January 14, 2020

U.S. Spy Agencies Tracking Russian Hack of Biden-Linked Burisma
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. spy agencies are tracking a Russian hacking attack against a Ukrainian gas company linked to the impeachment of President Donald Trump, including whether it was done to find damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden’s family, according to a senior U.S. official.The U.S. is reviewing evidence of the hack at Burisma Holdings first disclosed by researchers at security company Area 1, according to Shelby Pierson, the election threats executive for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.When asked whether there are concerns the attack by Russian intelligence was done to find derogatory information on Biden which could then be used to undermine his presidential campaign, Pierson said intelligence officials are examining that possibility. The vice president’s son, Hunter, was once on the company’s board.“We try to keep a very open mind as to why intelligence services would be pursuing this information which could of course include the scenarios that you outlined,” Pierson said Tuesday on the sidelines of an election security conference in Washington.“Before we even jump to a conclusion of intent we’re always looking for what are those compromises,” she said. “Let’s just not forget that some of this can be for reconnaissance purposes or for other applications that have nothing to do with a messaging campaign.”On Bidens and Ukraine, Wild Claims With Little Basis: QuickTakePierson later said in an interview with MSNBC that “we’ve long talked about the Russians as a threat so we certainly are tracking that.”Russian officials have long denied that they meddle in foreign elections.Researchers at Area 1, which is run by a former National Security Agency official, said Russian hackers sent phishing emails to subsidiaries of Burisma to try to penetrate the Ukrainian energy company.The email accounts of Burisma employees were accessed, but it’s unclear how that was used or what material may have been gained, according to the company’s report released on the hack released Monday.Read More: Russian Hackers Attacked Burisma in Midst of Impeachment InquiryHunter Biden was on Burisma’s board from 2014 until last year. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has peddled a discredited theory that the elder Biden, when he was vice president, derailed an investigation into Burisma to protect his son.In a July 25 telephone call, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to “look into” allegations of wrongdoing by Biden. The call triggered an impeachment inquiry, which began in September and is expected to lead to the president’s trial in the U.S. Senate starting next week.Hackers for the Russian intelligence agency GRU began attacking Burisma as early as November, according to Area 1. The operation was still active when Area 1 published its report on Monday, said Oren Falkowitz, the company’s chief executive officer.Pelosi ResponseTracking election interference operations by the GRU “is a top priority” for the U.S., Pierson told MSNBC. “We are certainly tracking all of the threat vectors that are active in this landscape as we move into the heyday of election season, not only for the primaries but certainly for the main Election Day in November,” she said.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Area 1 report showed the need to bolster election security heading into this year’s presidential race.“The alarming reports that the Russian government is continuing to interfere in our elections to benefit the president and to undermine our democracy highlight the urgent need for action,” Pelosi said in a statement on Tuesday. The email phishing tactics used by the GRU to infiltrate Burisma were “similar, if not identical” to methods applied in 2016 to attack Democrats, including the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, said Falkowitz. If those tools are still working, they’re likely to be used again to attack state election systems and campaigns in 2020, he said.“Hacking is a lazy man’s sport; it’s a matter of finding the path to least resistance,” said Falkowitz. “The reason they’re still using the same methods is because they work. Hackers don’t have to do anything different if they’re successful.”To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Strohm in Washington at cstrohm1@bloomberg.net;Kartikay Mehrotra in San Francisco at kmehrotra2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, Kevin WhitelawFor 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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