RSF joins statement reiterating calls for US government to insist on accountability for Khashoggi murder

first_imgNonetheless, the Trump administration has persisted in actions that can only be described as covering for the crimes of Saudi authorities. On October 10, 2018, a bipartisan group of 22 Senators, including the then-chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), triggered Section 1263(d) of the Global Magnitsky Act, which directed the President to report, by February 8, 2019, to that committee on those individuals—including the crown prince—that the U.S. government believes had a role in Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. We applaud Chairman Engel’s decision, in his role at the time as House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) ranking member, to reinforce this determination requirement via a letter dated October 12, 2018, co-signed with then-HFAC Chairman Ed Royce. WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of universal human rights, write to commend you for your statements concerning the murder of Saudi journalist, Washington Post columnist, and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi, and to request that you continue to pursue accountability for this abhorrent crime as part of a larger re-assessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. On February 8, a senior administration official announced that President Trump refused to comply with the congressional mandate required by both the HFAC and SFRC. On the same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a letter declining to address the determination requirement or offering any additional information concerning Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. These actions followed a written statement issued by President Trump in November 2018 in which the president pointedly equated Mohammed bin Salman’s denial of involvement in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing with the considered views of the U.S. intelligence community. Specifically, we urge that you demand that the Trump administration provide appropriate members of Congress with the determination of responsibility for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder required under Section 1263(d) of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016, as well as relevant information documenting how the administration came to its determination. Given the administration’s demonstrated unwillingness to provide members of Congress with the determination required by the Global Magnitsky Act, or to supply information relevant to its decision-making in this matter, we further recommend that you consider holding hearings and/or issuing subpoenas to compel this information, in keeping with Congress’ constitutional oversight role. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent a joint letter on March 14 with 10 other press freedom and human rights organizations to the ranking members of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, asking them to ensure to continue to pursue accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. March 14, 2019 Follow the news on Americas Related documents 19.03.14_jk-hfac-letter.pdfPDF – 283.79 KB Further, the administration’s refusal to respect Congress’ constitutionally-mandated role in overseeing foreign policy threatens both U.S. democracy and national security. One branch of government trying to obscure the truth from another on an issue of this magnitude subverts the will of American voters who elect members of Congress to be partners with—not subordinate to—the executive in the conduct of foreign policy. The administration’s position also sows doubt among America’s allies concerning its resolve to uphold universal human rights, while emboldening human rights violators like Iran eager to point to perceived hypocrisy. June 7, 2021 Find out more As you know, on October 2, 2018, a team of Saudi Arabian hit men are credibly alleged to have murdered Mr. Khashoggi after luring him into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. On December 4, 2018, following a classified briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel, multiple Senators indicated publicly that the CIA’s findings constituted overwhelming evidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) central role in Khashoggi’s murder, and on December 13, 2018, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding resolution finding MBS “complicit” in Khashoggi’s murder on the basis of “evidence and analysis made available to this institution.” Separately, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions stated, in early February 2019, that evidence collected during her trip to Turkey “demonstrates a prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the State of Saudi Arabia.” to go further Mr. Khashoggi’s premeditated killing violated many acceptable norms of human and state behavior. The murder’s authors clearly intended their crime to send a chilling message to Saudis at home and abroad: that those who peacefully criticize the government’s autocratic rule will never be safe, no matter where they flee. Saudi leaders apparently acted under the belief that they could issue this message without repercussion. For Mr. Khashoggi’s sake, and for the sake of human rights defenders the world over, Congress cannot allow this misguided belief to stand. Because the Trump administration will not defend the rights of the persecuted to speak without fear of assassination, Congress must. United StatesSaudi ArabiaAmericasMiddle East – North Africa International bodies News June 3, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Yasin AKGUL / AFP RSF_en United StatesSaudi ArabiaAmericasMiddle East – North Africa International bodies Reports President Trump’s refusal to comply with the Global Magnitsky Act has rightfully garnered criticism from Democratic and Republican members of Congress in both the House and Senate. Among other reactions, we welcome Ranking Member McCaul’s statement of February 9, in which he said that he was: In defending its refusal to comply with extant law and/or provide information related to Mr. Khashoggi’s murder, the administration has claimed that it is acting consistent with the constitutional separation of powers. Yet, as a trio of former U.S. Justice Department attorneys recently wrote, a president cannot elect to simply decline to accommodate congressional oversight. While legal scholars may differ on the administration’s constitutional obligations under the Global Magnitsky Act’s Section 1263(d), the point remains that in rejecting appropriate congressional oversight in the Khashoggi case, the Trump administration is itself threatening the separation of powers and contesting the role of congressional mandates more broadly. Allowing the administration to simply sweep this matter under the rug, as Saudi officials would prefer, therefore poses a challenge not only to the administration of justice, but to fundamental congressional prerogatives. News “[D]eeply troubled by the letter I received from the Administration regarding the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The letter does not meet the requirements of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act… Everyone involved in this gruesome crime must be identified and held accountable. When the United States fails to lead, we compromise our integrity and abandon those pursuing justice around the world.” We respectfully thank you for your consideration of this important matter. News Dear Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul, Organisation 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Receive email alerts March 14, 2019 RSF joins statement reiterating calls for US government to insist on accountability for Khashoggi murder Signed, Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in BahrainCommittee to Protect JournalistsFreedom HouseHuman Rights FirstHuman Rights WatchJacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human RightsOpen Society Justice InitiativePEN AmericaProject on Middle East DemocracyReporters Without BordersRobert F. Kennedy Human Rights May 13, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Tridents notch first win after Lamichhane, Walsh hurt Patriots

first_imgBASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – Barbados Tridents crippled St Kitts and Nevis Patriots with spin, bringing them back down to earth with a 18-run defeat, to claim their first win of the Caribbean Premier League here Wednesday night.Playing at Warner Park just 24 hours after producing the highest-ever successful run chase in franchise cricket, the jaded Patriots found Tridents’ target of 187 too much to overcome, and subsided to 168 for nine off their 20 overs.Englishman Laurie Evans stroked 64 off 41 deliveries but no other Patriots top-order batsman passed 13 as leg-spinners Sandeep Lamichhane (3-22) and Hayden Walsh (2-33) scythed through the innings.Fast-bowling captain Jason Holder supported well with two for 37, claiming the wickets of in-form openers Devon Thomas (1) and Evin Lewis (12) cheaply.Rookie left-hander Leniko Boucher had earlier top-scored with 62 off 47 balls as Tridents did well to get up to 186 for two off 20 overs after being sent in.Former West Indies opener Johnson Charles gave the innings early impetus with 52 off 43 deliveries while South African star JP Duminy provided the late flourish with an unbeaten 43 off just 18 balls.Englishman Alex Hales never quite got going and eventually edged seamer Rayad Emrit behind for 18 at 28 for one in the fifth over.The 21-year-old Boucher then arrived to anchor two key stands, first putting on 85 for the second wicket with Charles before adding a further 73 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership with Duminy.Boucher smashed four fours and three sixes while Charles, dropped on eight by Shamarh Brooks at point off Emrit in the fifth over, counted four fours and three sixes.Boucher also survived a chance on 15 in the ninth over to notch his maiden T20 fifty off 39 deliveries and after losing Charles to a catch in the deep, joined forces with Duminy, who hit a pair of fours and four sixes, to ensure Tridents gathered 79 runs from the last five overs.In reply, Patriots stumbled early when Holder removed Thomas to a catch at the wicket in the second over and then had Lewis skying to cover in the fourth over.Wobbling on 28 for two, Patriots were steadied by Evans who posted 36 for the third wicket with Jason Mohammed (12) and a further 33 for the fourth with Brooks (13).But Man-of-the-Match Lamichhane turned the game on its head when he removed both Evans and Brooks in the 13th over, and then trapped captain Carlos Brathwaite lbw for one in his next over.In-between, Walsh bowled the dangerous Fabian Allen without scoring, as Patriots capitulated losing six wickets for 22 runs.Dominic Drakes’ created some fireworks late on, belting three fours and sixes in a 14-ball unbeaten 34 but his effort was too little too late.last_img read more

Spurs shed ‘soft touch’ image as Pochettino leaves his mark

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Tottenham have been derided as a soft touch for decades, but the sight of Eden Hazard being hounded into submission showed Mauricio Pochettino’s side are finally shedding their nice-guy image.The perception of Tottenham as entertaining but ultimately flawed under-achievers has haunted a succession of managers at the north London club.But Pochettino has worked tirelessly to imbue his squad with a more ruthless streak and Tuesday’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final first leg suggested his efforts have not been in vain.Tangible evidence of Tottenham’s new-found steely side could be seen in the way Hazard trudged wearily down the Wembley tunnel at full-time.In a bid to subdue Chelsea’s influential playmaker, Hazard was subjected to 90 minutes of intense tackling from Tottenham, who fouled the Belgian seven times — more than any other team this season.While Tottenham were aggressive in their approach, it was hardly the work of a group of hatchet men intent on kicking an opponent into submission.Pochettino wanted Hazard to realise nothing would come easily for him, that Tottenham players would be hassling him at every turn.It was the kind of shrewd game-plan that teams from Pochettino’s native Argentina have often used successfully and it worked to perfection against Chelsea.Hazard, already hampered by Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s decision to use him as a centre forward, found it difficult to find the space to flourish as Tottenham crowded him out time and again.The Spurs boss would not go into detail when asked about his team’s treatment of Hazard, but he did acknowledge he was the man to stop. “He has unbelievable quality. He was involved in the game a lot,” Pochettino said.“It is so difficult to stop him. We are talking about a player on the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.”– Glory game –Such a smart yet cynical approach would, in the past, have been anathema to a club raised on the legendary Danny Blanchflower’s famous claim that “the game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish”.Yet Pochettino has no qualms about his desire to make Tottenham more streetwise.“If you think about how we can improve our squad, it’s not only about adding quality players, but sometimes you need to be a little bit naughty,” Pochettino said this week.“We are so nice and in that game we showed that we can be a little naughty.”While Harry Kane, whose penalty winner made him Tottenham’s fourth highest all-time scorer, remains Pochettino’s most valuable asset, it was the tenacity of a well-drilled defence that emerged as the key to victory against Chelsea.With Tottenham searching for their first trophy since 2008, maintaining that hard-nosed style will be essential if Pochettino is at last to win the first silverware of his managerial career.There have been too many moments in Pochettino’s reign when Tottenham have shrunk in the spotlight.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2last_img read more

Travel alert: East Donegal roadworks to commence next week

first_imgA traffic management plan will be in place on one of east Donegal’s busiest roads on Monday, July 29th as resurfacing works get underway. Works will take place on the main R252 Ballybofey to Glenties Road (Glenfin Street Junction, Cappry Junction and on Cappry Road).Parts of each busy road will be blocked for a short duration. Local diversions will be in place.Motorists are advised to expected delays.Travel alert: East Donegal roadworks to commence next week was last modified: July 26th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Dinosaur Evolutionary Tree Is All Wrong

first_img(Visited 747 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Oops… The dinosaur evolutionary tree is all wrong!by Dr. Jerry BergmanA new study has revolutionized the dinosaur evolutionary tree, producing “the biggest change to dinosaur tree in 130 years” (New Scientist. March 25, 2017, p. 9). The old theory classified dinosaurs into two significantly distinct dinosaur families, those with bird-like hips that point downwards and towards the tail, called the ornithischians, and those with lizard-like hips that point downwards and to the front, called the saurischians. The new theory was based both on newer dinosaur findings that were not available earlier and a newer analysis of dinosaur traits. Instead of focusing on the pelvic bone, as in the old system, Baron and his team analyzed 457 characteristics in 74 species (Baron et al. 2017. A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution. Nature 453(7646):501-506; K. Padian. 2017 Dividing the Dinosaurs. Nature. 543(7646):494).These findings forced development of a new dinosaur family tree.They found that the 21 anatomical features they selected can be used to divide the dinosaurs very differently than the older system. As there is no correct way of selecting traits used to classify, selection of other traits could be used to divide dinosaurs into an even different evolutionary tree. Based on these features, the new tree puts T. rex and other theropods on the side of the “bird-hipped” creatures, and the sauropods with those related to Herrerasaurus, a South American bipedal carnivore. These findings forced development of a new dinosaur family tree. This revolution is not unusual in evolutionary biology, and illustrates the tenuousness of classifying life, a field termed taxonomy. Using one set of traits one can produce one taxonomy, and using another different set can produce a very different taxonomy. Thus, taxonomy classifications are somewhat tenuous.The taxon Dinosauria was named in 1842 by paleontologist Sir Richard Owen (1804 -1892), a creationist. Richard Owen was one of the strongest scientific opponents of Darwinism during the age of Darwin. The term dinosaur means terrible lizard due to their size and assumed ferociousness. Paleontologists admit they know almost nothing “about the early evolution of these creatures, and in particular, the evolution of the dinosaurs before the [putative] saurishian-ornithischian split (C. Forster. 2000. “The First Dinosaurs” chapter 2 pp. 41-52 in R. Silverberg. editor, The Ultimate Dinosaur, New York, Simon and Schuster). Thus, new discoveries can revolutionize their conclusions, as occurred in this case. Taxonomy is not only used to determine evolutionary trees, but also to differentiate one species from another. The problem is the species concept is an imperfect and problematic method to classify life. As Cornell trained taxonomist Carol Yoon wrote, species classification was the “gray area of the field” and, more problematically “it was a moving target,” as this new dinosaur study shows (C. Yoon, 2009, Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science. New York: Norton. pp. 104-105).last_img read more

Two new row guidance products available for John Deere sprayers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Two new AutoTrac products are available to help row crop producers and ag service providers more accurately navigate row-crop fields when making postemergence sprayer applications.AutoTrac Vision utilizes a single-lens camera to detect crop rows and help steer the sprayer down the center of the row for early postemergence applications. AutoTrac RowSense uses a row sensor similar to that used on combines to detect crop rows and steer the sprayer to the center of the row for later season post applications.Doug Felter, product marketing manager for John Deere, says the introduction of these two new AutoTrac guidance products is designed to help large-scale row-crop producers and ag service providers work more quickly, cover more acres and reduce run-over damage to crops when spraying in the fields.“Because of field terrain, planter drift, or irregular planting without guidance, spraying in row crops can present challenges for sprayer operators making post emerge applications,” Felter explains. “These two new guidance applications help sprayers track more accurately between the rows, resulting in reduced crop damage, less operator fatigue and more effective field applications.”New AutoTrac Vison uses a monocular camera mounted on the front of the sprayer to detect crop rows and to steer the vehicle between the rows for early season postemerge applications. It is currently approved for use in corn, soybeans and cotton planted in 30-inch rows starting when the crop is at least 6 inches tall. It can be used until there is at least 3 inches of soil showing between rows or up to 90 percent canopy closure.AutoTrac RowSense uses a sensor paddle mounted on the sprayer wheel to detect crop rows and to help steer the machine down the center of the row. Designed to be used later in the growing season, RowSense is currently approved for use in corn at least 4 feet tall planted in 30-inch rows.“While these two sprayer guidance systems are completely separate and are to be used one at a time, both have performed well in a variety of field conditions and crops,” Felter adds. “Both automated vehicle steering systems allow the operator to spray at faster speeds with little manual steering and cover more acres per day with less damage to crops.”Both systems are available as field-installed kits on currently operating machines or from the factory on new John Deere R4023, R4030, R4038 and R4045 Sprayers. A GS3 AutoTrac RowSense activation is required.For more information on the new John Deere AutoTrac Vision and RowSense sprayer guidance systems for 4 Series Sprayers, contact your local John Deere dealer or visit JohnDeere.com/ag.Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land – those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website atwww.JohnDeere.com.last_img read more

Resurgent Federer advances to Montreal final

first_imgSEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games K-pop star Jung Joon-young convicted of gang rape, spycam crimes Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Read Next “I’m happy I’m playing as well as I am this year on the match courts. At the end that’s what matters because I spent hours and hours on the practice courts in the last year.”The 19-time Grand Slam winner Federer is seeking his 27th Masters 1000 title and his third Canadian Masters crown after wins in 2004 and 2006.Haase, who hit 17 winners, made a late charge and forced a second-set tiebreak before Federer stymied the challenge to win the match.Zverev, 20, will have a much tougher time against the skilled veteran Federer than he did in beating Shapovalov.‘Life-changing week’Zverev came into Montreal with four titles this season while Shapovalov had just three career match victories. Shapovalov leaves Montreal with seven career wins, including a shocking upset of 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.“It is a completely life-changing week,” said Shapovalov, whose dream run this week also included a win over former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro.The fourth seeded Zverev broke Shapovalov at 4-4 in the first set then served for the set to silence the partisan crowd.Ultimately, Zverev played better in the key moments, finishing with two aces, winning 81 percent of his first-serve points and breaking the Canadian three times.Shapovalov finished with three aces, six double faults and won 64 percent of his first-serve points in the one-hour, 43-minute match. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “It’s a big bonus right now and I hope I can play as free as I have so far in the finals tomorrow.”Second seeded Federer will clash on Sunday with German Alexander Zverev who ended the Cinderella run of 18-year old Canadian Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 7-5 win in the other semi-final.Federer is undergoing a resurgence this season after it appeared to many he might be slowing down as he transitions through his mid-30s.“Confidence can get you a long way, and if you’re feeling fine physically and you are ready to fight mentally you have a lot of things in the bag,” said Federer, who would earn the second seed at the upcoming US Open if he wins in Montreal.“And then the only thing that maybe is missing is practice, but sometimes practice is overrated. It’s all about the matches at some stage.ADVERTISEMENT #KicksStalker: Jordan’s ’98 Playoff sneakers set for return LATEST STORIES View comments UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension He raised his game to another level when it mattered most, beating Netherlands Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in just 75 minutes.“I’m very excited to be back in the finals,” Federer said. “A bit surprising, to be quite honest, because I hadn’t practiced much.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFederer has taken more time off this year than usual. He skipped the clay-court season from April to mid-June.“I came from vacation, did some fitness, saw how I was feeling and said, ‘You know what, I practiced so much the last year, let’s go play some matches.’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates his 6-3, 7-6 victory over Robin Haase of Netherlands during day nine of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Uniprix Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFPSwiss superstar Roger Federer turned in a precision performance Saturday at the ATP Montreal tennis, using thundering serves and clever backhands to defeat unseeded Robin Haase for a spot in the final.The 36-year-old Federer blasted nine aces and lost just nine points on his serve as he extended his match win streak to 16 — his longest win streak in five years.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

Sol Mercado out for Game 5 of PBA Finals

first_imgMOST READ “Sol will not play Sunday, so it’s next man up for us,” bared Ginebra coach Tim Cone on Saturday.Mercado suffered a high grade left ankle sprain in the waning seconds of Ginebra’s 85-83 loss in Game 4 after landing awkwardly off his chasedown block on Jared Dillinger.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHe was taken out of the venue in a wheelchair and was rushed to Cardinal Santos Medical Center.Still, Cone remains upbeat and believes his wards are well equipped to survive the absence of Mercado in the al-important Game 5. View comments Read Next LATEST STORIES Kia trades top pick to San Miguel Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games “It’s a best-of-3 now. Like in a game, we have lost our lead and now, we have to pick up our game. What’s done is done, we have to play from here. I have great faith in our players that we can regain control of the series. It should be an interesting game in Philippine Arena,” he said.center_img Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netBarangay Ginebra will miss a key cog in Sol Mercado in Game 5 of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals set on Sunday at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.The Gin Kings and the Meralco Bolts eye a pivotal 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Sony TV, Ten Sports pose serious challenges to ESPN-Star

first_imgFor the past five years, the ESPN-Star Sports combine has been the veritable colossus of sports television in India. With the occasional exception of Doordarshan (DD) Sports, it has not had a real challenger. Now it may have two.On April 6, Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the man who runs the Sharjah,For the past five years, the ESPN-Star Sports combine has been the veritable colossus of sports television in India. With the occasional exception of Doordarshan (DD) Sports, it has not had a real challenger. Now it may have two.On April 6, Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the man who runs the Sharjah cricket circus, launches Ten Sports, his very own sports channel. That aside, Sony Entertainment Television has upstaged ESPN-Star for rights to the 2003 and 2007 cricket World Cups and the next three ICC knock-out trophies (2002-6). While Sony only confirms “advanced negotiations”, sources indicate the deal is through.In July 2000, the International Cricket Council (ICC) sold global rights for the World Cups and knock-out trophies to Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) for $550 million (Rs 2,640 crore). GCC is a consortium primarily comprising News Corp-media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s flagship-and World Sports Group, a UK-based marketing firm.THREE CAN PLAY A GAMERupert Murdoch, STARBesieged Behemoth: With ESPN has men’s tennis, basketball, Formula 1.But if it loses five-nation CSI cricket deal, it’s on the ropes.Kunal Dasgupta, SONYGreat Gambler: Betting on cricket and possibly pay per view.Could show next World Cup on Set Max, AXN, even launch new channels.A.R. Bukhatir, TEN SPORTSDesert Dare: Cricket from Sharjah and Morocco.Has TV deals with Manchester United, WWF, women’s tennis, European golf tour.Since ESPN-Star is a south Asia-specific 50-50 partnership between Murdoch and media giant Disney, the World Cup rights were expected to flow to it.Not satisfied with the initial offer made by ESPN-Star-reportedly $120 million (Rs 576 crore)-GCC called in bids in November.advertisementSony, led by CEO Kunal Dasgupta, offered an astronomical $375 million (Rs 1,800 crore)- $265 million for the satellite rights and $110 million for the terrestrial ones.While ESPN-Star upgraded its offer, it is understood it was nowhere near Sony’s.There are murmurs that Disney-ESPN’s parent and an American entity with no great cricket focus-was not keen to make “unrealistic investments”.That ESPN-Star has reportedly lost $21 million (Rs 101 crore) in the past half-decade may have made it cautious. For News Corp, it was a tough call. The decision to sign with Sony, industry insiders say, was eventually made by Ian Frykberg, director of WSG and a long-serving Murdoch employee.Internally ESPN-Star estimates Sony may actually lose money-“as much as $100 million”-from the mega-deal it has agreed to. On his part, a Sony confidant sees cricket as a “hot property” that may pay for itself not just in terms of “advertising returns” but “perhaps in a pay-per-view format or as part of a direct-to-home system”.Ten Sports, owned by Bukhatir’s Taj Group, poses a more immediate challenge to ESPN-Star. Says Peter Hutton, who’s leaving TWI to join Ten Sports as head of programming, “If you look at other markets worldwide, Manchester United TV or the New York Yankees channel show you how sports bodies with key broadcast rights are looking to set up their own channels. You can see Ten Sports as an extension of this philosophy.”The channel will show cricket from Sharjah-a controversial venue India currently avoids-and Morocco where Bukhatir’s company has built a stadium in Tangiers. In August, the first Tangiers tournament will feature South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.DDholds the rights for cricket played in India till 2004. So ESPN-Star’s trump card has been bringing world cricket to Indian bedrooms. In 1998, it tied up with Octagon-CSI – which holds rights for cricket played in Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, South Africa and, now, England – for a fiveyear contract worth $50 million. This agreement runs out at different times in different countries.The first series of the new contract is Australia in Zimbabwe, April 2002. Currently, Ten Sports and ESPN-Star are locked in a contest to partner CSI for the next five years. If the Murdochdriven network loses, life could get thorny. At ESPN-Star, it’s time for the slog overs.last_img read more