News Reporters Without Borders is disturbed at the total lack of progress in the enquiry into the disappearance a year ago of Ali Astamirov (photo), the Agence France-Presse correspondent in Inguchetia and Chechnya, and has petitioned the UN Working Group on Enforced or Voluntary Disappearances and the Council of Europe about the case. Organisation Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says to go further Reporters Without Borders has petitioned the UN Working Group on Enforced or Voluntary Disappearances about the kidnapping in Ingushetia of Ali Astamirov, correspondent of the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) there and in neighbouring Chechnya, on 4 July last year, since when there has been no news of him or progress in the official enquiry. It has called on the Working Group to take steps to investigate the case and to see that every effort is made by the Russian and Ingushetian authorities to find out what happened to him. It has also asked the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, and the president of the Council’s assembly, Peter Shieder, to set up a special commission to deal with the case and to press the Russians and Ingushetians to redouble their efforts to solve the disappearance. “We do not know if Astamirov is still alive, who his kidnappers are and why they seized him,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. “The total lack of news is disturbing. We cannot allow him to be forgotten in a region where working as a journalist is extremely dangerous and where news is sparse.” The official investigators in Moscow and Nazran, the Ingushetian capital, have come up with nothing in their enquiries. No ransom demand has been received by his family or by AFP and the kidnappers have not tried to contact them. Astamirov was taken away by armed men in the village of Altievo, three km from Nazran, in the presence of other journalists. A 34-year-old Chechen with two children, he had been with AFP for a year after working for a privately-owned radio station in Grozny and, between 1998 and October 1999, when fighting began in Chechnya, for the local branch of the then-independent Russian TV station NTV. In the months before he was seized, he had received anonymous threats and had moved house for safety reasons. This and the absence of any ransom demand suggests he was kidnapped because of his journalistic work. Reporters Without Borders sponsored an appeal in October 2003 for his release, signed by 10 former journalist hostages. “One of the few journalists reporting on this terrible war and its litany of abuses has been silenced,” they noted. The 10 journalists (and the dates they were kidnapped) were:Roger Auque – Lebanon (1987)Maryse Burgot – Jolo, Philippines (2000)Scott Dalton – Colombia (2003)Jean-Jacques Le Garrec – Jolo, Philippines (2000)Jean-Paul Kauffmann – Lebanon (1985-88)Andreas Lorenz – Jolo, Philippines (2003)Roland Madura – Jolo, Philippines (2000)Ruth Morris – Colombia (2003)Jean-Louis Normandin – Lebanon (1986-87)Philippe Rochot – Lebanon (1986) BelarusEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Belarus July 2, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 No progress in enquiry a year after kidnapping of AFP journalist in Ingushetia : UN and Council of Europe petitioned News May 27, 2021 Find out more News BelarusEurope – Central Asia RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” Receive email alerts May 28, 2021 Find out more News June 2, 2021 Find out more RSF_en
Official White House Photo by Adam SchultzBy MOLLY NAGLE, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response team announced Wednesday it would make 25 million masks available to Americans at community health centers and food banks.“We will deliver more than 25 million masks across the country. These masks will be available in more than 1300 community health centers, and at 60,000 food pantries nationwide. Any American who needs a mask will be able to walk into these health centers or food pantries and pick up high quality American made masks,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said.“These masks will be available at no cost. There’ll be well-fitting cloth masks available in children’s and adult sizes, and they can be washed for reuse,” Zients said, with “all consistent with CDC guidance and all made in the USA.”“The action we’re announcing today is a targeted step to help Americans respond to the president’s challenge to mask up to protect themselves and their fellow Americans, as we encourage people to continue to mask up. We’re focused on vaccinating people, quickly, and equitably,” he said.“Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly. Not all Americans have access and not all masks are equal. With this action, we are helping to level the playing field, giving vulnerable populations quality, well-fitting masks,” he said.Throughout his first month in office and before taking on the roll, Biden has urged Americans to continue mask use to curb the spread of the virus.During a town hall with African American frontline workers Tuesday, Biden previewed the administration’s move, and lamented the politicization of masks during the Trump administration in light of the U.S. reaching the milestone of 500,000 COVID deaths.“We could have saved literally an awful lot of lives if people had listened. We turned wearing masks into a political statement. If you were for this thing, you wore it. If you were for somebody else, you didn’t wear it. When in fact, it’s just plain basic science — science,” Biden said.The masks will be delivered by Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Department of Defense starting in March through May, the White House said in a press release.“As a result of these actions, an estimated 12 to 15 million Americans will receive masks. More than 25 million masks total will be distributed,” the administration said in the release.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Jesus College has been gripped by a mania of pie-throwing following the announcement of the official start of ‘Pie Week’ by JCR Social Secretary Chris Smith. Suspense has been high since the appearance of an enigmatically-worded event on the termly Jesus College Social Calendar.The ‘Pie Week’ rules were outlined by Smith in an email sent to the JCR. Participants have to sign a register before being allowed to purchase the pies from the ‘Official Pie Stand’. Pies can only be thrown at those, and by those, who sign the register.Other rules stated, “If one suspects they are about to be Pie-d they must shout “PIE” at the supposed Pie-er. If the accusation is true and the accused be guilty and has a Pie in hand, the failed Pie-er must self pie to the face. On the second occasion with the same hypothetical Pie-ee and failed Pie-er, the self-pie can be to the crotch (at the Pie-ee’s discretion). Pie-ing is an ancient sport of stealth and this rule ensures only Pie’s (sic) of style are successful; punishing the weak (at pieing).”The pies cost 50p and consist of tin-foil trays filled with whipped cream. All money raised goes to charity. Chris Smith stated in the email, “This does mean with each pie you launch you are slowly becoming a better person.”The event has not been uncontroversial. Chris Smith commented, “We were quickly banned from pieing in hall after a student’s aerial pie coated much of a table.”Emilia Carslaw, a second year Classicist, told Cherwell, “it’s been an ex-cream-ly pie-olent few days in Jesus, full of pie-rannical pie-racy. We have all been living in fear, terri-pie-d of the moment the next attack will occur.”All money raised goes to the charity Schistosomiasis Control Iniative (SCI).