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World Whistleblowers Day 2022: The fight is…

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Despite the recognition that whistleblowers are crucial to society, the fight for their rights remains full of hurdles. But there are also wins to celebrate.
© Transparency International

Every year on 23 June, we take a moment to recognise the crucial role that whistleblowers play in the fight for a more just world. There has been no shortage of evidence of this in recent years, as we all reckoned with the COVID-19 pandemic.

And yet, this year’s World Whistleblowers Day comes with a sobering reminder that our systems are still failing to protect whistleblowers. This is reiterated by the new BBC documentary that recounts alleged retaliation against those reporting corruption,

mismanagement and sexual abuse internally in the United Nations (UN) agencies over years.
Far from being the first report of such kind about the institution whose mission is to address the world’s biggest challenges, the revelations expose a pattern of egregious misconduct at all levels and a system unable – or perhaps unwilling – to protect whistleblowers.

In March 2021, as the world was reeling from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Francesco Zambon resigned from the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s public health agency, after months of intolerable working conditions. Prior to that, he had reported his concern about an apparent suppression of a study on Italy’s pandemic preparedness – findings which were first published and then withdrawn the very next day by the WHO. Even though several civil society organisations came forward to support Zambon and asked for accountability from the organisation, no action has been taken to date.

A few months later, Emma Reilly – an employee at the United Nations Human Rights Office who had exposed the office’s practice of revealing names of dissidents to the Chinese government – was fired. As was John O’Brien, who reported corruption in United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) climate change projects. Reilly and O’Brien are two of the many former UN employees speaking out about their mistreatment in the new BBC documentary.

Their and others’ cases are crushing. They point to a deep-rooted tolerance of abuses of power in the UN system, which fails to hold perpetrators to account. In fact, civil society organisations have been concerned about UN whistleblowers facing retaliation and violations of due process for a while. For over a year, we have been calling for urgent reforms of the whistleblower protection mechanisms at UN agencies.

United Nations agencies are facing justified criticism for their treatment of whistleblowers. One such whistleblower is Dr. Francesco Zambon who spoke out against wrongdoing at the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zambon, Reilly and O’Brien are not the only whistleblowers who suffered retaliation for exposing wrongdoing. The fact that they were mistreated by the very institutions mandated to uphold human rights and protect public health should give us pause. If international organisations are failing to provide protection for whistleblowers, one can only imagine the struggle of whistleblowers around the world who speak out against wrongdoing in much more dangerous conditions – and whose stories don’t make headlines.

At the national level, delays in legal support or protection for whistleblowers only make things worse. In the European Union (EU), countries were supposed to have transposed the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive into national law by now. The Directive, which was adopted in 2019, was created to provide a strong foundation for EU Member States to achieve uniform and robust whistleblower protection. But when the deadline for the transposition fell due in December 2021, only five countries had adopted new whistleblower protection laws. Only four more countries have joined that group even now, and influential Member States like Germany are still lagging behind.

Implementing the Directive is important, given that 45 per cent of EU residents surveyed in our 2021 Global Corruption Barometer fear reprisals if they report corruption.

The fight for whistleblowers’ rights has also produced key wins, but for these wins to spark real change and better protection for whistleblowers, we must continue fighting.

Since 2020, we have been actively advocating for a transposition of the EU Directive in a manner that ensures the protection of all whistleblowers, and not just those reporting breaches of EU laws as mandated by the Directive. Transparency International’s chapters made concrete recommendations to their governments to that end in 19 Member States. So far, our efforts have been successful in Denmark, France, Lithuania and Sweden, where our recommendations were reflected in new whistleblowing laws. We will keep up the pressure until all countries have seen the process through.

Globally, individuals have also been speaking out against corruption with the help of our Advocacy and Legal Aid Centres. With this support, people around the world have secured significant wins locally or otherwise and remain optimistic despite the challenges. This reaffirms what we and so many of our allies believe – that every individual can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

And this year, we launched a new project – Speak Up Europe – which will tackle corruption in high-risk areas such as public procurement by empowering individuals to report misconduct to the bodies that are best placed to take concrete action.

Anti-corruption fighters, including whistleblowers, are increasingly under threat. Supporting them is a core pillar of our work – through legal advice, rapid response, and advocacy for better legal and institutional frameworks. This not only makes a difference for the individuals involved but protects everyone by working towards an environment that allows people to speak out safely against corruption and be heard.

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US women’s basketball dominates on international stage – KRQE News 13

KRQE NEWS 13 – Breaking News, Albuquerque News, New Mexico News, Weather, and Videos
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by: DOUG FEINBERG, Associated Press
Posted: Oct 1, 2022 / 12:54 PM MDT
Updated: Oct 1, 2022 / 01:04 PM MDT
by: DOUG FEINBERG, Associated Press
Posted: Oct 1, 2022 / 12:54 PM MDT
Updated: Oct 1, 2022 / 01:04 PM MDT
SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart are keenly aware of the legacy of success they are part of with the U.S. women’s basketball team.
They don’t plan on letting the incredible run end any time soon.
“I don’t think we’re showing signs of stopping, that’s for sure,” Stewart said. “We have a lot of people are entering their prime or are in their prime.”
Wilson and Stewart helped the U.S. to a fourth consecutive World Cup championship Saturday with an 83-61 win over China, setting a record margin for a gold-medal game.
“Everyone knows that when you come here, when you wear USA across your chest the (pressure) that comes with it,” Stewart said. “It’s just embracing that. All the legends before us and what they’ve done, how they’ve won. Each team is different and we need to make our imprint on history.”
This team left its mark on the World Cup as one of the most dominant teams in the Americans’ storied history, winning four straight gold medals and 30 games in a row in the tournament. Next up for this group is the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The Americans will be trying for an eighth consecutive gold medal there.
“This is something that’s special to us. It’s not lost on us what’s been done since 1996. I hear about it all the time,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “What I wanted to do is make sure this journey was fun. Because I think there’s some times when you have pressure to win or the perceived pressure, it takes the enjoyment out of it.”
What started with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi has now been passed down to Wilson and Stewart. With Alyssa Thomas the oldest player at 30, the domination could continue for years to come.
“It’s been an incredible journey just to continue to lay that foundation down like so many of the greats in front of us have,” Wilson said. “Now it’s our turn to step up and be in that situation.”
The U.S. (8-0) finished the World Cup averaging 98.8 points — just short of the mark held by the 1994 team that averaged 99.1. They won by an average of 40.8 points, topping the amount by the 2010 team.
“Maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey now’s the time to get the USA,’” Reeve said. “I think what we showed is that our league, the WNBA and professional basketball players in the United States are really, really good.”
As they’ve done all tournament, the Americans did it on both ends of the court, playing stellar defense as well as using a high-powered offense.
The game was a sellout with nearly 16,000 fans — the biggest crowd to attend a women’s World Cup game since the inaugural tournament in 1953 in Chile.
“You can’t say people don’t support women’s basketball,” Stewart said of the crowd. “If you look at all these people in this arena tonight. There was a lot of people cheering for us and against us, but they’re here watching women’s basketball.”
While the U.S. will be the heavy favorite to win the gold in Paris, there are new teams emerging. China won its first medal since the 1994 World Cup, and Canada reached the medal round for the first-time since 1986.
“I think every team will learn from this experience. You gain a lot of knowledge in the World Cup,” Reeve said.
___
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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New York Liberty, WNBA players populate World Cup rosters – The Associated Press – en Español

SYDNEY (AP) — New York has long been known as a melting pot, a city of diversity.
That moniker also works for the city’s WNBA franchise, the New York Liberty, which has seven players competing in the women’s World Cup for five different countries.
Overall, there are 27 players in Sydney who competed this season in the WNBA, plus a few others like Lauren Jackson, who either played in the past or were drafted but haven’t competed in the league yet.
Before the U.S.-China game, Betnijah Laney and Han Xu exchanged a hug. The two Liberty players are on opposite teams a few weeks after their WNBA season ended with a playoff loss to Chicago in the opening round.
“That’s one of my favorite parts about the New York team, we are so international and we’ve got such great talent from all over the world,” Australian Sami Whitcomb said. “I think that represents our fan base as well. It’s really amazing to come here and still get to see your teammates.”
Laney and Sabrina Ionescu are with the U.S. Han is playing for China. Bec Allen and Whitcomb are with Australia along with New York coach Sandy Brondello and her husband Olaf Lange, who lead the host nation. Draftee Sika Kone is on Mali and fellow draftee Marine Fauthoux plays for France.
“It’s really cool to have teammates here and compete against each other. It’s a great experience for all of us,” Laney said. “It’s definitely something that’s pretty cool to have the diversity and to come together. It does extend to our fan base.”
Whitcomb said that the Liberty players talked about the potential of them all coming to Sydney for the World Cup.
“How fun it would be to have so many of us over here and we were all going to see each other,” she said. “We didn’t know how many people would make the teams, so it’s amazing.”
All the teams are staying in the same hotel near the arena. Whitcomb said the Liberty teammates have been getting coffee with each other in between games.
“It just goes to show we’re very international that’s for sure,” Brondello said. “To get two players on the USA team that’s always hard to break into but I’m proud of those two. They’ve worked so hard to get there and you know the Aussies go without saying but Han is doing a great job as well.”
There’d be an eighth Liberty player in the tournament, but Marine Johannes got hurt right before it began.
New York isn’t the only WNBA team well represented in Sydney: Seattle has five active players as well as Jackson. The Storm’s coach, Noelle Quinn, is an assistant with Canada. The Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces have four players each.
The players all also share a common dining room for meals, giving them chances to interact off the court.
“I’m happy to see my teammates playing in the World Cup,” Han said. “Before I only had two teammates but now I have a lot of them on different teams and it’s nice to see them around.”
___
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Zelenskyy calls Russia a state sponsor of terrorism; Biden calls on U.N. to stand with Ukraine – CNBC

Zelenskyy calls Russia a state sponsor of terrorism; Biden calls on U.N. to stand with Ukraine  CNBC
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