January 27, 2020

CDC Split With China on Coronavirus Spread as Possible U.S. Cases Hit 110
As authorities in China scrambled to handle a coronavirus that has killed at least 81 people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday described a surging potential crisis even as they pushed back on the latest thinking from Beijing about just how easily it spreads.Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that the number of confirmed cases stateside had reached five—and that there had been a total of 110 “persons under investigation” for the virus in 26 states over the past week.Thirty-two of those people tested negative, and there had been no confirmed person-to-person transmissions inside the country, Messonnier said on Monday. The confirmed cases in the U.S. include patients in Orange County, California; a man in his 30s in Washington state; a woman in her 60s in Chicago; a passenger who felt ill after flying into Los Angeles International Airport; and a student at Arizona State University who does not live in university housing, the CDC said on Sunday. All of the U.S. cases appeared to involve patients who had recently traveled from Wuhan, China—the epicenter of the deadly virus. Seventy-three people were still being evaluated for the virus as of Monday.Fifth U.S. Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Patient Who Traveled From Wuhan, China“We understand that many people in the United States are worried about this virus and how it will affect Americans,” Messonnier said, adding that “risk depends on exposure,” which for Americans remained “low” on Monday.In each U.S. case, health officials have said they will trace the patient’s contacts and identify anyone who may have had prolonged exposure, then monitor those individuals for symptoms. In the U.S., anyone who has had close contact with confirmed patients has not been quarantined unless and until they display symptoms.That policy came into question over the weekend, when China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei said “the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger” and that authorities in that country now believe the virus can spread during the incubation period—even before infected patients become symptomatic. A study published last week in the journal Lancet appeared to bolster that contention.But Messonnier said the CDC had not seen “any clear evidence of patients being infectious before symptom onset” as of Monday, even if authorities in the U.S. “are being very aggressive and very cautious in tracking close contacts” of infected individuals.“This outbreak is unfolding rapidly, and we are rapidly looking at how that impacts our posture at the border,” said Messonnier. “I expect that in the coming days, our travel recommendations will change.”Experts said that even as statements from Chinese health officials had to be viewed through a political lens, outright dismissal of asymptomatic transmission was premature.Eric Toner, a senior scientist with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the University’s School of Public Health, called the question “nuanced.” “It’s hard to know why the [Chinese] minister was so sure,” said Toner. “The evidence we have seen is quite suggestive of pre-symptomatic transmission, at least in some people, but not conclusive. He may have information that we do not.”For now, officials were still screening passengers at five American airports: Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Of course, fewer travelers are coming out of Wuhan in the wake of a travel lockdown late last week; Messonnier said the CDC had screened approximately 2,400 people in those airports so far but that “the number of people coming from Wuhan is declining.”Though Chinese authorities halted travel from Wuhan to stop the spread of the virus, the U.S. is among several countries—including France and Russia—that were given special permission to evacuate diplomats and private citizens. In addition to the 81 dead in China—76 of whom reportedly lived in Wuhan—nearly 3,000 people across the world, including a 9-month-old baby girl in Beijing, had confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday morning. Aside from the five cases in the U.S., more have been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Canada, Vietnam, and Nepal. There had been no deaths from the virus reported outside of China as of Monday morning. But the new fatalities in that country over the weekend, including an 88-year-old man in Shanghai, stoked fears that the government had failed to contain the infection’s spread. Beijing announced Monday morning that it would push back the official end of the Lunar New Year holiday to Thursday from Sunday in order to “reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic,” according to a statement from China’s cabinet.Meanwhile, Wuhan’s mayor, Zhou Xianwang, on Monday offered to step down, along with the city’s party secretary, Ma Guoqiang, in order to “appease public indignation.” He said the pair were prepared to take responsibility for the crisis after days of public outcries from citizens, on social media and elsewhere.“Our names will live in infamy, but as long as it is conducive to the control of the disease and to the people’s lives and safety, Comrade Ma Guoqiang and I will bear any responsibility,” Zhou reportedly said Monday.Dr. Adrian Hyzler, chief medical officer for Healix International, which provides medical information to travelers, told The Daily Beast the CDC will know much more about how easily the virus spreads once the incubation period—estimated at a maximum of 14 days—has passed in the five U.S. cases. “If, as the Chinese are saying, patients are contagious before symptoms develop, then it is much harder to control,” he said.Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the CDC cleared 32 people who tested negative for the virus out of 110 potential cases.
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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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