January 15, 2020
This week’s publication of the inquiry into the catastrophic failures to protect very vulnerable children in Greater Manchester is another reminder of how agencies and authorities whose job it is to protect those at risk have too often let them down.
Vulnerable Children Will Keep Falling Prey To Grooming Gangs Unless Government Gets Serious
The details are atrocious and the impact of the mistakes that were made will still be felt today by the adult victims of child sexual exploitation.
For many it will be a life sentence, and of course for one young girl it is all too late – Victoria Agoglia, who had been in care since the age of eight, died aged 15 shortly after she was injected with heroin by an older man. 
The temptation is to see all this as historical – it was 17 years ago and things have changed.Related... Young People Speak Out About 'Benefit Fraud' At Controversial Church SPAC Nation But have they? Are we actually doing all we can as a society to keep kids at risk of exploitation safe?
I’m afraid the answer is no. What happened in Greater Manchester at the turn of the century – the grooming of vulnerable children – is happening somewhere in England right now.
In fact it’s happening in cities, in towns and in villages up and down the country. We hear about it all the time on the news – another murdered young person becomes a headline, another family grieves, another council launches a serious case review. More lessons will be learnt – until the next time. 
The parallels between the child sexual exploitation of vulnerable girls in Greater Manchester and Rochdale and the child criminal exploitation of county lines are clear. A previous government successfully cut knife crime by getting a grip on the issue in the centre, and there is no reason why that cannot be repeated by this one.Children are growing up today in the same circumstances as those kids who were targeted and used by ruthless sexual predators – they are the children running county lines or sucked into gangs because local agencies and authorities either haven’t spotted them or don’t have the resources to help. Some of them will also be suffering from sexual exploitation.
Last year my report “Keeping Kids Safe” warned that many of the mistakes that were made over child sexual exploitation 20 years ago are being repeated today, with organised criminal gangs involved in the drugs trade grooming and exploiting children who have fallen through the gaps. Local safeguarding boards and the police often seem ill-equipped to cope. 
So reports this morning that the prime minister wants to take personal responsibility for tackling knife crime and county lines is welcome. But it must now be backed up by action and resources.
The previous government’s Serious Violence Taskforce, of which I am a member, has not met for many months, and the prime minister has not continued his predecessor’s series of Downing Street summits to ensure cross-government accountability on this issue.
Not surprisingly, politicians’ thoughts have been elsewhere – on Brexit and elections – but the minds of those who spot vulnerable kids and exploit them, have not. 
No.10 taking a lead on tackling these issues would be a step in the right direction.
I’ve long maintained that serious violence and gangs will only be beaten if the PM makes it their mission and drives and coordinates delivery relentlessly. A previous government successfully cut knife crime by getting a grip on the issue in the centre, and there is no reason why that cannot be repeated by this one.  
Crucially, though, it will require money. I have been calling for a multi-billion pound package to tackle the root causes of gang violence and to keep our most vulnerable children safe. We also need a root and branch independent review of the care system, which is still putting very vulnerable children in situations where they are ripe for exploitation.  
I want to hear less about lessons being learnt and more about what those responsible for keeping children safe are doing – from government to councils, from the police to the NHS and schools.
The thousands of children in England in danger of becoming the next lurid headline or subject of another inquiry need, and have a right to, our protection.
Anne Longfield OBE is the children’s commissioner for England.Welcome to HuffPost Opinion, a dedicated space for reliable, expert commentary and analysis on the day’s biggest talking points. Got a unique angle or viewpoint on a news story that will help cut through the noise? We want to hear from you. Read more hereRelated... Woman, 21, Who Posed As Teen Boy To Groom And Assault Girls Is Jailed The Trial Of Christine Keeler Explained – Including What Happened In The Profumo Affair I Was Radicalised By The Far-Right. This Is What It's Like
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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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