Cuban tourism office in Paris occupied to protest against jailing of 24 journalists

first_img May 6, 2020 Find out more CubaAmericas The Cuban Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), a group that is illegal but tolerated, published details of the prosecutor’s charges against the 78 dissidents on 2 April. According to the committee, the prosecutor has asked for life sentences for 11 of them (including three journalists). The prison sentences requested for the others range from 10 to 30 years and total more than 900 years.On the first day of hearings yesterday, eight journalists were tried in Havana and four were tried in the provinces. According to the news website cubanet.org, the indictments were confirmed at the end of the hearing for four of them, Adolfo Fernández Sainz, Normando Hernández, Mario Enrique Mayo and Alejandro González Raga. The verdicts in the trials held on the first day could be issued on Monday. Foreign diplomats and the international press were not allowed into the courtrooms. Only relatives were able to attend. Several of the defendants have no lawyers.The trial of Raúl Rivero and Ricardo GonzálezRivero, who is the editor of the clandestine news agency Cuba Press, and González, who also heads the Manuel Márquez Sterling Association of independent journalists, are among those who are due to be tried today. The two are scheduled to be tried at the 10 de Octubre municipal court in Havana at a session starting at 8 a.m. They have a lawyer, Máximo Averóz. Rivero’s wife Blanca Reyes said Averóz was able to meet with the two detained journalists yesterday.Reporters Without Borders has obtained a copy of the indictment against them. It requests life imprisonment for González and 20 years for Rivero. They are charged under article 81 of the criminal code stating that: “whoever, in the interests of a foreign state, carries out an action with the aim of jeopardising the independence of the Cuban state or its territorial integrity, is liable to a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison or the death penalty.” The prosecutor claims that there are aggravating circumstances as regards both defendants.Calling both journalists “unpatriotic,” the indictment claims that, “they assumed the guise of independent journalists… with the aim of forming a group of counter-revolutionaries ready to act according to the goals pursued by the US government… The two defendants participated in the creation of a subversive magazine which they called De Cuba in order to provide false information and facilitate US attacks against the Cuban social system.” The indictment also accuses them of meeting several times with representatives of the US interests section in Havana and of collaborating with “counter-revolutionary” and “anti-Cuban” news media based in the United States and with various international organisations such as Reporters Without Borders. Rivero is additionally accused of being “a provocative violator of social norms.” Four journalists already imprisonedFour journalists were already in prison in Cuba before 18 March. They are Bernardo Arévalo Padrón of the news agency Línea Sur Press, who was sentenced in November 1997 to six years in prison for “affront” to the president and vice-president; Carlos Brizuela Yera, a contributor to the CPIC news agency, and Lester Téllez Castro, editor of the Agencia de Prensa Libre Avileña, who were arrested on 4 March 2002 in the central town of Ciego de Ávila while protesting against a physical attack by police on a Cuba Press journalist; and Carlos Alberto Domínguez, who has been held since 23 February 2002 without being charged.The Cuban constitution stipulates that news media cannot be privately owned, under any circumstances. Banned from being published in their own country, about 100 independent journalists count on Cuban exile groups in the United States to publish their news reports, usually on websites. Subject to constant harassment, some 60 independent journalists have had to go into exile since 1995.*The Cotonou accords grant 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (the ACP group) economic aid and preferential trade relations with the European Union. New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council Some 15 activists from Reporters Without Borders accompanied by figures from the world of culture occupied the Cuban tourism bureau in Paris at around 10 a.m. today to protest against a wave of arrests of journalists in Cuba. They symbolically turned the office (located at 280 Boulevard Raspail in the 14th arrondissement) into a prison, hanging a banner saying “Cuba = prison” over the facade, and painting bars on the windows, behind which they put photos of recently detained Cuban journalists. The activists left the Cuban tourism bureau at 2 p.m. (12:00 GMT) at the moment when the trial of journalists Raúl Rivero and Ricardo González was due to start in Havana.Cuban writers Zoe Valdés and Eduardo Manet as well as personalities such as Jean-Jacques Beinex, Marek Halter and Yves Simon took part in the occupation in a show of solidarity with the dissident journalists. to go further News Organisation Follow the news on Cuba RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago October 15, 2020 Find out more April 4, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Cuban tourism office in Paris occupied to protest against jailing of 24 journalists Some 15 activists from Reporters Without Borders accompanied by figures from the world of culture occupied the Cuban tourism bureau in Paris at around 10 a.m. to protest against a wave of arrests of journalists in Cuba. They symbolically turned the office into a prison, hanging a banner saying “Cuba = prison” over the facade. News Help by sharing this information October 12, 2018 Find out more RSF_en News Receive email alerts Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet News CubaAmericas On 18 March, on the eve of the US offensive against Iraq, the Cuban government took advantage of the international news focus on the war to launch an unprecedented wave of repression. Nearly 80 dissidents have been arrested including 24 independent journalists. They include poet and journalist Raúl Rivero, winner of the Reporters Without Borders – France Foundation award in 1997, and Ricardo González, the Reporters Without Borders correspondent in Havana. Both were to be tried today in Havana. Rivero faces 20 years in prison while González faces a life sentence. The trials began yesterday and are due to finish on Monday (7 April).While the world debates whether showing the pictures of prisoners of war violates their dignity, Reporters Without Borders says showing the faces of imprisoned journalists restores their dignity and saves them from the oblivion to which President Fidel Castro wants to consign them by locking them away. Cuba, a country where the state has a monopoly of news reporting, has now become the world’s biggest prison for journalists.Reporters Without Borders yesterday placed an announcement in the French daily Libération saying: “Far from Baghdad, Cuba wages an undeclared war and imprisons freedom.” Following this brief occupation of the Cuban tourism bureau, Reporters Without Borders was resolved on staging further protests if the journalists were convicted in the trials.Reporters Without Borders calls on the Cuban authorities to release the detained journalists and to drop the charges against them. The organisation call calls on the European Union to suspend all consideration of Cuba’s request to join the Cotonou accords* as long as these journalists are not set free.Summary trialsA total of 78 dissidents were arrested from 18 to 24 March. They are accused of acting “against the independence and territorial integrity of the state” in connivance with the US interests section in Havana (which substitutes for an embassy in the absence of diplomatic relations). At least 24 of the detainees are independent journalists. Their homes were subject to searches, in some cases lasting more than 10 hours, in which police confiscated computers, personal documents, books, fax machines and type-writers.This wave of arrests ends a period of relative tolerance which Cuba’s independent press seemed to have been enjoying for the past few months. Taking advantage of this let-up, several journalists in December 2002 had launched a magazine called De Cuba (available at www.rsf.org), which was the first attempt to challenge the government monopoly of news reporting in 10 years. The arrest of González, De Cuba’s editor as well as Reporters Without Borders’ correspondent, put an end to this bi-monthly publication, whose last issue came out on 27 February.last_img read more

USC students react to Obama’s push for free community college

first_imgIn a statement that highlighted both the importance of education to the American economy and the crippling loan debt faced by many students in institutions of higher educationOfficially, the program is known as “America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-free Community College for Responsible Students.” The program calls for community colleges to boost their curriculums and graduation rates, and calls upon states to invest more of their money into education and job training programs. The program’s timely announcement comes in light of new statistics, cited by the White House, that reveal that by 2020, the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree education at minimum will comprise 35 percent of the job market.The new plan outlines some requirements for the students. Eligible students must remain on a graduation track with a half-time course load or higher and maintain their grades at a 2.5 GPA or above to be eligible for the program’s free tuition for the first two years of their community college education. In order to make students able to transfer their community college education to four-year institutions, the Promise Proposal also calls on community colleges to revamp programs that currently are not transferable. If this condition isn’t met, the administration expects community colleges to offer two-year programs that train students for an in-demand job in the workforce.Tom Placido, a junior studying economics, was not convinced of the program’s ability to retain quality students and invest in the existing community college network.“Obama’s community college plan will flood already overcrowded institutions with underprepared students who don’t have a financial stake in their own education,” he said. “Couple that with community colleges’ underwhelming graduation and hiring rates, add in a huge federal incentive for grade inflation, and you’ve got a great recipe for fiscal and educational disaster.”Alec White, a junior majoring in political science, disagreed. White emphasized the increasing importance of a college education in the work force.“It is much harder in today’s job market to be successful with a high school degree than with a college degree and it is getting harder each day,” he said. “There are large numbers of talented students who do not go to college or even community college because their families cannot afford it. I think it is a great step in the right direction to help make college more affordable and help students get a more fair shot with education.”In addition to expecting involvement from students and community colleges, the program relies on the willingness of states to join the program. If they choose to adopt the initiative, states will be expected to fund one quarter of the cost of providing the free tuition.The program is flexible with state contributions. States that pledge to invest in the quality of community colleges and/or student outreach programs wouldn’t necessarily be expected to invest in the tuition share. To supplement the program, the White House also announced the creation of the American Technical Training Fund, which would award grants to create programs within community colleges that help transition students into jobs.In announcing the program, the Obama administration cited evidence that documents the success of similar, smaller programs in states around the country.  When Tennessee introduced the program, for example, 90 percent of high school graduates applied, and the resulting programs produced Technology Training programs that placed 85 percent of graduates in jobs.The Promise Proposal’s effectiveness on a wider scale remains to be seen. It is the latest in a long line of similar efforts taken by the Obama administration to make college affordable, including increase funding for Pell Grants and easing the burden of student loans faced by former students.last_img read more

Dodgers to extend protective netting after latest fan injury

first_imgThe Dodgers plan to extend the protective netting at Dodger Stadium, perhaps as early as this season, team president and CEO Stan Kasten said Monday, the day after a fan at the Los Angeles ballpark was hit in the head by hard line drive off Cody Bellinger’s bat.“We have been talking for some time with different providers and looking at different options,” Kasten said Monday (via the Orange County Register). “Surely we will be expanding netting. I don’t know yet the final configuration. Obviously, there are some different choices to be made and different products which each come with their own set of challenges.” Mets fine, but do not suspend, Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas after incident with reporter “I can’t say that for sure, although I think it’s likely,” Kasten said. “For sure, something is going to be done. As for the exact timing, I don’t know that yet.”Kasten said he expects the plans to be announced in the next couple of weeks.The young woman struck Sunday was sitting approximately four rows up from the field just beyond the protective netting on the first-base side when she was hit in the first inning of the Dodgers’ 6-3 win over the Rockies.“You see a direct hit to that lady, and it came off the bat hot,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game (via the Los Angeles Times). “You never want to see that happen.”The unidentified fan remained in her seat for the top of the second inning, holding an ice pack on her head, before she was taken to a hospital for precautionary testing. A person in the Dodger Stadium first-aid office told the Times that woman was alert and answering questions before leaving.”It was weird. I saw it literally hit her face,” Bellinger told reporters (via ESPN.com). “I’m sure it was tough for everyone. I went over the next half-inning to make sure. She said she was all right and gave me a thumbs up.”Roberts came out and talked to Bellinger after the incident, just the latest in a series of fan injuries since all 30 MLB stadiums expanded protective netting at the start of the 2018 season to at least the far ends of the dugouts.The White Sox and Nationals last week said they would extend the netting down the lines to the foul poles, the first MLB teams to announce such plans.However, per the Times: Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill is so concerned that he called the players union last week. Citing an era when balls are being hit harder than ever and exit velocity is measured (and celebrated), he said he voiced his opinion to the MLBPA: It’s time to extend the protective netting to ensure fan safety.“It’s such a little investment to protect a life,” Hill said. “Everybody puts their seat belt on when they get in a car. Times change. A lot of things have changed to indicate in these circumstances that we’re in a different time. That’s it. Period.” Kasten said the internal discussions about fan protection have been ongoing since last year (fan Linda Goldbloom, 79, died four days after being struck in August 2018 by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium).Although Kasten said the timing of the installation of the extra netting hasn’t been determined it seems “likely” the Dodgers will be able to do it before the end of the 2019 season Related Newscenter_img Phillies GM says Gabe Kapler’s job isn’t on the line, despite midseason struggles Bellinger, especially in the wake of Sunday’s incident, agrees.Asked if the netting should be extended, he said: “I would assume that would be a smart decision, just to protect those people in the front row who don’t have much reaction time.”I saw the ball hit her face. That was tough.”last_img read more

XFL power rankings: Houston stays on top, D.C.’s slide continues heading into Week 5

first_imgThe Houston Roughnecks remain the lone unbeaten team heading into Week 5 of XFL action.  Houston beat Dallas 27-20 in an in-state battle that was the marquee matchup in Week 4. The Roughnecks have some competition in the top half of the league, however, that will be lurking heading into the final week of the first half of the season.   6. Los Angeles Wildcats (1-3)  Josh Johnson passed for 330 yards and two TDs and continues to improve at quarterback, but the Wildcats finished 2 of 11 on third down. New York hit the game-winning field goal with 10:54 remaining. Nelson Spruce (256 receiving yards) and Tre McBride (236) both rank in the top five in the league, so LA. will stay in games, but they need to finish. The Wildcats play Tampa Bay at home in Week 5.  7. Seattle Dragons (1-3)  The Dragons are the latest team to switch quarterbacks. Seattle benched Brandon Silvers for B.J. Daniels, a former star quarterback at South Florida, in the loss to St. Louis. Daniels was 5 of 10 for 50 yards, but he added seven carries for 84 yards. Seattle made it interesting after falling behind 17-3. Expect Daniels to take the snaps against Houston. That should be a better-than-expected matchup.  8. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3)  Tampa Bay jumped out to a 16-0 halftime lead and outgained the Defenders 223-79 in the first two quarters. Taylor Cornelius was effective with 211 passing yards a TD and an interception. The running game was the story, however with De’Veon Smith (24 carries, 122 yards) and Jacques Patrick (21 carries, 108 yards) gashing the Defenders’ defense. The Vipers got their first win, and they can build on it in Week 5 against LA. XFL WEEK 4: Saturday results, highlights | Sunday results, highlightsHere is a look at Sporting News’ XFL rankings heading into Week 5: XFL Rankings for Week 5  1. Houston Roughnecks (4-0)  P.J. Walker passed for 239 yards, two TDs and an interception in the victory against Dallas, and he did all that despite a quiet performance from Cam Phillips, who had one catch for nine yards. Walker has 987 passing yards, 12 TDs and two interceptions and remains the top quarterback in the league. Houston returns home to face Seattle in Week 5.  2. St. Louis BattleHawks (3-1)  Jordan Ta’amu is giving Walker a run for the title of best quarterback in the league. He showed that with 264 passing yards and 63 rushing yards in a 23-16 victory against Seattle. Will Hill led the defense with his second interception in as many weeks. Ta’amu is second in the league in passing yards (876) and fourth in rushing yards (186). St. Louis travels to D.C. in Week 5 for a big XFL East matchup that should have playoff implications.  3. Dallas Renegades (2-2)  The Renegades fell behind 15-0 before rallying against Houston, but the loss drops them two games behind in the XFL West. Donald Parham continues to be a matchup problem for defenses. He caught his fourth TD in Landry Jones’ last three starts. Jones passed for 205 yards but also had three interceptions. Dallas averaged just 3.4 yards per play in the loss. The Renegades can bounce back at home next week against New York.  4. D.C. Defenders (2-2) The Defenders are trending downward after another bad loss on the road. Tampa Bay blasted D.C. 25-0, and Cardale Jones struggled for the second straight game. Jones a 30.9 quarterback rating on 3.3 yards per attempt, and the running game managed 13 carries for 46 yards. D.C. is 2-0 at home and will look to end the slide against St. Louis. 5. New York Guardians (2-2)  The Guardians found their quarterback in former AAF star Luis Perez in a 17-14 victory against Los Angeles. Perez hit 18 of 26 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. The passing totals are modest, but he didn’t turn the ball over. New York also has three players with a least two sacks. They remain in the playoff hunt in the XFL East despite the early-season struggles.last_img read more