News RSF_en News February 22, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information to go further Bangladeshi writer and blogger dies in detention News BangladeshAsia – Pacific May 11, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist accused of murder after refusing to hand over incriminating photos of police Bangladeshi reporter fatally shot by ruling party activists RSF calls for the release of Bangladeshi journalist Rozina Islam, unfairly accused of espionage May 19, 2021 Find out more February 26, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Bangladesh News Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) has protested after police accused a photo-journalist of murder after he refused to hand over photos he took of police firing at demonstrators at a polling station, killing two of them.Freelance journalist Aurobindo Pal was arrested by police in the northern Mymensingh district on 10 May after he refused to hand over his negatives taken the evening before. To ensure he could not be bailed, they put him on a murder charge.Reporters Without Borders said it was dismayed that yet again police had arrested a Bangladeshi journalist on a false accusation. It urged Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Moudud Ahmed to intervene with the relevant authorities to obtain the journalist’s release and the lifting of trumped-up charges against him.The international press freedom organisation also called in its letter to the minister for the punishment of police officer Khohinoor Miah implicated in the arrest and other human rights violations, including the torture of the journalist Saleem Samad in 2002.A riot broke out against security forces at a polling station in the town of Nandail on 9 May 2004, where local elections were being held. Police, on the order of Khohinoor Miah, fired into the crowd, killing two demonstrators and injuring at least 17 others. Pal took pictures of the police action.Police turned up at his home that night to seize the negatives. Despite threats of reprisals, Pal refused. Police searched his home and one officer said he had been ordered to arrest him if he failed to comply.Pal, who is deputy chairman of the town press club, is to appear before the Nandail court on 12 May. He cannot be released on bail because he is accused of murder under Article 302 of the criminal code. District administrator for Mymensingh district said that the chief of police had acted against his advice.On the day of Pal’s arrest, the minister, Moudud Ahmed, told a meeting of donor countries that there was complete press freedom in Bangladesh and that journalists had been killed or attacked for reasons that had nothing to do with their work.Representatives of the donor countries had asked the Dhaka government to act to improve the situation, pointing out that there could be no press freedom as long as journalists worked under threat. BangladeshAsia – Pacific Organisation
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By John BurtonSuper Storm Sandy was a bipartisan storm, displacing both Republican and Democratic mayors, whose homes were damaged it the storm’s wake.Like so many of their constituents, mayors of Sea Bright, Highlands, Little Silver and Oceanport saw their homes so damaged by last October’s storm they became displaced and three of them still have not returned.Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon and his family had to rely on relatives after the storm. But “I’m one of the lucky ones,” he insisted. His home was repaired sufficiently, allowing the Mahons to return right around last year’s holidays.The others aren’t so lucky.“My home is no longer my home,” said Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long, as she looks toward a year out of her residence. Over the past year, while working on the overwhelming magnitude of issues her community faces following the storm’s devastating effects on the oceanfront community, Long and her family had to address dealing with their own situation.Like so many others in the community, they’ve been at odds with their insurance providers and have had to deal with government red tape, as they attempted to access the various programs intended to assist residents.“You live by the water, you know the risk, you buy a policy,” Long said. “I get it.“But then you’re told it won’t cover your home,” she added.According to Long, her policy should have allowed for $205,000. Instead the carrier is saying she is entitled to $5,000 for her home contents and $60,000 for damages. “My cheapest repair bill is $75,000. And that’s if I cut corners,” she said.“The cruel joke is they don’t give you enough to fix,” she charged.Long is currently waiting for the final determination for the state’s Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grant program before her family can make any final determination on what they’ll do.Mayor Frank Nolan, saw not only one, but two homes structurally damaged by the storm, his family’s and his mother-in-law’s, that he has been caring for. “I just paid my 12th rent payment,” on the rental his family has been using, after having spent approximately 17 days in a housing shelter at Henry Hudson Regional High School.Everything in both homes is being replaced as well as the other work that needs to be accomplished, which he said, “puts me in the same position as most of the downtown residents,” of Highlands, where about 1,250 of the approximately 1,500 homes were damaged to some degree.“It’s frustrating for me, it’s frustrating for everybody,” dealing with contractors, insurance adjusters and red tape. Nolan said he was ready to scream recently, when the windows and doors order arrived and were the wrong ones, causing another delay.Work is moving forward on Little Silver Mayor Robert Neff’s home, slowly but surely, Neff pointed out. Like others he’s had to replace everything in the family home and repair it from the flooding. “Between my wife, my kids and volunteers, I did much better than I might otherwise,” he noted, as everyone pitched in to help clean out the structure, filling two 1-ton dumpsters, to make way for the work.“We’re pretty grateful to be where we are a year from this because of all the help we had,” he said.Neff is very close to being back, hopefully within the week, he said. “It’s been a long year but we’re getting there,” he said.Nolan said he’s about “10 percent away” from returning home.For Long and her family, things remain up in the air. And this experience has caused her and her family to rethink some basic things.“It has certainly changed my relationship with the material world,” she said.“I’m certainly content to rent for the rest of my life,” she said.
By Jay CookThe state’s newly amended Pet Purchase Protection Act is designed to create transparency between pet stores and customers. The law aims to give prospective pet buyers the animal’s veterinary history, breeder or broker information, as well as prohibit New Jersey pet dealers from doing any business with unlicensed breeders or animal welfare violators, also known as puppy mills.But two local stores that recently got slapped with violations, hefty fines and bad publicity for alleged failure to offer required cage label signage are howling mad and fighting back.On Jan. 4, the Division of Consumer Affairs cited 17 pet stores statewide with 683 violations, with fines totaling more than $400,000. Among them was Bark Avenue Puppies, 4 West Front St., Red Bank, which was issued 50 violations, and The Pet Shoppe, 1284 Route 35, Middletown, which had 19 violations.The pet shops must comply with the law and pay a reduced civil penalty. For Bark Avenue, that is at total of $10,000, and The Pet Shoppe, $2,500. Pet shops that fail to address the notice they received, or contest the violations, face higher civil penalties. For Bark Avenue that could be as much as $25,000, and for The Pet Shoppe, $9,500.An attorney representing both pet stores says the charges are unreasonable. “None of the violations pertain in any way to the safety of the animals, the animals’ health or its well-being or care,” said Dean Schneider, attorney with Schneider Freiberger, P.C. of Red Bank and Long Branch. “The squeeze on these local pet stores, who really have nothing but a clerical violation, is just extreme and it’s unwarranted.”Gary Hager, owner of Bark Avenue Puppies, which carries toy and designer breeds in downtown Red Bank, also says he was “ticked off” by the 50 alleged violations, and called it “a money grab.” The store was cited for improper cage labeling, failure to post a “Know Your Rights” statement for consumers, and USDA reports on the cage.“There was no communication between the state, in any way, shape or form, with us to tell us ‘Hey, this is the way you need to run things, post things, and communicate things,’” said Hager, who has owned the store for just six months.The owner of The Pet Shoppe in Middletown, a store that specializes in rare and unusual breeds, vehemently denies any wrongdoing. “It was one violation – because we didn’t have the color of the dog on the card,” said Dana West, who has owned the store for 8 years. “When the new law came out for the cards, they [New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs] gave us a sample card to go by, and ‘color’ wasn’t listed on there. So we made up our cards like the sample card.” She says she explained this to a state inspector who visited The Pet Shoppe on Oct. 14.Mike Bober, president and CEO of Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Washington D.C., which supported the bill and gave input to lawmakers, said better communication is essential. “The first round of enforcement was done without consultation with the stores,” said Bober. “As is the case with new legislation, the law has yet to be interpreted. To put in plainly, this is just growing pains.”Meanwhile, the stores say they’ve been dogged by bad publicity after the announcement of the alleged violations was circulated. “It’s a shame because this thing has really cost a couple of these businesses an extraordinary amount of goodwill with the public,” said Schneider, the attorney. He said the state will consider the way it announces alleged violations, “so that it doesn’t give the appearance of 50 violations, 19 violations or 70 violations, whatever the number may be for each individual pet store.” He added, “We have to keep in mind that these violations are only alleged.”Hager says he is dismayed by the experience. “New Jersey just threw a blanket up for all of us, and said ‘You’re all the same,’” said Hager. “I’m not saying there aren’t bad people out there – bad breeders and bad brokers. But the truth of the matter is that there are good ones out there too.”