January 01, 2020

Australia Wildfires Trigger Exodus as Navy Joins Rescue Effort
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s navy rushed to rescue thousands of holiday-makers from a wildfire-ravaged coastal community while many more struggled to escape endangered towns by road before extreme weather triggers fresh infernos in the nation’s southeast.Eight people have been killed in the bushfires that have swept through New South Wales and the neighboring state of Victoria this week, destroying hundreds of properties in rural towns crammed with tourists during the peak summer holiday season.Driven by strong winds and searing temperatures on New Year’s Eve, the blazes turned the sky blood red and rained down embers, forcing people to shelter on beaches or flee by fishing boats. Roads are only now re-opening, and authorities are urging people to evacuate before the extreme weather returns on Saturday.“We cannot overstate the potential risk of more damage and more destruction,” New South Wales Rural fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Thursday. “There is a big effort between today and tomorrow to get as many people out of the south coast as we can.”A naval vessel is anchored off the isolated township of Mallacoota in Victoria and evacuations of the 4,000 people there should start Friday. Satellite phones have been dropped into some of the other 20-plus communities that remain cut-off and have been without communications or power.Long lines of cars clogged the main highway out of Batemans Bay in New South Wales as people tried to drive to safety. There were reports of fuel and food shortages, causing lengthy queues at supermarkets and gasoline stations. The evacuation effort was further hampered by roads intermittently being closed again as firefighters continued to battle about 150 fires still burning in the two states.The scale of the crisis, played out in real-time on social media as people posted footage and images of raging fire-fronts bearing down on communities, has shocked Australia and stoked an emotive debate about the impact of global warming in the world’s driest-inhabited continent.Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government is coming under sustained criticism from environmentalists and the opposition after repeatedly downplaying links to climate change, and for not taking stronger steps to curb emissions. In a press conference Thursday, Morrison again stressed that Australia was meeting its emissions-reduction targets, and appealed for calm.“I understand the anxiety and I understand the fear that is there for many and I understand the frustration,” he said. “But this is a natural disaster. Natural disasters are best dealt with through the methodical, well-coordinated response that we are seeing today.”The emergency has placed scrutiny on Australia’s capacity to combat blazes that have spread over massive areas, pushing fire services largely manned by volunteers to their limits. Almost 4 million hectares of forest and bushland -- an area almost twice the size of Wales -- have been destroyed in New South Wales alone.New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday declared a week-long emergency to start on Friday.“We don’t take these decisions lightly but we also want to make sure we’re taking every single precaution to be prepared for what could be a horrible day on Saturday,” she told reporters in Sydney, adding forecasters expected temperatures in some parts of the state that day to exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). “We also know that there are a lot of tourists on the move.”While New South Wales and Victoria have been the hardest hit, fires are burning in all six Australian states.At least 18 people have died since fires broke out months ago during the southern hemisphere winter, an unusually early start to the season amid a widespread, prolonged drought gripping much of the nation. With 17 people unaccounted for in Victoria, authorities fear the death toll will rise.Fires are so intense they are generating their own weather systems, with dry thunderstorms sparking new blazes. They have already pumped out more than half of the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, and smoke has drifted some 2,000 kilometers to New Zealand, turning the sky orange early Wednesday in the South Island city of Dunedin.Sydney has been frequently choked by toxic smoke in recent weeks. Residents of the Australian capital, Canberra, woke to a new year with air quality more than 23 times the level deemed hazardous. Australia Post said Thursday it was suspending deliveries in the Australian Capital Territory due to the smoke.(Updates with death toll.)\--With assistance from Hannah Dormido and Adrian Leung.To contact the reporters on this story: Edward Johnson in Sydney at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net;Jason Scott in Canberra at jscott14@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net, Jason ScottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 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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