December 30, 2019

Biden Rebounds, Warren Slows, Sanders Rolls: The Latest on the 2020 Money Race
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's slip in the 2020 primary polls has been accompanied by a dip in donations, with her campaign setting a rare public goal: aiming to raise $20 million for the fourth quarter of 2019 ending Tuesday, or about 20% less than what she raised in the previous three-month period.Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has rebounded from a weak third quarter, in which he raised only $15.7 million and spent $2 million more than he took in. Now his campaign is trying to assert his front-runner status in the Democratic race, pushing in the final 48 hours of the year to post "our biggest fundraising quarter yet," as Biden wrote in an email Sunday, by topping the $21.5 million he raised last spring.The shifting financial fortunes of Warren and Biden illustrate the unsettled nature of the Democratic presidential contest heading into 2020, with four candidates -- Biden, Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana -- battling for position in the top tier of polling and seeking to bolster their treasuries ahead of the final sprint to the Iowa caucuses and beyond.Sanders is expected to remain a financial pacesetter in the 2020 contest. He has about 1.6 million individual donations this quarter alone and is nearing a goal of 5 million total contributions. With an average donation of $18 for the year, and slightly less than that now, the numbers suggest he has already raised about $26 million in the fourth quarter -- more than any Democratic candidate has raised in any quarter this year.No other 2020 candidate has announced reaching 3 million donations for the year.Buttigieg is closing in on 2 million donations (he has more than 1.95 million, according to campaign emails). That means he has already received more than 700,000 contributions this quarter, his most in a three-month period. He recently said his average donation was around $30, suggesting a haul of more than $21 million. Buttigieg raised $19.1 million and $24.6 million in the previous two quarters.The impending quarterly deadline Tuesday is critical for the campaigns as they urge their supporters to help them finish the year on a strong note. It is also the last time before the nominating contests begin that they will be required to open the books on their finances, with full reports to be released Jan. 31.The money chase shows not only which candidates are most viable for a potentially long and contested primary battle but also who has a diverse and well-built financial foundation for a potential general election matchup against President Donald Trump, who entered October with $158 million between his campaign and shared committees with the Republican Party.The estimated hauls are very much subject to change, since campaigns can bank millions in the final days of the quarter. And while the the top-line figures for money raised are significant, the Democratic campaigns' cash situation -- how much they have in the bank for ads, organizers and field programs -- is more crucial now that voting begins in less than 40 days.Despite Biden's turnaround on the fundraising front -- he raised more in just October and November than he had the previous three months -- he entered the fall with only a fraction of the cash of his leading rivals. His $9 million in the bank Sept. 30 trailed Buttigieg by $14.4 million, Warren by $16.7 million and Sanders by $24.7 million, gaps he is unlikely to substantially close.That is perhaps one reason Biden reversed himself in late October and blessed his supporters' forming a super PAC, which has already begun airing television ads in Iowa. (His campaign has said he reversed his stance because of anti-Biden ads funded by Trump.)It has been a turbulent three months in the fundraising world as one of the race's stronger fundraisers, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, dropped out unexpectedly in early December, sparking a frenzy among other campaigns for her mostly California-based team of financiers. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York also entered the race and began to spend some of his multibillion-dollar personal fortune on an enormous nationwide television ad campaign, reshaping the financial landscape beyond the early-voting states where another billionaire, Tom Steyer, has been flooding the airwaves.Besides the race's four polling leaders, Andrew Yang, the businessman who has surprised political observers with his staying power and a devoted online following he affectionately calls the Yang Gang, is expected to be the only other contender to crack $10 million raised in the fourth quarter."We expect to raise more than $12.5 million, at least 25% more than the previous quarter," said S.Y. Lee, a spokesman for Yang.How candidates are raising their money -- and whom they solicit for contributions -- has become a central point of contention in the primary in recent weeks, with Sanders and Warren touting their independence from the traditional world of big contributors while hitting Biden and Buttigieg for their reliance on wealthy donors."For far too long, the wealthy and the powerful have used their money to buy our candidates and our elections," said Tim Tagaris, a senior adviser to Sanders. "And what Bernie Sanders is proving -- for the first time -- is that one can run for president without begging them for their money."In a sign of the breadth of donors that Sanders counts, his campaign was pushing for 135,000 donations in the last two days of the year; Biden has set a goal of 500,000 donations for the entire quarter.Warren, who like Sanders has decided not to make appeals to big donors at traditional fundraisers, has called for her rivals to disclose their lists of "bundlers," who have gathered campaign checks for them. In turn, Warren has been pressed about the $10 million she transferred to her presidential campaign from her 2018 Senate bid, when she was still courting such large contributors.Both Biden and Buttigieg recently did disclose their bundlers, with Buttigieg sharing the names of more than 100 people or couples who had gathered at least $25,000 and Biden disclosing more than 200. Biden appeared to time his release to minimize attention, revealing the names of his top fundraisers late on the Friday evening after Christmas.Biden has seen some of the bundlers for his former rivals who have left the race -- especially Harris but also former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas -- gravitate toward him as he continues to lead in national polling. Former Harris supporters now backing Biden include John Emerson, an investment executive in California; two influential New York finance-world fundraisers, Marc Lasry and Blair Effron; and Alex Heckler, an attorney in Florida."As the field narrows, we're seeing Democrats coalesce and rally around Vice President Biden," said Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Biden. "Voters want a candidate who can bring people together and defeat Donald Trump, and a sense of urgency about that as we approach voting is clearly driving a new wave of support."Wade Randlett, a fundraiser for Biden in the San Francisco Bay Area, said concerns over Biden's cash had been overblown and that "if money were the majority driver of success we'd be talking about a Bloomberg-Steyer ticket.""Money matters because you need to have enough," Randlett said. "And we are definitely going to have enough to prosecute a campaign in all 50 states through the primaries."Warren was the No. 2 fundraiser in the field in the third quarter, when she raised $24.6 million. But her campaign said Friday that she was "a good chunk behind" that mark this time, with a little more than $17 million collected with four days left in the quarter."It will be nearly impossible to match last quarter at this point. But we need to start closing the gap," read one Warren solicitation for donations.For the first time in the campaign, Warren also signed an email to the list of a group that supports her, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which split the proceeds between her and the organization.Buttigieg's campaign has set a $750,000 target in the final 48 hours of the quarter. He recently told The Des Moines Register's editorial board that "the average contribution was coming in around 30 bucks."Beyond the end of the year, Buttigieg's campaign is expecting at least a small windfall in early January from Wall Street, where he has become a popular figure, as some donors are waiting to avoid running afoul of laws restricting contributions to those who oversee public pensions (Buttigieg will then no longer be mayor).Two other candidates who have struggled relative to the leaders to raise money and garner attention are hoping to finish 2019 on a high note.Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who missed the December debate because of the polling threshold, said two weeks ago that he needed to raise $800,000 to have his best quarter of the year. His previous high was $6 million. He had raised $641,000 of the $800,000 goal as of early Monday, according to a campaign fundraising email.Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has announced raising more than $1 million in the 24 hours after two recent debates, and has said she would report more money than last quarter, when she raised $4.8 million.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
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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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