Government seeks extradition of seven journalists

first_img News News Burundian appeal court upholds prison sentences for four journalists News RSF_en Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the requests made Tuesday by Burundi’s supreme court for the extradition of seven Burundian journalist for alleged complicity in a coup attempt on 13 May 2015, before they fled to neighbouring countries. In a communiqué addressed to the international community, the court described the seven journalists, who worked for the country’s most prominent media outlets, as “putschists” and “insurgent allies” and called on the host countries to arrest them and deliver them to Burundi’s judicial authorities.The seven include the directors of four privately-owned news radio stations: Innocent Muhozi of Radio-Télé Renaissance, Bob Rugurika, of Radio publique africaine (RPA), Anne Niyuhire of Radio Isanganiro and Patrick Nduwimana of Bonesha FM. The other three are Isanganiro reporters Patrick Mitabaro and Arcade Havyarimana and RPA reporter Gilbert Niyonkuru.“The arrest warrants already existed but this communiqué constitutes yet further evidence of the determination being displayed by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government to continue persecuting independent media that do not support it,” said Clea Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk.“This is a witchhunt against journalists and media owners who just did their job by broadcasting information in the public interest. The government is rejecting any peacekeeping mission and insists the situation is normal. But what kind of normality accepts the disappearance of all independent media? We call on the government to show good faith by ending this judicial persecution and by allowing all these radio stations to resume working freely.”Some of these radio stations angered the government during the abortive coup attempt in May by broadcasting the messages of the army officers staging the coup.The radios defended their action on the grounds that they were providing information of interest to the public. Some of the other radio stations tried to reach the putschists in order to get comments from them, which was an entirely legitimate action for journalists to take. Prior to the attempted coup, the government had already begun to gag the media in response to the massive street demonstrations in protest against the president’s decision to run for a third term. The authorities had already disconnected the transmitters of the main privately-owned radio stations and those of Radio France Internationale broadcasting outside the capital.Burundi is ranked 145th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 press freedom index. As a result of the arbitrary closure of news media and persecution of journalists since the start of the political crisis in 2015, Burundi is unlikely to hold this position in the 2016 press freedom index.For more information about violations of media freedom in Burundi, click here. Receive email alerts BurundiAfrica BurundiAfrica Organisation Photo: Agnes Bagiricenge, Secretary general of the Supreme Court, burundi-agnews.org The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa to go further Reports Follow the news on Burundi October 21, 2020 Find out more Four Burundian journalists complete 12 months in arbitrary detention February 3, 2016 – Updated on March 8, 2016 Government seeks extradition of seven journalists Help by sharing this information November 27, 2020 Find out more June 5, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Alaska at center of Trump administration’s drive to drill public lands during pandemic

first_imgBriBar/iStockBy EVAN SIMON, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Traditional subsistence hunting has always been a pillar of life along Alaska’s remote North Slope. Dependable migrations of bowhead whales, Arctic grayling fish, and the country’s last remaining caribou herds have provided for generations of indigenous Alaskans who make their home on America’s northernmost edge.“We depend on a clean environment to feed our families during the year,” Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, a 66-year-old resident of the village of Nuiqsut, told ABC News. The grandmother of twenty says she owns a harpoon and still participates in the whale hunt on Cross Island each fall.Rosemary’s village is among the few largely indigenous communities scattered throughout the region’s vast Arctic oil fields. A small grid of homes located at the limits of most modern transportation routes with just one grocery store, more than three-quarters of the Inupiat Eskimo village relies on traditional subsistence hunting as their primary source of food.With the arrival of COVID-19, residents of Nuiqsut say it’s been decades since their ancestral ways have been this important. The global pandemic forced roads to close and the region’s only airline to declare bankruptcy, cutting off an already isolated village from outside supply lines.With the nearest hospital hundreds of miles away and the virus pushing northward, some fear the village — with a population of just 500 — would be wiped off the map if community spread took hold.“It’s life or death,” Siqiniq Maupin, a community advocate based in Fairbanks whose family lives in Nuiqsut, told ABC News. “We have people that need to hunt and be out on the land right now because we just don’t know what’s going to happen this winter.”But in the midst of the crisis, as the tribal government frantically moved to obtain medical supplies and shut down non-essential services, residents learned their community was being asked to confront yet another challenge — the federal government’s controversial plan to massively expand oil and gas drilling in the area.In April, the Bureau of Land Management — the agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for the administration of public lands — moved forward with “virtual public comment hearings” on revised plans for the controversial ConocoPhillips Willow Oil Project.The Willow project aims to add a gravel mine and up to 250 oil and gas wells to the existing energy extraction sites already surrounding Nuiqsut on nearly all sides. First proposed in 2018, the project has long been opposed by some tribal leaders and environmental groups for its potential impacts on wildlife and public health.“It’s a massive project that threatens wildlife, exacerbates climate change and impacts indigenous culture and food security,” Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, told ABC News. “We were concerned before the pandemic but to see the Bureau of Land Management continue to kind of move at warp speed during the pandemic … makes no sense at all.”ConocoPhillips’ declined to be interviewed for this report, but a company spokesman denied the project would impact subsistence hunting or public health in a statement to ABC News.“The Willow project will be one of the first North Slope projects designed and built-in compliance with new EPA rules that reduce emissions and minimize environmental impacts,” the spokesperson wrote.The Willow development’s virtual hearings — conducted via Zoom — were the culmination of a contentious public comment period for the project’s revised environmental review that commenced on March 20, just a week after President Donald Trump declared COVID-19 to be a national emergency and four days after he advised all Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.The release of the Willow project’s new environmental review would typically result in more in-person meetings within the village to ensure public awareness and input regarding the proposed changes, but the Bureau of Land Management relied on teleconferencing for the remote indigenous community, ignoring repeated requests from the tribal government, congressional leaders, and environmental groups to suspend the process in light of the region’s lack of internet access and the pandemic’s impact on public participation.“They kept getting cut off, losing reception, words weren’t being heard,” Martha Itta, a lifetime resident and tribal administrator for the village who called into the hearings, told ABC News. “It was a really poor process.”Despite the technical challenges and emotional pleas from village members for an extension, the Bureau of Land Management closed the public comment period on May 4, effectively cutting off organized public input as the agency finalizes its plan for the project en route to getting final approval. The agency is still accepting comments via mail and the Bureau of Land Management website.Alaska Bureau of Land Management officials defended the virtual hearings and emphasized the importance of maintaining “a capable and functioning government,” in an email to ABC News, saying that the agency was using technology to both protect its employees and “ensure connection and service to the public.”“These virtual meetings are providing more people with access to participate and have their voices heard,” Alaska Bureau of Land Management officials wrote in a statement to ABC News, saying the virtual meetings drew approximately 50 more people than in-person meetings conducted earlier in the review process.“Public input is fundamental and of the highest importance to the Bureau,” the spokesperson wrote.But some Nuiqsut residents say the agency’s rush to expand oil operations during a pandemic deliberately ignored their concerns. Just last month, the agency followed up the Willow project’s virtual hearings with a massive plan to offer oil companies 18.6 million more acres of public lands across Alaska’s Northwest, including previously protected wildlife areas such as Teshekpuk Lake, a vital subsistence hunting location for indigenous villages including Nuiqsut, where caribou herds, polar bears, and millions of migratory birds can be found.“The [oil development] process is sacrificing our village,” Ahtuangaruak told ABC News. “It shouldn’t be forced down our throats when we are not effectively able to participate.”‘A multi-fronted assault on the environment’The Willow project is one of several plans the federal government is currently advancing that could turn over vast swaths of America’s landscapes to oil and gas interests while the public’s attention is focused on the ongoing pandemic and civil unrest.Since President Trump’s March 13 national emergency declaration, the Bureau of Land Management has leased more than 100,000 acres of public lands to fossil fuel companies across the country and pushed an array of extraction-friendly proposals that could impact iconic areas ranging from the Alaskan Arctic to the American Southwest.Public lands surrounding Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bears Ears National Monument, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are just some of the treasured American landscapes that would see oil, gas, and mineral development under the various proposals currently underway.“People are hurting around the country,” Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Fund told ABC News. “And unfortunately, the administration chooses this opportunity to wage a multi-fronted assault on the environment and public health.”The controversial moves have garnered little attention outside of directly affected communities and have some critics claiming the administration is using the cover of a global pandemic to advance oil and gas interests on public lands.“The administration is hoping we’ll be too distracted to understand what’s at stake,” Deans said. “This is short-term profits for big polluters and leaves the rest of us to pay the price.”The Trump administration’s drive to drill public lands for fossil fuels is perhaps most apparent in Alaska. There, on the country’s last great frontier, the Bureau of Land Management has not only gone forward with controversial virtual public comment hearings for the ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project, but it is promising a historic increase in oil and gas development across the state’s public lands in the months to come — despite the global oil glut underway.In addition to the Willow Project’s central processing facility and infrastructure pad, access and infield roads, pipelines, a gravel mine, an airstrip, and up 250 new wells, the agency is also proposing the construction of an entirely separate 20-foot-high, 211-mile-long gravel road intended solely for industrial copper mining in the region.Meanwhile, top officials at the Bureau of Land Management and Department of the Interior have also recently doubled down on their vow to conduct oil and gas lease sales inside the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the year’s end. The move would be an unprecedented step toward opening America’s largest wilderness area to oil and gas development.In addition to transforming some of Alaska’s most iconic landscapes and exacerbating climate change in the already melting Arctic, critics argue the new developments threaten to cut indigenous villages off from one of their most important food sources: migrating caribou herds.“It’s just so overwhelming right now,” Maupin said. “We have so many projects happening at the same time over such a large state that we can’t attend every single hearing.”Bureau of Land Management and Department of the Interior leadership declined to be interviewed for this story. William Perry Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management’s temporary head, has stated in the past that “it is crucial that we fulfill our statutory and regulatory responsibilities during this difficult time to provide for our future economic stability when Americans do return to work.”But according to former California State Bureau of Land Management Director Jim McKenna, a 40-year agency veteran, the Bureau of Land Management appears to be ignoring the conservation aspect of its mission.“Oil and gas leasing now in the midst of a pandemic oil glut makes no sense,” McKenna told ABC News. “It flies in the face of public interest.”According to McKenna, the flood of agency activity during the pandemic shows the current leadership’s “very cavalier attitude towards the public.”“People who are the most directly affected are being shuffled aside,” he said. “And that to me is wrong.”Pendley, the agency’s temporary head, spent much of his career as an attorney representing oil and gas interests in public land disputes, arguing that the federal government should transfer or sell most of its public lands to states.In May, conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for extending Pendley’s tenure for the fifth time without Senate approval. Late last month, the White House said it intends to officially nominate Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management.According to McKenna, many of his former colleagues are “dispirited” at the direction the agency has taken and “don’t feel like they can say things that are true out loud.”“This isn’t the agency that I grew up in,” McKenna said.A widespread sense of distrustHistorically, oil and gas development has brought monetary wealth to some indigenous Alaskans, particularly those with shares in Alaskan Native Corporations who receive regular payments from developers — but critics say that with the added resources also came pollution, health risks and a noted impact on the land and waters local populations have depended on for centuries.Perhaps no village embodies this contrast better than Nuiqsut, which sits directly beside the National Petroleum Reserve and has seen an explosion of oil and gas development over the past several decades.“When I came to Nuiqsut, the lights were 20 miles away,” Ahtuangaruak said in reference to the oil and gas facilities. “Now I have lights to the east of us from development at Prudhoe Bay, to the north of us from the offshore development in the Beaufort Sea, to the west of us from the National Petroleum Reserve, and now to the south of us from the new developments.”As Alaska’s largest oil producer with most of its key operations in the North Slope, ConocoPhillips’ presence is hard to miss in the region. In addition to its ubiquitous processing and extraction facilities surrounding Nuiqsut — where children can see active drill pads from their school steps — the oil company sponsors educational events such as the village’s health fair and science symposium, as well as a nearby playground.The company is also a major political force, spending nearly $5 million dollars on national political lobbying in 2019, and it is among the top five donors to Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski — giving nearly $40,000 to her campaigns over the past five years as the company grew its holdings in the state.During her career as a community health aide from 1986-2000, Ahtuangaruak said, she started noticing more respiratory illnesses in her village as development grew around it. She is among many in the village who believe the oil and gas infrastructure has compromised their health.“[When] I stopped working at the clinic, there were 70 [respiratory illness cases] — but when I started, there was just one,” she said. “There were nights I was up all night helping people breathe.”In response to the community’s widespread concerns about air pollution, the state of Alaska conducted multiple assessments of the area’s air quality and found that pollutant concentrations were “generally well below the national ambient air quality standards,” blaming any potential rise in respiratory problems on seasonal flus, poor indoor air quality, diesel auto-emissions, and high smoking rates.However, ConocoPhillips owns the only air monitoring instruments in the area, leading many residents to doubt the government’s findings. The instruments are operated by a consulting company and its reports are prepared for ConocoPhillips before being sent to government and tribal agencies as well as audited quarterly by another independent party. Yet ConocoPhillips’ multiple oil and wastewater spills in the region, including in 2009 and 2017 — along with one of the company’s subsidiaries pleading guilty to failing to maintain proper records of an oil spill and attempting to hide a spill in 2004 — have only added to the community’s sense of distrust.“ConocoPhillips has consistently proven that we can safely, responsibly, and sustainably operate on Alaska’s North Slope,” a company spokesman wrote to ABC News.“The 2004 incident you are referring to was a records-keeping violation following a deck spill during a routine maintenance operation,” the spokesman wrote. ConocoPhillips’s subsidiary, Polar Tankers, “immediately terminated the ship’s captain” and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and a $2 million community-service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.“Polar Tankers resolved the matter with the authorities, and subsequently has been recognized by state and federal programs for its health, safety and the environment performance. However, this has no connection to our North Slope operations,” the spokesman said.This coming winter was expected to be a major production year for ConocoPhillips in Alaska, but the oil glut caused by the pandemic forced the company to scale back its ambitions in the Arctic. The Bureau of Land Management’s virtual hearing announcement for the Willow project came two days after ConocoPhillips announced it was cutting roughly $200 million from its Alaska budget — mainly by slowing production in the North Slope.“Significant public comment on Willow development occurred well before the COVID pandemic,” the ConocoPhillips’ spokesperson wrote. “We are supportive of the BLM’s efforts to continue permitting projects on a timely basis.”At the time of the announcement, Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management head, said the move to go forward with the virtual hearings was “in the spirit of service to the public,” while Bureau of Land Management Alaska officials said the hearings actually increased public participation.“It’s completely insulting,” Maupin, the community advocate, told ABC News, saying that if there was any increase in participation it was “because people are crying, asking you not to inhumanely hold these processes during a pandemic.”“This entire process was a joke, and it’s really sad that so many people had to endure that,” she said.“We always say they don’t give a damn about us — it’s really heartbreaking,” Nuiqsut resident Martha Itta said. After the hearings, Itta wrote a scathing letter to the Bureau of Land Management describing her experiences and demanding the process be halted. As of this writing she says she had not heard back.Despite the recent setbacks, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak has vowed to continue her opposition to the Bureau of Land Management’s plans for her village — but she’s concerned that few outside her community are paying close enough attention.“We need our nation to respond,” Ahtuangaruak told ABC News. “Otherwise, they are going to push forward to protect profitability at all costs. Stand up and protect the life, health and safety of people who are living nearby and protect this beautiful area for generations to come.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

HR dissatisfied with lack of leadership talent

first_imgHR dissatisfied with lack of leadership talentOn 24 Oct 2000 in Personnel Today The English football team is not the only organisation suffering from lack of leadership talent – HR chiefs are not happy with the leadership potential within their companies either, according to a survey. The survey of 500 HR directors, by Personnel Today and Impact Training and Development, found that 86 per cent of respondents felt their organisations could do more to encourage leadership. When asked what the country could do to improve the standard of leadership 29 per cent referred to education at secondary level. One in five said that training and development would help and 13 per cent cited a change in culture and attitude.Leadership development expert John Adair said lack of investment in leadership development and outdated approaches in business schools and organisations such as the CIPD were to blame. “Our professional institutions and business schools have been remarkably slow to change, clinging desperately on to yesterday’s model of management,” said Adair. “Our greatest failure in this field has been lack of strategic thinking. Like footballers, our leaders increasingly have to be recruited from abroad.”However, seven in 10 of those surveyed believed that British leaders were equal to their international counterparts.Richard Branson emerged as the most admired leader among women and Winston Churchill among men. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Inside Edge

first_imgThe Lifesaving Club took the plunge in Bristol this Saturday for their final competition of the year. A disappointing 7th on the day was still enough to ensure a respectable 4th in the overall league standings. The side now look forward to a beach event later this term, held in conjunction with Boscombe Lifeguards, which should see as many as 10 universities transfer their pool skills to use in the sea. Meanwhile, the windsurfers have enjoyed an excellent year. Following Varsity defeat, the side recovered to collect two prizes in the Nationals in Calshot near Southampton. The ‘Cowboys and Indians’ post-match party proved just as rewarding for the team who are known to frequent the Lamb and Flag on their Tuesday night socials. A tremendous individual performance from Jesus’ Ed Catmur was the highlight of a fantastic display from the orienteering team in the BUSA Championships at Sheffield. Catmur snatched joint second overall, supported by strong runs from Oli Mytton and Jaime Reed. Meanwhile the ladies produced an equally impressive result: the team of Pippa Whitehouse, Becky Carlyle and Christine Jones collected bronze medals in the hard-fought relay. Whitehouse could well be in line for a British call-up, following her particularly strong leg. The Middlesex Club Sevens saw semi-final heartache for the OURFC boys. After conquering Rosslyn Park in the quarters, the side collapsed beneath the Fijian-inspired brilliance of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and slumped to a 28-7 defeat. Nevertheless, Director of Rugby Steve Hill praised the side on their early performances within the competition. In other rugby news, the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice secured the College Sevens title with a 24-19 victory over a battling Oriel. One man who is definitely out of his step with his team-mates is boxing captain Philip Mosley. During the off-season, Mosley’s fitness regime has taken him to new extremes. “I don’t know what the other guys are doing to stay fit, but as for myself, apart from a bit of running, I am in hard training for Dance Cuppers in 4th week,” the Univ student told Cherwell. “Yeah, hardcore. No it wasn’t my idea…And I can’t dance either.”ARCHIVE: 2nd Week TT 2003last_img read more

Billy Joel to perform at Notre Dame Stadium in 2020

first_imgBilly Joel will perform at Notre Dame Stadium at 8 p.m. on June 20, 2020, the University announced with Live Nation on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Sue Ryan Billy Joel will be performing at Notre Dame Stadium on June 20, 2020.Known for hit songs “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Joel is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has sold over 150 million records, earned 23 Grammy nominations and had 33 Top 40 hits since 1972, the South Bend Tribune reported.“As we continue to work to bring world-class events to Notre Dame and the greater South Bend/Elkhart region, we are excited to have Billy Joel play for his first time at Notre Dame Stadium on June 20, 2020,” Micki Kidder, vice president for University enterprises and events, said in a press release.The event will be Joel’s third performance at Notre Dame. He previously performed in the Stepan Center in 1996 and the Joyce Center in 1984.Tickets will go on sale on livenation.com Oct. 18 at 10 a.m.Tags: billy joel, Live Nation, Notre Dame Stadiumlast_img read more