After 114 days as hostage, Alan Johnston says: “It is just the most fantastic thing to be free”

first_img News July 4, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 After 114 days as hostage, Alan Johnston says: “It is just the most fantastic thing to be free” Organisation Follow the news on Palestine PalestineMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders is relieved and overjoyed at the release of Alan Johnston, who spent 114 days as a hostage. “Fifteen journalists have been kidnapped in the Gaza Strip since 2005,” the press freedom organisation says. “Their abductors have never been arrested or punished although many of them are known to the security forces. This generalised impunity must end.” WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes Help by sharing this information News PalestineMiddle East – North Africa May 16, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts May 28, 2021 Find out more News News Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists to go further June 3, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders is overjoyed at the news that British journalist Alan Johnston was released in the early hours of today in Gaza as a result of the intervention of senior Muslim clerics and negotiations between Hamas and his kidnappers. The BBC correspondent had been held hostage for 114 days.“Seeing Johnston free and in good health is an immense relief and a great joy,” the press freedom organisation said. “During the 16 weeks he was held, we became more and more concerned at the increasingly grave threats from his abductors and the apparent inability of the Palestinian authorities to find a solution. We hail the international campaign waged for his release, which did not flag during all that time, and our thoughts go out to Johnston’s parents and sister who showed great courage throughout this ordeal.”Reporters Without Borders added: “Johnston’s departure leaves the Gaza Strip with no foreign journalists based there. We hope the security situation will be stabilised sufficiently for foreign correspondents to return and for Palestinian journalists to be able to work without being obstructed or harassed. The Palestinian Authority must now take measures to ensure that this does not happen again. Fifteen journalists have been kidnapped in the Gaza Strip since 2005. Their abductors have never been arrested or punished although many of them are known to the security forces. This generalised impunity must end.”Hamas leader and former Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh received Johnston at his home immediately after his release. There Johnston said: “It is just the most fantastic thing to be free. It was an appalling experience, as you can imagine, to be held for 16 weeks (…) I often dreamed I was free and woke up to find myself still in that room (…) I cannot get over being free (…) I am very grateful to everyone, an enormous number of people, who worked with the Palestinians, in the British government, the BBC, from the bottom to the top, and all the BBC’s listeners.”Johnston, who said he had not been tortured, was finally freed as a result of the intervention of the Popular Resistence Committees, one of the most senior group of Muslim clerics in the Gaza Strip, which issued a fatwa condemning his abduction.Since seizing control in the Gaza Strip on 15 June, Hamas had steadily stepped up its pressure on the group holding Johnston, the Army of Islam, and had surrounded its hideout in west Gaza. The intervention of the Popular Resistence Committees resulted in direct negotiations between Nizar Rayan, a senior Hamas leader, and Moumtaz Dogmush, the head of the kidnappers.Johnston’s release was part of prisoner exchange, in which Army of Islam leader Khattab Al-Maqdissi, who was arrested by Hamas’s Executive Force on 1 July, and five other Army of Islam members were freed in return for the release of some 10 Hamas members who were kidnapped a few days ago.(logo © AFP) RSF_en last_img read more

Appeal for information following burglary and attempted burglary in Derry

first_img WhatsApp Previous articleDonegal Deputy says new rules introduced by Government will hinder Credit UnionsNext articleMotorists advised to avoid non-essential travel as Storm Frank hits Donegal admin Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Google+ Twitter Appeal for information following burglary and attempted burglary in Derry WhatsApp 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic By admin – December 29, 2015 Google+center_img Pinterest 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Facebook Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th Facebook Pinterest Police at Strand Road are appealing for information about a burglary in the Clooney area of Derry.Constable McGuinness, the investigating officer,  said that yesterday afternoon a woman returned to her home at Lower Violet Street to find it had been broken into.  A sum of money was stolen.The incident is thought to have occurred after 7.30pm on Sunday, 27th .Meanwhile, also over the weekend, an attempt was made to break into another house in the street.Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Homepage BannerNews Twitter Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan firelast_img read more

Daily Dirt: March 12, 2013

first_imgOutdoor news for March 12, 2013Blue Ridge Parkway Weekly Ride StymiedOne would think that cycling and the Blue Ridge Parkway are like peas in a pod, a perfect fit. Mostly, they are, but in recent years growing tension between cyclists, motorists, and the National Park Service have been prickly to say the least. In this magazine, as have countless others, we have written about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to cycling the parkway – one of the greatest rides east of the Mississippi, if not North America. Dan Casey of the Roanoke Times is reporting that the Blue Ridge Cycle Club‘s weekly Tuesday Night Ride – in existence since at least 2002 – is in jeopardy due to the park service enforcing rules they had not before, including requiring insurance, a permit, and billing for a police escort. The bills could run into the hundreds of dollars per ride, which the small club is not in the position to handle. The article cites some of the mounting problems of the BRP including budget cuts, maintenance backlogs, and unfilled staff positions. Whether this is an effort to raise revenue or just keep cyclists off the busiest sections of the BRP, it kind of stinks.Delaware…Hi, I’m in DelawareDelaware may not get much respect from Wayne Campbell, but it is trying to gain the respect of the National Park Service and the rest of the country in general. Representatives, community leaders, and preservationists from Delaware and Pennsylvania are pushing Congress and/or President Obama to designate 1,100 acres of the Brandywine Valley to become the next national park. The Diamond State (Delaware, if you didn’t know that) is the only state in the nation without a national park, and have been advocating for one for over a decade. The Brandywine Valley straddles Del. and Penn. and is primed for park status, having been bought by the Conservation Fund, and is already a popular spot for hikers and anglers. It also holds much historical significance and would be deemed First State National Historic Park. With all the financial wrangling in Washington, this may seem like a longshot, but if anyone can pull it off, Delaware can.Double Trouble in Great Smoky Mountains National ParkA couple of incidents left outdoor enthusiasts with serious injuries in Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the weekend. A 65-year-old man from Ontario was very seriously injured when he flipped his canoe above The Sinks and was pinned underwater for 30 minutes. Following resuscitation, he remains in critical condition at Blount Memorial Hospital. In a separate incident, a 55-year-old man had to be rescued from Mount LeConte after slipping off the trail due to ice. The man fell about 70 feet down a slope off the Alum Cave Trail Saturday suffering sever lacerations. He was in stable condition when leaving the scene for Tennessee Medical Center. This is just a reminder that the worst can happen at any time. Be careful out there.In Other News…A look at how the Sequester may affect the outdoor industry via Verde PR.Another look at how the Sequester will affect National Parks in Virginia via the Richmond Times Dispatch.White-nose syndrome confirmed in South Carolina via Whitenosesyndrome.orgA look at the invasion of non-native trout in the Smoky Mountains via National Geographiclast_img read more

Hong Kong police arrest more than 300 protesting China’s ‘birthday gift’ of security law

first_imgHong Kong police fired water cannon and tear gas and arrested more than 300 people on Wednesday as protesters took to the streets in defiance of sweeping security legislation introduced by China to snuff out dissent.Beijing unveiled the details of the much-anticipated law late on Tuesday after weeks of uncertainty, pushing China’s freest city and one of the world’s most glittering financial hubs on to a more authoritarian path.As thousands of protesters gathered for an annual rally marking the anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to China in 1997, riot police used pepper spray and fired pellets as they made arrests after crowds spilled into the streets chanting “resist till the end” and “Hong Kong independence”. “I’m scared of going to jail but for justice I have to come out today, I have to stand up,” said one 35-year-old man who gave his name as Seth.Police said they had made more than 300 arrests for illegal assembly and other offences, with nine involving violations of the new law.The law punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, will see mainland security agencies in Hong Kong for the first time and allows extradition to the mainland for trial.China’s parliament adopted the law in response to protests last year triggered by fears that Beijing was stifling the city’s freedoms, guaranteed by a “one country, two systems” formula agreed when it returned to Chinese rule. Beijing denies the accusation. Topics :center_img Hong Kong police cited the law in confronting protesters.”You are displaying flags or banners/chanting slogans/or conducting yourselves with an intent such as secession or subversion, which may constitute offences under the … national security law,” police said in a message displayed on a purple banner.Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few “troublemakers” and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investors’ interests.’Heartbreaking’But critics fear it will end the pro-democracy opposition and crush freedoms, including an independent legal system and right to protest, that are seen as key to Hong Kong’s success as a financial centre.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new law was an affront to all nations and Washington would continue to implement President Donald Trump’s directive to end the territory’s special status.Britain said it would stand by its word and offer all those in Hong Kong with British National Overseas status a “bespoke” immigration route.British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described Wednesday’s protests as heartbreaking and reprimanded HSBC and other banks for supporting the new law, saying the rights of Hong Kong should not be sacrificed for bankers’ bonuses.Britain and Canada also updated their travel advisories for Hong Kong, saying there was an increased risk of detention.A former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong, Simon Cheng, said he had been granted political asylum by the British government after being beaten by Chinese secret police last year in mainland China during 15 days of detention.In a post on Facebook after the enactment of the national security law, he said he hoped other Hong Kong people would be offered protection by Britain.Police fired water cannon to try to disperse the protesters. A game of cat and mouse reminiscent of last year’s often violent demonstrations followed, with protesters blocking roads before running away from riot police charging with batons, only to re-emerge elsewhere.Police posted pictures on Twitter of an officer with a bleeding arm saying he was stabbed by “rioters holding sharp objects”. The suspects fled while bystanders offered no help, police said.On July 1 last year, hundreds of protesters stormed and vandalized the city’s legislature to protest against a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.Those protests evolved into anti-China demonstrations and calls for democracy, paralyzing parts of the city and paving the way for Beijing’s new law.’Birthday gift’In Beijing, Zhang Xiaoming, executive deputy director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told reporters suspects arrested by a new Beijing-run security office could be tried on the mainland.He said the new office abided by Chinese law and that Hong Kong’s legal system could not be expected to implement the laws of the mainland. Article 55 of the law states that Beijing’s security office in Hong Kong could exercise jurisdiction over “complex” or “serious” cases.”The law is a birthday gift to [Hong Kong] and will show its precious value in the future,” Zhang said, adding the law would not be applied retroactively.Speaking at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover, the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, said the law was the most important development since 1997.”It is also an inevitable and prompt decision to restore stability,” Lam said at the harbor-front venue where the last colonial governor, Chris Patten, a staunch critic of the security law, tearfully handed back Hong Kong to China.Some pro-Beijing officials and political commentators say the law is aimed at sealing Hong Kong’s “second return” to the motherland after the first failed to bring residents to heel.Luo Huining, the head of Beijing’s top representative office in Hong Kong, said at the ceremony the law was a “common aspiration” of Hong Kong citizens.Some pro-democracy activists gave up membership of their groups just before the law came into force on Tuesday, though they called for the campaign to carry on from abroad.”I saw this morning there are celebrations for Hong Kong’s handover, but to me it is a funeral, a funeral for ‘one country two systems’,” said pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki.last_img read more

EHS Off to 2-0 Start in Tennis

first_imgELLSWORTH — With lopsided wins in their first two outings, the Ellsworth Eagles are off to a strong start in the high school tennis season.The Eagle boys’ team has lost just five games so far, rolling to 5-0 wins over the Hermon Hawks and the Mattanawcook Academy Lynx. For more sports stories, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American. Hancock County Court News Nov. 3 thorugh Dec. 11 – January 22, 2015 Latest posts by admin (see all) This is placeholder textThis is placeholder text House fire in Winter Harbor – October 27, 2014 Latest Posts State budget vs. job creation – January 22, 2015 Bio adminlast_img