Imminent eviction of Russian Union of Journalists condemned as “crass harassment”

first_imgNews to go further Reporters Without Borders today condemned the government’s announced intention to evict the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), which represents more than 100,000 journalists, from its offices in central Moscow. RUJ secretary general Igor Yakovenko said the union received a letter from the Federal Property Management Agency on 16 May saying it would have to hand over its premises to the state-owned Russia Today TV station within a month.“This is a crude act of harassment by the authorities with the apparent aim of obstructing the union’s activities,” the press freedom organisation said. “The failure to give a reason for the eviction, the ridiculously short time the union is being allowed to vacate the premises, and their transfer to a state-controlled TV station created to promote Russia’s image abroad all indicate that this is crass attempt to disrupt the union’s activities.”Reporters Without Borders continued: “The fact that the RUJ is to host an International Federation of Journalists congress on the subject of press freedom in Russia on 28 May only reinforces this hypothesis.”The organisation added: “We appeal to the authorities to reconsider, and to let a viable solution be found within a reasonable period. Journalists and those who defend their rights and the rights of the public to independent news and information should be supported and not harassed. The climate currently prevailing in Russian for independent journalists and opposition members is oppressive. This must stop.”The RUJ trains journalists, defends their interests and promotes the development of an independent press. Its members include press freedom organisations such as the Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations.An opposition demonstration was due to take place this afternoon in Samara, where a two-day EU-Russia summit began yesterday. The city authorities reluctantly gave permission for the march, but the main leaders of the movement – Garry Kasparov and Edouard Limonov of Other Russia and Lev Ponomarev of For Human Rights – were arrested at Moscow airport.A Moscow representative of Human Rights Watch, Alexandre Petrov, was also arrested and then released after the departure of the flight he had planned to take to Samara. “Dissenters’ Marches” organised in March and April in Nizhny-Novgorod, Moscow and St. Petersburg were broken up by anti-riot police, who arrested journalists covering the marches as well as hundreds of demonstrators. Help by sharing this information June 2, 2021 Find out more RSF_en BelarusEurope – Central Asia Organisation May 18, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Imminent eviction of Russian Union of Journalists condemned as “crass harassment” News “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF sayscenter_img Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown May 27, 2021 Find out more News News BelarusEurope – Central Asia May 28, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Follow the news on Belarus RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public”last_img read more

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IN CHINA, ‘SHARP EYES’ AND CICADAS

first_imgby Michael Shannon FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Recently, business reporter Harrison Jacobs accurately described China as a “techno-authoritarian” state. Where the Nazis used inaccurate Phrenology and calipers to identify enemies of the state, China uses the latest in technology to constantly identify, monitor, exhort and if need be, round up recalcitrant citizens.The government’s reach is so pervasive that the fleeting appearance of a Taiwan flag emoji is enough to crash an iPhone the first time it appears. (The second time a functionary of state security will crash the phone with a hammer.)China’s “Sharp Eyes” program will install a nationwide surveillance camera network extending from public spaces to inside businesses and even private homes. The goal is for everyone to be on TV by 2020.The accelerated development of facial recognition software makes the program feasible. The program’s rollout doesn’t leave much time for worries about early software bugs connected with real-time surveillance of 1.4 billion people. Chinese state security is so efficient that even if the wrong man is identified, they’ll make sure he’s guilty of something.The data produced by “Sharp Eyes” will be used to build an individual “social credit” score for every Chinese citizen. In the U.S., a low credit score might prevent you from buying a car. In China, a low social credit score will keep you from buying a train ticket.According to Breitbart, by using surveillance cameras, informers and state security the government “closely monitors the behavior of all individuals… People considered loyal, law-abiding members of the Communist Party are assigned high social credit scores, while those who violate the law… are assigned lower scores.”By May of this year, 11 million Chinese with low social credit scores had been prevented from boarding airplanes, and another four million couldn’t get on a train. No reports as yet of low scorers being forbidden to buy shoes.The social credit system originally documented Internet activity – where Chinese went on the web, what they posted and even what they bought. Now the system has grown to encompass a wide range of transgressions including “jaywalking, returning library books late [or] possessing frowned-upon religious or political materials, or [exhibiting] insufficient patriotism.”Regardless of how much this system would improve the quality of life in San Francisco and the NFL, it still sounds ominous to me. And now that China has announced a cicada infestation, the other shoe has dropped.For those of you who don’t keep current on bugs, cicadas are noisy critters who are chained to a calendar cycle, much like comets and women. Only the insect’s cycle is once every 17 years. Cicadas make their way out of the ground in multitudes, produce an incredible amount of noise and then molt out of their current body into a completely new version, something like aging trophy wives.My local Washington Post is so obsessed with these bugs that it almost has a cicada beat. As the time for Peak Cicada approaches one finds the paper filled with headlines like:Are Cicada Infestations Harsher and More Frequent Due to Global Warming?Insect Activist Is the First to Take a Selfie With a CicadaTrump and Cicadas: Is There a Russian Connection?Even the Style and Food sections join in the excitement: ‘Expert Suggestions for Removing Cicadas from Your Shoes’; and ‘Cicada Crunch: A Protein-Packed, Summer Casserole With No Trans-fat’.Some claim cicadas even taste like shrimp which, if true, will come in handy, because that’s what the Chinese government wants citizens to do. The South China Morning Post reports the city of Hangzhou, located in eastern China, is under attack by cicadas and a city official is urging residents to save the trees by eating a bug.“Sun Xiaoping, the official in charge of green spaces… [said] the best way to deal with the problem was for the local community to turn the tables on the creepy-crawlies and do some eating of their own.”Cicadas travel in swarms that can approach one million bugs per acre. That’s enough insects to feed an extended Chinese family of 48 for almost a year or a North Korean family for a decade.There’s been no talk of consumption quota, but it’s still early in the infestation. How cicada crunching will affect one’s social credit score is unknown, too. Will eating just one be enough to preserve your social credit score or will you get bonus points for sharing recipes?Vegans may also face a Hobson’s Choice between obeying their dietary neuroses or maintaining a mass-transit level social credit score.The fact cicadas as a whole are able to defeat predators by swarming in such large numbers may offer hope for fastidious Chinese. The trick is to enter a swarm, eat nothing, but emerge smacking their lips. Just don’t forget to face a camera.last_img read more

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Olympic medalist admits to delivering bribes to former sports minister

first_img“I was asked to help through a phone call. I agreed to help, but I didn’t tell Pak Imam that I had given the money to Ulum,” Taufik said during a hearing on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.According to the KPK’s indictment, the money came from Tommy Suhartanto, the planning and budget director of Satlak Prima (Gold Program) – a national sporting program for elite athletes that was dissolved in 2018. Tommy asked a Satlak Prima official named Edward Taufan Pandjaitan to prepare the money.Edward then gave the money to Satlak Prima financial director assistant Reiki Mamesah, who handed over the money to Taufik, who served as the program’s deputy chairman from 2016 to 2017.Taufik then gave the money to Miftahul at the former’s house in South Jakarta. Read also: Tight budget, achievements, corruption mark year in sportsTommy previously told the courtroom that he had given Rp 800 million to Taufik for his assistance in an alleged corruption case in 2017 – pertaining to the 2018 Asian Games publication budget – that implicated Imam’s brother, Syamsul Arifin.However, Taufik denied that he had accepted the money from Tommy.KPK spokesperson Ali Fikri said prosecutors would follow up on Taufik’s testimony.“Prosecutors will try to confirm his statement with other witnesses during the trial,” Ali said on Friday, as quoted by Antara.Prior to his retirement in 2013, Taufik had won 16 gold medals throughout his career as a badminton athlete, including at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the 2005 World Badminton Championship in Anaheim.Imam allegedly accepted bribes from KONI secretary-general Ending Fuad Hamidy and KONI general treasurer Johnny E. Awuy, who wanted to accelerate the approval and disbursement of a state grant proposed by the organization to the Youth and Sports Ministry in 2018.Both Ending and Johnny were found guilty in the case. (mfp)Topics : Taufik Hidayat, a retired Indonesian shuttler who took home a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, has admitted to acting as an intermediary in an alleged bribery case implicating former youth and sports minister Imam Nahrawi.Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors indicted Imam, who served as the minister from 2014 to 2019, for allegedly accepting Rp 11.5 billion (US$840,280) in bribes and additional in-kind offers worth Rp 8.64 billion from a number of ministry and Indonesian Sports Council (KONI) officials.Taufik told the courtroom on Wednesday that he had delivered Rp 1 billion to Imam’s personal assistant, Miftahul Ulum, in January 2018. Miftahul is also a suspect in the case.last_img read more

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Harlequin Productions Celebrates 25 Years of Real. Live. Theater.

first_imgSubmitted by Harlequin ProductionsThe Historic State Theater, prior to renovations by Harlequin Productions. Photo courtesy: Harlequin productionsThis fall, Harlequin Productions is celebrating the start of its 25th anniversary season. Looking at where the company is now, it might be a surprise that Harlequin was once a small, scrappy, rag-tag group with nothing but all the passion in the world.Our story begins with five people—James L. This, Scot Whitney, Linda Whitney, Phil Annis and Ronna Smith—who got together in 1991 and decided that they wanted to produce a more challenging style of theater. They wrote their mission statement, pooled their startup capital—a whopping $400 cash—and began producing individual shows at the Washington Center Black Box, which seated about 100.At the end of the first season, Harlequin had produced seven challenging plays and was still in the black, based entirely on single ticket sales and a few modest donations. Season subscriptions were offered for 1992 and 85 die-hard fans signed on.In its second season (1992) Harlequin took on an enormous (and enormously popular) production of Hamlet staged with an Asian motif on a 20 foot motorized revolve with a cast of 18, original score, and elaborate fights and dance. “Hamlet redefined the direction of the company,” says Harlequin Artistic Director Linda Whitney. “Who cared if shows of that magnitude overtaxed our resources? They were fun! And no matter how we tried to rein people in, everyone involved was chomping at the bit to make the next production a little bit better.”Harlequin productions fully gutted and remodeled The State Theater in 1996.In season three (1993), the company doubled its subscriber base. By the end of that year, Harlequin was paying actors and technicians and was still in the black. In season four (1994), Harlequin wrote, produced, and sold out the first in its series of Stardust holiday shows (A Stardust Christmas). In season five (1995), the organization made the cover of the Shakespeare Bulletin. By this time it was becoming clear that Harlequin was outgrowing the black box space in the Washington Center and would soon need to find a home of its own.Their search brought them to the State Theater, which started its life as one of the finest movie theaters on the west coast. It had fallen on hard times during the cineplexing of America and was chopped into three ill-conceived shoebox theaters. Within a few years it became a neglected dollar movie house and was finally boarded up and abandoned. The State Theater looked so bad in the mid-90s that, to be frank, it was an eyesore in the heart of downtown Olympia. But the price was reasonable, the owner was willing to sell, and it was in superb structural condition. It would take a lot of work, but it had potential as Harlequin’s new home.During season six (1996), Harlequin launched a $1.3 million capital campaign to purchase and remodel the State Theater. Seventeen months later, Harlequin opened the doors to its new home. Three years later, in season 9 (2000), the company had two productions (The Tempest and Hapgood) selected for permanent collection by the Theater on Film and Tape Archive at the Lincoln Center in NYC.The Stardust series will see it’s 20th show this season as Harlequin Productions celebrates 25 years of quality, live theater in Olympia.To this day, exciting things are happening at Harlequin. In season 22 (2013), they blew the roof off the joint with their modern-day staging of Jesus Christ Superstar, and a few months later rolled out their new improv troupe, Something Wicked. This past season, Harlequin set attendance records with To Kill a Mockingbird.For season 25 (2016), the company is celebrating its silver anniversary by producing three musicals in the same season for the first time ever. The 20th edition of the Stardust musical series kicks off the year. In June, Harlequin will mount Little Shop of Horrors, one of the all-time classics. This will be followed immediately by the awe-inspiring power of Jason Robert Brown’s masterpiece The Last 5 Years.After a quarter-century of hard work, Harlequin Productions has become a cultural and economic gem in the South Sound. All this success aside, Harlequin continues to produce each play just like it always has: with all the passion in the world.Subscriptions to Season 2016 are still available. Visit www.harlequinproductions.org or by call 360/786-0151. Facebook73Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

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Doctors’ Prescription: A Dose of Music for Charity

first_imgBy Mary Ann BourbeauRED BANK – It’s common for kids to take music lessons and dream of becoming a rock star. Then reality sets in and most of those kids become adults with so-called “real jobs.” Most abandon their instruments because of time and family constraints. But some continue to play and sharpen their skills.That is the case with Dr. Lawrence Sykoff, Ed.D., the former headmaster at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls. When he was young, Sykoff used to practice his guitar every day after school, before he did his homework.“I used to follow The Beatles, Bob Dylan and other artists of the time,” he said. “I thought I was going to grow up and become a great folk singer.”Instead, Sykoff earned a doctorate in education and spent 20 years at Ranney before retiring in 2013 to start a management consultant practice. But he never gave up the guitar, and even sat in at times with Ranney’s jazz band.“It’s great for a school leader to be musical,” said the Freehold resident. “We developed an outstanding performing arts program. We even brought the school orchestra and chorus to perform at Carnegie Hall. I love music, but I never had that kind of opportunity. These kids were so inspired by being there. It was something they will remember forever.”Sykoff found his own opportunity about five years ago during a Ranney School trip to Paris, where he met a parent chaperone named David Lessing. He discovered that Lessing, an orthopedic surgeon, was a bass player. The men realized they had a friend in common, dermatologist Kenneth Grossman, who played drums.“We decided to get together and jam,” Sykoff said. “It was great fun.”This went on for about a year. One day, interventional pain management specialist Scott Woska sat in on keyboards, and that was the tipping point.“He was a professionally trained musician and he was excellent,” Sykoff said. “He had even written a symphony. With his guidance and direction, we really had the makings of a band.”They brought in a friend, vocalist Erin Patrick, and named themselves the Docs of Rock. When veterinarian Kristin Scott joined in on vocals, they realized they had all the components they needed. Their first gig was at a friend’s house, and not only did they get a huge turnout, but they gained enough confidence to book a show at The Downtown in Red Bank. Inspired by the charitable works of Tim McLoone and his Holiday Express band, they decided the proceeds would be given to a local organizations that help the needy.“From the very beginning, we have approached our music with a benevolent spirit,” Sykoff said. “Our primary objective is to give back to the community, and to have fun while we’re doing it.”Brian Incremona, M.D., an internist, is the latest doc to join the band, which plays a variety of music including the Four Seasons, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, One Republic and a Motown medley.“There’s something for everyone,” Sykoff said. “We want to get people out on the dance floor.”To date, the Docs of Rock have raised more than $50,000 for area charities such as Lunch Break and the Parker Family Health Center.“I feel like we’re making a difference,” Sykoff said. “There are a lot of charities with limited budgets and they need as much help as they can get. If we can combine our passion for music and help the community at the same time, it’s a win-win. I feel like my dream has been fulfilled because I’m a musician and I’m also helping others.”The Docs of Rock will play a benefit performance at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 24 at The Downtown in Red Bank to raise money for Family & Children’s Service (FCS), the oldest nonprofit social service agency in Monmouth County. Vocalist Nicole Cocco will join in for this performance.“I used to be on the Board of Trustees (at FCS) and I got a close look at the services they provide, particularly in counseling families and isolated seniors,” Sykoff said. “It’s an organization that has a broad reach. They help people of all ages. I really admire the work they do.”In its 106-year history, FCS has provided support to multiple at-risk populations, including Adult Protective Services, Statewide Respite Care, Home Care Services and Homecare Grant Assistance.“FCS has been around for more than a century, but some people may not be aware of the types of programs and services we offer,” said FCS Board Member Debbie O’Donoghue. “This is a great way for people to get to know us in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We invite the community to join us for what promises to be a fun and entertaining night.”Funds raised at this performance will benefit Operation Sleighbells, FCS’s holiday gift-giving program, which last year served more than 1,600 area children and their families.A $20 donation is suggested at the door. The evening will also include a 50/50 raffle and a live auction. For more information, call Diane Gribbon at 732-222-9111 ext. 134 or visit www.fcsmonmouth.org.Arts and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @MaryAnnBourbeau.last_img read more

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Loggers top Crusaders, advance to H-DNL championship

first_imgOlivia Stone had two goals and the Eureka High girls soccer team overcame a gritty defensive performance by St. Bernard’s for a 4-0 victory in the semifinal round of the Humboldt-Del Norte League tournament, Wednesday night at Albee Stadium.The No. 1 seeded Loggers (15-0) will face the winner of today’s match between No. 3 Arcata and No. 2 Fortuna in the H-DNL championship match on Saturday. St. Bernard’s (14-9-1), now done with H-DNL play, will await the start North Coast Section playoffs …last_img

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Promoting and Embracing South Africa’s Street Style

first_imgImage supplied by RSA.comBy Phindi MadunaThe RSA.com brand officially launched in 2015. The brand’s aim is to promote and embrace South African trends and style in the country and around the world. Its modern and minimal approach to design is a refreshing take on how to bring out South Africa’s edgy street style.Brand South Africa had a conversation with the brand’s founder and Operations Manager, Tshepo Kolanchu to discuss the brand, it’s highlights and future prospects.Q: What is the inspiration behind the brand’s name?Tshepo: The name came from observing multitudes of people from all over the world wearing clothes branded New York (NY), Chicago, Los Angeles (LA), to name a few. RSA.com is a premium brand that is meant for South Africans to brag about and be proud of while carrying the South African name/brand across the world. Having resolved to promote the country as a brand, the next consideration was the most preferred sales platform, the “.com” domain, which is the top level domain for global commerce. We therefore decided on “RSA.com” as a representative brand.Q: What have been some of the successes and highlights for RSA.com since its launch in 2015?Tshepo: Some our highlights have been the successful registration of the trademark; our online store; our affiliation with two government agencies who promote the country and its products across the world namely – Brand South Africa and Proudly South Africa; exhibiting the brand at the 2018 Buy Local Summit; and our partnership with the Miss Gauteng pageant.Q: Why have you focused on t-shirts and vests as your staple garments?Tshepo: We initially launched the brand with  caps, t-shirts, jogger pants, hoodies, track pants, dresses & warmers to test the market, from this exercise we learned that due to demand and limited resources, it was better to re-focus our energy and push t-shirts, dresses and vests which are capsule garments.Q: Please tell us a little bit more about the market’s reception to your brand?Tshepo: People are showing interest in our clothes and we are slowly gaining popularity. With the launch of the new site established in April 2018 (1 month old), which is being promoted on social media, that has helped the market to get reacquainted with the brand. The new site is interactive and it is receiving more attention.Q: What’s next for RSA.com?Tshepo: The plan is to grow the product lines with time as we grow the love and loyalty of the brand with our clients.We also hope to create opportunities for other business people to open and manage physical stores in cities around the country and abroad, to encourage economic growth and job creation.You can get in touch with RSA.com on the following platforms:Mobile: +27 81 597 7778Email: [email protected]: Rsa.comInstagram: @rsa_comTwitter: @rsa_comWebsite: www.justrsa.comlast_img read more

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Sport to combat homophobia

first_imgToday marks International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) and the theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Speaking about silence – homophobia in the sports world’.ASC Sports Performance and Development Assistant Director Nadine Cohen said that a recent national survey of same-sex attracted young people identified that the second-most threatening environment for abuse was within sport.‘To address these concerns, the ASC and the VEOHRC are trialling a 12 month anti-homophobia project to reduce the experience and impact of homophobia in a national sporting code, which will form the benchmark strategy for other sporting codes and their governing bodies,’ Cohen said.‘We are working with the VEOHRC to effect cultural and behavioural change in sport across many areas including bullying and harassment, player well-being and discrimination, with a focus on addressing homophobia.’VEOHRC’s Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke said the project will aim to saturate one sporting code with a range of resources and information and capacity-building materials to address the issue of homophobia in sport.‘The pilot program sport will be announced in June 2010,’ Szoke said.‘In the general sense, we understand sport is a very powerful vehicle to reach the population, to educate and empower, to enable people’s voices to be heard.’The project will determine effective ways to create safe and welcoming sporting environments through the prevention of homophobic behaviour.  It will also establish how these strategies can be adapted to reduce the occurrence of other discriminatory barriers to sport participation.‘The ASC is committed to partnering with the sport industry to uphold the principles of fairness, respect, responsibility and safety.  Being a part of promoting IDAHO and working with the VEOHRC are some of the initiatives the ASC is focusing on to maximise participation of all Australians in sport, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender,’ Cohen said.Sexuality Discrimination & Homophobia ASC LinkVisit the Play By the Rules Website, for interactive scenarios, role specific information (athletes, coaches and administrators) and additional resources.last_img read more

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