June 09, 2020
“Senior No 10 sources” have been at it again. This time, telling the Sunday Times that the UK is prepared to walk away from the Brexit negotiations should the EU fail to display greater flexibility. No deal, in other words, is back on the Brexit table. Indeed, as we explain in a recent report, a no trade deal outcome looks as likely as it ever has. But what difference would it make in the context of the disruption that Covid-19 will already be causing? 
No Deal Brexit Is Back With A Vengeance
It’s worth starting by saying that no deal now is not the same as under Theresa May. For one thing, there is now a Withdrawal Agreement in place. This sorts out the money that the UK owes the EU, the issues of citizens’ rights and, to an extent, the fraught question of Northern Ireland (on which more in a minute). This was doubtless the point that Michael Gove was making in parliament when he declared: “We can’t have a no deal scenario because the withdrawal agreement is a deal.”
What we can have, however, is a no trade deal scenario. And here lies the other difference with the situation under May. The logic underlying government thinking, as spelled out recently by James Forsyth, seems to be that the “disruption caused by Coronavirus means the costs of leaving without a trade deal are lower than they have ever been.”Related... Opinion: Boris Johnson's Brexit Crunch Point Has Arrived From an economic perspective, there is considerable force to this argument, at least for the longer term. The kind of trade deal being sought by Boris Johnson is far thinner than that which her predecessor had negotiated via the much-maligned all-UK backstop, which would have kept the UK in a de facto customs union with the EU.  
That lack of ambition means that even in the unlikely event that the UK gets exactly what it wants from the EU – a trade deal with no or few tariffs – significant adaption to our current trading practices will be needed. Our modelling suggests that no trade deal – trading on “WTO rules” would, over the long term, reduce UK GDP by about 8% (or £2,000 per head); but the type of deal advocated by the government would only reduce that damage by a fifth.  
So, the argument goes, a trade deal would be nice, but hardly top priority. 
However, there are a number of assumptions doing a lot of heavy lifting here. First, that coronavirus will dwarf the impact of any cliff-edge in January 2021, both economically and politically.
It is certainly true that, as the Institute for Government have pointed out, the “ordinary processes of a modern economy” can continue under the latter but have ground to a halt as a result of the former. But this cuts both ways. One of the success stories of the recent period has been the resilience of food supply chains despite the disruptions imposed by lockdown. The checks and tariffs that would accompany a no deal mean that disruption in this area will almost certainly be more apparent than it is now.
It would be a brave (and arrogant) economist who, given the uncertainties, would predict how Brexit will interact with the aftermath of Covid-19. What is, however, certain is that while both affect not just the UK but the EU and indeed the world, they affect us more. Our exports to the EU are about 13-14% of UK GDP, but EU exports to the UK are less than 3% of UK GDP. And the Covid-19 outbreak has been both more serious and more prolonged than in the EU, with more deaths here than in even the worst hit European countries, let alone the average. The combined impact, in other words, will be significant. 
The second argument is that what really matters, for both Covid-19 and Brexit, is not short-term disruption – which may be painful, but transitory – but the long-term structural impacts on the UK economy.  In other words, both represent a permanent economic shock, to which business and the economy will have to adjust. Adjustment has costs – investment, reshaping business models, and restructuring supply chains – and will be painful for some. Surely those costs will be minimised if those two shocks are synchronized? With one bound, the UK economy will shift to a new post-Brexit, post-Covid model. 
Again, this is hard to model, but suffice it to say that this view is not popular in the business community. What is certain is that it would represent a huge gamble – the capacity of the UK economy to withstand an extended period of “creative destruction” and emerge stronger on the other side – that has its most obvious recent analogy in the Thatcher era of deindustrialization. 
More broadly, the political implications of a no deal outcome threaten to be every bit as significant as its economic fallout. Should the negotiations collapse, the outcome will doubtless be a period of mutual recrimination as both sides point the finger of blame at the other.  
And there will be obvious flashpoints where things could easily spiral out of control. To take one example, the British government has (finally) admitted that, even with a deal, there will need to be some checks in Northern Ireland, albeit that it has made it clear that it intends to limit these as far as possible. With no deal at all, however, given the fundamentally different relationship with the EU that Northern Ireland and Great Britain would have when it comes to goods, those checks will be more intrusive and the border more obvious. Will this be manageable? And we haven’t even mentioned fish.
And all this in the context of a world in which many in the west are reconsidering their relationship with China, while Donald Trump continues to generate doubts about the future of the transatlantic bond. Cross-Channel tensions would hardly help either side craft a sensible and collaborative strategy to address such international uncertainties.
The gap between deal and no deal is certainly smaller than it was under Theresa May. And Covid-19 may indeed alter that calculation still further. Yet, even so, no deal would still be a big deal. 
Professor Anand Menon is director of UK in a Changing Europe, and Professor Jonathan Portes is senior fellow.Related... Opinion: For Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, Democracy Is Optional Boris Johnson Must Show BAME Communities How Black Lives Matter, Says Former Tory Minister Is The UK Coming Out Of Lockdown A Month Too Early? Brexit Talks End With No Progress As EU Insists: 'We Can't Go On Like This'
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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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