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Supreme Court invalidates “false news” law

first_img UgandaAfrica Ugandan president threatens to “bankrupt” leading daily News News News Reporters Without Borders today welcomed an 11 February ruling by the Ugandan Supreme Court that a law banning “publication of false news” was unconstitutional..It said it was a boost to press freedom and hoped the authorities would also remove other restrictions on the media. It noted that about 50 privately-owned radio stations were threatened with closure by the broadcasting supervisory body and that several journalists, including two with the independent daily The Monitor, were being prosecuted for alleged terrorism for reporting on the activities of rebel forces. Section 50 of the criminal code allows politicians to intimidate journalists who criticise them by claiming their reports are subversive and brandishing the threat of two years imprisonment for allegedly “false news.” The Monitor had sought to have the law struck down several times since 1997.The Supreme Court’s seven judges unanimously ruled that section 50 conflicted with article 29 of the 1995 national constitution that guaranteed freedom of expression, saying the law did not specify what material could or could not be published and thus hampered the media from doing its job.Monitor editor Charles Onyango-Obbo and reporter Andrew Mwenda were accused in 1997 of publishing “false news” in an article headed “Kabila paid Uganda in gold.” They appealed against the “false news” law to the Constitutional Court but lost, though they were acquitted of the offence after two years. They then appealed to the Supreme Court. UgandaAfrica February 17, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Supreme Court invalidates “false news” law Follow the news on Uganda Uganda blocks social media and messaging apps, isolating election June 4, 2021 Find out morecenter_img to go further RSF_en Organisation Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts March 12, 2021 Find out more News Uganda urged to free two journalist held since last week on libel charges January 13, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

From fins to limbs and water to land

first_imgIt’s hard to overstate how much of a game-changer it was when vertebrates first rose up from the waters and moved onshore about 390 million years ago. That transition led to the rise of the dinosaurs and all the land animals that exist today.“Being able to walk around on land essentially set the stage for all biodiversity and established modern terrestrial ecosystems,” said Stephanie Pierce, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and curator of vertebrate paleontology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. “It represents an incredibly important period of time in evolutionary history.”Scientists have been trying for more than a century to unravel exactly how this remarkable shift took place, and their understanding of the process is largely based on a few rare, intact fossils with anatomical gaps between them. A new study from Pierce and Blake Dickson, Ph.D. ’20, looks to provide a more thorough view by zeroing in on a single bone: the humerus.The study, published today in Nature, shows how and when the first groups of land explorers became better walkers than swimmers. The analysis spans the fin-to-limb transition and reconstructs the evolution of terrestrial movement in early tetrapods. These are the four-limbed land vertebrates whose descendants include extinct and living amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.The researchers focused on the humerus, the long bone in the upper arm that runs down from the shoulder and connects with the lower arm at the elbow, to get around the dilemma of gaps between well-preserved fossils. Functionally, the humerus is invaluable for movement because it hosts key muscles that absorb much of the stress from quadrupedal locomotion. Most importantly, the bone is found in all tetrapods and the fishes they evolved from and is pretty common throughout the fossil record. The bone represents a time capsule of sorts, with which to reconstruct the evolution of locomotion since it can be examined across the fin-to-limb transition, the researchers said.“We went in with the idea that the humerus should be able to tell us about the functional evolution of locomotion as you go from being a fish that’s just swimming around and as you come onto land and start walking,” Dickson said.The researchers analyzed 40 3D fossil humeri for the study, including new fossils collected by collaborators at the University of Cambridge as part of the TW:eed Project. The team looked at how the bone changed over time and its effect on how these creatures likely moved.A fossil humeri from an aquatic fish (Eusthenopteron), a transitional tetrapod (Acanthostega), and a terrestrial tetrapod (Ophiacodon). Credit: Stephanie PierceThe analysis covered the transition from aquatic fishes to terrestrial tetrapods. It included an intermediate group of tetrapods with previously unknown locomotor capabilities. The researchers found that the emergence of limbs in this intermediate group coincided with a transition onto land, but that these early tetrapods weren’t very good at moving on it.To understand this, the team measured the functional trade-offs associated with adapting to different environments. They found that as these creatures moved from water to land, the humerus changed shape, resulting in new combinations of functional traits that proved more advantageous for life on land than in the water.That made sense to the researchers. “You can’t be good at everything,” Dickson said. “You have to give up something to go from being a fish to being a tetrapod on land.”The researchers captured the changes on a topographical map showing where these early tetrapods stood in relation to water-based or land-based living. The scientists said these changes were likely driven by environmental pressures as these creatures adapted to terrestrial life.The paper describes the transitional tetrapods as having an “L-shaped” humerus that provided some functional benefit for moving on land, but not much. These animals had a long way to go to develop the traits necessary to use their limbs on land to move with ease and skill.As the humerus continued to change shape, tetrapods improved their movement. The “L” shaped humerus transformed into a more robust, elongated, twisted form, leading to new combinations of functional traits. This change allowed for more effective gaits on land and helped trigger biological diversity and expansion into terrestrial ecosystems. It also helped establish complex food chains based on predators, prey, herbivores, and carnivores still seen today.Analysis took about four years to complete. Quantifying how the humerus changed shape and function took thousands of hours on a supercomputer. The researchers then analyzed how those changes impacted functional performance of the limb during locomotion and the trade-offs associated.The innovative approach represents a new way of viewing and analyzing the fossil record — an effort Pierce said was well worth it.“This study demonstrates how much information you can get from such a small part of an animal’s skeleton that’s been recorded in the fossil record and how it can help unravel one of the biggest evolutionary transformations that has ever occurred,” Pierce said. “This is really cutting-edge stuff.”This research was supported with funding from the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Robert A. Chapman Fellowship, and the Natural Environment Research Council.last_img read more

USDA clears BSE cow’s herd of disease

first_img The infected cow had spent its entire life on the same ranch. Officials suspect that it contracted BSE by eating contaminated feed, since it was born well before the government banned feeding of cattle protein to cattle in 1997. The Texas cow had the first known case of BSE in a US-born animal. The nation’s first case, detected in December 2003, involved a Canadian-born dairy cow in Washington state. Officials had said earlier that they would test all cattle in the herd that were born within a year before or after the 12-year-old Brahma cross beef cow that tested positive for BSE in June, plus any offspring of that cow born in the past 2 years. The cow arrived dead at a slaughterhouse last November and was then shipped to a pet food company in Waco, Tex. The carcass was kept out of the food and animal feed chains, and samples were tested for BSE. Initial screening tests were inconclusive, and subsequent immunohistochemistry (IHC) tests were negative. Jul 12, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says it has found no more cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the Texas cattle herd that the nation’s second BSE-infected cow came from. The agency said it was continuing to trace cattle from the infected cow’s birth cohort that are no longer part of the same herd, but officials offered no information on the results of that search.center_img But in early June, the USDA’s inspector general requested a Western blot test on the cow’s remains, and it came back positive. Further confirmatory tests at a reference lab in England were also positive. In announcing that result on Jun 24, the USDA said it would use both IHC and Western blot tests, instead of IHC only, to confirm or exclude possible BSE cases from then on. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in an update today, “USDA has completed sorting and inventory of the animals on the index farm. This, along with the 67 negative test results from the index farm, led to the lifting of the hold order on the farm on Monday.” An Associated Press report in the Houston Chronicle said USDA officials would check market documents to trace cattle from the birth cohort. USDA spokesman Larry Cooper told the AP that there are no rules about how long markets must keep sale documents, but he expressed confidence that “a good number” of the cattle could be traced. The agency announced 2 days ago that 67 cattle culled from the herd had all tested negative. A hold order on the herd, which has not been identified, was lifted yesterday.last_img read more

Video: South Africa goes to the polls

first_imgSouth Africans eager to cast their vote in the country’s fourth democratic elections brave the early morning cold in hopes of avoiding long queues.Click arrow to play video.Posted on SouthAfrica.info on 22 April 2009.last_img

South Africa’s 50 ways of headwrapping

first_imgThere are many ways to wear a doek, or duku – an African headwrap. In fact, South African entrepreneur Princess Ofentse Maluleke can show you up to 50 different, fashionable styles. She recently published a tutorial book, 50 Shades of Duku, after she realised many of her customers had trouble tying their doeks.“My friend and I sell headwraps at the market. Customers would say they would love to wear a headwrap but don’t know how to tie it,” she explains.“You get videos on YouTube on how to tie a headwrap, but when you have several minutes to get ready in the morning, you don’t have time to look up a website.”Princess Ofentse Maluleke, who sells her own shea butter and wrote a book on how to style an African headwrap, says she has been an entrepreneur all her life. (Image: Taji Shop, Shopify)The writing processIt prompted her to write a book about different styles. “At the time I started, I only had 30 styles. The other 20 I made up – I mixed styles and created new ones. It really pushed my mental boundaries.”Maluleke says she wanted to do a good number of styles. “I thought 20 was too little. I wanted a significant number, because I wanted it to be like a klap (punch). I felt 50 was enough, not too much to burn me out.”She started writing her book in April this year and finished it by the end of May. The electronic book version has been available on her website since 31 May. “My aim is to write at least 10 books in my lifetime about different things.”Her supportHer book is sold as an e-book, as a print book or as a combination book and headwrap. “I have had Canadians and American tourists saying that my combo was a great gift to take back home.”Maluleke, a business science degree graduate, says she is very excited about this project. “I feel like I am at the right place in my life.”Her family is proud of her achievements. “They are very supportive. My brother, for instance, funded my first batch of books. My mom, Sally Tsipe, is distributing the books in KwaZulu-Natal and my sister, Omolemo Tsipe, distributes them in Cape Town.”Her husband and a friend helped her to finish the book.Part-time entrepreneurAs the chief executive officer of the Taji Shop, Maluleke says she has been a part-time entrepreneur all her life. “In high school I was known as the ‘Popcorn Lady’ and in university I would redesign old clothes to sell. I taught myself to sew. I started as a full-time entrepreneur earlier this year.”It began with selling her own organic shea butter body cream. “I get the shea butter raw from Ghana and add different oils to make the product easier to use. You can use it for your skin and hair.”Her duku partiesMaluleke, who lives in Johannesburg, is often invited to women’s parties such as baby showers to teach her duku styles. “I do one-on-ones and small groups. Showing a couple of duku styles is a great educational element at women’s events.”In many African cultures, a young bride wears a duku as a sign of respect, because they cover their heads, she explains. “I am also a young bride.”But you don’t have to be a young bride to wear a duku. “Also, you can make it look fashionable.”There are also no-nos: In an interview on radio station Power FM 987, Maluleke warned that wearing a headwrap tied too tightly could cause a “scarf headache”. Also, matching a doek to your outfit could be done wrong. “Rather stick to neutrals and go wild on yourdoek.”Another tip is to use an under-scarf – some fabric or another headwrap – to add volume to your doek.Maluleke also hosts her own duku parties where her doek combos are sold, and she teaches her audience how to use a T- shirt instead of a headwrap to create a doek style.Next up, she plans to take her parties all over South Africa.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Akhilesh non-committal about alliance with Congress


Rep Iden and Gov Snyder welcome Portage FIRST Robotics team to state

first_img Categories: Iden News,Iden Photos 30Jun Rep. Iden and Gov. Snyder welcome Portage FIRST Robotics team to state Capitol State Representative Brandt Iden and Governor Rick Snyder welcomed the World Champion Stryke Force 2767 FIRST Robotics team to the state capitol today.  Stryke Force 2767 competed in the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, defeating more than 3,000 teams from around the world.  The team had to build a robot able to throw whiffle balls into a boiler and place gears on an airship in the arena.“Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] skills are so important in today’s world,” Rep. Iden said.  “Competitions like this can help get students excited about STEM careers as they develop a passion for these areas. These kids are learning incredible skills that will benefit them in higher education and in future jobs.  We are so proud of our Portage team!”For more information contact Rep. Iden’s office at 517-373-1774 or by email at [email protected]last_img read more

Interactive TV technology specialist Alticast has


Comcast this week came good on its promise of a bi


Whats the link between war and religion Does liv

first_imgWhat’s the link between war and religion? Does living through the traumas of conflict make people more religious – or turn them against religion?Those age-old questions are probed in two studies.”War Increases Religiosity” appears in Nature: Human Behavior. A team led by Joseph Henrich, chairman of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology of Harvard University, analyzed interview responses from 1,709 individuals in 71 villages in three countries that had suffered prolonged, brutal internal conflicts that did not revolve around religious or ethnic differences: Sierra Leone’s civil war, 1991-2002; the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Uganda, 1986-2006; and Tajikistan’s civil war and continuing political violence.The data showed that people who had been more intensely affected by the violence of war were more likely to join or participate in religious groups and practice religious rituals. The data, collected in 2010 and 2011, came from previously published work by other researchers.The more profound the impact of war on an individual — such as the death, injury or abduction of a household member — the greater the likelihood grew of that person turning to religion. By contrast, those who had been less affected by the impact of war were also less likely to join a a religious group. The statistical breakdown showed that for those in Sierra Leone, greater exposure to war made it 12% more likely individuals would turn to religion; 14% more for those in Uganda; and 41% more for Tajikstan.Even as years passed, Henrich’s latest study found that religious practice continued to play a significant role in the lives of many of those surveyed. “These effects on religiosity persist even 5, 8 and 13 years post-conflict,” according to the study. The effects held true whether those surveyed were Muslim or Christian.So what does that mean in terms of day-to-day behavior? In Henrich’s previous work, he had found that religion led people to be more “prosocial” — that is, more supportive, cooperative and generous — but in a particular way. “When people hear the word cooperation, they interpret that positively,” he said. But his study showed a “more narrow” type of cooperation that only included people in one’s own group or village while excluding outsiders. As Henrich put it, “When I’m hit by a shock, what should I do? Who should I turn to? The groups you’re already in become tighter, and you’re less interested in reaching out to those who are not” in your in-group.The positive side is that such cooperation could lead to nation building. But the danger, Henrich says, is that these ingredients can alternatively lead to what he calls a “negative feedback loop.” In that scenario, these already tightly knit religious groups could, in the event of an attack or if they fear one is imminent, band together to fight off other groups and defend their own religious beliefs.And that’s the mixed message from the study’s findings. Even though the groups studied by Henrich and his colleagues had not initially experienced a war with a religious element baked in, they could have a religious awakening in the aftermath that could foster “parochial cooperation” – but could also “catalyze ongoing cycles of violent conflict.”Henrich echoes the conclusions of an earlier research study, published in 2016, by psychology professors Hongfei Du of Guangzhou University and Peilian Chi of the University of Macau. They also found that the greater exposure to war, the more likely people are to become more religious, belong to religious groups and participate in religious rituals. That was their takeaway after analyzing responses from 82,772 individuals in 57 countries contained in the 2010 World Values Survey.In a post-war environment, religion can serve as a psychological buffer against worry about future conflicts, they write — and can also help people achieve a strong sense of belonging to a group.And yet, Du wrote in his email to NPR, some research has shown that a different factor could tip the cycle toward peacemaking instead: whether the religious leaders hold and emphasize compassionate values rather than promote violent solutions to conflicts. It’s an idea that was crystallized in a quote from Gandhi: “The need of the moment is not one religion, but mutual respect and tolerance of the devotees of the different religions.”Diane Cole writes for many publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Jewish Week, and is book columnist for The Psychotherapy Networker. She is the author of the memoir After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges. Her website is dianejcole.com. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more