January 09, 2020

If youre told to leave, you must leave: mass evacuations as Australias bushfires intensify
Australian authorities urged another mass evacuation across the heavily populated southeast on Thursday as a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews urged communities to be on alert ahead of the extreme conditions. "If you receive instructions to leave, then you must leave," Andrews said in a televised briefing. "That is the only way to guarantee your safety." Parts of Kangaroo Island, a wildlife-rich tourist spot off the southeast coast where Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday made a plea for foreign tourists not to be deterred by the fires, were again evacuated on Thursday. "I urge everyone to heed warnings, follow advice, and to head to the east part of the island, which is deemed safe at this point," South Australia fire Chief Mark Jones said in a separate briefing in Adelaide. A third of the island has been destroyed. Twenty-seven people have been killed this fire season, according to the federal government, as the monster fires have scorched through more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres) of land, an area the size of South Korea. Thousands have been made homeless and thousands have had to evacuate repeatedly because of the volatility of the fires. Read more | Australia's bushfire crisis A huge blaze has also now begun threatening Perth, in western Australia, with emergency warnings issued in several suburbs as the fire moved toward them with frightening speed.  A thick smoke cloud hung over most of the city late in the afternoon, while residents in Mardella, Hopeland, Wellard, Casuarina and Oldbury were told to leave their home if they have a safe escape route, and otherwise to stay indoors and shelter in a room with two exits and a water supply. The fire burnt 1,000 hectares in its first four hours, and authorities warned it is out of control and highly unpredictable. Australia bushfires | Tell us your story Also in Western Australia, hopes to get stranded travellers across the only sealed road that connects the state to South Australia were dashed Thursday when the fires blocking the Eyre Highway got worse. People have been stranded on the Nullabor, on both sides of the state border, trying to get home for several days, relying in part on local truck stops for vital supplies. Also on Thursday, the Australian Academy of Science released a video summarising the impacts of the crisis on Australia’s native wildlife. It is now believed one billion animals have been killed, and many species lost forever. New South Wales fire fighters said more than 2,600 homes have been incinerated or badly damaged this fire season, including 1,870 destroyed. On the same day, the state government announced a $1billion (£530,000,000) fund for reconstruction efforts. The commitment comes on top of more than $200 million already committed by the State, and a $2billion national fund provided by the Federal Government. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state funds would be used for infrastructure, while the Federal relief money would go directly to people. Australia fires gallery Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest also pledged $70million (£36,820,000) for fire relief and reconstruction. Mr Forrest did, however, receive some criticism for blaming the majority of the fires on arson, when police and fire authorities in all affected states have made clear that is not the case. It emerged this week that the Bureau of Meteorology found 2019 was the hottest and driest year ever recorded in Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison's problematic handling of the crisis continued on Thursday too, when he said “thankfully we have had no loss of life” on Kangaroo Island while visiting an area where a father and son had been killed by the blaze. When he was quickly corrected, he said: “Yes two, that's quite right. I was thinking about firefighters firstly.”
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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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