June 2, 2021 Find out more February 14, 2018 From Snake to Dog, five dark years for journalism in China to go further News Organisation In early 2013, at the start of the Year of the Snake, many hoped that the new president would fan the winds of openness and reform but, although his family was a victim of the Cultural Revolution, Xi set about restoring a media culture worthy of the Maoist era. Mongolia : RSF urges presidential candidates to voice support for press freedom Observers are also concerned for the survival of other detainees. They include Huang Qi, 54, the recipient of an RSF prize in 2004 whose website, 64 Tianwang, was awarded an RSF prize in 2016. He has been held provisionally for more than a year. They also include citizen-journalist Ilham Tohti, 48, recipient of the Sakharov Prize in 2016, who is serving a life sentence; Liu Feiyue, 47, the founder of the human rights NGO Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch; and Liu Xia, 56, Liu Xiaobo’s widow, who has been isolated from the outside world for the past eight years. “We urge the international community to put more pressure on the Chinese government to release imprisoned journalists and bloggers,” said Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia desk. “Independent journalism is essential for human and civil rights and, contrary to what the government says, is entirely compatible with Chinese culture, as we can see in Hong Kong and Taiwan.” Yiu Mantin, a Hong Kong-based book publisher also known as Yao Wentian, was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2014 despite his poor health and advanced age (he is now 75) because he had planned to publish a book critical of President Xi. Gui Minhai, 53, a Chinese-born Swedish publisher who had been preparing revelations about Xi’s mistresses, was kidnapped in Thailand the same year and has been kept ever since in China, where he is being prevented from getting treatment for a serious neurological ailment. News Mistreatment With his “anti-rumour campaign,” President Xi quickly reined in media that, under his predecessor, had cautiously begun to reflect the variety of opinions being expressed in Chinese society, and he now insists that journalists act as relays of “the Party’s propaganda.” Setting an example As China prepares to celebrate its New Year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that more than 50 journalists and bloggers are currently imprisoned and that, from the Year of the Snake (2013) to the Year of the Dog (2018), President Xi Jinping has built his authority on the ruins of the freedom to inform. With journalists and bloggers reined in, President Xi is now targeting the only spaces left for freely reported news and information – social networks and messaging apps. In 2017, the Internet regulatory authority banned journalists from quoting any information from social networks and any information that had not been previously “confirmed” by the government. The regime does not sentence free speech defenders to death, but mistreatment of detainees is extremely common and last year Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel peace laureate, and Yang Tongyan, a blogger, both died from cancers left untreated while they were in prison. In an opinion piece published in seven languages, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire recently urged the world’s parliamentary democracies to take action to resist the “new world media order” that China is trying to impose beyond its borders. China is one of the last five countries, 176th out of 180 countries, in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Receive email alerts Once again, dozens of journalists and bloggers will spend the Lunar New Year festivities in prison while Xi – China’s president since late 2012 and recently confirmed for another five years – continues to impose his vision of a society based on censorship and surveillance, a society from which journalistic ethics and the citizen’s right to information are barred. News The Chinese Communist Party Publicity Department (CCPPD), which oversees the actions of 14 government ministries, provides the media with a daily list of topics to be highlighted and topics that are banned, on pain of sanction. Even China-based foreign correspondents complain of the harassment to which they are subjected by the authorities. Help by sharing this information News The blogger Wu Gan, 44, was sentenced to eight years in prison for drawing attention to government corruption. Lu Yuyu, 38, a citizen-journalist who documented protests, was sentenced to four years in prison. Zhen Jianghua, 32, a journalist who founded an anti-censorship website called Across the Great FireWall, is still being held incommunicado. China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Anti-rumour campaign June 7, 2021 Find out more ChinaTaiwanHong KongAsia – Pacific Condemning abuses PredatorsImprisonedFreedom of expressionRSF PrizeNobel PrizeCitizen-journalistsInternet Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists The journalist Wang Jing was sentenced to four and a half years in prison in April 2016 because she had covered a politically-motivated suicide attempt in Tiananmen Square. After being arrested in 2014 for allegedly providing a foreign media outlet with confidential documents and being forced to “confess her crimes” on TV, former Deutsche Welle correspondent Gao Yu was given a five-year jail sentence. It was subsequently commuted to house arrest but she has not been allowed to travel abroad for the medical treatment she needs. RSF_en The regime is also gradually shutting down foreign VPN services, which allow users to circumvent the “Great Firewall,” and is banning anonymous online comments. Internet surveillance now targets each of China’s 770 million Internet users, many of whom have already been given prison sentences for nothing more than privately-expressed comments. Follow the news on Asia – Pacific Internet under surveillance June 2, 2021 Find out more Citizen-journalists and bloggers who have tried to pick up the torch of independent journalism are nowadays the favourite targets of what is called “residential surveillance at a designated place,” a label that officializes the abduction, incommunicado detention and torture of activists by the state. ChinaTaiwanHong KongAsia – Pacific Condemning abuses PredatorsImprisonedFreedom of expressionRSF PrizeNobel PrizeCitizen-journalistsInternet PHOTO: GREG BAKER / AFP
Virginia State Police(FARMVILLE, Va.) — A Virginia State Police trooper who was shot in the line of duty Monday night has died, authorities said. Trooper Lucas B. Dowell, a member of the state police’s tactical team, was assisting the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force with executing a search warrant at a home near the town of Farmville, Virginia. An armed man inside the residence opened fire on the team shortly before 10 p.m. local time Monday, according to a press release from the Virginia State Police. The tactical team returned fire, killing the suspect, police said. Dowell, who was shot, was taken to a local hospital where he died. He is survived by his parents and a sister, authorities said. “This is an extremely difficult day for the State Police,” Col. Gary Settle, Virginia State Police’s superintendent, said in a statement Monday night. “We are humbled by Lucas’ selfless sacrifice and grateful for his dedicated service to the Commonwealth. He will forever be remembered by his State Police Family for his great strength of character, tenacity, valor, loyalty and sense of humor.” No other troopers were injured in the shooting. The suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was the only individual inside the home at the time of the shooting. Authorities are in the process of notifying next of kin. The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office is investigating the incident. The two troopers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave in accordance with Virginia State Police policy. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
MIAMI, Florida – With a world population of close to eight billion people (7,621,018,958 at the last official count) coupled with a cellphone penetration which far outstrips it—in excess of 300,000 (7,950,000,000)—this every-day communication device is in pole position, as potentially one of the main transmitters of the deadly COVID-19 virus.This fact is further underscored by a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine and authored by Carolyn Machamer, a professor in cell biology from the John Hopkins School of Medicine who specializes in coronaviruses. It found out that SARS-2-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, can live on different surfaces for varying periods of time, ranging from 72 hours on plastic, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, four hours on copper and is also detectable in the air for up to three hours.However, she was quick to point out that “what is most important is the amount of virus that remains, is less than 0.1 percent of the starting (initial) viral material…therefore infection is theoretically possible but unlikely at the levels [transmittable] after a few days.”A kind of “cold comfort”, if you may, are the professor’s words that describe the billions of people who see their cellphone—this ubiquitous communication tool—as a virtual extension of themselves and the sober but stark realization, that the majority of the external make-up of this device are plastic and glass.Additionally, it has been proven that cellphones accumulate approximately 10 times more micro-organism than if you were in a health institution. Beginning with the fact that the average person, in a day, uses his phone more than 50 times, with the same set of hands that previously were used to touch the doorknob, exchange money, hold on to the handrails in public transportation, and the list goes on—all done in public spaces.If that was not enough, consider the following scenario: you are talking on the phone as an asymptomatic person who also is, unknowingly, a carrier of COVID-19 virus. In your conversation, a lot of ‘spraying’ and droplets of the virus settles on your phone. On the completion of your call, you lend it to a friend or being ‘good neighborly’ to someone who asks you for a call. She then hands you back the phone and sometime later uses those same fingertips to put in her face. Boom, there goes another case of COVID-19 transmission! And, the roles could have been the reverse, as there are so many different instances where our cellphones are involved in our day-to-day activities.So what are some of the steps that we can take to not only to sanitize our cellphone but other electronic devices such as tablets, laptops, desktop computers, keyboards, and mouse as transmitters of the dreaded COVID-19 virus?The first step is to turn off the instrument, then get a soft piece of cloth, like the kind used to clean eyeglasses. We do not recommend paper towels or napkins as they can scratch the face of your device. Prepare a solution of warm, soapy water that you use to dampen (not too wet) the cloth that will allow it to run into ports and other areas critical to the operation of the device.The soap solution should not be sprayed onto the devices but gently rubbed with the cloth. A word on the soap and water, it’s not that it’s the be-all and end-all, the proverbial silver bullet of COVID-19, but this particular virus has a thin membrane which is destroyed by soap and water solution.Regarding your keyboard and laptop computer, please use a cotton swab to clean the ports and between the keys as damp cloth can pose a problem. The mouse should also not be overlooked in the sanitization process.Finally with the current global death toll in excess of 20,000 and confirmed cases numbering 454,000 with the United States contributing 890 deaths and 64,000 confirmed cases respectively to this deadly pandemic, any step that slows down this carnage in human lives, should be embraced.