Thursday - October 25, 2018

Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio.

For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have 8 athletes competing; and a good shot for a medal in women's judo: Majlinda Kelmendi is considered a favorite. She's ranked first in the world in her weight class.

(South Sudan's James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel & coach Joe Domongole, © AFP) South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, will have three runners competing in the country's first Olympic Games.

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus


(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)



CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au)




Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Entries in Tim Hetherington (3)


Obama Honours Journalists Under Attack Around World (NEWS BRIEF)

US President Barack Obama. CREDIT: White House(HN, April 30, 2011) US President Barack Obama, pausing during a mostly humour-filled White House Correspondents Dinner this evening, defended the right of journalists to do their job around the world.

Speaking in front of 3,000 guests at the annual event in Washington, D.C., Obama said journalists are increasingly under threat.

Said Obama: "In the last months we have seen journalists threatened, arrested, beaten, attacked, and in some cases even killed - simply for doing their best to bring us the story..giving people a voice and holding people accountable.

"And through it all we have seen daring men and women risk their lives for the simple idea that no one should be silenced and everyone deserves to know the truth."

He said reporting by journalists is "especially important in times of challenge - like the moment America and the world is facing now."

The US President paid tribute to "those that have been lost as a consequence of extraordinary reporting that they have done over recent weeks. They help too to defend our freedoms and allow democracy to flourish."

According to the figures collected by Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization that fights for the rights, freedom, and protection of journalists worldwide, 25 journalists were killed in 2002, 64 in 2005, 87 in 2007, and 18 since the beginning of the year.

Earlier this month, award-winning photo-journalist and documentary film-maker Tim Hetherington and a colleague were killed while reporting on the ongoing conflict in Libya.

- HUMNEWS staff



“Deployment of Solo TV News Crews to Foreign Conflict Zones Problematic” - Indeed (PERSPECTIVE)

By Maggie Padlewska

(HN, April 23, 2011) News-gathering technology is without doubt becoming more accessible, portable, and inconspicuous.

More and more journalists are trained and expected to file stories for multiple mediums (print, radio, television, and the web), once all considered independent of each other. Major networks are increasingly focused on cost-effectiveness, thus cutting back on resources and much of its “human” workforce. The obvious result: fewer people, doing more.

It is no surprise, therefore, that major networks are now toying with the idea of deploying a one-person "crew" to report from conflict zones. This was expected.

The question is: is it “too soon” or flat out “problematic”?

The risk factor involved reporting from a conflict zone is not new nor, sadly, one that is likely to diminish miraculously over time.

According to the figures collected by Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization that fights for the rights, freedom, and protection of journalists worldwide, 25 journalists were killed in 2002, 64 in 2005, 87 in 2007, and 18 since the beginning of the year.  

So, should deep-pocketed networks deploy “Backpack Journalists” (BPJs) or 'Multi-Media Journalists' (MMJs) to report, single-handedly from conflict zones without any safeguards in place? No. Should BPJs avoid reporting from conflict zones? Not necessarily.

MMJs have been presented with a significant and unique set of opportunities: lightweight mobility, rapid field production (laptop editing and story filing via the Internet), and most importantly, as noted by Professor Stacey Woelfel during the National Association of Broadcaster panel discussion, a dramatic decrease with respect to the “intimidation factor” for interviewees. Thus, there is much to be gained from this independent form of reporting. Padlewska on the job as a MMJ in Panama

As for reaping the benefits? The key perhaps, is therefore, to strike the proper balance. There is strength (and safety!) in numbers – true.

Now apply that to independent MMJs gathering in a conflict zone…and what do we have? The best of both worlds perhaps…

Sadly, however, while “numbers” may increase the odds of safety (such as providing video journalists and photographers with additional sets of eyes to watching each others’ backs as noted by veteran news-photographer Kevin Benz), they do not guarantee safety.

The tragic loss of photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros in Libya earlier this week, is another grim and harrowing reminder of the danger and risks involved in conflict zone reporting; be it as an independent or a member of a crew.

Hence, while deploying solo MMJs to conflict zones may be tempting for major networks (highly effective and cheap), now, or later, is not the time for cutbacks that could further jeopardize the safety and security of those who, courageously and selflessly, step in harm’s way to report on the horrors of conflict without first putting much thought into the ‘real cost’ of “cost-effectiveness”.

Maggie Padlewska is an independent video journalist and founder of the One Year One World initiative; a solo journey around the globe to document and share the stories of people who lack the resources to share their views and ideas with the world (oneyearoneworld.com). She has worked as television news reporter, host, director, producer, editor and writer for both national and international networks for more than a decade. She is a fearless multilingual nomad with several degrees, a passion for storytelling, and a relentless curiosity of the world. 


Remembering Tim Hetherington (Opinion/Blog) 

- by Sue Turton 

Tim Hetherington - photographer and filmmaker We were at the eastern gate to the Libyan city of Ajdabiya 10 days ago trying to figure out which way the frontline was going when I first spotted Tim Hetherington out here. 

He came bounding over, grinning broadly, cameras dripping from his neck. I teased him about his huge success with 'Restrepo', his gritty documentary about life embedded with a US unit in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. 

"So what's fame and fortune like big man?" 

His grin broadened even wider. "Well, clearly I've come direct from the red carpet!"

He commented on my light blue flak jacket: "always looking glamorous on the frontline Sue". 

It was typical Tim, switching the conversation away from himself, always humble, never crowing about his amazing talent or the recognition it had gotten recently. 

I first met him in a 'greasy spoon' cafe next to the ITN studios in central London. We were about to head to Liberia together for Channel 4 News, his first assignment as a cameraman as opposed to a stills photographer. Tim was very tall and very skinny but he quickly demolished a full English breakfast at top speed. After all, he was freelance and ITN was paying.

He talked about this West African country that he knew intimately, having lived there for many years, embedded with the rebels in the dirt as they advanced on Monrovia. It was clear from that first meeting that he had great affection for its people.

In Monrovia, Tim checked us into a hotel far from the one the rest of the press pack stayed at. But this was where the local politicians ate and Tim knew the Lebanese owner who was well briefed to sound the alarm bells back with the newsdesk if we didn't call in at certain times. And the Lebanese meze was great - food always a priority.

One afternoon we headed deep into a rubber plantation to try to talk to some of the child soldiers. The further into the jungle we went the more nervous I got. It was a shocking road, all pot holes and rocks, and I kept glimpsing faces in the undergrowth. 

Zubin, our local fixer, who was sitting next to me in the back of our old pick-up truck, suddenly produced a very large knife from his trouser leg and laid it on his lap. Now I was quietly thinking "where the hell did I put our medical kit?"

We rounded a tight bend and pulled up sharpish. The road was blocked by a very old and shot-up Landrover with four serious-looking, AK-47-wearing dudes sitting inside. Tim got out of the front seat and walked towards them. Their driver turned to say something to his buddies. Rubin shuffled in the backseat, hand gripping his knife a little tighter. I said a very quick prayer. The driver flung open the door and jumped out of the Landy and yelled, "Mister Tim...how are you brother?"

Close shave

We laughed a lot on that trip. At one point we went into the Executive Mansion, Charles Taylor's former pad, to try to get permission to film. As we were taken deep into this cavernous building Tim joked that Taylor had kept a tiger in the basement and fed it on his political opponents. He roared loudly as we walked down one hollow corridor, frightening the life out of me.

Permission was denied but we decided to film the mansion anyway. Our old pick-up pulled up in front, midway between two army checkpoints and we darted out to record me quickly talking to the camera. Once in the can we leapt back into the truck and yelled the driver to move - the soldiers had spotted us and were running at us from both ends of the street. The driver turned the key. Silence.

He turned the key again. Again silence. Our trusty pick-up had decided to break down in the worst place imaginable. Twenty seconds felt like two hours as again the vehicle refused to spark into life. Fourth time lucky. We skidded away, laughing nervously at such a ridiculously close shave. 

We went back to Liberia after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president, the first ever female African president. The country still had a long way to go to recover from such a devastating civil war but it was a fitting conclusion to the years Tim had devoted to that country. We both warmed to Ellen. Her reputation wasn't squeaky clean but her heart was in the right place. 

When 'Restrepo' was released I told him that I'd watched it in Kabul with a bunch of former SAS blokes and they were blown away by his footage. His immediate response wasn't to bask in the compliment but to ask if it was on sale in the supermarkets in Kabul and whether it was a blackmarket copy. Most filmmakers would see that as a bad thing as it would reduce their profits. Not Tim. He was chuffed that the bootleggers were copying his film.

Tim cared about the people he filmed or photographed and it showed in his work. We've lost one of the world's greatest photojournalists and one of the industry's nicest guys. God bless you mate. 

by Sue Turton - originally published by Al-Jazeera on April 21, 2011 under Creative Commons Licensing