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Protests after Black man shot in the back by police in Wisconsin | USA News

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Protests erupted in Kenosha in the US state of Wisconsin after police shot an apparently unarmed Black man multiple times in the back, prompting authorities to impose a curfew.

The shooting occurred at about 5pm (22:00 GMT) as officers were responding to what they called a “domestic incident”. The victim was immediately taken to a hospital by the police, according to a Kenosha police department statement.

No further explanation was given by the police as to what led to the shooting, in which one officer fired seven rounds into the man’s back. The Wisconsin Department of Justice said early on Monday that the officers involved had been placed on administrative leave.

The incident on Sunday was likely to add to continuing outrage and protests in the US and abroad against police brutality and racism since the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The victim in Kenosha, identified by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as Jacob Blake, was hospitalised in serious condition.

A video circulating on social media and cited by the US media showed a man walking towards a car followed by two officers and one of them shooting him as he opens the car door.

Soon afterwards, multiple fires were set at the scene by a crowd that gathered to protest the incident.

Evers, in a tweet, said Blake had been “shot in the back multiple times in broad daylight”.

“We stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites,” said Evers.

‘Mercilessly killed’

Social media posts showed crowds marching down the streets of Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 people on Lake Michigan, 100km (65 miles) north of Chicago, and throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at police officers.

Police responded by imposing a city-wide curfew until 7am local time (12:00 GMT).

The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation said it would aim to issue a report to prosecutors within 30 days, US media reported.

Evers said while full details of the incident had yet to emerge, Blake was among Black people to have been injured or “mercilessly killed” by police in the United States.

“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity and accountability for Black lives in our country,” Evers said, mentioning Floyd and other victims of brutal law enforcement.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said Blake’s three sons were in the car at the time and he had been trying to break up a fight between two women.

“They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatised forever,” Crump said on Twitter.

Clyde McLemore, who local Kenosha TV identified as part of a nearby chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, said at the scene “we’re tired of it”.

“The frustration is boiling to the top and we’re sick and tired.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Deaths and desperation in India’s capital as COVID cases rise | India News

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New Delhi, India – A second wave of coronavirus cases in India has seen a record surge in recent weeks, making the South Asian nation the new global epicentre of the virus.

On Tuesday, India reported 1,761 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours – the highest daily toll since the pandemic erupted more than a year ago – and 259,170 new infections.

On Monday, the national capital Delhi saw 240 deaths, the city’s highest since the pandemic began.

Residents in Delhi, which is under a six-day lockdown that began on Monday night, are fighting for hospital beds, oxygen, medicines – and even a place in its many crematoriums and graveyards.

Family members of those deceased due to the coronavirus have to wait for hours to perform the last rites, as crematoriums and burial grounds struggle amid the surge in deaths.

Health experts fear a rapid spread of COVID-19 disease would be devastating in the world’s second-most populous nation with a fragile healthcare system.

India began the world’s biggest vaccination drive in January, but has reported a shortage of shots. Meanwhile, diagnostics firms testing for the virus remain stretched as they struggle to deal with the spike in infections.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Climate change: Future-proofing coffee in a warming world

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A “forgotten” coffee plant that grows in warmer conditions could help ensure the drink’s future.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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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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