Police authorised to trace journalists’ phone calls

first_img Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU News RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylum to go further Follow the news on Germany RSF_en GermanyEurope – Central Asia March 13, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Police authorised to trace journalists’ phone calls GermanyEurope – Central Asia June 2, 2021 Find out more Newscenter_img Reporters Without Borders today voiced its concern at yesterday’s decision by Germany’s constitutional court authorising the police to trace journalists’ telephone calls in “serious” cases. The ruling poses a real danger for press freedom and is evidence of a worrying trend in the European Union.”The lack of a precise definition of what constitutes a ‘serious’ case leaves open the possibility of a dangerous interpretation of the law and a real threat to the profession of investigative journalist,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to justice minister Brigitte Zypries.”Journalists are not judicial auxiliaries,” Ménard stressed. “If they can be put under surveillance at any moment and if their sources can be exposed and arrested, then journalists will no longer be able to report information that can only be obtained from sources in return for discretion – the kind of information that sometimes gives rise to judicial investigations.”Ménard warned that journalists could even suffer personally and their safety could be threatened as a result of this decision. “The least precaution would be to precisely define what cases can be considered ‘serious’ and to allow a real public and parliamentary debate on this issue”, the letter concluded.The constitutional court, which is Germany’s highest court, ruled that telecommunication surveillance does not violate articles 10 and 19 of the constitution – which guarantee confidentiality of information – when a journalist is suspected of using telecommunication equipment to get in contact with a criminal. It falls to the investigating judge to decide on a case by case basis whether the requirements of press freedom should be allowed prevail over the fight against crime.The ruling was issued as a result of appeals by German journalists who had filed complaints after being placed under surveillance by police. Two of the journalists were Udo Frank and Bate Thorn Bergmann of ZDF, German public television’s second channel. Frankfurt’s highest court ordered that a trace be put on their telephone calls in 1995 when they were investigating German real estate swindler Jürgen Schneider. This resulted in Schneider’s arrest. One of the journalists had nonetheless on his own initiative given the federal police a recording of a phone call with Schneider which was useful to investigators. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office in 1997 ordered telephone surveillance of Edith Kohn, a journalist with the weekly Stern, in order to track down Hans-Joachim Klein, a former member of the terrorist Red Army Fraction, who was in France. Kohn had got in touch with Klein as part of her work. March 30, 2021 Find out more News Organisation Help by sharing this information May 31, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts German BND Act: A missed opportunity for press freedom Newslast_img read more

Fruit to fuel

first_imgBy April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaHalf of all the fruit grown in Georgia is never eaten by people or animals. It rots in the fields. A University of Georgia researcher says that spoiled fruit could fuel cars. That wasted fruit can be converted into bioethanol through a fermentation process, said Elliot Altman, program coordinator for the UGA Center for Molecular Bioengineering.“All fruits are 10 percent sugar, or potentially 5 percent ethanol,” said Altman, an engineer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “It’s a real opportunity.”The fermentation process could create a high-protein byproduct, which can be used in animal feed, called dried distillers grain.The largest opportunity in Georgia lies in watermelons and peaches. Last year, the state harvested one billion pounds of watermelon and more than 61 million pounds of peaches. The same amount rotted in the fields. The fruit is left behind because it doesn’t make the grade for commercial sale. Consumers don’t want fruit that doesn’t look perfect, even though it is fine to eat in most cases. Some of the discarded fruit is used in preserves and juice, but 50 percent never leaves the field.Ethanol conversion is not possible on a small scale like biodiesel operations. Getting enough commodity groups excited about converting the waste to fuel is one battle Altman hopes legislation may help with. “One farmer isn’t big enough to set up operation,” he said. “If packers knew in advance the fruit would be used for something, they could gather it in a separate place for transport to the ethanol plant.” Government regulations mandate the blending of 5 percent ethanol into gasoline by 2009 and 10 percent by 2011. The Renewable Fuel Standard program will increase the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into gasoline from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022. But, ethanol plants aren’t cheap. “You can’t build a small plant,” he said. “To be cost effective, most experts agree that a plant would need to produce at least 10 million gallons of ethanol a year.”Altman and his colleague Mark Eiteman, a biological and agricultural engineering professor, are working on techniques to simplify the commercial ethanol plant, making it cheaper to produce ethanol and DDG.For example, their group has researched adding expired table sugars to increase the ethanol yields that can be obtained. Access to waste fruit is not a year-round venture, he said.“Even with a couple of fruits, a fruit-ethanol plant would only be operational for half a year, and the infrastructure for an ethanol plant is a significant investment,” Altman said.Altman is currently researching several other products – like grain sorghum – that could be used when the fruit is not available. “It has silo storage capability and is able to grow in areas of Georgia not suitable for anything else,” he said. “It does not take away from other crops and would not hurt the food market.”Georgia also has potential to produce ethanol from bakery waste. “We have a unique niche in the Atlanta area with our bakeries.”(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Anti-clotting drug may hinder action of Tamiflu

first_imgNov 9, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A laboratory study indicates that the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel (Plavix) may limit the action of the antiviral oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which could mean trouble for cardiovascular disease patients who contract influenza.The study by a team from the University of Rhode Island suggests that people taking clopidogrel to prevent heart attack or stroke may get little benefit from oseltamivir. The team found that clopidogrel reduced an initial step in the metabolization of oseltamivir up to 90% when the drugs were present in equal concentrations, according to the study, published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.”Concurrent use of both drugs would inhibit the activation of oseltamivir . . . thus making this antiviral agent therapeutically inactive,” said senior author and pharmacy professor Bingfang Yan in a University of Rhode Island news release.However, it’s not known whether the drug interaction observed in the lab study would occur to the same extent in the human body, according to others, including a spokesman for Roche, the manufacturer of Tamiflu.Oseltamivir, a neuraminidase inhibitor, is used to treat seasonal flu and is both the first-choice drug for treating people infected with H5N1 avian influenza and the best hope for treatment if H5N1 evolves into a pandemic strain. It must be given within the first 48 hours of symptom onset to be effective. Clopidogrel is used widely to prevent heart attack and stroke in patients who have already had such an episode or have peripheral arterial disease.Oseltamivir must first be hydrolyzed (split into fragments by reaction with water) to be active in the body, according to the report. The researchers report that a liver enzyme called HCE1 is a key factor in the hydroloysis of both oseltamivir and clopidogrel. The scientists induced human embryonic kidney cells to produce HCE1, exposed the cells to high-frequency sound, and used a centrifuge to remove the cell debris, their report says. Then they added varying amounts of oseltamivir and clopidogrel to the remaining liquid and assessed the hydroloysis of oseltamivir.When clopidogrel and oseltamivir were present in equal concentrations of 50 micromoles per liter, hydrolysis of oseltamivir was reduced by up to 90% compared with the level in the absence of clopidogrel. When the concentration of clopidogrel was only 10% that of oseltamivir, it still reduced hydrolysis of the antiviral by 55%, according to the report.Given the widespread use of clopidogrel, it is likely that oseltamivir and clopidogrel are used concurrently in some patients, the report states. The findings suggest that those who receive both drugs at the same time remain susceptible to flu if they are not yet infected or, if they are infected, can spread it to others, the authors say.”Now we need to study the effects of the combination in human trials,” Yan said in the news release. He has notified the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health of his findings.Louis M. Mansky, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Molecular Virology in Minneapolis, said the findings warrant further study to see if the drug interaction would occur in the human body as it does in the laboratory.”The study is interesting and suggests that Plavix can prevent metabolic conversion of Tamiflu to the active drug,” Mansky told CIDRAP News by e-mail.”The main limitation is that it’s unclear how well this finding translates into a clinical situation (ie, it might not be as concerning, as the inhibition of Tamiflu conversion might not be as great),” he said.”Observations in cell culture don’t always translate perfectly when analyzed in clinical studies,” Mansky added. “The only way to know for sure is to extend these studies, which I think is warranted and worth doing.”Terence J. Hurley, a US spokesman for Roche, manufacturer of Tamiflu, said the study by itself does not prove there is a clinically relevant interaction between clopidogrel and oseltamivir.”Roche has made a preliminary review of this publication and concludes that the authors extrapolate their findings beyond the scope of the study,” Hurley told CIDRAP News by e-mail. “The clinical conclusions are made based on in vitro data from a limited dataset. Neither the limitations of the in vitro study nor the clinical relevance of concentrations evaluated were discussed.”He added that Roche plans to conduct a full evaluation of the study and will provide the results to regulatory agencies if any significant concerns are identified.Shi D, Yang J, Yang D, et al. Anti-influenza viral prodrug oseltamivir is activated by carboxylesterase HCE1 and the activation is inhibited by anti-platelet agent clopidogrel. J Pharmacol Exper Ther 2006; early online publication Sep 11 [Abstract]last_img read more

Busy day of intercounty action to come

first_imgThere’s also an Ulster Hurling Championship semi-final double header at the Athletic Grounds.Derry face Antrim at 5pm while Down go up against Armagh at 7pm.Tyrone and Cavan will be aiming to book their place in the Ulster Football Championship final.They go head to head in their semi-final in Clones from 2pm.They meet in the championship for the first time since 2005 when Tyrone won an Ulster semi-final replay after the sides had drawn six days earlier.In Round 1A of the football qualifiers, Leitrim face Waterford at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada at 2pm.They meet in the championship for the first time. Offaly and Galway will lock horns in their semi-final at O’Moore Park at 3:30pm.Galway are bidding to reach the Leinster final for the fifth time since joining the province in 2009.Offaly last reached the final in 2004.last_img read more

Year 2016: AFP Sports quotes of the year

first_imgJamaica’s Usain Bolt (2ndL) reacts after he crossed the finish line head of USA’s Justin Gatlin (R), Canada’s Andre De Grasse (L) and France’s Jimmy Vicaut to win the Men’s 100m Final.Paris, France | AFP | ATHLETICS“There you go. I’m the greatest.” – Usain Bolt on securing his ‘triple triple’ of 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay golds at the Rio Olympics“I have to make a new bucket list now. I’ve achieved all I wanted to in track and field.” – Jamacian sprint star Bolt“I don’t consider myself a traitor. I simply revealed the shameful truth, which our country doesn’t want to confront, and the only reason I told the truth about it all, was to try and put a stop to it.” – Whistleblower Yulia Stepanova who exposed Russia’s state-backed oping programmeSWIMMING“This is how I wanted to finish my career. I’ve lived a dream come true. Being able to cap it off with these Games is just the perfect way to finish.” – Michael Phelps after winning his 23rd Olympic gold medal in Rio“Sun Yang, he pisses purple!” – French swimmer Camille Lacourt on Chinese rival Sun Yang, the Olympic 200m freestyle champion who served a doping ban in 2014“It was quite hard to think that you are a swimmer and you might end up dying in the water.” – Syrian refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini who competed in the Rio GamesFOOTBALL“I came like a king, left like a legend.” – Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his departure from Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United.“The ugly duckling went and scored. Now he’s a beautiful swan. ” – Portugal coach Fernando Santos on Euro 2016 hero Eder“From the beginning when something was wrong I’ve been saying: ‘Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, wake up, wake up!’ So on Christmas Day I bought for all the players and all the staff a little bell. It was just a joke.” – Leicester’s Italian manager Claudio Ranieri’s warning to players not to slip up in training as they charged towards the Premier League titleGYMNASTICS“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.” – Biles after winning the women’s all-around gold in RioBOXING“I’ve done lots of cocaine. Lots of it. That ain’t a performance enhancing drug.” – Former world heavyweight champion Tyson FuryOLYMPICS“(A) shocking new dimension in doping with an unprecedented level of criminality.” – IOC President Thomas Bach on allegations of Russian doping at the Sochi 2014 Winter OlympicsCRICKET “I got a call yesterday, it was probably 30 seconds, from the chairman of selectors telling me that they’ve reviewed the captaincy of the Twenty20 team and I won’t be captain anymore and that my performances have not merited selection in the squad.” – Darren Sammy after being sacked as captain of the West Indies team despite leading them to a second world title in 2016.“I woke up at 5:00 am thinking I’d missed the bus so I jumped out of bed and panicked about where everything was.” – England batsman Keaton Jennings after marking his Test debut with a century against India in Mumbai“I’m sleeping with him tonight.” – South Africa captain Faf du Plessis on fast bowler Kagiso Rabada who took seven wickets in the win over Australia in PerthTENNISReporter to Venus Williams at the US Open: “Just talk about the joy quotient versus the win quotient.” Venus: “The what?”“Seems like doubles players today would be getting callouses from shaking hands after every point, whether won or lost.” – Coaching guru Nick Bollettieri on the vogue for celebrations during doubles matchesGOLF“Look, it’s my opinion. I think my opinion is shared by a few people, but some people may think it’s wrong, and that’s fine. I’ve spent seven years trying to please everyone, and I figured out that I can’t really do that, so I may as well be true to myself.” – Rory McIlroy defends his decision not to play in the Olympics, and says he would be watching the “stuff that matters” at home“Big picture, it feels good to be back out here playing again, competing and trying to beat the best players in the world. I missed it. I love it.” – Tiger Woods on competing again at the Hero World Challenge after nearly 16 months away from the PGA TourFORMULA ONE“I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right.” – World champion Nico Rosberg on his decision to retire“It appears currently the ‘guy above’ doesn’t really want me to win right now.” – Rosberg’s Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, who ended runner-up.RUGBY UNION“It says a lot about how he looks after kids because they were all over the place.” – Ireland coach Joe Schmidt after a young and injury-hit Ireland beat Australia 27-24 in November. He was responding to Ireland’s Simon Zebo, who said it was like a creche and he felt like the old guy on the pitch as Ireland become first Northern Hemisphere side since England in 2003 to beat all three of the traditional Southern Hemisphere giants in a calendar year.“I said a prayer on the way over, ‘Please, Jesus, let him have shaved!” – Olive Foley, widow of former Ireland and Munster No8 Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley, giving the eulogy at his funeral — flanked by their two young sons — adding a piece of dry humour about the trip to Paris to collect his body after the Munster head coach died aged 42 on eve of a European Champions Cup clash with Racing 92.CYCLING“I wanted it to end like this and not with some crappy little race in northern France — Paris-Tours — climbing off in the feed zone. It’s brilliant.” – Bradley Wiggins after winning a fifth Olympic gold and British record eighth medal in his fifth Olympics at Rio Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Black British driver Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 at Malaysian GP

first_imgMercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, March 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — Lewis Hamilton broke his drought at Formula One’s Malaysian Grand Prix and led a one-two finish for the Mercedes team on Sunday.Hamilton beat teammate Nico Rosberg by 17.3 seconds at the Sepang International Circuit, with defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull third.It was the first one-two by the Mercedes factory team since 1955, when it was a dominant force in the embryonic days of F1.Hamilton got away well from pole position and led throughout, making up for his retirement in the season-opening race in Australia and belatedly winning in Malaysia for the first time, at his eighth attempt.“Incredibly happy, my first win here in my eighth year, so finally got that,” Hamilton said. “To get a one-two is quite special, I haven’t had many in my career.”The Briton was also quick to mention the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which took off from the Kuala Lumpur airport adjacent to the Sepang track earlier this month and is thought to have crashed, killing all 239 people aboard.“After such a tragedy three weeks ago, I would like to dedicate this win to those people and their families,” Hamilton said.Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished fourth, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa held on for seventh ahead of Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas despite being told by his team to let Bottas through.After the race, Massa insisted he had done the right thing in ignoring team orders, though there were likely to be internal repercussions as Bottas was adamant he could have passed Button.Two rookies took the final two points positions, with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen ninth and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat tenth.On a day when the threatened tropical rain held off, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen were the leading cars that suffered the worst luck.Ricciardo was in fourth place with 15 laps to go when the team failed to properly attach a wheel during a pitstop, forcing him to stop halfway down the pitlane and be pushed back to have it replaced. Soon after, the Australian lost his front wing, got a stop-go penalty for an unsafe release from the pitstop and then retired.To make matters worse, the unsafe release means he will also get a 10-place grid penalty at next weekend’s race in Bahrain.It was another tough day for Ricciardo, who finished second in his home race in Melbourne, only to be disqualified after the team was deemed to have exceeded the fuel-flow limit on his car.Raikkonen was hit from behind by Magnussen on the opening lap, causing a puncture, dropping him to the back of the field. He finished 12th, behind Lotus’ Romain Grosjean who did well to make it to the finish in his Lotus, which has been beset by engine failures in the early part of the season.Rosberg’s second place extended his early lead in the drivers’ championship to 18 points ahead of Hamilton, and Mercedes already has a sizeable lead atop the constructors’ championship, but the German was wary about how quickly Red Bull appears to be catching up.“They were absolutely nowhere (after preseason testing) and now (Vettel) is right in the back of me, pushing me,” Rosberg said. “They have ramped up their pace, very very impressive, so we need to keep on it to keep our advantage.”Vettel, who put a squeeze move on Rosberg in the run to the first corner that almost forced the Mercedes into the pit wall, was compromised in his attempt to catch the silver cars by high fuel consumption, and in the end settled for third place.“We need to make quick steps because they are quite far ahead but I am happy with the steps we are making,” Vettel said. “It’s still a bloody good result to be finishing right behind them on the podium, and that is what we need to keep doing.”last_img read more