Freedom of information in decline for past two years in Iceland

first_img What with an interior ministry official seeking jail terms for two journalists in a criminal libel prosecution and major budget cuts for public TV and radio stations that the ruling coalition has accused of bias, the past two years have seen a marked decline in freedom of information in Iceland, one that began with the financial crisis in 2008. Political interests have been having a negative impact on freedom of information in Iceland ever since the 2008 financial crash. Almost all of the leading media editors have had to stand down this year. The only exception is Morgunblaðið editor David Oddsson, who happens to be a former prime minister and former central bank governor. News Vigdís Hauksdóttir, a parliamentarian who is a member of the ruling coalition and chairs the budgetary committee, made typically critical comments about RUV in an August 2013 interview for Radio Bylgjan that was reported by Grapevine. “I think an unnatural amount of money goes to RUV,” she said. “Especially when they don’t do a better job at reporting the news. They are fond of a particular platform, and lean to the Left. Everyone who wants to see that can see it. I assure you this is true, and can confirm it whenever and wherever that (RUV) is very pro-EU.” Þórey Vilhjálmsdóttir, a political adviser to Iceland’s interior minister, is seeking two-year jail sentences for newspaper reporters Jón Bjarki Magnússon and Jóhann Páll Jóhannsson, who wrongly identified her as the source of a leak in story published on 20 June, although they issued a correction within hours. As well as quickly putting out a corrected version naming Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, another interior ministry adviser, as the source of the leak, they issued an apology in the form of a press release circulated to the media. Valdórsson, now on probation, has since been given an eight-month prison sentence for leaking information about a Nigerian asylum-seeker to several news outlets.Gísli Freyr Valdórsson has since been given an eight-month prison sentence for leaking information about a Nigerian asylum-seeker to several news outlets. The editor-in-chief of the broadcasting company RUV was fired along with the rest of its management in the wake of the director-general’s dismissal. 365 Media, the company that owns the biggest TV network, has reduced the number of its newsrooms and fired two of its chief editors, replacing them with the former spokeswoman for its owner’s husband, a leading figure in business circles. Several journalists left the company after the substitution. The pressure is continuing. Foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson criticized the way RUV portrayed him in one of its reports. In March of this year, he imposed his own conditions on RUV, refusing to give it interviews unless it sends him a copy of video before it is broadcast. In the end, he was not interviewed at all. At the same time he, too, accused it of being too pro-EU in its coverage.As regards privately-owned media, Hauksdóttir issued a call on Facebook in February 2014 for a boycott of the newspaper Kvennablaðið after it criticized her, and she urged the cosmetics company EGF to “stop buying advertising” in Kvennablaðið. The Union of Icelandic Journalists condemned her calls as “attempts to obstruct freedom of expression.” In a letter, Reporters Without Borders calls on Vilhjálmsdóttir to soften the complaint she has brought against the two journalists, so that it is more proportionate to the actual harm to her reputation.Iceland’s defamation laws have received a great deal of recent criticism from international bodies. The European Court of Human Rights has stressed the extremely negative impact of these laws on journalists and freedom of information, and the disproportionate nature of their penalties, while a recent International Press Institute report called them obsolete. Reporters Without Borders urges Iceland’s government to amend these laws. RSF_en center_img November 19, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Freedom of information in decline for past two years in Iceland Organisation A public broadcaster funded by a licence fee system until 2007, RUV became a state-owned compagny in 2008, its only share being held by the ministry of culture. A year later, the government assumed direct control of the source of its funding, and thereby direct control of its budget. And in the wake of this loss of structural independence, comments have been made about a lack of editorial independence. Between 2013 and 2014, the ruling right-wing coalition repeatedly criticized the treatment of the news coverage provide by RUV’s TV and radio channels, and used it as an excuse to reduce dramatically its budget. Indeed, the ruling coalition often questions the impartiality of the news coverage provide by RUV’s TV and radio channels, especially their coverage of European news. But a survey conducted by the consumer reporting agency Creditinfo found that positive and negative news reports about the European Union get equal space in RUV’s coverage. Meanwhile, public broadcasting under attack Such comments clearly put pressure on RUV’s journalists. A 20 percent cut in RUV’s budget was announced in December 2013, with the resulting loss of many journalists from RUV newsrooms. The European Broadcasting Union issued a statement condemning the cut, while former RUV director-general Páll Magnússon said: “Viewers will see a difference. Our listeners will hear it. (…) Our ability to provide news to the Icelandic public will be diminished, and newscasts will be shorter and fewer.” Reporters Without Borders regrets that Vilhjálmsdóttir is seeking the maximum possible libel penalty for the two journalists under criminal code articles 234 and 235 – two years in prison, damages of 3 million krónurs (19,000 euros) and legal fees of 900,000 krónurs (5800 euros) – because it would set a disastrous precedent for freedom of information in Iceland. The organization also underlines that the ministry of the interior is also in charge of human rights: Vilhjálmsdóttir should be aware of her responsibilities in the domain of press freedom. Help by sharing this informationlast_img read more

53 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ireland

first_img Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows WhatsApp By News Highland – August 2, 2020 Previous articleDeclan Devine looks ahead to Derry City’s clash with St Pat’sNext articleDelight for Keith Cowan as Glentoran win Irish Cup News Highland Twitter Twitter There’ve been no new death according to latest figures from NPHET, while there have been 53 new confirmed cases.80% were under the age of 45.45 are associated with outbreaks or close contacts of a confirmed case.While 4 cases have been identified as community transmission. Homepage BannerNews Facebook Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR 53 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in Irelandcenter_img Facebook WhatsApp Google+ Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Google+ News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Pinterest Pinterest Community Enhancement Programme open for applicationslast_img read more

The Big Melt Adds Robert Randolph, Eddie Roberts, Casey Benjamin, & More To Inaugural Lineup

first_imgThe Big Melt, the brand-new multi-band concert event at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO, has announced several exciting additions to their inaugural lineup featuring members The String Cheese Incident, Lettuce, Big Gigantic, Thievery Corporation, Brazilian Girls, Snarky Puppy, The Motet, Break Science, Ghost-Note, and Pretty Lights Live Band, among others. The new event has also revealed partnerships with celebrated non-profit organizations HeadCount and Conscious Alliance.Pedal-steel guitar legend Robert Randolph and hypnotic saxophonist Casey Benjamin (Robert Glasper Experiment) will both join Eric Krasno & Friends at The Big Melt. Randolph and Benjamin will help round out Krasno’s previously-announced lineup of Nigel Hall (Lettuce) on keys, Robert Sput Searight (Ghost-Note) on drums, and MonoNeon (Prince, Ghost-Note) on bass.Purple Party: A Tribute To Prince has also added Corey Frye (The Main Squeeze) and Ziek McCarter (Con Brio) to their impressive The Big Melt band lineup. The two dynamic vocalists will join the all-star band featuring Joey Porter, Lyle Divinsky, Ryan Jalbert, Drew Dayers & Parris Fleming of The Motet alongside Ghost-Note members Robert Sput Searight, MonoNeon, and Nate Werth. The band will also feature vocalists Adryon De Léon (Orgone, Matador! Soul Sounds) and Megan Letts (Mama Magnolia) as well as Magic Beans keyboardist and Purple Party Musical Director, Casey Russell.In addition, The New Mastersounds guitarist, Color Red Music label boss, and Denver music scene hero Eddie Roberts will join J.E.D.I.: Jazz Electronic Dance Improvised for their performance at The Big Melt. Roberts, who signed J.E.D.I. to his label earlier this year and recently released the band’s first single (featuring fellow Big Melt star Dominic Lalli) will add guitar to the band’s already-stacked lineup featuring Michael Kang and Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident), Ashish Vyas (Thievery Corporation), and Borahm Lee (Break Science, Pretty Lights Live).The Big Melt has also announced the addition of a HeadCount-sponsored DJ Booth featuring the incredibly talented DJ and turntablist, Chris Karns. Karns, a crucial member of Pretty Lights Live Band, is a former World and USA Battle Champion at the DMC World DJ Championships, a three-time Redbull Thre3style Champion, and a finalist on VH1’s Master of the Mix. Karns will DJ at the HeadCount booth during set breaks on the main stage, as well as during the event’s VIP pre-party.In addition to the newly added artists, The Big Melt has announced that SIRIUSXM personality Ari Fink will be on hand to host and MC the event. As the Program Director and curator for SIRIUSXM’s Jam On and Pearl Jam Radio stations, Fink is one of the industry’s most influential taste-makers. He spearheaded the creation and execution of Phish and Dave Matthews Band‘s celebrated SIRIUSXM pop-up channels in 2018, and he constantly has his finger on the pulse of the live music community-at-large.Finally, The Big Melt will partner with Conscious Alliance, who will bring their ‘Art That Feeds’ food drive to The Fillmore Auditorium. They will be offering a limited-edition poster for The Big Melt in exchange for donations of non-perishable food items such as canned soups, pasta, canned fruits & vegetables, and more. Conscious Alliance always encourages food donations to be low sodium, health-oriented, and organic.Tickets to The Big Melt are available via Live Nation. Tier 1 tickets are already sold out, and Tier 2 tickets are moving quickly. Prices will increase to Tier 3 pricing one week from today on Thursday, March 7th. Grab yours today!last_img read more

‘Pop!’ goes the robot

first_img <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxSs1kGZQqc” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/VxSs1kGZQqc/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUu9lQV0XBE” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/cUu9lQV0XBE/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> The entire product is approximately the size of a U.S. quarter, and dozens of these microrobots could be fabricated in parallel on a single sheet.“This takes what is a craft, an artisanal process, and transforms it for automated mass production,” says Pratheev Sreetharan, who co-developed the technique with J. Peter Whitney. Both are Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences doctoral candidates at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).Sreetharan, Whitney, and their colleagues in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory at SEAS have been working for years to build bio-inspired, bee-sized robots that can fly and behave autonomously as a colony. Appropriate materials, hardware, control systems, and fabrication techniques did not exist prior to the RoboBees project, so each must be invented, developed, and integrated by a diverse team of researchers.Less than a year ago, the group was using a painstaking and error-prone method to fold, align, and secure each of the minuscule parts and joints.“You’d take a very fine tungsten wire and dip it in a little bit of superglue,” explains Sreetharan. “Then, with that tiny ball of glue, you’d go in under a microscope like an arthroscopic surgeon and try to stick it in the right place.”“Until recently, the manual assembly process was the state of the art in this field,” Sreetharan adds.Folding joints: 22Assembly scaffold folding joints: 115Total device folding joints: 137Brass pads for “glue” points: 52Total number of “glue” points: 24Mass: 90 mgBy mass, one U.S. quarter = 63 Harvard Monolithic BeesThe same result can now be achieved — without human error — through locking mechanisms and dip soldering. The new process also enables the use of cured carbon fiber, which is rigid and easy to align, rather than uncured carbon fiber, which Sreetharan compares to “wet tissue paper.”“Our new techniques allow us to use any material including polymers, metals, ceramics, and composites,” says principal investigator Robert Wood, an associate professor of electrical engineering at SEAS and a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.“The ability to incorporate any type and number of material layers, along with integrated electronics, means that we can generate full systems in any three-dimensional shape,” Wood says. “We’ve also demonstrated that we can create self-assembling devices by including pre-stressed materials.”[sidebar id=”102887″]The implications of this novel fabrication strategy go far beyond these micro-air vehicles. The same mass-production technique could be used for high-power switching, optical systems, and other tightly integrated electromechanical devices that have parts on the scale of micrometers to centimeters.Moreover, the layering process builds on the manufacturing process currently used to make printed circuit boards, which means that the tools for creating large sheets of pop-up devices are common and abundant. It also means that the integration of electrical components is a natural extension of the fabrication process — particularly important for the size- and weight-constrained RoboBees project.“In a larger device, you can take a robot leg, for example, open it up, and just bolt in circuit boards. We’re so small that we don’t get to do that. I can’t put a structural mechanism in here and have it serve no electrical function.”Pointing to the carbon-fiber box truss that constitutes the pop-up bee’s body frame, Sreetharan says, “Now, I can put chips all over that. I can build in sensors and control actuators.”Essentially, tiny robots can now be built by slightly bigger robots. Designing how all the layers will fit together and fold, however, is still a very human task, requiring creativity and expertise. Standard computer-aided design (CAD) tools, typically intended for either flat, layered circuit boards or 3-D objects, do not yet support devices that combine both.Once the design is complete, though, fabrication can be fully automated, with accuracy and precision limited only by the machining tools and materials.“The alignment is now better than we can currently measure,” says Sreetharan. “I’ve verified it to better than 5 microns everywhere, and we’ve gone from a 15 percent yield to — well, I don’t think I’ve ever had a failure.”The full fabrication process is described in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. Co-authors, beside Whitney, Sreetharan, and Wood, include Kevin Ma, a graduate student at SEAS; and Marc Strauss, a research assistant in Wood’s lab.The Harvard Office of Technology Development is now developing a strategy to commercialize this technology. As part of this effort, the office has filed patent applications on this work and is engaging with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and companies to identify disruptive applications in a range of industries.The work was supported by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the National Science Foundation (through the Expeditions in Computing program), and the Wyss Institute.center_img A new technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet.Devised by engineers at Harvard, the ingenious layering and folding process enables the rapid fabrication of not just microrobots, but a broad range of electromechanical devices.In prototypes, 18 layers of carbon fiber, Kapton (a plastic film), titanium, brass, ceramic, and adhesive sheets have been laminated together in a complex, laser-cut design. The structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product — just 2.4 millimeters tall — to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book.last_img read more

Farah and Johnson claim Pacific Coast Doubles title

first_imgRobert Farah and Steve Johnson continued to rack up wins and accolades Sunday in La Jolla, Calif.The No. 8 senior and sophomore duo participated in the 121st Pacific Coast Doubles Championships — the second-oldest tennis event in the United States — and took home a trophy bearing the names of tennis greats Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe, as well as current USC coaches Peter Smith and Eric Amend.Accolades · Senior Robert Farah and sophomore Steve Johnson used their extra time in Northern California to play in the USTA event. – Geo Tu | Daily Trojan Following two impressive conference victories against California and Stanford on Friday and Saturday, Farah and Johnson played in the USTA-organized event, where anyone — not just collegiate players — can participate.“It’s different for us to be in an open tournament and just playing doubles,” Smith said. “There are very few tournaments with just doubles.”In addition to featuring athletes from all levels, the matches were decided in a best-of-three-set format as opposed to the typical eight-game pro set used in dual matches.“The format is different, but that doesn’t make a difference,” Farah said. “[Johnson] and I are used to the format from all of our years of playing tennis.”The players played in a more relaxed environment, outside of the tension-filled dual-match season.“Every match has its own brand of pressure,” Smith said. “There is a lot of pressure as a USC player, but there is no pressure in the Pacific Coast tournament, just carefree play.”After being postponed because of rain, the semifinals and finals were played out Sunday.In the day’s first match, the second-seeded Trojan team overcame the comeback effort of top-seeded Brent Davis and Jeffrey G. Tarango to win 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.That victory set up a rematch against the Stanford’s No. 1 team of sophomores Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher.On Friday, during the Stanford match at Marks Stadium, Farah and Johnson defeated Klahn and Thacher 8-3.The USC duo repeated its earlier result with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Cardinal duo to join the ranks of Pacific Coast doubles champions.“[This was a] big confidence boost for [Farah] and myself,” said Johnson of beating Klahn and Thacher twice during the weekend. “We have put in a lot of hard work, and we are playing really well together. We have been returning well and playing really smart.”last_img read more