News Follow the news on Iraq December 28, 2020 Find out more RSF_en News Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” IraqMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information December 16, 2020 Find out more News News Reporters Without Borders today condemned the virulent criticism expressed by the US army and by Muwaffak al-Rubai, formerly a member of the Iraq’s US-appointed Governing Council, towards the two Arabic satellite TV news stations Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, which they accused of inciting violence, lying and being “anti-coalition.”The organisation said the accusations “overstepped the limits” and “denied the right to editorial independence.”It also urged the governing council not to impose any new restriction on the ability of these two Arabic-language news media from working freely in Iraq. At the end of 2003, Al-Arabiya was banned from working and its bureaux in Baghdad were closed for two months. In January of this year, Al-Jazeera was banned from covering the activities of the governing council for a month.Reporters Without Borders said that, despite legitimate security concerns, it was “unacceptable” that the commander of the US forces and other senior US officials in Iraq describe certain news media as “anti-coalition.” Such remarks were dangerous just three weeks after two journalists with Al-Arabiya were killed by US gunfire while on the job, the organisation said. They could be interpreted by troops, who are having a trying time in the field, as meaning that some journalists are enemies and therefore legitimate targets.The threats of closure and expulsion expressed by Al-Rubai, newly appointed national security adviser for a five-year term, towards Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya do not help establish a climate of trust between journalists and the authorities. On the contrary, they are evidence of a restrictive view of press freedom.An Al-Jazeera spokesman said the network just reported the news professionally and also interviewed American officials “to be as balanced as possible”. It did not play politics and was neither with anyone nor against anyone, he said. Al-Arabiya editor-in-chief Salah Nejm said Iraq was a free country and his network used press freedom responsibly to cover “all sides of the story.”Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the deputy chief of military operations in Iraq, said during his daily press conference in Baghdad on 12 April that anti-American sentiment was being stirred up by Al-Jazeera and in the coverage of other media opposed to the coalition.Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of the US forces in Iraq, accused Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya of lying about the US army’s operations in Falluja. Also on 12 April, Al-Rubai threatened to close down Al-Jazeera’s and Al-Arabiya’s bureaux in Iraq if they “continue to incite violence and sedition.” “There is no doubt in my mind that if they continue reporting in the way they are reporting now… there is no question that they should be shut down is this country”, he said. February 15, 2021 Find out more to go further RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” April 14, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Concern about virulent criticism of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya Receive email alerts Organisation Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan IraqMiddle East – North Africa
welcomia/iStockBy ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News(HOUSTON) — Immigration officials arrested one suspect in connection to a possible human smuggling operation in southwest Houston Thursday evening.Houston police initially responded to a kidnapping call in the 4800 block of Ridgeton Street, and when they arrived at the scene, they found a man running down the street looking for help, Houston police said on Twitter Thursday evening. The man said 30 more people were being held hostage in the house, police said.Inside the house, police found 28 men dressed in only their underwear, and one woman, police said. They were not bound, but investigators said the windows of the house were boarded up and the doors locked, KTRK-TV reported. There was also food inside the house.Most of the people told police they were being held against their will and had been locked in the house from a few days to a week.Investigators said the victims were picked up in Brownsville, Texas, but originally came from other countries, such as Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Cuba, KTRK reported. Immigration officials concluded Friday the 29 people are all undocumented immigrants.The 29 people were taken to the Ridgemont Elementary School gym for shelter, police said.On Friday evening, immigration authorities arrested 36-year-old Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado, from Honduras for allegedly harboring the 29 individuals inside his Houston residence, U.S. attorney Ryan K. Patrick said in a release.He is expected appear in court on Monday.The criminal complaint alleges Dominguez-Maldonado was in charge of watching over the aliens and performing multiple tasks in furtherance of a human smuggling operation, according to the release.If convicted, Dominguez-Maldonado could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
One of the South’s best whitewater paddlers discusses being a black boater in the Blue RidgeIt all started with a summer job right out of high school. Rashid Edwards was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., and his first job after graduation was at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. At the end of his first summer, he was invited to paddle the Upper Green River with some other guides. “Seeing a wild river in the mountains, the feeling of remoteness, it was life-changing,” says Clifton.BRO talked with the 24-year-old paddler about his favorite rivers, most memorable paddling adventures, and his experiences as a black boater in the Blue Ridge.What are your favorite paddling spots in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic?Linville Gorge is pretty incredible. It’s been called the Grand Canyon of the East. It’s just a beautiful old canyon to explore and appreciate. The Green River is also an amazing place. The river gets much deserved hype, but the surrounding wildlands host trails and access for all types of recreation. Wilson Creek, Tallulah, and the Cheoah are also pretty spectacular.What’s been your best outdoor moment?I paddled the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon last spring. It was just incredible unplugging from everything for two weeks. No phone. No internet. Just your thoughts and the wilderness. I had never taken myself for a desert person. Now I appreciate how much life is hiding in those seemingly barren landscapes.What’s been your toughest outdoor moment?Green Race 2016 was a huge low and high for me. I had been rehabbing a shoulder injury and was finally feeling like my shoulder was stable. The race started, and I had great lines till exiting Go Left. I ended up rolling to the right and caught a rock with my arm. My shoulder dislocated. I swam, rescued my boat, and tried to get back in the mindset to race. But I couldn’t even pull the skirt back on my boat. I was crushed. I had worked so hard to race, but I couldn’t finish. Still, there was a huge outpouring of support from the community afterward, from friends and strangers. Folks were offering advice and helping to get me back out on the water. It really was heartwarming.Do socioeconomically disadvantaged groups have a tougher time engaging in adventure sports like paddling? To be totally real, when you’re a minority in this country, you grow up with a certain set of street smarts or rules. Your parents are going to teach you survival skills and things to do and not do. A non-minority child may not grow up with that. A white suburban family wouldn’t think to tell their kids not to do this or that. They just haven’t experienced that historical discrimination. For example, you don’t go running around the backwoods of North Carolina all loud, proud, and cavalier if you are a minority. That’s just asking for trouble. We have a different perception and experience with the established culture and its rules.How do you feel about diversity in the outdoors and the conversation surrounding it?A few years ago, I was paddling with a friend on the Upper Gauley. He brought his friend who happened to be another black man. He said, “I’ve never seen another black guy on the river. To see someone like me on the river is amazing.” That’s been the experience for me as well. When I see another black person, or someone that’s not your typical kayaker, it’s pretty exciting to see that fresh face. While it may not be an issue for someone who’s already in these sports, the view coming from a minority standpoint is that it is refreshing to see other people that look like you getting into the sport. It makes it feel more inclusive. That is important for comfort.Why are there so few African Americans in outdoor sports?There are definitely issues like access and socioeconomic reasons. But there are also more nuanced reasons.For example, perhaps we don’t see black women in the water because it’s very difficult to maintain your hair if you have traditional African American hair, and you are trying to meet beauty standards that males don’t necessarily feel pressured to ascribe to. If I was a woman a few years back and had to ascribe to that standard, I wouldn’t be a kayaker.In a lot of minority communities, people don’t have the time and money to get themselves or their family into these activities. You can get into basketball, football, and sports like that for much cheaper across the board. A lot of outdoor activities require a larger time and monetary investment. To ignore that and shun those people and not help them into this community is just pretending like those people don’t want to be a part of this. It is the opposite of what the outdoor community should be: welcoming.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A New York City firefighter from Floral Park was killed while battling a five-alarm blaze in Manhattan, officials said.Michael R. Davidson of Engine Company 69, a 15-year veteran of the FDNY, died after suffering critical injuries after being separated from colleagues while operating the hoseline to fight a fire in the basement of a five-story building on Nicholas Avenue in Harlem around 11 p.m. Thursday, officials said. He was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he died early Friday morning.“Firefighter Davidson bravely battled many fires and responded to countless calls for help from New Yorkers throughout his 15 years of dedicated service,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Our department and our entire city mourn this tragic loss of a very brave Firefighter.”.Davidson, who was appointed as a firefighter in May 2003, was cited for bravery and life-saving actions on four different occasions. He is the 1,150th FDNY member to die in the line-of-duty.His death comes eight days after the deaths of Lt. Christopher J. Raguso and Fire Marshal Christopher T. “Tripp” Zanetis, two of four members of the Westhampton Beach-based 106th Rescue Wing that died in an American military helicopter crash in Iraq.Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children; three daughters, ages 7, 3, and 1 and a son, age 6. He is the son of retired FDNY firefighter Robert Davidson, who served for 26 years, mostly in the same firehouse as his son, and the brother of FDNY firefighter Eric Davidson, an 11-year veteran, of Engine Company 88 in the Bronx.Funeral arrangements are pending.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider finished in a time of 6:02:06. Carrick on Suir’s Sam Bennett has won the second stage of cycling’s Tour of Turkey.It’s his second straight victory on the Tour, leaving him first in general classification and extending his race lead in the process.Bennett had a clear advantage as he crossed the line more than two bike lengths’ ahead of his closest competitor, on what’s the longest stage of the Tour.
USWNT parade: Women’s World Cup champions celebrate 4th title in New York City Women’s World Cup 2019: Megan Rapinoe keeps pay-gap conversation going on ‘GMA’ Alex Morgan is considering trying something new.The USWNT forward and co-captain is planning to start her own female-focused media company following her team’s second straight Women’s World Cup title earlier this month. She wants to help women gain more coverage. “Men’s sports are always in the spotlight,” Morgan told Bloomberg Thursday. “We’ll be focusing on women in sports and sharing the stories that I think a lot of people want to hear, and girls need to be given access to.”Morgan’s latest business endeavor doesn’t have a name yet, but she wants it to help advocate for women’s equality. Related News “We’ve been able to see that we can use our platform to speak up about important issues,” Morgan said. “We’re authentic to who we are and what we stand for, and we’re becoming more brave and comfortable in our own skin.” Morgan and her teammates are in the process of suing U.S. soccer for pay discrimination. They received a fraction of the funds their male counterparts would have gotten after claiming the gold at the Women’s World Cup for a record fourth time.The U.S. Women’s team divvied up $4 million in prize money for winning it all while the winners of last year’s men’s World Cup split a purse of $38 million.
FIBAShare on: WhatsApp Mayes amassed a game high 21 points while teammates shooting guard Robinson Opong Odoch and center Adarius Pegues added 15 and 14 points respectively to inspire City Oilers.In an exclusive interview with FIBA.basketball, City Oilers head coach Mandy Juruni said, “We assembled a good team that we thought would win this championship but also looking ahead at a team that can compete in Africa. I thought we started a little bit slow but we caught up as the tournament progressed.”“It was very important for the club to win this tournament because we organized it, are the defending champions and we wanted to go back to the FIBA Africa Champions Cup.”The women’s round robin contest was won by Kenya’s KPA.The top two teams will represent Zone 5 at the FIBA Africa Champions Cup Women 2017 set to be held in Angola from November 3-12. City Oilers will make their second straight appearance at FIBA Africa Champions Cup. PHOTO fiba.basketballKampala, Uganda | FIBA BASKETBALL | City Oilers won their second straight FIBA Africa Zone 5 Clubs Championship trophy after seeing off Patriots of Rwanda 86-59 in the Final on Saturday.The victory saw the Ugandan side book a ticket to this year’s FIBA Africa Champions Cup which will take place from December 8-17 in the Tunisian city of Rades.In a repeat of the last Group A tie, many a fan expected a closely contested encounter as was the case on October 3, but Mandy Juruni’s side had other plans.The home side, who enjoyed the backing of a fully packed Lugogo Indoor Arena, got behind their side who led 22-20 at the end of the first quarter.Patriots tried to stay in the game but the Oilers led by eventual MVP Jordin Mayes were explosive on offense and lethal on defense to hold a 10-point lead at the half time break 48-38.The Rwandan champions tried everything on offense but their shots were off the mark and they paid for it when the Oilers made it count on the other end of the court.City Oilers established a 69-51 lead at the end of the third quarter and when they scored 15 points and limited Patriots to just five in the opening five minutes of the last quarter to lead 84-56, it was evident that the latter had succumbed to defeat.
A Stuart man who beat the coronavirus is gaining national attention for donating his plasma donation to save the life of an Orlando father.The experimental treatment is credited with possibly saving the life of the patient who has been in a medically-induced coma two weeks ago at Orlando Health.Michael Rathel received the plasma injection Monday and just four days later he has improved so much that he could be moved out of the ICU as soon as today. James P. Crocker, who lives in Martin County and is the president and founder of Hog Technologies in Stuart, said he contracted COVID-19 while attended a funeral in Palm City on Feb. 27 for his nephew.Crocker said 20 people at the service got sick about a week later. He was one of two family members who tested positive for the coronavirus.As he recovered, Crocker reached out to a friend in Orlando who had told him about 52-year-old Michael Kevin Rathel’s battle with the coronavirus in Orlando.His friend told him that his 52 year-old friend was “perfectly healthy” but now “on life support and his only real chance was plasma.Rathel was hospitalized in a coma and hydroxychloroquine and other treatments did not work.Crocker drove to Orlando and within 36 hours had donated his plasma, meeting Rathel’s family beforehand.Convalescent plasma uses blood from coronavirus survivors to help patients with COVID-19. The FDA recently approved it only for emergency use on a case by case basis.Those who have recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate their plasma can visit OneBlood.org for more info.
In this Sept. 7, 2014, file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson warms up for an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. The Vikings benched Peterson for Sunday’s game after his attorney said he had been indicted by a Texas grand jury on a charge of child abuse. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson’s booking on a child abuse charge Saturday has created another crisis for the embattled NFL, already derided for not responding strongly enough to acts of domestic violence by its players.It also has touched off a national debate about the role of corporal punishment in parenting.In the eyes of a Texas grand jury, Peterson crossed the line when he repeatedly struck his son with a tree branch, or switch, in May. Peterson’s attorney has said he has never run from what happened — and that Peterson was inflicting the same discipline he endured as a child.“Obviously, parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Phil Grant said about 12 hours after Peterson was booked and released from jail on $15,000 bond. He is charged with causing injury to a child age 14 or younger.Peterson, one of the NFL’s most popular players and widely considered one of the best running backs to ever play, flew from Minnesota to Houston in the early morning hours after authorities indicted him on Friday evening. He has a home in both locations.The Vikings almost immediately decided to deactivate him for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Saturday that Peterson’s case “will be reviewed under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.”The situation comes as the NFL proceeds with a self-commissioned investigation by a former FBI director into how it handled the case of Ray Rice, who knocked his then-fiancee unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice was released Monday from the Baltimore Ravens after a video surfaced that showed the violence. The NFL said it hadn’t seen the video before then, but a law enforcement source told the AP it was sent to a league executive’s office in April and provided a voice mail confirming it was received.Unlike Rice’s situation, Peterson’s case is complicated by his stance that he meant his son no harm but rather was applying the same discipline he experienced growing up.“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas,” Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said.Steve Eudey, who coached Peterson as a young boy in Palestine, Texas, and has remained a family friend, said he has heard stories from Peterson about his father Nelson “being a firm disciplinarian.”“Some of the things his dad did to him was to make him tough,” Eudey told The Associated Press.Eudey said he had yet to speak to Peterson since his arrest, but said his actions were consistent with the type of upbringing he had.“I will go to my grave defending Adrian, but at the same time you can’t harm a child, either,” Eudey said. “I know that was never his intent.”Grant, the Texas prosecutor, said the grand jury felt the charge was warranted after spending several weeks reviewing “lots of evidence.”It’s not unusual for people subjected to physical discipline as children to use corporal punishment against their own children, experts say, and courts will sometimes consider that as a mitigating factor when sentencing an abuser. Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.News of Peterson’s charges led several prominent athletes to tweet about their experiences with corporal punishment when they were children.“Am I the only one that got hit with a switch? I had to go outside and pick my own switch. It taught values, respect (and) accountability,” former NBA star Tracy McGrady said. But he later qualified those remarks, tweeting, “Disciplining a child is vital. Of course any early physical punishment should be within reason, not overboard, and inside certain boundaries.”While the legal process plays out, the NFL is facing a potential test case for the tougher penalties it declared last month for players involved with domestic violence.Commissioner Roger Goodell announced an initial offense will draw a six-week suspension without pay, though “more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child.”It is not clear if Peterson’s case will invoke those penalties.Corporal punishment is legal in Texas, and the law spells out that non-deadly force against a child by a parent or guardian is permissible.But the punishment is abusive if it causes injury. While a blow that causes a red mark that fades in an hour is not likely to be judged abusive, a blow that leaves a bruise, welt, or swelling, or requires medical attention, could be judged abusive. The child’s injuries will likely be under scrutiny as the case proceeds.The guidelines also say while spanking with the bare, open hand is least likely to be abusive, use of an instrument “is cause for concern.”The Vikings jumped ahead of the NFL and the legal system by shelving Peterson for the game Sunday. Two other teams — Carolina and San Francisco — have taken heat for allowing players involved in alleged recent domestic violence incidents to continue to play.The team — and the league — will likely face scrutiny as they decide whether Peterson returns to the field as the legal process plays out. As of Saturday, no decision had been made about his outlook this season, and no court date had been set in Texas.___Associated Press writers Jeff Baenen in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, David J. Phillip in Spring, Texas, Mike Graczyk in Houston and Tim Jacobs and Jason Keyser in Chicago contributed to this report.___Online:AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
As companies worldwide respond to increasing cost and efficiency pressures, South Africa is becoming a favoured international location for business process outsourcing and offshoring.A massive banking call centre in Johannesburg. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterBusiness process outsourcing (BPO) and offshoring is a major global trend and the industry, worth an estimated US$130-billion a year, has an expected annual growth rate of about 50% for the next five years.BPO involves relocating business processes that a company usually performs in-house to a third-party service provider, such as a customer care or call centre, to carry out on behalf of the company. Outsourcing becomes offshoring when the third-party service provider is located overseas.The BPO industry’s focus sectors include financial services, insurance and telecommunications, with outsourced processes including after-sales services, data capture and conversion, accounting, benefits administration, human resource functions, and website design and development.Identified as a key sector in the government’s strategy to boost the country’s economy and create employment, business process outsourcing and offshoring is forecast to create 25 000 direct and 75 000 indirect jobs in South Africa and contribute up to R7.95-billion to the national economy by 2009.Information technology (IT) outsourcing is also a growing business in South Africa, with the diversity of the local market, first world know-how and a developing country environment making it an ideal test lab for new innovations.IT outsourcing makes up more than a third of the R30-billion IT services market, according to a study in 2008 by research and advisory firm IDC, taking up the largest share of all IT service categories.Gartner, the international research group, rates South Africa as one of its top 30 software development outsourcing destinations, with 2007 research putting it on par with Israel in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, and next to Australia and India globally.Calling .ZAAccording to Business Day, the local call-centre industry has grown by about 8% a year since 2003. It directly employs about 54 000 people and contributes 0.92% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).A government-backed BPO support programme, launched in 2007, aims to enhance South Africa’s competitiveness and includes a budgeted R1.1-billion in investment incentives. The plan focuses on:A broad-based marketing strategy.A government support programme which includes an investment grant and training subsidies.A developmental pricing framework for telecommunications.Competitive advantagesFor international firms, South Africa slots in between near-shore locations such as Canada, Mexico or Eastern Europe, which offer close proximity as well as cultural affinity to domestic markets, and more traditional offshore locations, such as India and the Philippines, that offer cheap labour.South Africa has many factors working in its favour, including:World-class service levels of call centre staff.A broad base of management and service provider expertise, coupled with extensive financial services expertise, particularly in insurance, mortgage and loan processing and collection.Time-zone compatibility with Europe.High rates of fluency in English, coupled with neutral English accents that are easily understood in Western markets.A favourable exchange rate.Strong government support.State-backed incentives, such as start-up and expansion grants and discounted telecommunications prices.An advanced and growing telecommunications industry.The government is taking steps to ensure cheaper and more widely available bandwidth capacity, which will allow cheaper international phone calls. Major projects are also under way to lay submarine fibre-optic cables along both the east and west coasts of Africa to boost the continent’s connection with the rest of the world.World in one countryInternational companies that have already chosen South Africa as a BPO destination include IBM, Fujitsu Siemens, Lufthansa, Virgin, Sykes, Avis and the Car Phone Warehouse.South Africa’s commitment to the BPO industry was underscored in 2007 by the decision to build a R125-million, 1 500-seat call centre at the Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.The BPO Park covers five hectares in Coega’s business service precinct and includes training facilities and recreational space. The managing company said the space was designed to cater for various scenarios and could accommodate numerous different investors.Other recent investments include:In May 2008, oil multinational Royal Dutch Shell opened a call centre in Cape Town. The centre will service Shell’s customers in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, with native Afrikaans-speaking operators trained to converse in Dutch and Flemish.In November 2007, US-based business process outsourcing giant TeleTech started construction on its first facility on the African continent, at the Old Match Factory in Salt River, Cape TownBusiness Process Enabling South AfricaDepartment of Trade and IndustryCoega Development CorporationBusiness DayWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.