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Musings From Abroad

Expensive joke: Oscars Academy slams 10 years ban on Will Smith for assaulting Chris Rock

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The troubles of veteran US actor Will Smith, is not about to end anytime soon as he has been slammed with a 10 year ban by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, organisers of the Oscars, following his altercation with comedian Chris Rock, leading to the now famous ‘Oscar Slap.’

As a result of the ban, Smith will not attend any event organised by the Academy for the next 10 years either physically or virtually, as a result of his slapping Rock on stage during this year’s Oscars ceremony after the comedian’s nasty joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett, over loss of hair due to a health condition known as alopecia.

Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars

Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars

A statement by the Academy on Friday announcing the ban on Smith said:

“The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” the statement signed by Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, said.

The decision to ban Smith, according the Academy, was made during a Board of Governors meeting held on Friday in Los Angeles, after an initial scheduled meeting for April 18 was expedited after Smith announced his resignation from the Academy last week.

After receiving the ban notice, Smith issued a quick and short statement which reads;

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” the actor said.

What went down at the Oscars?

During the Academy Awards on March 27, Rock who was on stage to present an award, had made a joke about Jada Smith’s close-cropped hair, which Smith found offensive and stormed the stage in a fit of anger to smacked the comedian.

After a lot of public outcry, Smith publicly apologized to Rock the day after the incident via social media.

Smith also reached out the next morning to the show’s producer, Will Packer, apologized and expressed his embarrassment over his behaviour.

To further express his regret, Smith had tendered his resignation from the Academy but entertainment aficionados had predicted that further actions would be taken against him.

Musings From Abroad

China’s Hailiang, Shinzoom to establish vehicle battery installations in Morocco

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Hailiang and Shinzoom, Chinese car battery makers, will establish two separate operations in Morocco as the country strives to adapt its burgeoning automotive sector to rising demand for electric vehicles, Moroccan officials announced on Tuesday.

Tanger Tech, the Moroccan northern industrial zone’s development authority, said Hailiang intends to establish a $450 million copper facility on a 30-hectare plot of land. Shinzoom, a subsidiary of Hunan Zhongke, plans to invest $460 million in an anode plant spanning 20 hectares, according to a statement.

In April, the Moroccan government approved Chinese electric battery company BTR New Material Group (835185.BJE)’s plans to build a factory in Tangier to manufacture crucial component cathodes.

Another Chinese firm, CNGR Advanced Material (300919.SZ), plans to develop a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 miles south of Casablanca, where the government has set aside 283 hectares for electric battery sectors.

Last year, the Moroccan government and China’s Gotion agreed to examine establishing an electric vehicle battery plant in the country, with a potential investment of up to $6.3 billion. Last month, Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour told Reuters that the Gotion project was moving forward, with conversations over its footprint and location.

Morocco’s strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar, free trade agreements with important EU and US markets, and existing automotive sector cluster all attract Chinese enterprises.

In 2023, the automotive sector topped Morocco’s industrial exports with $14 billion, a 27% increase. Morocco is home to Stellantis (STLAM.MI) and Renault (RENA.PA) production factories with an annual combined capacity of 700,000 automobiles, as well as a network of local suppliers.

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Musings From Abroad

Prince Harry, Meghan treated to street-style dances in Nigeria as their trip winds down

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On Sunday, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were treated to street-style dances in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, where they announced a partnership between their Archewell Foundation and the non-profit Giants of Africa, which utilizes sports to empower young people.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are making their first visit to Nigeria, where they were welcomed by the country’s chief of defence staff. The couple watched basketball practice at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on Lagos Mainland, where Harry participated in ball-bouncing drills and shot a hoop.

“What you guys are doing here at Giants of Africa is truly amazing,” he said. “The power of sport can change lives. It brings people together and creates community and there are no barriers, which is the most important thing.”

The couple watched basketball practice at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on Lagos Mainland, and Harry stepped on the court for some ball-bouncing drills and to shoot a hoop.

Former Toronto Raptors star Masai Ujiri, president of Giants of Africa, wished Meghan a happy Mother’s Day and said his organization was uniting communities and uplifting young people through sport, especially. Archewell Foundation and Giants of Africa will construct a basketball court in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

“Talk about full circle again – never did I think we would be able to be here all those years later supporting the expansion of this incredible organization,” she said.
Harry and Meghan were set to round off their Lagos trip by attending a reception for a local charity. The couple live in the United States with their two children after Harry gave up working as a member of the royal family in 2020.

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