Supreme court upholds one-year jail terms for five netizens

first_img November 25, 2016 Find out more March 8, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Supreme court upholds one-year jail terms for five netizens Receive email alerts Appeal court lifts ban on daily, but confirms jail for two journalists Follow the news on Oman OmanMiddle East – North Africa Organisation News News OmanMiddle East – North Africa October 18, 2016 Find out more Help by sharing this information to go further Related documents 130308_cp_oman_ar-2.pdfPDF – 72.29 KB December 27, 2016 Find out more News Oman: Court postpones verdict of “Azamn” journalists, in a trial held below international standards, according to trial observation report News Read in Arabic (بالعربية)Reporters Without Borders condemns last week’s supreme court ruling upholding one-year jail terms and 200-rial fines (400 euros) for five netizens who were convicted of cyber-crime and insulting the sultan. The five are Ali Bin Hilal Al-Muqabali, Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Habsi, Abdullah Bin Salem Al-Siyabi, Hilal Bin Salim Al-Busaidi and Abdullah Al-Abdali. As Abdali is a medical student, the court released him so that he can finish this year’s course, but told him he will have to begin serving his jail sentence as soon as it is over.Reporters Without Borders strongly regrets the supreme court ruling, handed down on 25 February, because it deprives these men of their freedom for the sole reason that they used online social networks to call for political, social and economic reforms.Five other netizens – Khalfan Al-Badwawi, Sultan Al-Saadi, Hatem Al-Maliki, Khalid Al-Nofali and Mohamed Al-Fazari – are currently been prosecuted on the same charges – cyber-crime and insulting the sultan.As they told the court that is trying them that their Facebook accounts were hacked and that they were therefore not responsible for what was posted on them, the court has requested an expert testimony.A hearing scheduled for 27 February was postponed until 5 March and then until 20 March to allow the expert to prepare his testimony. The expert designated by the court is none other than Dr. Hossein Bin Saeed Al-Ghafri, a lawyer and adviser to the Oman’s Information Technology Authority (ITA), and a member of the International Association of Cybercrime Prevention.“One can only wonder about the neutrality and objectivity of the expert chosen by the court to issue such a crucial opinion,” Reporters Without Borders. “An independent expert must he appointed.”Appeals by 11 persons convicted of illegal assembly were accepted by the supreme court on 4 March. Their lawyer, Khalifa Al-Hinai, said that they will be retried before appeal courts and that he meanwhile plans to request their release on bail.The appeals of three others were rejected on procedural grounds but they plan to submit new appeals which Al-Hinai thinks will be accepted.Reporters Without Borders points out that Oman fell 24 places in its 2013 press freedom index and is now ranked 141st out of 179 countries.There were several waves of arrests of Omani human rights defenders and activists in 2012 after they voiced support for oil company employees in the Fahoud oil fields in a desert region to the southwest of Muscat who have been on strike since 24 May 2012.In all, more than 40 Omani activists were prosecuted last year on charges of illegal assembly, cyber-crime and insulting the sultan. No fewer than 28 of them were convicted on appeal in December alone.On 16 January 2013, an appeal court sentenced eight writers and bloggers to jail terms and fines on lèse-majesté and cyber-crime charges. It also upheld the convictions of three other bloggers and activists.Around 20 detainees in Muscat’s Samayel prison staged a hunger strike from 9 to 24 February in protest against their imprisonment and the time taken by the supreme court to consider their appeals. Joint letter to the Sultan of Oman on the right of press freedom and the targeting of journalists and human rights defenders RSF_en last_img read more

Barings to focus on consistency in aftermath of Stanion departure

first_imgBaring Asset Management has said it intends to convey a sense of “consistency” after the departure of key multi-asset figure Percival Stanion.Stanion, alongside colleagues Andrew Cole and Shaniel Ramjee, are to leave after a combined 48 years of service with Barings to head up a new multi-asset offering at Swiss rival Pictet Asset Management.Stanion, who joined Barings in 2001 and led the company’s multi-asset offering, was known as a pioneer in the space, before announcing his defection to Pictet in early August.In response, Barings’ then CIO Marino Valensise moved over to become head of multi-asset to lead the flagship offering as clients reacted to Stanion’s departure. According to FE Analytics, a fund research portal, Barings’ multi-asset fund suffered net outflows of £364m (€465m) in August despite seeing average monthly net inflows of more than £50m in the previous six months.Valensise told IPE the company was now in the process of managing the transition from the old management team to the new.He said his new role would see take him full ownership of the multi-asset business and chair the strategic policy group, which dictates asset allocation.“We had a mixed reaction from the consultant base,” Valensise said, “with some deciding to stay and others deciding to leave because the change was a material one.“We are now meeting with a large number of clients directly to deliver our message, which is one of consistency.”He said the process would be ongoing for the next few months, but he said, with his experience as CIO and working in the strategic policy group and multi-asset team, he was confident.Barings has hired Ken Lambden, previously of UK-based rival Schroders, to take the helm as CIO after Valensise’s shift to head of multi-asset.However, Valensise said his transition away from CIO began before the announcement of Stanion’s departure.“After the opportunity [to be head of multi-asset] materialised, I was very interested,” he said. “I wanted to do something more linked to money management.“So, to some extent, this was an opportunity for me. I was already part of the asset allocation decision entity and hired most of the team members. So I call this an opportunity.”He said once client management had finalised, the multi-asset team would once again focus on maintaining its position within the market, while introducing new products and diversifying globally.“In the UK, we will just have to continue delivering investment performance,” Valensise said.“Going forward, we will be treating outgoing clients and remaining unit holdings fairly. We are keen to do a good job there.“However, the composition of the business tomorrow will be different to yesterday. In five years’ time, the multi-asset business will probably be more diversified and international.”The trio’s move to Pictet came after the heating up of the multi-asset and diversified growth fund (DGF) rivalry in the UK.Recent moves saw Standard Life Investments (SLI) lose several key personnel to rival managers, with staff moving to Invesco Perpetual to help launch a multi-asset offering.Key SLI-figure Euan Munro also left the Scottish manager to take up the chief executive role at Aviva Investors, which in turn also launched a DGF.last_img read more

Attorney General Hill rolls out prescription drug awareness campaign

first_imgIndianapolis, in. — Attorney General Curtis Hill today praised the rollout of a new program at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis aimed at helping students make wise decisions about prescription medications. With financial support from Walmart, a new digital curriculum developed by the education firm EverFi is being provided to Indiana high schools at no cost to the schools, starting in the Indianapolis area.Attorney General Hill today joined educators and students at Perry Meridian to launch the initiative. Representatives from EverFi and Walmart also attended the convocation.“Almost half of all teens incorrectly believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal street drugs,” Attorney General Hill said. “We need to correct these misconceptions and help students make safe and healthy decisions.”The EverFi program uses an evidence-based, public health approach to enabling students to make well-informed choices. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them, and how to step in when faced with a situation involving misuse. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and state academic standards.“The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority, and Walmart is committed to be part of the solution to the nation’s opioid epidemic,” said Kari Preston, Walmart Indiana Health & Wellness Director. “We believe education on prescription drug abuse is a key part of the solution, we are proud to help fund this program that teaches Indianapolis students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”The digital prescription drug abuse prevention course is the flagship initiative of the Prescription Drug Safety Network, a public-private initiative to combat prescription drug abuse by providing prevention education to schools across the United States. Walmart is a partner in the nationwide coalition.“Prescription drug abuse has dealt a devastating blow to communities across the country, yet there are few programs aimed at positively preventing the abuse before it occurs,” said EverFi CEO Tom Davidson. “Through the Prescription Drug Safety Network, we are bringing together industry leaders, state officials, policy groups and community organizations committed to combating this scourge by investing in prevention education. I applaud Walmart and Attorney General Hill for their commitment to empowering youth with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe.”last_img read more

Mater Dei Seraph Fund Stands at $962,000

first_imgFollowing Saturday night’s gala at which $95,000 was raised, the Save the Seraphs Fund now stands at $962,000. The goal is to raise $1 million.Elizabeth Wulfhorst, public relations chairwoman for the Save the Seraphs Fundraising committee, said that the money came from ticket sales, raffles, silent auction items and even sales of Mater Dei Prep Pandora bracelet charms at its gala at the Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands, which drew a crowd of 455 people, including NBC News’ Brian Williams.With this momentum, hitting the $1 million goal seems within reach, said Wulfhorst.“We’re so excited. It means basically we can move forward,” she said in an interview Sunday evening. “The million dollars is what we need to get to be financially viable.”The fund has about $350,000 in cash donations, and the balance in pledges. It recently acquired 501(c)(3) status. “Now we’re going to start turning those pledges into donations,” she said.She declined to identify who the big donors are, saying that the school treasures all of the donations the campaign has received. “We’ve had a lot of generous donors,” she said.The school community is striving to raise $1 million to close a funding gap, or face closure in its 50th year as a regional parochial high school in Middletown, NJ.— By Muriel J. Smith and Christina Johnsonlast_img read more

Nitros rain on Leafs parade, edge Green and White 2-1

first_imgThe score remained the same until Brock Palmer scored an unassisted marker in the third to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.Leaf defenceman Michael LeNoury cut the margin in half with a goal three minutes later.But that would be all the offence the Leafs would muster as Nelson suffered its first loss of the season.Nelson outshot the Nitros 34-23 in the contest, including a 12-3 margin in the third.Kimberley defeated Columbia Valley 6-1 Friday to open the season 2-0.Nelson continues its home stand Friday when the Leafs host Fernie Ghostriders at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.Saturday, the Columbia Valley Rockies pay a visit to the Heritage City before Nelson sets out on a four-game road trip with stops in Spokane, Creston and Grand Forks.In other Murdoch action, Castlegar bounced back from a season-opening loss to rock Columbia Valley 8-2 while Beaver Valley is now 1-1 after the Dylan Heppler scored twice and added four assists to lead the Hawks past Fernie 6-0.Grand Forks leads the Murdoch Division after scoring its second OT victory of the season, 5-4 over Spokane Braves. Two games into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season and the Nelson Leafs continue to search for an offence that can compete with the elite teams.The Leafs scored only one goal for the second time this season in dropping a 2-1 decision to the visiting Kimberley Dynamiters Saturday night at the NDCC Arena.Nelson opened the season Friday handing the Beaver Valley Nitehawks a 1-0 loss.Saturday, Nelson started much better than Friday, opening the contest sending flurry of shots at Nitros goalie Broc Merkl.However, it was Kimberley opening the scoring Cam Russell beat Quinn Yeager with the game’s first goal midway through the first period.last_img read more


first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 15, 2016)–Santa Anita’s popular free online “Showvivor” will once again be available to fans via beginning opening day, Monday, Dec. 26. The contest offers $5,000 in prize money, highlighted by a $2,500 top prize–to be awarded to the longest “show streak” over the course of Santa Anita’s Winter Meeting, which will conclude April 9.Showvivor participants are required to select one horse from one race per racing day, and that horse must run no worse than third in order for the player to “Showvive.” If the player’s selection fails to finish 1-2-3, that individual is not totally eliminated, as he or she may start up a new streak the next racing day. The player with the longest “show streak” on April 9 will be declared the top prize winner of $2,500. A second “Showvivor” contest will begin on Friday, April 14.The longest “show streak” is one of just five separate ways to win beginning Dec. 26:SHOW STREAK The player that has the longest “show” or no-worse than third-place finish streak at the end of the Spring Meet will win the Grand Prize of $2,500. Players are advised to note that if they fail to make an online selection on a given day, their streak is still alive but they will not receive credit for days missed.WIN STREAK This carries a $1,000 prize and is intended to reward players who have selected the most consecutive first-place finishers. If a player fails to make a selection on a given day, his or her streak may continue, but the player will not receive credit for any days missed.TOTAL WINS At the end of the Spring Meeting, the player with the most total wins will receive a $500 prize.TOTAL PLACES This also carries a prize of $500 and rewards the player that selects the most total places or second-place finishes.LARGEST SINGLE WIN PAYOUT At the end of the Spring Meet, the player who has selected the highest single day win payout will be paid $500.Players are encouraged to sign up as early as possible at, although registration will be available after Dec. 26. Daily online selections must be made no later than 10 minutes until first race post time. Please note, special early first post time on opening day, Dec. 26, is at 12 noon.                For additional details, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.last_img read more

Warriors fans share memories of Oracle Arena at the venue’s last regular-season game

first_imgClick here if you are unable to view this gallery of video on a mobile device.The next time the Golden State Warriors play a regular season game will be in San Francisco.After 47 years, the team said its regular season goodbye to Oracle Arena on Sunday. The venue where Stephen Curry and company will drain threes might change but the memories of their Oakland home won’t soon be forgotten by fans. On a warm Sunday, fans were able to enjoy a 131-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers and remember …last_img

SA, Angola strengthen ties

first_imgPresident Jacob Zuma (Left) and AngolanPresident Jose Eduardo Dos Santos have cemented ties between the two countries. (Image: The Presidency)President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to Angola, his first state visit to an African country since his inauguration in May 2009, has borne much fruit for the two countries.Zuma was accompanied by 11 cabinet ministers and over 150 local business leaders – the largest delegation ever to accompany a president on an international trip.Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, who invited Zuma to his resource-rich country from 19 to 21 August, said the historic visit signalled the start of a new era between Africa’s biggest economy and Africa’s biggest oil producer.Dos Santos said South Africa had the skilled labour that Angola needed to help it build infrastructure and develop as a country following its 27-year-long civil war which was formally brought to an end in 2002. Vast stretches of Angola’s roads and many of its buildings were destroyed during the unrest.Several trade agreements, which will go a long way in boosting economic ties between the two countries, were reached during Zuma’s visit. The most significant one involves a cooperation deal in the oil sector.Under the agreement, state oil and gas company PetroSA and its Angolan counterpart Sonangol plan to work together in the exploration, refining and distribution of oil.“Huge opportunities still remain in the petroleum and gas sectors in Angola with 28 of the 51 concessions offshore still to be licensed and explorations under way offshore,” reads a joint statement released by the two bodies.Dos Santos and Zuma also discussed the distribution of electricity from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Grand Inga Dam hydroelectric project, which, according to project leaders, will be able to supply power to the entire African continent with enough left over to sell to Europe.Healing old woundsIn between several scheduled meetings during the visit, Zuma took time to make an emotional pilgrimage to a former anti-apartheid camp where several cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) died in exile. MK was the African National Congress’s (ANC) armed wing during the struggle against white minority rule in South Africa.During this time Angola, through the ruling MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) party, was an ally of the ANC and provided refuge for many political activists and military training for MK soldiers.Zuma also laid a wreath at a monument honouring Angola’s first president Agostinho Neto.“This is to remind us where we come from and encourage us to work harder for the goals for which many lost their lives,” Zuma said at the ceremony.During his visit Zuma also addressed a special seating of the National Assembly in Luanda where he formally thanked Angola for hosting political activists during apartheid.“Angola was our home away from home during very difficult moments in the history of our country and our struggle,” he said.“We would like to express our gratitude for the solidarity and comradeship that was extended by Angolans to the ANC and the people of South Africa during the struggle for our liberation.”Zuma himself spent time in exile in Angola during the apartheid years.A stable AfricaDiscussions between the two heads of state also centred on providing military assistance to other African countries, such as conflict-torn DRC.During the talks Angola and South Africa, both of which currently have the biggest military forces in Africa, explored the issue of a unified peacekeeping force in that country.Addressing the Angolan parliament, Zuma spoke about the importance of a stable Southern African Development Community (SADC).The SADC is an inter-governmental organisation that works towards boosting socio-economic, political and security cooperation, as well as integration among 15 Southern African states.“The organ [SADC] has been seized with various crucial matters such as the situation in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and others, based on the view that peace must prevail in Africa,” Zuma said.“As the current chair of SADC, we will continue to support the inclusive government in Zimbabwe and render whatever assistance our capacity allows. We urge countries of the developed north to join the continent in assisting the people of Zimbabwe to lift themselves out of the socio-economic difficulties they face.”Business for AfricaTurning to business matters during his parliamentary address, Zuma outlined the sectors that will form part of the trade agreements between South Africa and Angola.“The consultation mechanism will help us to consolidate and strengthen friendship and solidarity between the people of the two countries in various areas.“These include trade and industry, mining and energy, defence and security, immigration, tourism, communication, science and technology, banking, transportation, agriculture, fishing and others,” he said.South Africa shares a sound business relationship with Angola. In 2007 South African exports to Angola amounted to R6-billion (US$753.5-million), while Angolan exports to South Africa were in the region of R12-billion ($1.5-billion).Zuma also spoke to the business community of Angola during his visit, emphasising the importance of South Africa’s private sector in helping Angola strengthen its commercial industries.Business Unity South Africa (Busa), who led the business delegation, met with their Angolan counterparts during the tour. Busa was formed in October 2003 through the merging of the Black Business Council and Business South Africa.The body is hailed as one of the first truly unified business organisations in South Africa.It was agreed that the already established Angola-South Africa Business Forum would be vital in coordinating business operations between the two countries.“There’s a lot of energy, a lot of interest, a lot of commitment here at the moment, things are on the boil,” said Jose Severino, president of the Association of Angolan Industry, speaking to newswire AFP about the Busa meeting.“Angola has many, many natural resources and then we see on the South African side there is potential [to] create excellent partnerships to further enhance the growth of our country,” said Severino.last_img read more

Passivhaus and Spray Foam

first_imgA little off-puttingWhile we completely agree conceptually – there does seem to be something off-putting about banning certain products in a performance metric – especially as the SPF industry is taking steps to lessen the environmental impact of their products. Another EBN article, “New Chemical to Reduce Climate Impact of Foam Insulation,” stated that low-GWP blowing agents were almost market-ready and could be seen in the next 18 months.One of the things we really like about Passivhaus is that it isn’t green by checklist – that it’s not prescriptive – but really open-ended and up to the designers to figure out the best approach for them to achieve substantial reductions in energy and CO2 emissions. A slippery slopeIf you are wondering why we think this precedent could slow industry adoption, the article goes on to discuss issues of embodied carbon and embodied energy of building materials. Said Katrin, “in the future I would like to add the embodied energy to those balances because of the significance in super-insulation.” And again, we definitely agree designers should take this into account and several (including ourselves, where possible) already do. For many, issues of GWP/ODP/PEI are intricately linked and all should be taken into consideration.This precedent seems to be a bit of a slippery slope – where should the line be drawn? Who demarcates it? Should XPS and EPS be banned? Should concrete, which isn’t the most environmentally-friendly industrial process, be the next to be axed? Should all wood be FSC certified? What about houses that use granite countertops? Should rural and suburban projects be banned from certification? What about buildings that exceed a planned occupancy of greater than 50m² per person? It is an extremely delicate line, and the attractiveness for many (who were already doing BuiltGreen/LEED projects and incorporating earth-friendlier products) has been the simplicity that has allowed for the somewhat rapid adoption – especially for businesses or industries that can be a bit notorious to resist change.According to the article, the new SPF rules will be in full effect by January of 2012. Regardless, we will continue to be fierce advocates and infamous cheerleaders for a regional Passivhaus movement that will have a meaningful impact. The Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) has banned the use of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) with high global warming potential (GWP). The discussion on high GWP insulation was elevated in an excellent piece, “Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation,” written by Alex Wilson, the executive editor of Environmental Building News.During Passivhaus training last year, it was stated that this could potentially be coming down the pipeline – so we weren’t surprised to see this pending regulation.In the article, Katrin Klingenberg, the executive director of PHIUS, stated, “It does not make any sense at all to use them if one of the major overarching goals of energy conservation in buildings is to counteract and decrease global warming and climate change. There really is no point to go through all the trouble of detailed Passive House design calculations if you use high-GWP [global warming potential] spray foam.”center_img Mike Eliason is a designer and certified Passivhaus Consultant at the Brute Force Collaborative in Seattle.last_img read more

UNDP to help Odisha in enhancing disaster resilience in 5 towns

first_imgThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has proposed to collaborate with the Odisha government for increasing the resilience of urban population vulnerable to disasters in five towns in the wake of the massive devastation wrought by cyclone ‘Fani’ in May last.The UNDP intends to achieve enhanced risk sensitive planning facilitated through disaster risk assessments, besides facilitating better preparedness plans and capacity-building of local government and communities.After ‘Fani’ hit Odisha on May 3 killing 64 people and affecting about 16.5 million people in and over 18388 villages in 14 of the 30 districts, the UNDP has been closely working with the State government to support its recovery efforts.The five towns where the UNDP is likely to participate in planning are Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Berhampur and Paradip.According to the UNDP, due to its geographic location and socio-economic condition, Odisha is highly prone to disasters. Its location on the east coast of India makes it one of the six most cyclone-prone areas in the world and highly vulnerable in terms of cyclone landfall.Cyclones thate have hit the State in the last two decades are the 1999 super cyclone, Phailin 2013, Hudhud 2014 , Titli 2018 and Fani 2019. This year, three out of the five municipal corporations – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur – had faced the wrath of ‘Fani’. Moreover, Odisha is one of the most flood-prone States, having a flood-prone area of 3.34 million hectares. Out of a total geographical area of 15,571 lakh hectares, 1.40 lakh hectares are prone to floods.The UNDP has proposed to conduct safety audit of some critical public facilities, especially schools and hospitals, involve itself in sectoral plans for key sectors such as water, infrastructure, environment, housing and sewage treatment and preparation of Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (HRVA) at city level through an interactive and participatory process.Since communities are the primary responders during disasters, approximately 250 volunteers in the five towns will be trained on survival techniques like search and rescue, first-aid and crowd management. As many as 100 engineers, architects, construction artisans and contractors will be skilled to respond to disasters and support mitigation activities.last_img read more