Slovakia ’open’ to changing media law

first_imgThe legislation, which was signed into law on 25 April, lists types of “unacceptable behaviour” for media organisations, including politically motivated hatred. There are concerns that the legislation could be manipulated by the government to silence critics. It has been strongly criticised by the Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE) and international journalists’ associations. Miklos Haraszti, a media freedom representative for the OSCE, said in January that the draft law would “severely restrict” press freedom. Caplovic, who is responsible for human rights issues, told European Voice in an exclusive interview that the law was “very similar” to legislation in France and Germany, adding “these laws are not criticized”. He said that the law was “democratic” and was designed to protect “ordinary citizens” as well as politicians.  Next week’s edition (8 May) of European Voice will feature an interview with Deputy Prime Minister Caplovic talking about Slovakia’s hopes of joining the euro.center_img Responding to the criticisms by the OSCE, he said that that Gianni Buquicchio, the secretary-general of the Venice commission, the constitutional branch of the Council of Europe, the human rights watchdog, “didn’t find anything” to criticise  and “not the criticism made by Haraszti of the Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe”. Haraszti set out his concerns in a letter to Jan Kubiš, the foreign minister of Slovakia. Caplovic said a case concerning the law had been brought before Slovakia’s constitutional court. “If the decision is that it’s against the constitution we are prepared to amend the law,” he said. Caplovic pointed out that the government had withdrawn plans to include the possibility of fines of 200,000 Slovak Koruna (€6,200) after they were criticised. last_img read more

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German police not equipped for Paris-style attack: union leader

first_imgThe budget for the federal police has been boosted to a projected €2.95 billion this year, compared with just under €2.6 billion spent in 2014, and the government said last September it would create 3,000 new positions on the force. Walter insisted, however, on the need for additional funding and headcount staff to protect the country.Behr, the criminologist in Hamburg, cautioned that the police union was defending “what’s in the interest of their members,” adding: “Since the end of World War II, there has never been a situation when the police unions were happy with their staffing.” Also On POLITICO Europol needs more staff from EU nations to respond to terrorist attacks By Zoya Sheftalovich A year earlier, foreign intelligence services had informed German authorities that terrorists groups were planning attacks against railway stations in Berlin and Dresden, according to media reports.Within Germany’s security apparatus, there are 40 federal and regional agencies with highly trained and well-armed special counterterrorism units. Just last December, Germany set up another national unit called the Evidence Collection and Arrest Unit Plus (BFE+). Its members are specifically trained for wide-ranging manhunts during anti-terrorist operations and to offer other support to the existing GSG9 elite force and the states’ SEK special response units.However, Walter said that as well-prepared as these units are, their colleagues patrolling vital installations like airports and stations are not equipped to handle an attack, even though they are most likely to provide the first response. In urban areas, special units need at least 20 minutes to reach the scene of an attack and in more remote areas it could take hours, said Walter.Furthermore, the recent influx of refugees and deployment of German federal police officers to Frontex, the EU agency coordinating efforts to secure the union’s external borders, means staffing levels are lower than usual, Walter said.“Currently, at some of the larger train stations in the country, we are working with only 50 percent of our regular staff,” he said, adding that the degree of understaffing became clear after the Brussels attacks, when federal police were sent to the borders with Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to prevent any fugitive terrorists from entering Germany.If these officers “really came across a terrorist, they would have no chance, with their current equipment,” said Walter. “I can only pray that no terrorist with a Kalashnikov ever comes through one of those border crossings — I’m afraid this would leave our colleagues dead.” “In every patrol car, there should be two titanium helmets, certain bulletproof vests, and our officers should have access to bulletproof cars if they are sent to set up terrorism checkpoints at the border, for example,” Walter said in an interview.However, one expert cautioned that police patrols that look like military units could have an adverse effect on the public.“It doesn’t make sense to try to fight terrorism by arming foot police with weaponry of war,” said Rafael Behr, a criminologist at the Hamburg Police Academy. “It’s ineffective — and it’s the wrong signal to the population. Militarizing policemen on patrol will only create more fear of a potential terrorist attack.”Germany has not suffered a major terrorist attack by Islamic extremists but officials say there has been a high risk for years.“The situation is serious, it’s deadly serious,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in a TV interview last month.“ISIL has declared war on us, Germany and the West, and the group wants to carry out terrorist attacks,” said Hans-Georg Maaßen, chief of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, during a radio interview in January.center_img BERLIN – Germany’s Federal Police, who patrol borders, airports and railway stations, are ill-equipped to respond to a Paris- or Brussels-style attack or hinder terrorists from entering the country, according to their union leader.“We are short-staffed, and our policemen on the ground don’t have the equipment to deal with this sort of terrorism we are observing,” federal police union leader Ernst Walter told POLITICO. “This puts both our officers and the population at great risk.”In the wake of the November 13 attacks in Paris and the March 22 bombings in Brussels, Walter demanded better protection for police officers patrolling on foot and by car, including bulletproof vests and armouring some of their vehicles.last_img read more

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France lifts caps on farm compensation after frost threatens harvest

first_imgFrance will immediately lift a cap on disaster compensation for farmers after several nights of exceptional frost, which has threatened crops around the country, Prime Minister Jean Castex said Saturday.The government will use all the means at its disposal to provide “exceptional” funding, said Castex according to French news channel BFM Business. During a visit to a farm in southeast France, he said the government would also work with banks and insurers to help farmers. The unexpected frost has hit 80 percent of French vineyards, according to one estimate. Farmers growing fruit and field crops, such as rapeseed, are also facing bleak harvests, Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie told France Info.  Denormandie described the situation as “completely exceptional,” explaining that earlier warm weather had brought crops into bud, but the overnight frosts led to a sudden freezing. “Once the bud freezes, the whole harvest is deeply damaged, sometimes even completely lost,” he said.last_img read more

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‘We are all teachers and we are all learners’

first_imgThe threat of thunderstorms on Sunday (Sept. 9) persuaded planners of the Opening Exercises for the Class of 2011 to move the event from the tree-shaded lawns of Tercentenary Theatre to the varnished vaults of Sanders. The venerable auditorium, Harvard’s largest indoor venue, was filled to capacity by the crowd of freshmen and their parents.Once safe from the prospect of inclement weather (which never materialized), the freshmen were treated to a program of encouraging exhortations punctuated by performances by the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, the Radcliffe Choral Society, the Harvard Glee Club, the Kuumba Singers, and the Harvard Band.Harvard President Drew Faust delivered the keynote address, a warm welcome to the new class, followed by a challenging invitation to partake of the educational riches available to them at Harvard.The size and complexity of Harvard can be daunting, she said, so much so that “As a dean here once put it, the place ought to come with an owner’s manual. Or at least a map, a whistle, a compass, and a sandwich.” Although Faust did not promise that every freshman would be supplied with these accouterments, she did offer them some important considerations to keep in mind as they explored the University’s infinite byways.First, she urged them to remember that Harvard is a research university, and an exceptionally large one at that. Its mission is not simply to impart what is known, but to expand the frontiers of knowledge, an activity in which undergraduates are just as welcome to take part as Nobel Prize-winning professors.“As you get started at Harvard,” Faust said, “one thing to remember about a research university is this fundamental premise: we are all teachers and we are all learners. In every seminar and laboratory and archive, we cultivate the habits of civil and curious inquiry, of capacious mind and spirit, in order to reconstruct, re-vision, and reformulate what is known. Professors, graduate students, and undergraduates alike must believe in this double commitment of teaching and scholarship, and its continuum of discovery, and of learning.”The second thing to remember about Harvard, Faust said, is its commitment to public service, which can be traced back to the school’s earliest beginnings and its Puritan founders’ intention to “prepare young people to serve the greater community.”Today, students at Harvard have more opportunities to serve their community than ever before, whether by “running a local homeless shelter, teaching dance to fifth- and sixth-graders, living and working in a public housing project for the summer,” or engaging in international efforts such as investigating children’s rights violations in St. Petersburg, Russia, optimizing AIDS health-care delivery in South Africa, or working with Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health to improve health care in Haiti, Peru, Rwanda, and Russia.This “cauldron of creativity” that is Harvard offers “unparalleled choice and opportunity” to both learn and serve, Faust said. While the number of options can be overwhelming, the doors are always open for undergraduates who wish to try out a new field. Faust related the stories of several students whose initial, uncertain steps soon brought them to the point where they were helping to make original contributions to their chosen field.Lief Fenno ’07, for example, took Professor George Whiteside’s course on “DNA and the Molecules of Life” and discovered that he had a passion for the life sciences. This newfound interest led to a work-study job in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology lab and then to research on stem cells with biology professor Douglas Melton. By his senior year Fenno was growing Parkinson’s disease cells in the lab, a breakthrough that has made it easier for scientists to study the illness.“At the beginning,” Fenno said, “I didn’t know how to do this, but people were overflowing with helpfulness. One day I was asking for directions to the bathroom, and then I was asking to work in Professor Melton’s lab. At Harvard, anything you might need is there. The equipment, the expertise, the connections, they are all there.”Junior Elizabeth Gettinger did not expect to have personal contact with her professors when she entered Harvard as a freshman, Faust said. But when she took a Core course in Mesoamerican Civilizations she received an e-mail from her professor, archaeologist William Fash, inviting her to participate in his summer field school in the ancient Maya city of Copàn. Her hands-on experience excavating Maya ruins led her to return the following summer and to take a job working in Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.Faust urged the freshmen to follow the examples of these enterprising upperclassmen.“Discover the byways and the rich troves of Harvard,” Faust said. “Do not wait. Start exploring now. Harvard is far more than its 10 Schools and the College. Think of it as the treasure room of hidden objects Harry [Potter] discovers at Hogwarts — libraries, museums, centers of all kinds.”When the Opening Exercises were over, the students and their parents marched out of Sanders to the energetic playing of the Harvard University Band, crossed the still-dry Tercentenary Theatre to the steps of Widener Library, where all 1,600-plus members of the freshman class assembled for a group photo.Nina Webb, the mother of freshman Alex Konrad, gazed at the rows of students, searching for her son’s face. She and her husband, Kerry Konrad, were both members of the Class of 1979. Remembering her own Opening Exercises 28 years ago, she was struck by both the similarities and the differences.“It seems that the College is trying much harder to make the students feel that they’re part of the University,” she said. “It seems like a kinder, gentler experience. But it also seems like a lot of fun.”On Wednesday (Sept. 12), Faust spoke before a gathering of new doctoral and master’s degree candidates at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). She said that all of them, in their respective fields of knowledge, were dedicating themselves to changing the way we understand the world, and by the time they receive their degrees that new understanding will have become part of the fund of human knowledge.“You will have discovered something new, something no one else understood or knew before in quite the way you will have captured it and explained it,” Faust said.She ended by welcoming the GSAS students to the company of scholars.“It’s a company in which I have spent my life, and I am so pleased that I made that decision. I hope that you will be pleased that you have made that decision as well. I look forward to watching you change the world, to change how we understand the world, both during your years here at Harvard and in the course you pursue in the years to follow.”Incoming President Drew Faust will be formally installed as Harvard’s 28th president on Oct. 12, at an outdoor ceremony in the Tercentenary Theatre. An academic procession, featuring representatives of universities from around the world, will begin at 2 p.m. The installation will begin at 2:30 p.m. The event will be open to all faculty, staff, and students.last_img read more

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Aric Almirola opens up: Nothing official for 2018, ‘an honor’ to drive for Petty

first_imgIt’s been a particularly busy news week for driver Aric Almirola, as his Richard Petty Motorsports team announced neither he nor longtime sponsor Smithfield Foods will return to the organization next season.Speaking to NASCAR.com, Almirola said he was informed he would not return to RPM weeks ago and has been looking at employment opportunities with other Monster Energy Series teams ever since.“Actually I was rather shocked when I found out,” Almirola said of the news he wouldn’t return to RPM. But, he said repeatedly, he understands the business of the sport and the complicated synergy of driver, team and sponsor.Smithfield Foods has already said it will join Stewart-Haas Racing next year. SHR driver Danica Patrick announced this week she will not be back with the team, so there is a prime opening and much speculation about the veteran Almirola possibly going there.Almirola said there is no news to announce about his 2018 plans, but remained optimistic both he and RPM would land firmly on their collective feet.MORE: RPM statement | Danica’s statementThe 2014 summer Daytona race winner, Almirola is part of a bumper crop of veteran free agents. He sounded hopeful about his plans next season, but reiterated nothing has been finalized yet.“I’m a race car driver and that’s all I want to do, is race,” Almirola said. “From the time I moved to North Carolina from Florida, I never had a Plan B. And until that window of opportunity to drive a race car closes, I’ll go with Plan A.“The next 10 weeks are going to be strange. We’ll finish out the last 10 races of the season doing the best we can. That’s in the best interest of all us. The whole garage area pays attention to that stuff and it’s in our best interest to perform at a high level and finish out year on a high note.”SILLY SEASON: The 2017 key playersAs news about Almirola’s departure surfaced, longtime Petty Motorsports sponsor, STP, responded on Twitter wishing the 33-year-old driver well.“STP has had the privilege of calling Aric Almirola our driver, STP representative and friend for six years,” it read. “Aric brought STP back to Victory Lane and into the NASCAR playoffs and we are grateful for the class he has shown along the way.”Almirola was similarly grateful and complimentary of the sponsors he’s had at RPM during his six-year tenure with the team that produced a victory (Daytona), a pole position (Charlotte, 2012) and 28 top-10 finishes. He has posted a pair of top-five finishes this season at Daytona and Talladega.“My last six years at RPM, it has been truly an honor for me to drive for all of our brands,” Almirola stressed. “Smithfield, obviously, has been the primary sponsor and it’s been great working with them. Also to be a representative of the U.S. Air Force was great. I was born on an Air Force base and my father was in the Air Force.“To be associated with STP and their history in the sport and with Richard (Petty), has been incredible. Our partners with Fresh from Florida, and me being from Florida, that has been so cool for me. … I’ve built all these relationships and it’s been fun and really an honor.”Almirola is hopeful the final months of the season will prove invigorating as well — that good things remain on the horizon for both himself and the Richard Petty Motorsports team he has been a part of for so long. There are no bad feelings, he says, only motivation to move on in a positive way.“Any break up in life is challenging,” he said. “Finding out many weeks ago they would go a different direction was hurtful. I was sad and disappointed, but I know they have to make decisions on what they think is appropriate and necessary.“Now it’s time for me to pick myself up and move on. I’ve built all these relationships during the past six years and it’s been fun and really an honor.”last_img read more

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James Taylor Launches Archival Video Series With 1970 Cover Of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” [Watch]

first_imgJames Taylor took to his website this week, announcing a new archival video series that will see him release one song at a time over the coming weeks and months.Related: James Taylor Performs “You Can Close Your Eyes” With Family On ‘Fallon’ [Watch]“There’s a lot of stuff in the vault from over the years and we’ll rummage around in there – see what we can find… We’ll do our best to maintain the sharpest photographic clarity and highest fidelity sound quality that modern technology can afford,” he said in a post to the landing page of his website.He continued, “Best perhaps to start at the beginning, so up first are some the songs from a BBC broadcast in the early 1970s. This may not be the earliest film of me performing… but it’s got to be close. We will roll these out one song at a time over the next many weeks. I wish you the joy of it.”Taylor launched the series with a remastered video of his cover of The Beatles‘ “With A Little Help From My Friends”, filmed during his November 16th, 1970 performance on BBC in Concert. Clocking-in at 3:22, Taylor’s acoustic rendition takes a minimal, yet powerful, approach to the 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s classic. The performance came shortly after the release of his sophomore album, Sweet Baby James.Check out the video below and head to Taylor’s YouTube channel for the latest archival footage as it become available.James Taylor – “With A Little Help From My Friends” – 11/16/70[Video: James Taylor]last_img read more

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Official London 2012 uniforms for Games Makers and Technical Officials

first_img Related The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has unveiled the designs of the Games Maker uniform that will be worn by around 70,000 volunteers and 6,000 LOCOG staff and the Technical Officials uniform which will be worn by around 4,500 Technical Officials during the London 2012 Games.The uniforms will be a visible presence for the millions of spectators who will visit London and the rest of the UK next year. They fulfil all the necessary practical criteria for a diverse range of Games Makers, LOCOG staff and Technical Officials to undertake the varied roles that will be required during the Games.The Olympic Triathlon was one of the first sports to recruit its full allocation of sport-specific Games Makers.John Lunt Triathlon Manager for the London 2012 Olympic Games was delighted to see the uniforms unveiled. “The Olympic Triathlon will have over a 1000 Games Makers and 40 Technical Officials working on what we hope to be one of the most spectacular events of the London Olympic Games. The uniform will certainly add to the spectacle and colour of the events. I’m sure every volunteer will wear their uniform with pride.” The design of the Games Maker uniform has drawn inspiration from the heritage and culture of the UK, influenced by the historic Grenadier Guards uniform and British Sporting heritage – including the London 1948 Games, Wimbledon Tennis and Henley Regatta but with a twist that reflects British quirkiness and modern design.The Games Maker uniform, designed by LOCOG in association with London 2012’s official sportswear provider and British Triathlon’s Official Sportswear Supplier, adidas, has a deep purple and poppy red colour scheme. The details on the uniform evoke the pride and heritage of the United Kingdom. The colours and details on the uniform celebrate the best of British sport, history and fashion.Key features of the Technical Officials uniform include engraved buttons with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, embroidery under the collar featuring the distinctive London sky line, the official’s oath as a label and lining inside the suit featuring iconic London buildings including the Gherkin and the London Eye.Technical Officials may also wear a casual uniform depending on their sport. This uniform has also been designed by adidas and is the same as the Games Maker uniforms however the colours are blue and white. International Federations will be able to use the epaulettes to carry the logo of their individual sports.Each Games Maker will receive a jacket, polo shirt, trousers, trainers, socks, cap, bag, water bottle and an umbrella. Each Technical Official uniform will come with jacket, pair of trousers and skirt (for women), a shirt for men and a blouse for women, a belt, a bag which can fit a laptop, a Trilby hat and a tie for men and a scarf for women.All the uniforms have been produced in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and other local environmental impacts, while also taking full account of responsible sourcing throughout the supply chain. Suppliers and factories have been briefed with regards to the sustainability standards set by LOCOG, and regular audits are conducted to ensure that all products are sourced and transported in an ethical manner.Games Makers will start picking up their uniforms from April 2012. Technical Officials will pick up their uniforms from June 2012.www.london2012.comlast_img read more

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SurgeX Intros Squid Power Management Device

first_imgSurgeX has introduced the new Squid power management device at ISE (SurgeX booth 1-F60). Squid includes networked control and analytics of AC and DC, front-end protection with SurgeX’s patented Multi-Stage surge suppression technology as well as monitoring and management capabilities. Squid includes two 5-volt USB ports for charging and network troubleshooting, eight outputs, four of which are traditional controlled and monitored IEC receptacles, and four are DC so integrators can eliminate the need for wall warts or a two-box solution. By using a relay-based system, the AC and DC ports can be controlled, the device can be monitored, and can be easily integrated into third-party control systems.Available in three models for (2) 12V, (2) 24V, and a combination of the two, integrators can use Squid to power small spaces and keep them running smoothly with preventative maintenance, mounting the small device in the rack, behind a flat panel, mounted under a table, or integrated into a table hatch. With built-in autosensing, Squid is also the first SurgeX product with universal compatibility with 120V to 240V, allowing global companies to simplify installations and spec the same product into its offices worldwide. As a proper, intelligent, and flexible power foundation, Squid offers SurgeX Axess ELITE capabilities such as sequencing, scheduling, auto-ping, IP Control, monitoring, and management, helping integrators reduce service calls through proactive management. Squid features built-in diagnostic monitoring, similar to the popular SurgeX enVision, providing a single solution for management, mitigation and control of the system’s power.Squid measures electrical parameters, including voltage, current, power, frequency, power factor, and crest factor, and provides time-stamped power quality events and internal storage of 30 days’ worth of max/min/average electrical parameters. Squid meets the highest security standards, with support for all the leading network security protocols including 802.1x authentication and active directory.Squid will be available in three models: 12V, 24V, and a combined 12V and 24V model in March 2020. Here are the specs: www.surgex.comlast_img read more

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Harrison Properties will build 80KSF office building

first_imgChandler Elliot Partners LLC, an investment partnership headed by Jim Harrison of Harrison Properties, purchased a 12.8-acre commercial land site at Arizona Avenue and Elliot Road in Chandler.Chandler Elliot Partners plans to construct and develop a 80,000 square-foot office building pre-leased to the Arizona Department of Economic Security.The all-cash transaction totalled $3,647,692. Escrow closed on February 26, 2016.Lee & Associates Principal Rick Robertson represented both Harrison Properties and the seller, Pollack Business Park South LLC, an investment partnership headed by East Valley real estate developer, Michael A. Pollack. The property consists of lots 1 through 9 of the Pollack Business Park South.The new concrete tilt construction building will feature 550-car parking and was a fast track design/build project by Sun State Builders.Site work on the fully-improved, (I-1, PAD-zoned) parcel has already begun. The Department of Economic Security signed a long-term lease and it is anticipated that 400 employees will work in the new building when construction is completed in August 2016.last_img read more

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Where Some Earn Enmity, Jobs Won Affection

first_imgThe New York Times:Steven P. Jobs — domineering, short-tempered and anything but warm and fuzzy — has done something few business people in history have ever accomplished: engender genuine affection.His decision to step down as chief executive of Apple brought people to tears, inspired loving tributes to him on the Web and even had some adoring customers flocking to Apple stores on Thursday to share their sentiments with other fans of Macs, iPhones and iPads.“Through the mist in my eyes, I am having a tough time focusing on the screen of this computer,” wrote Om Malik, the prominent technology blogger. “I want to wake up and find it was all a nightmare.”Andrew Baughen, a church vicar from London who paused during his San Francisco vacation to shop at an Apple store after he heard the news, said he was praying for Mr. Jobs. Apple, he said, “is not a corporation. It’s more like a family, a movement. I’d like to meet him in heaven and say, ‘Thank you.’ ”Business leaders, whether fictional like Ebenezer Scrooge and Gordon Gekko or real like Rupert Murdoch or Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, are usually regarded with considerably less warmth, as rapacious rather than revered. “It’s unusual right here, right now, given that Americans’ feelings about business are just north of their feelings about Congress,” said Nancy F. Koehn, a historian at Harvard Business School.Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

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