Call for imprisoned journalists to be released on medical grounds

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first_img July 6, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Call for imprisoned journalists to be released on medical grounds May 6, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about the health and safety of Cuba’s imprisoned journalists, especially Normando Hernández González, the editor of the Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey, an independent news agency, who is still waiting for the special medical release his wife requested for him a year ago because of his poor health.This concern is heightened by the news of the death on 24 June of 47-year-old dissident Manuel Acosta in Cienfuegos provincial prison, in the centre of the country, where he had been held for three days for “pre-criminal dangerousness.” The authorities said he killed himself.“How long do the Cuban authorities plan to keep people in prison for working as journalists whose state of health has become incompatible with imprisonment?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “Are they waiting for Hernández to try to take his own life before finally giving him the special release on health grounds that he has been demanding for the past year.”The press freedom organisation added: “Subjecting ailing people to such treatment, or rather lack of treatment, is to kill them slowly. The gesture we are waiting for from the authorities is not a political one. It is purely humanitarian. The dialogue which Spanish foreign minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos has begun with the Cuban government should focus on this emergency situation.”The state of health of Hernández, who is serving a 25-year sentence imposed during the “Black Spring” crackdown of March 2003, is becoming more and more alarming, says his wife, Yaraí Reyes. She found him in very poor shape when she visited him on 21 June. He weighed just 53 kilos. His ailments include severe intestinal problems that prevent him eating normally. He also has tuberculosis for which he is not getting the necessary treatment. He has refused to eat several times since 4 March. Reyes requested a special medical release permit on his behalf on 7 July 2006. Without success.Pedro Argüelles Morán, a journalist serving a 20-year prison sentence, went on hunger strike on 16 June for the right to have the medicines which his family bring him. He was arrested in 2003 at his home in the central city of Ciego de Ávila, where he ran the Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes (CAPI), a cooperative of independent journalists.The prison authorities on the southwestern Isla de la Juventud have been refusing to give independent journalist Fabio Prieto Llorente the treatment he needs for serious pulmonary complications since 10 June. His family says he was hospitalised in May with acute pains in the chest and back and low blood pressure, but the authorities returned him to prison before he had completed all the necessary medical tests. Prieto, who is from Isla de la Juventud, has been serving a 20-year sentence since the “Black Spring.”José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández of the Grupo de Trabajo Decoro news agency is currently in Guanajay prison in Havana province, where he is serving a 16-year sentence imposed in 2003. He is in very poor health and was hospitalised for two weeks in February for circulation problems that caused severe cramping. The doctors prescribed a strict diet that excluded the standard prison food. The prison authorities ignored their recommendation.Independent journalist Víctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona has been waiting for months for a dentist to repair two broken teeth. After repeated requests, the prison authorities let him have a mouth X-ray but nothing else, his wife, Elsa González, said. He also has high blood pressure but the prison authorities claim they do not have a way to measure it. Arrested on 18 March 2003 at his home in the western city of Pinar del Río, Arroyo is serving a 26-year sentence (one of the longest imposed on a journalist).The health of José Luis García Paneque, the head of Libertad, an independent news agency based in the eastern town of Las Tunas, has also deteriorated in prison. Held in Las Mangas, near his home town, he was taken to a hospital in Bayamo with severe abdominal pains in June and doctors reportedly found a kidney cyst. His weight has fallen from 86 to 50 kilos because of an intestinal ailment. He has been serving a 24-year sentence since 2003.Pablo Pacheco Avila, a journalist with the CAPI cooperative who has seen serving a 20-year sentence since April 2003, was returned to prison on 9 June 2006 after 52 days of intensive treatment in the Ciego de Ávila provincial hospital. He was hospitalised again on 26 April of this year for surgery to his right knee.A political and trade union activist and correspondent in Colón (in Matanzas province) for the news agency Patria, Iván Hernández Carrillo, began a hunger strike on 25 June in “Guamajal Hombres” prison because he is being mistreated by his guards. He is serving a 25-year sentence.Cuba’s prisons are currently holding 25 dissident journalists, 20 of whom were arrested during the “Black Spring” and were given sentences ranging from 14 to 27 years in jail. After China, Cuba has been the world’s second biggest prison for journalists since 2003. RSF_en Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet Reporters Without Borders fears for the safety of Cuba’s imprisoned journalists after a dissident died in a cell on 24 June. The organisation is also worried about their health and calls on the authorities to release them on medical grounds. One ailing journalist, Normando Hernández González, requested a medical release a year ago and is still waiting for a response. Organisation to go further RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago Receive email alerts News Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Cuba New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council October 15, 2020 Find out more News News CubaAmericas CubaAmericas News October 12, 2018 Find out morelast_img read more

Honduran Armed Forces Build Reservoirs to Help Civilians

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first_imgTwo machine operators, two assistants, and one person in charge of security is supporting each work site. The Honduran Armed Forces’ First Battalion of Engineers is constructing hundreds of water reservoirs to assist civilians in a drought-stricken area known as the “Dry Corridor,” which includes 132 towns in 14 departments throughout the country’s southern, western, and central zones. In addition to the water reservoir venture, the Engineering Battalion is also participating in other development projects throughout Honduras, including the construction of public aerodromes and secondary highways, such as the one running between Tegucigalpa and Cerro La Mole. Armed Forces coordinate with local officials The Armed Forces is working hard to provide water and the ability to grow agricultural crops to multiple communities. The Engineer Battalion is planning to finish construction on six reservoirs every 21 days in the communities that need them the most, with the goal of installing 500 reservoirs in each department that’s facing a drought, according to Col. Leiva. The working relationship among the communities, the SAG, and the Armed Forces is very strong. Nationally, Honduras is suffering greatly from the effects of climate change – so much so it tops Germanwatch’s 2015 Global Climate Risk Index, a list of nations most vulnerable to climate change. By Dialogo December 14, 2015 Very good. All the reporting is very important In particular, climate change is negatively impacting the country’s agricultural and forestry production, according to Engineering Colonel José Hilario Leiva Rivera, Commander of the Honduran Armed Forces’ First Battalion of Engineers. Farmers and others who work in agriculture maintain a delicate system dependent upon rain, but their production has been hindered, and they’ve suffered economic losses because the rain cycle has been affected by climate change. Among the groups caring for the forestry in its region is United to Grow, which is in the town of Ocotal, in Olancho department, and works to fight illegal logging and prevent forest fires. Thanks to the reservoir the Armed Forces built, farmers can now irrigate 14 hectares of land that are used to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, beans, pumpkins, eggplants, squash, and other crops. After the SAG reviewed it, the Armed Forces and the mayor finalized each agreement and workers started building reservoirs under the direction of the Engineer Battalion, which includes a construction team of seven frontmen and 10 specialists. “For Honduras, this project of constructing water collection systems represents a positive investment in its people and will grant independence to farmers since farming depends on the rains and is thus among the most vulnerable to climate change,” Col. Leiva said. “The reservoirs or water collection systems are bound to be quite useful during the dry season, seeing that most have a capacity of 30,000-60,000 cubic meters of water.” About 95 percent of Honduran crops rely solely on climate conditions whereas only 5 percent are irrigated, according to data from the Irrigation Systems Directorate of the Honduran Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG). center_img “A community that has good agricultural output won’t think of abandoning the source of their livelihood. In addition to this, they will also have cheaper food and a greater variety of products to consume because they will have water they can irrigate their crops with.” “We have to change our attitudes. We can no longer plant crops on the same dates that we always have. To this end, work will need to be done on projects dealing with sustainable development and, more than anything else, proper management and conservation of water,” the president added. “Three hundred thirty-five million lempiras (US$15.07 million) are needed to grow the size of the battalion, which is in charge of this water reservoir project and of providing appropriate responses to other situations that arise as a result of climate change,” Col. Leiva said. To make their work across the country more efficient, Armed Forces authorities conducted a study to determine how to expand the battalion’s units in four strategic points throughout the country. Ambitious goals Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández instructed the Engineer Battalion to construct reservoirs in 13 different departments because “the phenomenon of climate change has severely changed precipitation patterns,” he said in a press statement. “Those close to where the reservoirs are built will now have the additional responsibility of caring for the area surrounding the reservoir, which includes reforestation, the planting of grass that is used for retention around the perimeter of the drainage system,” Salgado said. “The SAG then constructs drip irrigation systems and trains people on how to use them so that no water is wasted.” The Engineering Battalion has also been charged with building a community 19 kilometers from Tegucigalpa in the department of Francisco Morazán, which is where the Honduran Air Force’s radars are located, and with constructing a runway and perimeter roads on the Caribbean Cisne Islands, some 250 kilometers northwest of mainland Honduras. “The landowners upon whose lands the reservoirs are constructed have signed agreements charging them with the responsibility of distributing and providing water to others in their communities.” Ensuring that farmers can plant and harvest crops is crucial to the country’s food supply, according to engineer Fabio Salgado, a SAG specialist. The Armed Forces are coordinating with local government officials to make the reservoir project a success. The agreements would remain in effect if owners sell their land. last_img read more

Australians request super savings early release

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first_imgNearly 800,000 Australians have requested early release of part of their superannuation savings to tide them over financial hardship during the COVID-19 economic shutdown.The number is more than twice the account holders (361,000) who have accessed their super prematurely over the past five years, taking out an average A$8,000 (€4,600), or A$2.9bn in total.The nation’s largest super fund, AustralianSuper, expects to receive requests – through the Australian Taxation Office, which is tasked with processing early release requests – from more than 300,000 members.Such is demand for early release that questions have been raised about the ability of some funds to meet their obligations. There have even been suggestions that the government might have to step in by issuing special bonds to create liquidity. Some conservative politicians blame the cash squeeze on industry funds for having invested heavily in illiquid assets, such as infrastructure and property.The Australian Treasury estimates that 1% of super fund members who have lost their jobs are likely to seek early release of around $27bn. The unemployment rate rose to 5.2% in Australia today.Australia’s leading research house on the super industry, Rainmaker, has concluded that there is A$946bn in cash and bonds in Australia’s superannuation pool.Alex Dunnin, Rainmaker’s executive director of research and compliance, told IPE: “There is more liquidity in superannuation than we realise, which is the point the government made when it announced its early super release policy.”Should what he called a “liquidity-smoothing mechanism” be necessary, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, The Future Fund, could be recruited. This fund, he said, was sitting on the sidelines with $37bn in cash and bonds.“It is not a super fund, It is a fiscal fund with just one stakeholder, the national government, so it has much more flexibility than do superannuation funds.”Rainmaker’s analysis shows that, if just 1% of members choose to go for early release, this would be manageable, assuming all funds were equally impacted.“Initially, many in superannuation thought this measure would impact funds with young members or lots of low account balances, but, on reflection, this view is simplistic,” Dunnin said.“This is because these accounts, in reality, are a very small share of those funds’ assets.”The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority today issued guidance requiring funds to process approved claims within five working days.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more