February 23, 2021 Find out more Organisation News Reporters Without Borders is outraged to learn that a Tripoli court sentenced Amara Abdallah Al-Khitabi, the editor of the privately-owned newspaper Al-Umma, in absentia to five years in prison and ordered him to pay 250,000 dinars in damages for allegedly defaming judicial officials. RSF_en News Receive email alerts LibyaMiddle East – North Africa to go further On Libyan revolution’s 10th anniversary, authorities urged to guarantee press freedom Well-known Libyan journalist missing since his arrest Follow the news on Libya December 17, 2019 Find out more June 24, 2020 Find out more November 28, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Court sentences editor in absentia for five years in prison News Charged with criminal libel for publishing a list of allegedly corrupt judges and prosecutors in November 2012, Khitabi, 68, was convicted of criminal libel on 17 August but the sentence was not notified to him and his lawyer until last week.“Khitabi does not deserve to go to prison for publishing this list”, Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles said. “We urge the Libyan authorities to overturn this decision and to drop the case.”Arrested in December 2012, Khitabi refused to reveal where he got the list. But, according to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, it had already been posted on social network sites before Al-Umma published it. The judicial officials on the list were said to have taken bribes or obtained money illicitly from other sources.He was charged under article 195 of the Gaddafi-era criminal code, which is very controversial and repressive. The interim parliament, known as the General National Congress, passed an amendment to the criminal code on 5 February 2014 but it did not provide any additional guarantees for freedom of expression.After four months in prison, Khitabi was released in April 2013 on medical grounds, but was ordered to remain at home and was banned from travelling abroad.His lawyer, Ramadan Salem, plans to file an appeal on the grounds that the sentence has been issued at time when Tripoli’s courts are paralyzed because of clashes between rival militias.According to Human Rights Watch, as well as jailing Khitabi and ordering him to pay damages to each of the five plaintiffs who brought the case, the court also banned him from practicing journalism while serving his sentence, and ordered that the withdrawal of his civil rights should continue for a year after his release.Khitabi is on the list of “100 information heroes” that Reporters Without Borders compiled for this year’s World Press Freedom Day (3 May).Libya is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in the 2014 press freedom index of organization. Help by sharing this information LibyaMiddle East – North Africa Six imprisoned journalists to finally appear in court in Istanbul News
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island’s housing options are woefully inadequate, yet we’re doing little to address this ever-growing problem.If you ask LI’s developers, they would say that the answer is the creation of developments that “meet the needs of seniors who are downsizing and young adults looking for more affordable rentals, as well as to create ‘vibrant’ destination communities that attract workers and retain young people,” as representative of Uniondale-based RXR Realty, Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities, Inc. and The Engel Burman Group in Garden City told the Long Island Regional Planning Council at a recent meeting in Hempstead.That sounds good to any rational resident. On paper.But nobody is talking about the rents in these developments, nor the marked disconnect between what is getting approved and built, as well as what this region truly needs to thrive: high-paying economic opportunities for the region’s eager and educated younger workforce, and housing they can actually afford.The new rentals are telling. Avalon Bay claims it wants to provide housing options that will keep the Island’s millennials here. It charges $1,840 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in Coram, $2,670 a month for a one bedroom in Garden City or $2,748 a month for a one bedroom in Long Beach.These rents are higher than most single-family home mortgages. For Avalon Pines in Coram to be considered “affordable,” which means less than 20 percent of the household income going toward rent, its occupants would need a combined income of $110,000 per year. And that’s to live in Coram, where the closest Long Island Rail Road train station is roughly six miles away.Statistically, it’s unlikely that workers residing that far out east in Suffolk County would utilize the LIRR anyway to commute to Manhattan, but the developers still call it a walkable, transit-oriented community regardless. Avalon Huntington Station, about a mile from the train station, is charging $2,285 a month, which would require a joint salary of $135,000 for it to be considered “affordable.”In 2013, the average rent in Suffolk for a one-bedroom was $1,490 a month, according to The New York Times, while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that the average fair market rent for a one-bedroom is $1,324. For the Nassau-Suffolk region, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom is $1,437. The average median family income for the region in 2015 was $109,000.In western Suffolk, housing prices declined 12 percent in the wake of the recession from 2008 through 2013, while rents in one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments rose 19 percent. Nassau saw even larger price disparities. Housing prices declined by 7 percent, but rents went up 27 percent for one-bedroom apartments, and 28 percent for two-bedrooms. From 2011 to 2013, Long Island’s rents increased between 7 percent and 10 percent, yet housing prices only grew 3 percent to 4 percent.Not to pick on Avalon Bay, but it is just one example of how many developers tout their desire to supply what the Island needs, yet the economics prevent them from doing it because it doesn’t make fiscal sense. To acknowledge the need for affordable workforce housing for the next generation and the elderly, while charging $1,840 a month to live 60 miles from New York City is ludicrous. Compare this situation to Queens. As the MNS Real Estate Services reported in December 2015, average rent in Astoria, complete with easy subway access and a more vibrant neighborhood than most suburban areas, was a mere $2,057 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, while Forest Hills and Rego Park came close with $2,014 and $2,038 respectably. Although familial ties to LI are strong for many young people who grew up here, is it worth their paying $750 a month more to live in Nassau County instead of renting in Queens, or should they just pay the $20 train ticket on the weekends to visit their parents?Herein lies the problem. Developers and their vested nonprofit buddies often get so caught up in the convenient narrative that, yes, Long Island needs more multifamily housing projects, yet few actually build them at price points to suit the needs of our many young people who want to move out of their childhood homes. The Island needs more apartments, but few builders, if any, are actually building them for the markets they claim to be supplying.Of course, builders don’t have it easy. From NIMBY protests over community fears that are sometimes legitimate and often imagined, LI’s development climate is difficult and easy at the same time.But to grandstand to a regional planning group about what we need is wrong considering what they are providing. The LIRPC should be telling developers what housing options Long Island needs, not the other way around. For too long, planning efforts on the Island have been spearheaded by vested interests and specialized groups instead of serious data-backed study driven by public participation.Further, the LIRPC should be taking more of a leadership role in confronting the economics of why, exactly, many of these developers are building projects with rents well above the median rent levels in Suffolk.Instead of focusing on squeezing every bit of density into the last bastions of open space on the Island, the emphasis should be on how to repurpose our existing, underutilized disturbed sites to meet our region’s needs. The LIRPC must usher LI into a new economy that allows for sustainable economic growth by unifying the patchwork system of our Industrial Development Agencies, and stop trying to compete with Manhattan and the outer boroughs for apartments, and complement what the city has to offer.By playing to Long Island’s strengths, instead of trying to urbanize Nassau and Suffolk here and there, we will get the jobs we need, and the housing options will follow.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 29-year-old Central Islip man was found dead of an apparent head wound in a wooded area of Brentwood on Tuesday, Suffolk County police said.Two men were walking in the woods east of Springfield Road between Suffolk Avenue and Second Avenue, when they found the body of Michael Johnson at 12 p.m., police said.The body was taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed to determine his cause of death.Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information on this incident to call them at 631-852-6392 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.