March 28, 2020

One Battle Boris Johnson Is Clearly Winning
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As recently as a few weeks ago, it seemed as though U.K. politics could not possibly talk about anything besides Brexit, even after the country’s formal departure from the EU. Business as usual was expected to return at some unspecified point in the future.As elsewhere, the Coronavirus has turned British politics on its head. Unlike Brexit, which continues to divide opinion fairly evenly, the coronavirus crisis has prompted an outbreak of recently unfamiliar unity. Number Cruncher polling (excusive to Bloomberg) finds personal ratings for Boris Johnson -- himself now diagnosed with coronavirus -- that have not been seen for a British Prime Minister since the early days of Tony Blair’s premiership in 1997.Fully 72% of eligible voters are satisfied with Johnson’s performance as Prime Minister, with 25% dissatisfied. Ninety-one per cent of those currently supporting the Conservatives count themselves as satisfied, along with about half of Labour voters and those voting for other parties and a large majority of undecided voters. Johnson’s government gets similar approval ratings, both overall (73% to 24%) and on its handling of the Coronavirus outbreak (72% to 25%).The 1,010 interviews were conducted Tuesday through Thursday, following Johnson’s televised address on Monday, but completed before Johnson himself revealed that he had tested positive for the virus. There is some evidence in our data to suggest that these figures were higher in the immediate aftermath of the pre-recorded broadcast, which was watched by around half of the adult population.The strongest numbers of all are for the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (77% satisfaction). Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose successor will be named on April 4, remains in negative territory (with 54% dissatisfied).While wartime metaphors are now commonplace, this pandemic is not, of course, a war in literal sense -- people are being killed by a disease, not each other. But it does share many of the same characteristics and a similar “rally around the flag” sense. The most obvious of these is the unity against a common enemy, with a lot of agreement across parties and across the public. There is also clear sense of “national effort,” and some extremely large government spending on its way.That’s not to say that there have been no controversies — there have been debates over strategy and the policy response — though these can easily be drowned out by the enormity of the wider situation.This is not unique to the U.K. Polling elsewhere has shown that the crisis has helped incumbents in other countries too. Emmanuel Macron in France, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte and Canada’s Justin Trudeau have also seen their ratings improve. Even in the strongly polarized U.S., Donald Trump’s approval ratings have seen gains.But what is specific to the U.K. is the perfect storm providing the tailwind to the Conservatives. The post-election bounce for Johnson and his party was still very much in evidence when the coronavirus became the dominant story, and was likely boosted by Brexit on Jan. 31st. Labour has been less visible than it might normally be, and when it is visible it’s via its unpopular leader, who remains in place more than three months after his election defeat.Coupled with the rally-round-the-flag effect, it is not hard to see why records are being broken. Of likely voters, 54% would choose Conservatives, up nine points from the December election (excluding Northern Ireland). No Conservative government has ever had such a strong poll rating, according to records compiled by author Mark Pack beginning in 1943.Labour has dropped five points to 28%, giving the Tories their biggest lead while in office since Margaret Thatcher’s peak during the Falklands war in 1982. The Liberal Democrats — who this week postponed their leadership election until 2021 — also fall five points to 7%.Of course, no U.K. election is imminent, with even the local elections scheduled for May having been postponed until next year. What’s more, being hugely popular in a war or war-like situation can still end in electoral defeat, as it did for Winston Churchill and George H.W. Bush. And that’s before we consider likely economic damage of the coronavirus, which is in the very early stages of being felt.But these numbers are significant for another reason. The immediate task for Johnson and other leaders is to convince their citizens to comply with personal restrictions that would be unthinkable in normal times. Irrespective of the wider politics, having the public united behind him can only help. For now, the U.K. feels strangely united.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matt Singh runs Number Cruncher Politics, a nonpartisan polling and elections site that predicted the 2015 U.K. election polling failure.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe 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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