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Syria

first_img March 12, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Syria Organisation February 3, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts RSF_en Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law March 12, 2021 Find out more Domain name : .sy Population : 22 198 110 Internet-users :3 935 000 Average hourly charge for one hour’s connection at a cybercafé : 1,4 to 2 US$ Average monthly salary : around 1 079 US$ Number of imprisoned netizens : 3Syria is reinforcing its censorship of troublesome topics on the Web and tracking netizens who dare to express themselves freely on it. As a result, social networks have been particularly targeted by omnipresent surveillance. The promised technological improvements are slow to materialize. The authorities’ distrust of the potential for dissident online mobilization may be playing a role in this delay. Controlled Internet growthThe number of Syrian surfers has soared in the last ten years. Over 16.5% of the population uses the Internet, and conditions for access have been facilitated. Today, anyone can buy a pre-paid Internet access card and get connected. There is no longer a requirement to provide personal data since these are already registered when Syrians acquire their land phone lines. The limited number of ADSL or 3G is probably due to their high cost. Satellite connections are prohibited without the authorities’ express permission. The officials have centralized Internet surveillance by entrusting it to two government bodies: the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) and the Syrian Information Organization (SIO), which controls bandwidth. Since 2005, several private Internet service providers have emerged, but they are far from being independent. The Arab Network for Human Rights Information claims that while Internet access has boomed, the infrastructure has not improved much since Internet service became available in the country, thus leading to problems with overload, connection speed slowdowns and frequent power outages. The Ministry of Communications and Technology announced a “global development and reform of the Internet” strategy which, in reality, has yet to be implemented. The quality of the cable connecting Syria via Cyprus needs to be improved, as does the bandwidth capacity. A new trans-ocean cable could be set up. The Syrian government, which for had long been minimizing its Web presence, has completely reversed course: propaganda sites and those promoting the official position are proliferating, such as the Syrian News Agency (SANA), or the Syria News, Al-Gamal, Sada Suria and Sham Press websites.The ThunderCache software program is used by the STE and the SIO to ensure centralized censorship of the Web. Its distributor, Platinum Inc., defines it as being used “to protect Web communications against risks from spyware, viruses, inappropriate Web surfing, instant messaging (IM), video streaming and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, while actually improving Web performance.” It conducts website surveillance and filtering by searching for keywords “banned” by the authorities. Filtering of specific contentCensorship in Syria has intensified since 2009. Over 200 sites are currently blocked. The content affected concerns political criticism, religious matters, websites deemed “obscene,” those dealing with the Kurd minority and Israel-based websites. Also targeted are opposition party sites, those of certain Lebanese media and independent news websites. The Syrian government justifies such censorship by emphasizing the need to prevent religious discord and Israeli infiltration.Censorship is particularly targeting social networks and blog platforms in an effort to prevent dissidents from getting organized and recruiting new members using the new media. Blogspot and Maktoob are blocked. YouTube has been blocked since August 2007 after videos were circulated denouncing the crackdown on the Kurd minority. Wikipedia’s Arabic version was blocked from May 2008 to February 2009. Amazon and Skype are also inaccessible. Prison sentences in exchange for free expression of views on the InternetAt least four netizens are currently behind bars. They are meant to serve as examples to other Internet users, who prefer self-censorship to loss of their freedom over a few online comments. The authorities have several legislative weapons at their disposal: the Penal Code, the 1962 State of Emergency Law, and the repressive 2001 Press Code amended in 2005 to cover online publications.In May 2008, blogger Tariq Biassi (http://alzohaly.ektob.com/) was sentenced to three years in prison for having posted an article on an Internet forum criticizing Syrian security agencies. He was found guilty of “spreading false information” and “weakening national sentiment” by virtue of Articles 285 and 286 of the Syrian Penal Code. He had denied all of the charges and assured authorities that the published comments were not his, because he shared his telephone line with six other subscribers, including a cybercafé. In September 2009, blogger Kareem Arbaji, who is also the Akhawiya forum webmaster, received a three-year prison term for “publishing mendacious information liable to weaken the nation’s morale.” He had been arrested in 2007, and is said to have been tortured while being detained. On April 9, 2008, writer and poet Firas Saad was sentenced to four years in prison based on the same charges as Tariq Biassi. On May 6, 2008, Syrian government security agents arrested Habib Saleh, a writer and a cyber-dissident. Closely watched surfersThe authorities never relax their surveillance efforts: They eventually identified Tariq Biassi by retracing the origin of his Internet connection. Since July 25, 2007, owners of Internet websites are required to maintain the personal data of anyone who posts online articles and comments. Police raids of cybercafés are common. Security agents who catch Web users in the act of “excessive surfing” suggest that they “take a coffee break” with them – their expression for taking them in “for an interrogation.” The café managers have to keep a record of their customers’ personal data and a list of the websites they consult, and must alert authorities if they observe any illegal activities. Users even have to provide their fathers’ and mothers’ names. In 2009, a Menassat website contributor was arrested in a cybercafé and briefly questioned.Emergence of online pressure groupsMany Internet users are mastering the use of censorship circumvention tools. Some use Lebanese or Saudi Arabian servers to access the Internet. When the authorities start to block the most often-used proxy servers, others are created. Facebook was blocked when Syrians began to make friends with Israelis. However, the surfers are now using proxies to gain access to it. The social network, which is very popular in the country, hosts hundreds of groups with hundreds – or even thousands – of members, devoted to tourism, business, sports, technology and entertainment. Facing pressure from the general population, authorities are examining the possibility of unblocking Facebook.Online pressure groups have formed to express their economic or social demands. One online campaign that opposes a bill on amending the existing personal statute law seems to have played a crucial role in the government’s decision to abandon it. Bloggers launched a plea for a boycott of cell phone service providers because of their high cost and declining service quality. Mobilization efforts were also made on behalf of imprisoned bloggers. Despite the crackdown, courageous netizens are capable of organizing themselves. They are counting on the upcoming technological improvements – essential to the country’s economic future – to provide them with more options for circumventing censorship and ensuring its failure. Links http://www.All4syria.com (Arabic): news website on Syria, censored within the country http://www.arabnews.com (English): news website about Arab countries http://opennet.net/research/profiles/syria (English): a watch on the Syrian network kept by the Open Net Initiative. http://www.ya-ashrafe-nnas.blogspot.com (English): “Decentering Damascus”, blog by Razan, a Syrian online free expression activist and one of the founders of the campaign for the release of Tariq Biasi. Newscenter_img to go further News March 8, 2021 Find out more SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists News News Follow the news on Syria Help by sharing this information last_img read more

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Togo court upholds “baseless and disproportionate” newspaper closures

first_imgNews March 11, 2021 Togo court upholds “baseless and disproportionate” newspaper closures June 15, 2020 Find out more September 15, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Togo Receive email alerts News March 8, 2021 Find out more Le directeur de publication du journal togolais l’Alternative venant d’être suspendu pour quatre mois, Ferdinand Ayité. Help by sharing this information Convicting “petrolgate” journalist of defamation would be disastrous, RSF says Ferdinand Ayité’s efforts to demonstrate his good faith were not enough. The supreme court’s administrative chamber decided on 9 March to confirm the four-month suspension that the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC) imposed a month ago on the newspaper he edits, L’Alternative.The HAAC ordered the suspension in response to a complaint by the minister of urbanism, housing and land reform, who was described as a “forger” by the newspaper because, it said, he used forged documents when administering the property of the family of a wealthy businessman who recently died.Ayité responded with long letter detailing both what took place at the hearing at which the HAAC ordered the suspension and all of the newspaper’s research before publishing the article. He told RSF he was not surprised by the decision, which he described as “political.” The suspension was not unanimously supported within the HAAC because one of its own members publicly disowned it, accusing the HAAC of simply bowing to the minister’s request.In a second ruling on 9 March, the supreme court’s administrative chamber approved the HAAC’s decision to permanently strip the L’Indépendant Express newspaper of its licence because of a report claiming that ministers had stolen “golden spoons” at a reception. Its editor, Carlos Ketohou, was detained illegally for five days after the story was published.“There is absolutely no justification for such drastic measures,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office. “These decisions punish two newspapers without any basis in one case and disproportionately in the other in response to complaints by the government or its members. They discredit the media regulatory mechanisms and unfortunately show that no entity has been capable of exercising judicious and impartial control, respecting a balance between journalists’ obligations and the need to protect the freedom to inform. It is time to increase the HAAC’s independence and to take appropriate measures to avoid repeating such decisions, which pose a serious threat to journalism in Togo.”Ayité is meanwhile due to appear in court today for the hearing of his appeal against the fine of 4 million CFA francs (just over 6,000 euros) that was imposed on him and his newspaper for a sensational article in June claiming that several ministers and other senior officials were embezzling vast amounts of money from the importation of petroleum products.Togo is ranked 71st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. center_img Organisation RSF_en Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this week’s rulings by Togo’s supreme court upholding the Togolese media regulator’s decisions to suspend a newspaper for four months and to close another for good. These sanctions are unjustified and disproportionate and discredit Togo’s mechanisms for regulating the media, RSF said. to go further Togolese authorities urged to lift newspaper’s four-month suspension TogoAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence ImpunityFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment TogoAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence ImpunityFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives News Newslast_img read more

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342 Pease St, Edge Hill pays homage to Melbourne design

first_img342 Pease St, Edge HillHIDDEN in one of Cairns’ most prestigious suburbs is a little slice of federation-era Melbourne.The home at 342 Pease St reminded former Melburnian Lisa Price when she moved to the Far North about 11 years ago and she has loved it ever since.However, a busy work schedule means she does not have the time to ke 342 Pease St, Edge Hill“There is an upstairs deck which overlooks the pool and it’s just so private. When you sit on that deck you look up to the mountains to the north, and it’s really quiet. When you’re sitting out there you wouldn’t know where you were.“I have lived there since I first moved to Cairns, because I missed Melbourne so much, it just felt like a piece of home to me. I haven’t lived there for a couple of years, but my son has been living there.“I had always hoped my son would stay in Cairns and take on the property, but he has relocated to Townsville. 342 Pease St, Edge HillMore from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms2 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns2 days agoMs Price did however install a top of the range Siemens induction cooktop and oven to indulge her love of cooking but said apart from these appliances, everything else was original. “There is no carpet anywhere, it has beautiful original casement windows, with original glass,” she said.“It is a cool property — there is airconditioning throughout but we barely put it on.“The other work we did was on the garden. We had a lot of palm trees up the side of the property, but they’re so messy. We did a lot of clearing of that and replanting to make a more suitable and more manageable garden. 342 Pease St, Edge Hillep the garden to the standard she prefers and so, a tough decision to sell was made.“The home is very like the Federation homes from Burwood or Malvern. The person who built it was a doctor in Cairns and he was from Malvern, originally,” Ms Price said.“It is very solid brick and inside has got those hard plaster walls, with really magical cornices and ceilings. The floors are all original and it just has a beautiful feel. “It is one of those places when people step into it they say, ‘oh, what a great place’. It’s not that it’s jazzy and all done up because it’s not, it just has a certain charm and style.”center_img 342 Pease St, Edge Hill“I have a real emotional attachment to it but it is time for someone to love it as much as I do.”On 1137 sqm, in the heart of Edge Hill, there is also a spacious section across an easement which houses sheds and room for chooks and vegies. Just 150m from the Edge Hill cafe precinct, a formal entry upstairs flows into the open plan lounge and dining area with a king sized master plus two more bedrooms upstairs.Downstairs is a living area ideal for teenagers, an extended family or additional income through rental. 342 Pease St, Edge HillAgent Karl Latham said homes positioned this perfectly were highly sought after and very difficult to secure.last_img read more

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The Exercise and Menopause Connection

first_imgWomen who are experiencing symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, irritability, and depression as a result of perimenopause, menopause or post menopause may find relief with regular exercise.According to Amanda Price-Salazar, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and owner of Edge Fitness, these symptoms, alone or combined, can compromise a woman’s quality of life. However, the good news is that exercise can help.It’s widely accepted that physical activity yields health benefits and is an effective way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 Diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, anxiety, and depression.Many research studies indicate even moderate, rather than vigorous, physical activity has the most positive effect on menopause symptoms. Women who participate in moderate-intensity physical activity reported higher menopausal quality of life and lower total number of symptoms than women who engaged in either low or high intensity physical activity.On the other hand, women with low physical activity levels report the highest frequency of symptoms and the greatest discomfort. When it comes to exercise, listening to your body and using moderation is the key.Price-Salazar gave these exercise tips for menopausal women:Keep exercise intensity moderate (target heart rate = 50% to 70%).Group fitness classes are a great option for women seeking guidance in their fitness to combat the effects of menopause.Keep body temperature at your comfort level to avoid an increase in vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.Add cardiovascular, Pilates and/or meditation components to improve quality of life.Add resistance training and Pilates to increase bone mineral density and help maintain a healthy body mass indexStrive to exercise 60 minutes daily for a minimum of 12 weeks to garner the best results.Price-Salazar adds that nutrition is also very important. During menopause, eat a variety of healthy whole foods to get all the nutrients you need.Here are some guidelines:Get enough calcium. Eating and drinking two to four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day will help ensure that you are getting enough calcium. An adequate intake of calcium for women aged 51 and older is 1,200 milligrams per day.Pump up your iron intake. Eat at least three servings of iron-rich such as lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and enriched grain products. The recommended dietary allowance for iron in older women is 8 milligrams a day.Get enough fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Most adult women should get about 21 grams of fiber a day.Eat fruits and vegetables. Include at least 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables each day. Facebook49Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

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