January 29, 2020

France to send warships to support Greece in Turkish standoff
Greek PM welcomes move as row with Ankara over energy reserves intensifiesGreece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has welcomed a decision by France to dispatch war frigates to the eastern Mediterranean as a standoff with Turkey over regional energy reserves intensifies.With tensions between Athens and Ankara causing growing international alarm, Mitsotakis described the vessels as “guarantors of peace”.“The only way to end differences in the eastern Mediterranean is through international justice,” he told reporters after holding talks in Paris with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. “Greece and France are pursuing a new framework of strategic defence.”Mitsotakis was in the French capital on a visit aimed at rallying EU support at a time when hostile relations with Turkey have eclipsed all other issues on the agenda of his near seven-month-old government.Macron pledged France would step up its strategic bond with Greece, accusing Turkey of not only exacerbating regional tensions but failing to stick to its promised course of action in war-torn Libya.“I want to express my concerns with regard to the behaviour of Turkey at the moment … we have seen during these last days Turkish warships accompanied by Syrian mercenaries arrive on Libyan soil. This is an explicit and serious infringement of what was agreed [at last week’s peace conference] in Berlin. It’s a broken promise.”The Gallic-Greek alliance cements what officials in Athens are calling a renewed diplomatic push to counter Turkish belligerence in the Mediterranean.Greece’s defence minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, recently went as far as to warn that armed forces were “examining all scenarios, even that of military engagement” in the face of heightened aggression from Ankara. Rejecting Turkish demands that Greece demilitarise 16 Aegean islands, he accused Turkey of displaying unusually provocative behaviour.The demand, made by his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, follows a dramatic surge in recent months in the number of violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets. “Greece does not provoke, does not violate the sovereign rights of others, but it doesn’t like to see its own rights violated,” said Panagiotopoulos.Tensions between the Nato allies prompted Donald Trump to take the unprecedented step of voicing concerns over the situation in a telephone call with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Monday.The White House spokesman Judd Deere tweeted that in a conversation focusing on Libya and Syria, the US president had also “highlighted the importance of Turkey and Greece resolving their differences in the east Mediterranean”.Friction between the two neighbours has not been so acute since the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 – an operation that resulted in the island’s permanent division that is still viewed by Ankara as one of its greatest modern military successes. Privately, Greek officials liken the mood music between the rival countries to 1996, when a military clash over an Aegean islet inhabited solely by goats was narrowly averted after Washington stepped in. “The intervention has been welcomed,” said one well-placed MP. “But whether it will help avoid armed confrontation is far from sure.”Regional tensions have escalated as Turkish anger has risen over conflicting claims to potentially massive energy reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.Erdoğan’s ire has so far been aimed at Cyprus, where a feud over exploration rights has deepened following the discovery of natural gas deposits in waters around the island. Ignoring Turkish anger at not being included, the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government has forged ahead with the search, commissioning international energy companies, including the French multinational Total, to explore allocated blocs off the island for underwater resources.This month the Turkish president threatened to send more drill ships to the region in retaliation. But an accord reached between Ankara and the UN-backed government in Tripoli in December, delineating new maritime boundaries between the two nations, has taken the bilateral animosity to a higher level. Waters south of Crete are directly challenged under the agreement with officials in Athens viewing it as a deliberate and unprecedented attempt to undermine the country’s sovereignty. Standing alongside Mitsotakis after their talks, Macron said France “deplores the Turkish-Libyan deal in the clearest terms”.“What we are seeing is a far more revisionist and aggressive Turkey aiming at change of borders be it on land or sea,” said the international relations professor Aristotle Tziampiris at the University of Piraeus. “That, and Erdoğan’s increasing authoritarianism, is the cause of such tensions and consternation with Greece,” he said. “To counter the aggression, Athens is resolved to strengthen partnerships and strategic alliances, be it with France, other EU allies or the US.”Tziampiris does not believe the tensions will lead inexorably to confrontation, but the possibility of the two neighbours slipping involuntarily into conflict is real.“The chances of war are slim, not least because it would be too much of a lose-lose situation,” he said. “But the chances of a [hot] incident, by design or accident, are very real and that is what is worrying us all.”
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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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