December 31, 2019

Donald Trump warns Iran it will pay big price as protesters try to storm US embassy in Baghdad
Donald Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad as he said he expected Iraq to “use its forces” to intervene. "Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," he wrote on Twitter. "The US Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site." Mr Trump  intensified pressure on the Iraqi authorities who had been powerless to prevent hundreds of demonstrators breaching the outer wall of the embassy compound in the heavily fortified green zone. He pressed the case for action in a call to  Iraq's caretaker  Prime Minister Adel Abd al-Mahd, urging him to protect US personnel and property. Asked later in the day about the possibility of tensions spiraling into a war with Iran, Mr Trump told reporters: "Do I want to? No. I want to have peace. I like peace. And Iran should want to have peace more than anybody. So I don't see that happening." Chanting "death to America", the protesters set fire to a sentry box, pulled security cameras away from walls and hurled a barrage of missiles including Molotov cocktails. At one point the mob, which was protesting against US airstrikes on an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq on Sunday, used a drainpipe in an attempt to smash an embassy window. US troops tried to disperse the crowd firing warning shots before using teargas and stun grenades.  At least 62 people were reported to have been injured. Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 31 December 2019 Amid mounting tension, the US announced it would be deploying additional marines to increase security. Two Apache helicopters flew over the compound in a show of force. Matt Tueller, the US ambassador in Iraq, was not in the embassy at the time, but will be returning to join staff in the compound, the US State Department said. Under pressure from Mr Trump to protect US personnel, Mr Mahdi  had deployed special forces at the main gate in an attempt to prevent hundreds of protesters forcing their way in. Some of the crowd did withdraw, while others pitched tents, paving the way for a siege, which a spokesman for the militant group said would remain until US diplomats leave the country. As the violence unfolded in Iraq, Mr Trump intensified pressure on both Iraq and Iran with a series of tweets. "We expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!" Mr Trump tweeted, saying Iran "will be held fully responsible" for the unrest. Mr Trump was unapologetic for the military action which killed at least 25 fighters from Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah, a militant group with the US holds responsible for the death of an American contractor. "Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will," the US president wrote. Supporters of Kataeb Hezbollah were prominent among the demonstrators in Baghdad, with the group's flags hanging on the fence surrounding the embassy. The Iraqi government, which is already facing a wave of protests across the country, has found itself caught in the crossfire between Tehran and Washington. Thousands of protesters and militia fighters outside the gate denounced U.S. air strikes in Iraq. Credit: AFP Mr Mahdi condemned the weekend's airstrikes, but Mr Trump remained unrepentant as he urged the country to stand up to Iran "To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don't want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!" the president tweeted. In response, Tehran accused the US of "audacity" in blaming Iran for the demonstrations. "The surprising audacity of American officials is so much that after killing at least 25... and violating the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, that now... they attribute the Iraqi people's protest against their cruel acts to the Islamic Republic of Iran," said foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. In the US, Republican hawks praised Mr Trump's tough response to the attack on the embassy. "He has put the world on notice - there will be no Benghazi's on his watch," tweeted Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally and GOP senator from South Carolina. Newt Gingrich called for even tougher action. "The United States should respond to Iran in Iran. The Iranian dictatorship doesn't care how many of its allies we hit in Iraq. We have to go after the heart of the enemy and make them pay decisively."
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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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