January 16, 2020
It may be a brand new decade, but the world’s so-called “super-powers” are still up to the same old tricks. 
What Putins Out Of Character Abrupt Power Move Actually Means
Britain is at war with itself over whether Big Ben should bong over Brexit (yes, really), Donald Trump is in the process of being impeached over alleged dodgy dealings with Ukraine and tensions between the US and Iran are escalating. 
So of course, it was clearly time for Russia to get involved in some drama. 
On Wednesday – out of the nowhere – Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned, along with his entire government. “It was a complete surprise,” one government source told the BBC.
It came after the country’s president Vladimir Putin suggested serious and fundamental changes to the constitution – a move critics have speculated will allow him to cling on to power after he has to give up the presidency in 2024, the end of his fourth term in office. 
So, to put it lightly, things are kicking off in Russia right now. Here’s what you need to know. What Changes To The Constitution Has Vladimir Putin Suggested? In his state of the nation address on Wednesday, Putin proposed a radical shake-up of Russia’s political system. 
Among the suggested changes was the possibility of amending the constitution to give politicians – rather than the president – the power to name the prime minister and cabinet ministers. 
“It will increase the role of parliament and parliamentary parties, powers and independence of the prime minister and all cabinet members,” Putin said. 
Meanwhile, he called for an increased role for the State Council, an advisory body made up of top federal officials that he currently chairs. 
All of these changes should be put to a nationwide vote, Putin said. Why Does Putin Want To Change The Constitution?  OK, to summarise: Putin – the president – has suggested moves to make the president… less powerful? What gives? 
While it may look bizarre, critics reckon this is actually a bid by Putin to *retain* power.
Under current rules, he will have to step down as president in 2024, the end of his second consecutive term in office (though he was also president from 2000 to 2008). 
Experts believe these changes could be an attempt by Putin to carve out a position for himself at Russia’s helm after his presidency ends, while also reducing the power of any future president. 
One theory suggests he could try and continue to pull the strings as leader of Russia’s State Council. 
Meanwhile, others have predicted he will attempt to become prime minister – a role he held briefly in 1999 and for four years between 2008 and 2012. 
Putin “never had any intention of stepping down at the end of his term in 2024”, Bill Browder – an American-born financier and outspoken anti-Kremlin activist – told HuffPost UK. “He’s been looking for a way to stay in power”. 
His main way to do this was by changing the constitution, Browder said. “However, his choice of firing Medvedev and dismissing his government four years before the end of his term was an abrupt move which is entirely out of character,” he continued. 
“He’s a very risk averse person who almost never does anything like this. It suggests that there is something under the surface that he’s deeply afraid of. What that is won’t be obvious to outsiders and may never be.”So, What Is Going On With The Russian Government? Following Putin’s speech on Wednesday, Dmitry Medvedev resigned as prime minister, along with the rest of his government. 
Putin and Medvedev have been allies for a number of years. When Putin had to step down as president in 2008 – the end of his second term in office – Medvedev took over the role. 
He then used his power to name Putin as prime minister – a move critics slammed as an imposed job-swap without input for the electorate. For many, during Medvedev’s years as president – 2008 to 2012 – he may technically have been in power, but it was Putin who really held the reigns. In a speech on Wednesday by Medvedev – during which he sat next to Putin – he said he had to resign as prime minister in light of the president’s proposed changes. 
Putin has now named Mikhail Mishustin – the little-known head of Russia’s tax service – to replace Medvedev as prime minister. Approval by the Duma – Russia’s lower house of parliament – is almost guaranteed, analysts have said. 
They have also suggested that, given Mishustin has no political experience, he is likely to dutifully carry out the Kremlin’s wishes. 
Infographics supplied by Statista. Related... Russian Government Quits As Vladimir Putin Proposes Plans To 'Stay In Charge For Life' Greta Thunberg Just Sassed Putin With Her Classic Clapback Style
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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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