SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — The infiltration of northern Honduras by drug traffickers has not only turned the country into one of the world’s most violent. It’s also made life hell for local journalists trying to cover the mayhem. At least 30 reporters have been killed since 2003, according to the Colegio de Periodistas de Honduras, the national press group. Of this total, 14 were murdered in just the past two and a half years. These are astounding numbers for a country of just 7.5 million inhabitants. “Everyone feels vulnerable,” said Mavis Cruz, director of the news program Noticias a la Hora, which airs on San Pedro Sula’s Radio Libertad. “There have been so many abuses against journalists and there is almost total impunity.” The killings of reporters are part of a broader nationwide crime crisis brought on, in part, by political instability following the 2009 removal of the president by the Honduran Congress — not to mention weak government institutions and the growing importance of Honduras as a hub for traffickers shipping Colombian cocaine to the United States. Authorities estimate that several hundred tons of cocaine pass through the country each year with hyper-violent Mexican cartels pushing out their Colombian counterparts to dominate the business. Meanwhile, Honduran youth gangs provide the trafficking organizations with gunmen who can intimidate and murder for bargain prices. “Well-funded transnational criminal organizations combined with local gangs are destabilizing the country’s democratic institutions and making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world,” wrote James Boswell in a recent study on Honduras published by the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Political instability feeds violence against journalists Fueling the chaos is political instability in the wake of a June 2009 military-backed action that ousted left-wing President Manuel Zelaya. After the coup, many foreign governments cut off aid to Honduras while the fight against organized crime was pushed to the back burner as the new government focused on consolidating power and gaining international legitimacy, Boswell wrote. Today, Honduras registers the highest murder rate in the world — 82 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Caught in the crossfire are many reporters. By Dialogo July 02, 2012 “In the courthouse we are almost face-to-face with delinquents. They look at us, laugh and sneer. So we can’t even go to public hearings anymore because we are exposed,” said Tiempo reporter Juan Carlos Rodríguez. “That means we have to do journalism-lite, like covering local artisans or tourism,” he said. “We can’t investigate anything about drug trafficking. We can’t write the truth. The only way you can tell the truth in Honduras is through a novel.” Rodríguez and other reporters often request that their bylines be removed from their stories. “Before, reporters were proud to say: ‘This is my work,’” added Karina Interiano, who anchors the Notiseis TV news program in San Pedro Sula. “Now, they no longer want to attach their names to their stories.” The killings of reporters are not all drug-related. Some of the deaths are due to personal disputes while others are tied to the rise in political violence following the 2009 ouster of Zelaya, which also polarized the media with some newspapers, radio and TV stations supporting the coup and others coming out against it. Given the dangers, some Honduran reporters are thinking of getting out. Rodríguez, the Tiempo reporter, said he may abandon journalism for a job in finance. Journalists say that those involved in the drug trade — including corrupt politicians and police officers — target reporters to intimidate and derail the press from its traditional watchdog function. The killers receive further encouragement because they are almost never brought to justice, says the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The most recent murder of a Honduran journalist was also the most shocking. On May 9, the body of Ángel Alfredo Villatoro, 47, a prominent host and news coordinator of HRN, one of Honduras’ most popular radio stations, was found on a sidewalk. Villatoro, a friend of President Porfirio Lobo, had two gunshots to the head, was dressed in the uniform of a special operations police unit and had a red handkerchief covering his face. “Honduran authorities must fully investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. He warned that “the deadly cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for these crimes is endangering freedom of expression in Honduras.” Reporters shying away from difficult stories Indeed, precisely at the moment when Honduras most needs an aggressive press corps to investigate organized crime, news coverage has been neutered. Reporters don’t dare probe deeply into drug-related murders and extortion schemes for fear of retaliation. Newspapers are filled with sensational crime stories that are just a few paragraphs long and say almost nothing about the possible motives for shootouts and killings. The San Pedro Sula-based Tiempo daily newspaper shut down its investigative unit in 2009 due to the growing risks. Yet even routine reporting can be lethal. Photographers are sometimes targeted after taking pictures of crime scenes or police lineups, while reporters have been threatened simply for covering legal cases involving traffickers.
Image Courtesy: Reuters/TwitterAdvertisement 3hjqeNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsbwkl1pWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E0ol( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) hm0Would you ever consider trying this?😱7oCan your students do this? 🌚cmobRoller skating! Powered by Firework Over the years, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has not only been established as one of the greatest captains of the Indian cricket team, but one particular attribute that the iconic wicket keeping batsman showed on the pitch is his calm and level headed approach. Even in the trickiest and unnerving moments of the game, his ice-cool attitude earned him the nickname of ‘Captain Cool’. However, there have been instances where even Dhoni lost his nerve, and one such incident was recently narrated by Team India bowler Kuldeep Yadav.Advertisement Image Courtesy: Reuters/TwitterIn a talk show with sports journalist Jatin Sapru on his ‘ASAP with JSAP’ video show on Instagram, Kuldeep spoke recalled the T20I match back in 2017 December against Sri Lanka in Indore, when Dhoni lost his cool towards the chinaman spinner.It all started when Yadav was facing Kusal Perera, who was on a blistering spell at that moment, and not listening his skipper’s call to switch up the fielders, ended up in the Sri Lankan batsman hitting another four.Advertisement “Kusal smashed a boundary over the covers. Dhoni Bhai shouted from behind the wickets and asked me to change the fielding. I did not listen to his suggestion and in the next ball, Kusal hit another boundary through the reverse sweep now,” Yadav told Jatin in the video.After the back to back boundaries, Yadav was in for a treat from Mahi.Advertisement “Now agitated Dhoni came to me and said, ‘me pagal hu? 300 one-day khela hu, aur samjha raha hu yahan pe.’ (Am I mad? I have played 300 ODIs and here I have to make you understand),” the 25 year old added.On the way back to the hotel, a frightened Kuldeep got to know that it had been two decades since the ‘Captain Cool’ even got angry.“I was so scared of him that day. After the match, I went to him while travelling in the team bus and asked if he ever gets angry. To which Dhoni bhai said: 20 saal se gussa nhi kiya hai (I have not got angry for the last 20 years),” he concluded.Check out Kuldeep Yadav’s whole conversation on Jatin Sapru’s official Instagram here-Also read-Anushka Sharma imitates the average Indian cricket fan and Virat Kohli’s reaction is priceless! Advertisement
Technology has outpaced legislation when it comes to companies like Uber but Trenton has taken notice and is acting—whether Uber or its likeminded competition like it or not.Both the state Assembly and Senate are considering almost matching bills that would establish criteria for doing business for what are referred to as transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber, probably the most identifiable in the public’s eye right now, but also Lyft, Sidecar and Wings. Uber has expressed opposition to the bills for going too far and a representative from the state limousine association objects for not going far enough.These technology companies have established smartphone and tablet apps to connect paying riders with drivers and their usually privately owned vehicles.But those in the traditional livery transportation industry have objected that these companies are not as regulated and have an unfair advantage.“It’s now, it’s sexy and it’s in vogue,” maintained Jeff Shanker, president of the Limousine Association of New Jersey. “But in reality they’re doing the same thing as a limousine does, the same thing a taxi does—transportation from point A to point B. The only difference is they’re taking out the middle person, the dispatcher.”He stressed they should have to play by the same rules about property liability coverage and background checks for drivers.Lawmakers have acknowledged the disparity.“With the TNCs the market is basically unregulated,” noted Assemblyman Joseph Lagana, a Democrat representing the 38th District, taking in parts of Bergen and Passaic counties.The major issue for Lagana is “at the end of the day we have to protect the public.”To that end Lagana has sponsored Bill 3765 that would enact a series of regulations covering this relatively new way of operating a transportation service.The bill has been in the Assembly chamber’s Transportation Committee but added a number of amendments and is scheduled to return to the committee on March 19 for further consideration, according to Lagana.“This is an emerging technology. It’s not like a limousine service, it’s not like a taxi service. But it is,” said Lagana, who hopes to establish ground rules without unduly burdening this developing business model.“We’re not trying to over-regulate anybody,” Lagana said. “Essentially what we’re trying to do is put basic protections in place while at the same time ensuring the established livery service are not cast out as second class citizens.”Lagana is a lawyer who specializes in automobile and auto insurance-related matters. His sponsored bill would require these companies to register with the state; to have sufficient insurance acquired by the company, on a level required of limousine companies (which is higher than required of taxis), and on the drivers—even though they are driving their personal vehicles; and to have hired drivers get criminal background checks, register with the state Division of Motor Vehicles and receive a designated DMV identification.Uber’s Mohrer said last week his company already does background checks and provides insurance coverage for drivers, passengers and cars.Lagana said he has yet to see the insurance coverage Uber provides. As for the other provisions, the assemblyman said good for them but it should be required for all.As for possible regulations, Mohrer said last week the company is working with lawmakers to draft legislation “that makes sense.”Lagana said in his dealings with TNCs, “In my opinion, they’re not really in favor of any regulation.“But, obviously,” he continued, “That’s not acceptable.”Matthew Wing, a spokesman for Uber, said in an email on Wednesday, “This bill was written to protect the status quo and drive Uber out of New Jersey.”If this bill becomes law “it will take economic opportunities away from 5,000 New Jersey Uber-driver partners and prevent over 100,000 New Jersey residents from getting a safe, convenient ride, whenever they want, wherever they want, wherever they are,” Wing said.“We still have grave concerns,” Shanker said of this legislation, believing “public safety is still at risk” even with the provisions outlined in the bill.By John Burton
Trail Allstars watched Highlands score 10 runs in the final two innings to dump the host squad 12-5 at the BC Little League 9-10 Baseball Championships Tuesday at Andy Bilesky Park.The loss dropped the Trail Allstars record to 1-3.Hastings Allstars lead the standings with a 4-0 record after pounding Beacon Hill of Victoria 20-2.White Rock and Highlands are tied for second at 3-1 with Trail in fourth with Beacon Hill.Nelson’s Bryce Sookro singled in Noah Quinn for the first run for Trail. Sookro then scored as did Will Doerksen to give the hosts the early 3-0 lead.Highlands scored a single in the first and third before exploding for three in the fourth frame and seven runs in the fifth.Quinn took the loss on the mound for Trail while Jed Decooman was the pitcher of record for Highlands.Sookro, Darren Issel and Seamus Boyd of Nelson all finished with one RBI.Trail meets winless Dunbar Wednesday to conclude the round robin part of the tournament.In other games, White Rock faces Beacon Hill and Hastings meets Highland.The top four teams advance to the semi final round Friday with the two winners advancing to the final Saturday.