Detention of IFJ Directors reflects dreadful state of media freedom in Sri Lanka

first_imgPark and Worthington of the IFJ were detained at a locally organized press freedom meeting in Colombo and held in their hotel from 30 October 2013. They were subjected to harassment by means of lengthy interrogations by defence and immigration officials, as well as by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), for three days.Although they were accused of violating visa regulations, the authorities have allowed them to fly out of the country without any charges. The latest incident involving two international media personnel has come at a time when Colombo, which is under international pressure to improve the worsening human rights situation in the country, is set to host the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on 15 November 2013. Sri LankaAsia – Pacific Receive email alerts “The harassment of two top international media rights workers simply shows that Colombo considers itself above the law and takes no note of international pressure or condemnation. The safety and security of local journalists and activists involved in this incident are at great risk. The government must do everything in its power to ensure their safety,” Reporters Without Borders and JDS said in the joint statement. Sri Lanka: tamil reporter held on absurd terrorism charge A careful look at the detailed descriptions provided on the website of the Department of Immigration would reveal that there is no special visa category for journalists. It is however stated that if anyone travels to Sri Lanka as a reporter, they should obtain press accreditation, which has nothing to do with any particular visa category.“The high-handed action by the defence and immigration authorities yet again reflects the dreadful state of media freedom in Sri Lanka, which has already been recognized as a one of the worst countries for journalists. The situation for journalists and media workers is still shockingly precarious, four years after the Sri Lankan government formally declared an end to the civil war,” the two information rights organizations said in a joint statement. According to the IFJ, they were taken from the meeting to their hotel against their will, their passports were confiscated and they were not allowed to leave to board their planned flight on 31 October. The police have inserted a device into Park’s laptop and appears to have downloaded files. Mass media and information minister Keheliya Rambukwella went one step further and publicly accused them of engaging in “anti-government activism” in breach of their visa conditions. At least 39 media workers have been killed or abducted and made to disappear while many media institutions have been bombed and burned, forcing many in the profession to flee the country. Not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice. Sri Lanka is classified by Reporters Without Borders as a country “under surveillance” because of its violations of freedom of expression and is ranked 162nd out of 179 countries in its 2013 press freedom index. RSF_en Help by sharing this information News Reporters Without Borders and its partner organization, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) unequivocally condemn the detention and harassment of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park and Asia-Pacific Deputy Director Jane Worthington in Colombo last week. Newscenter_img Follow the news on Sri Lanka News to go further Sri Lanka: RSF signs joint statement on attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists News January 13, 2021 Find out more November 4, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Detention of IFJ Directors reflects dreadful state of media freedom in Sri Lanka Organisation July 29, 2020 Find out more Sri Lanka: Journalist manhandled by notorious police inspector currently on trial Sri LankaAsia – Pacific July 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

City Council Approves Emergency Care Set-Up at Convention Center for Possible COVID Surge

first_img Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * The City Council on Monday afternoon unanimously approved establishing an emergency alternate-care facility at the Pasadena Convention Center to treat COVID-19 patients, in the event that the spread of the coronavirus overwhelms the existing number of beds available at Huntington Hospital.While those additional beds are not needed yet, the makeshift care facility would add 250 beds initially and as many as 400, should the need grow as a result of a COVID-19 surge in Pasadena and surrounding communities served by Huntington.The emergency set-up would come from a contract allocating up to $700,000 that the council approved with Redrock Entertainment Services, a firm that sets ups concerts, festivals and other events, and that and could act swiftly to get the emergency facility set up, according to City Manager Steve Mermell.According to Acting Fire Chief Bryan Frieders, the temporary facility could be fully set up as early as next Wednesday – though, at the moment, it would not be needed, with Huntington’s main facility still able to handle the existing number of patients being treated for COVID-19.Mermell said the city believes it would be able to get reimbursed from FEMA and the California Office of Emergency Services for at least some of the $700,000 outlay — though that is not yet a certainty.The council – meeting remotely in deference to coronavirus stay-at-home orders — simultaneously approved a zero-dollar services agreement with Huntington to provide medical care at the emergency facility.According to a city staff report, projections provided by Huntington indicate that, at its peak, currently estimated for mid-May, “there could be as many as 1,300 persons requiring hospitalization at its facility for treatment of COVID-19. And while the hospital has been working to increase patient capacity within its facility, such a peak would exceed that capacity by approximately 400 beds.’’Mermell said that city planning staff and officials from Huntington Hospital looked at “a variety of facilities in the city” before determining that the convention center would provide the best location for the temporary care facility.“The owners of (the abandoned) St Luke’s hospital were good enough to let us in to look around (but) that facility is in very poor shape, so it’s not a viable option,’’ Mermell said. “Also, our partners at the school district allowed us to look at a couple of different school sites (but) they’re a little too small.“And so the Pasadena Convention Center really is a great location,’’ Mermell added. “It has 97,000 square feet of flexible space, large exhibit halls, restrooms, a loading dock – it’s really everything you would want in a remote facility.’’Redrock, the entertainment company, “has a lot of experience setting up festivals and large concerts and other venues, so they know how to do this logistically,’’ Mermell said.Redrock was selected after consultation with various city agencies, including the Fire Department. Frieders told the council that he had been in touch with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the corps setting up such a facility in Pasadena, but that there were concerns the federal agency could get the job done quickly enough, with a possible COVID surge on the horizon.Under the city’s emergency declaration, the Redrock contract was awarded without competitive bidding, to expedite the process, Mermell said.According to the city staff report, city officials “made contact with several vendors capable of outfitting the center to serve as a temporary medical facility. Multiple proposals were obtained, and Redrock Entertainment Services was determined to be the most cost-effective. Redrock Entertainment has extensive experience staging thousands of concerts, festivals and large-scale events.’’Mermell also said the $700,000 budget outlay would fund the emergency facility for up to three months.“Under this arrangement the city would pay Redrock for its services, not to exceed $250,000 for set up and first month and $180,000 for each month thereafter, and then seek reimbursement from FEMA,’’ the staff report said.“We hope that, if needed at all, it would be less than that (three months),’’ Mermell said. “But we wanted to make sure that we had some latitude.’’Said Council Member Margaret McAustin: “This is something we absolutely have to do, and let’s hope we don’t need all these beds.’’Council Member John J. Kennedy, meanwhile, lauded city staff, “To be prepared for what seemingly is not slowing down right now” – a reference to the growing number of COVID-19 cases.Dr. Lori Morgan, president of Huntington Hospital, said that while the hospital is hoping not to need the spillover facility at the convention center, “This is a better plan than (treating patients) on the floor in our cafeteria.”According to Mayor Terry Tornek, while there is no guarantee the city will be reimbursed for the emergency facility, “We know it’s eligible (under FEMA guidelines).’’But, Tornek said, “We must take the provision and make sure we won’t run out of beds.’’Said Mermell: “One way to look at this is, an insurance policy that hopefully doesn’t need to be exercised.” STAFF REPORT First Heatwave Expected Next Week TOP STORY City Council Approves Emergency Care Set-Up at Convention Center for Possible COVID Surge Facility could be set up as early as next Wednesday By KEVIN KENNEY, Senior Reporter Published on Monday, April 6, 2020 | 4:01 pm Business News Make a comment Top of the News EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Community News Community News HerbeautyCostume That Makes Actresses Beneath Practically UnrecognizableHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty15 things only girls who live life to the maximum understandHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyIs It Bad To Give Your Boyfriend An Ultimatum?HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyShort On Time? 10-Minute Workouts Are Just What You NeedHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Female Celebs Women Love But Men Find UnattractiveHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty5 Things To Avoid If You Want To Have Whiter TeethHerbeautyHerbeautycenter_img faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes CITY NEWS SERVICE/STAFF REPORT Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Subscribe STAFF REPORT Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. More Cool Stuff 14 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadenalast_img read more