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Albanian Daily News

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The Democratic Party has described as dangerous and provocative the “recycling” of the figure of the former General Director of the Police, Ardi Veliu, within the ranks of the blue uniforms. 

The General Secretary of DP, Flamur Noka, called the appointment of Veliu at the head of the Agency for Police Surveillance (AMP) a provocative and very dangerous decision, stressing that he is accused of being linked to organized crime and corruption. 

“The return of one of those responsible for the criminality of the Police to the crime scene is a bad omen of this government for every Albanian who wants order, security and a police at the service of the citizens. 

Ardi Veliu, the notorious former director of the State Police, has returned to the police structure. 

He will lead the Agency for Police Surveillance. which, as the name suggests, will scrutinize police officers for ethical and legal violations. 

Ardi Veliu is a champion of ethical and legal violations. He is the chief police accused of links to organized crime, with his hand up to his elbow in the barrel of corruption. 

Ardi Veliu, above all, will be remembered for the structural corruption of the State Police. By structural corruption we must understand politicization to the core, turning the weapon of the Police into a tool of the Renaissance. 

Veliu is also the chief police officer who infected the state police with the virus of involvement in the elections. 

With these two black records, the Democratic Party warns that Ard Veliu has returned, not to supervise the Police, but to make sure that in the next elections it will again be the extended and unpunished hand of the Renaissance in the process. As well as to maintain old connections with the world of crime. 

Ardi Veliu has the responsibility of Elbasan event in the last elections. Not only the weight of a murder, but also the destruction of evidence at the scene. 

The recirculation of Veli is not just a crisis for honest personnel in the Police, but the philosophy of the Prime Minister, the Minister and this government, according to which the monitoring of the Police is left to the incriminated. 

The Democratic Party sees this appointment as dangerous and provocative. By separating the police weapon from the power tools, we guarantee, both the honest policemen and the public opinion, that the corrupt and the murderers of the myth of the state, such as Ardi Veliu, will be held accountable for any involvement in corruption and incrimination,” he said.




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Eight Mbale hospital staff held in State House raid

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The State House Health Monitoring Unit (HMU) in liaison with Police in Mbale City have arrested eight staff of Mbale Regional Referral Hospital over corruption and mismanagement of patients.

The arrest of the officials followed a two-week investigation by the Monitor and NTV Uganda, subsidiaries of Nation Media Group, into impropriety at the region’s largest public health facility.

The investigation unearthed a cartel involving some doctors, nurses, clinicians, and administrative support staff at the blood bank, guards, and other attendants that work together with private clinics near the hospital.

 The Mbale City Police Commander, Mr Samuel Abbedi Aliria, said those arrested will soon be taken to court.

“Most of the arrested are hospital staff for corruption and mismanagement of patients. They are currently detained at Mbale city Central police station,” he said.

The Monitor has learnt that about 20 people were amputated at the hospital after being mismanaged by either quacks or junior medical workers.

Mr Abbedi said as a result of beefing up security in the hospital, police managed to arrest a hawker, who has been stealing mobile phones from caretakers and patients at the facility for long.

A source familiar with the investigations told this newspaper that they are digging into procurement, financial and human resource management systems of the hospital that have led to smuggling patients from the facility to private clinics.

Dr Ayella Ataro, the assistant director of the State House Health Monitoring Unit, said they are following up the public outcry about the poor service delivery in the hospital.

 “Patients have fallen prey to these extortion and bribery syndicates, the effect on some of them is profoundly long-lasting,” Dr Ataro said.

 A 20-year-old boy, who requested not to be named,  said he was admitted to the hospital last December following a motorcycle accident that left him with a compound fracture.

After a few days at the hospital where he was barely attended to, he says he was sneaked out of the facility by unknown people to a private clinic in Nkoma Ward, Northern Division.

 At the clinic, the boy immediately underwent an x-ray and an operation that included clamping his bones, which cost Shs1.5m. Three months after the operation, the bone clamps snapped and his injuries degenerated.

 Scans conducted later showed the first operation was poorly conducted. For a new corrective operation, he required Shs4.5m which he doesn’t have.

The Mbale Resident City Commissioner, Mr Ahamada Washaki, said the intervention by  State House has changed the situation in the hospital.

Dr Warren Namara, the Executive Director of the State House Health Monitoring Unit, said they will leave no stone unturned.

“We are investigating a number of things and we have discovered a lot,” Dr Namara said.

Eight Mbale hospital staff

The State House Health Monitoring Unit (HMU) in liaison with Police in Mbale City have arrested eight staff of Mbale Regional Referral Hospital over corruption and mismanagement of patients.

The arrest of the officials followed a two-week investigation by Daily Monitor and NTV Uganda, subsidiaries of Nation Media Group, into impropriety at the region’s largest public health facility.

The investigation unearthed a cartel involving some doctors, nurses, clinicians, and administrative support staff at the blood bank, guards, and other attendants that work together with private clinics near the hospital.

 The Mbale City Police Commander, Mr Samuel Abbedi Aliria, said those arrested will soon be taken to court.

“Most of the arrested  are hospital staff for corruption and mismanagement of patients. They are currently detained at Mbale city Central police station,” he said.

Daily Monitor has learnt that about 20 people were amputated at the hospital after being mismanaged by either quacks or junior medical workers.

Mr Abbedi said as a result of beefing up security in the hospital, police managed to arrest a hawker, who has been stealing mobile phones from caretakers and patients at the facility for long.

A source familiar with the investigations told this newspaper that they are digging into procurement, financial and human resource management systems of the hospital that have led to smuggling patients from the facility to private clinics.

Dr Ayella Ataro, the assistant director of the State House Health Monitoring Unit, said they are following up the public outcry about the poor service delivery in the hospital.

 “Patients have fallen prey to these extortion and bribery syndicates, the effect on some of them is profoundly long-lasting,” Dr Ataro said.

 A 20-year-old boy, who requested not to be named,  said he was admitted to the hospital last December following a motorcycle accident that left him with a compound fracture.

After a few days at the hospital where he was barely attended to, he says he was sneaked out of the facility by unknown people to a private clinic in Nkoma Ward, Northern Division.

 At the clinic, the boy immediately underwent an x-ray and an operation that included clamping his bones, which cost Shs1.5m. Three months after the operation, the bone clamps snapped and his injuries degenerated.

 Scans conducted later showed the first operation was poorly conducted. For a new corrective operation, he required Shs4.5m which he doesn’t have.

The Mbale Resident City Commissioner, Mr Ahamada Washaki, said the intervention by  State House has changed the situation in the hospital.

Dr Warren Namara, the Executive Director of the State House Health Monitoring Unit, said they will leave no stone unturned.

“We are investigating a number of things and we have discovered a lot,” Dr Namara said.


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For Iranian protesters, a digital double-edged sword

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Iran’s anti-government protests, which were sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody, have gone viral, and then some.

The internet is an essential tool for these demonstrators. For more than a week, millions have shared wrenching videos and vivid online images of confrontations between protesters and Iranian authorities.

They’ve topped news broadcasts and ricocheted across the globe.

The hard-line government in Tehran has deployed digital trackers and waged an all-out media war against protesters and their supporters — a strategy it used in 2019 to quash protests in just three days. Back then, authorities took control of the internet and unleashed a violent crackdown that resulted in thousands of arrests and as many as 1,500 deaths.

This time is different. The protests are well into their second week and show little sign of waning.

They began Sept. 16 after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who allegedly had violated the country’s conservative dress code, and quickly tapped into wider discontent with government corruption and declining living standards. Officials say 41 people have been killed, including demonstrators and police, and 1,200 arrested, while rights groups claim much higher figures.

A key reason protesters have been able to keep the demonstrations going and maintain the world’s attention: They were ready to do battle in cyberspace.

“In 2019, everybody was shocked authorities could impose a massive internet shutdown, but this time many predicted it would happen,” said Mahbod, a 27-year-old student at Tehran’s Sharif University. Like others interviewed, he gave only his first name for fear of reprisals.

Hackers and tech experts worldwide have weighed in to help cyber-savvy activists organize, fight back and dominate in the digital domain — a key battleground that Iran’s leadership, more than ever, appears unable to control.

Hours after the protests began, internet monitor Netblocks reported a 33% loss in connectivity in Tehran, which later spread to other cities and provinces across Iran.

But activists quickly outmaneuvered the government, turning to Instagram and WhatsApp — some of the few social media sites still functioning — to call for demonstrations or set up meeting points. They started a hashtag under the Persian version of #Mahsa_Amini that was retweeted by some 30 million people despite the shutdown. It has reached more than 100 million users, making it the most retweeted hashtag in Twitter’s history, Iranian opposition outlets say.

Then on Wednesday, the government restricted access to most social media, curtailing it sharply between 4 p.m. and approximately 1 a.m., when most protests take place. Apple and Google Play stores are blocked to prevent people from installing Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps they could use to circumvent surveillance.

Still, Mahbod’s more tech-inclined friends at university share information on which software and settings to use; it’s not uncommon for people to have four or five different programs to switch between depending on the day and area.

“The VPNs we use are much more complex than they were a few years ago,” said Mehdi, a 39-year-old self-described computer geek from Tehran. “Cheap ones you need to switch every three or four days, but the more expensive ones with subscriptions work well.”

Help has also come from outside Iran’s borders. The tech collective Anonymous has hacked government websites, including that of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On Sunday, it doxxed members of parliament, releasing lawmakers’ phone numbers and other data.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department on Friday eased sanctions by authorizing technology companies to offer “secure, outside platforms and services” to Iranian users.

“As courageous Iranians take to the streets to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, the United States is redoubling its support for the free flow of information to the Iranian people,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.

“With these changes, we are helping the Iranian people be better equipped to counter the government’s efforts to surveil and censor them,” the statement added.

Hours later, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk said that the Starlink satellite system, which relies on a low-Earth-orbit satellite network to offer broadband internet, was now activated in Iran.

Tehran soon blocked access to the Starlink website, and dummy activation links containing malware were planted in the Iranian Twittersphere in an apparent attempt to lure anti-government protesters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani on Saturday said that by loosening communication-related sanctions but keeping up others, “America is seeking to advance its own goals against Iran with hypocrisy.”

He added that “attempts at violating the Iranian sovereignty will not go unanswered.”

Iranian tech experts working abroad have also joined the fray. Kooshiar Azimian, who heads the U.S.-based biotech company 310.ai and is a former Facebook engineer, regularly gives updates on his Instagram page on the latest method for accessing internet service in Iran.

Another U.S.-based Iranian computer scientist, Moshfegh Hamedani, has posted information on Twitter on how to bypass website filtering, and excoriated programmers working with the government.

A growing chorus of government officials are threatening punishment for those who take part in the unrest.

Iran’s hard-line judicial chief, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, said in a visit to police headquarters this week that protesters, whom he described as rioters, were “the foot soldiers of the enemies of the Islamic Republic.” Echoing previous harsh statements by President Ebrahim Raisi, he declared that those who defy authorities would be shown “no leniency.”

Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment tweeted that the government wanted to restrict internet access “so it can repress people in the dark.”

The best way the United States and other Western allies can help Iranians, he wrote, is to keep the Iranian government from blocking access to the internet. Protesters’ best hope of effecting change, Sadjadpour said, lies in “connecting with one another and the outside world.”

Special correspondent Khazani reported from Tehran and Times staff writer Bulos from Beirut.


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Man jailed for violating sex offender conditions of parole – The Morgan Messenger

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West Virginia State Police troopers have jailed a Berkeley Springs man on charges that he violated the requirements of his sec offender registry here.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Morgan County Magistrate Court, Roy Rankin Jr., 36, of Rankin Lane was arrested on a warrant issued September 22 for failing to register or update information with the West Virginia Sex Offender Registry.

Sgt. J.D See reported that the State Police had been contacted in July by Rankin’s parole officer, who asked that Rankin’s cell phone be examined.

At that time, Rankin was on parole for a Pennsylvania conviction in 2019 for indecent assault and corruption of minors. The sex offender registry specifies that Rankin’s victim was a female under the age of 5, and that Rankin served three months in prison and given five years’ probation.

Sgt. See reported that Rankin’s parole has special conditions, including that he was not to purchase or use any explicit materials or devices, that he was not permitted to use any computer or device with internet access without authorization of his parole officer, and that he must report any internet access or accounts to the parole officer.

Upon examining the SIM card in Rankin’s cell phone, the West Virginia State Police found the device contained instant messages, social media accounts, web bookmarks and web internet history, plus data files from more than 100,000 images, 5,158 videos and texts, plus an email address.

Police reportedly found no pornographic images or evidence of child pornography but did find photos of young girls and videos of young girls dancing.

Rankin’s sex offender registry information had not been updated to reflect his new cell phone number or his email address.

Rankin was jailed at the Eastern Regional Jail in lieu of a $20,000 cash or surety bond.




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