Journalist Ali Abdallah freed after nearly six months in detention

first_img Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the release on 2 November of journalist Ali Abdallah, a member of the only political forum tolerated in Syria, who had been detained for nearly six months.Abdallah was arrested on 15 May after an Atassi Forum meeting at which he read out a letter from Ali Sadr Al Din Bayanouni, the head of the Syrian branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, who is currently in exile in London.The forum, which is closely watched by the authorities, has men and women members who aim, especially through their work for leading Arab news media, to encourage dialogue among Syria’s political parties and civil society with the aim of promoting reform.Ali Abdallah writes for several Arab newspapers, including the Lebanese daily Al Nahar and Akhbar Al Arab in the United Arab Emirates.————————————————————————–02.06.2005 Authorities free one of the two detained Salon Atassi journalists News Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the arrests of journalists Ali Abdallah and Hussein al Audat, on 15 and 23 May 2005 in Damascus after they were involved in a debate on democratic change in Syria.”Censorship, summonses, questioning and arbitrary arrests are the daily lot of human rights activists and journalists in particular,” said the worldwide press freedom organisation. “The arrest of these two journalists reminds us that it is never possible in Syria to express opinions outside those laid down by the ruling Baath party.””Moreover Ali Abdallah and Hussein al Audat should be immediately released, since they have not been formally charged,” it added.On 7 May, the Atassi Forum, the sole political discussion group allowed in Syria, of which the journalists are members, organised a debate on the theme of democratic change in the country. All political tendencies had been invited to take part. Those who could not attend sent letters that were read out at the meeting.Ali Abdallah (journalist), Hussein al Audat (journalist), Soheir al-Atassi (president of the forum), Nahed Badawiyah (engineer), Hazem Al-Nahar (doctor), Jihad Massuti (engineer), Mohammad Mahfuz (engineer), Abdelnasser Kalhous (employee) and Yussef Jahmani (publisher) were all arrested for inviting the Moslem Brotherhood (banned in Syria) to take part in the debate.Ali Abdallah was arrested first, on 15 May, for having read out a letter sent by Ali Sadr al Din Bayanouni, head of the Moslem Brotherhood in Syria, currently in exile in London. Other members of the forum, including Hussein al Audat, went to the authorities to explain their actions and in what circumstances the letter had been made public. A few days later they too were arrested in their homes at dawn and taken to the offices of political security. The nine human rights activists have apparently been accused of spreading the ideas of the Moslem Brotherhood.The Atassi Forum, which is closely watched by the authorities, has men and women members who aim, mainly via their work with major Arabic media, to build dialogue between the country’s different political parties and civil society to achieve reform in the country.Ali Abdallah contributes to several Arabic newspapers, including the Lebanese daily al Nahar. Hussein Al Audat, veteran among independent Syrian journalists, founded the national news agency SANA which he headed for four years. He also works for several Arabic dailies including Akhbar al Arab in the United Arab Emirates. March 12, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Organisation Reporters Without Borders today hailed the release of Hussein Al Aoudat and seven other members of the Salon Atassi political debating forum on 30 May, after six days in detention, and urged the authorities to go ahead and also free journalist Ali Abdallah, who has been held since 16 May.Another journalist and political activist, Habib Saleh, was meanwhile arrested on 29 May in Tartus, 130 km north of Damascus. He heads the Tartus Forum for National Democratic Dialogue and often writes for daily newspapers such as An-Nahar (The Day) and websites such as Elaph (www.elaph.com).————————————————————————–26.05.05 – Arrest of two journalist human rights activists Follow the news on Syria SyriaMiddle East – North Africa SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists to go furthercenter_img Help by sharing this information News RSF_en Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria News March 8, 2021 Find out more November 4, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist Ali Abdallah freed after nearly six months in detention News Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law February 3, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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IPE Views: Why are error margins ignored in LDI?

first_imgThe importance of knowing the errors in any measurement is not just critical for the pilots of low-flying planes. It has a fundamental importance in the management of financial assets and liabilities, and it appears to have been ignored often.The reason for this is quite simply that, whilst experimental physicists can claim to have a deep knowledge of mathematics (two-thirds of my first-year lectures were in mathematics), much of the application of mathematical techniques to finance has been undertaken by mathematicians for whom the whole idea of error margins appears to be an alien concept. The effects can be seen throughout the financial world.For pension funds, the effects of this can be seen in the way a mathematician and an experimental physicist might approach a typical problem such as calculating a liability-driven investment (LDI) strategy. Typically, an actuary with a pure mathematics background would state that, as of the moment of calculation, the liabilities are precisely £1,543,456,000 based on his models, and this value changes by the minute in the light of market movements in government bonds. Asset allocation decisions in the form of precisely matching cashflows should be based on this and continuously rebalanced in the light of any mismatches that appear with time. This would lead to frequent rebalancing decisions, with all the costs that would entail.A physicist, on the other hand, would come up with the answer that the best estimate for liabilities is a figure of £1.5bn, plus or minus £100m, reflecting factors such as uncertainties in mortality rates, the appropriate risk-free government bond yield and so on. The figure, together with the error associated with it, should be the basis on which asset allocation and any hedging decisions are made. Moreover, this figure and the error associated with it are likely to remain relatively stable, and so little rebalancing would be justified. Clearly, the financial and economic consequences of the two approaches are likely to be very different!The economic reality is there are large uncertainties in a valuation due to inherent uncertainties in the maturity profile of the pension liabilities, for example, and also in the actual future risk-free bond yields that are the basis for any form of discounting. Current government bond yields clearly do not represent an unbiased estimate for future government bond returns, with the effects of quantitative easing and the artificial demand stimulated by the effect of rigid LDI approaches to matching. Using government bond yields to discount pension fund liabilities may be useful for accountants and as a shorthand, but the calculated discounted value of the liabilities represents an estimate not an absolute truth.The reality is that any economic valuation of a pension fund’s liabilities has an error margin built into it. The size of that is of critical importance since it effectively determines whether expensive approaches using risk-free government bond portfolios to match liabilities make any sense at all. If error margins in liabilities are large, then adopting an approach of approximate matching using asset classes such as equities and other assets aimed at producing high long-term absolute returns with given levels of risk may be more sensible than investing in bonds with precise cashflows to match liabilities with much more imprecise cashflows. Investors may be better off even in an LDI context, with approximate matches that are cheap, than purchasing expensive and precisely tailored cashflows via sovereign debt to match liability streams that are themselves only imperfectly defined. This is particularly so when core euro-zone bonds are offering negative yields.Unless there is a proper appreciation of error margins in the valuations of assets and liabilities, pensions funds may be like the pilot of the low-flying plane at night who has been given some measurements of the buildings he is flying over but no has appreciation of the error margins in the heights. Perhaps it is time for the mathematicians to move aside and let the experimental physicists take the lead in applying mathematics to an imperfect world!Joseph Mariathasan is contributing editor at IPE The importance of knowing the errors in any measurement is not just critical for the pilots of low-flying planes, Joseph Mariathasan warnsMathematics lies at the heart of modern finance and its applications to investment. But there is a fundamental difference between the way pure mathematicians would approach the use of mathematical models to describe the world outside the lecture theatre and the approach adopted by physicists.Many of the current ills of the financial market can be placed at the doors of the mathematicians who tried to apply mathematical rigour to the financial world, assuming the same success could be achieved as that seen in the physical world. The errors of this have been described very well in books such as The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.One of the clearest things I still remember from my undergraduate lectures in experimental physics is that, when it comes to the measurement of any quantity, the estimate of the error associated with the measurement is just as important as the measurement itself. In simple terms, if you measure the height of a building as 34.5 metres, it is as important to know whether the error in the measurement is plus or minus 20 meters or plus or minus 0.2 meters.last_img read more

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Despite best finish of the year, Trojans still want more

first_imgThe No. 9 USC men’s golf team registered its best finish of the year at The Prestige at PGA West tournament but left its coach wanting more.The Trojans finished the tournament tied for fourth with UCLA at 8-over 872, but the high finish did little to ease USC coach Chris Zambri’s frustration with his some of his players’ early struggles.“I’m not happy with our finish because we have guys in our lineup who are not playing their best golf,” Zambri said. “When you’re 20 you should be getting better every year and playing the best golf of your life every year, and we have some guys right now who aren’t doing that.”Part of what frustrated Zambri is his team’s continued inability to beat teams ranked higher than them. The Trojans have finished behind a team ranked outside the top 25 only once this season but have also failed to beat the top teams in their tournaments.“We still got beat by the best teams in the field [this week],” he said. “We just need guys to play up to the expectations that we have for them and if they do that I really do think we are one of the better teams.”No. 17 TCU blew away the field at The Prestige with a blistering 14-under 850. The Horned Frogs finished 16 strokes ahead of the runner-up, No. 4 Stanford. No. 3 Washington finished third at 5-over 869.Zambri said USC has to start winning tournaments if it wants to take the next step as a team. Beating only the opponents it should beat is not enough anymore.“After a while you start saying, ‘Well this isn’t a coincidence it’s just who we are,’” he said. “We have to get better so when we have what we think are semi-off weeks we finish second, not fifth or seventh.”One player who finally played up to his coach’s expectations was sophomore Steve Lim, who finished tied for third at 4-under 212.“He did everything well and he played like I thought he was going to play this year,” Zambri said. “I think it’s just the start of some really good things because so many parts of his game are really solid.”Lim had played poorly in the first two tournaments this year before putting it all together last weekend, thanks in part to some new equipment.“He didn’t play a lot of tournament golf over the summer and he also showed up with a driver that didn’t fit,” Zambri said. “He’s got a driver now that fits him great and he drove the ball really well.”Lim was also pleased with his finish but credited Zambri more than his new clubs for his improvement.“Coach Zambri is a great coach,” Lim said. “He’s a tour veteran, he’s played golf almost 30 years and he knows a lot about golf. He really has good ideas for all of us [as individuals].”One particularly long talk with Zambri helped the sophomore get his season on track. Lim said he expects to build on his latest performance going forward.“It boosts my confidence for the next tournament,” he said. “I feel great right now. It can’t be any better.”The rest of the team might not feel the same way. Freshman Martin Trainer played solid golf for the third consecutive tournament but finished tied for 18th at 3-over 219. Fellow freshman Sam Smith tied for 37th at 8-over 224.Junior Matthew Giles continued his early-season slump by finishing tied for 42nd at 9-over 225. The returning All-American has placed outside the top 30 in each of his last two tournaments. Junior Bo DeHuff tied for 47th at 10-over 226 in his first tournament action of the season.The rest of the USC golf team also played in the tournament as unattached entrants. Junior Daniel Park tied for 14th at 2-over 218 while freshman T.J. Vogel and Stewart Hagestad finished tied for 31st and 42nd, respectively.last_img read more

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Man injured in Sherman Heights stabbing

first_imgFacebookTwitter Posted: March 18, 2018 KUSI Newsroom SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A 63-year-old man remained hospitalized today following a stabbing in Sherman Heights.The injury was inflicted at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the 2200 block of Imperial Avenue.The victim was arguing with a 19-year-old man, according to Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department. During the argument, the latter is suspected of stabbing the former once in the left rib cage below the armpit, Heims said.The suspect then fled in an unknown direction. He was described as Hispanic, about 5 feet-8 inches tall, thin and wearing a brown jacket and gray hoodie.The victim was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Heims said. Man injured in Sherman Heights stabbingcenter_img KUSI Newsroom, Categories: Local San Diego News Tags: Crime, sherman heights, stabbing March 18, 2018last_img read more

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Why superstitions are hard to shake

first_imgDo you forward a chain mail even though you know fully well that your action would not bring any promised luck? This is because you might consider the costs of ignoring rationality is low relative to the costs of ignoring intuition, suggests new research.The researchers found that detecting an irrational thought and correcting that error are two separate processes, not one as most dual-system cognitive models assume. This insight explains how people can detect irrational thought and choose not to correct it, a process described as ‘acquiescence’ in the study. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“Even when the conditions are all perfect for detecting an error, when people have the ability and motivation to be rational and when the context draws attention to the error, the magical intuition may still prevail,” said researcher Jane Risen from University of Chicago Booth School of Business in the US.Understanding how acquiescence unfolds in magical thinking, can help provide insight into how it is that people knowingly behave irrationally in many other areas of life, the study said. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixCertain variables create situations in which intuition is likely to override rational thought. For example, people may acquiesce if they can rationalise their intuition by thinking that a particular situation is special. Acquiescence may also be more likely if the costs of ignoring rationality are low relative to the costs of ignoring intuition, the researchers said.The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Review.last_img read more

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