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South Sudan: 7 killed in plane crash shortly after Juba takeoff | News

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A cargo plane belonging to a local operator has crashed near South Sudan’s capital, killing four passengers and three crew members, according to the country’s transport minister.

The aircraft crashed in the Kameru neighbourhood shortly after its early morning takeoff on Saturday from Juba’s international airport.

“There were eight people on board, three passengers and five crew. A single person from among the passengers survived and she is in good health,” Transport Minister Madut Biar Yel told AFP news agency.

“The four other passengers and the three crew members are dead.”

According to the minister, the crew members were Russian while the passengers were all South Sudanese.

The plane owned by local company South West Aviation had been carrying cash to the Wau region in the country’s northwest for Juba-based Opportunity Bank, according to AFP.

Several planes have crashed in recent years in South Sudan, a country emerging from a ruinous civil war that broke out in 2013, two years after it gained independence from Sudan.

In 2015, 36 people were killed when a Soviet-era Antonov plane crashed just after takeoff from Juba.

In 2017, 37 people had a miraculous escape after their plane hit a fire truck on a runway in northwestern Wau before bursting into flames.

Nineteen people were killed in 2018 when a small aircraft carrying passengers from Juba to the city of Yirol crashed.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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China is world’s ‘biggest jailer of journalists’, says RSF | Freedom of the Press News

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China continues to take internet censorship, surveillance and propaganda to “unprecedented levels”, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has said, making it one of the world’s worst countries for journalists.

In its annual press freedom index, published on Tuesday, the global watchdog also highlighted an increase in repression and attacks on journalists worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The index evaluates the press freedom situation in 180 countries and territories, and RSF said its data showed that journalism is “totally blocked or seriously impeded” in nearly three-quarters of the countries evaluated, making it even harder for people to access proper information at a time of a health emergency.

Aside from China, the four countries at the bottom of the ranking are Djibouti, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Costa Rica were ranked highest for press freedom.

“Journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement accompanying the report.

“In response to the virality of disinformation across borders, on digital platforms and via social media, journalism provides the most effective means of ensuring that public debate is based on a diverse range of established facts.”

Deloire, however, said that the production and distribution of information “are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors”.

‘Biggest jailer’

In 2021, China continued to be the world’s “biggest jailer of press freedom defenders”, RSF said, with more than 120 currently detained in the country, “often in life-threatening conditions”.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, Chinese authorities have tightened their grip on news and information, with seven journalists still being held for their coverage of the pandemic. Lawyer-turned-journalist Zhang Zhan is among those in prison.

She was found guilty in December of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for her reporting on the pandemic in Wuhan, where the novel virus was first detected.

Additionally, more than 450 social media users in China were briefly arrested for sharing “false rumours” of the virus, RSF said.

Chinese authorities also intensified harassment of foreign correspondents, RSF said, citing a March report by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China. The report said at least 18 foreign correspondents were expelled in the first half of 2020, while the broadcast of BBC was banned.

Internet censorship in China also reached “unprecedented levels” in recent years, RSF said, with “an army of censors” deployed under President Xi Jinping to target the country’s almost 989 million internet users.

The censors shut down websites, block access to IP addresses, filter web pages and even block keywords on social media. In an earlier report from March, RSF said that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) shut down nearly 130,000 social media accounts and more than 12,000 websites between January to September 2020.

RSF went on to criticise China for imposing a national security law in semi-autonomous Hong Kong, saying the legislation “seriously threatens journalists”. It noted that Jimmy Lai, the founder of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, has been arrested and charged under the security law and is now facing a possible life sentence.

Sharpest drop in ranking

The country that fell the furthest in the RSF ranking was Malaysia, which dropped 18 spots to 119. Part of the reason was the government’s introduction in March of an “anti-fake news” emergency decree, which authorities said was necessary to fight misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the decree, issued under emergency powers, those found guilty of publishing “fake news” face a fine of as much as 100,000 Malaysian ringgits ($24,000) and/or a three-year prison term.

But human rights groups say the decree does not establish standards for determining what is false, raising the risk it could be used to silence criticism or other speech that the government does not like.

RSF, in a statement at the time of the decree’s issuance, said “the ordinance makes the dissemination of information directly subject to the goodwill of authorities – police or judicial”. It noted that Malaysian authorities had refused last year to renew work visas for two Australians who worked for Al Jazeera, Drew Ambrose and Jenni Henderson, because they had worked on a documentary about a wave of arrests of migrant workers during the pandemic.

Across the world, RSF said, the index data reflected “a dramatic deterioration in people’s access to information and an increase in obstacles to news coverage”.

The country that fell the furthest in 2021 was Malaysia, dropping 18 spots to 119, following the recent “anti-fake news” decree issued by the government under its emergency powers [Stringer/Reuters]

“The coronavirus pandemic has been used as grounds to block journalists’ access to information sources and reporting in the field. Will this access be restored when the pandemic is over?” it asked.

The watchdog also expressed concern over falling trust in the press, noting that the 2021 Edelman Trust barometer revealed “a disturbing level of public mistrust of journalists”. The survey found that 59 percent of respondents in 28 countries said that journalists deliberately try to mislead the public by reporting information they know to be false.

But, “in reality, journalistic pluralism and rigorous reporting serve to combat disinformation and ‘infodemics’, including false and misleading information,” said RSF.

Overall, the watchdog said, the level of global press freedom has deteriorated by 12 percent since the ranking was created in 2013.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Chad's president Idriss Déby dies 'in clashes with rebels'

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Idriss Déby dies just hours after provisional election results set him on course for a sixth term.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Just in: Chad President Edriss Deby Killed By Rebels While Visiting Soldiers on Front-line

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Chad President Idriss Déby has been killed, the national army confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

According to a confirmation from the national army of Chad read on national radio, the newly re-elected President Idriss Déby has died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the north.

In a swift change of fate, after news had come in that Chad’s veteran president, Idriss Déby had won a sixth term in the latest provisional results in on Monday by 79.3%, an announcement broadcast  on national radio today has announced his death.

According to the army spokesperson, Général Azem Bemrandoua Agouna, the military had been pushed back by a column of insurgents who were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena.

Déby, was expected to give a victory speech after receiving the provisional results, but opted instead to visit Chadian solidears on the front lines, said his campaign director Mahamat Zen Bada.

 

The post Just in: Chad President Edriss Deby Killed By Rebels While Visiting Soldiers on Front-line first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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