June 22, 2020
A terror suspect held over the knife attack in a Reading park that killed three people came to the attention of MI5 last year, security sources have said.
Reading Park Terror Suspect Came To The Attention Of MI5 Last Year
The 25-year-old man, understood to be named Khairi Saadallah, was detained a short distance from the scene at Forbury Gardens and arrested on suspicion of murder.
He was later re-arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, which gives police the power to detain him without charge for up to 14 days.
According to PA Media,  the suspect – a refugee of the civil war in Libya – briefly came to the attention of MI5 last year, but the information provided did not meet the threshold of investigation.
PA understands from security sources that MI5 had received intelligence he planned to travel abroad, possibly for terrorism purposes, but the threat was found to be insubstantial.
As counter-terror officers investigate, mental health is understood to be considered a major factor in the latest incident.
Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.
School teacher James Furlong, 36, is the only victim to be named so far.
Two other people injured in the attack remain in hospital, while one has now been discharged.
Boris Johnson said he was “appalled and sickened” by the incident and said “we will not hesitate to take action” if there are lessons to be learned from the circumstances.I’m appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way. Our thoughts are with the families and Friends of the victims. Thank you to Thames Valley Police for their bravery in tackling the suspect. pic.twitter.com/BWgyODoIWM— Boris Johnson #StayAlert (@BorisJohnson) June 21, 2020The suspect was jailed in October for a complex series of non-terror offences before his sentence was reduced to one of 17 months and 20 days’ imprisonment in the Court of Appeal.
One of the appeal judges who gave the judgment in March noted Saadallah’s various mental health issues in reducing the sentence.
Saadallah was released from prison earlier this month, it is understood, and the Covid-19 pandemic played no part in the decision to free him.
The Sun reported that he left HMP Bullingdon, Oxfordshire, 17 days ago after less than half of his sentence.
Despite treating the incident as a terror attack, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said on Sunday the motive is still “far from certain”.
Basu said there was no evidence to suggest anyone attending crowded places is at risk, but asked people to “be alert, not alarmed, when you are in public”.
Security guard Sydney McDonald, 65, who saw the suspect being rugby-tackled to the ground by police, described how it looked as if he had put his hands “in a big bucket of red paint”.
He told the PA news agency: “I had just finished work at about 7.10pm and as soon as I came out of the shop, there were about four police cars, they turned around in the middle of the road, they were driving pretty fast.“There was a guy and I saw him pointing to a man and saying ‘There he is, there he is’. If he hadn’t, they would have missed him. He was running really fast, properly fast.
“They put the emergency brakes on, jumped out of the car and rugby-tackled him to the floor. He was on his stomach and the blood on his hands looked like he had put his hand in a big bucket of red paint.
“They put the handcuffs on, he wasn’t putting up a fight or anything like that, they picked him up and put him in the van, he just sat there all quiet, he wasn’t saying nothing.”
Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the incident, told PA on Saturday night the suspect was alone and “shouted some unintelligible words” before launching the attack.
“He went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them,” he said.
“He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.”
Thames Valley Police have pleaded with the public not to share any pictures or images of the killings on Social Media, and instead contact them on 101, or upload the footage to UKPoliceImageAppeal.co.uk.Tributes pour in for victim James Furlong Tributes from former students of Furlong poured in after a letter from the two co-head teachers at his school – the Holt School in Wokingham – announcing his death was circulated online.
His parents, Gary and Janet, said in a statement: “He was the best son, brother, uncle and partner you could wish for.
“We are thankful for the memories he gave us all. We will never forget him and he will live in our hearts forever.”
One former student wrote on Twitter: “James Furlong was one of the most influential and exceptional people in my life. He fostered my love of history, nurtured me, and taught me resilience and kindness.
They added: “The four years I spent with him were precious, and deeply treasured. I am absolutely devastated.” 
Meanwhile, one of his colleagues called him a “kind and giving man”. 
“He was an inspirational mentor for new teachers,” they wrote. “I learnt something from him every time we chatted about history teaching. This is so so unfair.” 
Furlong’s former student Molly Collins said that pupils at the Holt School would light candles and lay flowers in his memory at a local church, while others were putting together a memorial book for the teacher’s family. Related... Reading Stabbing Attack Declared A Terrorist Incident, Police Say
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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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