Angel Pablo Polanco is released

first_img RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago Follow the news on Cuba October 15, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts News CubaAmericas New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council Ángel Pablo Polanco of the Servicio Noticuba independent news agency, who was arrested at his home in Havana on 30 July 2002, was released on the evening of 3 August. He is being prosecuted for “incitement to commit a crime”, “insulting an agent of the State”, and “insulting the symbols of the nation” and could receive a three-year jail sentence. CubaAmericas News Angel Pablo Polanco of the Servicio Noticuba independent news agency was released on the evening of 3 August after being held for five days. He has been placed under judicial control and must appear twice a month before police authorities. Whereas State Security had told his family he was being held at the State Security’s Villa Maristas headquarters, he was in fact held at the Ministry of Interior in Havana, where he underwent a long interrogation. He is being prosecuted for “incitement to commit a crime”, “insulting an agent of the State”, and “insulting the symbols of the nation” and could receive a three-year jail sentence. He has been given no explanation for these charges and has not been told when he will be tried.————————————————————————————————————–02.08.2002 – A fifth journalist jailedReporters Without Borders called today for the immediate and unconditional release of Cuban journalist Angel Pablo Polanco of the Servicio Noticuba independent press agency, who was arrested on 30 July.”This arrest shows the independent press is one of the favorite targets of the repression against the opposition,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Cuban President Fidel Castro. Ménard noted that Cuba is currently the only country in Latin America where journalists are still being imprisoned.Reporters Without Borders also called for the release of independent journalists Carlos Alberto Domínguez, Lester Téllez Castro, Carlos Brizuela Yera and Bernardo Arévalo Padrón, who has been in jail since November 1997.  Polanco was arrested at his home in Havana on 30 July. State Security officials came to his home in the early hours of the morning and searched it for several hours. According to Polanco’s wife, Angela Salinas, the security officials seized technical material, many documents and money. Finally, at around 9 pm, they arrested Polanco without giving any reason or showing a warrant. When Polanco refused to go with them, they took him away by force. He has been detained at State Security headquarters in Villa Maristas, in Havana. His wife, who has been authorised to visit him on 6 August, has said she does not know whether her husband has been charged.Polanco’s arrest, which was preceded by the arrest of two government opponents the day before, comes in the run-up to a day of protest against the Castro government that has been called for 5 August by opposition organisations. Polanco was previously arrested by two State Security officials on 23 February 2000 after having published reports on the proceedings against Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, president of the Lawton Foundation. Prior to that, Polanco was briefly held for questioning five times in 1999.Téllez Castro, who heads the Agencia de Prensa Libre Avileña (APLA) and Brizuela Yera, who works for the Colegio de Periodístas Independientes de Camaguey, were beaten by police on 4 March and then detained along with eight human rights activists. They were arrested on their way to visit Jesús Alvarez Castillo, correspondent of the Cuba Press agency in Ciego de Avila (central Cuba), who had been hospitalised after being beaten up the same day by police. Téllez Castro is currently held in the Canaleta prison, in Ciego de Avila. Brizuela Yera is jailed in a detention centre in the eastern province of Holguín. The two men are expected to be charged with “insulting behaviour,” as well as “causing trouble in a medical facility” and “refusing to obey instructions.”On 4 March, Domínguez was arrested at his home by four State Security officials and detained initially in Havana at a centre run by the Technical Investigation Department (DTI), which is part of the interior ministry and notorious for ill-treating prisoners. The health of the journalist, who suffers from migraine and high blood pressure, deteriorated badly and since 29 March he has been held at the Grande Valle prison, in Havana. Domínguez has reportedly been charged with “disturbing public order” and “refusing to obey instructions.” He is also said to have been accused of helping to organise demonstrations on 24 February to mark the death of four pilots of the Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue, who were shot down by Cuban air force planes on 26 February 1996.Reporters Without Borders also calls again for the release of Arévalo Padrón, who was sentenced on appeal on 28 November 1997 to six years in prison for “insulting” President Castro and Vice-president Carlos Lage in an interview with a Miami radio station, in which he called them “liars” for failing to respect commitments to democracy they had signed at an Ibero-American summit. The journalist is being held in labour camp no. 16, in Cienfuegos province. His applications for release on bail have been rejected several times. Only the government-controlled media is allowed to operate in Cuba. About 100 independent journalists rely on Cuban exile organisations in the United States to distribute their articles, mostly on Internet websites. Reporters Without Borders counted nearly 100 instances last year of pressure or intimidation aimed at journalists, including threats, physical attacks, police summonses, house arrest and pressure on families. The authorities also arrested 29 journalists. About 50 independent journalists have been forced into exile abroad since 1995. News RSF_en News Help by sharing this information Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet to go further May 6, 2020 Find out more August 7, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Angel Pablo Polanco is released Organisation October 12, 2018 Find out morelast_img read more

Gregg Allman’s Manager Michael Lehman Discusses Gregg Allman & ‘Southern Blood’ On New Podcast

first_imgOn the latest episode of The Sound Podcast, show host Ira Haberman interviews Gregg Allman’s longtime manager and friend Michael Lehman. The nearly 40-minute episode features conversations with Lehman about Gregg Allman in his final hours and how they all led up to Allman’s recently-released final masterpiece Southern Blood. Recording Southern Blood offered Allman the opportunity to tell his own story the way he wanted to. Thus, the album is a collection of songs mostly penned by other minds that reflect what was in Allman’s heart and soul during his final months. The album has turned out to be deeply revealing, as Lehman recounts what it was like to prepare the album ahead of Allman’s final moments.Gregg Allman Delivers Emotional Farewell On ‘Southern Blood’You can listen to the full podcast episode below, or by connecting and subscribing to one of the podcast platforms here:[cover photo by Phierce Photo]last_img read more

Students create ‘HERE’s the Why’ Instagram account to advocate for social responsibility

first_imgThe tri-campus community has taken the fight to bolster student compliance to COVID-19 health guidelines into their own hands via social media. A student-run Instagram page titled “HERE’s the Why” began sharing personal stories from students, alumni and other concerned members of the community late last week in an effort to promote reflection on individual responsibility.Notre Dame junior Kirsten Young said she decided to start the page after the University announced a two-week period of online classes following a spike in COVID-19 cases last week. “I felt that a lot of the rules weren’t being followed,” Young said. “We were at a point where we needed to turn things around.”Young said she thought sharing personal stories about the COVID-19 pandemic would help convince people to follow health guidelines. “I know I have personal reasons. I think hearing personal reasons from other people would be a great way to connect with students,” she said. “Notre Dame students are smart. Hopefully these stories will make them stop and think about their actions, and influence them to do better.”Kelly Mansour, a sophomore at Notre Dame, assists Young in maintaining the page. She said she got involved because she wanted to remind students about the impact following safety guidelines can have. “I know wearing a mask and keeping 6 feet apart can be annoying,” Mansour said. “I know I have been missing the college experience we had last semester, so it’s important to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing to keep campus safe. … It’s so easy to wear a mask and stay six feet [apart], but it makes such a profound impact, and we’re trying to show that.”The Instagram account has showcased a variety of concerns from both students and alumni, ranging from anecdotes about families and communities in hometowns to a spotlight on the influence the tri-campus community could have on the reopening of South Bend public schools. Multiple students have shared their misgivings about returning home, citing mental health concerns and unsafe home lives. In particular, Young said she has received multiple stories from members of the LGBTQ community who shared that they are not out to their families at home. “The idea of being sent home from campus is a huge source of stress to these students,” Young said. “They take it so seriously, so it’s hard for them to see other people not understanding the repercussions if the spread gets worse.”Another post contains student testimony about contracting and recovering from COVID-19. The student, sophomore Ryan Murdock, has been vocal about his own battle with the illness on the “HERE’s the Why” page and in a Letter to the Editor. Murdock said he shared his story so other students might understand that becoming ill with COVID-19 is a real possibility that should not be dismissed.“I think so many people think, ‘oh we’re young, we’re immune, it doesn’t really affect us’ … which is just not true,” he said. “People think it couldn’t happen to them, but it does.”Murdock said he experienced a 48-hour period of high fever and extreme fatigue after being contact traced to another student who had tested positive and moved into isolation. “I was feeling fine until I wasn’t and ended up in the emergency room with a high fever,” he said.Murdock said he wants other students to accept the fact that they have to make sacrifices in order to finish the semester on campus. “I get it, I wish we could go to parties, too,” Murdock said. “I wish we could have a normal semester like last fall but it’s just not possible. We can’t keep doing what so many people are doing … we have a responsibility to be better than that. If you think it couldn’t be you … you’re wrong, nobody’s immune.”Going forward, Young said she hopes “HERE’s the Why” will prompt students to think of the impact their actions have on others when making choices. “I know it’s so easy to fall into the temptations of being around your friends and drop your precautions a little bit,” Young said. “But remember every action you take has an impact on the people around, and it’s so important to be conscious of that right now.”Mansour echoed Young’s call to consider the impact of individual choices on the community. “It’s about the community, it’s about the common good,” Mansour said. “So we want people to just remember that when they’re talking with friends about their hopes for the rest of the semester, when they’re deciding what to do on a Friday night, that their choice to sit on the quad without a mask could impact more people than they could even imagine.” Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, HERE’s the Why, student instagram accountlast_img read more

SN Q&A: Sami Callihan on intergender match at Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary; why its a breath of fresh air to be at Impact compared to WWE

first_imgJoin DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearIn the summer of 2013, Callihan joined WWE and competed in NXT under the ring name Solomon Crowe. After being vastly underutilized, Callihan requested —and was granted — his release from the organization. Since then, Callihan has wrestled in New Japan, MLW and Lucha Underground. His transformation into a superstar followed when he signed with Impact Wrestling and made his debut at Bound for Glory in November 2017.This Sunday, at one of the company’s most significant annual events of the year, Slammiversary in Dallas, Callihan takes on Tessa Blanchard in an intergender matchup.Days away from the show, Callihan took some time to speak with Sporting News about facing off with Blanchard, criticism of the bout and being at Impact compared to his time at WWE.(Editor’s Note: The interview was edited for clarity.)Sporting News: You’re a couple of days away from a big match, and from what you told me before we started the interview, you have had an intriguing day.Sami Callihan: Everything I do is busy. Many people can hate me, but I’m the hardest working son of a b—tch in the wrestling business right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Impact or my company, The Wrestling Revolver, when it’s time to go to work, I go to work.SN: What came of the idea of starting your promotion?SC: I wanted wrestling to run the right way. I wanted it to be my version of what I think pro wrestling should be. I’ve been running pro wrestling companies since I was 17 years old. I used to run a backyard wrestling company. It’s taboo to say backyard wrestling in this day of age. But when I was younger, I was running backyard wrestling shows when I was junior and senior in high school in front of like 200-300 people. Then I went on to start American Luchacore. That was a company before its time where I’d book these stars from all around the country that no one had heard of at the time. I was successful at that. So when I left WWE, I got together with my old brother, and I said, ‘You know what? Let’s start our own wrestling company and do wrestling the right way’.SN: Why get into wrestling promotion at such a young age? Most want to go to college, but you went and forged a different path.SC: Because I’m a go-getter, and I want to be the most versatile person in the wrestling business. I know all about graphic design, booking talent, writing storylines because I love professional wrestling.SN: You have one of the most popular promotions in wrestling. Has The Wrestling Revolver exceeded your expectations, or is it going at a pace where you knew it was already going to be at?SC: I think it’s going exactly as I planned it to go. In the last three years, The Wrestling Revolver has landed successful shows during Wrestlemania weekend at WrestleCon and have done shows in five different states. Everywhere we have run a show, we have been successful. I set goals for myself. I set goals for my company. My brother from day one, and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We weren’t going to do this half-a–. There’s a reason me and my brother haven’t taken one dime from the Pro Wrestling Revolver because every ounce of money we make goes back into the company and buying something new and special. Hell, we just bought an 18-foot trailer because we want to get to that next level. We want to become a traveling brand.Being with Impact Wrestling right now, they give me that freedom. They’ve helped me along the way with a lot of stuff. It’s a great partnership that I’ve been able to have with them for the last couple of years.SN: How has Impact helped your promotion since your time in the company?SC: Sometimes, they work out deals with talent. They promote stuff. That’s the best part of Impact Wrestling right now. It’s not just a wrestling organization that says, ‘Hey, this is what your doing and this is what’s going to happen’. They let us go out and be creative, live out our dreams, and help us every step of the way.SN: Is it a breath of fresh air compared to your time in NXT?SC: In WWE, it seemed like we had to get permission to take a piss. In Impact Wrestling, it’s ok if you make a mistake and help you learn along the way in every single aspect of what you want to do and need to do.SN: You have a big match this weekend out in Dallas for Slammiversary against Tessa Blanchard.SC: (Cuts the question) Quite arguably, we are going to change the wrestling world. Where’s there ever been an intergender match of this proportion even though we aren’t the headliners on pay-per-view?Some people may hate intergender wrestling, but I’m a big proponent of it. It’s going to be part of the wave of the future. On the independent scene, intergender wrestling has picked up the last couple of years. It should be, ‘Wow, a female is going to wrestle this male. How did we get here?’I look at wrestling as if I can tell some stories, especially with someone like Tessa Blanchard. I may not agree with her. I may think she’s a dumb b—ch sometimes. But at the same time, I think Tessa Blanchard, regardless of male or female, is one of the best workers on the planet right now.SN: What do you say to the critics of intergender matches?SC: Watch Sunday and see us have the match of the year.SN: What makes her so special?SC: Because she doesn’t walk on eggshells. Tessa Blanchard is a bad b—ch. She’s a tough son of a b—ch. She goes out there looking every single time to be the best professional wrestler on the planet just like me. And that’s why we butt heads.On Sunday, we are going to go out there and leave it all on the line and see who the better person is man or female.SN: What do you make of this show top to bottom because it’s a pretty stacked card?SC: We have some of the best PPV’s of any wrestling company. I’d put last year’s Slammiversary against any wrestling pay-per-view of the previous year. That’s how amazing the show was. And this year’s Slammiversary exceeds last year’s easily. You have a lot of people right now saying their company is the best. I’m stepping up and saying I want to be one of the leaders of Impact Wrestling that helps bring this company to the new wave and have this company contend again. I think Sunday’s show is going to do precisely that when we have the best pay-per-view of the year.SN: A lot of rumors are going around right now about Impact and a possible TV deal with AXS TV.SC: (Cuts off the question) There sure are a lot of rumors going around right now. No one has said anything to us. I think once something happens; things are going to blow up. People want to s—t on our current situation. But us being on Twitch is a big thing. What people don’t realize is that we can do our own thing on Twitch. We can do our own thing on Pursuit. We have the freedom to do what we want and make the company what we want. We don’t have network executives telling us what to do and what can and cannot do. On specific networks, we may not be able to do intergender matches with Tessa Blanchard.But we are going to be able to do it this Sunday at Slammiversary and change history.SN: How do you feel you have evolved as a performer from WWE to Impact?SC: I don’t feel like my d—k has been cut off. The days that stopped happening was when everything had changed for me. Throughout my career, I’ve been able to evolve and do different things. I never want my character to become stagnant. I’m not complacent doing one thing. Every couple of months, I want to do something that’s going to create a buzz that gets my name in people’s mouths. And I think I have done that. One of the hottest acts outside of WWE is Sami Callihan. The 31-year-old began wrestling at the age of 17 when he ran a backyard wrestling organization. From there, Callihan toured the independent scene and became a household name competing in promotions like Ring of Honor, Evolve and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). SN: Why should people watch Slammiversary and in particular, your match with Tessa Blanchard?SC: Look at the card. The card is amazing. I’m not s—ting on any other wrestling. Why can’t we all be good? Why can’t every promotion have their niche, have their audience, and have their fanbase?Just watch wrestling. People need to stop being so critical and stop thinking about what they would do better or how’d they do it better. We are the professionals, and on Sunday, we are going to have the best pay-per-view of the year.last_img read more

Rwanda qualify despite only drawing at home

first_imgRwandan teamJohannesburg, South Africa | AFP | Rwanda filled the final place at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) Sunday despite only drawing 0-0 in Kigali against Ethiopia in the second leg of a play-off.The Rwandans qualified 3-2 on aggregate having won the first leg by that score in Addis Ababa last weekend.Egypt withdrew from the competition for home-based footballers, citing the refusal of clubs to release players, and this gave Rwanda and Ethiopia a second chance to qualify.Both countries had lost in the final round of regional eliminators — Rwanda to Uganda and Ethiopia to Sudan.Kenya were ditched as hosts of the biennial tournament having fallen behind with preparations and Morocco outvoted Equatorial Guinea for the right to replace them.Rabat hosts the 16-nation finals draw this Friday with the January 12-February 4 tournament scheduled for Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier. Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia complete the line-up.Libya are the only former champions participating as the Democratic Republic of Congo failed to qualify and Tunisia did not enter because of domestic football restructuring.FIFA classify Nations Championship matches as full internationals with results counting toward the monthly rankings.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Local Effort to Double State’s Shore Protection Fund

first_imgProtecting the Coast and Tourism “After Sandy you couldsee the difference betweenthe areas of town where thedunes were maintained andmoney was invested andthe areas where that mon-ey wasn’t spent. We need todo the right thing to protectall of our coastal communi-ties,” Perry said. But pending before theLegislature are bills that aimto double the cap on fundingto $50 million annually. Margot Walsh, JSP executive director, said bill A-826 has stalled in the state Assembly, but she is encouraged by the recent advancement of bill S-1614 out of the state’s Environment and Energy Committee and into the Budget and Appropriations Committee. The next step would be a move to the state Senate for a vote. Perry and Walsh agreethat providing additionalfunding to protect the shoreis a move that will protect a$20 billion coastal tourismindustry in the state. A 200-foot-tall tide gate at Pews Creek is still being completed. It will be an automated lift gate model complete with 20-by-22-foot steel panels that can be clamped shut to keep stormwaters at bay. “Since Sandy there’sbeen a lot more work to do,and not just in the Bayshorearea, but for all of the state’sbeaches and coastal towns.And expenses for thesemaintenance projects haveincreased tremendously.It’s time for the fund to beincreased as well,” Walshsaid. “The resiliency of our coastline is critical to the future of our state’s economy, job growth, infrastructure, tourism and business development,” Walsh added. “The cost-share partnership with the Army Corps has provided a return on investment of billions in federal dollars for beach restoration and maintenance projects. And the beaches and shore directly account for $20 billion of New Jersey’s $44 billion tourism spending economy.” The most visible piece of the Port Monmouth Flood Control Project is a 200-foot-tall, automated tide gate at Pews Creek, complete with 20-by-22-foot steel panels that can be closed to keep stormwater from spreading.Photo by Chris Rotolo The Shore Protection Fund was established in 1992 following a series of destructive nor’easters that caused damage to properties from high winds and coastal flooding. The initial bill authorized $15 million to be transferred from the state’s real estate transfer tax and dedicated to beach and dune-erosion projects, as well as other shore protections measures. That annual cap bank was increased to $25 million in 1998 and has not been increased since. “I’m completely on board,” O’Scanlon said. “Our shoreline is the most valuable asset in Monmouth County, and one that is easy to take for granted. I understand that residents are pushing for increased funding and I stand with them.” Sen. Declan O’Scanlon(R-13) pledged to supportthe bill. MIDDLETOWN – For two decades, the amount of money annually dedicated to the state’s Shore Protection Fund has remained steady at $25 million. The fund was established to protect property owners from coastal storm damage, erosion and sea level rise. center_img Another major aspect of the project is a retaining wall with a mechanized road closure gate at the entrance to the Monmouth Cove Marina.Photo by Chris Rotolo A long flood wall and road closure gate near Port Monmouth Road and the Monmouth Cove Marina, and the installation of interior drainage/pump systems near Port Monmouth’s two major creeks are also in place. Already completed is the replenishment of the beach-front area and fishing pier near the historic Bayshore Waterfront Park. Additionally, concrete groins have been constructed to run perpendicular to the beach and extend into the bay. A series of levees, flood walls and pumping stations have been built as well. The bill also created a cost-share partnership among the state of New Jersey, its coastal municipalities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to engage in shore protection projects, including beach restoration and maintenance. The legislation is the work of the Monmouth County-based group Jersey Shore Partnership (JSP). At their March 18 meeting, the Middletown Township Committee expressed its support for increasing the cap with a resolution citing the need to fund necessary projects following the devastation of Super Storm Sandy. “We have to do all we can to ensure the protection of our residents and their in- vestments,” Perry said. “We can’t allow taxpayer dollars to go toward restoring the shore and raising homes, and then ignore a long-term plan to protect those investments,” he said. “Over the past 20 years the state has seen its fair share of impactful storms, and Middletown has beared the brunt of the last two, in Sandy and Irene,” said Middletown Mayor Tony Perry. “We’re going on seven years since Sandy and the government and taxpayers have made large investments, not only to protect our homes, but to prevent the erosion of our beaches. Now is an appropriate time to protect those investments.” Shore protection measures are also critical for transportation, as seen in the wake of Super Storm Sandy when massive damage was done to state routes 36, 35 and 34. Jersey Shore Partnership is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for stable funding for coastal protection efforts, as well as beach replenishment initiatives. Aid For Projects Both Big and Small Stewart Farrell, director of the Coastal Research Center at Stockton University, said the fund-sharing partnership goes beyond smaller beach-filling and replenishment projects. It also helps fund large-scale endeavors like the $115 million flood control project underway in Middletown’s Port Monmouth section, which is now in its second phase. Completion is expected in 2022. last_img read more

Mercedes-Benz 2020 motor show set to impress in Letterkenny

first_imgCome and experience awesome this weekend at Connolly’s 2020 Mercedes-Benz Motor Show in Letterkenny. The exclusive event gives Mercedes fans a special opportunity to test drive the entire 2020 range along with a selected of Mercedes-Benz Certified Used Cars.The event takes place at Letterkenny Golf Club on Saturday 2nd November and Sunday 3rd November 2019. The Mercedes Benz fully electric EQC will be available for test drive plus the CLS AMG 53 on static display.What’s Happening? Mercedes-Benz Motor ShowWhere? Letterkenny Golf ClubWhen? Saturday & Sunday November 2nd& 3rdTime: 10am-4pm Saturday & 11am-4pm SundayTo prebook a test drive email: [email protected] or you can call into us any time on Saturday between the opening hours.View all the Connolly’s 2020 Mercedes-Benz stock at http://bit.ly/35OnPCd *Please note a full driver’s licence is require for test driving and must be presented on the day for insurance.Mercedes-Benz 2020 motor show set to impress in Letterkenny was last modified: October 22nd, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Connolly’s SligoLetterkenny Golf clubMercedes-Benz Motor Showlast_img read more

Putting children’s rights first

first_imgIssues like children’s access to basic services are tackled on the portal. (Image: Unicef South Africa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Andries Viviers  Senior social policy specialist: Unicef SA  +27 12 354 8201 or +27 79 498 4991 RELATED ARTICLES • Let’s learn and honour Children’s Act • South Africa’s child rights hero • Educated Africans teach SA children • Social development in South Africa • Presidency talks to childrenValencia TalaneOnly in its third month of operation, a Policy Action Network (Pan) portal, dedicated solely to the topic of children’s rights and equity, is receiving keen attention from academics and people working in the field.The establishment of Pan: Children was first discussed two years ago, but efforts by the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HRSC) to get it off the ground only started in late 2011. It also enjoys the support of the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPPD), a partnership between the South African government and the EU.Although the Pan platform has been in existence since 2009 – with the Research Use and Impact Assessment Unit of the HSRC as hosts, and funding from the Department of Science and Technology – the conceptualisation of Pan: Children only started a year later.A Unicef South Africa national stakeholders’ meeting held in Pretoria in late 2010 featured the topic of equity and child rights in the country, and delegates set out to find common ground on the causes of inequality.Once the factors that contribute to the poverty and inequality situation were established, the next step, agreed delegates, was to put in place policy action to address those issues. Researchers, policy makers and professionals involved in the field of child law around the world require reliable sources of information on issues informing the socio-economic stature of the country.A few months after the meeting, a roundtable discussion took place in May 2011, where representatives from the Presidency and the Department of Social Development presented under the auspices of the PSPPPD. Again the issue of content relating to child poverty and inequality was highlighted, along with the need for further research into collating information on the topic.“The systematic gathering and storage of data and evidence is crucial for driving an evidence-based national agenda for children,” read the discussion report, “and a platform for sharing data and evidence pertinent to child poverty should be created.”At the end of 2011, Unicef and the HSRC started working on the portal, according to Andries Viviers, senior social policy specialist for Unicef South Africa.“The actual work of building the portal started in June 2012, followed by the launch at the end of August.”Behind the scenesA team of five people is responsible for the content that goes onto the platform. This is made up of four part-time employees, two each from the HRSC and Unicef, while one permanent person keeps it updated on a daily basis.The five have a collective range of qualifications or expertise from economics to child law and social work as well as information technology.Asked if the project encourages students in these disciplines to seek internship opportunities with them, Viviers said that although that is not the case at this stage, there is no saying for sure that things will not be different in the future.“As Pan: Children grows over the next planned phases, there might be possibilities for interns.”More than just an info hubPan: Children has another purpose apart from being a mere information resource. The project’s drivers see it as a way to educate researchers, lawmakers and the global civil society movement on South Africa’s efforts to address inequality.Successes in the legal and socio-economic areas of the country’s development in its 18 years of democracy are shared on the portal. One of the highlights of the 2010 Unicef meeting was the progress made in policies geared towards the emancipation of children.Participants cited successes such as the child grants system, which reaches over 10-million poor children on a monthly basis, as examples. The move to introduce the non-fee school system for pupils from poor families – established to address the problem of low enrolment numbers at foundation phase, especially in the more rural areas – also received attention. A third child-friendly policy, adopted by the government’s health sector, provides for free primary healthcare for pregnant women and children up to the age of six years.Also noted, however, were the challenges that remain in South Africa for the protection of children’s rights and equity, such as poverty, which is caused by a multitude of factors. Another is the continuously high unemployment rate among young people between the ages of 18 and 24.It is under these circumstances that Pan: Children aims to give practical insight into how best to design, implement and evaluate policies that address child poverty and inequities. It will also be helpful for advice on how to best tackle bottlenecks in governing systems.Pan: Children and its usersWith ten different themes to choose from, ranging from child poverty and equality to early childhood development, food and nutrition and the social protection for children, the portal caters for users from a diversity of backgrounds.Each theme hosts documents for reference purposes, varying from policy records to reports from conferences and meetings of both local and international importance.In addition to the content on site, registered users are able to obtain an account, which allows them to add content for editing by the Pan: Children team.This user-generated content can be uploaded under any one of six sections, namely news; debate; events; opportunity; resource and web links.The portal sends out a newsletter every second month – titled From Evidence to Action, it compiles all the key content since the last edition for users.Pan: Children does not, at this point, have social media as part of its offering. Viviers said, however, that the door is not completely closed to expanding the portal in that direction.“Pan: Children’s primary focus is on key evidence-based policy questions in the advancement of child rights and equity in South Africa,” he explained. “The possibilities of social networking are being explored.”Asked whether the addition of this type of element is important to draw a younger audience, Viviers stated that younger internet users – who are primary users of social network sites as well – are not being targeted by the portal.“However, we recognise that children have a right to access information and can play an important role in the policy discourse regarding the fulfilment of their rights,” he said.Thus, he added, this will receive attention as the portal evolves, but also in policy dialogues that will take place as a part of Pan: Children.last_img read more

Senate subcommittee taking a look at water rule

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The EPA’s latest proposal to define which waters can be regulated by the federal government and which by state and local authorities is a vast improvement over previous efforts, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom told the Senate subcommittee on Fisheries, Waters, and Wildlife in June.Expensive professional services needed to comply with the Clean Water Act, he said, too often make it impossible for farmers to use their own land to its fullest.“Farm Bureau cannot overstate the importance of a rule that draws clear lines of jurisdiction that farmers and ranchers can understand without needing to hire armies of consultants and lawyers,” Fornstrom told the subcommittee. “The (Clean Water Act) carries significant fines and penalties for persons who violate the Act’s prohibitions. Historically, farmers and ranchers have chosen to forfeit full use and enjoyment of their land rather than go down the onerous and expensive path of seeking CWA 404 permits. The cost to obtain a general permit can exceed tens of thousands of dollars and individual permits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Farmers and ranchers know these costs exceed the value of their land, which leads them to simply stay out of the regulatory quagmire by forgoing the use of their land without compensation.”Fornstrom praised the latest proposed rule for its preservation of the Clean Water Act’s partnership among federal, state and local regulators.“The CWA requires the federal government to work hand-in-hand with states, because the federal government cannot and should not regulate every single wet feature in every community, he said. “By drawing clear lines between waters of the U.S. and waters of the state, the proposal strengthens the cooperative federalism Congress envisioned and that the Supreme Court has long recognized as fundamental to the Clean Water Act.”last_img read more

Those coming from Hyderabad with moneybags are biggest allies of BJP, says Mamata

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee again made a veiled attack on the AIMIM on Wednesday saying, leaders visiting the state from Hyderabad with moneybags and claiming to be sympathisers of Muslims are the “biggest allies” of the BJP.Also Read AIMIM likely to contest Bengal polls in 2021: Owaisi  Ms. Banerjee urged the Muslim community not to trust leaders visiting from outside and only repose faith on leaders from the state as they can only fight for the cause of the people of West Bengal.“Don’t trust leaders who come from outisde and try to present themselves as your (minority) sympathisers. Only leaders from Bengal can fight for your cause. Those who are visiting from Hyderabad with money bags and claiming to be sympathizers of Muslims are biggest allies of BJP,” Ms. Banerjee said while addressing a public meeting.Marking a shift in her rhetoric on religious extremism, Ms. Banerjee had, at an event in Cooch Behar on Monday, asked people to refrain from listening to “minority extremists” who have their base in Hyderabad, apparently targeting Asaduddin Owaisi, a Lok Sabha MP from that city.The comment drew sharp reactions from Mr. Owaisi who hit back on Tuesday saying, Muslims in the TMC chief’s state are ranked “worst” on development indicators.last_img read more