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Two more Mexican journalists killed as reporters condemn worsening violence

Mexican

Two more Mexican journalists killed as reporters condemn worsening violence

Mexican journalists have expressed alarm after two veteran reporters were attacked in their own homes in less than 24 hours, bringing this year’s death toll for media workers to nine – already surpassing the eight deaths recorded in 2020.

Fredy López Arévalo, a veteran reporter in the southern state of Chiapas, was shot in the head inside his home in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas on Thursday. López had covered Central American politics and the Zapatista uprising for news organisations such as Reuters, the Los Angeles Times and Notimex, and he still reported on the local political situation.

On the same day, Acapulco journalist Alfredo Cardoso was pulled from his home by masked gunmen who also threatened his family. He was found the next day having been shot five times, and died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday, according to press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders.

Cardoso previously worked as a photojournalist in Acapulco, a city which was once the jewel in the crown of Mexican tourist destinations but has been a hotbed of drug cartel violence for more than a decade. More recently he was the manager of the online news site Revista Dos Costas.

“The situation for journalists in Acapulco and all of Guerrero [state] has worsened,” said Bernandino Hernández, a photojournalist in the coastal city.

“Journalists have been threatened, some have had to flee. It’s a really dicey situation,” he said.

No suspects have been arrested for either crime. Crimes committed against Mexican journalists almost always wallow in impunity – the product of inept and inadequate investigations, a lack of political will to stop the killings of media workers and frequent collusion between drug cartels.

The two attacks reinforced Mexico’s reputation as the most murderous country for journalists in the hemisphere.

The country’s murder rate has steadily risen since the then president Felipe Calderón declared a militarized crackdown on drug cartels in 2006.

In the same period, attacks on journalists have also skyrocketed. Analysts say those most at risk are reporters who cover the intersection between local politics and the drugs trade.

“These murders take place within a context of continuously deteriorating security in the country, for all citizens, but particularly for human rights defenders and journalists,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“These attacks are fueled by impunity, which is almost complete in crimes against the press. The government of [President Andrés Manuel] López Obrador has been unwilling to take any meaningful steps to strengthen the justice state or protect journalists.”

Mexico recorded 36,773 homicides in 2020, in spite of the pandemic and quarantines, according to the state statistics service INEGI – slightly higher than the 36,661 homicides registered in 2019.

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News

Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Adeleke’s Candidacy

The Supreme Court has affirmed Ademola Adeleke as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded Osun State Governorship Election.

This has laid to rest the suit filed by Dotun Babayemi, a governorship aspirant of the party who sought the invalidation of Adeleke’s victory.

In a judgement delivered by Justice Amina Augie, the five-member panel held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit after counsel for the appellant, Adebayo Adelodun, withdrew the earlier notice of appeal that was filed within time.

At the resumed hearing, Adelodun, who represented the appellant and Babayemi informed the court that he sought to withdraw the earlier notice of appeal to replace it with the fresh application he filed.

But the panel held that Section 285(11) of the constitution stipulated that an appeal on a pre-election matter must be filed within 14 days from the day of the decision, and that having filed the second appeal out of time, the apex court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Justice Augie, therefore, dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Babayemi had asked the court to invalidate the primary election that produced the governor-elect, citing non-compliance with a court order.

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News

400 Staff To Lose Jobs As BBC Goes Digital

The British Broadcasting Corporation BBC world service has on Thursday disclosed that about 400 of its staff will lose their jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme and move to digital platforms,

The BBC said its international services needed to make savings of £28.5 million ($31 million) as part of wider reductions of £500 million.

In July it detailed plans to merge BBC World News television and its domestic UK equivalent into a single channel to launch in April next year.

BBC World Service currently operates in 40 languages around the world with a weekly audience of some 364 million people.

But the corporation said audience habits were changing and more people were accessing news online, which along with a freeze on BBC funding and increased operating costs meant a move to “digital-first” made financial sense.

BBC World Service director Liliane Landor said there was a “compelling case” for expanding digital services, as audiences had more than doubled since 2018.

“The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing,” she added.

 

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Environment

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall at around 15:10 local time (19:10 GMT) on Wednesday, smashing into the coast with wind speeds of up to 241km/h (150mph).

Dramatic scenes saw a hospital roof blown off, cars submerged and trees ripped out of the ground.

The category four hurricane was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

However, Floridians were warned that the most dangerous 24 hours lay ahead and the mayor of Tampa urged people to shelter in place through the night into Thursday morning.

“We are going to get the majority of the rain and the higher winds starting about 20:00, and they are going to last throughout the night,” Jane Castor said during a Wednesday evening briefing.

In a message posted on Facebook, the Weather Prediction Center told residents in the Central Florida Peninsula to expect “widespread life-threatening, catastrophic flash and urban flooding” continuing into Friday morning, with potentially up to 76cm (30ins) of rain falling locally.

Residents were ordered to leave their homes, but many have decided to remain and seek shelter indoors.

Mark Pritchett, who lives in the city of Venice, some 95km (60 miles) south of Tampa, described the “terrifying” moment he stepped outside his home as the hurricane made its way across the Gulf of Mexico.

“Rain shooting like needles. My street is a river,” he said in a text message to the Associated Press news agency.

In Lee County – the south-west region where Ian made landfall – police were prevented from responding to reports of looting at a petrol station because of the storm damage.

As a result, a curfew has been declared “until further notice”.

Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais said that the Fort Myers community had “been – to some extent – decimated”. According to news agency AFP, some neighbourhoods in the city of 80,000 had been left resembling lakes.

State Governor Ron DeSantis described Ian as the “biggest flood event” south-west Florida had ever seen, and announced that 7,000 National Guard troops are ready to lead rescue operations in flood zones.

President Joe Biden will receive a briefing on Thursday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ian is now continuing to move north through Florida. Jacksonville International Airport, based in north-east Florida, cancelled all flights scheduled for Thursday.

The storm is forecast to emerge into the Atlantic by Thursday morning.

It is expected to reach Georgia and South Carolina on Friday. Virginia has also joined Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida by declaring a state of emergency.

Cuba’s western coast was hit by Hurricane Ian on Tuesday. Power has now been restored in some areas after the island was plunged into a total blackout. Two people are understood to have been killed in Cuba and more than 20 Cuban migrants are believed to be missing at sea.

Predicted path of Hurricane Ian. Updated 27 September

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