Radio Free Afghanistan journalist flees Herat

first_img April 10, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Radio Free Afghanistan journalist flees Herat May 3, 2021 Find out more AfghanistanAsia – Pacific Receive email alerts March 11, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information News The Herat-born Behzad was physically attacked on 19 March while covering the opening of the Herat office of the independent Afghan Human Rights Commission. Governor Khan did not like the questions Bezhad was putting to officials at the event, especially interior minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, and insulted the journalist and ordered him out of the building.Outside, he was hit in the face by security chief Alawi and then beaten up by Khan’s henchmen. He was taken to a police station for interrogation and finally released six hours later after Jalali (a former head of Voice of America’s Pashto-language service) intervened.Two days later, Khan criticised media coverage of human rights in Herat and said the province’s journalists were like those who had backed the Soviet occupiers. He warned them that “they will meet the same end.” Afghanistan : “No just and lasting peace in Afghanistan without guarantees for press freedom” June 2, 2021 Find out more The Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent in Herat, Ahmed Shah Behzad, was expelled from the western Afghan city by Governor Khan on 24 March, a few days after local security forces had physically attacked him. Most of the city’s journalists have gone on strike to protest against repeated attacks on press freedom in the province.”It is a pity that Herat now has curbs on free expression similar to those during the rule of the Taliban,” the organisation said in a letter to Khan, urging him to allow Behzad to return to the city as soon as possible. Radio Free Afghanistan is a branch of the US-government funded Radio Free Europe.Behzad was told by local security chief Nasim Alawi on 24 March to leave the province the next day and was banned from living there. About a dozen correspondents for international radio stations, including Massod Hasanzada (Voice of America) and Mohammad Qazizada (BBC), then stopped work in protest and went to Kabul to tell the authorities about the harassment they were being subjected to.Several local publications, including the weekly Takasus and the monthly Shugufa, also joined the protest movement, which called on President Hamid Karzai to intervene to protect freedom of the media in Herat. RSF_en Follow the news on Afghanistancenter_img Reporters Without Borders said last November in a report “Press freedom a year after the fall of the Taliban” that the situation was “still fraught in certain provinces such as Herat, where governors and warlords control almost all the news media and sometimes use force to muzzle journalists who criticise their power. The central government seems for the most part unable to stop these abuses, which have rarely been denounced by the United Nations.” Pressure on the media in Herat has increased in recent months. The authorities shut down the privately-owned Mutbai Aslami printing works in February, preventing the appearance of several independent publications. On 1 March, a religious decree banned the broadcast in public places of satellite TV programmes and foreign films on grounds they might encourage immorality and advocate things that were taboo. The sale and advertising of foreign films and posters about them was also banned. News RSF asks International Criminal Court to investigate murders of journalists in Afghanistan Ahmad Behzad, correspondent in Herat for Radio Free Afghanistan, fled the northwestern city on 7 April, three days after the Herat provincial governor, warlord Ismael Khan, told a meeting of the Islamic Council for Solidarity with the Afghan Peoples that journalists working for Western radio stations were trying to destabilise the country and that the money they got for their work “will go towards their burial shrouds.” Abdol Hadi Ghaffari, of the Iranian radio station Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)’s Dari-language service, was sacked for taking part in a journalists’ strike in Herat. He had told a Kabul newspaper he stopped work in solidarity with the local journalists.___________________________________________________________03.31.2003 The official news agency Bakhtar carried an interview with Herat governor Ismael Khan in which he said he would like to see the return of the journalists who went to Kabul to protest the expulsion of one of their colleagues. “Herat is the home of all Afghans… this incident is a misunderstanding,” the governor said. The journalists have reportedly decided to return to Herat on 2 April.————————————-03.27.2003Radio Free Afghanistan journalist attacked and expelled from HeratReporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) said today it was very concerned about a wave of repression aimed at the independent media in the Herat region of Afghanistan and called on provincial governor Ismael Khan to stop abuses of authority and violence against journalists there. News to go further AfghanistanAsia – Pacific News Organisation Situation getting more critical for Afghan women journalists, report sayslast_img read more

FHFA Announces New Payment Deferral Options

first_imgSubscribe  Print This Post Related Articles The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago May 13, 2020 1,820 Views Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Share 1Save Tagged with: Coronavirus FHFA Mark Calabria Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago FHFA Announces New Payment Deferral Options Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: OCC Discusses Meeting Servicer Needs Next: Balancing the Mortgage Servicing Process in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Coronavirus FHFA Mark Calabria 2020-05-13 Mike Albanese Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are making new payment deferral options available for borrowers in COVID-19-related forbearance plans. The plan allows homeowners, who are able to return to making their normal monthly mortgage payments, the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at maturity. “For homeowners in forbearance due to COVID-19, payment deferral allows them to make up missed forbearance payments when they sell their home or refinance,” said FHFA Director Dr. Mark A. Calabria. “This new forbearance repayment solution responsibly simplifies options for homeowners while providing an additional tool for mortgage servicers. Borrowers who can pay their mortgage should because missed payments remain an obligation that will ultimately have to be repaid.”Servicers will begin offering deferral payment options beginning July 1, 2020. The FHFA and the GSEs, in response to COVID-19, allowed borrowers facing financial hardship to go into mortgage forbearance programs—a pause or reduction in their monthly payments. As of May 7, nearly 4.1 million homeowners are in forbearance plans, representing 7.7% of all active mortgages, according to the latest forbearance data from Black Knight.They account for $890 billion in unpaid principal and include 6.4% of all GSE-backed loans and 11% of all FHA/VA loans. At today’s level, mortgage servicers need to advance a combined $4.5 billion/month to holders of government-backed mortgage securities on COVID-19-related forbearances. Another $2.1 billion in lost funds will be faced each month by those with portfolio-held or privately securitized mortgages (some 7.2% of these loans are in forbearance as well).This policy on forbearance plans comes after the FHFA extended several loan origination flexibilities offered by the GSEs. These flexibilities are extended until at least June 30 and include: Alternative appraisals on purchase and rate term refinance loans;Alternative methods for verifying employment before loan closing;Flexibility for borrowers to provide documentation (rather than requiring an inspection) to allow renovation disbursements (draws); andExpanding the use of the power of attorney and remote online notarizations to assist with loan closings.​Last month, the FHFA announced that borrowers in forbearance plans with a GSE-backed mortgage are not required to repay the missed payments in one lump sum. “During this national health emergency, no one should be worried about losing their home,” said Calabria. “No lump sum is required at the end of a borrower’s forbearance plan for Enterprise-backed mortgages. To help homeowners navigate the forbearance process, FHFA partnered with CFPB on the Borrower Protection Program to provide homeowners accurate information about forbearance and address concerns noted in some consumer complaints. While today’s statement only covers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, I encourage all mortgage lenders to adopt a similar approach.” About Author: Mike Albanese Home / Daily Dose / FHFA Announces New Payment Deferral Optionslast_img read more

Big Oil’s Iranian Scare Tactic

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Republican bill uses Iran as bogeyman to benefit Big Oil donors and neuter environmental lawA couple of weeks ago, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) put forward a bill (S.965) with the title “Iran Sanctions Implementation Act of 2013.” It’s a ridiculously worded and speciously reasoned piece of legislation that calls for the expansion of domestic oil production in an effort to overtake and choke off Iran’s remaining crude oil supply. According to the bill, “by expanding oil production in the United States by 1,250,000 barrels per day” (the amount Sen. Inhofe estimates to be the current level of Iranian crude oil exports), “the United States will displace all oil exports from Iran on the world market.”Inhofe accomplishes this in the bill by granting the president of the United States authority to “designate any area of Federal land that the President determines appropriate as an ‘Iranian Oil Replacement Zone,’” and that “Each Zone shall include any area of Federal land necessary for the transportation… of the oil produced in that Zone.” Moreover, Inhofe’s legislation would grant exclusive management of these zones to the individual states, thereby circumventing the federal agencies designated to protect and manage these territories. Finally, as a kicker, he exempts the entire act from both judicial review and environmental oversight under the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969.On nearly every level, this is a terrible bill. And Senator Inhofe and his co-sponsors likely understand this fact. But before we delve into the rationale behind floating a bill with almost no chance of succeeding, let me explain why it is so off-target.First off, it’s important to know that this is not how the global crude oil market operates. By making the assumption that increased U.S. oil production can displace another country’s production ignores market fundamentals. As Gene Guilford, an expert in the field of energy policy, explains, “The Saudis, Libya and Iraq have already increased their output to some extent for this purpose. The excess crude oil production capacity that exists in the Middle East to take the place of Iranian production for export is already available.”To most of us, the crude oil and gas market is a complex world. From drilling and transporting and buying and selling, it’s a murky realm of oil barons and commodities traders that speak a different language. But election cycles provide enough of a window inside to inform most Americans of this basic fact: The oil business is booming.“We’re basically bursting at the seams with supply,” says Michael Masters, president of Masters Capital Management, an Atlanta-based hedge fund that specializes in the commodities sector. When oil prices spiked in 2008 and the derivatives market began to unravel, Masters provided important congressional testimony that gave U.S. lawmakers insight in to the inner workings of the commodities business. U.S. production has been so robust in recent years that Masters says, “I imagine in the second half of this year we won’t import any oil.”This is a sentiment shared by Guilford, who talked about the remarkable turn of events in the U.S. fossil fuel industry. “In 2007 we were talking about peak oil,” says Guilford; “today we speak of the very real potential of the U.S. being the world’s leading crude oil producer by 2015 and U.S. energy independence.”When I asked Masters specifically about Inhofe’s notion of displacing Iranian oil, he said, “It’s sort of a ridiculous theory because you’re not going to take it out of the market.”In fairness, sanctions on Iran have lead to a serious decrease in Iranian crude oil exports. It’s estimated that Iran exported nearly 4 million barrels per day when President Obama took office. Today that figure is estimated to be anywhere between Inhofe’s proposed 1.25 million and 2 million per day. Either way, it’s a precipitous decline. But the decline has less to do with the supply of oil and more to do with pressure the U.S. brought to bear on those who purchase Iranian oil. So the question of whether or not the U.S. has the strength to convince the few remaining Iranian oil customers has less to do with availability and more to do with diplomatic ability.To the extent that this is possible, the United States doesn’t necessarily hold all of the cards.Because oil is a commodity that is traded globally it is obviously most responsive to price. According to Guilford, “Iran’s customers may well not care about alternative sources that are more expensive than Iran and that is one very likely reason Iran still has customers.” Knowing that Iran’s customers include nations such as China and South Africa, Guilford naturally questions our ability to drive the final nail in Iran’s coffin through sanctions asking, “Does the U.S. have the diplomatic ability to convince Iran’s buyers to pay more in order to isolate Iran?”Nevertheless, this opens an important dialogue about the nature of sanctions themselves. There is no question that U.S.-lead sanction policy has been extremely effective in isolating Iran and wreaking havoc on its economy. Kate Gould, a lobbyist for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, believes that sanctions sometimes have the opposite of the desired effect by serving to “punish civilians, embolden hardliners and foreclose diplomatic options.” She explains her economic position saying, “We’ve seen huge growth in the black market, which is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, so Iranians become dependent on going through these channels instead of legal channels.” Gould is quick to point out that despite decades of crippling sanctions against Iraq, “Saddam Hussein never missed a meal.”Despite the backward logic inherent in Inhofe’s rationale, the bill currently has 11 other cosponsors, all Republican. Most hail from states with large swaths of federal land such as Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, North Carolina, Idaho, Kentucky and Missouri. Not surprisingly, Sen. Inhofe’s top campaign contributors between 2007 and 2012 are from the oil and gas industry, with Koch Industries being his single-largest donor.Not surprisingly, the idea of manipulating federal regulations regarding drilling rights and ceding these rights to individual states is dangerous territory for the environmental community.“Senator Inhofe would auction off America’s national parks and public lands to big polluters just so we could mimic Iran’s all-oil energy policy,” blasts Athan Manuel, Director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program. “We’d be better off embracing job-creating clean energy projects that protect our wild legacy and our future rather than selling off our nation’s crown jewels to the highest bidder.”Legislative affairs specialists for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which controls the largest amount of federally protected land, did not respond to my request for an interview as of press time.But Gould believes Inhofe’s bill is little more than a Trojan horse for U.S. oil and gas companies to gain access to land that is currently difficult to obtain.“I think it’s a political stunt to try to disguise getting around environmental laws with sanctions,” she says, adding that sanctioning Iran, “generally has broad bipartisan support.”Guilford sees it this way as well, but takes more of an academic approach to Inhofe’s proposal. He calls the “goal of increased domestic production a sound idea,” but says the “removal of judicial review and NEPA” would have “opposition that is only exceeded by those trying to stop the Keystone pipeline.”The chances of Inhofe’s bill making it out of committee and eventually becoming law are slim. To put it into perspective, of the 3,716 Senate bills proposed between 2011 and 2013, only 449 (12 percent) made it to the floor. Of those, only 71 were enacted, or less than 2 percent. The fact that this particular bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), means it will almost assuredly die in committee.So why go through the machinations of compiling the language and amassing support for a bill that is practically dead on arrival?The best way to view Inhofe’s bill is as a trial balloon—a way to test the effectiveness of certain angles and particular language.“Perhaps for some the theory would be that U.S. domestic energy security isn’t reason enough to increase current production,” muses Guilford, “so the issue needs to be recast into a foreign policy and security debate about shutting down the remainder of Iranian production.”Gould puts it more bluntly, saying it’s, “using the Iran bogeyman to advance an extreme agenda on another issue.”No matter how you slice it, all roads lead back to Big Oil.Jed Morey – Publisher, Long Island Press | | read more