In Venezuela, Hundreds March For Press Freedom

first_imgBy Dialogo May 28, 2009 Hundreds of opponents of President Hugo Chavez marched in support of press freedom in Venezuela, two years after his government refused to renew the concession of an opposition-aligned television station. Many protesters also waved flags in support of Globovision — a second anti-Chavez channel now under investigation by broadcast regulators. “In a democracy, there is at least freedom of expression,” said Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, an opposition leader who’s been subordinated to a Chavez-appointed official since he was elected in November. Protesters carrying torches marched peacefully to Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission to turn over a symbolic copy of the constitution. Hundreds of police and National Guard troops looked on. Since Chavez refused to renew the broadcast license of Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, on May 28 two years ago, Globovision is Venezuela’s only remaining anti-Chavez television station on the open airwaves. RCTV now only airs on cable. Earlier this month, broadcast regulators opened an investigation into Globovision for inciting “panic and anxiety” by criticizing the government for its slow response to a moderate earthquake. Human Rights Watch and press freedom groups have criticized the investigation, saying it aims to harass Chavez’s opponents. Some marchers worried it could also be the beginning of a larger crackdown on news media. “I’m sure that if they close Globovision … they’re going to go after the freedom of El Nacional and other newspapers in Venezuela,” said Juan Andres Benain, a 33-year-old artist. Chavez warned private news media this month that they’re “playing with fire,” and specifically targeted Globovision director Alberto Federico Ravell, calling him “a crazy man with a cannon.” But some Chavez supporters including Mariela Romero, 48, said they believe the closure of Globovision would be warranted because it supported a short-lived 2002 coup against Chavez. Romero, a street vendor, also said she doesn’t believe that more “respectful” media outlets will be threatened. “They don’t think there’s freedom of expression — but there is,” she said, gesturing toward the marchers.last_img read more

Board discusses multijurisdictional practice rules

first_img June 15, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Board discusses multijurisdictional practice rules Senior EditorProposed rules governing the actions of out-of-state lawyers who do work in Florida were reviewed last month by the Bar Board of Governors.The rules include that out-of-state lawyers appearing in Florida must be subject to Florida Supreme Court jurisdiction and lawyers appearing in court cannot appear in more than three cases in a 365-day period. Those limits do not apply to out-of-state transactional lawyers who can only handle matters in Florida related to their practice.The new rules will come back to the board for final approval at its August meeting in Clearwater, and then be forwarded to the Supreme Court.The board had initially reviewed and debated the recommendations of the Multijurisdictional Practice Commission at its April meeting (see story in the April 30 News ). Commission Chair John Yanchunis noted a question had been raised that a lawyer handling multiple tort cases stemming from the same cause might be able to get around the three-cases-a-year restriction.“We went back and amended the rule to take out the ambiguity,” he said.One board member questioned whether transactional lawyers are adequately regulated in the proposals.Richard Gilbert noted the proposal does not limit the number of times an out-of-state transactional lawyer can work in Florida. A revision replaced the earlier, more strict requirement that a matter be related to the law of the out-of-state lawyer’s home jurisdiction with the more lenient requirement that it be related to that lawyer’s practice.“[You’re] saying they can appear anytime something arises out of their practice in the jurisdiction where they practice,” he said, adding that leaves the discretion entirely with the lawyer. “With regard to transactional lawyers, you have untethered them from state bar regulations that presently exist.”The commission reviewed recommendations from the ABA on multijurisdictional practices (MJP), and then suggested changes in Bar policies and rules. It did not accept all of the ABA proposals.A summary of the commission’s proposed rules was published in the April 15 Bar News on page 12. The full report is available in PDF format on the Bar’s Web site at www.flabar.org. Click on Organization in the left side menu, and then under Committees select Special. On the next screen, select Multijurisdictional Practice Commission.Among the commission’s recommendations:• Limit non-Bar members to three appearances in a 365-day period in a court or arbitration proceeding. Current rules set that limit for court appearances, but allow circuit judges to grant exceptions, Yanchunis said, adding that language needs to be tightened. There is no existing rule dealing with arbitrations.• Allow reciprocal discipline, which would permit the Bar to discipline visiting out-of-state attorneys and have that recognized in their home states. Similarly, Bar members handling matters in other states could be disciplined there and that would be recognized by the Bar.• Require attorneys admitted pro hac vice to pay a $250 fee to the Bar for each case. That would pay for expanding the discipline system to monitor their activities. The fee will be waived if the client is indigent.• No limit on transactional work that is reasonably related to work an out-of-state attorney is performing for an existing client or related to the attorney’s practice. Yanchunis said there is no effective way to monitor the amount of transactional work such an attorney might do. As with the other areas, the attorney could only be in Florida temporarily.The commission did not adopt ABA recommendations to allow admission to practice by motion, to amend the Bar’s foreign legal consultancy rule, and to allow a temporary practice for a foreign lawyer. Yanchunis said the latter raised policing and competency issues. Board discusses multijurisdictional practice ruleslast_img read more

Scooters, e-bikes gain traction as virus lockdowns ease

first_imgLime, which has agreed to take over the Uber Jump scooters and bikes, said it has seen “exponential” growth in cities such as Paris, Washington, Tel Aviv, Oklahoma City and Zurich, among others,Spin recently unveiled plans to launch its shared e-scooters in Cologne and other German cities, and will expand in US cities including Atlanta.Spin said it had seen weekly usage increases of some 30 percent since April with people using scooters for longer periods.The scooters “are being used now more than ever as a utility rather than for leisurely activities,” said Euwyn Poon, president and cofounder of Spin.Global scooter operator Bird also said business is looking up, with North American ridership more than double pre-pandemic levels.”Around the world, an increasing number of people are trying micromobility for the first time,” Bird said in a blog post. Electric bikes and scooters, dismissed before the pandemic as a curiosity or nuisance, are getting fresh traction in cities seeking new transportation options as they emerge from lockdowns.Some “micromobility” operators which cut back or shut down during the coronavirus lockdowns are now expanding to meet growing demands.Shared mobility operators Lime, Bird and Ford-owned Spin report robust growth in cities worldwide, despite a near-shutdown of tourism, as people turn to scooters and e-bikes for commuting or errands. Finding an economic model Harriet Tregoning, director of the Numo Alliance, a nonprofit group focused on urban mobility, said the economic model for shared micromobility firms remains murky.Venture-funded firms which cater to tourists and college campuses may only marginally help with post-COVID transportation needs, she said.These services have more value if integrated into transportation systems, Tregoning said.This could be done in coordination with transit agencies to help reach underserved areas, with the possibility of public or employer subsidies for “bundled” subscriptions.Tregoning said micromobility can become a more important element if cities invest and coordinate with transportation agencies.”Cities need to invest in bikesharing and create a strategic relationship to transit,” she said.Technology analyst Richard Windsor said e-bikes “are a good replacement for public transportation because the motor assistance makes the commute much easier for those that are less fit or do not want to arrive at the office drenched in sweat.”But Windsor writes on his Radio Free Mobile blog that the trend “points towards a user preference towards ownership and away from sharing.” Topics :center_img Shifting gears In the months before the pandemic, some local officials were decrying dockless bikes and scooters as nuisances creating sidewalk “clutter.”But the pandemic has changed the outlook, with fear of crowds cutting transit ridership by 70 to 90 percent.”The pandemic has certainly changed the way communities view micromobility,” said Susan Shaheen, co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley.”Anecdotal evidence suggests that a lot of communities are considering micromobility as an important strategy to maintain social/physical distancing as the economy reopens.”Traditional bicycling is also experiencing a revival in many urban areas, spurred by new protected lanes which may be used by the small electric vehicles as well.The pandemic disruption “has created fertile ground” for micromobility, said Annie Chang, head of new mobility for the engineering association SAE International and author of a report on COVID’s impact on transportation.”I think people have begun to see the value of tiny vehicles and that value will increase as the technology improves.”Without new options, she noted, many cities could see a rise in auto traffic and congestion. “People are desperate for open air transportation where they can maintain social distancing,” said David Spielfogel, chief policy officer at Lime, which has relaunched in most of its 100-plus cities.Spielfogel said city officials have warmed to the idea of micromobility despite a cool attitude just months earlier.”There has been a sea change in the attitude of cities from seeing micromobility as  novelty primarily used by tourists to seeing bikes and scooters as a core piece of the transportation system that will thrive in the post-pandemic period,” he said.”Cities are afraid that people will return to cars, so they see this as a good option.”last_img read more