January 23, 2020

Democrats Say Impeachment Trial Makes Case for Calling Witnesses
(Bloomberg) -- Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that as House Democrats move into their second day of building an impeachment case against President Donald Trump it will be harder for Republicans to ignore their calls for additional witnesses and evidence.Schumer expressed confidence in the House impeachment managers, saying Thursday that the “atmosphere of the Senate took on an entirely different dimension” during the first day of the House’s argument, which featured quotes and video clips of witness testimony from last year’s inquiry.The arguments by the House impeachment managers on Thursday turn to a focus on the impeachment article charging him with abuse of power at the same time they continue working to persuade moderate Republicans that they should subpoena witnesses such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton.“Make no mistake about the issue of relevant evidence -- documents and witnesses -- is going to come back up,” Schumer said.Trump’s defense team likely will get their turn starting Saturday, with the president’s lawyers promising a vigorous defense against an investigation they have labeled as rushed and biased.Jay Sekulow, one of the lawyers representing Trump, said the response to the Democrats’ case would combine both a rebuttal of their arguments as well as a positive defense of the president’s actions.“There’s two parts to what we’re going to do: we’re going to respond of course to what the House managers put forward and we are going to make an affirmative case defending the president,” he told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday. He said he couldn’t say whether the defense would take all three days alloted.Schumer said the House prosecution is “setting the bar very high for the president’s counsel to meet.” He derided Trump’s team as “unprepared, confused and tending to conspiracy theories.”Over more than nine hours Wednesday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and the other managers walked the Senate through a step-by-step chronology aimed at portraying a president who sought to pressure Ukraine into investigating his main political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.“If impeachment and removal cannot hold him accountable, then he truly is above the law,” Schiff said. “Impeachment and a fair trial, impartial consideration of all the evidence against the president, is how we keep our republic.”The House managers’ case is being made explicitly with two juries in mind: the senators in the chamber sitting silently at their desks who will vote on the articles of impeachment, and the American public, who will decide in less than 10 months on whether to return Trump to office.Schiff said most of the Senate and the public were unlikely to have watched or paid attention to all of the hearings that were held in the House from October through November.“We cannot assume that the senators were able to do that -- let alone the American people were able to do that,” he said during a break in the trial.Still, there were no signs that the Democrats had swayed many Republicans, and Trump’s acquittal in the GOP-controlled chamber is all but assured.During their presentations, the House managers played video excerpts of witnesses at the House hearings. Former acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor; Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union; and former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, in particular, had what amounted to reprised starring roles on the Senate floor.Withheld DocumentsSchiff used Taylor to make a vivid point about the evidence that had been withheld by the Trump administration. In Taylor’s House testimony last year, he recounted the highly unusual step of writing a direct, first-person cable to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo raising concerns about the delay in military aid to Ukraine. Taylor said it was the only such cable he had ever sent.Schiff then rhetorically asked senators if they wanted to read what it said, adding after a pause: “I would like to read it to you right now. Except I don’t have it because the State Department won’t permit it.”The House prosecutors also showed several clips of the president publicly calling for Ukraine and even China to investigate the Bidens, seeking to use Trump’s own words to make the case that he sought foreign help to damage a political opponent.Public ExposureEven without new witnesses, Democrats were able to highlight what they wanted for the millions watching on television without having any cross-examination from the president’s lawyers.Entertainment industry publication Variety reported that about 11 million people watched Tuesday’s opening of the trial across six cable and broadcast networks during the day.While a number of Republicans complained that Democrats presented no new arguments or evidence – and there were clear signs of restlessness in the chamber as the presentations dragged on -- some senators said they were, indeed, hearing new information.”I’ve learned a lot and I think everybody has,” said John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican. “Senators didn’t know the case. We didn’t stay glued to the television, we hadn’t read the transcript.”Democrats are continuing to press for the introduction of witnesses later in the trial after Republicans rejected attempts to settle the question before the proceedings got underway. That battle will be fought anew after Trump’s team delivers their defense and senators submit questions on the presentations from both sides.During a break, several GOP senators said they would demand their own roster of witnesses if Democrats force the issue.“The idea of witnesses will not get anywhere if it’s not reciprocal,” Indiana Senator Mike Braun said. He said at the top of his witness is Joe Biden.Witness DebateTexas Republican Ted Cruz said House Democrats have now made testimony from Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden “crucial.”Cruz said the Democrats’ argument is that Trump wasn’t justified in asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. That means the Senate should have more information about whether the former vice president acted corruptly to protect his son, who was serving on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company, Cruz said.“The need for the Senate to hear the testimony of Hunter Biden has become all the more relevant,” Cruz said. “Burisma was the only Ukrainian company that had prima facie evidence of American corruption.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer shot down the idea of any trades on witness lists. However it would only take 51 votes in the Senate to call any witness once the decision is made to hear new testimony.Both sides appeared keenly aware that the judgment of voters-- particularly affluent and educated suburban voters who may back Republican policies but have reservations about the president’s conduct -- is likely to be more important than any influence the arguments might have on the senators.Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership team, said he had little doubt that after senators have a chance to ask questions of both sides, Republicans would unite behind moving swiftly toward an acquittal and reject calls for more witnesses and documents.“This is not just about the impeachment of the president, this is a focus by the Democrats to attempt to take the Senate,” Barrasso said, echoing comments by GOP colleagues.\--With assistance from Mike Dorning, Daniel Flatley, Laura Davison and Erik Wasson.To contact the reporters on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net;Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net;Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.netFor 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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