Daily Archives: October 12, 2020

Reporters Committee welcomes Inasmuch Foundation Legal Fellow – Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Posted: October 12, 2020 at 8:10 am

Audrey Greene recently rejoined the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press as the Inasmuch Foundation Legal Fellow, a role focused on First Amendment issues, including libel and protection of confidential sources.

Audrey fields calls to the Reporters Committee legal hotline, drafts amicus briefs and helps provide pre-publication legal review for investigative stories produced by journalists, including documentary filmmakers.

Journalists experience a number of barriers [to press freedom], and I feel the work that the Reporters Committee is doing is increasingly essential, she said.

Audrey said she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of media law and First Amendment issues through her work with the Reporters Committee.

Audreys interest in First Amendment law blossomed in her undergraduate career at Barnard College, a private liberal arts college in New York City, where she worked on the Columbia Daily Spectator, the schools weekly student newspaper, and took courses on the First Amendment.

By the time I graduated, Audrey said, I really had a sense that I wanted to focus on media law and eventually go to law school.

Audrey graduated from Barnard College in 2015 with a bachelors degree in political science and a minor in religion. She then worked as a paralegal on Googles ads legal team before going to law school.

In 2017, she enrolled at The George Washington University Law School, where she wrote for The Federal Communications Law Journal, focusing on telecommunications law, and mentored younger students as part of the mock trial board. Audrey also worked as an intern for the Knight First Amendment Institute and as a legal intern for the Reporters Committee.

She recalled that it was Adam Marshall, a Reporters Committee staff attorney and alumni of GW law school, who inspired her to apply for the internship and, later, the fellowship position.

I came away from those conversations [with Adam] having a great impression of the organization and thinking this would be a cool place to spend some time during or after law school, she said.

Audrey received her J.D. earlier this year.

Audrey Greene is not admitted to practice law.

The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.

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FIRST 5: Trump and COVID-19 — How ‘free’ are/should we be? – Salina Post

Posted: at 8:10 am

Gene Policinski. Photo courtesy Freedom Forum


Just how free should a free press be to report on the illness and condition of a sitting president during a national health emergency?

And how free are we to publicly offer our thoughts on the matter?

Both questions have the same legal answer: The First Amendment places no limits on what journalists, bloggers or others might report, and what we might say or speculate about the health of the president.

So, whats left are the First Amendment-ish concerns for reporters from longstanding national security concerns to a possible zone of personal privacy.

And given our fractured, polarized and politically divided society, the rise of social media puts all of us in that kind of -ish situation balancing our right to speak out in any way we choose against the social norms we should consider and the fact that theres no First Amendment insulation for us from the reaction to what we say.

The news that President Trump was infected with the COVID-19 virus came first in his own tweet, not through the news media, just after midnight on Oct. 2. Within minutes, news organizations relayed that dramatic news. Social media began firing up, with comments, forecasts and to put it gently sharp examples of the nations political divide.

To top it all off, a whirlwind of announcements, reports and commentary some contradictory on Trumps illness, brief hospitalization and now his ongoing treatment at the White House is unfolding in the midst of the final weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign.

For the record, U.S. history offers any number of examples of non-disclosure, image manipulation, complaints about White House transparency and press coverage of presidential health and public debate over the public comments about it all.

AfterPresident James Garfieldwas shot in 1881 at a Washington D.C., railroad station, official statements reported his condition as good or stable despite the reality that he suffered for two months from a bullet that could not be removed, before dying. With the bulletins distributed nationwide by telegraph, published in the nations newspapers and followed closely by the public, the story of Garfields fight to survive could be considered Americas first live media event, historianRobert Mitchellwrites inThe Washington Post.

President Woodrow Wilsoncollapsed from exhaustion in 1919 during a national speaking tour, and we now know he suffered a stroke a month later that left him partially paralyzed. Americans didnt learn even basic facts about Wilsons health until he left office.

Not only were there no White House announcements, some historians now dub his wife Edith as the first female president given the 17-month stint in which she consulted with him on virtually all presidential business and screened all contacts and correspondence.

As USA TODAY noted in a story this week, in 1944 a similar scene played out whenPresident Franklin Delano Rooseveltwas diagnosed with acute congestive heart failurethat forced him into seclusion for months. The report noted that the country was in the midst of World War II and the U.S. military was in the final stages of preparing for the D-Day invasion that opened the second front in the war.

Similar national security concerns have been raised about press reports of the details on Trumps condition. Would terrorists or hostile nations seek advantage or perhaps plan an attack in the U.S. or abroad knowing the commander-in-chief of U.S. forces remained on the job even as we learned from journalists that he was hospitalized, or facing medication and treatment for high fever and low blood oxygen levels that could have reduced his ability to converse or process information?

There are two unique circumstances with Trumps illness that werent present even as recently as when President Ronald Reagan was wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt, or underwent colon surgery: A global, instantaneous, 24/7 news environment, coupled with todays pervasive social media.

Beyond the national security concerns, are there some health matters that should remain private and not placed openly before the planet either out of personal consideration or to avoid becoming distorted as election-year fodder?

And there is the often-harsh tenor and frequently unsourced/unverified content of social media. Even a brief sampling showed posts ranging from conservative speakers making unsupported claims that journalists were hoping Trump would die, to Trump opponents posting images comparing Trumps balcony salute as he returned from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to similar poses struck by dictators such as Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and Juan Peron. To be fair, there also were great numbers of well wishes, too.

Again, while the First Amendment save for actual physical threats protects what we could say online, even as it provides no limits or advice on what we should say.

A free-press issue of a different sort has erupted. On Monday, White House Press SecretaryKayleigh McEnanyrevealed she had tested positive for the virus. Various press reports said correspondents were angry they had been exposed during briefings and other meetings with her and other officials over the previous few days.

An unnamed reporter wasquoted inVanity Faironline saying, People are livid. There are a lot of us, like dozens of reporters, who feel its unsafe to be doing it the way its being done. CBS News Ben Tracy commented on Twitter: I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at The White House. This is just crazy.

As of Tuesday, three journalists in the White House press pool had tested positive. In theVanity Fairreport, White House Correspondents Association PresidentZeke Miller, a reporter for The Associated Press, said that journalists at the White House have been mindful of these risks for months. At the end of the day, were there to keep the American people informed and to be their eyes and ears. That job needs to get done. Were assuming some of these risks, were there to do the job.

In the final analysis, performing that First Amendment job of being a watchdog on government even during a pandemic by reporting the facts, fairly and accurately, as they can be found, is the best medicine for a health democracy.

. . .

Gene Policinski is a senior fellow for the First Amendment at the Freedom Forum, and president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute. He can be reached at[emailprotected], or follow him on Twitter at@genefac.

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FIRST 5: Trump and COVID-19 -- How 'free' are/should we be? - Salina Post

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Candidates and voters alike suffer as yard signs are targeted for theft and vandalism – Burlington Hawk Eye

Posted: at 8:09 am

Republican voters in Des Moines County have been targeted for their political views through sign theft and vandalism, as well as letters.

In the shadow COVID-19 has cast across America lurks another problem, sinister because it is the product of humans wishing to harm others.

We're talking political yard sign looting.

Theft and disfigurement of political yard signs is a clear signal that opposing political viewpoints are not fortifying America's belief in the First Amendment.

The short view is this: You have the right to freedom of expression. You do not have the right to trespass or steal.

Political bannering goes back to John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the U.S., who, according to a blog by the Municipal Supply & Sign Co. in Florida, "wanted to get an edge on his opponent in his presidential campaign run and convinced townspeople to put up his signs in their yards."

However, the blog goes on to clarify, Adams was not the original inventor of political signs that dates back to Ancient Rome.

"In those days," the blog says, "scribbles on walls were the form of advertising they used for political purposes."

Things haven't changed much in the past 2,000 years.

In our modern times, Democrats and Republicansare still scribbling, but now the medium is a flat paper or plastic rectangle about 18 by 24 inches, supported by a wire or wooden stake and planted in a voter's yard.

This year's contentious presidential election has polarized, galvanized and insanitized Americans into doing something they'd never consider in saner times: trespassing on a stranger's property to steal or vandalize private property.

The Washington Post reported last month that in the key state of Pennsylvania, former Vice President Joe Biden is getting hit hard.

"It usually happens in the dark of night, local Democrats say, but sometimes in daylight," the Post said. "Sometimes entire streets or neighborhoods are cleared."

President Donald Trump is getting hit, too: The Boston Globe said, "The Trump yard sign-stealing epidemic has gotten seriously out-of-hand in Massachusetts."

Here in Southeast Iowa, examples of sign theft can be found easily by asking someone pushing a cart in your local grocery store: Hey, stranger, have you had any political yard signs stolen this year?

Or just get on Facebook and you'll find plenty of mis/information.

But is sign theft rampant in Southeast Iowa? In Des Moines County, officials harbor widely differing views on the magnitude of sign raiding.

Terry Davis, chairman of the Des Moines County Republicans, said they've had to replace about 50 signs in the past 45 days.

"They deface signs at night, mainly the barn signs the 4-by-8s," Davis said. "There's an individual who lives on Sunnyside, he's a friend of mine; they've defaced his sign with vulgar language. They're a block and a half from the school. I'm ashamed of the people in Burlington who would stoop that low."

Aldo Leopold Intermediary School is just up the street from the defaced Trump sign, and youths tramp back and forth where the obscenities are easily seen.

Davis said the sign's homeowner has had a lot of people stopping by to sympathize offer to paint the sign and helpanyway they can.

"We all have different views, but to do what whoever's doing, it's a disgrace," Davis said.

Tom Courtney, co-chair of the Des Moines County Democrats, said sign theft is, for his party, insignificant.

"I'm talking about Biden," Courtney said. "Now and then, somebody will say, 'Oh, I had my Biden sign stolen,' but I think usually it's the weather did it. You have signs that've been out there a while, you get a windy day and they blow right out and it'll twist 'em all up. I'm sure people throw them in the garbage if they're all twisted up."

He said he thinks kids are the main culprits, not political vigilantes.

"I don't think there's very many adults who do it," he said. "It's a good target for kids."

Courtney and Davis may be political opposites, but they agree on at least one thing.

"I think it's poor taste to do it anywhere," Courtney said.

Sheriff Mike Johnstone said yard sign pilferage isn't really an issue in rural parts of Des Moines County.

"It's normal to have a few come up misplaced or missing, but no, we haven't had any marked vandalism towards any political party or candidate, so we're all happy about that," Johnstone said. "It seems like most everybody is leaving them alone."

He said yard owners themselves often are culpable.

"A lot of times you'll find one missing because they've pulled them up to cut the grass," Johnstone said.

Johnstone agreed with Courtney that most of the thefts are likely by youths.

"It's kind of a Halloween thing. I can't see any particular candidate being picked on at all. If they are, people aren't calling and complaining," Johnstone said. "It's pretty normal for all candidates: they've got a few missing here or there."

County engineer Brian Carter said one problem is political signs being planted on county road easements.

"That's true for most presidential elections, but maybe a little more common this year," Carter said. "They aren't allowed in the right-of-way, but as long as they don't create a safety hazard, we don't get involved."

A typical example of a voting victim in the middle of the political spectrum is retired Army Master Sgt. Elizabeth van Vleck-Sally, who lives in Burlington and doesn't do Facebook.

"I'm an independent," van Vleck-Sally said. "I have Kevin Glendening and Miller-Meeks she's a friend of mine and Joni Ernst and the Trump-Pence sign. Its the Trump-Pence sign that seems to set everybody off."

Her Trump sign was stolen recently, so she called the police. As an officer was interviewing her, a man stopped his car in the middle of the street.

"He got out of the car and yelled at me: Are you talking to him about your sign being stolen? And I said, yes," van Vleck-Sally said. "He says, 'Im headed on over to the Republican headquarters to get some more; do you want me pick you up one, too? And he did."

The 78-year-old woman has been taking no chances since then that sign goes indoors every night.

Like many Trump fans, van Vleck-Sally has received anonymous letters in the mail. Disguised as legitimate campaign material, they start out with a tirade against president Trump before slithering into insults against the recipient.

"I got a letter from Jane Doe, 123 Main St. So I went out on my front yard and opened it you never know what's inside those letters," van Vleck-Sally said. "It was all this horrible stuff about Trump. But then when it got down to the bottom, I became a 'disgusting, stupid person' and they started bashing me."

One of the letters she received says, ungrammatically, "Take a hard look at yourself and fix this unfortunate mess you are." The second one begins, "If you just throw this message away without reading and thinking about it you are a horrible human being, a despicable United States of America citizen" before going on to mis-name "Robert Barr" as the current U.S. attorney general.

The third letter carbon-copies the same anti-Trump opinions as the first two.

"I'm an old timer, I believe sticks and stones will break my bones type stuff," van Vleck-Sally said.

She thinks the letter writer/s got her address from the Des Moines County GIS mapping website. A GIS geographic information system is a computer system for manipulating data related to positions on Earth's surface.GIScan show different kinds of data on onemap, including streets, buildingsand vegetation. Most counties in the U.S. use GIS.

"The concern I have with people using the GIS to find out who a person is and sending them nasty letters is basically what I wrote to The Hawk Eye a letter to the person sending me the letters," van Vleck-Sallysaid. "I don't give a crap where he got my name, he got my name completely wrong. People have a tendency to call me Sally. They think Sally is my first name. They're not looking very hard."

Van Vleck-Sally sent a letter to Des Moines County supervisor Tom Broeker, who introduced it at the supervisors meeting this past Tuesday.

"I received a letter from I'm not going to use any names with concerns that people were using the county GIS website to get contact information on people with political signs in their yards, and then sending anonymous letters to those residents," Broeker said. "I really hope this isn't 'happening. I'm aware that the First Amendment doesn't enjoy the widespread support it once held, but this is the United States of America; the people with whom one may disagree have the same constitutional rights to express their political opinions as everyone else. If you're aware of anybody that does this, please discourage this."

Burlington Mayor Jon Billups agreed.

"I would like to think we are still the land of the free, andthat the First Amendment still applies to all," Billups said. "It is criminal that lawns signs are stolen or defaced regardless of who they support."

"I can vote for whoever I damn well please, thats my right," van Vleck-Sally said.

Van Vleck-Sally's letter to the newspaper was intended for "Jane Doe" to read; it said, in part, "I am not an unfortunate mess, as you state in your letter. I am a citizen who has the same rights as everyone else to voice my opinion and display signs in my own yard."

"I tried to be as polite as I could, reminding this person, whoever it is, that everybody has a right to do whatever they want to do," van Vleck-Sally said. "It's my right to vote for whoever I want to vote for, without having to worry about getting nasty letters. How many other people has this person done this to? Its just not just me. It could have been a lot of people."

Van Vleck-Sally said her neighbor posted one of the letters on Facebook.

"There's a whole bunch of people said she deserved it," van Vleck-Sallysaid. "And there's a whole bunch of people that said, 'Oh, we feel so sorry for you.' Don't feel sorry for me. Just try to stop this idiot."

She said it's not just Trump people who are targeted; its everybody.

"Come on, folks, grow up," the septuagenarian chided.

The local police say yard sign pilfering isn't a major concern in these COVID-19-riddled days.

Burlington police officer Grant Hillyer said yard sign theft is a simple misdemeanor that would result in a citation with a court date, just like a speeding ticket. Any fine would be up to the judge, ranging from $65 to $500.

"Being outside, it's a little bit tougher to prove," Hillyer said. "Charges can be pressed, but as far as going to jail right now? It's not going to happen."

That's because of COVID-19 and social distancing mandates, which would be too difficult to enforce in a jail overflowing with sign bandits.

More: Man steals Biden yard sign is then caught stealing newspapers detailing his theft

Des Moines CountyAttorney Lisa Schaefer said criminal trespass under Iowa Code 716.7 and 716.8 is generally a simple misdemeanor punishable with a fine of $260 for the first offense, $645 for the second offense and $1,285 for a third or subsequent offense.If the trespass results in injury or damage of more than $300, the penalties increase.

"Degree of theft under Iowa Code 714.1 and 714.2 depends upon the value of the property," Schaefer said. "If the value is undetermined or is under $300, then it is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail and/or a fine of $105 to $855 and any applicable restitution."

Depending on value, the charge and fine can go as high as aggravated misdemeanor, with up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $8,540, plus any applicable restitution.

Criminal mischief can be defined as a hate crime if it is committed against a person or a persons property because of the persons race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin,political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability,

Schaefer said if letters are sent intending to intimidate, alarm or annoy another person, without any threats of physical harm, it's considered third-degree harassment, punishable by up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of $430 to $2,560, and any applicable restitution.

All sources contacted said if you plan to put out a campaign yard sign, the best way to protect it is by keeping it in a well-lit area, close to your home.

"Unless they have trail cams, or some kind of security system that would monitor the location of the sign, there's not much they can do," Davis advised.

Motion-activated cameras range in price from $20 for a battery-powered pet camera to almost $1,000 for a multi-camera night vision system with a huge hard drive. Be sure the storage media is removable and easily interfaced with a device other than the camera; a computer, for example. You'll want to give incriminating video to the police.

Be sure to write your name on the sign: If you nab someone on-camera, it can be tricky proving the yard sign they stole is actually yours.

Americans are an innovative herd, and here are some of the things recommended on social media in order to discourage political hijackers.

The Washington Post offered this nugget:

We put barbed wire around them and push pins in the plastic just to keep the signs from being taken because we have cameras so we can watch them run out and grab the signs," Bowling Green, Kentucky, Trump supporter Mario Dominguez told the Post after having four previous signs stolen.

The Boston Globe's Boston.com said in November, "An Andover residents property was swarmed by police in response to a suspicious-looking black box taped to his handmade Trump sign."

More than one online posting takes the Second Amendment approach, but that's extreme for something as harmless as a one-dollar piece of cardboard with a political statement.

Van Vleck-Sally cautions against the lock-n-load approach.

"I have a carry permit, but that doesn't mean I can shoot people," the pistol-packing grandmother said.

Possibly the cleverest sign-theft deterrent was by an Indiana man who mowed his lawn to read "TRUMP" in large block letters.

So, what's your duty here as an American? Steal opposing signs? Tear them down? Paint vulgarities upon someone else's signs?

Don't be ridiculous: Your duty as an American citizen is to express your political beliefs, and if someone harasses you for what you believe politically, dutifully report them.

Trespassing and property theft are crimes. Posting your views online or in your local newspaper is not a crime.

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President Faure chairs high-level meeting on the resumption of commercial flights to Seychelles – Office of the President of the Republic of…

Posted: at 8:09 am

06 October 2020 |

President Danny Faure chaired a seventh meeting of the high-level forum leading the implementation of the National Integrated Framework for the Reopening of Seychelles at the STC Conference room this morning.

The Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, shared an overview of the global situation and the local context with regards to COVID-19 to date, explaining that the pandemic is still expanding globally. In Seychelles, he confirmed that there are currently 5 active cases.

This was followed by report from the SHTAs Chairperson, Mrs Sybille Cardon, updates from the SCCI, SIFCO, CEPS and SCAA. The Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Alan Renaud, gave a brief on the new visitor management platform; the Travizory technology that enables authorities to run rapid and efficient vetting procedures on information provided by incoming travellers in a bid to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

There were also updates from the Department of Tourism and Seychelles Tourism Board on the number of tourism establishments certified as well as on the forecast of expected flights, marketing, and tourism arrivals in Seychelles. The Chairperson of the Task Force Committee and Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley, also provided an update on the committees work over the last two weeks.

Members discussed lengthily on the travel advisory for visitors from permitted countries and the procedures that have been divided into 2 categories: Category 1 includes permitted countries considered low and medium risk and Category 2 includes Special Status. In an effort to provide more confidence to tourism partners in key source market countries, authorities in Seychelles have decided to provide Special Status to seven countries: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the United Arab Emirates. Out of these seven, three countries have now been categorised as high-risk countries: UAE, France and the United Kingdom. Members also discussed the need to operationalise the stay safe hotel whereby a tourist that tests positive for COVID-19 can stay in a beautiful and secure environment.

The forum reiterated the importance for local citizens to observe the public health guidelines in place.

The next meeting will take place on 20 October 2020 under the chairmanship of one of the high-level forum members.

Present for the meeting this morning wasthe Minister of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Amb. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne,the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley,the Minister Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr Charles Bastienne,Minister for Employment, Immigration and Civil Status, Mrs Miriam Tlmaque, Secretary of State for Health, Ambassador Marie-Pierre Lloyd, Special Advisor to MFTIEP, Mrs Sitna Cesar, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Kishnan Labont, Principal Secretary Economic Planning, Mrs Elizabeth Agathine, Principal Secretary Health, Dr Bernard Valentin, Special Advisor Health, Dr Loren Reginald, Chairman Public Health Authority, Dr Conrad Shamlaye, CEO of the Healthcare Agency, Dr Danny Louange, the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gdon, Principal Secretary for the Department of Immigration and Civil Status, Mr Alain Volcere, Principal Secretary for Risk and Disaster Management, Mr Paul Labaleine, the Special Advisor for Employment, Ms Veronique Bresson, Special Advisor Immigration and Civil Status, Mr Michel Marie, CEO for SETS, Mr Guy Morel, Chief Policy Analyst, Employment, Ms Susan Morel, Director General for Employment Promotion, Mrs Letimie Dookley, Chief Immigration Officer, Mr Michel Elisabeth, Principal Secretary Tourism Department, Mrs Anne Lafortune, CEO for the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs Sherin Francis, Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Mr Alan Renaud, Principal Secretary for Local Government, Mrs Marie-Celine Vidot-Jeannevol, Deputy Governor of the Central of Seychelles, Mr Christopher Edmond, the Chairperson of SCCI, Mr Oliver Bastienne, Secretary General SCCI, Mrs Iouana Pillay, Health Coordinator for Faith Based Organisation, Dr Anne Gabriel, representative of SIFCO, Mrs Marion Gendron, the Chairperson of SHTA, Mrs Sybille Cardon, the Secretary-General of SFWU, Mr Antoine Robinson, representatives of the La Digue Business Association, Mr Jos St Ange, Chairperson of CEPS, Mr Jude Fred, member of CEPS, Dr Nirmal Jivan Shah and CEO CEPS, Mr Michel Pierre.

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Seychelles: Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll to Be Part of Study to Protect World Heritage Sites From Invasive Species – The Streetjournal

Posted: at 8:09 am

Seychelles remote Aldabra Atoll is being used as a case study in a new reporting framework devised by international scientists to help protect World Heritage Sites from almost 300 different invasive alien species.

Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, the chief executive of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) which manages the site said, We are delighted that Aldabra is being featured as a key case study and it will allow us to share our lessons learnt and best practices within a network of sites and outstand our universal value.

The new framework which has been applied to seven World Heritage Sites covers data collection and reporting on invasive alien species pathways. This includes the presence, impacts, management, predicting future threats and management needs, identifying gaps and assigning an overall threat score to the protected area.

A co-author, David Richardson, said that World Heritage Sites face growing threats from a range of biological invasions which impact native biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services.

One key element of the new framework is listing all invasive alien species present where we can track the changes in threat or implementation of effective management over time, added Richardson.

SIFs director of research and conservation, Nancy Bunbury said, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are areas of outstanding universal value and conservation importance to humanity. However, they are threatened by a variety of global change drivers, including biological invasions from a range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine species.

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She added that those sites were ideal test sites for the reporting framework but it is applicable to all protected areas and we hope will become a standardised tool for assessing invasive alien species impacts and management globally.

Fleischer-Dogley said that generally resources to manage protected areas are scare and therefore to be able to maintain the outstanding universal of World Heritage sites requires effective management and cost-efficient eradication and control of invasive alien species.

Humanity accepted these sites as gifts and by doing so accepted universal responsibility to look after them. This also means making the necessary resources available, she added.

She added that there has been a decrease in the number of invasive alien species listed due to effective eradication, highlighting management success at the site over the last few years.

Aldabra, one of the most distant islands of the Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is home to the endemic giant tortoise, the frigate birds, tropicbirds and the red-footed booby among other species.

Since eradication efforts resumed in 2012 under the Foundations EU-funded invasive alien species project, SIF has successfully eradicated several invasive alien species on Aldabra atoll.

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Seychelles: Seychelles' Aldabra Atoll to Be Part of Study to Protect World Heritage Sites From Invasive Species - The Streetjournal

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Cabinet Business – Wednesday 07th October 2020 – News – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

Posted: at 8:09 am

07 October 2020 | Cabinet Business

President Danny Faure chaired a scheduled meeting of the Cabinet today, Wednesday 7th October at which a number of legal and policy memoranda were considered.

Cabinet approved proposed amendments to the Companies Act 1972.

Cabinet approved for the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Seychelles Institute of Technology.

Cabinet also approved the Broadcasting and Telecommunication (Quality of Service) Regulations.

Cabinet approved the introduction of type approval fee for approval of radio communication equipment by the Department of Information and Communication Technology.

Cabinet approved for the setting up of a demountable fruits and vegetables market at Roche Caiman.

Cabinet was briefed on the COVID -19 situation globally and locally. Cabinet also addressed pertinent issues related to management of visitors and returning Seychellois to Seychelles.

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Cabinet Business - Wednesday 07th October 2020 - News - Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles

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EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes: Anguilla and Barbados added, Cayman Islands and Oman removed – EU News

Posted: at 8:09 am

The Council today decided to add Anguilla and Barbados to the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Cayman Islands and Oman were removed from the list, after having passed the necessary reforms to improve their tax policy framework.

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes is part of the EU's external strategy for taxation and aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to promote tax good governance worldwide. It lists non-EU jurisdictions that either have not engaged in a constructive dialogue with the EU on tax governance or have failed to deliver on their commitments to implement reforms to comply with a set of objective tax good governance criteria, concerning tax transparency, fair taxation and implementation of international standards against tax base erosion and profit shifting.

Anguilla and Barbados were included in the EU list following peer review reports published by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which downgraded the ratings of Anguilla and Barbados, respectively, to "non-compliant" and "partially compliant" with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR).

Cayman Islands was removed from the EU list after it adopted new reforms to its framework on Collective Investment Funds in September 2020.

Oman was considered as compliant with all its commitments after it ratified the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, enacted legislation to enable automatic exchange of information and took all the necessary steps to activate its exchange-of-information relationships with all the EU member states.

Following this update, twelve jurisdictions remain on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions: American Samoa, Anguilla, Barbados, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

As regards Annex II - state of play of pending commitments - due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic the Council decided to extend several deadlines for these commitments. The Council also decided today to remove Mongolia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from Annex II after those countries deposited the instruments of ratification of the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, as amended.

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes was established in December 2017. It has been revised several times. The most recent substantial revision took place in February 2020. From 2020 on, it is to be updated twice a year.

The list is included in Annex I of the Council conclusions on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Those Council conclusions also contain a state-of-play document (Annex II) identifying non-EU jurisdictions which do not yet comply with all international tax standards but have provided sufficient undertakings to reform their tax policies.

The jurisdictions are assessed on the basis of a set of criteria laid down by the Council in 2016, concerning tax transparency, fair taxation and implementation of international standards against tax base erosion and profit shifting.

The Council's decisions are prepared by the Council's Code of Conduct Group which is also responsible for monitoring tax measures in the EU member states.

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EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes: Anguilla and Barbados added, Cayman Islands and Oman removed - EU News

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Seychelles Accounted for the Largest Amounts of Sent and Received Bitcoin Transactions in H1, 2020, Says Crystal Blockchain Report – bitcoinke.io

Posted: at 8:09 am

The latest Crystal Blockchain report has been released and shows that Seychelles, an African country, had the largest amount of sent and received bitcoin transactions globally in the first half of 2020.

Seychelles has maintained this record since 2017 and this year looks no different, despite the United States and the United Kingdom having more registered exchanges.

SEE ALSO:75% of Crypto Exchanges in Africa with Porous KYC are Registered in Seychelles, Says Latest CipherTrace 2020 Report

The report shows significant bitcoin transfer volumes have taken place in non-G20 countries with Seychelles and Singapore standing out as exceptions. The reason for this is the large number of exchanges registered in these countries.

Some of the known exchanges registered in Seychelles contributing to these huge volumes include:

A related report, recently released by CipherTrace, shows that72% of African domiciled crypto assets exchanges and services are registered in the Seychelles and, 70% of those Seychelles-domiciled exchanges and services have bad or porous KYC.

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Crystal is the all-in-one blockchain analytics platform, providing a comprehensive view ofthe public blockchain ecosystem. Crystal is available as a SaaS, API, or as an on-premiseinstallation. Crystal is engineered by the Bitfury Group, the worlds leading full-serviceblockchain technology company.

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Seychelles Accounted for the Largest Amounts of Sent and Received Bitcoin Transactions in H1, 2020, Says Crystal Blockchain Report - bitcoinke.io

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Collectibles Go Digital with DigiCol, Multi-functional Infrastructure for the Next Wave of NFT adoption – GlobeNewswire

Posted: at 8:09 am

VICTORIA, Seychelles, Oct. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The hype in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) quickly dissipated as DeFi-related assets recorded sharp reversals in their price. DeFi users that were overleveraged observed their wealth evaporate as the value of their collateral diminished. As DeFi interest subsides, NFT interest has been piqued.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are distinct token types that derive their utility from being diverse and unique from other tokens. Data is suggesting that we are approaching the next wave of NFT adoption.

NFTs can be considered to be digital collectables which are traded and secured on a blockchain infrastructure. They are commonly tied to non-fungible ERC721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Google data shows record-high search volume for the term "NFT".

DigiCol will provide the infrastructure for the next wave of NFT adoption. NFT users have previously faced stiff technical barriers to creating and using NFTs. It typically requires advanced coding knowledge and a deep familiarity with third-party wallets like MetaMask.

DigiCol is the first platform to empower users with one-click NFT creation. Moreover, users will be able to trade NFTs in the DigiCol marketplace without the hassles of connecting to a third-party wallet.

The previous NFT hype cycle resulted in some tokens being traded for over $100,000. But as interest resurfaces, NFT users will demand more sophisticated infrastructure and more liquid markets.

NFTs have found huge markets in fields like art collectibles and online gaming. We have already observed decentralized marketplaces emerge to cater to these niches. But none have the one-click creation and seamless trading features of DigiCol.

After DigiCol users create NFTs, they can launch them into a liquid marketplace and earn rewards when their tokens are traded. Users that own NFTs can earn rewards in tokens native to the DigiCol platform by showcasing their holdings in the marketplace.

NFTs created on DigiCol can also be used to access highly-demanded digital assets like Ethereum and USDT. NFTs can be placed into secure smart contracts as collateral to borrow Ethereum and USDT.

DigiCol will drastically change how crypto enthusiasts interact with NFTs. Previous spikes in NFT activity have been predominantly driven by hardcore enthusiasts with the technical knowledge to create and trade. DigiCol will open the gates for a much wider user base.

Those that wish to experiment can easily create unique tokens. Those that wish to speculate on the future value of NFTs will find a vast marketplace on DigiCol. Creators who want to put their design skills to the test can launch their custom NFTs to the market and gauge demand. Those that create the most coveted NFTs will be highly rewarded.

DigiCol is changing the NFT landscape. It will provide a multi-functional infrastructure that makes NFT creation and trading seamless and secure. Built upon the Ethereum blockchain, DigiCol has immense amounts of globally-distributed computing power securing NFT ownership and transactions.

Social linksTwitter: https://twitter.com/DigiColofficialMedium: https://medium.com/@digicolSubstack: https://digicol.substack.com/Telegram: https://t.me/digicolofficialTelegram News Announcement: https://t.me/digicolnews

Media contactCompany: DigiCol Ventures LimitedName: David Lee, CMOE-mail: cs@digicol.ioMedium: https://medium.com/@digicolPhone: +248887654786

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/3dc0e513-a48f-4087-a879-b276b071fd0f

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Collectibles Go Digital with DigiCol, Multi-functional Infrastructure for the Next Wave of NFT adoption - GlobeNewswire

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The Coming Socioeconomic Collapse: Over 35% of U.S. On Welfare

Posted: at 8:08 am

Today in a nation of 317 Million people, some 109,631,000 Americans now live in a household that receives government welfare. The number, which is likely much higher, comes from the latest Census Bureau data from the fourth quarter of 2012.

According to the Census Bureaus 2012 data, the number of people on welfare now outnumbers the number of full-time workers in this country by 6,544,000.

I believe weve reached a point in this country where theres no longer a way to dig ourselves out of the hole. While the mainstream media and the federal government continues to ignore the problem, the reality of the situation is this country is heading towards not only an economic collapse, but a collapse of society as well.

Over the last 10 days weve seen a large segment of the community in Ferguson, Missouri take to the streets violently looting, attacking and even shooting other protestors. The social unrest in this country has reached a boiling point, and its not going to take much for this chaos to spread to other areas of the country.

What were seeing happen in Ferguson is only the tip of the iceberg; once the printing presses in D.C. stop running, and once we reach the point where the government can no longer continue to fund these welfare programs, the chaos in Ferguson is going to seem like Childs play.

Unfortunately, most of the country seems to have forgotten how close we came to a complete meltdown of the entire financial system back in 2008. Even more troubling is how the problems that created the 2008 meltdown have been exacerbated in the years following that crisis.

While many in this country continue to buy into the recovery myth, the fact is, our economy is in much worse shape than it was in 2008.

Start an Emergency Fund & Get out of Debt: Starting an emergency fund is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your family from not only large-scale disasters, but those events in life that can feel like the end of the world when youre in the middle of the situation. During any type of economic collapse, those in debt and those without savings are going to immediately feel the pain.

During the 2008 economic meltdown, millions of people lost their homes, lost their jobs, and were unable to pay for even basic necessities because they lacked adequate savings to see them through the disaster. During an economic collapse the possibility of losing your home to debt collectors becomes a real possibility. If you can get out of debt, you limit your risk and put yourself far ahead of most Americans.

Invest in Long-term Consumables: Start stocking up on things that you know youll need and use in the future.Emergency supplies, a long-term food pantry, and everyday household goods are all things that youll need and will continue to hold their value after the collapse.

Take a serious look at your Defense: If the collapse happens, one of the biggest threats youre going to face is from people looking to take advantage of the situation. The chaos we are witnessing this week in Ferguson, Missouri is going to pale in comparison to what well see during a full-scale economic collapse.

Invest in a Bugout Bag, and have an evacuation plan: Having an emergency evacuation plan is an important part of being prepared for any type of disaster. If things start going really bad, there may be a need to temporarily evacuate your immediate area. In cases where evacuation becomes necessary, you need to have a bag full of emergency supplies that are ready to go at a moments notice.

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The Coming Socioeconomic Collapse: Over 35% of U.S. On Welfare

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