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SA wins big at World Travel Awards

first_imgA view of Green Point in Cape Town with the city’s 2010 Fifa World Cup stadium at left, and Table Bay beyond. The city regularly receives global accolades for its tourist attractions. (Image: Rodger Bosch,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com image library) MEDIA CONTACTS • Jane Larcombe World Travel Awards Press and PR Director +44 1892 785071 jane@janelarcombecommunications.com RELATED ARTICLES • Cape Town: most beautiful city • SA restaurant best in the world • SA a favourite among expats • Dash of Zulu in heart of London • SA shines at world travel showMary AlexanderSouth Africa cleaned up at the annual World Travel Awards for Africa last night, winning 36 awards out of the total 49 categories. Despite the pyramids, Egypt, its nearest rival, managed to win only four.For the sixth time in seven years the city of Cape Town was named Africa’s leading destination, at an awards ceremony held in Sandton, Johannesburg. South African Airways was named Africa’s leading airline, South African Tourism the continent’s leading tourism board and Durban harbour the leading port.Of the 49 categories, six were awarded to multinational entities with a strong presence in South Africa. Kenya, Morocco and Namibia garnered one award each.Cape Town, South Africa’s most-visited destination, regularly receives international accolades for its attractions. This year it joined Paris, London, New York and Venice as one of Forbes magazine’s 10 most beautiful cities in the world.In 2009 the city was named best destination in the Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, the world’s second-best city by Travel+Leisure magazine, the world’s best entertainment and lifestyle destination in the Luxury Travel Awards, and best tourism investor city in the AI Tourism Investor Awards. Cape Town was also named one of the “places of a lifetime” by National Geographic in 2008.The World Travel Awards also nominated Cape Town as the leading destination in the world in 2002, 2005 and 2006.“These awards are an incredible endorsement,” said Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du-Toit Helmbold. “Being recognised by the industry makes all the hard work we put into hosting the Fifa World Cup in Cape Town so worthwhile.“We do believe that Cape Town is one of the greatest cities to live, visit, study and invest in. It’s a place of a lifetime, and it just keeps on getting better.”The World Travel Awards, first held in 1994, is a tourism industry initiative, with travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organisations across the globe voting for the winners.The full list of the 2010 World Travel Awards for Africa winners:Africa’s Leading Airline: South African AirwaysAfrica’s Leading Airport: OR Tambo International Airport, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Apartment Hotel: The Regent, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Boutique Hotel: Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Boutique Hotel Brand: Mantis GroupAfrica’s Leading Business Car Rental Company: AvisAfrica’s Leading Business Hotel: Hilton DurbanAfrica’s Leading Business Travel Agency: Travel with FlairAfrica’s Leading Casino Resort: The Palazzo Montecasino, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Conservation Company: Shamwari Game Reserve, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Convention Hotel: Sandton Sun, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Destination: Cape TownAfrica’s Leading Family Resort: Sun City Resort, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Green Hotel: The Phantom Forest Eco-reserve, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Hotel: Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Innovative Hospitality Company: Signature Life HotelsAfrica’s Leading Low-Cost Airline: 1timeAfrica’s Leading Luxury Hotel: Arabella Western Cape Hotel & SpaAfrica’s Leading Luxury Lodge: Shambala Private Reserve, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Luxury Train: The Blue TrainAfrica’s Leading Luxury Villa: Thanda Private Game Reserve, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre: International Convention Centre Durban, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Meetings & Conference Hotel: The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Online Tour Operator: 1timeAfrica’s Leading Port: Durban (Port)Africa’s Leading Resort: Sun City Resort, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Safari Lodge: Shamwari Game Reserve, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Spa Resort: Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Sports Resort: Legend Golf & Safari Resort – South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Suite: Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite, Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Tourism Development Project: Fairmont ZimbaliAfrica’s Leading Tourist Board: South Africa TourismAfrica’s Leading Town House Hotel: Shamwari Town House, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Travel Agency: Club Travel, South AfricaAfrica’s Leading Travel Exhibition: INDABAAfrica’s Leading Travel Management Company: Travel with Flair South AfricaAfrica’s Tourism Personality Of The Year: Dr Aupindi Tobie Aupindi – MD Namibia Wildlife ResortsAfrica’s Leading Golf Resort: The Palmeraie Golf Palace, MoroccoAfrica’s Leading Beach Resort: Diani Reef Beach Resort & SpaAfrica’s Leading Beach Destination: Sharm El Sheikh, EgyptAfrica’s Leading Beach Hotel: Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna Hurghada, EgyptAfrica’s Leading River Cruise Company: Sonesta Nile CruisesAfrica’s Leading Villa: Queen Cleopatra Villa, Savoy Sharm El Sheikh, EgyptAfrica’s Leading Car Hire: EuropcarAfrica’s Leading Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean Cruise LineAfrica’s Leading Game Reserve Brand: Mantis GroupAfrica’s Leading Hotel Group: Starwood Hotels & ResortsAfrica’s Leading Responsible Tourism Company: &Beyond Africa’s Responsible Tourism Award: &Beyondlast_img read more

Jerome “Jerry” Greer Chandler Tribute

first_imgIt is with profound sadness that AirlineRatings.com announces the passing of its Technical and Safety Editor Jerome (Jerry) Greer Chandler on Thursday, August 15th.Jerry (71) succumbed to Parkinson’s disease and passed away quietly with his family around him.Recently retired after 30 years of teaching writing at Jacksonville State University, Jerry has been a professional aviation journalist for over a quarter of a century.In 1986 his best-selling book Fire & Rain chronicled the crash of Delta Flight 191 at DFW and its was subsequently made into a TV film on USA Network.He appeared over the years on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, ABC, Nova and the National Geographic Channel in his capacity as an aviation safety “observer” as he hated the term “expert.”He authored over 1,500 articles, consulted on three made-for-television films, wrote two books and managed to support a family of seven.jerryHe also helped write two other books Green Wings and Greener Wings which chronicle Aviation’s true impact on the environment.In early 2013 he joined AirlineRatings.com.In 2011 he had the privilege of beginning work as a regular contributor on medical matters to VFW magazine, which sprang from his “stint” as an Army combat medic in Vietnam, where he was wounded in July 1970.Jerry was awarded the Purple Heart in Vietnam.Jerry in Vietnam.In 2017 Jerry was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Aerospace Media Awards banquet in Paris, France.Jerry said of the recognition at the time, “It’s a real honor, one that I will treasure always. Thanks to all who helped along the way — my family, editors, and colleagues. I’m humbled.”Jerry’s passion for aviation started when his Dad took him to Dallas Love Field to watch DC-6s, DC-7s take off and land.But that passion took a tragic turn when two relatives died in separate air crashes.Jerry wanted to know more about why those accidents happened.Jerry has worked for some of the world’s leading publications: Aircraft Maintenance Technology, AirlineRatings.com, Air Transport World, Time, Overhaul & Maintenance, The Financial Times of London, Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Travel & Leisure, Popular Science, and Wirtschaftswoche.Jerry leaves his wife Kathleen, five children and 11 grandchildren.AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said: “The aviation industry has lost a dear friend, insightful commentator and passionate advocate.”“No assignment was too much trouble; Jerry’s depth of aviation knowledge was amazing as was his list of contacts. He knew everyone and what is more, they knew him and respected Jerry and would always help on or off the record.”“We at AirlineRatings.com will miss his friendship, dedication and humour dearly.”last_img read more

Father sitting on pins and needles waiting for BC search sends drones

first_img[L to R] Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz, Nicole Bell and Traci GenereauxKathleen Martens APTN News A father desperate to find his missing daughter raised enough money to buy drones and has sent them to a First Nation group coordinating searches and candlelight vigils near where the RCMP are investigating.John Simpson has shipped two of four drones to Salmon Arm, B.C., where police have recently found human remains on a rural property.“The more awareness I can bring to the situation at hand the better it’s going to be,” said Simpson, whose daughter Ashley disappeared from the area in April 2016.“This waiting around. It’s really painstaking. I feel bad for the other four families that are involved. It’s horrendous.”Ashley Simpson is one of five women to vanish from the area in the past 19 months.Her father has twice visited the community to look for her. And that’s when he says he thought of the drones.“It’s wet, it’s rocky. One woman fell and hurt herself. It’s tough terrain and there’s been flooding. I thought, ‘How else can we do this and keep people safe?’” he said from his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.RCMP have told some of the five missing women’s families their week-long search of the farm is not linked to the disappearances.“We can appreciate the families that are affected by ongoing missing persons investigations and are aware of them being impacted by what’s going on here,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.But Simpson said it’s pretty tough to ask loved ones to give up hope.“We are sitting on pins and needles here,” he said.John said Ashley was 31 when she disappeared after an argument with her boyfriend. He said her family has held two birthday barbecues for her and raised money that he used to buy four drones.She is one of four daughters.“She would be 33 this November. We will have a party for her, with all her friends and stuff,” he said.Ashley’s neighbour, Deanna Wertz, also vanished from the same area three months later.The 47-year-old woman had gone out for a walk in the rural area, 92 kilometres from Kelowna.“Her home was very close to the search site,” said her sister, Dawn, in an email to APTN. “And no she was never ever in the sex industry. She was a beautiful strong and active woman, with a family that loves and misses her.“A family that hasn’t gone a day in over a year that has imagined multiple horrible scenarios for what could (have) happened to her. When she disappeared it was like a UFO plucked her up. Gone without her basic belongings.”The sex industry has come up because one of the victims allegedly worked as an escort in the area.And a man who lived at the property under investigation, police said, was charged with allegedly threatening a woman with a gun he met on a website for escorts.He remained in custody Thursday.The missing women of the north Okanagan-Shuswap are Simpson; Wertz; Caitlin Potts, 27, who was last seen February 2016, Traci Genereaux, 18, who disappeared from Vernon in May, and Nicole Bell, 31, of Malakwa.Potts and Wertz have been identified as Indigenous.The RCMP said Wednesday they would be at the 24-acre property for a while, where witnesses said they could see heavy digging equipment at work.John Simpson said police told him to go home the last time he was there.“Police accused us of interfering in the investigation. Telling me to go home, saying I’m stepping on toes.”The Catcheway family of Manitoba understands that frustration. They have been searching for 18-year-old Jennifer Catcheway in a large rural area west of Winnipeg for nine years.“It is definitely long, hard, lonely work,” said Willie Starr, Jennifer’s older brother. “I worry about my parents when they’re out searching: walking through swamps, walking alongside water snakes.”Starr loves the idea of a drone and its camera flying over fields, lakes and bush.He said he considered getting one a while ago and kind of forgot about it.“You can cover more ground with those,” he said.Drones with infra-red cameras to detect objects that give off heat are being used in some search and rescue situations, said Trevor Lyons, owner of Blue Crow Aerials in Winnipeg. But he said drones have their challenges too.“You can do a couple of acres, then have to change batteries – even more often when gets cold,” he said. “It would be challenging and frustrating for someone especially if under duress and don’t know all the rules, especially in northern communities. They all have an airport and you can’t operate a drone within nine kilometres without permission from Nav Canada.”There are also rules around insurance and privacy.Still, Simpson says he kept two drones in Ontario to help with potential searches there. He also wants to help arrange groups of volunteer drone operators to call in when needed.“I plan to stick with this issue and raise awareness in Canada about missing women,” he said.kmartens@aptn.calast_img read more

Ohio State baseball splits 4 in Snowbird Classic loses 2 against Indiana

Then-sophomore pitcher John Kuchno (45) throws the ball during a game against Northwestern May 6, 2012, at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 4-1.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe clink of aluminum bats has returned as Ohio State’s baseball team began their season in Port Charlotte, Fla.The bats started out hot for the Buckeyes as they won their first two games against Connecticut and Auburn, but then lost two in a row to Indiana State.In Sunday’s game against the Indiana State, sophomore right handed pitcher Jake Post started on the mound for the Buckeyes. He gave them four good innings, but errors allowed three unearned runs to cross the plate for Indiana State.Freshman pitcher Tanner Tully came on in the fifth and gave up another run in the sixth before the Buckeyes began a nice rally in the bottom half.A balk and an error plated two runs and left the bases loaded for senior outfielder Tim Wetzel. He hit into a fielder’s choice that scored two more as sophomore first baseman Zach Ratliff turned it into a double steal.OSU gained its first lead in the eighth after three doubles from freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson, sophomore infielder Craig Nennig and Wetzel.With a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth, junior pitcher Trace Dempsey came in to try and seal the deal, but gave up four runs on four hits to give the Sycamores an 8-6 advantage.Indiana State freshman pitcher Ryan Keaffaber stymied the Buckeyes to earn the two game sweep.“I liked the way we battled today,” Wetzel said Sunday. “It was nice to get the all of the young guys experience. It can happen with a young team, so you have to be ready to go every day.”Coach Greg Beals was disappointed with the outcome of the final game, especially after how his team battled so far back.“Today was a big lesson for us,” Beals said after the loss. “We have the ability to play really bad … and to come back like we did. The game is humbling, but we need to do all the necessary work to make sure we’re ready to go out and play.”Freshman pitcher Zach Farmer began his collegiate career starting on the bump for Saturday’s tilt with the ISU. His start did not go as planned, though, as he gave up a three-hit, two-run first inning.Dawson got the Buckeyes back in it in the fourth with a three-run homerun off junior Brad Lombard. Dawson finished the day going 3-4 in his first collegiate game.The Buckeyes wouldn’t score again though and ISU took advantage of their inept bats, scoring two more runs off Farmer and another three off freshman right handed pitcher Adam Niemeyer for a 7-3 win.The early game Saturday against Auburn matched up a pair of southpaws as the Buckeyes’ junior Ryan Riga and the Tigers’ senior Michael O’Neal were starting on the mound. Both lefties pitched brilliantly as each went six strong innings and only gave up four hits each.The difference was redshirt-junior Josh Dezse’s RBI single in the fourth. After missing all of last season with a stress reaction, Dezse was the designated hitter for each game and didn’t miss a beat.That run was all the Buckeyes needed, as Griga didn’t allow a run before handing it off to redshirt-senior pitcher Tyler Giannonatti for the seventh. Dempsey came in to finish the final two innings for his first save of the season and sealing the 1-0 victory for OSU.“I felt good, but obviously it was a lot more important for the team getting this win,” Riga said. “It gives your more confidence for tomorrow.”Friday’s season opener against the Huskies started off shaky for the Buckeyes as senior pitcher Greg Greve started out the game giving up two runs in the top of the first. He quickly settled in after that though and the offense made up for those early runs in impressive fashion.With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, sophomore infielder Jacob Bosiokovic hammered a ball over the centerfield fence for a grand slam and the Buckeyes’ first runs of the season. His blast energized both the offense and defense as they didn’t allow another run, but added four more of their own for an 8-2 win.“I was just trying to put something in play and help the team win,” Bosiokovic said. “Fortunately I hit it over the fence.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to play UCF Friday in Orlando. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. read more

Boston Red Sox select Ohio State pitcher Travis Lakins in 6th round

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins (1) delivers a pitch against Illinois on May 2, 2015. OSU lost, 6-5.Credit: Elliot Gilfix / For The LanternThe Ohio State baseball team may have narrowly missed out on postseason play this season, but it finally had some reason to celebrate during the second day of the 2015 MLB draft.Right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins became the highest OSU player drafted since fellow righty Alex Wimmers went 21st overall in 2010. The Boston Red Sox selected Lakins in the sixth round — 171st overall — on Tuesday afternoon.Lakins, a hard-throwing product of Franklin, Ohio, is coming off a sophomore season in which he went 4-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 15 starts. He struck out a team-high 84 in 96.0 innings pitched.Lakins’ final start of the season was arguably his strongest, as he neutralized Iowa’s lineup to the tune of six hits and one run allowed over eight innings in the opening game of the Big Ten tournament. However, a blown save in the ninth following Lakins’ departure gave the Hawkeyes the 3-2 victory.In the righty’s freshman campaign, he was used primarily out of the bullpen, where he made 23 of his 25 appearances. In 55.0 innings of work, he fanned 55 batters and compiled a 2.45 ERA, the second best on the team.He later made headlines after his freshman season when he threw a perfect game on June 20, 2014 while pitching for the Chillicothe Paints in summer ball. He struck out 14 in the perfect game against the West Virginia Miners, which was the first in the history of the Prospect League.Should Lakins choose to sign with Boston, the slot value for the 171st pick is $287,500, according to Baseball America. He was previously set to play for the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League this summer alongside outfielder Ronnie Dawson.The 2015 draft marked the fourth consecutive year at least one OSU player was drafted, following John Kuchno in 2012, Jon Pellant, Brett McKinney and Brad Goldberg in 2013 and Greg Greve last season.The MLB draft is scheduled to conclude with the 11th through 40th rounds on Wednesday. read more

Local Government Elections Coming

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:amanda missick, donhue gardiner, local government, Pdm, pnp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 14 Oct 2014 – There could be local government elections coming for the family islands of the Turks and Caicos in the next fiscal year… explained by one of the ministers responsible for the implementation of this constitutional requirement. Hon Don Hue Gardiner said there is much to be considered including whether the local government reps will be elected… how they can elected and how much money should be budgeted for them to run the islands’ affairs, themselves. Also speaking to the issue, which has seen a back and forth between the PNP Administration and the PDM Official Opposition was Home Affairs Minister, Amanda Missick who said this financial year could not bear the implementation of the concept. Cabinet has sanctioned a working group to do the leg work ahead of a start next year to local government. Opposition Leader responds to Throne Speech  11 days later; says PDM Govt plan puts TCI in ‘deep doo doo’ TCI Country Leaders condemn vicious memes Olive branch extended by Opposition Leader, says it is time for Turks and Caicos leaders to unite Recommended for youlast_img read more

Kenai Chapter Hosting The 2018 Alaska Fire Conference

first_imgCrews also participated in advanced rope rescue training. Qualified rope rescue technicians were challenged by various rope rescue scenarios designed to test individual rigging skills and expand problem-solving capabilities. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Chapter of the Alaska State Firefighters Association and the Kenai Fire Department are teaming up with Central Emergency Services and the Nikiski Fire Department to host the 2018 Alaska Fire Conference. For more information and updates check out the Conference Facebook page. CES Deputy Chief Dan Grimes led Mondays course on R.I.C. Rapid Intervention Crews: “Our focus was on working with limited staff/small teams to make a big difference rescuing firefighters out of challenging spaces from below grade to attic areas and everything in-between.”center_img The Alaska Fire Conference is the annual fire conference co-sponsored by the Alaska Fire Chiefs and Alaska State Firefighters Associations in cooperation with the State of Alaska Fire Marshal’s Office, Training and Education Bureau. Firefighters, emergency managers, and instructors from across the state and the country will be attending classes all week, from September 24-28, on the central peninsula.last_img read more

Infosys promotes 2100 employees after upbeat Q3 numbers

first_imgInfosys, India’s second largest IT firm, has promoted 2,100 employees after posting upbeat earnings for the third straight quarter ending December 2015.Confirming the development, a spokeswoman of Infosys told The Economic Times that the promotions would be effective from 1 January this year.The latest promotions are slightly higher than the 2,000 announced by the company in October, but they are far below the number of promotions given shortly after Vishal Sikka took charge as the CEO of Infosys in August 2014.The executives and employees across the firm have been promoted taking their performance and maturity of their roles into consideration. Earlier this month, the Bengaluru-based IT major had slashed variable payouts to employees from 100 percent to 75 percent despite an improvement in its revenue in December quarter.Last week, Sikka had said that disruptive technologies like automation and artificial intelligence are posing a “big threat” to the IT industry.”The traditional IT companies are facing the same disruption that everybody else in the world is,” Sikka told NDTV on the sidelines of the annual meet of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland.Infosys saw a 0.6 percent increase in revenue to $2,407 million in the October-December quarter in the current fiscal year. In rupee terms, the IT major reported 6.6 percent growth in the net profit to Rs.3,465 crore, while its revenue went up by 15.3 percent to Rs 15, 902 crore on annual basis.Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest IT firm, posted a 14.19 percent rise in its net profit to Rs 6,083 crore for the third quarter, but its revenue growth failed to meet analysts’ expectations for the sixth consecutive quarter.last_img read more

Who will be next ICICI Bank chairman Frontrunner loses out exbureaucrat emerges

first_img Close Who is Nirav Modi, and how did he commit the Rs 11,000 crore fraud? A pedestrian walks past a logo of ICICI Bank at its headquarters in Mumbai January 30, 2015.ReutersAmid turmoil over the probe into CEO Chanda Kochhar and the conflict of interest controversy, ICICI Bank is deciding its next chairman today. While reports indicate that a former frontrunner in the race may have lost out, the embattled bank’s board is looking at drafting in a seasoned ex-bureaucrat from the Indian Administrative service.The board will finalise a name in its Friday board meeting as Chairman RK Sharma’s term is ending on June 30. The selected person’s name will be then sent to the Reserve Bank of India. Sharma has gone on record expressing his desire not to continue as chairman.For a time, it was a foregone conclusion that former Bank of Baroda Chairman and Managing Director MD Mallya would step in to lead the country’s largest lender from the private sector. However, after the CBI questioned Mallya over alleged Rs 2,919-crore loan fraud by Rotomac, his chances declined.Mallya’s appointment to the board of ICICI Bank as an independent director on May 29 was seen as a precursor to his move to the chairmanship.In the changed scenario, where the bank is in uneasy limelight over Kochhar’s role in the Rs 3250 crore loan to Videocon Industries in 2012, the bank is looking to bolster its top level with a seasoned bureaucrat, the Business standard reported on Friday.”The board is of the view that the bank needs a seasoned bureaucrat from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) who is methodological, has a good grasp over economy-related issues, and had served in a senior position in the Ministry of Finance,” Business Standard quoted a source as saying.The names that have been apparently vetted by the bank’s board of the position of chairman include former revenue secretary Shaktikanta Das, former financial services secretary D K Mittal, former corporate affairs secretary Tapan Ray and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi C B Bhave.The board’s preference for a top level ex-government official is underlined by its determination to shake off the “reputational risk” that emanated from the recent controversies, the source said.center_img The troubles for Kochhar and ICICI Bank had started when a whistleblower revealed irregularities and conflict of interest over the sanctioning of a huge loan to the Videocon Industries in 2012. The Rs 3,250 crore loan to the group was sanctioned under Kochhar’s watch. However, the whistleblower complaint said that a few months before that loan was sanctioned, Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot had lent a whopping Rs 66 core to Deepak Kochhar, the CEO’s husband.Before the whistleblower complaint emerged, investor Arvind Gupta had alleged in 2016 that the loans to Videocon were a clear case of conflict of interest. He had said that the funding of a company called NuPower jointly by Dhoot and Deepak Kochhar pointed to the possibility of there being a quid pro quo behind the sanction of loans.last_img read more

Three journalists arrested over Venezuela prison report

first_imgAn Italian, a Swiss and a Venezuelan journalist have been arrested as they prepared a report on a prison in northern Venezuela, human rights and press freedom groups said.Roberto Di Matteo of Italy, Filippo Rossi of Switzerland and Jesus Medina of Venezuela were arrested Friday after entering Tocoron prison in northern Aragua state with a television crew, according to the rights group Foro Penal.The national journalists union said the trio were conducting a “media investigation” when they were arrested.Critics say Venezuelan prisons are overpopulated and inmates are malnourished, despite government plans to reduce inmate populations.The Swiss foreign ministry said the Swiss embassy in Caracas “is in contact with the appropriate authorities and is assisting this Swiss national in accordance with the consular protections afforded him.”The Italian foreign ministry said its mission “has been following from the very beginning the arrest of Italian national Roberto Di Matteo, and is in close contact with local authorities.”Di Matteo works as a videographer for Italian daily newspaper Il Giornale, regularly collaborating with independent journalist Rossi, the publication said on its website.Rossi had also worked with regional Swiss daily Corriere del Ticino, while Medina is a photojournalist for anti-government website DolarToday.The union released a photograph of the three journalists taken from the back, apparently handcuffed and escorted by two military personnel. Their cellphones and small cameras were confiscated.Union representatives told AFP the journalists were in good health late Saturday.”They are doing well and show no signs of mistreatment,” according to the SNTP union.”They had an invitation to enter Tocoron. They had registered to enter when they were barred access and then arrested. It seems there was a counter-order to bar them access.”Foro Penal director Alfredo Romero said some of his group’s lawyers had traveled to provide legal aid to the trio, who are being held by national police.Late last year, rights group Una Ventana a La Libertad estimated that there are some 88,000 inmates across a country with an official prison capacity of 35,000.President Nicolas Maduro’s government, which says it is being unfairly disparaged in national and international media, says it has successfully applied measures to pacify prisons and raise their standards to international norms.last_img read more