Year ends badly for press, with Kurdish weekly closed and one-year jail term for reporter in southwest

first_img March 18, 2021 Find out more Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 Follow the news on Iran Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists IranMiddle East – North Africa News IranMiddle East – North Africa News Organisation to go further Newscenter_img News February 25, 2021 Find out more June 9, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information January 4, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Year ends badly for press, with Kurdish weekly closed and one-year jail term for reporter in southwest RSF_en Reporters Without Borders condemns the definitive closure of the Kurdish weekly Karfto by the Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance, an offshoot of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Its licence was withdrawn for good on 29 December on the grounds of “failure to publish regularly.”The press freedom organisation also condemns the one-year prison sentence imposed on Abolfazl Abedini Nasr of the weekly Bahar Khozestan at the end of a trial held behind closed doors in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on 24 December without his lawyer being present.“We deplore this latest act of censorship, in which yet another independent newspaper has been silenced,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Despite many temporary suspensions, the staff of Karfto had refused to kowtow, so the authorities decided to get rid of it for good. Two of its journalists have been in prison for the past few months and this decision makes their situation even more delicate.”On the day its licence was withdrawn, 29 December, Karfto had not been published for 23 days. According to the law, a newspaper can let six months go by without publishing issue before its licence is withdrawn. Since Karfto’s launch in 2005, only 62 issues had been produced because it had been suspended many times and because senior staff members, including publisher Lila Madani and Behzad Koshhlai, had been repeatedly summoned for questioning.Based in Sanandaj, the capital of the northwestern province of Kurdistan, Karfto was published in two languages, Farsi and Kurdish.The two Karfto journalists currently in prison are Ako Kurdnasab and Kaveh Javanmard. Kurdnasab is serving a six-month sentence in Sanandaj prison for “trying to overthrow the regime by journalistic activities.” It was confirmed by the Sanandaj appeal court on 13 November. Javanmard was transferred on 29 December to a prison in the northern city of Maragheh, 300 km from where his family lives.Meanwhile, Omid Ahamadzadeh, a journalist who had been arrested by intelligence ministry officials in Sanandaj on 28 November was freed on bail on 27 December. It is still not known what he is charged with. He used to write for Aso and Didgah, two newspapers that have been suspended since 2005.In the southwest of the country, Nasr’s one-year sentence was passed by a revolutionary court in Ahvaz on 24 December after it found him guilty of “inciting workers to revolt” and “relations with foreign news media.”In the nearby city of Shiraz, police stormed into the premises of the daily Tahlil Rooz on 31 December and assaulted the journalists present because they had taken photos of a clash between police and demonstrators in a nearby street. One of the journalists, Mohamad Hassin Shaltokar, who had been hit several times in the face, was taken to hospital. The journalists subsequently tried to file a complaint but the police refused to register it. After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalistslast_img read more

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Coronavirus updates: ‘We are headed in a terrible direction’ says Nashville mayor as city breaks case record

first_imgMyriam Borzee/iStockBy JON HAWORTH and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 578,000 people worldwide.Over 13.3 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 3.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 136,466 deaths. Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.8 a.m.: Disneyland Paris reopensDisneyland Paris reopened on Wednesday after closing in March due to the pandemic.Advance booking was required. To promote social distancing, entry was limited.France has over 200,000 coronavirus cases and more than 30,000 deaths.The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.5:59 a.m.: San Antonio hospitals have started using refrigerated trucks for bodies, officials saySan Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in their daily briefing on Tuesday night and reported that there have been 21,067 total COVID-19 cases and 201 total deaths in Bexar County as of Tuesday, an increase of 854 new cases.City officials also reported that 1,237 patients are currently hospitalized and that 417 are in the intensive care unit with a total of 260 on ventilators.There are 11% of staffed beds available and 44% of ventilators available and Nirenberg said nearly 30% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in the area had no underlying conditions.Dr. Colleen Bridger, interim director of the Metropolitan Health District and assistant city manager, said there is a plan in place for when hospitals can ask for refrigerated trucks to hold bodies that can no longer fit in their morgues. She said the trucks are already in use in the area by facilities, but she did not specify how many or where they were being used.Dr. Bryan Alsip, with University Health System, said most hospitals don’t have large morgues, so the refrigerated trucks are needed to handle any overflow of bodies. He said University Hospital may need the trucks.Judge Wolff also took a moment to discuss the number of violations within Bexar County.Wolff said there have been almost 130 violations of the local orders and that 62 of those violations were related to businesses not following the orders, with 67 of them related to gatherings. Only nine businesses have received written citations.“We’ll be citing a lot more, I’m sure,” he said. Nirenberg said the city and county are doing proactive inspections to look for possible violations and are investigating calls from tipsters. 3:24 a.m.: Nashville Mayor: ‘We are headed in a terrible direction’After the city of Nashville, Tennessee, hit a new record of 771 COVID-19 cases in a 24 hour period, the mayor of Nashville, John Cooper, was in no mood to mince his words.“We are headed in a terrible direction and we’ve got to reverse that direction right now,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said. “We’re not targeting people, but if people are persistently non-compliant after they have been asked to keep each other safe they will get a ticket,” Mayor Cooper said. “And we have to do that because we’re at 771 cases.”Cooper also formally announced that anybody found to not wear a face mask in public would be ticketed and that a full-scale lockdown is not off the table.“We’re at the point in the disease that unless we take this very seriously, we will have to have lockdowns that really seem intolerable, but needed to keep our hospitals functioning,” said Cooper.Nashville will remain in it’s modified Phase 2 and bars will remain closed until at least August 1.Said Cooper: “None of us would have believed we would have wandered into a bad science fiction movie, but we have. Frankly, I’m here today to tell you Nashville is back into another tornado situation where everybody has to have each other’s back and work together to work through this crisis.”1:34 a.m.: Philadelphia Eagles fans won’t be allowed to attend home games this season, per city officialsThe Philadelphia Eagles will be playing their home games without a home crowd this season, according to a Philadelphia city official.“I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they’re proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley on Tuesday. “I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city government has been in communication with the Eagles, said Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and has “told them our expectations are that they don’t have fans.”The Philadelphia Phillies had already announced earlier this week that they would not be playing in front of a home crowd either and would pipe in fake crowd noise, use cardboard cutouts of fans and that the team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, would practice social distancing while roaming the ballpark.“Although we won’t be together physically, we look forward to uniting our community virtually with the goal of taking action for autism,” the Philadelphia Eagles said in a statement. “Please be assured that while the event will be virtual, we are working diligently to create an incredible experience for participants.”1:02 a.m.: 36 high school students test positive for COVID-19 at sports camps in IllinoisIn the past week, 36 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in a group of Lake Zurich High School students in Illinois who were part of athletic camps.The cases have been tied to social events before the camps even started, and the positive test results among young people are part of an overall trend Lake County, Illinois, health officials have seen in the last month.“We are grateful to the leadership of Lake Zurich District 95 for assuring proper health screenings were done at their athletic camps last week, because those measures helped identify this cluster of COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department. “We continue to urge anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who may have had direct contact with a confirmed case to get a viral COVID-19 test (also known as a polymerase chain reaction or PCR test) and self-quarantine for 14 days from their last potential date of exposure. We need your help to help prevent further spread of this virus.”The students are now in self-quarantine and health officials said positive cases among residents under the age of 30 are now higher than the general population.“Our message to young people is that while you might not be at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, you’re not immune,” said Hanna Goering, communications manager for the Lake County Health Department.According to the Lake County Health Department, COVID-19 cases and deaths in Lake County had previously slowed in recent weeks, a trend that public health officials attribute to residents following social distancing and masking guidelines, paired with widespread availability of testing and thorough contact tracing. However, new cases continue to be identified in communities across the county, and an increase in social gatherings could result in cases climbing again.“Our lives are very interconnected and this virus spreads very easily from person to person,” said Dr. Ahmed. “Even if you personally aren’t at a high risk of severe illness, you need to consider that every person you interact with may have someone close to them who is vulnerable. Please, do your part to protect your health and also look out for others. Take the risks seriously so your actions don’t result in someone else’s hospitalization or death.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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