January 02, 2020

Australia Wildfires Quickly End Leader’s Post-Election Honeymoon
(Bloomberg) -- Last month, Australia’s unprecedented wildfire crisis prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to cut short a vacation to Hawaii. It also abruptly ended his political honeymoon.Eight months after being lauded a conservative hero by engineering an unexpected victory, Morrison’s clumsy handling of the crisis -- highlighted by his trip to Hawaii just days after declaring a national disaster -- has stoked criticism over his political judgment, including by members of his own party.Australia’s unprecedented wildfire crisis has taken a huge toll: 18 people are dead, more than 1,000 houses burnt, and an area twice the size of Wales has been destroyed in one state alone. This week saw disturbing footage of thousands of holiday-makers huddled on beaches awaiting rescue, images that have fanned mounting concerns that Morrison’s pro-coal policies are hurting a nation that appears to be suffering the brunt of increasing climate change.The latest sign that Morrison may be missing a change in the national mood came on New Year’s Day. Just 24 hours after thousands of people at coastal tourist spots were forced to flee fires that rained down ash and burning embers, he was promoting a cricket match in his home city of Sydney.People watching the game “will be encouraged by the spirit shown by Australians and the way that people have gone about remembering the terrible things that other Australians are dealing with at the moment,” he said. That same day he delivered a televised address telling Australians “there’s no better place to raise kids anywhere on the planet.”Morrison’s response appears similar to George W. Bush’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis in 2005, according to Helen Pringle, a researcher at the University of New South Wales who writes about Australian politics. The disaster in New Orleans killed more than 1,000 people and caused an estimated $100 billion in damage. Bush was criticized for appearing to ignore the unfolding crisis while he was taking a vacation, and some political observers say his presidency never recovered.“Morrison’s messaging has really been off during this whole bushfire disaster,” Pringle said. “He seems to be downplaying it because if he admits to its severity then he understands more people will demand that he takes tougher action on climate change.”While there have been no opinion polls released in the past month to show whether the reputation of Morrison and his government have taken a real hit among voters, the reaction on social media has been savage. The hashtag ScottyfromMarketing began trending, a reference to his stint as the former head of Tourism Australia and his inclination to put a positive spin on the crisis.Last month, a New South Wales state lawmaker from Morrison’s own Liberal Party said the devastating conditions showed “doing nothing is not a solution” as scientists had warned that climate change would worsen the impact of fires. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, former Liberal foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop used a pre-Christmas speech to about 150 members of the party to blast his decision to take an international holiday during the crisis.Stark AbsenceThe criticism undercuts Morrison’s efforts to foster a “family dad” image that appeared to resonate with mainstream voters who were weary of the nation’s five changes of leadership since 2010. That underpinned his comeback win in the May election, garnering him praise from the likes of U.S. President Donald Trump.The prime minister has claimed the victory as a mandate for his entire policy agenda, including support for the coal industry -- Australia’s second-largest income generator after iron ore. Yet polls show a vast majority of Australians still want his government to take greater action to combat climate change.Morrison came under attack last month for enjoying a family holiday even as the severity of the wildfire crisis was becoming clear, with major cities such as Sydney and Canberra shrouded in smoke. His absence stood in contrast to Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who has used the spotlight while touring fire-ravaged areas to criticize the government’s lack of national strategy to combat the fires, as well as the absence of a mechanism that puts a price on carbon emissions.The Australian prime minister’s pro-coal industry government insists the nation is doing its bit to combat climate change, even while it opposes calls that would force polluters to pay for their carbon emissions. He told reporters on Thursday that regardless of the wildfire crisis, he won’t be changing his policies. He has also resisted calls to use a forecast budget surplus this fiscal year to bolster a stalling economy.A passionate backer of the fossil-fuel industries that still provide the bulk of the nation’s electricity, Morrison claims Australia is meeting its international emissions reduction commitments. Still, his opponents say such targets don’t include the massive amounts of coal burned after it’s shipped to countries such as India and China. They also say his claim that the nation is responsible for 1.3% of global emissions can be contrasted with Australia having just 0.3% of the world’s population.“Let me be clear to the Australian people -- our emissions reductions policies will both protect our environment and seek to reduce the risks and hazards we are seeing today,” Morrison told reporters on Thursday. “At the same time, it will seek to make sure of the viability of people’s jobs and livelihoods, all around the country. What we will do is make sure our policies remain sensible, that they don’t move toward either extreme, and stay focused on what Australians need for a vibrant and viable economy, as well as a vibrant and sustainable environment.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Canberra at jscott14@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten Kate, Karen LeighFor 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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