Presidential election in Afghanistan: local media on the front line

first_imgNews “The credibility of this election is crucial in the run-up to the departure of the US-led coalition’s troops,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “Given the risks of fraud and corruption, the media will have a key role to play as a source of information for the population and as observers of a free and democratic election.“We have drafted specific recommendations for the authorities, who we urge to comply with their duty to guarantee journalists’ safety. This report is also targeted at the main candidates, who must give clear undertakings to ensure that freedom of information is firmly rooted in the Afghan people’s daily lives.”During its visit in September, Reporters Without Borders conducted an information campaign aimed at improving the preparation and protection of journalists while covering the election.Attacks and threats against local journalists in connection with their reporting are increasing in frequency. Since the start of the campaign in February, Reporters Without Borders has registered more than 20 cases in various parts of the country especially the cities of Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif. Supporters of candidates have been responsible for some of these attacks and threats.Reporters Without Borders has a Handbook for Journalists during Elections that it published in partnership with the International Organization of the Francophonie. Persian and Pashto translations were produced to help Afghan journalists covering this election, one that is particularly sensitive and important for the country’s democracy. Copies were distributed to journalists attending a seminar that Reporters Without Borders held in Kabul and to 40 northern journalists who attended the meeting that RWB organized in Sayad, in Kapisa province, on 28 September. The handbook is available on the RWB website:Read it in Persan (فارسی/دری)Read it in Pashto (پشتو)The report condemns the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for acts of violence and harassment against journalists, most of which take place outside the capital. At least 19 journalists have killed in connection with their reporting since 2002. Women journalists in particular are often the targets of violence and intimidation. Afghanistan currently has 30 women running news media, most of them privately-owned. Although the government is supposed to ensure that 30 per cent of civil servants are women, none of the 68 state-owned media is run by a woman. The report also analyses the growth of the Afghan media and the uncertainties that affect them, which are related to their economic situation and the withdrawal of foreign troops.In its recommendations, Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to revive the investigations into past crimes of violence against journalists that have remained unpunished; to ensure better cooperation between police, prosecutors and judges so that those responsible for violence against journalists can be brought to justice more quickly; and to adopt the law on access to information before the election.Reporters Without Borders also urges the government and the religious authorities to defend and promote the right of women to work as journalists, just as men do, including in the broadcast media.Read the report AfghanistanAsia – Pacific to go further News Reporters Without Borders is publishing a report on Afghanistan ahead of the presidential election scheduled for 5 April. The fruit of a fact-finding visit to the northern provinces of Parwan, Kapisa and Panjshir in September 2013, it is entitled “Presidential election in Afghanistan: local media on the front line.” The report evaluates the current state of freedom of information in Afghanistan on the eve of the election, in which the media will have a key role to play in providing news coverage despite the uncertainties and dangers to which they are constantly exposed as the withdrawal of foreign troops approaches. Situation getting more critical for Afghan women journalists, report says Related documents en_rapport_afghanistan_bd2.pdfPDF – 1.28 MB June 2, 2021 Find out more May 3, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Afghanistan Help by sharing this information center_img Organisation March 28, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Presidential election in Afghanistan: local media on the front line RSF asks International Criminal Court to investigate murders of journalists in Afghanistan Receive email alerts News Afghanistan : “No just and lasting peace in Afghanistan without guarantees for press freedom” RSF_en News AfghanistanAsia – Pacific March 11, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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Dell EMC PowerEdge Tops Big Data Analysis Systems Benchmark

first_imgConclusionEver since the release of the TPCx-Big Bench benchmark standard in December 2015, Dell EMC has been an active member of the TPCx-Big Bench Technical Committee and will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders within the industry to maintain the TPCx-BB specification.Dell EMC uses the TPCx-BB workloads to compare and differentiate its data analytics solutions and will additionally use them for performance characterizations and optimizations for the benefit of its customers.Industry standard computer benchmarking should not be viewed as a purely academic exercise or a competition among vendors.  Studying the design of top performing systems has significant benefits for customers that now, with the industry collaboration on the TPCx-BB benchmark, can advance the state of the art of performance engineering for Data Analytics. Power Test18,949.43s Detailed results and documentation are available at the TPC website.Competitive LandscapeThe TPCx-BB benchmark standard has published results on SF1000, 3000, 10000 and 30000. Dell EMC has one SF10000 published result submitted in May, 2017 based on 13G hardware (Intel Xeon Broadwell based processors). As of April 04, 2018, only Dell EMC and HPE have published results at SF10000 based on servers with Intel Xeon Skylake processors. The published results for SF3000 and 1000 from HPE and Huawei are based on Intel Broadwell and Haswell family of processors. The only result the Dell EMC 14G performance data can realistically be compared to is the latest HPE SF10000 result: Total System Cost$908,125 Throughput Test70,134.07s Performance Metric1,660.75 [email protected]center_img Price/Performance546.82 $/[email protected] Dell EMC Re-takes Performance Lead on TPCx-Big Bench Benchmark at Scale Factor 10000 Using 14G Hardware PlatformComputer benchmarking is the practice of discovering, measuring and assessing the relative performance of a system for a specific workload. Industry standard benchmarks allow researchers to compare the best performance being achieved by their systems to those of another entity (competitor) or to an entirely different industry. This information can then be used to identify gaps in an organization’s performance processes to achieve a competitive advantage. It is also used to compare the performance of the various vendor offerings within the Industry.Dell EMC uses industry-standard benchmark tests to provide objective and verifiable performance data to its customers as it relates to its hardware platforms and solutions. Customers can use this data when designing and sizing a solution to deliver optimal performance for their business use cases and to scale as needed.As big data analysis systems (BDAS) mature, the pressure to evaluate and compare both the performance and the price performance of these systems rises. To address this, the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) developed the TPCx-Big Bench (TPCx-BB), a benchmark standard for comparing BDAS solutions. Detailed information about the TPCx-BB specification can be found at http://www.tpc.org/tpcx-bb/default.asp.On March 22, 2018, Dell EMC published a SF10000 TPCx-BB benchmark result that occupies the number 1 position for both the Performance and Price/Performance tables on the TPC website. With this result, and as at that date, Dell EMC topped the Performance and Price/Performance tables of the TPCx-BB benchmark at SF10000. This is the 2nd result from Dell EMC following the pioneering result it published in the summer of 2017. There are two other results published at SF10000, both from HPE as shown on this page http://www.tpc.org/tpcx-bb/results/tpcxbb_perf_results.asp.System Under TestFor this submission, the System Under Test (SUT) comprised 1 x DELL EMC PowerEdge R640 Server (Master node) and 18 x Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Servers (Slave nodes) as depicted in the System Configuration diagram below:What was tested and measured?The benchmark is designed to stress the CPU and IO systems of a Big Data Cluster using a single stream (power test) and concurrent streams (throughput test) of 30 queries (workloads).  Each run is performed under 3 phases: Load, Power and Throughput. For the test to pass an audit, 2 sequential performance runs must be executed.ResultsThe overall TPCx-BB performance data for the Dell EMC R640/R740xd configuration is summarized in the table below: Availability DateMarch 20, 2018 Load Test2,190.66slast_img read more

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Ex-North Patchogue Fire District Manager Charged With Theft

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The former manager of the North Patchogue Fire District has been accused of spending more than $5,000 of taxpayer funds on clothing, sneakers and his cell phone bill.John Drews pleaded not guilty Wednesday at Suffolk County court to charges of grand larceny, defrauding the government and official misconduct.Prosecutors said the 46-year-old Sound Beach man used a district-issued credit card to make the purchases while he was in charge of supervising paid employees, maintaining property and purchasing firematic equipment.Drews had worked for the district for a decade until he resigned in December 2013.He was released without bail.last_img

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Warriors 2018 championship ring — with a secret message

first_imgAt Tuesday’s season opener, the Golden State Warriors received their rings commemorating the 2018 NBA championship.As far as we know, it doesn’t decode anything, but it is reversible: You can twist off the top (revealing a hidden message) and flip it over to display an alternative design.Details:(NBA.com image)• The top of the ring has the player’s number and a depiction of the east span of the Bay Bridge on a field of 74 diamonds (representing the 74 wins in the season and postseason), …last_img

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How low-cost airline policies hit your back pocket

first_imgStatistics released by a low-profile European online travel site show that countries failing to foster budget airlines and the development of so-called ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) miss out on the air travel affordability revolution.Berlin-based Kiwi.com says it has analysed data on more than one million air journeys to come up with its annual review of air fares, which ranks the world’s top 75 countries for air travel affordability.The top of the affordability list is dominated by countries that have encouraged the proliferation of low-cost carriers, such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in Asia,  and the EU, which has fierce competition between low-cost carriers (LCCs) and full-service airlines as well as between low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet.The US, which invented the LCC —  the first of which, Texas-based Southwest Airlines, has grown to become the nation’s biggest domestic airline — has also now spawned ULCCs, such as Spirit Airlines, Allegiant and Frontier, which are among the country’s fastest growing and most profitable.But that has served only to highlight the glaring disparity between the US and its northern neighbor, Canada, which has a terrible record of discouraging competition and hiking the cost of air travel.According to Kiwi.com, the US is No.17 in the global air fare affordability ranking, whereas Canada is No.70, with only Japan, Netherlands, Qatar, Finland and United Arab Emirates bigger basket cases in that category. The Kiwi.com data shows fares in the US cost just $US9.81 per 100 kilometres compared with a whopping $US38.71 in Canada.That’s because Canada has high airport costs and security charges that can be as much as $US25 per passenger compared with as little as $US2 in other countries.It’s also pointed out that Canada’s insistence on 75 per cent Canadian ownership of airlines has stifled foreign investment, when jurisdictions like the US and EU allow 50 per cent foreign ownership.Some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, even allow 100 per cent foreign investment. Without that, Australia would not now have two LCCs, as Virgin Australia subsidiary Tigerair started life as part of Singapore’s Tigerair and took advantage of the lack of ownership restrictions to set up a domestic service Downunder.Even so, according to Kiwi.com’s data, Australia, which has a reputation for high business costs, is barely better than Canada, coming in at No.66 on the list at $US35.69 per 100 kilometres — partly explained by the fact that Australia’s two LCCs are now part of the Qantas-Virgin duopoly.Compare that to Malaysia — No.2 on the list with average air fares retailing for just $US3.78 per 100 kilometres.Canada’s high-cost regime for airlines means that, until recently, the country has had only one LCC, WestJet.That has changed with the arrival of three fledgling ULCCs, Jetlines, NewLeaf and Enerjet, which are using or planning to use secondary airports, where costs are lower. Part of their strategy is to target the five million Canadians who cross the border into the US each year to access cheap fares unavailable at home.It’s not before time. “Griping about the cost of air travel in this country is as endemic as bitching about the weather,” business columnist John Ivison wrote recently in Canada’s National Post newspaper.Full Kiwi.com travel affordability comparison table here:last_img read more

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A taste of South Africa in NY

first_imgMadiba in Brooklyn set the pace for otherSouth African restaurants in NewYork to follow. A taste of home – pap, wors and chakalakaon the Madiba menu. Bunny Chow proprietor Paul Simeon.aimsto break New Yorkers out of the mindsetthat French and British cuisine is better. The front door of popular wine bar Xai Xai.(Images: Philippa Garson)MEDIA CONTACTS • Ruen EllisMadiba+1 718 855 9190• Paul SimeonBunny Chow+1 212 260 5317• Brett CurtinXai Xai+1 212  541 9241• Brett CurtinBraai+1 212 315 3315Philippa GarsonSouth African restaurants in New York are finding no shortage of patrons eager to taste the country’s vibrant cuisine.Several years ago Madiba in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, was the “go to” place for South African food, wine and ambience. Today there are other venues to choose from: Braai, an upmarket restaurant and its sister wine bar Xai-Xai, both in Hell’s Kitchen; and now Bunny Chow, a new Bohemian bar and restaurant in the East Village.All are surviving – some even thriving – in this recession-hit economy, where restaurants tend to flop like failed soufflés.Madiba’s owner Mark Hanegan is the veteran, having been in business for 11 years. He has seen perceptions of South Africa morph from pariah to darling of the world, thanks to former president Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid, to well and truly on the map, thanks to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.He chats to me in his trendy Afro-urban restaurant over scrumptious “pap and boerewors” and very tender oxtail. I’m tempted to order a glass of Nederburg but I settle for an Appletiser instead – more of a rarity than South African wine in these parts.I’m dying to try an impressive array of dishes – some of which have been created by South African chefs flown in by Hanegan and visiting or resident mamas who are experts in traditional African fare like amagwinaya (vetkoek with savoury mince and mango chutney), and umngqhushu stambu (a samp dish).Other items on an extensive menu include Durban samoosas, organic chicken wings and farm raised ostrich carpaccio.Hanegan and I share a safari platter with dried apricots, nuts, droëwors and biltong, followed by a delectable malva pudding.It’s a beautiful autumn day and with the sun streaming in through the bright orange umbrellas outside, and African jazz melodies in the background, I’m transported to Cape Town. The huge Madiba artworks, wire bicycles hanging from the high ceiling and a veritable spaza shop of South African foods lining the wall give the restaurant the feel of home.Over the years Hanegan has hosted hordes of curious locals, tourists and homesick South Africans, not the least of which is Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He recalls how a cab driver from Durban, who caught sight of Madiba restaurant when he drove by one night, came in, fell on a bottle of Mainstay cane, and only left the following morning.But it’s taken years for outsiders to embrace the country whose cuisine and culture he showcases. “When I first came here there was no South African wine. If you just mentioned South Africa you were branded a racist.”Now Hanegan celebrates the fact that “while so many restaurants are struggling, you can’t get a table at Madiba on a Friday or Saturday night”.He also lauds the fact that the growing appetite for all things South African has inspired others to follow his path.Traditional feelWhen business partners Tanya Hira and Brett Curtin were holidaying in Mozambique four years ago, they met up with some South African winemakers and the idea of Xai Xai was born.“It was a huge gamble to start up a wine bar and sell only South African wines but from the moment we opened our doors we were busy. People just loved the wine,” says Hira, a US-born former fashion designer who once made a living designing frocks for priests.Curtin, a graphic designer who grew up in Somerset West in the Western Cape province, says he always had wine in his background.“We started to see the emergence of the New York wine bar scene. There was suddenly lots of appreciation for wine but very little for the new world wines. Wine has been made in South Africa for the past 400 years, so I thought, why not more focus?”Xai Xai, located in trendy Hell’s Kitchen close to the theatre district, was an instant success, and a year later, in 2008, the pair decided to open Braai a few doors down.Both Braai and Xai Xai have an upmarket but traditional feel: there’s lots of carved wood, beautiful metal work designed by Curtin, bamboo ceilings and low lighting.As Hira talks about the impact of the recession, I am somewhat distracted by the delicious koeksusters in front of me. Dressed up with sorbet, an orange yoghurt mousse and rooibos ginger honey sauce, the somewhat lowly koeksuster has been transformed by Braai into an elegant and flavourful dessert that delivers an even more intense sugar rush!On the menu are items like braai burgers, boerewors and Soweto sauce with pap and gravy, biltong quiche, the popular beef or chicken bobotie with rice, the equally popular ostrich fillet with curried coconut and venison (locally sourced bison or buffalo meat) with “apricots, peppers and onions in a rooibos syrup”.With such a delectable-sounding menu it seems hard to believe that food initially proved to be a harder sell than the wine. But Curtin says, “South African cuisine just doesn’t have the same kind of allure as the wine. Americans tend to be very conservative about food. They want to be presented with something familiar.”He adds: “Perhaps with the economy being what it is, people want to play it safe when they eat out. And this does affect our business to some extent. But we try to do a balancing act by bringing people food that’s not too far out there.”Complex smorgasbordMotivated to break out of the colonial mindset where “all things French or British are revered”, Paul Simeon opened Bunny Chow, the bohemian South African nightspot in the East Village.A French-trained chef who hails from St Lucia in the Caribbean, Chef Paul as he’s known, says he’s often asked why he opened a South African restaurant. “It’s funny because no-one ever asks me where I’m from when I cook French food. This just shows how colonialism has messed us up,” he says.Simeon describes Bunny Chow’s menu as refined peasant food. I taste a flavourful mini chow – an hors d’oeuvre version of the trademark bunny chow, a hollow bread loaf filled with lamb or beef curry.Simeon says he is still learning how to master the complex smorgasbord of South African food but says he’s happy to take instruction from South Africans who have shown him how to make the snoek fish-and-chips dish, vetkoek and chakalaka, now on his menu.“There are so many influences, so many different people who cook in many different ways. South Africa is a melting pot similar to New York,” he says.Bunny Chow is barely a year old and is still, in Simeon’s words, “a work in progress. I design as I go and people bring their music and ideas”. He also gets a lot of input from the four South Africans on his staff.It’s a relaxed, trendy venue, reminiscent of a typical Melville drinking hole – referring to the trendy Johannesburg suburb – though long and narrow with high ceilings in trademark Manhattan style. Although its thrown-together décor, sheets of corrugated iron and World Cup posters plastered on the walls lend a shebeen feel, it lacks the authentic South African vibe of Madiba or the more up-market, touristy experience of Braai and Xai Xai.Authentically South AfricanJust as challenging as creating an authentic South African atmosphere, is sourcing key South African ingredients. Exotic meats like venison and ostrich cannot be imported so Braai and Madiba get their game from local farms. Both source their biltong from a South African-run company in North Carolina called Biltong USA, whose products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.Madiba imports pap from South Africa, Braai and Xai Xai use corn polenta and Bunny Chow uses a white cornmeal from Mexico.All offer a range of South African wines, whose producers are courting them with growing enthusiasm. They also offer a platform for performing artists, musicians and filmmakers keen to showcase South African work.Business thrived for all the restaurants during the World Cup, a time when interest in the country hit a high point. Hopefully, the interest will continue to wax, not wane. But, as Curtin says, “New York is faddish. The attention span is short. People are always looking for something new, something hot.”Luckily with such a rich array of culture, cuisine and wine to draw on, these entrepreneurs are unlikely to disappoint.http://www.braainyc.com/last_img read more

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A year after Ghomeshi verdict sexual violence experts see significant advances

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment There is no doubt public awareness of sexual violence has increased, and that politicians are paying attention, but the same problems still exist, says Isabel Grant, a law professor at the University of British Columbia.She points to the recent decision (now under appeal) by a Halifax judge to acquit a taxi driver of sexual assault despite the extreme intoxication of the complainant as just one example of how the criminal justice system is still failing.“There is so much work to be done,” says Grant. “I think we are at the beginning of it now . . . I don’t think we should feel smug.”Outside the courtroom, crucial supports for women through rape crisis organizations and shelters remain underfunded, and many women, especially from marginalized communities, still face overwhelming barriers to services and protection.“What are we doing for the most vulnerable women?” she says.Educator and activist Julie Lalonde says there is growing recognition from the public and politicians that sexual violence is a widespread and complicated issue — but she says it remains frustrating that it has taken so long to get to this point.“How many high-profile trials (or investigations) will it take for you not to be shocked all the time?” she says of politicians. “Front-line advocates have been talking about this for years . . . You are not listening.”Much of the focus over the past year has been on the criminal justice system, and judges in particular. A pilot program was introduced to provide four free hours of legal advice to sexual assault survivors. The Canadian Judicial Council recommended Camp be removed as a judge after a rare public inquiry. And judicial education is the focus of a fast-tracked federal bill proposing would-be judges undergo mandatory comprehensive training in sexual assault law. The bill also calls for reports on how many current judges participate in continuing education seminars on sexual assault law.There have been “halting but significant advances,” says Amanda Dale, the executive director of the Barbra Schlifer clinic for women experiencing violence, pointing to Camp’s resignation and public debate about ethically-questionable defence lawyer tactics.However, she says, there is a long way to go in removing the reliance on rape myths from investigations and cross-examinations.“Innocent until proven guilty and rigorous cross examination may never be a healing activity for survivors, but they should at least not be principles that justify discrimination and abuse,” she says.The federal government allocating funding to diversity training for judges is a positive step but the government also needs to do a better job of appointing diverse, well-qualified judges, says Gillian Hnatiw, a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault and harassment cases.But faith in the criminal justice system’s ability to properly handle sexual assault cases remains shaken.Hnatiw says she has seen an increase over the past year in the number of women coming forward to talk about their options beyond reporting their sexual assault to the police — whether it is pursuing a claim at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, going to the human rights tribunal, going to a regulatory body like the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, or suing their abuser in civil court.“I think women have become bolder about calling for change and calling out injustice when they see it,” she adds. “I think the Halifax decision is an example of how women are empowered to not just gnash their teeth anymore, but pick up the phone and complain. The Ghomeshi case didn’t make women angry, I think a lot of women were already angry and it was the spark that compelled them to start (speaking out).”In the year since the Ghomeshi verdict, the case’s most high-profile complainant Lucy DeCoutere has spent a lot of time thinking about alternative ways for sexual assault survivors to seek justice outside the criminal court system, like restorative justice programs.“It should be the safest thing,” she says of reporting a sexual assault to the police. “But the legal system is not a friend to you . . . The system is not there to help you. The system is there to go through motions that work as they have for hundreds of years and it takes a long time to turn that ship around.”Though she applauds women who do testify in court, she says the cost to her has been “too expensive for no payback.”By expensive she means not just the financial cost of therapy, but the cost to her health and her professional and social life.The toll of the case, the publicity, the online harassment and the emotionally exhausting conversations with well-meaning strangers left her seriously ill for eight months, she says, and she is only now improving.She is moving forward by educating the young people around her about consent and intimate-partner violence, so that they understand things she did not.“Kids are still being taught the bad guys are in the bushes.”By: Torstar News Service – Originally Published on Sun Mar 26 2017 The resignation of Robin Camp, the judge who asked a sexual assault complainant why she didn’t just keep her “knees together.”A judge who broke new ground by ordering a convicted rapist to pay his victim’s legal bill.The federal government putting $100 million toward a national strategy for preventing gender-based violence. Advertisement Despite a few positive steps in the past 12 months, including changes to tenant and workplace laws in Ontario, it’s important not to overstate progress and how challenging and multifaceted the problem remains, advocates and academics say.“Every time someone asks me how do I better support (a sexual assault survivor) I think we are moving forward,” says Farrah Khan, the co-ordinator of sexual violence education and support at Ryerson University.“But there are still so many women who are sexually assaulted and they still face so much victim-blaming.” Facebook Twitter Advertisement Login/Register With: It has been a year since former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of sexually assaulting three women after a trial that led to national debate about the justice system’s handling of such cases, but sexual violence has remained in the spotlight. Advertisementlast_img read more

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