December 31, 2019

Kim Jong-un says North Korea ending moratoriums on tests - and touts new strategic weapon
North Korea is to abandon its moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, Kim Jong-un has announced. Addressing a meeting with party officials, the North Korean leader also said the country would unveil a new strategic weapon in the new future, the country's official KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday. "There is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer," he is quoted as saying. "The world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future." North Korea has not tested a long-range missile or nuclear warhead since 2017 under a self-imposed moratorium. But in recent weeks the North Koreans had been more bellicose as tensions escalated on the Korean peninsula. North Korean missile ranges Kim had signalled that Pyongyang was preparing a "gift" which would be unveiled if the US failed to make significant concessions in negotiations by the end of the year. He paved the way for the move at a meeting of 300 top officials. The North Koreans had been demanding the lifting of sanctions as a price for stepping up the pace of peace talks which appeared to have stalled. His announcement will be a blow for Donald Trump who thought personal diplomacy could end decades of hostility. A series of summits raised hopes that the US president's unconventional diplomatic approach could bear fruit. Mr Trump, who had derided Kim as "Rocket Man", struck a different note over the summer praising the leader of the rogue regime. The US president on Tuesday said he believed Kim would stick to his commitments on denuclearisation. "We did sign a contract, talking about denuclearisation. That was the number one sentence, 'denuclearisation', that was done in Singapore. I think he's a man of his word," a tuxedo-wearing Mr Trump told reporters before heading into New Year festivities at his holiday retreat in Florida. In Florida Mr Trump repeated his previous comments that he and Kim "like" each other and have a very good relationship. "He is representing his country. We will do what we have to do," he added. Hopes had been raised further when the two men met at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) which divides North and South Korea at the end of June. Kim Jong-un in pictures: Bizarre photoshoots of North Korea's leader The US president maintained that the suspension of nuclear tests was evidence that his approach had succeeded where others had failed and that Kim could be persuaded to give up his nuclear arsenal. In Washington officials had sought to play down the threat from Pyongyang, despite the increasingly aggressive noises coming from North Korea. But in recent months relations have worsened and the North Korean leader struck a harsh note at the meeting of the ruling Workers Party. "The US is raising demands contrary to the fundamental interests of our state and is adopting brigandish attitude," KCNA cited him as saying. "We can never sell our dignity," he added, saying Pyongyang would "shift to a shocking actual action to make (the US) pay for the pains sustained by our people". Kim added that "if the US persists in its hostile policy toward the DPRK, there will never be the denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy," according to the agency. Kim and President Donald Trump have met three times since June 2018, but negotiations have faltered since the collapse of their second summit last February in Vietnam. The North announced in December that it performed two "crucial" tests at its long-range rocket launch site that would further strengthen its nuclear deterrent, prompting speculation that it was developing an ICBM or planning a satellite launch that would provide an opportunity to advance its missile technologies. North Korea also last year ended a 17-month pause in ballistic activity by testing a slew of solid-fuel weapons that potentially expanded its capabilities to strike targets in South Korea and Japan, including U.S. military bases there.
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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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