Yet another intimidatory signal to independent news media

first_img Receive email alerts News RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan Help by sharing this information June 8, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders condemns the media law amendments promulgated last week by President Ilham Aliyev, which make it even easier for the government to close news outlets. News Organisation February 10, 2015 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Yet another intimidatory signal to independent news media April 9, 2021 Find out more AzerbaijanEurope – Central Asia RSF_en to go further News Under the amendments signed into law on 3 February, the justice ministry can now ask a court to close any news outlet if it gets foreign funding or if it is found guilty of defamation twice in the space of a year.“This tightening of the media legislation is just the latest example of the Aliyev regime’s more and more draconian measures,” said Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.“The only surprise is its superfluous nature, inasmuch as the authorities usually do not hesitate to trample on their own laws in order to silence critics. Presumably it is meant to send an additional threatening message to the few remaining sources of independently reported news and information.”The main opposition newspaper, Azadlig, which is already on the verge of being financially throttled out of existence, regards itself as one of the main targets of these amendments.They were submitted to parliament by President Aliyev himself on 5 December – the day that Khadija Ismayilova, a well-known investigative journalist, was jailed on trumped-up charges – and were passed without any changes 11 days later.The Baku bureau of Radio Azadliq, the Azerbaijani service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was raided on 26 December by officials, who closed it down and placed it under seal, while the prosecutor’s office said it was being investigated for acting as a “foreign agent.” Since its reappearance in Russian law in 2012, the term “foreign agent” has been widely used in the region – along with the accusation of “political activities” – as label to discredit NGOs that receive foreign funding.Ranked 160th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Azerbaijan has seen a renewed offensive in recent months against journalists, bloggers and the NGOs that support them. At least 12 journalists and bloggers are currently detained in connection with the provision of news and information.(photo : VestnikKavkaza) June 4, 2021 Find out more Russian peacekeepers deny foreign reporters access to Nagorno-Karabakh AzerbaijanEurope – Central Asia “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says News Follow the news on Azerbaijanlast_img read more

Giant mince pie graces charity event

first_imgVisitors to the annual North West Air Ambulance Charity’s Christmas concert were treated to what is claimed to be the biggest mince pie in the north west of England.The 13ft long and 3ft wide pastry was baked at JB Richardson Bakery in Chorlton, with sales generating over £500 for the charity.Attendants were also treated to a Christmas concert, which included past X Factor winner Shayne Ward as its headline act, raising over £7,300 of much needed funds for the charity.Lynda Brislin, chief executive at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “We’ve had a great year in 2012 and this was just the icing on the cake! Last year’s concert was a huge success, raising over £5,000 for our charity, and we are so proud to have been able to build on this so we can help even more people in 2013. It was a fantastic evening – the mince pie went down better than anyone could have expected.”The North West Air Ambulance Charity’s helicopters fly 365 days a year, with the doctors and paramedics on board providing rapid treatment, hospital transfers and ultimately giving the gift of time to patients across the entire North West region each year.last_img read more

The best coaching question in the world

first_imgIf I were to give unsolicited advice to anyone who wants to be a better coach, the best thing I could tell them, ironically enough, is that they ought to give less advice and ask more questions.That’s my coaching mantra in a nutshell. Say less, ask more.And if I had to narrow in and offer the best coaching question in the world, it would be the AWE question: And what else?These three words are so simple, but you’d be surprised at their effect. Asking “And what else?” keeps you quiet (thereby providing less advice) and encourages your employee to come up with more—more ideas, more (and hopefully better) possibilities and options. Better options influence better decisions, and better decisions lead to greater success. The AWE question works as a boost in most coaching conversations. continue reading » 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

10 months agoSupporters’ Trust pushes Man Utd to add ‘football expertise’ to management

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Supporters’ Trust pushes Man Utd to add ‘football expertise’ to managementby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe Manchester United Supporters’ Trust say it’s time for greater football know-how to be added to the club’s management.In a statement released on Wednesday, MUST say the club needs to “put football expertise in charge of football decisions”.”United need a lift and our ultimate super-sub, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is just the man for the job,” MUST said.”He’s been a long-term backer of fans and a patron of MUST, so we know he understands our support and what we are looking for from a manager. “Whilst Ole is at the helm, the club needs to make the big structural changes to equip us to compete in modern football. “The club must put football expertise in charge of football decisions, especially in respect of selection of the next manager and player transfers. “Manchester United fans have shown phenomenal support to the team through the recent difficult period. “We know all fans will continue to back the team and we expect to see the players giving their all for the club and the supporters. We know Ole will.” last_img read more

$100 Million for August Celebrations Will Be Well Spent

first_img Western Regional Coordinator for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Natalie Morris, has welcomed the $100 million allocated by the Government towards Emancipation and Independence celebrations this year.She said that the money, while less than the sum provided in 2012, will be well spent in promoting the country’s culture and heritage.Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, announced the $100 million budget during the launch of Emancipation and Independence activities on Monday, July 21, at the Office of the Prime Minister.She said that despite fiscal constraints, the celebrations are vital given the role of culture in empowering the spirit of the nation during these times.Miss Morris, who was addressing a Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service’ s (JIS) Montego Bay Regional Office on July 24, lauded Government’s commitment to supporting the development of the arts and culture even as it faces budgetary constraints.“We know that from an economic perspective, we are having financial challenges and so even in the local business community, people are cutting back. The allotment is reflective of how tight the economy is and what is happening around us and indeed it is a cut back from last year, (but still much can still be achieved) as we commemorate and celebrate our emancipation and independence,” Miss Morris told JIS News.She dismissed comments by some that the money is a waste of resources at this time.“I believe that there is a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of the society as to how they view entertainment.  For a country that boasts that our competitive advantage is our music and sports, we pay very little attention and place very little importance on that industry and the many persons that benefit from it … I don’t believe that this will be money wasted, it is money that will be well spent supporting an industry, a culture and our history, that can be a competitive advantage and that which can put us in the place where Jamaica needs to be, a developed nation by 2030,” Miss Morris asserts.Meanwhile, she informed that plans are in high gear for the celebrations in the western region, which comprises Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.Activities include Emancipation vigils, staging of culture yards, church services, and Independence Day civic ceremonies. Plans are in high gear for the celebrations in the western region Minister Hanna dismissed comments by some that the money is a waste of resources at this time. The celebrations are vital given the role of culture in empowering the spirit of the nation Story Highlightslast_img read more

Watchdog calls for ethics inquiry into allegations involving PMO WilsonRaybould

first_imgFormer Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured here in 2015, are at the centre of an unfolding controversy surrounding allegations of political interference.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsA government watchdog is calling on the federal ethics commissioner to delegate an inquiry into the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after allegations surfaced Thursday of political interference by the PMO in a matter under the authority of Canada’s former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould.Democracy Watch says the allegations warrant an official investigation.But the Ottawa-based group says Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, should not lead the inquiry.The commissioner “should not be ruling on any situations involving Liberals as he was hand-picked by the Trudeau Cabinet through a secretive, very questionable process,” Democracy Watch co-founder and University of Ottawa law professor Duff Conacher said in a statement Friday morning.Instead, Dion should “delegate the investigation to a provincial ethics commissioner,” Conacher wrote.The call comes just 24 hours after the Globe and Mail published allegations by an unnamed source that Wilson-Raybould—of the We Wai Kai Nation and Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister and AG—“blew off the PMO” after Trudeau’s office allegedly pressured Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the Public Prosecution Service of Canada’s handling of Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin’s fraud and corruption charges stemming from the company’s work in Libya.“It is a violation for anyone covered by the federal Conflict of Interest Act, including the Prime Minister and PMO staff, to ‘use his or her position as a public office holder to seek to influence a decision of another person so as to… improperly further another person’s private interests,’” the Democracy Watch statement reads, citing Section 9 of the federal Act.“If anyone in the PMO tried to pressure the Attorney General to intervene and stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, they violated the federal ethics law, and so a full, independent investigation is needed,” Conacher said in the statement.According to the federal lobbyist registry, SNC-Lavalin representatives have met with MPs and government officials dozens of times on issues related to “justice” and “law enforcement”, including 14 with PMO staff.Democracy Watch is also calling for an investigation into “whether anyone in the PMO used secret information they learned” from the meetings “in an effort to influence the Attorney General, and whether anyone from SNC-Lavalin has a relationship with anyone in the PMO that would cause them to give them preferential treatment by trying to influence the Attorney General.”If either of these were true, they would violate Section 8 and Section 7 of the Conflict of Interest Act, Conacher explained.Conacher told APTN News Friday that Dion “can delegate authority” to a provincial commission, and that the transfer of authority has been done in provinces like Alberta, where that province’s ethics commissioner, Margeurite Trussler, recused herself from investigating a complaint because she personally knew individuals she would have to investigate.Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher says an investigation from the federal ethics commissioner only requires Dion to have “reasonable belief that there’s been a violation based on the evidence presented.” APTN photo.In its letter to Dion, Democracy Watch asked the commissioner to step aside and delegate the inquiry to a provincial authority.“If we disagreed with his ruling and wanted to challenge it in court, it puts us in a better position if we asked him to step aside in advance as opposed to after the fact complaining about him not stepping aside,” Conacher explained.The group has previously argued in court that Dion’s appoint was unethical, “because the Office of the Ethics Commissioner was investigating Trudeau and other cabinet ministers at the time they hand-picked Dion through a secretive process,” Conacher said, explaining Democracy Watch is currently challenging a federal court ruling on the matter.He said in order for Dion to launch or delegate an inquiry into the new allegations against the PMO, the commissioner “has to have a reasonable belief that there’s been a violation based on the evidence presented.”Conacher said though the Globe and Mail’s sources are unnamed, that “doesn’t mean they aren’t real.”On Thursday Trudeau repeatedly denied his office “directed” Wilson-Raybould on the SNC file.But the allegations published by the Globe never specified “direction” from the PMO, only that Wilson-Raybould “came under heavy pressure” from Trudeau’s office.“Trudeau didn’t deny that there was influence, yesterday,” Conacher told APTN.“All you have to do is attempt to influence someone. That’s all you need to violate section 9 [of the Act].Instead of denying the allegations, Wilson-Raybould told the Globe she would not discuss the matter.“That is between me and the government as the government’s previous lawyer,” she said in an interview.Asked by the Globe if she had refused a request from the PMO, she reportedly said, “I cannot comment on that. That is legal advice between me and the government at the time.”Conacher wonders why, if the allegations are false, Wilson-Raybould didn’t just say they were false.He said Wilson-Raybould’s response that she can’t comment because it would constitute sharing “legal advice between me and the government” doesn’t hold up in this instance.“It’s not a situation where it’s solicitor-client privilege,” he said. “This is a situation of whether they called her, not about what advice she gave them.”“There’s nothing preventing her from saying it’s false, no one ever contacted me.”Following her move from the justice and attorney general portfolio to veteran’s affairs last month, Wilson-Raybould penned a lengthy statement on her webpage.In it she said that “the role of the Attorney General of Canada carries with it unique responsibilities to uphold the rule of law and the administration of justice, and as such demands a measure of principled independence.“It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence,” she continued.“As such, it has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions, and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power. This is how I served throughout my tenure in that role.”APTN requested comment from Dion on Democracy Watch’s call for a delegated inquiry into the allegations but had not received a response by the time of publication.Also on Friday, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced his party and the NDP are jointly calling for a committee investigation into the allegations.The opposition parties have “called for an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to question Trudeau’s PMO and other government officials over their potential interference in an ongoing criminal prosecution,” Scheer said in a written statement.“If the Prime Minister has nothing to hide, then members of his government should have no reason to oppose these officials from testifying. Members of Parliament, and all other relevant authorities, have a responsibility to determine what happened here, and both Trudeau and his officials must be forthcoming. We believe this committee investigation is a necessary first step.”The committee would invite as witnesses Wilson-Raybould, current Justice Minister and AG David Lametti, Trudeau’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford, Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel, Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick, Trudeau’s Principle Secretary Gerald Butts, senior PMO advisors Mathieu Bouchard and Elder Marques, and Veteran Affairs Chief of Staff Jessica Prince.The committee would report to the House of Commons “no later than February 28, 2019,” Scheer’s statement said.The NDP are also calling for an investigation by the ethics commissioner.Party leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement Friday that if Trudeau “truly believes there is no wrongdoing here, he should invite the Ethics Commissioner to investigate his office’s dealings with SNC-Lavalin and whether or not that was a factor in the removal of Ms. Wilson-Raybould from her position as Attorney General.”[email protected]@JustinBrakeNewslast_img read more

Alberta court grants injunction blocking Suncor random drug test plan

first_imgEDMONTON – A union that represents thousands of oilsands workers at Suncor Energy sites in Alberta has won a court injunction againstrandom drug testing.Unifor Local 707-A had argued that such random testing would violate the worker’s rights and privacy.Calgary-based Suncor (TSX:SU) has said random tests are needed to bolster safety and wanted start its program this month.In his ruling, Justice Paul Belzil says the privacy rights of employees are just as important as safety.Belzil also says random testing would affect workers who have no drug problems or have not been involved in workplace incidents.Suncor and the union have been battling over random drug tests since 2012 and Unifor has sought leave to appeal an earlier courtruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.last_img

SNCLavalin stock plunges after federal prosecutors decline to negotiate a deal

first_imgMONTREAL – SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. shares plunged to their lowest close since early 2016 on Wednesday after the company revealed that federal prosecutors won’t negotiate a deal that could reduce the time SNC spends in court fighting fraud and corruption charges laid against it in 2015 following an investigation of activities by some of its former employees.Shares of the Montreal-based engineering and construction company fell nearly 14 per cent after the prosecutors’ decision was announced, closing at $44.86 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That’s the lowest close since March 2, 2016.The drop came after federal prosecutors declined to “invite” the company to negotiate an remediation agreement, also known as a deferred prosecution agreement or reparation agreement, using a new provision of the criminal code.“The criminal code defines the criteria for reparations agreements; the (prosecutor’s office) determined that the criteria were not met,” the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said in a brief email without elaborating.Chief executive Neil Bruce said the decision will probably result in three or four more years of court battles as the company defends itself.“We truly believe we’re not guilty,” Bruce said in an interview.In the meantime, Bruce acknowledged that the uncertainty surrounding the case weighs heavily on its investors and its 50,000 current employees, who he described as innocent people who have been trying to rebuild the company.“Financial markets, you know, don’t like uncertainty. You can see the damage that this has caused to the company and to the market capitalization and share price today.”Canaccord Genuity analyst Yuri Lynk wrote that he was surprised that the prosecutors hadn’t agreed to negotiate with the company and lowered his price target for SNC shares to $61 from $73.Lynk wrote that he doesn’t think it’s likely SNC-Lavalin will be barred from doing business with the federal government, in part because the company has a good defence case and because “it is unlikely the government would allow a company employing thousands of people in Canada to fail because of the transgressions of a handful of people.”But he added that, at $44 per share, SNC-Lavalin becomes more of a takeover target because its hard infrastructure assets are worth about $31 per share without considering the value of its engineering and construction business.“In our view, management and the board should be looking at options such as a “go private” transaction or an outright sale, given the current valuation disconnect in the market,” Lynk wrote.SNC and two of its subsidiaries were charged in February 2015 following a years-long RCMP investigation into activities by several individuals working for the companyThe charges against the company stem from allegations that SNC-Lavalin — under a previous management team — paid nearly $48 million to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to influence government decisions.The RCMP has also charged the company, its construction division and a subsidiary with one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of roughly $130 million.A few months after the charges were laid, SNC signed an administrative agreement that enables it to continue doing business with the federal government while the court process winds on.Earlier this year, the company settled two civil suits over allegations of misleading investors about its activities in Libya. The company said it would pay $88 million and insurance payments would bring the total settlement to $110 million.— by David Paddon in Toronto and Julien Arsenault in MontrealCompanies in this story: (TSX:SNC)last_img read more

Collision closes Alberta Highway 43 between Hythe and Beaverlodge

first_imgSTARS Air Ambulance also confirmed that one of its medevac helicopters had been dispatched to the crash site. STAR-5 (Grande Prairie) has been dispatched for a scene call emergency in the Beaverlodge, AB area.— STARS Ambulance (@STARSambulance) August 31, 2018Motorists can detour around the closure by travelling east on Highway 672 and south on  Highway 723.At this point, there’s no information from the RCMP about how many vehicles or persons were involved in the collision.This is a developing story, and we’ll have an update once we receive more information. UPDATE: According to 511Alberta, Highway 43 has reopened between Hythe and Beaverlodge.BEAVERLODGE, A.B. – Alberta Highway 43 is currently closed in both directions between Hythe and Beaverlodge because of a collision.Information from 511Alberta shows that the closure occurred this morning just after 7:00. Highway 43 is closed in both directions near the junction with Highway 671.last_img read more