January 15, 2020

Australia’s Wildfire Crisis: Key Numbers Behind the Disaster
(Bloomberg) -- Australia is in the grip of deadly wildfires burning across the country, triggering an emotive debate about the impact of climate change in the world’s driest-inhabited continent. The unprecedented scale of the crisis, and images of terrified tourists sheltering on beaches from the infernos, has shocked many Australians.With the nation only midway through summer and suffering a prolonged drought, authorities fear the death toll will continue to mount as more homes and land are destroyed. Here are some key details of the crisis:How many people have died?Since the fire season began months ago during the southern hemisphere winter, at least 28 people have died. Among the fatalities are volunteer firefighters, including a young man who died when his 10-ton truck was flipped over in what officials have described as a “fire tornado.” Australia’s worst wildfires came in 2009 when the Black Saturday blazes left 180 people dead.How big an area has burned?Massive tracts of land have burned. Almost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) have been destroyed -- that’s almost the size of England. In New South Wales state alone, more than 5.2 million hectares of forest and bush has been destroyed, while more than 1.4 million hectares has been burned in Victoria. The fires are so large they are generating their own weather systems and causing dry lightning strikes that in turn ignite more. One blaze northwest of Sydney, the Gospers Mountain fire, has destroyed about 512,000 hectares -- about seven times the size of Singapore.The scale of the blazes dwarfs the California wildfires in 2018, which destroyed about 1.7 million acres, and about 260,000 acres in 2019.How many homes have been destroyed?Some 2,600 homes have been destroyed, mostly in New South Wales. Scores of rural towns have been impacted, including the community of Balmoral about 150 kilometers southwest of Sydney, which was largely destroyed before Christmas.What’s the economic impact?The near-term cost is mounting. Toxic smoke shrouding Canberra has shuttered businesses and government departments and forced national carrier Qantas Airways Ltd. to cancel flights. The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2020 that brings in an estimated A$290 million, has seen qualification games disrupted due to the smoke. Economists estimate the wildfires and associated drought could cut up to half a percentage point off GDP growth as agriculture, tourism and sentiment take a hit.How has wildlife been affected?The University of Sydney estimates that 800 million animals have been killed by the bushfires in New South Wales alone since September and one billion have died nationally. The “highly conservative figure” includes mammals, birds and reptiles killed either directly by the fires, or later due to loss of food and habitat. The fires have raised concerns in particular about koalas, with authorities saying as much as 30% of their habitat in some areas had been destroyed. Images of the marsupials drinking water from bottles after being rescued have gone viral on social media.How can I help?Donations are flooding in to help with the relief effort, led by wealthy philanthropists, companies, investment banks and a string of celebrities. Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation has pledged A$70 million. Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman, who is Australian, is pitching in A$1 million, while pledges have come in from stars such as Elton John, Chris Hemsworth, Bette Midler and Nicole Kidman.\--With assistance from Jason Scott.To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Johnson in Sydney at ejohnson28@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net, Jason ScottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©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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