RSF urges Boris Johnson to raise case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi during Saudi Arabia visit

first_img The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MPSecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth AffairsForeign and Commonwealth OfficeKing Charles StreetLondonSW1A 2AH11 December 2016,Dear Foreign Secretary,I am writing on behalf of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) regarding your visit to Saudi Arabia. We have serious concerns about the press freedom situation in the country, in particular the case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. We ask that you take the opportunity to raise Badawi’s case, the cases of other jailed journalists and citizen journalists, and the broader dire press freedom climate in the country, at the highest possible levels during your visit.Saudi Arabia is currently ranked of 165th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, and has consistently ranked among the world’s worst regimes for press freedom since the Index was established in 2002. The King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, has been on RSF’s list of ‘predators of press freedom’ since he succeeded his brother Abdullah as king in 2015. Salman has embodied the heritage of a dynasty that has always been hostile to media freedom.At least 10 journalists and citizen journalists are currently jailed in Saudi Arabia. Harming the king’s image and reputation, blasphemy, insulting religion, and “inciting chaos” are all punished severely, often under the 2007 cyber crime law or the 2014 anti-terrorism law. The Internet is the only space where independent news and information can be circulated, but citizen journalists undertake serious risks when posting online. Like professional journalists, they are watched closely, and critical comments are liable to lead to arrest and unfair trials, ending in long jail sentences and sometimes accompanied by flogging.Blogger Raif Badawi is one such case. Badawi is the co-founder of the Liberal Saudi Network, an online discussion forum, and winner of the 2014 RSF Press Freedom Prize in the citizen journalist category. The 33 year-old blogger has been jailed since 17 June 2012. The Saudi authorities say Badawi’s posts mocked the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and questioned religion’s influence in Saudi society, thereby endangering public order. The site has been blocked since Badawi’s arrest.In May 2014, Badawi was convicted of insulting Islam and sentenced to 10 years in prison, as well as 1,000 lashes and a 10-year ban on travelling abroad after the completion of his prison sentence, which was upheld by the supreme court in June 2015. Badawi’s flogging was widely condemned internationally, including by the UK Foreign Office, which has stated: “We are seriously concerned by Raif Badawi’s case. The UK condemns the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment in all circumstances”. Badawi was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament in 2015.Badawi’s lawyer, human rights defender Waleed Abu Al Khair, has been jailed since 15 April 2014. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on 6 July 2014 on charges of “preparing, storing and circulating content that undermines public order”, “inciting rebellion”, “publishing false information with the aim of harming the state”, contempt of court, and creating an NGO without state permission. A critic of prison conditions, Al Khair himself has now been subjected to mistreatment in detention, including physical violence and sleep deprivation.Besides Badawi and Al Khair, at least eight other journalists and citizen journalists are currently jailed in Saudi Arabia. They include Zuhair Kutbi, a contributor to Makkah Online, held since 15 July 2015; Fawzan Al-Harbi a citizen journalist held since 25 June 2014; Jassim Mekki A’al Safar, a photographer held since 18 June 2014; Alaa Brinji, a reporter for the Al-Sharq website, held since 13 May 2014; Fadhel Al-Manafes, a citizen journalist held since 17 April 2014; Wajdi Al-Ghazzawi, a presenter of Al-Fajr TV, held since 4 February 2014; Ali Jaseb Al-Touhifah a citizen journalist, held since 1 August 2012; and Jalal Mohamed Al-Jamal a blogger for the website Al-Awamia, held since 25 February 2012 .We urge you to take the opportunity to raise these cases and the overall restrictive press freedom climate in Saudi Arabia at the highest levels of government and with the media during your visit. Thank you for your attention to these serious concerns.Sincerely yours,Christophe DeloireSecretary GeneralReporters Without Borders (RSF) Receive email alerts December 11, 2016 – Updated on December 12, 2016 RSF urges Boris Johnson to raise case of jailed blogger Raif Badawi during Saudi Arabia visit Help by sharing this information RSF_en News News Organisation Follow the news on United Kingdom June 17, 2016 Find out more Newscenter_img United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalists ImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists RSF urges Prince Charles to raise press freedom during Gulf states visit November 8, 2016 Find out more June 7, 2015 Find out more Saudi blogger Raif Badawi completes fourth year in prison United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalists ImprisonedFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalists News Saudi court shows contempt for human dignity in Badawi case to go furtherlast_img read more

Voter fraud already says Bahamas Parliamentary Registration

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, March 28, 2017 – Nassau – Voter fraud is apparently already being attempted by some citizens of the country, ahead of the 2017 General Elections.  The Parliamentary Registration Department says they have noticed a trend in all of the islands where individuals are trying to register twice and trying to collect two voters’ cards.Sherlyn Hall, Parliamentary Commissioner, has warned against the practice, saying the PRD is onto them and has systems in place not only to end but to detect the trend.  It is said the individuals would register at one site, collect their voter registration card and then head over to another center to register there and pick up a second card.  It apparently did not work.  Elections have to be held by May 7; Parliament is said to be on the wind down.  Nearly 150,000 Bahamians are not registered to vote.#MagneticMediaNews#BahamasGeneralElections2017#Voterfraud#letsvoteBahamas TCI: Two PNPs fingered for voter fraud, situation said to be on the way to AG Related Items:#BahamasGeneralElections2017, #LetsvoteBahamas, #magneticmedianews, #Voterfraud Fred Mitchell’ s Sour Grapes rant following FNM win. 88 Percent voter turnout Bahamas General Elections 2017 Recommended for youlast_img read more

Latest on gas tax repeal effort and its impact on other primary

first_imgLatest on gas tax repeal effort and its impact on other primary elections KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsWith last night’s primary behind us, we are now seeing the large impact the recent car and gas tax is having on voters and how the issue is influencing other races as well.KUSI’s Logan Byrnes has more on what we can expect leading up to the November election. June 6, 2018 Posted: June 6, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, Categories: Local San Diego News Tags: Decision 2018 FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

8 of the Biggest Data Breaches Ever and How They Happened Infographic

first_img Register Now » 2 min read We live an overwhelming percentage of our lives on the Internet. And that means a lot of our personal information is stored there.Unfortunately, it also means a lot of our personal information can be stolen. This week alone, Apple confirmed that the accounts of several A-list celebrities were breached while Home Depot announced that a cyber attack on its systems may have exposed customer information.Related: Apple Confirms Some Celeb Accounts Were Breached in Nude Photo ScandalThe infographic below, compiled by webmaster tool WhoIsHostingThis.com, looks back at some of the worst data breaches in history, starting with the TJ Maxx hack in 2005 and 2006 where some 94 million credit cards were compromised. In that case, damaging software stripped information off of the magnetic stripe on credit cards and criminals in Eastern Europe forged credit cards with the information retrieved.Related: Why the Naked Celeb Photo iCloud Hack Should Make You NervousWhile retreating to Antarctica and living among penguins may be the only sure way to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands, there are certain things you can do right now to decrease the risk. For example, you can be sure to keep usernames private and you can create clever passwords (please don’t choose “123456” like everybody else).Take a spin through the infographic to learn about some of the other data breaches in history and an explanation of how they happened. Then, go update your passwords.Click to Enlarge+ Related: Home Depot Suffers Possible Data Breach, Tries to Ease Customer Fears September 4, 2014center_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more

The 7 Pieces of a Successful SEO Starter Kit

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Okay, so you’re interested in search engine optimization (SEO), but like most newcomers, you’re intimidated by the perceived complexity of the field. To be sure, there are hundreds of independent variables that collectively bear an impact on your site’s rankings and search engine visibility.Related: 6 Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 2016And, learning how to master all of them is a process that takes years of experience and practice.However, you don’t need a huge budget or years of experience to get started with SEO. Dominating the top rankings for general keywords related to your brand may be out of your reach, but even a slight investment in SEO can help your business earn more traffic and visibility.To get started, you’ll need these seven basic components of a starter SEO campaign:1. A website with a good SEO pluginFirst, you need a decent website, and if this one is your first effort, and/or you want to keep things simple, it’s in your best interest to use a website builder like WordPress. In fact, this and most other website builder tools are inexpensive and easy to use; and, importantly, they come automatically equipped to handle basic SEO fundamentals.For example, they’ll be coded in a way that’s neat, clean and easy to crawl, and they’ll be responsive, so you needn’t worry about a separate strategy for mobile optimization. You may also want to consider a separate SEO plugin, which can help you with technical tasks like optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, and pinpointing the keyword density of your various pages.2. A carefully chosen nicheNext, you’ll want to define your niche and target a list of carefully chosen keywords. If you go too general, you’ll end up competing with businesses that have a much bigger budget and a longer history of development. Instead, it’s better to focus on a highly specific niche that’s relevant only to your customers.At that juncture, you’ll need to conduct some keyword research. You don’t need to get fancy here; just target a mix of basic “head” keywords and extended “long-tail” keywords, and aim for terms with high volume and low competition ratings.3. An on-site overhaul.Next, you’ll need to optimize your site directly. It’s true that your website builder will set you up with some fundamentals, but you’ll still need to add your own content.Organize your pages into categories and subcategories, including page titles that contain some of your target keywords. Make sure every page of your site contains at least several hundred words of helpful, well-written, relevant content; and optimize all your title tags and meta descriptions while you’re at it.Related: 5 SEO Techniques You’re Doing All Wrong4. A regular blogI’d argue that the most important thing for a new SEO strategy to take off is a high-quality, regular content-marketing campaign. Aim to produce at least two new posts every week, covering topics that are relevant to your readers, and providing detailed, helpful information that your competitors haven’t already covered.Originality, practicality and aesthetic value all matter here, so spend some time refining your strategy and stick to your editorial calendar. You’ll also want to include a blend of mediums, including images and videos, if you can.5. An off-site publication schedule.Aside from on-site optimization and content marketing, the most important element of your strategy is your link building campaign — otherwise known as off-site optimization. The quality and quantity of links you have pointing to your domain determines your overall authority, which in turn determines where you rank for various search queries.However, you can’t just spam off-site links — nor would you want to. Instead, focus on writing valuable content for external publishers, establishing your author profile and your expertise simultaneously. Usually, you’ll earn at least one link back to your site, and over time, you’ll develop your authority so you can rank higher.6. Integrated social mediaContrary to popular belief, social media doesn’t have a direct relationship with your search rankings. However, it can have an indirect bearing on the success of your SEO campaign. So, flesh out your profiles and regularly promote your latest content; you’ll earn more shares and links to those blog posts, which can boost your search visibility.Additionally, you’ll earn more followers, which can become an additional stream of traffic to your site (and a good way to get your foot in the door with more publishers since it establishes your credibility).7. A good reporting strategyFinally, you’ll need some way to measure your effectiveness (so you can determine what changes you need to make to your strategy). A good starter tool for this is Google Analytics, which will allow you to measure your “organic traffic” — meaning the amount of traffic you’re generating naturally through search engines. Ideally, this will grow over time.Implementing these seven “starter kit” items won’t let you tap your business’s full online marketing potential, but they can and will get you started on the right path. With a decent infrastructure in place, including a baseline domain authority score, your subsequent investments will become even more valuable.Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO ConsultantWhen you’re ready to scale your strategy, consider hiring a professional SEO agency or a highly skilled independent contractor. Or invest in your own training and education to see better results. June 1, 2017 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

By land and by sea 2018s hotel happenings cruise news

first_imgBy land and by sea, 2018’s hotel happenings & cruise news TORONTO — Vertical integration is still the name of the game so it’s no wonder tour operators pressed on with plans for new resorts, and new resort alliances, in 2018.Rounding up the industry stories making headlines this year, we also look at the 2018 good-news recovery stories from the wild 2017 hurricane season, and a volcano that seemed to attract twice as many visitors as it kept away. Plus, a major closure that could hit the travel compensation funds in Ontario, Quebec and B.C. for millions of dollars.Through it all agents kept doing what they do best: counseling their clients, selling just about everything under the sun and staying sane knowing that no matter what the industry comes up with, they can handle it.HOTEL HAPPENINGSSunwing Travel Group, already a major player on the resort scene with its Blue Diamond Resorts hotel division with 15,000+ rooms across more than a half dozen brands, fortified its position even further with a blockbuster deal with Planet Hollywood. Announcing the venture in February 2018, Sunwing Travel Group and Planet Hollywood said initial plans called for two resorts in Mexico and Costa Rica, with more to come. Right on time, Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica opened in fall 2018. In Mexico, Planet Hollywood Resort Cancun is slated to open in spring 2019. Sunwing is also transforming the site of the former Sonesta Great Bay in St. Maarten into a Planet Hollywood resort. And in October Sunwing announced plans to expand its hotel division again with the addition of six of Rex Resorts’ Caribbean hotels, part of a newly formed strategic alliance that will see Sunwing grow its presence in destinations including Grenada, Tobago and Barbados.Transat’s resort plans meanwhile are taking shape like never before, as the company makes good on its decision, first divulged in 2017, to develop its own hotel chain in the Caribbean. In September 2018 Transat announced it had purchased a stretch of land in Riviera Maya, in Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is ideally situated midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen some 20 kilometres from Cancun International Airport.More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionThe company has also entered into a promissory agreement to purchase a second adjacent property for a total consideration of between US$54 and $57 million to build a new beachfront resort.Transat says its new hotel division will include some 5,000 owned or managed hotel rooms at its main Sun destinations by 2024.There was more hotel news from Hilton and Playa, with the introduction of Hilton La Romana, an All-inclusive Resort, and Hilton Playa del Carmen, an All-inclusive Resort, adding 1,269 new Hilton guest rooms to its existing global portfolio as part of a strategic alliance. In September 2018 Playa took over management of the resort currently known as Dreams La Romana (rebranded as the Hilton La Romana) while The Royal Playa del Carmen became Hilton Playa del Carmen, an All-inclusive Resort. The agreement between Playa Hotels and Hilton also includes the potential for the conversion and management of eight additional resorts by 2025.And in other news, Sandals Resorts released new details about its ground-breaking Tobago development, saying it planned to build a Sandals Resort and a Beaches Resort side by side, with close to 300 rooms and 450-500 rooms respectively.WILD WEATHERThis was the comeback year for destinations like Puerto Rico, Dominica, Anguilla and St. Maarten, all of which took a hit from 2017’s hurricanes. Sunwing Travel Group’s newest Planet Hollywood resort is taking shape on the site of the former Sonesta Great Bay, which had closed after Irma hit the island in September 2017. Meanwhile AMResorts is bringing a new Secrets resort to St. Martin, on the site of the former Riu Palace St. Martin. A $20 million reno will get the place in shape in time for its 2019 reopening.In October 2018 Hawaii confirmed it was ‘open for business’ despite a volcano eruption and two close calls with hurricanes. Kilauea volcano’s eruptions began May 3 with lava flowing continuously until Aug. 6, and generated headlines worldwide, but it was only a small area that was affected on the Island of Hawaii.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaSINORAMAIn August 2018 Sinorama Holidays closed its doors after 13 years in business, with a voluntary termination of its Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002 registration.Over its 13-year history Sinorama Group expanded from Canada into Europe, Australia/New Zealand and the U.S., began trading as a public company in the States and reportedly sold $123 million worth of travel in 2017, up 27% over the previous year.And yet by April 2018 the company was allegedly running a $10.9 million shortfall and scrambling to bring in new money to cover the deficit, at least according to reports in consumer paper La Presse, which covered Sinorama’s financial tailspin extensively.Quebec’s travel regulator, the Office de la protection de la consommateur (OPC), first notified the Montreal-based operations of Sinorama that its license would not be renewed in that province, citing insufficient funds. Soon alarm bells were going off at Consumer Protection B.C. too.At the same time, TICO issued a closure advisory for Markham-based Sinorama Holidays Inc. as the company voluntarily terminated its Ontario registration. The hit to Ontario’s Travel Compensation Fund from the Sinorama Holidays Inc. closure could exceed the $5 million legislated maximum. The six-month window to file a claim is Feb. 11, 2019.CRUISE CONTROLAccording to CLIA’s latest stats, some 30 million passengers are expected to cruise in 2019, up from 28.2 in 2018. Close to 20 new ships will debut in 2019, bringing the number of CLIA-member ship to 272. Revenues are up, yields are up and interest in cruising continues unabated, especially thanks for headline-grabbing newcomers like Symphony of the Seas (March 2018), Norwegian Bliss (May 2018) and Celebrity Edge. Sales for river cruising, despite difficulties with low water levels in Europe in 2018, are still through the roof. And all eyes are on the first of Virgin Voyages’ four new ships, Scarlet Lady, getting ready to set sail, and set new benchmarks for adults-only cruising, in 2020. Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line, Planet Hollywood, Sinorama, Transat, Virgin Voyages Posted by Sharelast_img read more