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RSF urges Bahrain to drop charges against correspondent Nazeeha Saeed

first_img Bahraini journalist Faisal Hayyat detained over tweet about religion Nazeeha Saeed, former Bahrain correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte-Carlo Doualiya, was accused by the information ministry last summer of working as foreign correspondent without authorization after the ministry refused to renew her accreditation in June. She is facing a possible fine of up to 1,000 dinars (2,400 euros).“RSF reiterates its request for the charges against this journalist to be dropped to allow her to renew her permit and work in the country again, without fear of reprisals,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk.“More broadly, RSF condemns increasing intimidation of journalists in the country and, in particular, a tougher attitude noticed recently towards the international media.” Saeed is the only journalist to have been charged, but her case is not unique. Last year, the authorities refused to renew the accreditation of at least five local journalists working for international news organizations, including Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Associated Press, France 24 and Reuters.The former AFP photographer in the country, Mohammed Al Shaikh, whose accreditation was also not renewed in 2016, was arrested in March this year when he returned from a foreign trip. He was questioned about his work for several hours at the offices of the Criminal Investigation Department before being released without charge. More recently, hearings in two cases against the noted blogger and human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, due to have been held on 16 and 17 May, were postponed until 30 May and 14 June because of his state of health. He underwent surgery in April and was unable to attend court. One of the cases concerns television interviews about human rights in Bahrain that he gave in 2014 and 2015 and the other concerns a series of tweets criticizing the military intervention in Yemen and the use of torture in Bahrain’s Jaw prison. Another case that is a cause of concern for RSF is that of 29-year-old sports photograph Hassan Ghareeb, who was arrested while he was covering a match at the Al-Ahli football club’s ground in Manama.According to our sources, he was arrested in June 2014 and held for three-and-a-half months, accused of having taken part in an attack on a police checkpoint while he was actually at the Al-Ittihad football club.He was sentenced in September 2015 to five years’ imprisonment, although he was not taken into custody at the time. RSF is still unaware of the reasons for his arrest. An appeal is scheduled to be heard on 6 June. Bahrain is among the countries in the Middle East with the most journalists in prison, with at least 14 behind bars, including citizen journalists. It is ranked 164th of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. BahrainMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentImpunity Organisation RSF_en Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Bahrain authorities to drop its prosecution of the journalist Nazeeha Saeed on the eve of a verdict in her case, and to halt their efforts to intimidate journalists. News BahrainMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentImpunity News Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts January 25, 2017 Find out more Follow the news on Bahrain News May 24, 2017 RSF urges Bahrain to drop charges against correspondent Nazeeha Saeed January 13, 2017 Find out more News to go further RSF calls for human rights defender’s release Bahrain urged to drop charges against correspondent October 13, 2016 Find out morelast_img read more

Stuart Baxter steps down as South Africa’s coach

first_imgHead coach of South Africa, Stuart Baxter has stepped down days after Africa Cup of Nations exploits.The Bafana Bafana coach has confirmed he has resigned although he has three years left on his contract.The Englishman was appointed on a five-year deal to take charge of affairs of the South African men’s football team on May 4, 2017.The 65-year-old qualified the South Africans to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.He led Bafana Bafana to the quarter-finals of the AFCON where they sensationally beat host nation, Egypt in the round of 16 of the tournament.The one-time AFCON champions, however, were not that impressive in the recently ended AFCON as they scored just one goal in the group stages and only qualified to the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed countries.Their fairytale ended against the Super Eagles of Nigeria who emerged as bronze medalists.The English international called for a press conference to announce his decision to resign from his post as head coach of South Africa.“Someone should continue with this project and therefore I am resigning as Bafana Bafana head coach, Baxter said.“It was my personal decision to step down.”“I feel that I cannot continue to work with the required professionalism and passion as I have done, and to deal with the many issues involved with this programme.“I’ve chosen not to point fingers in the past and will not do that now, and even when it would have been better for me personally to blame others I’ve tried to recognise what I could do to affect the situation and keep a level of integrity.”Stuart Baxter took charge of 21 games with Bafana Bafana where he won just eight times, drawn four and lost nine games in the process.He was previously manager of SuperSports United and Kaizer Chiefs all in South Africa.last_img read more

AVB bemoans ‘strange decisions’

first_imgChelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas criticised referee Howard Webb after the 3-3 draw against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.United came back from three down to snatch a point, but their manager Sir Alex Ferguson described the result as “two points dropped” and felt his team should have had a first-half penalty.Referee Howard Webb later awarded United two spot-kicks, the second of which was hugely controversial, with Branislav Ivanovic adjudged to have tripped Danny Welbeck.Villas-Boas said: “Of course it’s not easy to take. It is a massive recovery by United. We had it in our hands and let it slip.“But there were some strange decisions. The first one is a penalty and I agree with it. The second is very unlucky. I’m not sure if Howard is trying to compensate for something.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Draymond Green slams Suns’ handling of Marquese Chriss

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Draymond Green delivered an impassioned defense of teammate Marquese Chriss, while also taking a shot at the team that drafted him.Chriss, who signed a training camp contract with the Warriors this summer and seems poised to make the regular season roster, was selected No. 8 overall by the Suns in the 2016 NBA Draft. After two years, Phoenix traded him to the Rockets, who then traded him to the Cavaliers. Chriss’ basketball IQ and maturity became a frequent question over the …last_img read more

Sydney Airport plots expansion and a new terminal

first_imgPhoto: Sydney Airport Australia’s busiest airport is planning a significant expansion, including a new “Terminal 4”, as it moves to address robust aviation growth and competition from a second airport.Outgoing Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather told the airport’s annual meeting on Tuesday that a major investment program would provide additional aviation capacity for business expansion as the airport capitalises on what she described as a natural competitive advantage in terms of geography.“Airlines serving Asia are able to fly to Sydney and return within 24 hours,’’ she said. “This is highly attractive from an aircraft utilisation perspective.’’She noted the airport had been particularly successful in attracting Chinese carriers but said it was a “Pan-Asian story” that was not reliant on one or two particular countries for growth.“In fact, passengers to and from Asia are forecast to contribute more than half of Sydney Airport’s volumes by the end of this year,’’ she said.After a boost in international travel in 2016, Mather said the airport was “off to a great start’’ in 2017 with 7.2 per cent growth so far.Sydney already serves 94 destinations, including those in Australia, on 44 airlines.Passenger numbers have grown 14m in 1990 to more than 42m in 2016 but this has not been without angst from surrounding communities.The airport will be working over the next 12 months to release a new Master Plan that looks  at development to 2039.This is well beyond the proposed start-up date of a second airport at Badgerys Creek, south-west of Sydney, that the company which operates Sydney Airport declined to build despite having first call on it.Mather said the planning had accounted for the opening of the Western Sydney Airport in 2026 and had identified areas available to develop its facilities,“These include an expansion of our international Terminal 1, by adding new gates, baggage system expansions and apron capacity,’’ she said. “Also a new Terminal 4, which will provide new international gates adjoining (terminals) T2/T3. And also new aeronautical facilities in the south-south- east sector, south of General Holmes Drive.’’The new terminal will mean the relocation of a Qantas maintenance facility to another part of the airport and appears in keeping with a plan launched some years ago to relocate alliance partners to different terminals to improve efficiency.That plan was shelved after protests by Virgin that it would be disadvantaged by the move to the T1  international terminal because it was further away from the central business district and harder to access.last_img read more

Mercury still haunts Grassy Narrows report finds

first_imgAPTN National NewsA report was released Monday highlighting the ongoing mercury problems in Grassy Narrows First Nation.The northern Ontario First Nation has been plagued by health issues as a result of mercury poising caused by a paper mill that contaminated the area’s waters.The report found that mercury levels continue to rise.APTN’s Delaney Windigo has this story.last_img

US military developing geolocation system for underground

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. US military satellites provide Global Positioning System (GPS) signals used by millions of gadgets, including car satellite navigation systems and smartphones, but GPS needs line-of-sight to the satellites, which is only available on the Earth’s surface and not underground. At the same time, the presence of US military and intelligence satellites has driven many people of interest underground, especially since subterranean engineering and tunnel building are becoming less expensive and easier. A deep tunnel system shields a group from spy satellites, and also gives them protection against bomb attacks.Scientists from the Pentagon agency DARPA have noted that very low frequency (VLF) radio signals called “spherics” or “sferics” are generated by lightning strikes and penetrate deep underground, and they are therefore studying the feasibility of a system of underground receivers that could possibly built to detect the signals hundreds of miles away. Receiving signals from lighting strikes in multiple directions, along with minimal information from a surface base station also at a distance, could allow operators to accurately pinpoint their position.The system is known as Sferics-Based Underground Geolocation (S-BUG) and early studies found that it may be feasible. DARPA is now planning to hold a conference, which will mostly be classified as secret, with technology companies interested in developing the project further. The project will need to verify that sferic signals received on the surface can be correlated with sferics received underground to provide geolocation with enough resolution. The ultimate goal of the S-BUG project is to design a full navigation and tracking system for underground uses.The project coincides with another DARPA project (Nimbus), which aims to trigger and manipulate artificial lightning. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — The US military is studying the feasibility of a system that could allow them to accurately navigate in enemy underground tunnels, an environment in which GPS does not work.center_img Citation: US military developing geolocation system for underground (2010, March 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-03-military-geolocation-underground.html More information: DARPA project: www.darpa.mil/sto/underground/sferic.html First Modernized GPS Satellite Built By Lockheed Martin Launchedlast_img read more

More words dying and fewer words being added to languages in digital

first_imgWord extinction. The English word “Roentgenogram” derives from the Nobel prize winning scientist and discoverer of the X-ray, Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923). The prevalence of this word was quickly challenged by two main competitors, “X-ray” (recorded as “Xray” in the database) and “Radiogram.” The arithmetic mean frequency of these three time series is relatively constant over the 80-year period 1920-2000, 〈 f 〉 ≈ 10^-7, illustrating the limited linguistic “market share” that can be achieved by any competitor. We conjecture that the main reason “Xray” has a higher frequency is due to the “fitness gain” from its efficient short word length and also due to the fact that English has become the base language for scientific publication. Image (c) Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep00313 Journal information: Scientific Reports Suspecting that the addition of new words to languages might be inhibited by modern tools such as spellcheckers, the team looked at 107 words that have been recorded by Google as part of its book digitizing process, which is now estimated to represent somewhere near four percent of all of the world’s books. Because they are in digital form, it is possible to perform statistical analysis on them, which is just what the team did. In doing so, they were able to note when new words appeared in a language and then to see if they held on long enough to become permanent, or if they vanished after a certain amount of time. Analyzed works included books from 1800 to 2008.One of the most striking results the team found was that words being lost from the three languages occurred more often in the past ten to twenty years than in all of the other eras in the period of study. They also found that newer words were being added less frequently during the same period indicating that modern languages are shrinking. They suggest that electronic spellcheckers introduced during this period might be partly responsible for the change, as might the tendency to gravitate towards a smaller vocabulary when writing emails and especially when texting. They also cite the increased use of just one language, English, in science endeavors and projects, regardless of native tongue.Interestingly, the group also found that when new words are added in the digital age, they tend to become mainstream much faster than occurred in previous years, likely because of the same modern electronic communications tools that are causing languages to constrict. They also found that it generally takes at least forty years for new words to become truly accepted as a part of a language, and if that doesn’t happen, they tend to die. (PhysOrg.com) — Adding new words to an existing language, or dropping old ones is something people have always done. As new things or ideas are discovered, new words crop up to describe them. But now, in the digital age, that process appears to be slowing despite the increased pace of new things arriving on the scene. In a paper in Scientific Reports, a group from the Institutions Markets Technologies’ Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies in Italy, describe how they have found after studying English, Spanish and Hebrew trends, that words are being dropped from languages faster and new ones added at a slower rate, than at any other time over the past three hundred years. Chinese-English bilinguals are ‘automatic’ translators This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Explore further © 2011 PhysOrg.com More information: Statistical Laws Governing Fluctuations in Word Use from Word Birth to Word Death, Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 313 doi:10.1038/srep00313AbstractWe analyze the dynamic properties of 107 words recorded in English, Spanish and Hebrew over the period 1800–2008 in order to gain insight into the coevolution of language and culture. We report language independent patterns useful as benchmarks for theoretical models of language evolution. A significantly decreasing (increasing) trend in the birth (death) rate of words indicates a recent shift in the selection laws governing word use. For new words, we observe a peak in the growth-rate fluctuations around 40 years after introduction, consistent with the typical entry time into standard dictionaries and the human generational timescale. Pronounced changes in the dynamics of language during periods of war shows that word correlations, occurring across time and between words, are largely influenced by coevolutionary social, technological, and political factors. We quantify cultural memory by analyzing the long-term correlations in the use of individual words using detrended fluctuation analysis.via Livescience Citation: More words dying and fewer words being added to languages in digital age: study (2012, March 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-words-dying-added-languages-digital.htmllast_img read more

K239b A planet that shouldnt be there at all

first_img(Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers has reported the discovery of a new giant extrasolar planet orbiting a subgiant star so closely that it should be destroyed due to tidal interactions. However, against all odds, the planet has survived and is the shortest-period alien world orbiting a subgiant star known to date. The findings were reported in a paper published on May 31 on arXiv.org. Explore further More information: The K2-ESPRINT Project V: a short-period giant planet orbiting a subgiant star arXiv:1605.09180 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1605.09180AbstractWe report on the discovery and characterization of the transiting planet K2-39b (EPIC 206247743b). With an orbital period of 4.6 days, it is the shortest-period planet orbiting a subgiant star known to date. Such planets are rare, with only a handful of known cases. The reason for this is poorly understood, but may reflect differences in planet occurrence around the relatively high-mass stars that have been surveyed, or may be the result of tidal destruction of such planets. K2-39 is an evolved star with a spectroscopically derived stellar radius and mass of 3.88+0.48−0.42 R⊙ and 1.53+0.13−0.12 M⊙, respectively, and a very close-in transiting planet, with a/R⋆=3.4. Radial velocity (RV) follow-up using the HARPS, FIES and PFS instruments leads to a planetary mass of 50.3+9.7−9.4 M⊕. In combination with a radius measurement of 8.3±1.1 R⊕, this results in a mean planetary density of 0.50+0.29−0.17 g~cm−3. We furthermore discover a long-term RV trend, which may be caused by a long-period planet or stellar companion. Because K2-39b has a short orbital period, its existence makes it seem unlikely that tidal destruction is wholly responsible for the differences in planet populations around subgiant and main-sequence stars. Future monitoring of the transits of this system may enable the detection of period decay and constrain the tidal dissipation rates of subgiant stars. © 2016 Phys.org Citation: K2-39b: A planet that shouldn’t be there at all (2016, June 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-06-k2-39b-planet-shouldnt.html The size of subgiant K2-39 and its exoplanet, shown relative to the size of the sun. The distance between K2-39 and its planet is also indicated, relative to the distance of the sun to Mercury. The Earth is not shown on this figure, because it is more than two times further away than Mercury. Credit: Vincent Van Eylen/Aarhus University Astronomers discover a giant inflated exoplanet orbiting a distant star The planet, designated K2-39b, was first spotted by NASA’s prolonged Kepler mission, known as K2. To confirm the planetary status of K2-39b, the team of researchers, led by Vincent Van Eylen of the Aarhus University in Denmark, has employed the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph on the ESO 3.6m telescope in La Silla, Chile, the Nordic Optical Telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands, as well as the Magellan II telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The ground-based follow-up measurements were crucial to confirm that the newly found object was, indeed, a genuine exoplanet. The scientists conducted the so-called radial velocity measurements to measure the movement of the star caused by the planet. They clearly confirmed that the planet was indeed real, and also allowed the team to determine its mass. According to the study, K2-39b is 50 times more massive than our planet and has a radius of about eight Earth radii.However, what is most intriguing about the new findings is that the planet is orbiting its evolved subgiant host star every 4.6 days, and so closely that it should be tidally destroyed.”K2-39b is a bit of a ‘special beast,’ because such short-period planets orbiting large, evolved stars, are quite rare. (…) This planet is special mostly because of the star it orbits: Its host star is an evolved star, a subgiant several times larger than the sun. Around such stars, very few short-period planets were known, and there is speculation this may be because they cannot survive so close to such large stars. However, the fact that we have now found this planet, very close to a subgiant star, proves that at least some planets can survive there,” Van Eylen told Phys.org.Currently, there are two main theories attempting to explain the lack of close-in planets orbiting evolved subgiant stars. One of the hypotheses is that planets might be tidally destroyed as the star evolves and grows larger. The other scenario suggests that this is due to the systematically higher masses of the observed evolved stars compared to the observed main-sequence stars.In the study, the scientists also attempt to estimate how long K2-39b can survive orbiting its sub-giant parent star. Taking into account the stellar mass of K2-39 and assuming that the planet remains in its current orbit, they suggest that the alien world will end its life probably in about 150 million years’ time.Furthermore, the team notes that it seems there may be a second planet in the system, at a much larger distance from the star. However, according to Van Eylen, the current data set has not been able to constrain this potential second planet. Further measurements may be able to do just that.The researchers concluded that future studies of such planets like K2-39b orbiting evolved stars will help understand the fates of planets as their host stars grow older. Moreover, as K2 continues its observing campaign, it may discover other rare systems similar to K2-39, allowing scientists to further constrain stellar structure and planet formation and evolution. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more