January 05, 2020
Huge crowds of mourners have lined the streets of two major Iranian cities for the the funeral of top military general Qassem Soleimani. 
In Pictures: Huge Crowds Mourn Qassem Soleimani Killed In US Drone Strike
The crowds formed as part of a grand funeral procession for the commander killed by an American drone strike amid soaring tensions between Iran and the US.
Donald Trump has threatened to bomb 52 sites in Iran if it retaliates by attacking Americans.
  
The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia separately warned Americans “of the heightened risk of missile and drone attacks”, and British nationals have been advised against travelling to Iraq entirely, and told to only visit Iran if necessary.
Meanwhile, Iran vowed to take an even-greater step away from its unravelling nuclear deal with world powers as a response to Soleimani’s death.
Iraqi MPs on Sunday asked the government to expel all foreign troops from the country, banning them from land, sea, and airspace. 
  
The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said on Sunday that America’s military in the Middle East region – including US bases, warships and soldiers – are fair targets following the killing of Iran’s top general.
Hassan Nasrallah said evicting US military forces from the region is now a priority.
“The suicide attackers who forced the Americans to leave from our region in the past are still here and their numbers have increased,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
  
The US drone strike killing Soleimani in Iraq Friday escalated the crisis between Tehran and Washington after months of trading attacks and threats that put the wider Middle East on edge.
The conflict is rooted in Trump pulling out of Iran’s nuclear accord.
Iraq’s parliament voted on Sunday to expel the US military from the country.
The resolution specifically called for an end to an agreement in which Washington sent troops to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.
The US has some 5,000 troops deployed in different parts of Iraq.
  
After thousands in Baghdad on Saturday mourned Soleimani and others killed in the strike, authorities flew the general’s body to the south-western Iranian city of Ahvaz.
An honour guard stood by early on Sunday as mourners carried the flag-draped coffins of Soleimani and other guard members off the tarmac.
The caskets then moved slowly through streets choked with mourners wearing black, beating their chests and carrying posters with Soleimani’s portrait.
Demonstrators also carried red Shi’ite flags, which traditionally both symbolise the spilled blood of someone unjustly killed and call for their deaths to be avenged.
  
Officials brought Soleimani’s body to Ahvaz, a city that was a focus of fighting during the bloody 1980-88 war between Iraq and Iran, in which he slowly grew to prominence.
After that war, Soleimani joined the Guard’s newly formed Quds, or Jersualem, Force, an expeditionary force that works with Iranian proxy forces in countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Authorities then took Soleimani’s body to Mashhad.
His remains will go to Tehran and Qom on Monday for public mourning processions, followed by his hometown of Kerman for burial on Tuesday.
This marks the first time Iran honoured a single man with a multi-city ceremony.
Soleimani will lie in state at Tehran’s Musalla mosque on Monday.
It is unclear how or when Iran may respond but any retaliation is likely to come after three days of mourning declared in both Iran and Iraq.
Iranian officials planned to meet on Sunday night to discuss taking a fifth step away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, one that could be even greater than planned, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told journalists.Related... Iraqi MPs Call On Government To Expel Foreign Troops Raab Defends PM As Anger Mounts Over Luxury Break During Iran Crisis Mourners Chant 'Death To America' In Qassem Soleimani Funeral Procession
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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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