January 03, 2020

Fresno mass shooting: police arrest six suspects in deadly November attack
Authorities say that gang members targeted an event where they believed rival gang members were gatheredPolice in Fresno, California, have arrested seven suspects in a mass shooting that left four dead in November, alleging gunmen targeted a backyard where they believed rival gang members were gathered.Police in the central valley city said this week that seven gang members were responsible for the 17 November shooting at a watch party for a Sunday afternoon football game. The suspects opened fire at a party in retaliation for a recent gang-related killing, authorities said, but the victims were not gang members and not part of the group that the suspects meant to target.All four men killed were of Hmong descent, part of the vibrant community of families who came to California as refugees after fleeing war and violence in south-east Asia. The tragedy devastated Hmong people across the globe, and families of the victims were initially outraged at law enforcement’s suggestions that their loved ones may have had ties to gangs.Police alleged Tuesday that Mongolian Boy Society gang members were behind the killing, and that two gunmen with semiautomatic weapons attacked the home because they thought it was a party of a rival Asian Crips gang. But the investigation revealed only one person watching the football game had a connection with Asian Crips,and was “not an active gang member”, said Andy Hall, Fresno’s police chief. The department has said there was no evidence suggesting the four fatal victims were gang members.A police spokesman said there were some people who left the party who have not been identified.The victims were Xy Lee, 23, a well-known Hmong singer; Kou Xiong, 38, a chef at a local restaurant; Phia Vang, 31, a musician who worked at a local lab; and Kalaxang Thao, 40, who worked at an Asian grocery store. Six other people were injured.On 17 December, police arrested Billy Xiong, a 25-year-old Fresno resident, on suspicion of mail theft and located one of the guns used to kill the four men, authorities said. The mass shooting was allegedly retaliation for the killing of his brother, Randy Xiong, 16 hours earlier. Police also eventually arrested Anthony Montes, 27; Jhovanny Delgado, 19; Pao Vang, 19; Porge Kue, 26; Johnny Xiong, 25; and Ger Lee, 27.Hall alleged the men were “self admitted” Mongolian Boy Society members and that they all planned the shooting, but police have not said who shot the men in the backyard. Lee, Montes, Kue and Billy Xiong were charged Thursday in state court with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and a gang charge. The other three men were charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit murder in the aid of racketeering.Lawyers for the suspects could not immediately be reached.“It is bittersweet,” said Bobby Bliatout, a local Hmong community leader. “We are happy that they were caught … so we can have some closure and move on.”He said the initial suggestion by police that the killings were gang-related had overshadowed the horror of the losses: “It’s a terrible tragedy … in minority communities, we are targeted right away with the word ‘gang’ or ‘criminals’.”Nou Xiong, a reporter for the local Hmong TV Network, who is also one of the victim’s cousins, said many in the Fresno Hmong community were surprised to learn police had made arrests: “They thought it was going to be another cold case or just disregarded as another ‘gang shooting’. That’s what they do with minority communities.”Vong Mouanoutoua, a local councilman, said it was clear “innocent lives were taken”, adding that people shouldn’t dwell on the gang label.“A gang member’s life is not less important than a non-gang member’s life. It’s always a loss,” he said, noting that the men arrested were all very young. “Their lives are changed forever.”Kou Lee, the 31-year-old brother of Xy Lee, the famous singer killed in the attack, told the Guardian after the shooting that he was “distraught” about the word gang being tied to his brother, who was well known and celebrated in Fresno: “Everybody fell in love with him when he sings.”Xy Lee’s community was other artists and musicians, said Mitch Herr, another Hmong community leader, who had lunch with the singer a week before he was killed: “Anyone that came to know him loved him, because he was always there for the community, always there for his friends … The future was so bright for him.”
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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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