Friday, April 30, 2004
Mobile phones continue to decimate gorillas
The article is written by Leigh Phillips, DM Europe: "mobile phones are killing gorillas in eastern Congo - not mobile phones themselves, but one of the key minerals used in the production of mobile phone handsets, according to scientists. The apes’ population has declined by over 70 per cent in the past ten years. The number of apes has declined to around 5,000, down from some 17,000 in 1994... Why? Because eastern Congo is home to around 80 per cent of the globe’s columbine tantalite, also known as coltan, as well as home to around 97 percent of Congo's eastern lowland gorilla population. In the last few years, the price of coltan has risen from €55 to €500."
Source: DM Europe through AP and BBC.
Arab news channels use photos of abused Iraqi prisoners; US newspapers more prudent?
According to AFP, "leading Arab satellite news channels Friday aired photographs of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners that were first broadcast on US television (CBS), saying they showed the "inhuman" conduct and "savagery" of the abusers." The strange thing is that the story received full coverage in The Guardian, the Scotsman and the Financial Times in the UK, in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, but little coverage by important newspapers in the States (as New York Times and some others, even if brief stories were published the day before). Friday at 10 AM (New York time), the story was added in some websites, but with light coverage. Nothing in the Slate's summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers and nothing on topix.net, the new news agregator! At noon, President George W Bush said he shared the widespread disgust over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops (see the BBC story).
Excerpts of the AFP story:
"Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and Dubai-based Al-Arabiya, both of which have been accused by Washington of stoking anti-US sentiment in their coverage of Iraq, also interviewed legal experts about the photographs, some of which depicted US troops alongside naked Iraqi prisoners in demeaning sexual poses. Another showed a hooded Iraqi prisoner with wires attached to his hands forced to stand on a box. He had reportedly been told he would be electrocuted if he fell off...
The photos showed "the unethical and inhuman" conduct of the American soldiers, said the presenter of Al-Jazeera, which opened some of its news bulletins with the pictures taken at Baghdad's Abu Gharib prison. Al-Arabiya said the "humiliating" pictures showed the "savagery" of the American soldiers involved, and might be "one of many cases which did not become known to the world...
The White House said Friday that the United States "cannot tolerate" the alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees by US soldiers. Spokesman Scott McClellan said "the military is taking strong action against the individuals responsible for these despicable acts."
New York Times starts cooperation with Süddeutsche Zeitung
The New York Times has launched a partnership with one of Germany's leading broadsheets, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung said Friday. The New York Times International Weekly, featuring a selection of articles from the US newspaper, will appear as an English-language supplement with the Süddeutsche from May 3. Süddeutsche editor-in-chief Hans Werner Kilz said the addition was targeted at its "internationally oriented readers" and was an exclusive agreement for German-speaking Europe. The 16-page supplement will include articles selected by the editorial staff of the two newspapers and have a print run of 430,000. SZ managing director Klaus Josef Lutz said he expected the agreement to boost international advertising sales. The New York Times International Weekly already appears with several leading European newspapers including La Repubblica in Italy, Le Monde in France and The Daily Telegraph in Britain.
Italy: media's fall in freedom rankings blamed on Prime Minister
"Silvio Berlusconi's hold on the media was blamed yesterday for Italy being downgraded in a global survey of press and TV freedoms, to the same "partly free" class as Albania, Mongolia and Burkina Faso" writes John Hooper at The Guardian. "Explaining its decision, Freedom House, a non-profit organisation partly financed by the US government, said yesterday: "Berlusconi's substantial family business holdings control the three largest private television stations and one newspaper, as well as a significant portion of the advertising market." The results come at a significant time, according to the article the Italian senate has just approved a "controversial media bill which opponents of Mr Berlusconi's government say is tailored to the interests of his vast media empire."
Source: The Guardian
News from Mohammed Shahaf, the Saddam Hussein's information minister
Seen in the Washington Post: "Saddam Hussein's information minister, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf is now a broadcast correspondent in Abu Dhabi. Often referred to in the Western press as "Baghdad Bob," he was interviewed when the U.S. military took control if Iraq but was not held. "He wasn't wanted for anything. Unfortunately, being a bad spokesman is not a crime," a U.S. official said."
Source: Washington Post
UK: The Reading Evening Post crowned best regional newspaper
The Reading Evening Post has been crowned the UK's best regional newspaper at the 2004 (national) Newspaper Awards. According to HoldtheFrontPage, Glasgow-based The Herald won the top prize in the category for Most Outstanding Use of Colour and the Sunday Herald collected the award for Best Weekly Newspaper on the World Wide Web. Take a look at the article for a list of all the winners.
Religious group launches weekly newspaper in Israel
A new weekly newspaper called Shofar News has launched in Israel. According to the article by Viva Sarah Press at the Jerusalem Post, the paper was started by "a group of Rabbi Amnon Itzhak's followers" and its goal is to offer the general public "a source of news without gossip, sleaziness, or lashon hara" says Haim Kfir, its editor-in-chief. At the moment, Shofar News is free but will soon have a charge, it is said to have "a jewish angle." Take a look at the website (but bear in mind it is in Hebrew)
Source: The Jerusalem Post
USA Today: new editor named
"The new editor of USA Today has been named as Kenneth A. Paulson, the executive director of the First Amendment Center and a former top editor at the Gannett Company chain, writes Jacques Steinberg at The New York Times. This comes as a surprise as Kenneth A. Paulson was not one of the four candidates to be shortlisted. After the Kelley scandal, the new USAT editor said he wanted to attack "virus of fear."
According to the article in The New York Times "Mr. Paulson is a former executive editor at Florida Today as well as at Gannett's chain of newspapers in Westchester County, N.Y. From 1986 to 1988, he was special assistant and chief of staff to Allen H. Neuharth, the founder of USA Today and, at that time, the chairman of Gannett. Mr. Paulson assisted the start-up of USA Today in 1982 while being on loan from another Gannett paper, the Courier-News of Bridgewater, N.J. He is also a senior vice president of the Freedom Forum, a nonprofit foundation led initially by Mr. Neuharth and known for its museum of journalism, the Newseum. For the last seven years, he has also worked for the First Amendment Center, a nonprofit foundation financed by the Freedom Forum." USA Today has also appointed John Hillkirk, managing editor of its Money section, to the position of executive editor. The newspaper has also made additional editorial appointments.
Source: The New York Times
Thai press calls government to account
It's a good news and it's provided by the BBC. Many newspapers in Thailand (including the Bangkok Post, Thai Post, The Nation...) have questioned the methods used by government forces in the Muslim south to quell attacks by alleged Islamic insurgents, which killed over 100 of them, many reportedly armed only with machetes.
Source: BBC monitoring
Just for the weekend: the new Swiss Army knife
Seen in the Isabelle Hontebeyrie's weblog: "The Swiss Army knife now comes with a memory stick that connects to computers through a USB port. First produced in 1891, the Swiss Army knife is now available in a USB Key Drive version with detachable memory stick connects directly to computers and is compatible with Microsoft, AppleMac and Linux software. The 64MB memory stick is password protected and there's data encryption. Download digital pictures, documents, email or MP3 music files with full-speed data transfer. The nail file extends making the ballpoint pen easier to use, the LED flashlight illuminates your writing and there are useful scissors."
Source: Isabelle Hontebeyrie's weblog