January 03, 2020

Australian Firefighters Brace for Inferno Amid Searing Heat
(Bloomberg) -- Firefighters are bracing for an intensification of catastrophic wildfires sweeping southeastern Australia amid searing temperatures and strong winds.Emergencies have been declared and tourists have been urged to flee a 350-kilometer (217-mile) stretch of coastline in New South Wales and Victoria states as temperatures climb as high as 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) inland Saturday. Hot, dry winds have brought “extremely dangerous” conditions, intensifying wildfires and sparking blazes.Two people died in wildfires on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, adding to the death toll, which stood at 20 on Friday.“Today is all about saving lives,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney Saturday. “There are still windows for people to get out if you wish to do so.”Fires that have been burning since Dec. 20 on Kangaroo Island, off the South Australian coast, overran a car killing its occupants, the state’s assistant police commissioner Linda Williams told reporters in Adelaide Saturday.More than 500 people are battling blazes across the island, a prominent tourist destination, scorching much of the Flinders Chase National Park and devastating wildlife. Improved weather conditions Saturday are helping to bring the infernos under control, said Mark Jones, chief of the Country fire Service.Mass ExodusTens of thousands of people in New South Wales have altered their travel plans or relocated because of the warnings, Berejiklian said. Across Victoria, about 100,000 people have been urged to evacuate amid concerns that blazes could be unstoppable, ABC reported.Convoys of vehicles have departed fire-ravaged areas, and navy ships have carried hundreds of people to safety in eastern Victoria state, one of the largest peacetime evacuations in Australia’s history.About 60 of the 137 grass and bush-land fires in New South Wales are burning out of control, Berejiklian said. Winds from the west and northwest will reach speeds of as much as 90 kilometers an hour, the state’s Rural Fire Service said, potentially fanning the flames and spreading embers, igniting new blazes.Flare Up Risk“Strong, dry northwesterly winds will cause ongoing fires to flare up yet again threatening communities that have already experienced widespread devastation,” said Jonathan How, a weather forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology.More than 12 million acres (5 million hectares) have been blackened -- an area about twice the size of Vermont -- in hundreds of blazes in recent months. That’s bringing terrifying scenes of walls of fire that have killed about half a billion native animals and destroyed hundreds of homes.Gusty winds of up to 80 kilometers an hour will probably reach Victoria’s southern region of Gippsland by midday Saturday in a cooling, southerly change that should arrive in Sydney in the late evening, the weather bureau said.Still, it won’t diminish the fire risk since a change in wind direction will cause the flank of wildfires to become the new front, “greatly broadening the fire threat area,” How said. In addition, thunderstorms and lightening could start more fires.Australia’s electricity grid operator warned that blazes may bring down vital transmission lines and raise the likelihood of outages, days after wildfires and winds damaged power lines and forced blackouts for tens of thousands of households in fire-affected towns in the nation’s southeast.Insurers have already received 5,250 claims as a result of the catastrophe, with losses estimated at A$321 million ($223 million), the Insurance Council of Australia said Friday.(Adds Kangaroo Island deaths in third and fifth paragraphs.)To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Gale in Melbourne at j.gale@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Siraj DatooFor 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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