— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) March 30, 2015
— Rami (@RamiAlLolah) March 30, 2015
The reports have not yet been confirmed. It is also not immediately clear whether the coalition's airstrikes are the direct cause of the blast.
— Yemen Updates (@yemen_updates) March 30, 2015
The warehouses already came under fire both the previous night and the day before that. The base reportedly stores a large portion of Yemen's R-17 Elbrus (Scud-B) missiles and Transporter Erector Launchers (TEL).
The Saudi-led coalition of several Gulf States, Sudan, Egypt and Morocco has been bombing Yemen since last Thursday in an attempt to weaken the Houthi rebels, who took control of country after resignation of president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in January.
— Alex Saffu (@SalfiyahS) March 30, 2015
Also on Monday, an airstrike by the coalition hit a rebel-controlled refugee camp in the northern Yemen, killing 45 and injuring another 65 people, the International Organization for Migration (IMO) said.
An arms depot was also bombarded in the country’s second city of Aden on Saturday, leaving 14 people dead.
— Sama'a Al-Hamdani (@Yemeniaty) March 30, 2015
The Houthi uprising began in Yemen last August as the Shia rebels swept down from their stronghold in the mountains, demanding economic and political reforms.
In the following months, they seized key state installations in capital Sanaa and forced the country’s US-backed authorities out.
— Rami (@RamiAlLolah) March 30, 2015
The rebels in Yemen are supported by Saudi Arabia’s main geopolitical rival, Iran, but the Houthis have denied that they are receiving weapons from Tehran.
Asparagus on Hermes, Doritos on Hermes, all of the foods on fancy plates. Read the rest
Mexico, a country where tens of thousands have been killed in drug-related violence, and where government officials have been complicit in corruption, murders, and disappearances, seems like a natural place to launch a safe, anonymous way for sources to get information to journalists.
That’s the idea behind MéxicoLeaks, a platform launched this month by a consortium of news outlets and advocacy groups in Mexico. The site allows whistleblowers to anonymously submit information via the Tor browser, which masks their location.
But MéxicoLeaks has already caused a scandal, culminating in the firing of one of Mexico’s most popular journalists, radio personality Carmen Aristegui, and her staff of reporters. Although MéxicoLeaks promises a secure channel for activists who otherwise face brutal retribution for speaking out, its launch comes at a time when other protections for journalists, including their job security and physical safety, are crumbling.
Aristegui and her reporters say that the radio network that runs their show used their involvement with MéxicoLeaks as a pretext to fire them. The real goal, they believe, was to suppress oppositional journalism. “They seemed so determined to strike us down,” Irving Huerta, a 27-year-old investigative journalist with Aristegui’s unit, told The Intercept in an interview.
Staffers on Aristegui’s program had previously clashed with the network over exposés on the First Lady of Mexico’s real estate dealings, among other critical reports, Huerta says, and he believes powerful people wanted to see the show end.
“It seems that there was something bigger behind them, telling them what to do, giving them confidence and support even in the face of how this has discredited them, the many listeners they’ve lost,” Huerta said.
When MéxicoLeaks launched, on March 11, MVS, the radio station that airs Aristegui’s show, abruptly distanced itself from the initiative in ads that ran on its own network. Huerta and another reporter were fired soon after, ostensibly because they had not asked permission before using the company logo in conjunction with the project. Aristegui demanded they be reinstated, and then, on March 16, her show was terminated. A huge public outcry has ensued, with protests even from political commentators who generally disagree with Aristegui.
Before Aristegui was fired, MVS also put forward a new set of guidelines subjecting news shows to evaluation by outside companies, giving MVS management more input into news programming, and requiring reporters to disclose their personal ties to religious groups, political parties, and other associations.
“It was a series of rules that were obviously impossible, unacceptable,” Huerta said. “It was an attempt to pressure our working conditions.”
Huerta suspects outside players influenced MVS’s decision. But then again, he noted, their radio station is only one of many businesses of the family conglomerate that owns it, “so who knows where their true interests are?”
The fight over the guidelines was not the first time Aristegui had clashed with MVS higher-ups. She was fired (and then rehired) in 2011, after she ran with allegations that then-president Felipe Calderón had a drinking problem. Last fall, reporters with her team published an investigation into La Casa Blanca (the White House), an opulent Mexico City mansion bought on favorable terms by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife from a top government contractor. The scandal shook Peña Nieto’s government, which was already losing face over its response to the disappearance of 43 students from a college in the southern state of Guerrero.
MVS told Aristegui’s team not to publish the Casa Blanca story, Huerta said. “They told Carmen and the reporters on that story, ‘If you come out with this, it’s going to be very bad for our other businesses. We’re going to be crushed.’” Ultimately, Aristegui’s team ran the report independently of the station, on their own website, but continued to follow the scandal on the radio show. (MVS told the New York Times over the weekend, “It’s false that we censored Carmen Aristegui from broadcasting the report of the White House.”)
Of course, journalists in Mexico face more lethal forms of suppression. Two years into Peña Nieto’s presidency, 10 reporters have been assassinated, and four have disappeared, according to the free speech advocacy organization Article19. Journalists regularly face attacks and threats from both narco-traffickers and government officials and are often detained. In its annual report on the state of media in Mexico, Article19 found that the frequency of attacks is on the rise under Peña Nieto, and many of them can be traced to government officials (I met Huerta while in Mexico last week at a conference hosted by Article19, for which the group furnished travel and lodging).
Sometimes censorship takes a surreal turn. A weekly newsmagazine in Cancun regularly has its issues faked, with critical articles replaced by ones favorable to the local government.
MéxicoLeaks won’t solve direct attacks on journalists, but it could be critical to help sources and citizen activists protect themselves. (The tech behind it is similar to SecureDrop, which The Intercept uses.)
“We’ve had sources who come to us saying, ‘I have very important information, but I don’t want my name revealed, I fear for my life,’” Huerta said. “And before, we’ve told them to send us things by mail, because we hadn’t gotten to this point of having secure electronic communication.”
Mexicans have turned to Twitter, especially, to spread security alerts and denounce violence from cartels and government officials, but they do so at their own peril.
Huerta cited the example of the activist known by her twitter handle, “Felina,” who tweeted about cartel activities and posted regularly to an activist website. Cartels flyered the city, offering tens of thousands of dollars in rewards for anyone who helped unmask the site’s administrators. Felina — apparently a doctor named Maria Del Rosario Fuentes Rubio — was found out, and her killers tweeted photos of her execution. “Close your account don’t put your families at risk like I did,” read one final message.
Citizens in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz have been jailed on terrorism charges for tweeting about reported gang attacks.
Huerta sees the overwhelming public response in support of him and his colleagues on Aristegui’s program as a sign of the need “not just to safeguard this news program that we had, but to protect the whole profession of journalism.”
“Because there’s an attempt to turn back to the authoritarian practices of years past,” he said, “which we can’t permit in a democratic society.”
Photo: Eduardo Verdugo/AP
The post Mexico’s Journalists Grab a Tech Shield as their Fight Against the Establishment Escalates appeared first on The Intercept.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report, an annual snapshot of county-level health factors in the United States, was recently released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute.
In addition to smoking and obesity rates, among other measurables, the report’s researchers found that income inequality showed a statistically significant effect on lifespans, coming out to a difference of around 11 days of life between more and less unequal communities, the New York Times said.
“It’s not just the level of income in a community that matters — it’s also how income is distributed,” Bridget Catlin, the co-director of the project, said, according to the Times.
To examine impacts of income inequality, the report measured the difference between incomes of those in the 80th and 20th percentiles of each US county.
Then, using a custom measurement formula, the researchers calculated “potential life years lost” in each county through analysis of all residents who died before the age of 75, and the age they were when they died. Thus, someone who died at 74 had one year of potential life lost. They took into account how many older people lived in the county, as to not punish counties with an older average population. Higher-income people were not compared with lower-income people; only average lifespan was assessed.
The project counted five years lost per every 1,000 people for each one-point increase in the ratio dividing high- and low-income earners.
For example, “the researchers compared the adjoining Park and Fremont Counties in Wyoming,” the Times wrote. “Both have relatively small populations and are predominantly white. Both include parts of large national parks. But the Fremont inequality ratio is 4.6, compared with Park’s 3.6. And, in Fremont County, there are 13 years of potential life lost for every 1,000 residents, compared with only 7.5 in Park.”
As RT reported earlier this month, wealth disparity in the US grew both for major metropolises and the country as a whole between 2012 and 2013. Major US cities, especially, showed major divisions in income levels, according to a Brookings Institution report.
Globally, Oxfam said in January that the world's richest 1 percent will have more than the other 99 percent by 2016.
A judge issued the preliminary injunction against the school district on Friday, saying that teachers may take the day off as long as they submit a request no later than April 1. The court order also says the school department can neither discipline teachers for requesting the day off nor deduct their pay.
Nearly 45 percent of the population in Rhode Island is Roman Catholic, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, making it the most Catholic state in the country.
Unlike in previous years, the Cranston Public Schools' calendar for the 2014-2015 academic year included classes on both Good Friday and the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, according to the Providence Journal. The school district allowed employees to request the day off for the Jewish New Year.
But when nearly 200 teachers and staff members in Cranston asked for Good Friday off, the school district denied their requests. One teacher, Anne McLaughlin, who has taken off the pre-Easter holiday ‒ during which Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus ‒ for more than 30 years, told the Los Angeles Times that she was asked to provide documentation that church attendance was mandatory during the workday.
"I was shocked. Observing Good Friday is central to my Catholic identity," McLaughlin, 56, said of the day. "Reflecting and praying from noon to 4 is something that I feel personally obligated to do."
The teachers' union sued in mid-March, on behalf of the 200 affected employees.
In a joint statement, Superintendent of Cranston Public Schools Judith A. Lundsten and the Cranston School Committee said that the holiday of Rosh Hashanah specifically states that Jews may not work, while Good Friday has no such requirement for Christians.
“It is unfortunate that the Cranston Teachers’ Alliance initiated a lawsuit regarding Good Friday. Certainly, we always seek to respect our students’ and staff’s religious practices,” Lundsten said. “From our perspective, this is about a calendar that was agreed upon and passed by the school committee nine months ago."
“Teachers, teacher assistants, technical assistants and bus aides have the provision in their contracts to request up to two (2) religious observance days,” she continued. “The contractual language states, they may be granted the day off if their... ‘religious observance obligations require attendance at religious services held during the school day’.”
Kevin Daley, the attorney representing the union, told the LA Times that the collective bargaining agreement allows school employees to use one of their religious observance days on Good Friday without documentation.
"Good Friday is one of the most holy days on the Christian calendar, second only to Easter," he said, adding that observants “are required to remain in silence from 12 to 3 [p.m.], and they must also remain in deep prayer during that time."
"It would be impossible for them to meet those obligations if they were in school. Those obligations are traditionally met by attending church," he said, arguing that the school district has a contractual obligation to allow its employees to take Good Friday off because it provides the two religious observance days.
But Lundsten argued that religious considerations had taken a back seat during negotiations with the Cranston Teachers’ Alliance (CTA), the teachers' union.
“The Cranston Teachers’ Alliance actively negotiated teacher assistant, technical assistant and bus aide contracts. In those negotiations, teacher assistants, technical assistants and bus aides sought to increase their hourly wage by giving up certain paid holidays. Good Friday was one of those paid holidays; so to come back with this lawsuit is rather surprising,” she said in the statement.
Some teachers had called for turning Good Friday into a holiday when they were denied the day off. But Janice Ruggieri, chair of the Cranston School Committee, said that avenue was not plausible due to the number of school closures the district experienced due to snow.
“While in past years schools were closed on certain religious holidays, the current calendar eliminated those holidays,” Ruggieri said in the statement. “I do not think changing the calendar at this time would be prudent.”
Daley told AP that the order temporarily allows the teachers to observe Good Friday. He says a full hearing will determine whether the teachers can observe the holiday going forward.
Cranston Public Schools will discuss the 2015-2016 academic calendar during a School Committee work session on April 8, and it will be discussed and voted on during a public session of the School Committee on April 13.
Game of Thrones meets The Smurfs.
Google’s Gmail app for Android is more than just an app for viewing Gmail messages. You can also add Exchange, IMAP, or POP email accounts from other services… and starting today you can view messages from all of your email accounts in one place. Google has updated the Gmail app with a unified inbox, among […]