May 30, 2020

Trump justice department forces out top FBI lawyer in Flynn case – report
* NBC News: general counsel Dana Boente forced out on Friday * Fox News host Lou Dobbs slammed lawyer in April * Flynn transcripts show he discussed sanctions with RussianA top FBI lawyer who was criticised on Fox News for his role in the investigation of Michael Flynn has resigned after being asked to do so by senior figures at the Department of Justice, NBC News reported on Saturday.The FBI confirmed to NBC that Dana Boente, its general counsel and a former acting attorney general, announced his resignation on Friday after a near-40-year career. NBC cited two sources anonymous sources as saying the decision came from “Attorney General William Barr’s justice department”.Boente joined the DoJ in 1984 and in 2015 became the US attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, after being nominated by Barack Obama.In January 2017, he briefly served as acting attorney general, after Trump fired Sally Yates, an Obama-era deputy, for refusing to defend an executive order on immigration.Temporarily overseeing the investigation of Russian election interference, Boente signed a warrant authorising FBI surveillance of Flynn.The retired general, Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, was fired for lying to the vice-president about contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the conversations and cooperated with the special counsel Robert Mueller as he took over the investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow.Flynn sought to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing. Earlier this month, Barr said the Justice Department would drop the case, although a federal judge put that decision on hold.On Friday, the same day Boente was forced out of the FBI, Trump’s new director of intelligence and Senate Republicans released transcripts of the calls in question, between Flynn and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.Opponents of the president said the transcripts proved that Flynn had been treated fairly. Supporters of Trump said they showed Flynn had been treated unfairly.As Trump attempts to construct a scandal called “Obamagate”, with the surveillance of Flynn at its centre, his administration is releasing material it hopes will put Obama officials in a bad light.Boente also wrote a leaked memo concerning material put into the public domain about Flynn, which he said was not exculpatory.Trump is notoriously open to the views of key Fox News contributors.On 27 April, the Fox News host Lou Dobbs told viewers: “Shocking new reports suggest FBI general counsel Dana Boente was acting in coordination with FBI director Christopher Wray to block the release of that evidence that would have cleared General Flynn.”Trump has reportedly been urged to fire Wray, whom he appointed to replace JAMES COMEY, the man he fired in May 2017 in an attempt to close the Russia investigation.Comey’s firing led to the appointment of Mueller, who concluded a near-two year investigation without proving criminal conspiracy between Trump and Russia.Mueller did, however, obtain convictions of Trump aides and say in his report the campaign was receptive to Russian help. He also laid out extensive evidence of attempts by the president to obstruct his investigation.Trump has fired or forced out FBI and DoJ figures including Andrew McCabe, Comey’s deputy, lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who worked on the case.On Friday, Wray issued a statement about Boente.“Few people have served so well in so many critical, high-level roles at the department,” he said. “Throughout his long and distinguished career as a public servant, Dana has demonstrated a selfless determination to ensure that justice is always served on behalf of our citizens.”
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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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