January 13, 2020

As we enter the fourth year of the Trump era, lets remember: this is still not normal
Trump hopes that his dangerous, self-serving actions will be normalized by sheer force and volume. We must push back After three years of dangerously and unnecessarily escalating tensions with Iran, Donald Trump rang in the new year by creating a crisis that almost started a war with Iran – and still very well could.As we enter the fourth year of Trump’s presidency, it is more necessary than ever to remind ourselves daily: this is not normal.The list of despicable domestic actions by Trump that must not be normalized is long – from the policy separating migrant children from their parents and detaining them in cages to the president’s call for his critics to be investigated or jailed.And while Trump’s foreign policy in 2017 and 2018 was shocking – including regular praise for dictators Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un, for instance – 2019 was the year that Congress and the American people finally had enough. The Ukraine scandal made crystal clear Trump’s unprecedented and dangerous assault on national security norms and led to his impeachment. But the extortion of Ukraine for personal gain was far from the only national security norm that Trump attacked in 2019.In 2019, Robert Mueller’s report outlined in extensive detail how Trump’s 2016 campaign asked for and received Russia’s help in attacking his campaign opponent. While the story of Trump’s collusion with Russia has gone on so long that it can sometimes seem to have faded into the background of the national consciousness, the 448-page Mueller report should be treated every day like the bombshell it is – the story of how Trump worked with a foreign power to win an election.In 2019, the American people also learned that Trump’s attempts to get foreign help to further his political interests extend beyond Russia. In addition to Ukraine, Trump also asked China to help smear his political rival.In 2019, Trump also attempted to circumvent Congress to fund his border wall by taking money from the military and sending US troops – who are not supposed to be deployed on US soil – to the border.In 2019, Trump’s administration formally began the process to remove the US from the Paris climate agreement. Unless we get our act together, humanity will look back on America’s withdrawal from this global effort as unforgivable. This is not normal: while climate is too often treated in Washington like a policy disagreement, Trump’s actions must be seen for the shocking disregard of reality that they reflect. One of the president’s top priorities should be tackling the existential threat of climate change, not denying its existence and adopting policies that will make it worse.In 2019, in both Afghanistan and Syria, off-the-cuff interventions by Trump shattered delicate, hard-fought progress and undermined national security. In the 18th year of America’s war in Afghanistan, and after months of talks, the president blew up a potential deal with the Taliban in a moment of haste. And in Syria, after years of American troops fighting side by side with Kurdish partners against Isis, Trump gave the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the green light attack the Kurds as American forces abandoned them.And while it almost seems like a joke, in 2019 the president of the United States cancelled a trip to visit a US treaty ally – Denmark – because the country would not sell him Greenland.Trump also continued to attack people because of their race, ethnicity and religion in ways that erode the very model of America as a welcoming, tolerant and diverse society. He told members of Congress (who of course are Americans) to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”. He repeatedly accused people of being antisemitic and questioned their national loyalties because they do not blindly support the dangerous policies of the Israeli government. And he encouraged the Israeli government to prevent two members of Congress from visiting Israel. The list goes on.None of this is normal. These actions go far beyond policy disagreements. They are not only disturbing and unbecoming the office of the president – they undermine the democratic values America embodies, and damage America’s national security.Trump hopes that his offensive and dangerous actions are normalized by the sheer force and volume of them. He obfuscates, gaslights and lies – in his three years in office has made more than 15,000 false or misleading claims, according to the Washington Post.As 2020 begins and Trump teeters on the edge of starting a war with Iran, it is a stark reminder that America no longer knows what it’s like not to be at war – roughly a quarter of Americans have only been alive while America has been fighting a war. This should not be normal – but sadly America has already begun to treat it like it is.We may not be able to dedicate the same level of outrage or oversight to every single one of Trump’s despicable actions. But we cannot allow them to be seen as normal, and we must push back on them all.
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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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