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Kidnappers free Israeli Druze journalist Riad Ali of CNN

first_img Reporters Without Borders welcomed the quick release of journalist and interpreter for US news network CNN, Riad Ali, snatched on 27 September in the centre of Gaza City, and released into the custody of Palestinian police the following day. Reporters Without Borders welcomed the quick release of journalist and interpreter for US news network CNN, Riad Ali, snatched on 27 September in the centre of Gaza City, and released into the custody of Palestinian police the following day.The international press freedom organisation however urged the Palestinian National Authority to ensure an early and thorough investigation into the disturbing circumstances of the kidnapping to find and prosecute those responsible. The abduction of the CNN journalist had had the immediate effect of intimidating foreign and local journalists working in the Gaza Strip, it said.Palestinian police chief, Gen. Saed al-Ajez, said that Riad Ali had been handed over to him early in the evening of 28 September but he did not say by whom.Shortly before Ali’s release, a video was made public of him in captivity saying that he had been kidnapped by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and that he and other Druze members of his family had done military service in the Israeli Army. He then called on fellow Druze not to serve in the Israeli Army, since their cause was the same as that of the Palestinians.The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade had previously denied any involvement in the kidnapping of the CNN journalist condemning such acts as “harmful” to Palestinian cause and calling for Ali’s release.————————————————— 28.09.2004 – Reporters Without Borders urges release of CNN producer Riad AliReporters Without Borders today condemned the kidnapping yesterday in Gaza of journalist Riad Ali, an Israeli citizen of Arab Druze origin who works as an interpreter and producer for the US television news network CNN.Aged in his 30s, Ali was abducted by gunmen in the district of Rimal, in the centre of Gaza, while returning to his hotel with two US colleagues, CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman and photographer Mary Rogers. The identity of his abductors and their motives for taking him are unknown.Reporters Without Borders called for Ali’s immediate and unconditional release and appealed to all the Palestinian factions and armed groups to respect the right of journalists to move about freely, whatever their nationality.The organisation also called on the Israeli army to rescind its decision to deny Israeli journalists access to the Gaza Strip. This decision was briefly enforced last year. Thereafter, Israeli journalists were again allowed into the Gaza Strip subject to their signing a statement absolving the Israeli army of any responsibility for their security.Wedemen, who witnessed Ali’s abduction, said a Peugeot 504 car cut in front of their taxi and a young Palestinian with an AK-47 rifle got out: “He pulled out a revolver, pointed it at the windshield and asked which of us was Riad Ali. Riad calmly replied, ‘I am’ and the man told him to come with him.” The gunmen were not masked, Wedeman said.Wedeman added: “We come to Gaza often. Lots of people know us and, on the whole, we have always been able to operate down there without any problem. It’s a generally hospitable environment. I’ve never had to deal with men getting out of a car and pointing a gun at my head.”The abductors have so far not made any demands known. The Hamas spokesmen in the Gaza Strip, Mounir Al-Masri, ruled out any possibility of his organisation being involved. “We condemn the kidnapping of journalists which is contrary to the interests of the Palestinians,” he said.”We in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade condemn the kidnapping of the journalist and consider its a mistaken effort that harms the Palestinian cause on all levels,” the group said in a statement. “We call for his immediate release.” RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes May 16, 2021 Find out more RSF_en PalestineMiddle East – North Africa News WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists Help by sharing this information Organisation PalestineMiddle East – North Africa September 29, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Kidnappers free Israeli Druze journalist Riad Ali of CNNcenter_img News to go further June 3, 2021 Find out more Abdallah Al-Shami, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said the abduction “damages the reputation of the Palestinian people and their glorious intifada.”In July, the Gaza Strip saw an unprecedented wave of abductions of foreigners and Palestinians against a backdrop of clashes between Palestinians and chaotic security. But, until now, Palestinian activist groups have tended not to bother foreign reporters or obstruct their work.Ali worked for the Israel’s Channel One television from 1998 to 2000. In 2000, he was put in charge of reporting in the Occupied Territories, especially the Gaza Strip, where he carried out several interview with masked Palestinian militants. He was dismissed due to differences of opinion with Channel One’s management in 2002 and was then hired by CNN. Follow the news on Palestine Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists News May 28, 2021 Find out more News Receive email alertslast_img read more

Portuguese pension funds move into positive return territory

first_imgThird-quarter returns of 1.4% by occupational pension funds in Portugal brought year-to-date returns into positive territory for the first time in 2016 – 1% for the nine months to 30 September – according to figures from Willis Towers Watson (WTW).Returns for the 12 months to the same date were 2.6%, giving annualised returns of 4.6% for the three years, and 6.2% for the five years, to that date.This compared with a 1.62% return for the first nine months of 2015 and a 2.75% return for the 12 months to 30 September 2015.Performance figures were submitted by so-called closed funds, which are generally pension plans for a single employer or group of companies and which make up the vast bulk of occupational plans. The WTW universe covers around €13bn in assets, which is 80% of the closed pension fund market in Portugal. It includes more than 100 pension funds for the nine-month and 12-month figures to end-September 2016.It also includes the five biggest pension fund managers in Portugal.The figures are based on median performance over each time-frame.Gaudêncio Guedes, an investment consultant at WTW, said: “The third quarter was strong for equities in general, while euro-zone bonds also continued to contribute positively to portfolios.“Emerging markets have delivered a very strong performance and confirmed what has been a year of recovery for this particular market, after a very troubled start at the beginning of the year. Asia, including Japan, also contributed substantially over the quarter.”According to regulator ASF (Autoridade de Supervisão de Seguros e Fundos de Pensões), debt is still the single biggest asset in Portuguese pension fund portfolios, with 49% invested directly in the asset class as at 30 September 2016.Of this, 31% was in public and 18% in private debt.Direct equity holdings were 7%, while direct real estate made up 9% of portfolios.A further 8% was in cash.Investment funds made up 26% of portfolios, but the split between asset classes has not been published.However, separate figures from the Portuguese Association of Investment Funds, Pension Funds and Asset Management (APFIPP) show 24.3% of pension fund portfolios in investment funds, of which 6.9% was in bond funds, 11.3% in equity funds and 4.5% in real estate funds.The sample covered more than 90% of the Portuguese pension fund market.Guedes said: “The bulk of most portfolios continues to be in euro-zone bonds, sovereign and corporate. Considering this, on average, Portuguese closed funds had a pretty decent third-quarter performance, even if less strong than for equities alone.“We should also consider the trend towards high cash holdings in portfolios, exerting a drag that partly offsets the outperformance of other assets.”Turning to strategic ways to improve performance, Guedes said: “Most closed pension funds are fully funded, or close to that, and this low-yield environment raises some tough challenges for management relating both to liabilities and assets.”He said achieving a better match between liability and asset risk profiles was now quite expensive.“What we have seen,” he said, “is a preference for bonds with lower durations to protect against an inversion in yields, while abdicating protection against any risk of a further decrease in yields, which seems very limited, given the already low yields.”But he predicted that, this financial year, pension funds will have suffered a negative impact on their funding ratios as a result of further downward adjustments in the discount rates applied in actuarial valuationslast_img read more