January 10, 2020

Ukraine Plane Crash: Roulette in the Sky
Why did Iran not ground flights as its air space became a war zone? And why would a missile battery be so close an international airport? Those are just a couple of the questions surrounding the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752.How the Hell Do You Shoot Down a Passenger Jet by Accident?Well over 1,000 people flew out of Tehran on the night when Iran launched its cruise missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq early Wednesday morning local time, and they were on exactly the same flight path, but only PS752 turned into a fireball and crashed minutes after takeoff.Airlines from seven different countries had flights leaving Tehran between midnight, local time, and 6:12 a.m. when the Ukranian Boeing 737 took off.Western intelligence experts believe that Flight PS752 was hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. If so, the 176 people who died seem to have been the victims of a grim game of Russian roulette–why would this jet be targeted when nine others that preceded it were not?And this is just one of the pressing questions raised in the midst of the disputes raging around the disaster.The missile strike on Iraq was launched at around 2 a.m. Wednesday, Iranian time, from sites in western Iran. And yet there was no attempt by the Iranians to close down their commercial air space once it became part of a war zone—when it was most likely that the U.S. would launch a retaliatory strike on Iran.It was left until after the event for individual airlines to cancel their flights into and out of Iran and to avoid flying over Iranian air space, which most international airlines did on Wednesday—the FAA banned all U.S. airlines from Iranian air space, citing “heightened military activities and increased military tensions.”According to data provided to The Daily Beast by the tracking site Flightradar24, the air traffic out of Tehran that night covered a wide range of airlines and destinations. The Ukrainian jet was preceded 22 minutes earlier by the largest jet to leave Tehran that night, a Boeing 777 of Qatar Airways, an all-cargo flight to Hong Kong.The other flights, all carrying passengers, included two by Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, one by Turkish airline Atlas Global to Istanbul, Qatar Airways to Doha, Aeroflot to Moscow, Austrian Airlines to Vienna, Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Azerbaijan Airlines to Baku. Seven of the flights were Airbus airplanes, five single-aisle jets and two larger wide-body jets. The Azerbaijan flight was on the smallest of the airplanes, an Embraer 190. Totaling up the capacity of these airplanes, and assuming, conservatively, that the flights were around 80 percent full, around 1,500 people left Tehran that night without knowing how close they came to disaster.The only possible reason why a civilian airliner might mistakenly be targeted by a missile battery is if its transponder, the automatic system that continuously transmits the identity of the airplane, was not working and the airplane appeared to be a “rogue” intruder.But Flightradar24 confirms that the Ukranian 737’s transponder was working throughout taxiing, takeoff, and climb and stopped transmitting only at the time it began its fiery descent. Its radar track to that point was identical to the other earlier flights climbing to cruise altitude.Tehran’s air traffic controllers were responsible for directing all the flights out of Iranian air space until they were accepted by the controllers in neighboring countries. They would have been the first to see that Flight PS752 had abruptly disappeared from their radar while following its designated heading.Why a military missile unit familiar with its location so close to a continually used international airline route would ever be activated, let alone fire a missile, without first contacting the air traffic controllers and without being overseen by a competent command and control regime is completely baffling.If this did occur–and Iranian authorities are still insisting that it did not–then it is inexcusable. Meanwhile the Iranians have implied that the crash investigation will meet international standards by inviting the participation of both the National Transportation Safety Board, representing the U.S., and the French Bureau d’Enqueues et d’Analyses, BEA, one of the world’s most experienced and highly regarded crash investigation teams.Team Trump Goes Back To Sanctions Playbook
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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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