January 29, 2020

Republican moderates under pressure to call witnesses as Trump rages at Bolton
* President complains of Bolton’s ‘nasty and untrue’ book * Book alleges Trump did link Ukraine aid delay to Biden inquiryModerate Republican senators were under an intense spotlight on Wednesday as the impeachment trial of Donald Trump moved into a dramatic new phase – and the president lashed out at former national security adviser John Bolton, who Democrats want to call as a key witness.Trump’s Twitter attack on Bolton – and subsequent moves by the White House to block his potentially damaging planned book – came amid signs the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, does not have enough Republican votes locked down to block Democrats’ efforts force witnesses into the impeachment trial.Leading Republican moderates Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski kicked off the questioning phrase of the trial on Wednesday by asking, if Trump had multiple motives for delaying US military aid to Ukraine, how the Senate would handle that.That goes to the heart of the impeachment accusation that Trump inappropriately pressured Ukraine by holding back aid until the Ukrainian government agreed to investigate the president’s leading election rival Joe Biden, in what Democrats charge is an abuse of power.A looming question over Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings is whether centrist senators will side with Democrats to form a majority voting to bring witnesses in.While Democrats have Bolton at the top of their list, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer brushed off the prospect of moderate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia supporting the prospect of Biden’s son Hunter being requested by Republicans to testify about his time working for a Ukrainian gas company.Manchin said on MSNBC on Wednesday he thought Hunter Biden should testify, which most Democrats have opposed.“We are totally united and have been totally united for a month and continue to be,” Schumer said of his Senate members at a press conference.Meanwhile, Trump attacked Bolton after reports that a draft manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book claims Trump directly linked a delay in military aid to Ukraine to a condition that the Ukrainian government investigate his Democratic rivals, especially Joe Biden.Trump wrote of Bolton: “… if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?”One of Trump’s defense arguments during the impeachment inquiry was that those two were not connected. Critics say he was trying to use a vulnerable Ukraine to help his re-election chances; Trump said he was just trying to root out corruption there.> ....many more mistakes of judgement, gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020Trump maintains Bolton was fired last fall, while Bolton claimed he resigned.On Wednesday, Trump also complained about Bolton’s timing. He wrote: “Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this “nonsense” a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated. He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!”The White House later sent a letter to Bolton’s attorney, which claimed his client’s book cannot be published in its current form because it contains top secret material.The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is under pressure to round up his caucus and move to vote by the end of the week first to block witnesses and then to acquit Trump on the impeachment charges altogether.McConnell told his caucus in a meeting on Tuesday night, according to multiple reports, of the stakes.With an unknown number of Republican senators still undecided about calling witnesses, McConnell could still get the votes he needs to block witnesses and stop the trial from reeling off into unpredictable – and potentially hazardous – territory for the president. At least four Republicans would need to join Democrats to force witness testimony.Murkowski met with McConnell on Wednesday morning, adding to speculation that she could join Democrats in supporting a motion to bring in witnesses, according to a Senate aide.Trump’s defense team and his Republican allies have argued vehemently against the inclusion of witnesses at the trial, saying they already had enough information to decide the case and that the Senate should not be burdened by what they have framed as an incomplete process in the House of Representatives.But those arguments appear not to have been persuasive to the necessary number of senators. Trump’s lawyers concluded their opening arguments on Tuesday.Led by Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, the defense team dismissed objections to Trump’s conduct towards Ukraine as “policy disagreements” and warned senators not to “lower the bar of impeachment” by voting to convict the president.A furious Trump complained on Twitter on Wednesday morning that Democrats could not be satisfied. During the inquiry process in the House of Representatives last year, the White House blocked senior administration officials from testifying in the House.> No matter how many witnesses you give the Democrats, no matter how much information is given, like the quickly produced Transcripts, it will NEVER be enough for them. They will always scream UNFAIR. The Impeachment Hoax is just another political CON JOB!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020No witnesses have appeared at the trial in the Senate, with House managers detailing the case for the prosecution of Trump that he abused the power of his office and, in gagging officials and blocking the release of some documentary evidence, obstructed Congress – forming the two articles of impeachment relating to Trump’s conduct with regard to Ukraine.Trump has no plans to appear at his own trial and has been pressing Congress to get it finished before he has to give his State of the Union address next Tuesday – the day after the crucial Iowa caucuses occur as the first voting event in the primary contest to choose the Democratic party nominee to challenge Trump for the White House this November.Moderate Biden is jostling for the top spot in opinion polls with resurgent leftwinger Bernie Sanders.
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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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