US, Uzbekistan – RSF welcomes Muhammad Bekjanov, once the world’s longest-detained journalist, to Washington

first_img Receive email alerts Once the editor of Uzbekistan’s leading opposition newspaper, Erk (Freedom), Muhammad Bekjanov is one of the world’s longest-detained reporters, having spent 18 years in prison. Today, he considers himself an independent journalist serving the Uzbek community and an inadvertent advocate for political reform and rehabilitation in Uzbekistan. Bekjanov traveled to Washington, accompanied by his oldest daughter Aygul, on September 5 and 6 for a series of meetings with members of Congress, the State Department, human rights organizations and the press. During these meetings Bekjanov discussed his experiences as a political prisoner, the media environment today, and opportunities to push for genuine political reform in Uzbekistan. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomed Uzbek journalist Muhammad Bekjanov, once the world’s longest detained reporter and winner of RSF’s 2013 Press Freedom Prize, to Washington, DC, earlier this month for a series of meetings with members of the US government, nongovernmental organizations, and press. Uzbekistan is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Organisation New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council RSF awarded Bekjanov the RSF Press Freedom Prize in 2013, and has worked closely on his case for many years. Bekjanov was released from prison just months after the brutal President Islam Karimov died in September 2016 and Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office. Under new leadership, dozens of political prisoners, including at least 10 journalists, have been released from prison and some new independent media outlets are forming. While many are eager to applaud the Uzbek government for these improvements, Bekjanov says the press freedom situation “has only moved up one millimeter.” Around 10,000 political prisoners remain detained in Uzbekistan, and reports of bloggers being arrested and detained since late-August have recently surfaced. “It is very important to keep pressure on the Uzbek government in order to make sure they’re actually complying with human rights and political reforms,” Bekjanov told RSF. News RSF_en September 21, 2018 US, Uzbekistan – RSF welcomes Muhammad Bekjanov, once the world’s longest-detained journalist, to Washington Openly traveling to Tashkent for the first time in years in October 2017, RSF raised Uzbekistan’s press freedom issues at the OSCE Central Asian Media Conference, notably the imprisonment of journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev, who was later released. Bekjanov says it’s critical for press freedom groups to monitor the government’s surveillance and censorship of the internet because so many people rely on international or exiled sources, which are often only accessible online, for independent information. Further, he raised concerns that “old criminals” from the Karimov administration remain in positions of power under President Mirziyoyev, who was Karimov’s prime minister for 13 years. Bekjanov says President Mirziyoyev is “fully responsible” for rehabilitating former political prisoners, which would include clearing those unjustly detained of all charges, returning their stolen property, and adequately compensating them for the moral and physical damage associated with imprisonment. To this day, he has not received anything of the sort. UzbekistanEurope – Central Asia Activities in the field ImprisonedFreedom of expressionJudicial harassmentRSF Prize “Even if I’m sick I don’t want to put anyone under pressure,” Bekjanov told RSF. October 15, 2020 Find out more News Uzbek blogger facing possible 10-year jail term After being released from prison in February 2017 Bekjanov remained in Uzbekistan on parole for about a year before arriving in the United States in July 2018 to be reunited with his family. As editor of Erk, in the early 1990s Bekjanov tried to initiate a debate on such taboo subjects as the state of the economy, the use of forced labor in the cotton harvest, and the Aral Sea environmental disaster. He was kidnapped by Uzbek authorities while living in Ukraine in 1999 and was detained in multiple prisons throughout Uzbekistan. May 11, 2021 Find out more February 11, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Uzbekistan to go further “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with Muhammad earlier this month and discuss the press freedom climate in Uzbekistan with other NGOs and members of the US government, said Margaux Ewen, Director of RSF’s North America bureau. “We commend his courage and resilience, and are elated that Muhammad is now free and has been reunited with his family. However, the Uzbek government should be required to make reparations for Muhammad’s eighteen years in prison, and to encourage media freedom, starting by unblocking leading online media outlets.” Though he is still reacclimating to life outside prison, Bekjanov has already published a book about his experiences in eight of Uzbekistan’s most brutal prisons, and when he isn’t spending time with his grandchildren and family he is writing the second installment of his story. However, years of solitary confinement and severe torture have taken a toll on Bekjanov, who is now deaf in his right ear. His oldest daughter Aygul says her father, however, is rarely one to complain. UzbekistanEurope – Central Asia Activities in the field ImprisonedFreedom of expressionJudicial harassmentRSF Prize News More than six years in prison for Uzbek blogger who covered corruption Help by sharing this information News RSF, CPJ, and Human Rights Watch accompany Muhammad Bekjanov in meetings around Washington, DC last_img read more

Atilis Gym Members Pumped at Reopening

first_imgChris and Lesya Lambert, owners of four Atilis Gyms, are happy to welcome back members. By MADDY VITALECarlos Valencia, of Egg Harbor Township, worked out at Atilis Gym in his hometown Tuesday, the first day that gyms across the state were allowed to reopen since the COVID-19 pandemic forced shutdowns six months ago.“It’s such a release. Everybody is so amped up. They are so stressed out over COVID. Going to the gym is a release,” Valencia noted.Stacy Golinski, of Somers Point, likened the reopening of fitness centers by Gov. Phil Murphy to a holiday. “It’s Christmas day,” she said after a workout. “I’m just happy to be back to the normal routine. It’s so important, not just physically, but mentally.”Chris Lambert, owner of Atilis gyms in Egg Harbor Township, Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Wildwood, along with his wife, Lesya, who is a major part of the operation, were busy checking in members Tuesday.Jon Karp, of Mays Landing, works out on a piece of weight equipment.Gyms have been among the last to reopen of New Jersey businesses since the pandemic began in March.“I am thrilled. It is just great to be open again,” Chris Lambert noted in between welcoming members back.Lesya Lambert, a personal trainer, said she feels elated that the gyms reopened, for the health of everyone.“It isn’t just about body building. It is about working out to feel good – to be healthy,” she said. “The excitement of the people coming in says it all.” As part of the governor’s coronavirus guidelines, gyms will be limited to 25 percent of their normal capacity.Over the past six months, the Lamberts and their team have prepared their gyms and adhered strictly to all of the CDC guidelines for the health and safety of patrons and employees.Carlos Valencia, of Egg Harbor Township, says exercising in gyms is a stress reliever amid COVID-19.The Egg Harbor Township gym has 30-foot ceilings for plenty of air circulation. Its normal capacity is 388 people, but with the 25 percent capacity for coronavirus restrictions, a maximum of 97 gym members will be allowed in at any given time, Lambert explained.Under the new capacity restrictions, 40 members will be allowed to work out at the Ocean City gym at a time. Sea Isle City’s gym is smaller, but Lambert said the majority of the customers are summer residents and the season is winding down. Jon Karp, of Mays Landing, wore his required face covering Tuesday morning while using exercise machines to strengthen his back and ab muscles.Karp, who is a restaurant general manager, said he enjoys an exercise regime four times a week to alleviate stress and stay in shape.In addition to the Egg Harbor Township Atilis Gym, Karp goes to the Ocean City and Wildwood locations to use the different equipment.“I like to drive to the Ocean City gym for some of their machines and I’ll drive down to Wildwood on my days off,” he explained. “The different gyms give me energy.”For gym locations and more information on Atilis Gym visit: Gym owner Chris Lambert with member Stacy Golinski, of Somers Point.last_img read more

Junot Díaz gets personal — and political — at Harvard conference

first_img Harvard Global Institute panel examines all aspects of current crisis Tracing migration’s impact Related “You don’t have to be a Harvard student to be aware of what’s happening with migration and immigration.” With that nod to his audience, novelist Junot Díaz launched a freewheeling evening of reading and discussion Thursday at the Graduate School of Design’s Piper Auditorium.Awareness of these issues is key, said Díaz, whose “Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008.“It’s no accident that the folks who could most tell us about global conditions are being silenced in such profound ways,” he said. “This increases our lack of understanding about what is going on.” A complicated problem, made worse by politics At conference on migration, more questions than answers The author, who is also a professor of creative writing at MIT, was speaking at the inaugural Migration and the Humanities conference, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His talk and an ensuing discussion with New York Times book critic Parul Seghal and Homi Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, followed a musical interlude by a trio from the Silk Road Ensemble, with Edward Perez ’00 on bass, Martin Thomas ’18 on viola, and Hadi Eldebeck on oud. The music drew from multiple cultures.“Migration is a central and even a defining issue” of our time, said Harvard President Drew Faust in introductory remarks. “The right of movement is one of the most fundamental of human rights.”For Diaz, “an immigrant from the Caribbean,” the political is personal. “I’m really interested in the ways that my multiple identities are playing out,” he said, in “this global anti-migrant, anti-immigrant mood.”For his reading, Díaz picked a short story called “The Money.” Narrated by a young Dominican-American, the piece, which originally ran in The New Yorker, deals with property and security, the debt newcomers owe to the people they’ve left behind, and a young boy’s expectations of both his new American friends and the family who brought him here.Opening the discussion, Seghal — an Indian-American whose parents were Partition-era refugees — talked about how migration narratives have changed.,“For a very long time, there was this idea that the drama was the immigrant coming to this country, and, however reluctantly, adjusting to it,” she said. “In the last 10 years a very different kind of note has entered literature.” Describing the new focus as “much darker,” she mused that this new focus is “not what do we do with these refugees in our midst, but what creates them?”“Migration,” she noted, citing writers such as Salman Rushdie on place and identity, “is a kind of death.”This experience, and how it can skew an individual’s sense of self, is also what engages Díaz. He observed how his students, like many of his fictional characters, try to carve out authentic identities while being buffeted by violent or hypersexual stereotypes.“A community that can’t generate a lot of love is emblematic of a community with a lot of trauma,” he said. Ultimately, his work — and the questions facing a world in which so many people are on the move or displaced — must ask itself: “How do we survive the surviving? How can we create healthy intimacies?”last_img read more

Low Commercial Vacancies Persist on Long Island

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Commercial real estate vacancy rates on Long Island ended 2017 below the historical average for the region and little has changed so far this year, according to local realtors and data providers.Nassau/Suffolk industrial vacancies are still at 3.1 percent, office vacancies remain at 7.1 percent and retail vacancies have dropped from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent, according to CoStar, a commercial real estate information provider. The most noticeable shift is in the retail sector, where brick-and-mortar stores are adapting to the rise in online shopping.“Retailers are closing their stores and doing much more business online,” says Ron Koenigsberg, a broker and president of Garden City-based commercial real estate company American Investment Properties. “They are increasingly purchasing and renting warehouse space to use as distribution centers.”Office space vacancy is “down significantly from the 19 percent it once was not that long ago,” says Mario Asaro, a broker and president of Melville-based commercial real estate company Investment One. On the other hand, retail vacancy rates “seem to be climbing due to e-commerce,” he says.“The malls will have to become entertainment and recreational-minded to attract shoppers,” Asaro predicts.Jeffrey Pliskin, CEO at Garden City-based Pliskin Realty And Development, notes that while he’s been busier, clients have been signing leases for smaller spaces.“They realize they don’t need as much,” Pliskin says.As for the industrial and office markets, Koenigsberg says he’s “expecting to see an increase in rental rates and a decrease in vacancy rates for both sectors.”Total commercial sales inventory seems to have increased within the past year, he adds.“Many of our clients were waiting to see how the political environment and tax reform would affect their investment properties,” he says. “Now that some of those questions have been answered, clients are making better informed decisions on whether they will like to sell their properties.”The “changing landscape” he’s seeing is “primarily because of the transition in the retail market,” he says. One strong positive is that there are “many new businesses buying properties” on LI, he says.Although Toys “R” Us is closing all its stores and Sears continues to close stores, other large players are expanding, he notes, pointing to Amazon-owned Whole Foods announcing that it’s moving forward with plans to open two more stores, in Garden City and Commack.last_img read more

John Stones ready to talk to Mikel Arteta as Arsenal plot January transfer move

first_imgStones is looking to secure his place in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 team (Picture: Getty)Stones has badly struggled for form and fitness and the ex-Everton star has started just nine games in the Premier League this term.AdvertisementAdvertisementArteta shares a good relationship with Stones from his time in the City dugout as Guardiola’s assistant and feels the England international would be a good fit at the Emirates.The Spaniard allowed young defender Konstantinos Mavropanos to join Nurnberg on loan earlier this week which has freed up a space in Arsenal’s squad for a new addition.Stones and Arteta share the same agency which Arsenal could use to their advantage should they press ahead with a bid to land the City defender. Arteta is desperate to sign a defender following Chambers’ injury (Picture: Getty)Arteta has confirmed that he’s looking to bolster his defensive options this winter and Jerome Boateng, Dayot Upamecano and Nathan Ake have all been linked as well as Stones.‘My obligation is to give my opinion on the things we can improve,’ the Spaniard said last week.‘Obviously we have a bad injury with Calum a few days ago that will change our plans at the back.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘The reality is we will not be able to do much. I’m more concerned about getting players back from injury and try to improve the players I have here, get everybody on board and understanding what we’re trying to do.‘And if something extra comes up and we think it is the right opportunity to improve what we have, then let’s do it.’Arsenal are also on the lookout for a new recruit in defensive midfield and Athletico Paranaense president Mario Celso Petraglia confirmed their interest in Bruno Guimaraes at the weekend.MORE: Atletico Madrid ready to offer Thomas Lemar to Arsenal in exchange for Alexandre Lacazette John Stones ready to talk to Mikel Arteta as Arsenal plot January transfer move Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 14 Jan 2020 12:57 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link8.5kShares Arsenal are lining up a move for Manchester City defender John Stones (Picture: Getty)Manchester City ace John Stones is reportedly ready to hold discussions with Mikel Arteta to join Arsenal this January.The 25-year-old has failed to win Pep Guardiola’s trust after a series of high-profile mistakes across his three-and-a-half-year stay at the Etihad and makeshift centre-back Fernandinho has overtaken him in the pecking order at the heart of City’s defence.Arsenal are on the hunt for defensive reinforcements after Calum Chambers was ruled out for the season with a serious knee injury and Arteta is keen to pursue either a temporary or a permanent move for Stones.According to The Sun, Stones would be interested in talking to the Gunners as he looks to secure regular game-time and nail down his place in England’s starting XI ahead of Euro 2020.ADVERTISEMENT Stones’ honours at Manchester City Premier League – 2017/18, 2018/19FA Cup – 2018/19EFL Cup – 2017/18FA Community Shield – 2018, 2019 Advertisement Advertisement Commentlast_img read more

Lehmann hopes no Ashes boycott, urges solution to pay row

first_img(REUTERS) – Australia coach Darren Lehmann hopes the ongoing pay dispute will not prompt the players to boycott this year’s Ashes series and urged both sides to resolve the matter.The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) rejected a pay offer from their governing body, Cricket Australia (CA) earlier this month saying “a win for cricket administrators but a loss for cricket”.CA has threatened to not renew contracts for 2017-18 and several players, including vice-captain David Warner and bowler Mitchell Starc, have hinted at a boycott of the Ashes series against England.“I’m sure that (the boycott) won’t happen,” Warner told reporters in Brisbane.“I have my views but I’m not going to share it. I’m talking to both players and CA.”Lehmann said that he would talk to the players when the squad assembles prior to the Champions Trophy in June.“You have to do that. You have to keep it open and communication so we know what direction everyone’s going,” Lehmann said.“Just getting together and working it out is the way to go. It always stays quite late in the negotiations – it happened last time and the time before that. You have those issues …. There’s no panic, it’s just about the two parties getting together.”Captain Steve Smith will join the squad after leading the Rising Pune Supergiant to Monday’s Indian Premier League final and Lehmann said that he maintained constant contact with the 27-year-old.“He’s really looking forward to getting the lads back together. There have been a lot of emails and text messages around the place. He is (in good spirits). He’s been there for four months and hasn’t been home. But he’s ready to go.”last_img read more