January 01, 2020

Impeachment Trial Looming, Chief Justice Reflects on Judicial Independence
WASHINGTON -- As Chief Justice John Roberts prepares to preside over the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, he issued pointed remarks Tuesday in his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary that seemed to be addressed, at least in part, to the president himself.The two men have a history of friction, and Roberts used the normally mild report to denounce false information spread on social media and to warn against mob rule. Some passages could be read as a mission statement for the chief justice's plans for the impeachment trial itself."We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity and dispatch," he wrote in the report. "As the new year begins, and we turn to the tasks before us, we should each resolve to do our best to maintain the public's trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law."The nominal focus of the report was the importance of civics education, but even a casual reader could detect a timely subtext, one concerned with the foundational importance of the rule of law.Roberts began his report, as is his custom, with a bit of history, recalling a riot at which John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers and later the first chief justice, was struck in the head by a rock "thrown by a rioter motivated by a rumor."Jay and his colleagues, Roberts wrote, "ultimately succeeded in convincing the public of the virtues of the principles embodied in the Constitution.""Those principles leave no place for mob violence," the chief justice wrote. "But in the ensuing years, we have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside. In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital. The judiciary has an important role to play in civic education."The report seemed to continue a conversation with Trump about the role of the courts.In 2018, the two men had a sharp exchange, with Trump suggesting that federal judges carry out the wishes of the presidents who appointed them and Roberts defending the independence and integrity of the judicial branch.The exchange started when Trump called a judge who had ruled against his administration's asylum policy "an Obama judge." In response, the chief justice said the president had misunderstood the role of the federal courts in the constitutional system."We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts said in a statement. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."Trump took issue with the chief justice's statement on Twitter. "Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have 'Obama judges,'" Trump wrote, "and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country."On Tuesday, the chief justice returned to his theme. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability," he wrote. "But we should also remember that justice is not inevitable."The friction with the president has only added to the delicate spot the chief justice will find himself in when he takes on his constitutionally assigned duty to preside over Trump's Senate trial. Trump has repeatedly pinned the future of his presidency on the trial, the details and timing of which have not been set.Roberts' report concentrated on the central role the judiciary has played in educating the public, notably by issuing accessible decisions, in both senses of the word."When judges render their judgments through written opinions that explain their reasoning, they advance public understanding of the law," he wrote. "Chief Justice Earl Warren illustrated the power of a judicial decision as a teaching tool in Brown v. Board of Education, the great school desegregation case. His unanimous opinion on the most pressing issue of the era was a mere 11 pages -- short enough that newspapers could publish all or almost all of it and every citizen could understand the court's rationale. Today, federal courts post their opinions online, giving the public instant access to the reasoning behind the judgments that affect their lives."Current Supreme Court decisions in major cases are much longer than the ruling in Brown. Citizens United, the 2010 campaign finance decision, was 176 pages long, with roughly the same number of words as "The Great Gatsby."Roberts praised the many educational programs offered by federal courts across the nation in which students are invited to visit courthouses. He did not address the role that camera coverage of arguments at the Supreme Court, currently forbidden, could play in civics education.The chief justice singled out, but did not name, a colleague, praising his exemplary educational work. "As just one example," Roberts wrote, "the current chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit has, over the past two decades, quietly volunteered as a tutor at a local elementary school, inspiring his court colleagues to join in the effort."That judge is Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in 2016 but denied a hearing by Senate Republicans. Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy.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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