News : Development

IDB approves record US$21.6B in lending to regional countries

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said it provided a record US$21.6 billion this year to assist its 26 member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to manage the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The... (

Major water supply project set to benefit rural Jamaicans

Nearly 100,000 rural Jamaicans are poised to benefit from improved water supply, under a major project to be executed with funding support of US$30 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The loan was approved for allocation from the... (

J’can prisoners: armed and dangerous – report

An Inter-American Development Bank study has revealed that Jamaica leads the Caribbean in the number of inmates who were armed with weapons when they committed a crime. And it is not during killings that the high percentage of the inmates have... (

Tamron Hall, Chriselle Lim, Shannon Watts, Ai-jen Poo and More Join Power Women Summit 2020

Syndicated daytime talk show host Tamron Hall, Bümo CEO Chriselle Lim, Mom’s Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, executive director of National Domestic Workers Alliance Ai-jen Poo, Moms in Office founder Simona Grace and parenting expert and podcaster Dr. Aliza Pressman will join this week’s Power Women Summit 2020. With the theme “Inclusion 360,” the event will take place virtually December 8-10.

In a conversation titled “A Letter to My Children” the entrepreneurs, activists and experts will discuss how they are coping with the challenges that the pandemic has faced, as parents and women engaged in issues of politics and social justice. From navigating life during COVID to voter rights and racial justice, panelists will discuss how they are normalizing these conversations in the home in order to promote positive social change.

With continued commitment to empowering the next generation, the Power Women Summit includes a robust mentorship program presented by Amazon Studios. The program was designed to foster and cultivate growth in three key areas: storytelling, entrepreneurship and personal development through curated small-group video sessions. Mentorship upgrades were available for only $99 with underwritten tickets provided to community organizations and event partners.

Also Read: Anita Hill to Deliver Keynote Address at Power Women Summit 2020

This year’s mentors include actor Gina Torres who will mentor on Overcoming Stereotypes in Hollywood, Emmy-Award winning television host of “The Real” Jeannie Mai on Building Your Brand, Skydance president of animation Holly Edwards on Producing Quality Content and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Kirstin Maldonado on Engaging with Audiences Through Social Media.

Here’s information on our panelists and mentors:

Emmy Award-winning talk show host Tamron Hall is the host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated talk show “Tamron Hall,” which premiered in September 2019. In July, the show received a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host, marking the first time a freshman host was the recipient of that honor.



Renowned digital influencer and entrepreneur Chriselle Lim is the CEO of Bümo, which means ‘parents’ in Korean. She is co-founder of BümoWORK, a co-working space with licensed childcare and the online community BümoParent. In response to COVID, she launched BümoBrain, an online education site. She also hosts the Dear Media podcast “Being Bümo.”



Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America–the nation’s largest grassroots gun violence prevention group. She is also the author of “Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World.”



Also Read: Whitney Port, Olivia Culpo, Alexis Ren and More Join Power Women Summit 2020

Ai-jen Poo is the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, and Co-Founder of Supermajority. She is an award-winning organizer, best-selling author, a TIME 100 alumna and a leading voice in the women’s movement.




Simona Grace is founder of Moms in Office, a political organization dedicated to electing and supporting moms running for office. Most recently, Simona was named California’s Mother of the Year 2020.




Dr. Aliza Pressman is the Co-Founding Director and Director of Clinical Programming for the Mount Sinai Parenting Center. Dr. Pressman is also known for her Dear Media podcast “Raising Good Humans,” designed help make the journey of parenting a little less overwhelming.




Gina Torres is well known for her role as Jessica Pearson on USA Network’s hit original series “Suits.” Torres also toplined and executive produced “Pearson,” which saw her “Suits” character take on the world of Chicago politics. Gina Torres most recently joined the cast as a series regular on season two of Fox’s “911: Lone Star.”



Also Read: Regina King Joins Spotlight Conversation at Power Women Summit 2020

Jeannie Mai is the Emmy-Award winning host of “The Real.” A style expert and producer, Mai has a web series “Hello Hunnay,” about her journey through fashion, fitness, finances and relationships. The digital series releases weekly on Kin, Facebook and YouTube with over 590K subscribers and continues to grow weekly. Mai also hosts the podcast “Listen Hunnay.”



As president of Skydance Animation, Holly Edwards sets the overall business and production strategy across all animated titles. She is in charge of overseeing global teams dedicated to producing a bold and original slate of animated films and television series. Her past credits include “Kung Fu Panda, “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “Trolls” — just to name a few.



Kirstin Maldonado is a 3X Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, most widely known as a co-founding member of the highly successful a cappella group Pentatonix. As a member of Pentatonix, Maldonado has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide, and amassed more than 4.5 billion video views from more than 18 million YouTube subscribers.



Other previously announced speakers include chair of the Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality Anita Hill, actor/director/producer Regina King, “Black Bear” actor Aubrey Plaza, Congresswoman-Elect Cori Bush, recording artist/ entrepreneur Saweetie, creator/singer Lele Pons, Emmy Award-winning documentarian and journalist Soledad O’Brien, actor and founder of I Weigh Jameela Jamil, actor and entrepreneur Olivia Culpo, TV personality and entrepreneur Whitney Port, model and entrepreneur Alexis Ren, Glamour editor-in-chief Samantha Barry, Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price, FabFitFun co-founder and editor-in-chief Katie Echevarria Rosen Kitchens and optimism doctor Dr. Deepika Chopra. Also appearing are actors Beanie Feldstein(“Booksmart”), Storm Reid (“Euphoria”), Alisha Boe (“13 Reasons Why”), Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (“Never Have I Ever”), Alexxis Lemire (“The Half of It”), Kelly Marie Tran (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), Genneya Walton (“#BlackAF”), Nika King (“Euphoria”), Hayley Orrantia (“The Goldbergs”) and Corinne Foxx (“Safety”). Showrunners Leslye Headland(“Russian Doll“), Liz Tigelaar(“Little Fires Everywhere”) and Elle Johnson (“Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam CJ Walker”) will also be joined by creators David Collins (“Queer Eye”), Smriti Mundhra (“Indian Matchmaking”), Tanya Saracho (“Vida”) and Ilana Peña (“Diary of a Future President”). YouTube vice president of content partnerships, Kelly Merryman; global head of original content, Susanne Danielsand global head of artist relations, Vivien Lewit. Performers include Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, Cam, Citizen Queen, Yuna, K3 Sisters Band, GEM and Renaissance Youth Center Choir. Previously announced mentors include actors T’Nia Miller(“The Haunting of Bly Manor”), Ryan Michelle Bathe (“All Rise”), Garcelle Beauvais (“Coming 2 America”), Melanie Liburd (“This is Us”), actor Francesca Scorsese (“We Are Who We Are”) and actor and director Daphne Zuniga (“Melrose Place”).

About Power Women Summit:

The Power Women Summit, presented by the WrapWomen Foundation, is the largest annual gathering of the most influential women in entertainment, media and technology. The Summit aims to inspire and empower women across the landscape of their professional careers and personal lives. This year’s all-virtual PWS provides three days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking around the globe to promote “Inclusion 360,” this year’s theme.

To register for a pass:

Sponsors include Lifetime, WarnerMedia, Cadillac, Loeb & Loeb, YouTube, MGM, NBCUniversal, Verizon Media, Spotify, Netflix, Starz-Lionsgate, AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Twitter, Greenberg Glusker, Sony, GEM, Skydance, LA Film School and Apple.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Beanie Feldstein, Storm Reid, Alisha Boe, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and More Join Power Women Summit 2020

Showrunners of 'Russian Doll,' 'Little Fires Everywhere' and 'Self Made' Join Power Women Summit 2020


Alphabet’s X partners with Econet Group to roll out Project Taara wireless light-beam broadband in Africa

Alphabet’s X ‘Moonshot Factory’ subsidiary has a lot of cutting edge projects in development, so it’s always exciting when one of them gets ready for real-world deployment. On Tuesday, X announced that its ‘Project Taara’ high-speed optical wireless broadband endeavor is working with internet provider Econet and its subsidiaries to begin rolling out its tech […] (

Huawei Collaborates with Geekulcha to Host a Series of Developer Workshops Online

Global tech giant Huawei and local tech entrepreneur Mixo Fortune Ngoveni, Founder and CEO of Geekulcha, have collaborated to host a series of app developer workshops. These are aimed at helping budding developers and students in South Africa to harness Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) Core capabilities for app development skills and to advance innovation.  Geekulcha […] (

How Digital Payments could Foster African Development

The World Bank has estimated that Africa could potentially hold 90% of the global poor population by 2030 and has recently cut its economic growth predictions to between -2.1% and -5.1% in 2020 from the 2.4% of 2019. The situation has been significantly worsened by the global pandemic, as the continent hits its first recession in 25 […] (

Sundance Institute Expands Board With Diverse Group of 7 New Trustees

The Sundance Institute on Monday appointed seven new members to its Board of Trustees, bringing it to a 32-person board that is evenly split between men and women and features 10  who identify as people of color, including six who identify as Black.

The newest members are Kimberlé Crenshaw, Ann Lewnes and Wonya Lucas, who join the board alongside Uzodinma Iweala, Amanda Kelso, William Plapinger and Junaid Sarieddeen, all of whom joined over the last year. While the Sundance Institute board typically includes 24-28 members, it expanded this year to add new members and to replace three members whose terms had expired.

The new trustees will work closely with Board chair Pat Mitchell and executive director Keri Putnam in shaping the business, cultural and philanthropic goals of the organization in an advisory capacity.

Also Read: Sundance Institute Hires Gina Duncan in New Role as Producing Director

They join current members on the Institute’s Board: Robert Redford, president & founder; Pat Mitchell, chair; Jeanne Donovan Fisher, vice chair; Ebs Burnough, vice chair; Sean Bailey, Ritesh Batra, Jason Blum, Lisa-Michele Church, Kenneth Cole, Pascal Desroches, Fred Dust, Philipp Engelhorn, Caterina Fake, Robert J. Frankenberg, Donna Gruneich, Cindy Harrell Horn, Charles D. King, Lisa Kron, Lyn Davis Lear, Gigi Pritzker, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Amy Redford, Geoffrey K. Sands, Nadine Schiff-Rosen and Lynette Wallworth.

“We are so grateful to welcome the expertise and unique perspectives of Kimberlé, Uzodinma, Amanda, Ann, Bill, and Junaid to Sundance as we move forward in this challenging time,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Our board possesses the right skills, a broad range of talents and a high level of commitment to our founding values and ethics to guide the organization’s mission oriented work in supporting emerging artists around the world and connecting audiences to their stories.”

The full bios for the seven new members are listed below:

Kimberlé Crenshaw is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is the Promise Institute Professor at UCLA Law School and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor at Columbia Law School. She is popularly known for her development of “intersectionality,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the #SayHerName Campaign, and is the host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!, a columnist for The New Republic, and the moderator of the widely impactful webinar series Under The Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that the Twin Pandemics Lay Bare. She is one of the most cited scholars in the history of the law, and was named Ms. magazine’s “No. 1 Most Inspiring Feminist,” honored as one of the ten most important thinkers in the world by Prospect Magazine, and included in Ebony’s “Power 100” issue. Her groundbreaking work on “intersectionality” has traveled globally and was influential in shaping the South African Equality Clause. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne and University of Paris; Centennial Professor at The London School of Economics; Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; and taught at universities in South Africa, Brazil, and Italy. She received her J.D. from Harvard, L.L.M. from University of Wisconsin, and B.A. from Cornell University, and sits on the boards of Sundance, VDay, and the Algorithmic Justice League.

Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa and is Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about a queer first-generation Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications like The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and  The Paris Review among others. Uzodinma was also the founding CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector investment in health services and health innovation in Nigeria. He sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, The International Rescue Committee and the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Amanda Kelso is passionate about technology and storytelling, and how together they can shape communities. She has spent the last 25 years serving as a creative communications and brand leader for global tech companies as well as lending her skills to non-profit organizations and startups. Amanda’s tenure includes helping to foster and oversee the stewardship of Instagram’s community of more than one billion people, serving as the Managing Director of Google Creative Lab, and providing creative digital leadership at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and West Ventures. While the majority of her career has been working in a creative capacity in the technology sector, early in her career she worked on television productions including Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Amanda holds a BA in Film from Columbia College at Columbia University and is an incoming DCI Fellow at Stanford University. As an advocate for independent storytellers, in addition to being a trustee of the Sundance Institute, Amanda is also a member of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council, and a judge for the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Work she has produced has been recognized by Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, SXSW, D&AD, Clios, One Show, The Jim Henson Technology Honor, and Communication Arts. Amanda recently co-published a public meditations project encouraging people to take time out of their busy days to meditate.

Ann Lewnes is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Adobe, a position she has held for over a decade. Under her leadership, the Adobe brand has become synonymous with creativity, digital marketing and the design and development of transformative digital experiences. In addition to its consistent focus on creativity, Adobe’s marketing organization pioneered the shift to digital – deploying advanced digital marketing technology, establishing an insight-driven culture, and setting a template for marketing’s impact on business. Prior to Adobe, Ann spent 20 years building the iconic Intel Inside brand as VP of Marketing. Forbes has recognized her as one of the top CMOs in the world, Ad Age has named her one of The Creativity 50 and she was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame in 2019. Ann received her B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from Lehigh University. She currently serves on the board of Mattel and is an active participant in the Sundance Catalyst program. Believing everyone has a story to tell, Ann is a strong advocate for empowering diverse creators, including women, youth and other under-represented groups.

Wonya Lucas is president and chief executive officer of Crown Media Family Networks. Lucas oversees the company’s portfolio of entertainment brands, including linear networks Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama; and subscription video on demand service Hallmark Movies Now. Lucas is based in the company’s Studio City office and reports to Mike Perry, president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Cards, Inc. Formerly, Lucas was president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she oversaw Atlanta’s NPR (WABE) and PBS (ATL PBA) stations. Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of TV One. Prior to joining TV One, Lucas held several positions at Discovery Communications, including executive vice president and chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and global chief marketing officer, which entailed oversight of marketing in 210 countries. Before joining Discovery Communications, Lucas served as general manager and executive vice president of The Weather Channel Networks with responsibility for corporate strategy and development and strategic marketing for The Weather Channel and . Previously, she spent eight years at Turner with roles including senior vice president of strategic marketing for CNN Worldwide; vice president of business operations and network development for Turner Entertainment; and vice president of entertainment marketing for TNT. Lucas also spent several years in brand management for The Coca-Cola Company and Clorox. Lucas received an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Wharton and BS Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech.

William Plapinger was a partner for almost three decades (and is now Senior Counsel) at the global law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and has dedicated most of his time since 2012 to the not-for-profit sector, primarily education, as well as conservation and the arts. Plapinger’s legal practice focused on corporate finance and M&A in more than 30 countries, with particular emphasis on large, complex, financial transactions, many of which were the first, largest or most significant of their kind.  He was resident in the firm’s London office for 25 years, and had both firm-wide and regional management responsibilities, including as managing partner of that office, coordinator of the firm’s European offices, and a member of the firm’s Managing Partners Committee. In the education sector, he is a member of the boards of directors of The Posse Foundation and Global Citizen Year, and formerly was the chair of the board of trustees of Vassar College for 12 years, a Commissioner on the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission, a trustee of the American School in London, and a director of the Conference of Board Chairs of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges.  Over the last several years, he has worked with partners on an innovative venture to provide affordable financing to African students at the world’s leading universities. In the conservation sector, he is a member of the board of directors of Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the largest private land trust on Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and in the arts sector, in addition to being a member of the board of trustees of the Sundance Institute, he was a co-founder and member of the board of directors of the American Friends of the British Museum. Plapinger is a graduate of Vassar College and New York University School of Law, attended Westfield College (University of London), and was a Fellow in 2013 and 2014 in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University.  He and his wife of almost 40 years, Cassie Murray, split their time between Martha’s Vineyard and New York City, and have three grown children.

Junaid Sarieddeen is a theatre actor, director, dramaturge, and a founding member of Beirut-based Zoukak Theatre Company (2006). He has directed several theatre plays with Zoukak and other artists including, “Ish Ibka…” (2007), “Lucena / Obedience Training” (2013), “Heavens” (2014), “The Jokers” (2017), and “36 Abbas street, Haifa” (2017). As a dramaturge, Junaid worked on several theatre and dance performances, including “Mahalli” (2012), “Fatmeh” (2014), “Leila’s Death” (2015), “May he rise…” (2017) and “NIGHT” (2019), and performed in more than 20 productions in the past fourteen years, touring in multiple cities and festivals around the world. He is a trainer on the use of theatre in various educational, social, and psychosocial contexts, and since 2016, a fellow artist of the Sundance Theatre Program where he took part in various Theatre Labs, both as a director and dramaturge in the USA and the MENA region. Establishing Zoukak has provided Junaid a broad experience in art direction, curating cultural events and festivals, in addition to the knowledge in the management of non-governmental and cultural associations. He was a member of several initiatives focusing on cultural policies and other social and cultural issues in Lebanon including, censorship, public space, cultural heritage, and history. For its artistic and social engagement, Zoukak received the Ibsen Scholarship award (2012), the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Euro-med Dialogue Award for social resilience and creativity (2014), the Honorary Citizenship of the City of Palermo (2017), the Praemium Imperial Award for Young Artists from the Japan Arts Association (2017), the Chirac Foundation Award of Culture for Peace (2017) and the Ellen Stewart International Award (2018). Junaid holds a BA in Theatre and a BA in Philosophy from the Lebanese University. At present, he is pursuing his Masters at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Institute Hires Gina Duncan in New Role as Producing Director

How Sundance and Other Film Festivals Are Prepping for Virtual 2021 Event – and Permanent Changes Post-COVID (Video)

Sundance 2021 to Extend Beyond Utah, Be Held in 20 Cities Nationwide and Online


Simon Kinberg to Write ‘Battlestar Galactica’ for Universal

Simon Kinberg has signed on to write Universal Pictures’ big-screen reboot of “Battlestar Galactica,” according to an individual with knowledge of the project.

Kinberg will also produce alongside Dylan Clark who has shepherded the film adaptation for the studio.

“‘Battlestar Galactica’ is one of the holy grails in science fiction, and I couldn’t be more excited about bringing something new to the franchise, while honoring what’s made it so iconic and enduring,” Kinberg said in a statement. “I’m so grateful that Dylan and my partners at Universal have trusted me with this incredible universe.”

The “Battlestar Galactica” franchise originated in 1978 with the short-lived original series created by Glen A. Larson. It centered on a crew of survivors traveling space on a ship, Galactica, in the aftermath of humanity’s near-extinction in a war with a race of robots called Cylons.

Also Read: Idris Elba Teams With Simon Kinberg on Spy Thriller at Apple

A 2004 reboot of the series, developed by “Star Trek” alum Ronald D. Moore, ran for four seasons on Syfy (then known as Sci Fi), debuting to widespread critical acclaim and going on to achieve cult status. Cast members included Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Grace Park.

The franchise has lived on with a number of other ancillary series and movies in the years since, including the one-and-done prequel series “Caprica” in 2010 and the web series-turned-film “Blood & Chrome” in 2013.

Universal’s Senior Vice President of Production Jay Polidoro and Director of Development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

Best known for the “X-Men” franchise, Simon Kinberg co-wrote and directed the spy thriller “The 355” starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Diane Kruger and Fan Bingbing which is being released by Universal on January 15, 2021. Kinberg created and co-wrote the highly anticipated Apple TV+ series “Invasion,” which is currently in production. He is also producing “Here Comes the Flood,” which was recently picked up by Netflix and will be directed by Jason Bateman, and recently sold the an untitled Idris Elba Africa-set spy romance to Apple.

Simon Kinberg is repped by CAA and Jackoway Tyerman.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

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Simon Kinberg Blames Himself for 'Dark Phoenix' Box Office Bomb

'Fantastic Four' Producer Simon Kinberg Still Wants a Sequel: 'We Didn't Make a Good Movie'

Simon Kinberg Reveals a Major X-Men Character Will Appear in 'New Mutants'


2020 Hindsight After 20 Years at ICANN

After two decades of involvement with ICANN, I am stepping down from the Board of Directors, where I served for nine years.

I have spent considerable time of late reflecting on the past 20 years, and I have isolated some memories that help frame my time with ICANN.

  • November 2000, ICANN07 in Marina del Rey, California — With only a scant idea of what ICANN is all about, I am warmly welcomed by the flag-wearing country code top-level domain (ccTLD) community, who come to ICANN to ensure that nothing happens to affect the independence of ccTLDs.
  • June 2003, ICANN17 in Montreal — I am locked in a hotel basement with colleagues negotiating the formation of the Country Code Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO), which finally gets a nod of acceptance from the majority of the ccTLDs at the meeting.
  • March 2004, ICANN19 in Rome — CRISIS! The hotel bar has run out of red wine! Me: What, really? Bartender: Yes, we have no more. Me: But that's impossible. Bartender: No, it isn't, you guys drank it all, and we don't have a delivery for two days. Me: How could you let that happen — you seriously have none? Bartender: Well, we do have some Spanish. 'Problema resuelto, crisis evitada'!
  • July 2004, ICANN20 in Kuala Lumpur — Finally, four ccTLDs from each region have agreed to join the ccNSO. We form our first Council and hold our first meeting. I am elected Chair.
  • December 2004, ICANN21 in Cape Town — So here I am, waist deep in water in a canal in South Africa, searching for my sparkly new Motorola Razr phone. Minutes earlier, it had mysteriously leapt from my hand and landed in the canal, so I, of course, went after it. After 10 minutes, I come to my senses, get out of the canal and go buy a new phone.
  • July 2005, ICANN25 in Luxembourg — There is a sit-down gala for 500 people; 650 turn up. Board Chair Vint Cerf is refused entry, but rescued at the last minute and escorted in. Entertainment is courtesy of "The World's Strongest Man." He tears up phone books. He bends metal pipes. He lifts up ICANN staff members using his teeth. Bizarre — I am definitely not at the symphony.
  • June 2007, Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Name (APTLD) meeting in Dubai — Theresa Swinehart, J?nis Karklins, and I are overwhelmed by the passion for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). A ccNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) will take too long, so the IDN Fast Track is born.
  • November 2008, ICANN33 in Cairo — The hotel agrees to keep the bar open all night so we can watch the U.S. election. What an atmosphere! What emotions! What a mistake to go to bed at 04:30 clutching a bar of chocolate! What a mess!
  • October 2009, ICANN36 in Seoul — A guitarist? To open the meeting? Really? That's a first. The Board approves the ccTLD IDN Fast Track. Cheers and tears from everyone in the room. We did it! We made the Internet more accessible to millions.
  • March 2010, ICANN37 in Nairobi — A prayer session? To open the meeting? Yet another first. Prayers, power cuts, brass bands, war criminals… Ask me later; it is a long story — but a good one.
  • October 2011, ICANN42 in Dakar — Welcome to the ICANN Board. Please take this little red pill.
  • 2012-2013 — New gTLDs… New gTLDs… New gTLDs...
  • March 2014, ICANN49 in Singapore — Following the U.S. government's announced desire to sever its last thread of control over ICANN, we spring into action to create the circumstances that will allow ICANN 3.0 to bloom. Has it really been 12 years since we began work on ICANN 2.0?
  • 1 October 2016 — Phew! Success! We've done the Community Working Group, the Cross Community Working Group, the new ByLaws, and now, the contract with the U.S. government has officially expired. We can all relax. Except there's Workstream 2 and the next round of new gTLDs and a heap of post-transition reviews that need to happen. And this GDPR thing. Ah well!
  • June 2018, ICANN62 in Panama City — The World Cup is on in Moscow. England plays Panama. It is Panama's World Cup debut. Kick off is at 07:00, but the excitement begins to rise around 04:00. The bars and cafes are open. Everyone is out. Panama scores their first World Cup goal, and it is joy unconfined. Panama loses 6-1, but that is not the point.
  • 22 October 2020, ICANN69 in Virtual Hamburg — My last day on the ICANN Board.

Memories of events are important. But it's the people that really matter. The debates, the disagreements, the compromises, the consensus-building, the stares of disbelief, the gritted teeth, the laughter and the coming together at the end of the day to relax. It's all about the people.

For me, this community of volunteers and especially, most especially, this team of ICANN staff, are what have made the last 20 years such a fun, challenging, and glorious journey. It has been a remarkable trip.

Written by Chris Disspain, ICANN Board Member, 2011-2020


Basalt Technology Appoints New MD

Basalt Technologies has appointed Kyle Hauptfleisch at its new MD. Together with Wayne Zwiers, Basalt’s founder and CEO, Hauptfleisch is expected to lead the software development agency as it expands operations from Africa throughout the UK and Europe. Hauptfleisch has more than 15 years of senior management, business development, and general strategy experience, seven of […] (

‘Space Mountain’ Movie in the Works Based on Disney World Roller Coaster

Disney is in the works on another movie based on one of its iconic theme park rides, this time Space Mountain, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Joby Harold, the writer behind Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Army of the Dead” and the Obi-Wan Kenobi prequel series, is writing the screenplay for the film that’s in very early stages of development. The film is intended for theatrical release.

No logline details were available, but the Space Mountain movie will be a live-action family film inspired by the Tomorrowland attraction at both Disneyland and Disney World.

Also Read: 'Ghostbusters' Writer Katie Dippold to Pen New 'Haunted Mansion' Movie

Harold is also producing with his partner Tory Tunnell for Safehouse Pictures, as is the production house Rideback.

While the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise has long been a cash cow for Disney, it was also recently reported that “Ghostbusters” writer Katie Dippold would give another stab at a movie inspired by the Haunted Mansion. And Disney in 2015 released “Tomorrowland,” a sci-fi, action film directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson.

At one point, Max Landis had written a screenplay inspired by the Space Mountain roller coaster that he intended to be set in the 1950s as a retro, futuristic movie, but the project never blasted off.

Also Read: Pixar's 'Soul' to Skip US Theaters for Christmas Day Disney+ Debut

The Space Mountain ride first made its debut in 1975 at Disney World in Orlando in the Magic Kingdom, with the all-white, conical mountaintop design of the ride’s exterior making its way to other Disney theme parks. Riders blast off into a starlit ride that’s otherwise all in the dark, and in recent years Disney has temporarily rebranded the ride to Hyperspace Mountain in honor of “Star Wars.”

Harold previously wrote “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” and he’s been an executive producer on films such as “Edge of Tomorrow,” “John Wick 3” and “Robin Hood.” He’s represented by Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment and Goodman Genow.

THR first reported the news of the Space Mountain movie.

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Demand for Data in Africa is Increasing, Here’s How

Africa has become home to over a billion people and the population is expected to grow in the coming years. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is essential for Africa’s development and adequate ICT service deployment and digital connectivity will play a crucial role in the continent achieving economic sustainability. The forecast is that […] (

T-Systems Invites Submissions for Enterprise Supplier Development Program

T-Systems South Africa invites qualifying small businesses to submit their bids to join the T-Systems Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) Program. The closing date for submissions is 12 noon on the 31st of August 2020.  The T-Systems ESD Program is aimed at developing Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME) and Qualifying Small Enterprise (QSE) Suppliers to support […] (

Mining, quarry operators get $9 million in grants

Grants totalling approximately $9 million (EU51,000) have been awarded to 12 mining and quarry operators under phase two of the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Minerals Development Programme. The funds are being provided... (

The Challenge of Access to Safe Internet Pharmacies and Medicines During Pandemics (

OneWeb Rises From the Ashes – Maybe (

Rotterdam, Sundance Team With Realness to Support African Producers

The Rotterdam Film Festival’s facilitation and talent incubator wing IFFR Pro has teamed with the Sundance Institute, European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs and the Realness Institute for Creative Producer Indaba, a year-long professional development initiative aimed at supporting producers from Africa. The inaugural batch of 17 emerging producers was announced Monday. They will participate in online workshops […] (

Mastercard Foundation Partners with USIU-Africa to Expand Higher Education Access in Africa

USIU-Africa and the Mastercard Foundation have partnered to enable 1,000 high-performing students to receive a quality education and leadership development over the next 10 years under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme. The partnership provides scholarships for high potential students facing financial, gender, displacement or disability constraints. At least 70 per cent of the young people […] (

Is Africa Ready for Digital Enablement?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) believes that there are five hotspots that need to be targeted by the public sector in Africa and the theme that underpins them all is… digital. Digital is the infrastructure that the public sector needs to enable skills development, innovation, connectivity, economy and data-driven insights. Digital enablement is the firelighter […] (

‘Monster Hunter’ Video Game Adaptation With Milla Jovovich Moves Back to April 2021 (

Is the Global Pandemic an Opportunity to Reimagine Urban Development in Africa?

The need for social distancing and better sanitation could leapfrog development of African cities into a more sustainable future. This is according to Duncan Bonnett, Director of Market Access & Research at Africa House, and research partner of exhibition organiser Messe Muenchen South Africa. He says that, while Africa’s architects and planners have long been […] (

Angola Committed to Meeting Energy Objectives Amid Worldwide Pandemic

Africa Oil & Power, the African Energy Chamber and the U.S-Angola Chamber of Commerce presented the webinar: Powering Forward – The Pathway to Grid Stability, Increased Capacity and a Diversified Angolan Economy, on Thursday. This webinar addressed how Angola can continue to prioritize its development of national transmission and distribution capacities in the long-term, with […] (

Margot Robbie, Christina Hodson to Partner on New ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Film (

Huawei Partners with SovTech to Develop HMS Apps

Huawei has partnered with software development company, SovTech, to assist with refiguring the core services of some of South Africa’s most used mobile apps to be able to function fully on its mobile ecosystem – Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). “SovTech is responsible for developing a new Android Package File (APK) that would work on the […] (

South Africa’s President Praises Amazon’s Job Creation Efforts

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has commended Amazon for its commitment to creating over 3000 jobs for locals. Ramaphosa notes, in his weekly newsletter, that this development comes at a time when many businesses are doing all they can to stay afloat in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. “Our economy is […] (

Ericsson Aims to Enable Financial Inclusion and Development Across Africa

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 health crisis, the desire for mobile money and contactless payments is on the rise to avoid infections and disease transmission. With mobile money, customers can make payments anywhere at any time with their mobile devices connected to the Internet which decreases exposure to physical money, Point of Sales […] (

Arthur Ashe Biopic in Development From ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Writer Kevin Willmott (

Universal Music Group Opens Shop in Morocco, Israel

Universal Music Group (UMG) has expanded its Middle East and North Africa operations by launching new divisions in Morocco and Israel. Universal Music Morocco will operate from Casablanca, led by business development executive Serena Safieddine, who will work alongside UMG’s regional headquarters in Dubai, and report into Patrick Boulos, CEO of Universal Music MENA. The […] (

4 Ways Digitisation Can Unlock Africa’s Recovery from COVID-19

The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development estimates that an additional $109 billion in investment is required to achieve universal, affordable, and good quality broadband internet access by 2030. To put this number into context, Vodafone – one of the biggest investors in African telecoms infrastructure – spends around $1 billion annually on network upgrades […] (

Networks Unlimited Africa Continues to Nurture IT Skills On-premise

Networks Unlimited Africa has a long history of supporting skills development for young people in the ICT arena. Having taken on board two technical interns in April 2018, Charles Rebele and David Monkwe, both young men are now furthering their careers with the company and going from strength to strength. CEO Anton Jacobsz notes, “We […] (