contents of an iPhone. Bondy then asked Judge Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York to allow him to share those materials with the House Intelligence Committee; a court order currently bars him from sharing them with anyone. The Justice Department has said it does not object to him giving the material to Congress. “Review of these materials is essential to the Committee’s ability to corroborate the strength of Mr. Parnas’ potential testimony,” Bondy wrote. The potential new document dump comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deliberates on when to send the House’s articles of impeachment to the Senate. The House voted largely along party lines to pass two articles of impeachment on President Donald Trump earlier this month. The next step, which Pelosi has not yet taken, is to send the articles to the upper chamber for trial. Trump’s relationship with Ukraine—in particular through his intermediary and personal lawyer Giuliani—is at the center of the impeachment process. Parnas had a front-row seat to much of Giuliani’s Ukraine-related activity. Federal authorities arrested Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman at Dulles Airport in October and charged them with conspiring to illegally funnel money from a foreign national into an American election. For many months before their arrest, the two worked with Giuliani to investigate allegations about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who served for a time on the board of a scandal-dogged Ukrainian energy company. At the same time, the trio pushed for the ouster of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from her post as the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv. Their efforts succeeded, and Trump removed her from the job in May.Two months after removing Yovanovitch, Trump had the now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he asked the newly elected leader to work with Giuliani to scrutinize the Biden-linked company, as well as allegations about Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election. Trump’s former top Russia official, Fiona Hill, said the Kremlin is pushing those allegations as part of a disinformation campaign designed to harm Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman, both Soviet-born U.S. citizens, made hefty political contributions through an entity they started called Global Energy Partners. And they built connections on Capitol Hill; after then-Rep. Pete Sessions sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for Yovanovitch’s removal, a PAC the pair supported shelled out a huge sum to boost his re-election bid. Sessions’ name was also batted around within the Trump administration as a potential replacement for Yovanovitch, though any efforts to install him there didn’t get traction. Parnas and Fruman have both pleaded not guilty. And Parnas indicated he would cooperate with the congressional impeachment inquiry. Because of his close proximity to Giuliani, he may have significant visibility into Giuliani’s actions that other witnesses lack. For instance, a senior Zelensky aide confirmed to The Daily Beast that Parnas was present for a meeting he had with Giuliani where they discussed the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. Parnas’ lawyer also said the Floridian worked to help Rep. Devin Nunes’ team with its investigative work. Phone records released later by impeachment investigators indicated there was communication between Parnas and Nunes himself, though Nunes has said he doesn’t remember talking with the Giuliani pal.
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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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